was a long-run newspaper comic strip adapted into a feature film, a radio series on NBC and two animated cartoons. Created by Gene Byrnes (1889-1974), the comic strip offered a humorous look at a gang of suburban children (who nevertheless spoke like New York street kids). Syndicated from 1917 to 1949, Byrnes’ strip was collected into several books.
While working as a sports cartoonist with the New York Telegram, Byrnes created his cartoon panel It’s a Great Life If You Don’t Weaken which introduced the Reg’lar Fellers characters in 1917. He began Wide Awake Willie as a New York Herald Sunday page in 1919, and this too featured Reg’lar Fellers characters. With Reg’lar Fellers distributed by the Bell Syndicate as a daily strip in 1920, Byrnes changed the name of the Sunday strip to Reg’lar Fellers. At its peak, the strip was syndicated in 800 newspapers. It was imitated by other strips, notably Ad Carter’s Just Kids.
In 1991 by American cartoonist Art Spiegelman. It depicts Spiegelman interviewing his father about his experiences as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor. The book uses postmodern techniques—most strikingly in its depiction of races of humans as different kinds of animals, with Jews as mice, Germans as cats and non-Jewish Poles as pigs. Maus has been described as memoir, biography, history, fiction, autobiography, or a mix of genres. In 1992 it became the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize.
In the frame tale timeline in the narrative present, beginning in 1978 in the Rego Park section of New York City, Spiegelman talks with his father about his Holocaust experiences, gathering material for the Maus project he is preparing. In the narrative past, Spiegelman depicts these experiences, starting in the years leading up to World War II. Much of the story revolves around Spiegelman’s troubled relationship with his father, and the absence of his mother who committed suicide when he was 20. Her grief-stricken husband destroyed her written accounts of Auschwitz. The book uses a minimalist drawing style while displaying innovation in its page and panel layouts, pacing, and structure.
A three-page 1972 strip by Spiegelman, also called “Maus”, was the impetus for Spiegelman to interview his father about his life during World War II. The recorded interviews became the basis for the graphic novel, which Spiegelman began in 1978. Maus was serialized from 1980 until 1991 as an insert in Raw, an avant-garde comics and graphics magazine published by Spiegelman and his wife, Françoise Mouly. It was one of the first graphic novels to receive academic attention in the English-speaking world.
was born in Stockholm, Sweden, and immigrated to the United States with his parents in his early childhood. Spiegelman studied cartooning in high school and started drawing professionally at age sixteen. Despite his parents wanting him to become a dentist, Art Spiegelman majored in art and philosophy at Binghamton University’s Harpur College of Arts. After leaving college in 1968, he joined theunderground comix movement.
The following decade, Spiegelman became a regular contributor to various underground publications, including Real Pulp, Young Lust and Bizarre Sex. Under a variety of pseudonyms like Joe Cutrate, Skeeter Grant and Al Flooglebuckle he drew creations such as ‘Ace Hole, Midget Detective’, ‘Nervous Rex’, ‘Douglas Comics’ and ‘Cracking Jokes’. In 1975, he and Bill Griffith co-founded Arcade, an influential comix revue with artists like Robert Crumb, S. Clay Wilson and Justin Green.
Besides his cartooning career, Art Spiegelman edited several comix magazines. In 1980, he started the magazine Raw with his wife Françoise Mouly. In the pages of Raw, Spiegelman helped reveal important American talents like Mark Beyer, Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, Charles Burns, J. Otto Seibold, Kaz and Jerry Moriarty, as well as artists from foreign shores such as Ever Meulen, Pascal Doury, Jacques Tardi andJoost Swarte, among others.
With the publication of the first rendition of ‘Maus’ in Funny Animals in 1972, Spiegelman’s career really took flight. ‘Maus’ was based on the experiences of his parents as concentration-camp survivors. He expanded this premise into a full-blown graphic novel, which he drew from 1980 to 1986, with the Jews presented as mice and the Germans as cats (the Katzies). The book ‘Maus: A Survivor’s Tale’, earned Spiegelman fame. He completed the tale in 1991 with ‘Maus II: From Mauschwitz to the Catskills’. Art Spiegelman received the Pullitzer Prize in 1992.
In the 1990s, besides his illustration work for books such as ‘The Wild Party’ and covers for The New Yorker, Spiegelman has used his editorial skills to put together the children’s comics anghology ‘Little Lit’ together with Françoise Mouly, and he also serves as an advisor on Mouly’s ‘TOON Books’ project. Apart from the contributing members from Raw, the ‘Little Lit’ series contains work by artists outside the comics field, such as William Joyce, Maurice Sendak, Ian Falconer, Marc Rosenthal, Claude Ponti, David Macaulay,Barbara McClintock and Harry Bliss.
In the wake of the disaster of 11 September 2001, which happened around the corner from where he lives (Greenstreet/Canalstreet), Spiegelman has made a Sunday page format story about the terrorist assault on the World Trade Center in New York, called ‘In the Shadow of No Towers’.
Art Spiegelman has been of great importance for the re-appraisal of the comics genre as an adult artform. He won the Grand Prix at the 2011 Angoulême International Comics Festival.
(28 February 1907 – 3 May 1988, USA)
Milton Caniff’s first involvement in the comics field dates from 1922, when he began working as an illustrator for some local newspapers. At age 25, Caniff was hired by Associated Press, and brought to New York in 1932. He ghosted on features like ‘The Gay Thirties’, before taking over the panel cartoon called ‘Mister Gilfeather’ from Al Capp in September 1932.
Caniff was handed the assignment of a children’s adventure strip called ‘Dickie Dare’. Influenced by such strips as ‘Flash Gordon’ and ‘Brick Bradford’, Caniff took Dickie on the ride of his life.
It was Joseph Patterson at the New York Daily News who noticed the ‘Dickie Dare’ strip and quickly hired Caniff for a new adventure strip called ‘Terry and the Pirates’. The strip made its debut in October, 1934. In the beginning, the comic was fairly rough, until Noel Sickels, who was hired to produce the strip ‘Scorchy Smith’, helped Caniff iron out the wrinkles.
Their collaboration – and Caniff’s later solo flight – produced some of the most memorable strips in the history of the medium. They also did advertising work together, such as the ‘Mr. Coffee Nerves’ character, using the penname Paul Arthur.
During World War II, Caniff produced, besides ‘Terry’, the comic strip ‘Male Call’ for the G.I. Newspapers only. It featured Miss Lace, a sprightly pal to every homesick soldier and sailor away from the U.S. ‘Male Call’ was Caniff’s donation to the war effort; he took no money for it. He retired the strip in 1946.
In early 1947, Caniff, aching for more control of his comic creations, jumped to the Chicago Sun – Times and created ‘Steve Canyon’, a strip about an air-transport pilot seeking adventure.
Although ‘Steve Canyon’ was an immediate success, the strip never matched ‘Terry’ at its best. ‘Steve Canyon’ ran for 41 years and died with the artist in 1988. The final strip, on June 4th, was a two-panel tribute, signed by 78 cartoonists.
Gaining the highest regard of his peers, Caniff earned the very first Cartoonist of the Year trophy awarded by the National Cartoonists Society in 1946, and eventually received the Reuben award for his work in 1971.
The impact Milton Caniff had on comics cannot be overestimated; he was the first cartoonist who brought realism, suspense and sensuality into comics and he inspired many artists with his beautiful drawings, earning him his nickname, “the Rembrandt of the comic strip.”