“Dick Guindon’s first cartoons, dealing with a character called Hugger Mugger, were published in the Minnesota Daily. Hugger Mugger eventually was syndicated and appeared in 100 college newspapers. Guindon then went to New York, where, as a freelance cartoonist, he sold his work to Downbeat, Playboy, Esquire and New York Magazine. The Realist sent him abroad for a year as a kind of cartoonist-correspondent in Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan and Israel. Guindon was born December 2, 1935, in St. Paul. He began cartooning when he finished three years in the army, and he joined the Minneapolis Tribune in 1968.”
Guindon in his own words from the foreword…
I grew up on Guindon – he was one of my favorites. His cartoons nailed the archetypal Minnesotan in a way that no one else has come close. The caricatures in the Coen brothers movie Fargo are the popular stereotype, but Guindon went more to the core.
In 1981 Guindon moved from Minneapolis to Detroit. YouTube has the following time capsule of the event. There are quick cameos of a young Louie Anderson and Garrison Keillor among others…
And here’s an interview with Guindon in Detroit.
Tragedy struck in April 1987 when the studio Guindon had in a historic four-story building in Traverse City, Michigan was destroyed by fire. More than 5,000 cartoons and sketches burned.
Gaze over to the floor-to-ceiling bookcases in Guindon’s living/dining room and scan the titles: The Catcher in the Rye, Marcella’s Italian Kitchen, Salt: A World History, The Lies of George W. Bush. There’s an entire section devoted to the works of novelist Elmore “Dutch” Leonard, whose late wife, Carol, brought back one of Guindon’s prized espresso pots from a trip to Europe. A case of the cartoonist’s favorite wine, Côtes du Rhône, fills another couple of shelves. Next to that stands a three-quarter-sized rendition of the artist himself—a painted board with a cutout for a wristwatch, which is missing. Guindon calls it his “Grandfather Clock,” although he is not yet a grandfather.
Guindon has produced cartoons that are part of the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art and The Ohio State University Cartoon Research Library. He has authored six books, and collectors sell pieces of his life from galleries and over the Internet for big bucks.
None of this has gone to his head.
Guindon has never socialized much with his fellow cartoonists. “I find them a little bit sad, frankly,” he says. “They tend to work on kitchen tables and not think of themselves very professionally and that sort of thing.” He gets a smirk on his face.
You never really know when he’s kidding.
“Everyone who’s ever been around me is always surprised by how much goes into it, because you always think, well, they’re just potato heads,” Guindon says.
But screenwriter Kurt Luedtke, a friend and former executive editor of the Free Press, has seen this artist in action. “The truth about Guindon is that he draws unusually well; a lot of folks miss that, I think, perceiving him as a very funny guy with an offbeat sense of humor who’s a cartoonist. Study those panels for a while and you realize that his oblique take on life is just the beginning of a process that really ends with a masterful pen.”
According to Wikipedia, Guindon announced his retirement the same year as the preceding interview – 2005.
The Detroit Free Press reported that Richard Gordon Guindon, 86, died the evening of Feb. 27, 2022 in Northport, Michigan, after a long illness with his son at his side.
Back in 2010 I began working as an assistant to Craig MacIntosh. It started with inking a few dailies which lead to a job inking and coloring the Sally Forth Sunday pages. When Craig decided to retire at the end of 2012 I worked up some samples (under Craig’s watchful eye) which were then submitted to King Features Syndicate. After navigating the proper channels the word was given from on high at King and I was given the green light.
I can’t say enough about how great it was working with Craig. He’s the consummate professional who makes the incredibly stellar work he does look easy – a great friend and mentor.
Cut to the Minikahda Country Club the summer of 1982 where a high school age Jim Keefe is busy bussing tables. The goal is to someday become a comic book artist, but there’s no clear path for that pipe dream.
The buzz Keefe overhears from the ritzy club members is about a local lawyer who had quit his well paying profession to become – of all the crazy things – a cartoonist.
The lawyer/cartoonist’s name was Greg Howard.
The comic strip, Sally Forth.
With the cartoon landscape of the early 1980s showing woman only in the role of housewives, Sally Forth would become part of a new generation of comic strips – along with Lynn Johnston’s For Better or For Worse and Cathy Guisewite’s, Cathy – that showed woman taking center stage in a more modern setting.
Because of this, and the fact that the strips were original and funny, success in newspaper syndication followed.
Jump ahead to 1998 and I would be working on staff as a colorist at King Features Syndicate when Greg Howard would decide to retire from his writing chores on Sally (now drawn by Craig MacIntosh). I sent him a letter relaying the Minikahda Country Club story along with a Sally Forth collection from the early days that King had in-house.
Thanks for your nice letter and the copy of the first “Sally Forth” book. It was very thoughtful of you to pass it along.
It’s true that I sold Sally to King Features and have skulked off into the sunset. I’ve spent the summer enjoying the relief from the inexorable deadlines. You’re familiar with those. I’m not sure what comes next but haven’t grown overly anxious about it yet.
I enjoyed your story about the Minikahda club gossip revolving around my career change 20 years ago. Thanks for sharing it with me.
I got to meet Greg Howard just once in 2012 before I took over the drawing chores on Sally Forth. Francesco Marciuliano was writing Sally by this time and I had been working as an assistant to Craig MacIntosh for a couple years. Craig suggested we meet with Greg in regards to working out me signing on with King as the new artist.
It was truly memorable as Craig hadn’t seen Greg for awhile and I got to watch two comic strip greats catch up and just shoot the sh*t over lunch. I had brought along a King Features sales kit of Sally Forth from back in the day and took the following pic.
Sally Forth is 40 years old as of January 2022 with Francesco Marciuliano at the helm writing and myself drawing. It’s a different comic strip than when Greg Howard and Craig MacIntosh were steering the ship, but Francesco and I wouldn’t have this gig if not for the bedrock of success Greg Howard’s original Sally Forth had. To that I say, many thanks – and hope Mr. Howard is still “enjoying the relief from the inexorable deadlines”
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 KingBook 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!
“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.”