#FaceYourArt pen and ink edition.
Spotlight on writer/illustrator Jerry Craft!
Jerry is an African American Literary Award winner (five times no less) and cofounder of the Schomburg Center’s Annual Black Comic Book Festival.
In addition to his numerous graphic novels and books he’s illustrated, Jerry is also the creator of the acclaimed comic strip Mama’s Boyz.
Jerry and I go back a ways. We met at King Features Syndicate back in the 1990s when we both worked in the King Features Comic Art Department.
And here’s a more recent pic. Jerry is one of those friends where even if you don’t see them for awhile you can just pick up from where you left off the last time you met.
Jerry has put Easter Eggs in his books for my family (like naming a character in one of his graphic novels after my daughter Tessa). And here’s me returning the favor in the July 8, 2018 Sally Forth Sunday page where the Forth family is at a comic convention.
Note the Mama’s Boyz banner on the back wall in panel 5.
And last but not least an unabashed plug for Jerry Craft’s latest graphic novel, New Kid.
It’s the story of seventh grader, Jordan Banks. He’s the new kid in school at a prestigious private school far from the neighborhood he grew up in. And as if navigating a new school isn’t tough enough, Jordan also just happens to be one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.
June 2020 Update:
Since my original post, Jerry’s book New Kid has gone on to win the prestigious Coretta Scott King Book Award and The John Newbery Medal! The award ceremonies with Jerry’s acceptance speeches are linked to below.
Jerry Craft wins the Coretta Scott King
Book Award for New Kid!
Jerry Craft’s graphic novel New Kid
wins 2020 Newbery Medal!
From The Comics Beat.
“The major award in libraries is the John Newbery Medal for “the most distinguished American children’s book published the previous year”. This year, Jerry Craft won for his graphic novel New Kid. Other graphic novels had previously received honor citations in this category, but this is the first time a graphic novel has won the medal outright, awarded for the best literary work, as a book, not as a graphic novel or illustrated work. It won because of the story presented, which just happened to be told in words and pictures.”
Congrats to Jerry!
Richard James Keefe
November 19, 1925 – October 15, 1992
Enlisted 17 May 1943 to accept an appointment from St. Thomas Military Academy to Infantry Officers’ Candidate School. Reported for Active Duty on 18 Dec. 1943 with rank of Corporal. Was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, Infantry, at Fort Benning, Ga., 23 May 1944. Served as Rifle Platoon Leader and Executive Officer with Company I, 304th Infantry, 76th Division, in the United States for six months and in the European Theatre of Operations for eight months. Participated in Rhineland, Ardennes, and Central Europe Campaigns. Was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for valor. Was promoted to 1st Lieutenant during combat in April 1945.
Served with the 3rd Battalion, 26th Infantry, 1st Division, at the war trials in Nürnberg , Germany. Served as Headquarters Company Commander, 3rd Battalion, 26th Infantry, and motor officer for the International Military Tribunal. Was promoted to the rank of Captain in August 1946, and was separated at Fort Dix, New Jersey on 14 October 1946.
Bronze Star Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, American Campaign Medal, European-African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal – with 3 battle stars, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, Reserve Medal.
Joined the Army Reserve in 1947 and was assigned to the 409th Infantry Regiment, 103rd Division. Served as Regimental Motor Officer, Infantry Regiment, 103rd Division. Served as Regimental Motor Officer, Assistant Regimental Plans and Training Officer, Regimental Plans and Training Officer, and Regimental Supply Officer.
Short Tours of Active Duty while in Reserve:
Active duty training with Minnesota Senior Army Instructor, Fort Snelling, 13 June 1949. Satisfactorily completed Amphibious Warfare Indoctrination Course, U.S. Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, Calif., from 11 Sept. 1949 to 26 Sept. 1949. Satisfactorily completed the Infantry School Associate Infantry Officer Advanced Course, Class #3, Fort Benning, Ga., from 2 April 1951 to 29 July 1951.
Attended weekly Reserve meetings on Tuesday Nights in addition to a two-week tour of duty every year, usually the last two weeks of August.
Appointed Reserve Commissioned Officer grade of Major in the Army of the United States on 6 September 1955.
Appointed Reserve Commissioned Officer grade of Lieutenant Colonel in the Army of the United States on 5 September 1962.
Richard Keefe retired with the grade of Lieutenant Colonel.
For More info from WWII go to Company I
Obituary from 1992
Richard J. Keefe, age 66, of Golden Valley. Survived by wife, Dolores; daughter & son-in-law, Julianne & Kyle Jenson; sons and daughters-in-law, Michael & Elizabeth, Paul & Jodie, Timothy & Diane; sons, Thomas, James, Nicholas, Gregory; 15 grandchildren; sister, E. Patricia & husband, Donald Whittredge; brothers and sisters-in-law, J. Byrne & Helen and David & Peggy Keefe, and nieces & nephews. Preceded in death by brother, John and sister, Mary Keefe; sons, baby twin boys Keefe.
Member of Serra Club of Hennepin-Twin Cities, American Society for Quality Control, and Retired Officers Club. Life member of Reserve Officer Association. Active in the Church of the Good Shepherd, Good Shepherd School, and Benilde-St. Margaret’s High School.
Funeral Monday, 9:30 am from Gearty-Delmore Robbinsdale Chapel, 39th & W. Broadway, and Mass of Christian Burial 10 am at the Church of the Good Shepherd, 145 Jersey Ave. S. Interment Ft. Snelling. Friends may call 4-7 pm Sunday. Prayer Service 5 pm Sunday. Memorials preferred to Good Shepherd Parish or Hospice Program at North Memorial Medical Center.
Listening to Kristy Partridge on YouTube talking about why she doesn’t do art commissions. She hits the nail on the head in regards to how labor/time intensive private commissions can be. Actually drawing the art can end up being a fraction of the total time in some cases. I steer clear of them as much as possible as well.
For more of Kristy Partridge, check out her YouTube channel at Kirsty Partridge Art