All of these, including comments, taken from Heidi MacDonald’s “Fall 2017 Announcements: Comics & Graphic Novels” in publishersweekly.com; June 23


Going Into Town coverGoing into Town: A Love Letter to New York, Roz Chast; out October 3 -- an irresistible love letter to the city Monograph, Chris Ware; October 10 -- doodles

Poppies of Iraq, Brigitte Findakly plus Lewis Trondheim;  September 5 — chronicle of her relationship with her homeland co-written and drawn by her husband

Sex Fantasy, Sophia Foster-Dimino; September 12 — a moving look at intimacy in all its delicacies and absurdities

Run for It: Stories of Slaves Who Fought for Their Freedom, Marcelo D’Salete; October 10

Tenements, Towers & Trash: An Unconventional Illustrated History of New York City, Julia Wertz; October 3 — sidesplitting history based upon Wertz’s columns in The New Yorker and Harper’s

Sugar Town, Hazel Newlevant; October 10 — a bisexual, polyamorous love story

Jane, Aline McKenna and Ramon K. Perez; September 19 — reimagines Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre set in present-day New York

Ditko’s Mr. A.: The 50th Anniversary Series, Book One, The Avenging World; October 24

As the Crow Flies, Melanie Gillman; October 10 — a collection of the webcomic about a queer, black teenager in an all-white Christian youth backpacking camp

Mr. Higgins Comes Home, Mike Mignola teaming with Warwick Johnson Cadwell; October 18 — sendup of classic vampire stories

Yellow Negroes and Other Imaginary Creatures, Yvan Alagbe; October 24 — race and immigration in Paris by one of France’s celebrated cartoonists

The Story of Jezebel, Elijah Brubaker; already out—hilarious take on the Old Testament tale of paganism, murder and sex, with satirist wit and visual verve

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com


Superman will battle Dr. Manhattan in the forthcoming (and much denigrated) Doomsday Clock, the 12-issue series that tries to capitalize on Alan Moore’s inspired creation, the Watchmen, by bringing them back again. Few think this will work as well as the original; and I agree.

Due in shops November 22 with a 40-page, $4.99 No.1.

Doomsday Clock spread

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Sh*t My President Says:
The Illustrated Tweets of Donald J. Trump

By Shannon Wheeler
120 5x6-inch pages, b/w
Top Shelf Productions hardcover

Sh*t My President Says  coverPulitzer-winning editoonist Jack Ohman says about this tome: "Shannon Wheeler drew a book I wish I had thought of; that's the ultimate compliment I can offer in 140 characters!”

At the Washington Post’s Comic Riffs, Michael Cavna says Wheeler spent much of the last year sifting through over 30,000 “verified account’s tweets” (since 2009) before settling on about 1,000, “satiric clay to work with by identifying the president’s most repeated themes and compulsive narratives — from crowd size to ratings to identifying people he perceives as enemies. Beyond caricature and parody, Wheeler writes, ‘I want to show how he contradicts himself, and lead[s] the reader to question reality.’”

After all the research (stultifying in its monotony, no doubt), Wheeler sees the twitterpated commander-in-chief as playing with his base, “using his 140-character missives as trial balloons.” Said Wheeler: “He thinks: ‘How is my audience going to respond to this?’ Tweeting is like a thermometer for him.”

In the book’s introduction, Wheeler adds: “His implicit message isn’t about himself, it’s about his reader. He encourages his fans to be themselves — not with aspiration, but indulgence. Be sexist. Be racist. Be fearful. Be selfish. Hate and fear the world.”

Wheeler’s caricature of Trump evolved.

            “He’s a bully,” Wheeler says of his caricature. “He’s like the fifth-grader who got held back one grade and he’s now a little bit bigger than you are and he’s still a kid, but you’re a little bit scared of him.”

            Said Cavna: “Wheeler’s Trump is a rotund scamp with a mischievously fiendish spirit.” Then he quotesWheeler again:

            “I was trying to draw him ‘ugly’ and it was not working, and then I was starting to feel: ‘What is inside of him?’ It is the impish child. You think: ‘This is the [playground] kid who would be made fun of if he weren’t making fun of other people.’

            “When I started drawing him as a monster — like an ogre, a mean person — another insight I had from his tweets is that he thinks of himself as a protagonist,” Wheeler says. “Once I realized that and started drawing him that way, it clicked into focus.”

            Not all of Wheeler’s colleagues were pleased with that depiction, though. “Three political cartoonists implored me to draw him villainous,” Wheeler said. “I was like: ‘It doesn’t feel right for me to draw him in that way. It doesn’t give me any insight to [visually] vilify him in that way.’”

            But the last challenge with the book was turning it over to the publisher in June, says Cavna, “with a fresh Trump news cycle heating up.”

            “As soon as we closed the book, there was a new slew of Russia stuff — it broke my heart,” the cartoonist says. “It was so juicy and funny.”

            Herewith, a few telling tweets from our twitterpated Prez.





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Ebale photoEquatorial Guinean authorities arrested a political cartoonist and activist on September 16, 2017, according to Human Rights Watch and Equatorial Guinean Justice. He has been held in detention since then and authorities may be preparing to file criminal defamation charges against him. The Watch report follows:

The arrest of the cartoonist, Ramón Nsé Esono Ebalé, is the latest episode of government retaliation against artists who have used their work to criticize the government. Human Rights Watch urges EG authorities to repeal the country’s colonial-era defamation statute, which allows for the criminal prosecution of people who criticize the president and top government officials. They should abandon any plans to charge Ebalé under that law and, if he is accused of no other crime, release him immediately and without charge.

“The Equatorial Guinea government has again demonstrated its hostility to any form of critical expression that escapes its heavy-handed censorship,” said Tutu Alicante, executive director of EG Justice, which monitors human rights violations in Equatorial Guinea.

Three state security officers detained Ebalé outside a restaurant in the capital, Malabo, at about 7 p.m. on September 16, along with two Spanish nationals who were with him. All three men were taken to the Office Against Terrorism and Dangerous Activities in the Central Police Station. The Spanish nationals were interrogated about their connection to Ebalé and freed after several hours.

Authorities continue to hold Ebalé without charge, exceeding the 72-hour period allowed under Equatoguinean law. Interrogators reportedly questioned him about his political cartoons, which often lewdly caricature President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and other government officials, and repeatedly told him that people may only participate in politics if they are associated with an official party.

Free Ebale!Ebalé has lived outside of Equatorial Guinea for several years and had returned to the country to renew his passport. He has not been taken before a judge, which Equatoguinean law requires within 24 hours. Family members were allowed to see him on September 18 and 19, though prison guards refused to allow his sisters to visit on September 17 or to confirm he was being held there.

Based on the interrogators’ apparent questions, EG Justice and Human Rights Watch are concerned that Ebalé may be charged with violating Equatorial Guinea’s criminal defamation statute. In Human Rights Watch’s view, such laws are incompatible with the right to free expression and Equatorial Guinea’s statute should be repealed.

The arts have traditionally served as a safe space for independent voices to provoke public debate on social issues in Equatorial Guinea, a country with little tolerance for political dissent. But EG Justice and Human Rights Watch have documented an increasing number of incidents over the past two years in which the government has retaliated against artists and cultural groups.

“Prosecuting a cartoonist for unflattering satirical drawings is incompatible with free speech and only highlights the power of the pen,” said Sarah Saadoun, researcher at Human Rights Watch.


For reports of other cartoonists internationally who have been threatened and/or jailed, see Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s website.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com


Stan Lee photo explosionAt the Washington Post’s Comic Riffs, Michael Cavna remembered what Stan Lee had told him last fall about Marvel characters and allegorical response to the protests and violence and racial hate he saw playing out on America’s streets.

“I always felt the X-Men, in a subtle way, often touched upon the subject of racism and inequality, and I believe that subject has come up in other titles, too,” Lee said, referring to his ’60s-born superheroes who feel like outsiders, “but we would never pound hard on the subject, which must be handled with care and intelligence.”

In the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Lee tweeted the anti-bigotry message of a vintage “Stan’s Soapbox” (in italics below), which Lee called “as true today as it was in 1968,” when he penned it.

Let’s lay it right on the line. Bigotry and racism are among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today. But, unlike a team of costumed supervillains, they can’t be halted with a punch in the snoot or a zap from a ray gun. The only way to destroy them is to expose them — to reveal them for the insidious evils they really are. The bigot is an unreasoning hater — one who hates blindly, fanatically, indiscriminately. If his hang-up is black men, he hates ALL black men. If a redhead once offended him, he hates ALL redheads. If some foreigner beat him to a job, he’s down on ALL foreigners. He hates people he’s never seen — people he’s never known — with equal intensity — with equal venom.

Now, we’re not trying to say it’s unreasonable for one human being to bug another. But, although anyone has the right to dislike another individual, it’s totally irrational, patently insane to condemn an entire race — to despise an entire nation — to vilify an entire religion. Sooner or later, we must learn to judge each other on our own merits. Sooner or later, if man is every to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our hearts with tolerance. For then, and only then, will we be truly worthy of the concept that man was created in the image of God — a God who calls us ALL his children.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com


image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-11-21/f7686cfb-1669-40af-bcb5-2b77e3509f26.pngThe creator of Pepe the Frog is making good on his threat to aggressively claim his intellectual property. Matt Furie’s lawyers have taken legal action against the alt-right, reports Matthew Gault at motherboard.vice.com, serving cease and desist orders to several alt-right personalities and websites including Richard Spencer, Mike Cernovich, and the r/the_Donald subreddit. In addition, they have issued Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown requests to Reddit and Amazon, notifying them that use of Pepe by the alt-right on their platforms is copyright infringement.

Several entities that have received notices from the Furie phalanx have said they’ll fight back. But the message to the alt-right is clear—stop using Pepe the Frog or prepare for legal consequences.

To that end, one of Furie’s intellectual property lawyers, Louis Tompros, and his team have taken the first steps towards dismantling the alt-right's stranglehold on Pepe, beginning with their letter to Richard Spencer's Altright.com, noting the specific places where Spencer and his team have used Pepe in violation of Furie's copyright. Pepe is all over Spencer's site and is the mascot for his podcast, Alt-Right Politics.

"We've asked them to take them down," Tompros said. "That hasn't happened yet, but they're very much on notice. We plan to take action if they don't. If necessary, we expect to bring a lawsuit for copyright infringement," Tompros went on.

"I want to make sure that people have enough time to comply. The goal here is not to initiate lawsuits. The goal is to get the misuse of Pepe to stop. I'd rather do that through people complying with the cease and desist notices. But we're certainly ready, willing, and able to bring suits to follow up for the folks who do not comply."

Matt Furie photoFurie originally created Pepe as a non-political character for his Boy's Club comic, but Pepe later became an internet meme, and during the 2016 presidential election, the alt-right movement appropriated the frog in various grotesque and hateful memes. At the end of August, Furie's lawyers reached a settlement with Eric Hauser — the former assistant principal in Texas who appropriated Pepe's image for use in an Islamophobic children's book. Furie's lawyers forced Hauser to stop selling the book and made him donate his profits to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

In the past, the alt-right has attacked its enemies with vicious doxing and online abuse campaigns. Tompros and his team understand that's a risk, but it's one they're willing to take.

"We're doing what we think is the right thing," he said. "We understand that we're dealing with serious folks here, and we want to make clear to them that we're serious too. We're not going to stand for this."

Furie has continued to avoid speaking with the media about Pepe, but Tompros told Gault that the win against Hauser lifted his spirits.

"That's been powerful for him," the lawyer said. "He's ready and wants to keep up the fight and wants to take down anyone who's using his character. He's also received words of support from fans and others. He's taking comfort in that. We're going to keep on fighting," Tompros said. "I hope we're doing what others would do when it's there to turn to stand up for the good guys."

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The image on the left is the cover that The New Yorker planned to run if Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 election. On the right is the cover the magazine actually ran, a somewhat (no — roaringly) ambiguous statement.


The “what if” cover was used in the September 25 issue of The New Yorker to accompany editor David Remnick’s sitdown interview with Hillary upon the release of her book, What Happened.

The image, Michael Cavna tells us, is by French artist Malika Favre and is titled “The First.” It depicts a historic President Hillary Clinton gazing at the moonlight from the would-be viewpoint of the Oval Office. Running with Remnick’s article, the image takes on an entirely different tone — “not of history, but of the poignancy of the hypothetical,” Cavna observes.

“That image brings everything back to me in a flash,” New Yorker art editor Françoise Mouly told Cavna at the Washington Post’s Comic Riffs. “The night of the election, I was at the office late, hard at work with final retouching on [Favre’s] image. I was focused on the technical details, getting the face just right, and on the layout...

“I was trying not to tune in the results coming in. I had not prepared anything else [for the post-Election issue],” continues Mouly, who last winter launched the Resist! cartoon newspaper in response to President Trump’s victory (see Opus 361). “The sense of dread that crept among the few colleagues still in the office eventually overwhelmed me, and I left.”

Favre’s experience on that historic day was somewhat different: “I remember going to bed with a feeling of relief, pride and excitement and waking up the next day to intense disappointment. It was frustrating on all counts.”

The artist notes that the artwork can be read on multiple levels. “There is that moment of glory of seeing her standing in the Oval Office at night,” the artist says of the Clinton figure, “but also that feeling of anticipation and almost loneliness that I wanted to convey. A little bit like a ‘What now…?’ moment.”

Mouly salutes the lasting power of Favre’s image, even when cast in a different historic light.

“The pent-up hope, the sense of accomplishment, the turn toward the future that we embraced up to that day is still in the image. It’s a testimony to the skill of a great artist that she can bring us back to that time of hope,” says Mouly, who has spoken often about her opposition of Trump. “And with her permanent record of that feeling, we’ll find the strength to build a future we can believe in.”

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com


Beetle and MortMort Walker’s comic strip about a lazy private turned 67 years old on September 4th. When Walker devised the strip in 1950, the title character was in college; he was based upon a character Walker used in magazine gag cartoons, whose name was Spider. When King Features bought the strip, they dropped the name because another of the syndicate’s features was using it, and instead called Walker’s college kid Beetle. Good choice: as everyone knows, spiders are icky but beetles are intriguing. Walker gave his new creation a last name that gestured gratitude to John Bailey, the cartoon editor at the Saturday Evening Post who had advised the young cartoonist that if he wanted to do a comic strip he should do it about something he knew well — in Walker’s case, college life.

However deep Walker’s insight into higher educational shenanigans, the strip didn’t sell. King was thinking of dropping it. Then inspiration struck. The Korean War was going on at the time, and since men of Beetle’s age were being called up left and right, it seemed logical to take the kid out of college and put him in uniform. So Walker did just that: on March 13, 1951, with the strip barely six months old, Beetle enlisted. Due to the interest in the military during the war, a hundred papers promptly picked up the strip. Thanks to his own military experience at the end of World War II (particularly being in charge of a German POW camp in Italy), Walker knew army life as well as he knew college life.


Walker still draws the strip (he pencils; son Greg inks), making him an uncontested record-holder: he’s drawn the same comic strip longer than anyone else on the planet has drawn the same comic strip. When the strip started, Beetle was probably around 20 years old, which would make him 87 now. Walker's birthday is September 3rd -- a day before Beetle's -- and he this year he turned 94. And I’m a mere broth of a boy at 80.

Happy birthday, Mort. Ditto Beetle. Onward.

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Hugh Hefner died on Wednesday, September 27. He was 91. Celebrated as the founder of Playboy magazine, which, with fold-out photos of barenekkidwimmin, revved a cultural revolution that freed the sex lives of Americans from their Puritan bondage, Hefner was a wannabe cartoonist whose magazine showcased and advanced the art of the single-panel magazine cartoon, publishing full-page cartoons in sumptuous color. His departure from this vale of tears was, gratifyingly, heralded by many cartoonists (albeit of the political ilk), once potential colleagues.


For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com


...But Charles Schulz Home Is Burned To The Ground

Schulz MuseumWhen Santa Rosa was hit by wildfire, its famed Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center was spared. The Museum was closed briefly due to lack of power caused by the fires, but soon re-opened.

Unhappily, the home of Peanuts creator Schulz burned to the ground. His widow, however, escaped, her stepson told the Associated Press. Jean Schulz, 78, fled her home at about 2 a.m. Monday, October 9, and is now staying with family, said Monte Schulz.

"It's the house my dad died in,” he went on, “ — all of their memorabilia and everything is all gone. Stuff from my dad and their life together, all gone. That time of our lives is now completely erased.

“She is very resilient,” he about his stepmother. “She is energetic and pragmatic and very tough.”

His father had long-standing ties to Santa Rosa and to Sonoma County. He and his first wife, Joyce, built a home in the city of Sebastopol in 1958. The airport in Santa Rosa Airport is officially titled the Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport and features bronze sculptures of the Peanuts characters. Its logo is Snoopy flying on top of his doghouse.

Note: You can read Jean Schulz's Blog here.

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Galactus panelsGalactus as envisioned by Jim Davis’ Garfield will make an appearance in Marvel’s Unbeatable Squirrel Girl No.26, out in November. Yes, that’s right: the fat orange cat enters the universe of superheroes. This issue of the Girl, said Christian Holub at ew.com, “will be styled as a zine made by Squirrel Girl and her super-powered peers, with different artists providing styles for different heroes-turned-artists.” Writer Ryan North contacted Davis to do one of the features.

Galactus seemed to Davis like a logical choice for Garfield to produce because Galactus is big and has an appetite rivaling Garfield’s: Galactus, remember, eats planets whole.

North wrote the story which Davis illustrated with the customary help of his assistants Gary Barker and Dan Davis. “The strip basically uses Galactus as a stand-in for Garfield and his herald the Silver Surfer as a stand-in for Jon Arbuckle,” Garfield’s hapless so-called master.

Said Davis: “When you look at the Silver Surfer, he’s 75% of the way there with Jon, all we had to do is give him the big eyes. That was a natural. Jon kind of hangs around Garfield anyway: he’s the straight man to Garfield’s gags and has to get him food. He’s like Garfield’s herald.

“Galactus was tougher,” Davis went on. “We were throwing stuff back and forth, and the initial sketches just weren’t working for Galactus. I said, Okay — we gotta make him fat. The guy eats planets, for godsake! Once we did that, it’s a little less Galactus but certainly a lot more Garfield. It looked more natural. Obviously, Galactus has put on a few mega-tons for this issue.”

Here’s a preview:


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Tex cover
Drawn by Joe Kubert and written by Claudio Nizzi
240 7x9-inch pages, b/w
2005 SAF Comics paperback

Last winter Dark Horse published Tex: The Lonesome Rider in color, but I like this, the earlier edition: Kubert drew it with black ink on white paper, so this version is closer to the moment of conception. And this edition has front matter — an interview with Kubert and a history of the Italian “Tex” series, which has been appearing regularly for over 50 years, by Ervin Rustemagic, Kubert’s friend, who, trapped in Bosnia during the war there in the 1990s, inspired Kubert’s Fax from Sarajevo.

The story is a simple one: Tex goes to visit some old friends, but when he arrives at their ranch, he finds only their dead bodies. They’ve all been senselessly, brutally, killed by a roving quartet of outlaw thugs. Tex vows to find them and bring them all to justice. He does — one by one. The tale includes a roster of classic Western characters — bullying cattle baron, corrupt sheriff, sleazy saloon bums — plus stagecoach robbery and a one-on-one knife fight with a Native American champion. What elevates the narrative above this catalog of cliches is Kubert’s storytelling.

Kubert varies the visuals rigorously — camera angles shift, panel to panel; ditto distance, from long shots to tight close-ups. Many pages of the narrative are silent, full of visual atmosphere but no dialogue. He dramatically deploys solid blacks in shadows and silhouettes. No pyrotechnics; nothing showy or fancy. Just superb drawings and expert pacing.



Throughout, Kubert’s laconic line prevails: even in tense action sequences, the figures seem at ease, relaxed. And there are numerous sequences with Tex riding through picturesque Western landscapes, lovingly limned.



Whether you find the Dark Horse version in color — expertly applied, by the way — or this one in stark black and white, you’re in for a treat.

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Emma Allen caricatureBob Mankoff, the cartoon editor at the fabled magazine, left last spring after 20 years on the job. He immediately accepted a job as “Humor and Cartoon Editor” at Esquire. Mankoff’s replacement is, surprise, a woman, a young woman — 29-year-old Emma Allen.

She’s been on staff at The New Yorker since 2012, merely five years. Some cartoonists submitted cartoons to the magazine for longer than that before being published there.

Allen has done some editing and whatnot for a New Yorker online feature called Daily Shouts — plus a little Talk of the Town and Shouts and Murmurs. She says she’s an avid fan of cartooning and points to a misspent youth cutting out and filing (in a lime-green folder) all the cartoons in The New Yorker. It’s a dubious credential, and it scarcely matches Mankoff’s decades of experience as a cartoonist and cartoon editor.

Allen’s job is to sift through a thousand or so submissions every week and cull out 50 or so to show to the editor, David Remnick, who makes the final selection. Allen has an assistant who helps.

Offhand, based upon Allen’s age and inexperience, it doesn’t seem likely that she will be able to find and nurture new talent for the magazine, which was one of Mankoff’s signal achievements as cartoon editor. I doubt she has the experience to tell newcomers how to tinker with and improve their cartooning enough to qualify for publication in The New Yorker, something Mankoff was always doing (or so he has told us). But then, I’m just a grumpy old man.

As for the actual cartoon content of the magazine going forward, we’ll wait and see. In interviews, Allen says she likes weird and surreal humor and hopes to have more full-page comic-strip-style cartoons. Even before she officially took office, we saw more whimsy and absurdity in the cartoons, a notable drift away from its traditional snide social commentary directed at the phoney urban snob of the Big Apple and his/her contemporary often trivial preoccupations. The change has already set in.

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Founded in 1979, McFarland calls itself “a leading independent publisher of academic and nonfiction books.” And many of its titles delve into popular cultureb— and comics. Culled from last winter’s catalogue, here are a few titles, which, in common with most academic titles, are long enough to be annotations:


The Law for Comic Book Creators: Essential Concepts and Applications by Joe Sergi, $49.95

The Comics of Joss Whedon: Critical Essays edited by Valerie Estelle Frankel, $35

Graphic Details: Jewish Women’s Confessional Comics in Essays and Interviews edited by Sarah Lightman, $49.95

Imagination and Meaning in Calvin and Hobbes by Jamey Heit, $40

Soul of the Dark Knight: Batman as Mythic Figure in Comics and Film by Alex M. Wainer, $40


Other titles reek esoterica, learning and high degrees of astuteness:


James Bond and Popular Culture: Essays on the Influence of the Fictional Super-spy by Michele Brittany, $40

Walt Disney, from Reader to Storyteller: Essays on the Literary Inspirations edited by Kathy Merlock Jackson and Mark I. West, $40

The Creation of the Cowboy Hero: Fiction, Film and Fact by Jeremy Agnew, $45

Glastonbury and the Grail: Did Joseph of Arimathea Bring the Sacred Relic to Britain? by Justin E. Griffin, $38

I sent for one — The Art of the Political Swamp: Walt Kelly and Pogo by James Eric Black. Eventually, I’ll review it here. For now, it is perhaps tantalizing enough to note that it seems to be a doctoral thesis (probably like most of the McFarland titles).

You can send for the catalogue at McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, P.O. Box 611, Jefferson, NC 28640-0611 or mcfarlandpub.com; 800-253-2187.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com


For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com