Miss Cellany Visits Comics and Cartoonists

Pearls Before Swine, Calvin and Hobbes, Herman, Junco Canché and Lalo Alcaraz (La Cucaracha), Rich Torrey (Hartland), Rip Haywire, Mike Manley (Judge Parker and The Phantom), and more Mutts (but not Guard Dog).

While we hate to argue with the Wise Ass on the Hill, his knowledge does have limits.

Friday Pig, seeking enlightenment, went to see the Pearls Before Swine guru. Yes, come the end of this month it will be 28 years (Good Lord!) since Calvin and Hobbes disappeared from U.S. newspapers, but they have hardly “ceased to exist.”

The comic strip’s collection count for three-fifths of Amazons best sellers in their Graphic Novel Anthologies category and will resume such numbers in the Comic Strip group once the temporary calendar season is over.

Note that the newest Stephan Pastis collection of Pearls Before Swine, now six months old and highly recommended for both the strips and the running commentary, is in the the top twenty-five of the Graphic Novel sellers and his 2024 calendar is in the top ten of the calendar class.


The Centralia (Wash.) Chronicle gets a letter.

Can you say “rude,” “derogatory,” “belittling,” “insulting?” 

Well, I’m saying all that and more. No, not the news, but rather a “comic” in your Saturday, Nov. 18, edition. Picture this: two older men having a chat, one in an overcoat and hat, the other slightly overweight and pulling a car jack. No big deal, right? That is, until you read the caption…

A newspaper reader takes umbrage at a November Herman panel.

Is this OK with you, Chronicle? Did you think this was funny, deserving a chuckle? Well, it’s not OK with me, not funny, no chuckle here. Guess I wonder if you are at all sensitive to this unflattering and offensive message? Guess I wonder if you even care?


It’s been two weeks since Junco Canché was last seen as the “guest artist” of La Cucaracha.

Since May 21, 2018, when Junco first partnered with Lalo Alcaraz on the strip, there have been occasional weeks when Lalo returned to the art – usually special occasions and usually just a week at a time. This seems to be an extended absence. Will Junco return to the strip tomorrow or has Lalo returned to the art permanently? Stay tooned.

Update – A message from Junco:

Feliz cumpleaños a La Cucaracha! I have just recently finished my time as an assistant cartoonist for this legendary comic strip, and it was a dream come true to illustrate this strip for the last five years. Thank you for everything @laloalcaraz


Whatever Happened to Rich Torrey?

Rich Torrey was the creator/cartoonist of the Hartland comic strip from 1985 to 1989 and of Pete and Clete (originally Bench Warmers) from 1991 to 1996. After that he became a children’s book author and illustrator. That’s where we lost track of Rich.

And sports cartoons, he did sports cartoons for various magazines.

The National (sports daily), as well as a regular contributor to Inside Sports Magazine, Inside Hockey, Fanzine Media (a European hockey magazine published in Sweden, Finland, and Norway), Kid City Magazine (a Sesame St. Publication), Highlights Magazine, The Hockey News, and Football Digest.

Which brings Rich back to us with this profile in Hockey News about his latest endeavors.

Who knows? Rich Torrey could have been general manager of the New York Islanders today.

But halfway along the Boulevard of Life, the son of Isles Dynasty architect Bill Torrey took a right turn. He said Sayonara to the ice world and became an eminently successful cartoonist, comic strip artist, and successful man about the art world; while still adoring hockey.

Now at age 64, Rich is marrying the two loves of his professional life, hockey and art. Exhibit A is in the accompanying photo of captain Denis Potvin lifting the Stanley Cup. Soon it will be a life-sized painting.


Dan Thompson has a Rip Haywire Christmas comic strip story every December, for the past few years they have been abbreviated tales. But this year it may just be an extended arc as snowflakes in the strip are a sure sign of the Yuletide.

The current, hopefully a four week holiday short story, Rip Haywire narrative started November 27.

Anyone remember those NEA Christmas comic strips?


A Mike Manley Update.

As has been reported Mike’s recent health issues have interrupted his chores on the Judge Parker and The Phantom comic strips, resulting in guest/ghost artists giving him a helping hand.

Mike reports on his Facebook page that he has returned to Sam Driver and Company daily and Sunday, but his return to The Ghost Who Walks will be delayed indefinitely:

This is not been fun. And even with Obamacare a lot of this is going to be out of pocket. Lotta things are being reassessed and there’s had to been some changes work wise so for the immediate future I’m just doing Judge Parker until I get it far enough ahead and then I will go back to the phantom. Bret Blevins is going to do the phantom for a spell while I build my energy back up. I can’t pull the long hours that I used to right now and I might not ever be able to again. I have to work in shifts the double whammy of the cellulitis, and the anemia is not a fun combination.

So after Jeff Weigel finishes up the Wrack and Ruin daily story we’ll see Bret Blevins back on The Phantom.


Too Much McDonnell? This one is not about Guard Dog.

Comic strip creator, comic strip historian, and comic strip fan Patrick McDonnell does a nice homage to George Herriman’s The Family Upstairs, where Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse first appeared, in today’s Mutts.

feature image from the title page of Martin Sheridan’s Classic Comics & Their Creators (the 1973 edition)

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