Monday, December 31, 2007

Tumbleweeds, 1965-2007

With the news that Tom Ryan has ended "Tumbleweeds" after 42 years, Buzz Dixon, over at the Comics Curmudgeon forum, wrote about working on the strip's one and only appearance in Saturday Morning cartoons.

Years ago (1978, to be exact) I was working for Filmation Studios when they sold an animated anthology series to NBC called THE FABULOUS FUNNIES (which was neither, but that's another story). Segments included such hoary old strips as ALLEY OOP and NANCY, but there was one new one in the lot: TUMBLEWEEDS, what was by then only a few years old.

I liked TUMBLEWEEDS and quickly finagled a chance to write their segments. The network was anxious about having non-Native American voices cast as the Poohawk tribe, but when I circumvented that concern by limiting the on-screen Indians to Lotsa Luck (a mute-by-choice Indian who wrote through scribbled notes) and Bucolic Buffalo (who was not so much mute as a man of pure action), producer Lou Scheimer let me write three or four scripts.

There was only one problem: Lou's lawyer had approached Tom Ryan with an offer to do TUMBLEWEEDS as part of the show. Ryan was interested and said, "Great, show me a script and a storyboard so I'll know how you're going to handle the characters, and if I like 'em I'll make the deal."

The lawyer truncated this to: "He said okay."

So we wrote and storyboarded three or four segments and got at least two of them into animation. The first one aired on the premiere of the show, and the following Monday Lou got a call from Mr. Ryan's lawyer who said, "Tom liked what you did with his characters but was wondering why you never finalized the deal with him or paid him to use his characters."

In a word. oops...

The TUMBLEWEED segments were quickly canned, the TUMBLEWEEDS characters edited out of the opening title sequence, and all further discussion of TUMBLEWEEDS was verboten in the confines of Filmation.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Be Back in 2008

I'm taking a break now due to my busy schedule, but I should be back in January.

See you in 2008.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Back at the Daily Cartoonist

For the second time this year, I am guest blogging at the Daily Cartoonist again.

Thought I'd let you know that...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Don Martin

A book set collecting everything Don Martin ever drew for MAD Magazine is out.

Nice to see that complete collections of comics are becoming more popular these days. Exciting to see what else would be coming out in the near future.

Anyway, if you have few hundred bucks lying around, why not buy it from Amazon?

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Just want to say thanks to anyone who visited my blog for the Sunday comic book post below it. Pageview wise, it has been one of my most popular posts ever.

On a downside, that means I have to think up something that will topple that. Sigh, one of the hazards of blogging.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Sunday Comic Books

Back in the early 1980s, many newspapers used a new "comic book" format for their Sunday Comics section. They were hoping that it would get more people to buy it as "collectables" and increase their sales.
Apparently, it didn't work. By the mid '80s, newspapers have started to abandon the concept and went back to the usual format we all know and love.
One person actually saved these "comic books" and sold about two years worth of it on eBay. I was the winning (read: only) bidder and got the whole set. And in a nutshell, I can see why it didn't work. Primarily, the strips were shrunk too small.
But that doesn't mean it wasn't worth it. It's always a treat to see how your favorite (and least favorite) strips looked many years ago, and you're also bound to see strips that's no longer around.
So, all that aside, I am presenting you Norwich (Conn.) Sunday Bulletin Comic Book from July 12, 1981. Here are all 30 pages. As usual, click on the images to see it bigger.





"Andy Capp" and "Wizard of Id"

"Star Trek"

"B.C." and "Tumbleweeds"

"Star Wars"

"Family Circus" and "Ripley's Believe it or Not"

"The Amazing Spider-Man"

"Beetle Bailey" and "Briny Deep" (by Don Addis, 1980-1981)


"Barbara Cartland's Romances" and "According to Guinness"

"Funky Winkerbean"





"Prince Valiant"

"For Better or For Worse" and "Tank McNamara"

"Ben Swift" and "Doctor Smock"

"Dennis the Menace"


"Annie" and "Hagar the Horrible"

"The Phantom" and "Agatha Crumm" (by Bill Hoest, 1977-1996)


"Goosemyer" (by Brant Parker and Don Wilder, 1980-1984) and "Willy 'n Ethel"

"The Lockhorns" and "The Small Society" (by Morrie Brickman, 1966-1999)

"Uncle Art's Funland" and "Junior Whirl"

"Fred Basset" and "Hi and Lois"


Monday, December 3, 2007

Ted Rall's "Future Imperfect"

Editorial cartoonist Ted Rall is writing a three-part column that examines the future of the newspaper industry. I felt that it was worth reading.

Part 1 and Part 2 are already up, with Part 3 coming out next week.

Go on. Check it out.