St. Patrick’s Day Week with the High Kings

What better way to spend the week of St. Patrick’s Day than going to see the High Kings?

Here’s their current schedule. Tickets are limited, so get ’em while you still can!
High Kings – Official Website


Many thanks to the one and only Paddy McPoland for securing my wife and I seats for their show in Cedarburg, Wisconsin before it sold out.

Here’s my way of saying thanks…


The “After Joe Shuster” is of course reference to this iconic cover…

Superman #1 - 1939

Superman #1 – 1939

And as someone with an Irish Dad and Polish Mom, I find no end of amusement to Paddy’s name. Along those lines, here’s a button Paddy got from a High Kings fan in Muskegon last year…


All for now. Leaving you with one of my favorite songs off their new CD, Four Friends Live Friends for Life.

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Paul Ryan R.I.P. – by Alex Saviuk

Paul Ryan at GraniteCon 2015, Manchester, New Hampshire

Paul Ryan at GraniteCon 2015, Manchester, New Hampshire

Paul Ryan (September 23, 1949 – March 6, 2016)

Reprinted from Alex Saviuk’s Facebook page with permission.

I am deeply saddened and stunned by the passing of Paul Ryan so quickly and way too soon. I found out yesterday late morning and could not work anymore and had to make inquiries as to what happened that took him away from us and more importantly from his wife and immediate family.

I was able to speak at length with some close friends to share in our grief but at the same time revel in delight at what a wonderful guy he was and of course terrific artist he was as well. When I got to Marvel in 1986 Paul was just breaking into comics and he and I worked together on a NIGHTMASK fill-in in which he inked my pencils, but as time went on very quickly he became more prolific as a penciler and storyteller with an incredible work ethic that left many of his colleagues scratching their heads in awe.

At his peak he penciled the Fantastic Four and an Avengers book every month without missing a beat or sacrificing quality because of the sheer volume of work that he did religiously day after day with joy.

Even to this day he penciled inked and lettered the Phantom Daily strip without assistants and still just recently finished penciling and inking a Phantom story for Egmont overseas. I got to see his work first hand because his was the first part of a three part story and I needed to see his pages since I was drawing the second part. That was the last time I will have seen Paul Ryan…through his wonderful work.

Click on images to see larger.



Paul Ryan - pencils

Paul Ryan – pencils

Paul Ryan - inks

Paul Ryan – inks

I wanted to call him and talk to him about how he managed to fit this into his already incredibly busy week but I didn’t which I now regret tremendously. I already miss that conversation that never happened. But I did speak with a mutual friend last night, Pete Klaus, who did manage to speak with him just a few days ago and things seemed well enough for the most part.

I am happy about being instrumental to some degree in getting Paul to Australia in 2014 the year after I was there so he could meet the adoring fans in that beautiful country and I know how appreciative they were that he and his lovely wife Linda made the trip. As far and as long as that trip was Paul made it back home and got back to work as usual.

This latest trip unfortunately will be his last from which he will not return in person…but the body of work that he left behind will be an everlasting legacy along with the many memories of the truly wonderful man he was.

Rest in peace, Paul… You will be a hard act to follow.

Alex Saviuk has worked for both DC and Marvel Comics – he currently draws the Amazing Spider-Man Sunday comic strip.

Alex Saviuk

Alex Saviuk

Paul Ryan Remembrances

From Marv Wolfman's Facebook page.

From Marv Wolfman’s Facebook page.

From Joe Rubinstein's Facebook page.

From Joe Rubinstein’s Facebook page.

From Ivan Pedersen's Facebook page.

From Ivan Pedersen’s Facebook page.

Paul Ryan, R.I.P. – Tony DePaul (Writer for the Phantom)

King Features

2015 Overstreet interview with Paul Ryan by Jason Versaggi.

Ed Rhoades interview with Paul Ryan – 2005
-Source of preceding Phantom pencils and inks.

Paul Ryan obituary notices

The Boston Globe
The Comics Beat
Comic Book Resources
Bleeding Cool

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My wikipedia page was recently brought to my attention again…


And since it is once again on my radar, I thought I would address the inaccuracies so I can then once again ignore it.

Note: I actually tried to correct it many years ago – not knowing that editing your own wiki page is strictly prohibited – and was promptly booted off the site.


So here it is in its most recent incarnation (2/29/16).


First off under Personal information…

…he attended Joe Kubert’s School of Cartoon and Graphic Art after a very brief career at a more traditional institution.

Since when does going to school get referred to as “a very brief career”?


What actually happened was that before attending the Joe Kubert School I tried out a number of other art schools that didn’t quite fit the bill as far as the career I was looking for.

First off was a summer program at Atelier Lack in Minneapolis, which gave me a good grounding in the traditional methods of drawing. Next up was a brief stint at Atelier Hathaway (one of Richard Lack’s students), then a semester at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Now for Career…

Keefe started his career coloring comic strips such as Blondie, Beetle Bailey and Hägar the Horrible. He was the head colorist in the King Features Syndicate comic art department. Keefe’s tenure lasted from January, 1996 to March 2003. Unfortunately he was unable to continue his work for King Features because of economic issues.

Stilted sentence structure notwithstanding, I actually worked on staff at King from 1989-1998. 1996-2003 refers to when I wrote and drew Flash Gordon.

And those “economic issues” were actually King Features’ economic issues – as they laid off my entire department as a cost cutting measure.


Since he has left his coloring job, Keefe has taught, taken part in freelance assignments, promoted the National Cartoonists Society and worked on a graphic novel. His graphic novel exemplifies his Father’s service in World War II as a member of Patton’s Third Army. Keefe’s work on Flash Gordon continues to appear in syndication.

This reads like it was translated from japanese using Mac’s translation app.

“…taken part in freelance assignments”  
My name is Jim Keefe. And yes, I admit it – I have taken part in freelance assignments.


And as for the Graphic Novel that I have not actually completed, may I suggest the word chronicles instead of exemplifies.

Keefe has taught and spoken at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, Malloy College, and Hofstra University’s UCCE Youth Programs in Long Island, New York.

Keefe has taught and spoken at, he has.


Keefe currently provides the artwork for the syndicated comic strip Sally Forth, as well as performs freelance assignments and also provides graphic art for a number of different companies.

Note: When I perform my freelance assignments, it’s usually an interpretive dance.



Here’s how I list this same info…

A graduate of the Joe Kubert School, Jim Keefe started his career as the head colorist in the King Features Syndicate comic art department, coloring such world-renowned strips as Blondie, Beetle Bailey and Hagar the Horrible.

From 1996-2003 he was the writer and artist of Flash Gordon for King Features Syndicate – currently available online at

Teaching and speaking engagements include the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, Malloy College and Hofstra’s UCCE Youth Programs in Long Island, New York – and most recently as an Adjunct Teacher at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Keefe currently is the artist of the Sally Forth comic strip, written by Francesco Marciuliano. Sally Forth is syndicated worldwide by King Features and appears in nearly 700 newspapers.

My thanks for indulging me and letting me get this off my chest.

This is by no means a huge concern, but it does make me wonder how inaccurate the rest of wikipedia is…

All for now – back to deadlines…



Thanks to Genevieve Gendron-perso (from the Creative Focus Workshop offered by Jessica Abel) my wiki page has been corrected.

Thank you! It’s greatly appreciated…


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Wishes and More – Superhero Winter Ball 2016

Marriott City Center - Minneapolis, MN - February 27, 2016

Marriott City Center, Minneapolis, MN – February 27, 2016

Throwing the spotlight on Karla Blomberg and all the hard working staff and volunteers at Wishes and More®, a Minnesota based charity group that grants wishes to children with terminal and life-threatening illnesses.

Held at the Marriott City Center in downtown Minneapolis, this year’s Winter Ball theme was a Gathering of Superheroes. Guests were encouraged to dress the part in their favorite costume or attend in black-tie style for a Bruce Wayne Gala.

In attendance was former Minnesota Viking, celebrity chef and singer (turned incredible Hulk) – Esera Tuaolo

Esera Tuaolo

Esera Tuaolo

He not only donated a chef dinner for the auction (that went for $4,000), but lent his singing talent to the entertainment for the evening as well.

Here’s some quick pics of some of the other volunteers and guests in costume…













My donation to the live auction was a drawing of Rey from Star Wars. With a starting bid of $65, it was over $150 before bidding closed.


And even though the Winter Ball is over, you can still help out by just going to


And last but not least I want to thank David and Jen Bresler for the invite to the gala, and also their generosity in hosting a table.

Jen And David Bresler

Jen And David Bresler

You guys are the best!


Quick note that all pictures were taken by Daily Bugle staff photographer, Peter Parker and copyrighted 2016 to the Daily Bugle.


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Cartoon Art Scams

When you work on comic character that’s known worldwide the door to scam artists suddenly gets thrown wide open. Take the following…

Years ago, when I was doing Flash Gordon, I received a request for some drawings from a guy who had a sick grandma who grew up reading (insert character’s name here) – it was one of her favorites! He wanted one Flash Gordon drawing for his Grandma, and if possible, another two for his kids. The weird part? He wanted it on uncirculated sheets of two dollar bills.

Sounds fishy I know…


Regardless, I rolled the dice and thought it was quirky enough that it might actually be true – drawings sent.

Months later I got a letter from Popeye cartoonist Hy Eisman (one of my teachers from the Kubert School) informing me I had just been scammed. Enclosed with the letter was an insert from a catalog with cartoon art for sale. The art was drawn on (wait for it)… uncirculated sheets of two dollar bills.

Web version of catalog page - via

Web version of catalog page.

And how did Hy Eisman find out about it?

Web version of catalog page - via

Web version of catalog page.

Suffice it to say, my days of giving people the benefit of the doubt was over.

Now some people argue that once you give away a piece of art to a fan, what they then do with it is out of your hands. Well… that’s true – but to intentionally misrepresent why you want the art (sick relative) in order to flip it for profit is where that line of reasoning goes off the rails.


Al Williamson once told me a story of his disillusionment when he gave away a drawing to a young fan at a convention – only to find out later that the kid was a plant that a comic art dealer was sending around to scam cartoonists out of as much free art as possible.

Al Williamson in his studio inking a Star Wars movie adaptation – October 1998.

Now Al was known as one of the nicest guys in comics, so the kind of individual who would take advantage of his generosity can best be described with one word…


I’d also like to add that back in the day, it actually took some effort to scam artists as you had to resort to mass mailings, postage, etcetera. Today they can reach hundreds with just copy, paste, send.

And some of these scammers are just plain lazy.
When I was doing Flash Gordon sometimes I would get email from a “fan” asking for artwork that never mentioned my name or the strip I did, but it would clearly state that they read my strip every day (it only appeared on Sunday) and they thought it was “one of the funniest strips around!”

Because Flash Gordon is primarily remembered for it’s zany slapstick gags…


That said, I’m not in the spotlight like some of the hot artists currently out there, so I can only imagine the headaches they have to deal with – be it Adam Hughes having to put a halt on convention sketches or Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner announcing a 5 book free signing limit. You can only be jerked around so much before you have to start putting up fences to safeguard yourself.

Another headache for cartoonists are hacks blatantly stealing their work and selling it as their own. The poster child for this kind of plagiarism being Rob Granito.


Countless examples of this keep cropping up – most recently spotted was Hakan Ozcan ripping off Ron Garney.

And for the outright bizarre there’s the case of Shia LaBeouf plagiarizing Daniel Clowes back in 2013 – then apologizing via a skywriter and tweeting a cryptic message…

And I haven’t even touched on all the fake comic art on ebay…

These kind of activities have been brought to light more and more of late due to vigilant fans and pros putting a spotlight on these hacks via posts on the internet. And as the number of comic cons grow more needs to be done on the part of convention organizers to weed out these crooks.

But I digress…

Back to drawing requests…
For the most part, time constraints prohibit me from fulfilling requests for sketches and donations for auctions. With the advent of e-mail, there are just too many requests and too little time.

And the thought of neglecting paying work so I can draw something for a “fan” who just wants something he can flip and put on ebay that he got from me for free..?



A few of the responses I’ve gotten since posting.

From Nancy and Muppets Cartoonist Guy Gilchrist:


From Don O’Malley (Off of Facebook):

I am sorry that a few have ruined it for the rest of us.
Years ago I was a comic con and Paul Gulacy was a guest. He was working on Shang-Chi for Marvel. My brother, and two of my cousins along with my self stood in line to get him to sign a book for us. We were 14 at the most. Two large men told all of us that Mr Gulacy had only time to sign one book each and we were to ask no questions of him. A third man with them was talking to Paul as we were waiting. He was having Paul draw a Shang -Chi. I had Mr. Gulacy sign one of my books and as I asked him if he would ever work on a Shadow book? I was glared at by all three as Paul stopped to speak to me.

Years later at a comic store the same man was showing off his collections of art, he was so proud of the fact that he would go to cons and have his two friends block others from asking for a sketch, autograph or ask questions, so he could have more time with the artist. It takes all kind!!


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Uncle Whit and Aunt Pat

You end up using a lot of friends and family as reference when drawing comics. Take the following Flash Gordon page from October 31, 1999.

Quick story synopsis: Ming’s attempts to conquer the Earth by means of a gigantic space portal in Boston linking Earth to Mongo has failed, but Flash and Dale are now literally worlds apart – Flash on Mongo and Dale on Earth. Lisa (a woman who befriended Flash) is one of the few on Earth left who knows what really happened…

Click on image to see larger.


Lisa’s character is based on a friend my wife went to school with who’s name is also Lisa.

The elderly couple are my Uncle Whit and Aunt Pat (they have since both passed away). This page was an homage to them as they always supported my comic art career. An artist herself, two of my Aunt Pat’s pieces of sculpture were chosen for juried exhibition at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. My Uncle Whit was a poet and educator.

They faithfully picked up the Boston Herald each Sunday to see my work on Flash Gordon. This even though they subscribed to the much more “respectable” Boston Globe – my Aunt told me stories of my Uncle Whit sneaking out at first light on Sunday morning to go out and grab a copy, being careful not to be seen.

My Aunt Pat’s support of my comics/art career went farther back than that though. When I was a kid and my local Minneapolis paper stopped running the Spider-Man newspaper strip (which I had been diligently clipping out every day) she clipped them from her Boston paper and sent them to me every week for the next two years.
(More about that in a previous post.)

And even though she came from a Fine arts background, my Aunt Pat never differentiated to me between “high art” and the “low art” in regards to comic art (that I got later from teachers at the local art college). She just kept faithfully sending them to me so I wouldn’t miss out on any of the John Romita comic art I loved so much.

Best support I could have gotten and I’ll always be grateful for it.

Pat and Donald Whittredge

Note: To see more of my Flash Gordon work, just go to

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Cartooning Advise from Jose Delbo

The following is a quick memory of a cartooning class taught by Jose Delbo from when I was a student at the Joe Kubert School.

A student was getting critiqued – during the critique Jose stated that the student needed to spend more time on his work. The student responded that he had already worked on the page for two weeks. Jose replied, “How much of that time was actually pen to paper.”

Never forgot that insight. Doesn’t matter how much time you have to work on something if you’re not putting pen to paper.

Jose Delbo - 2011 Pic by Andrew Satterfield - Cincinnati Comic Expo

Jose Delbo – 2011
Pic by Andrew Satterfield – Cincinnati Comic Expo

More on Jose here – Jose Delbo at SpringCon 2012

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