On May 26, 2012 a group of friends and I went down to McCleary, Washington to spend Mini-Comics Day with one of my favorite cartoonists, Steve Willis. A big thank you to Jim Gill, who rented a vehicle and drove us there, and to Steve and his lovely partner, Sarah, for organizing the event (and for kindly protecting wild baby bunnies from Steve's cats to allow Steve to be there).
I've been reading Steve's comics since 1990, when we were both part of the zine culture that traded self-published, photocopied publications through the mails. So it was especially great to finally meet and co-create with Newave master, and modern screwballist Steve Willis!
It was a fun and inspiring day that produced 7 new mini comics, by my count (there could have been more). Here's a list, in order of when the comics were created. These are linked to Steve's blog, where he has published them!
Untitled - by Steve Willis Headgear - by Jim Gill The Tapir's Pug Dog Sweater - by Paul Tumey …
My first book, Screwball! The Cartoonists Who Made the Funnies Funny is scheduled for publication in September 2018. The publisher will be The Library of American Comics/IDW. Eisner-Award winner Dean Mullany will design and edit the book, with Bruce Canwell and Lorraine Turner providing their expertise, as well. It will be a large, full-color hardcover art book offering around 275 pages resplendent with rare comics, art, photos and original research.
The story of screwball comics in America is a large topic, more sprawling than one book can reasonably encompass if one wishes to present satisfying chunks of reprints. Foo this reason, I decided, after much deliberation, to narrow the focus of this book on American newspaper comics up to about 1950.
This means the screwballists who primarily worked in comic books -- Jack Cole, Dick Briefer, Basil Wolverton, Harvey Kurtzman, Will Elder, Al Jaffee -- are saved for, hopefully, another volume. Even with this limitation, it was necessary to …