The professor and author discusses his new book about the life and work of the late cartoonist Howard Cruse.
Andrew J. Kunka is the author of the book Autobiographical Comics and a professor of English at the University of South Carolina Sumter. The comics scholar’s new book is The Life and Comics of Howard Cruse: Taking Risks in the Service of Truth.
The book looks at the life of the late cartoonist Howard Cruse, but it primarily takes a deep dive into a lot of the short comics work that Cruse did over the course of his career. Cruse is known as the godfather of gay comics and is known for his graphic novel Stuck Rubber Baby, his long running comic strip Wendel and his role as the founding editor of Gay Comix. His short comics work, from the earliest stage of his career and the comics he drew in the later years of his life, have been understudied, and Kunka does a deep dive into why these comics, which are reprinted in full, are important. It is a thoughtful and deep analysis and celebration of an important and understudied cartoonist.
Kunka was kind enough to take some time out to talk about the book and his work.
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Judges choices include Nell Brinkley and E. Simms Campbell.
Comic-Con International has announced this year’s nominees for the Eisner Hall of Fame. They include two judges’ choices — who will be automatically inducted — and 14 other nominees, four of whom will be inducted based on voters’ choices.
The judges’ choices are Nell Brinkley and E. Simms Campbell, both of whom worked in the magazine industry. Brinkley, a.k.a. the “Queen of Comics,” created comics and illustrations for many Hearst newspapers, including the Denver Post and the New York Journal-America. She became well-known for her “Brinkley Girl” illustrations circa 1913 through the 1940s. Campbell, meanwhile, helped define the visual style of Esquire magazine and created comics for it, Life, Cosmopolitan and Playboy during his career. He was the first African-American cartoonist published in nationally distributed slick magazines.
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Comic-Con International announces the 2018 judge’s picks and other nominees for this year’s Eisner Hall of Fame.
Direct market pioneer Carol Kalish and black female newspaper cartoonist Jackie Ormes will be inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in July at Comic-Con International, as announced by CCI on their official blog this week.
Kalish, who worked as direct sales manager and vice president of new product development at Marvel Comics from 1981 to 1991, is credited with pioneering the comics direct market when it was in its adolescence, in part through a program in which Marvel helped pay for comic book stores to acquire cash registers. Kalish also spearheaded the expansion of the Marvel’s distribution into major bookstores such as B. Daltons and Waldenbooks. Kalish passed away in 1991 from a brain aneurysm, at the age 36.
Ormes was the first, and for a long time only, black female newspaper cartoonist. In the 1930s she wrote and drew Dixie in Harlem comics featuring Torchy Brown. After returning to her roots in journalism, she published Candy, a single-panel cartoon about a witty housemaid in 1945. Then she created Patty-Jo ’n’ Ginger, another single-panel cartoon about a pair of sisters, which ran for 11 years through 1956. Finally, from 1950 to 1954, Ormes revamped Torchy Brown into Torchy in Heartbeats, an 8-page color comic insert that included paper dolls. Ormes passed away in 1985.
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