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The Missing Dennis has been found and is now on its way back to Monterey. That’s the headline. The story is that a statue of Dennis the Menace was commissioned by Dennis’ creator, Hank Ketcham, in 1988 and went on display in Monterey, California at the Dennis the Menace Playground, which was designed by Ketcham. Then during the night of October 25, 2003, the bronze statue (3½ feet high, 200 pounds) went missing. It remained missing until August 22 this year when it was found in a scrap metal yard in Orlando, Florida. Dennis was going to be melted with the rest of the scrap but the owner’s daughter noticed it and recognized Dennis. Then she searched the Web and found stories about the missing Monterey Dennis. But was the one in the scrap heap the missing one?

Three more bronze Dennises were cast from the same mold made by Wah Ming Chang, who directed in his will that the mold be destroyed after his death in 2003. The other three are at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, the Pebble Beach backyard of Ketcham, and the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando. But the latter is also missing: it disappeared in the late 1990s during a Disney renovation of the playground where it stood.

So the one found in the scrap metal yard could be the Arnold Palmer Dennis, not the Monterey Dennis. The Monterey Playground at present has another Dennis statue, cast from a mold made from one of the other sculptures. So there are five Dennis statues altogether, and one of them is still missing.

Here’s a picture of the one that was found (and pictures of the Archie Andrews cast, for an explanation of which, wait for the next posting.)


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Walt Disney AEPBS’s 4-hour American Experience “Walt Disney” was reasonably successful in portraying Disney as a driven, highly motivated innovating personality with few people skills and little compassion. He scored more game-changing successes than just about anyone. But the writers/producers of the show neglected certain aspects of history. Ub Iwerks, a Disney animator since the two worked together in Kansas City, invented the famous multi-plane camera, which the show brags about without mentioning Iwerks’ role. And a long segment on the astonishing success of Disney’s TV series “Davy Crockett” neglects to mention the name of the personable actor who created the role, Fess Parker.

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


James Bond VARGR cover Dynamite Entertainment’s first issue of James Bond 007 by Warren Ellis with Jason Masters drawing will hit the newsstands November 4, a day ahead of the new Bond movie. Entitled “VARGR,” the story has Bond returning to London after a mission of vengeance in Helsinki to assume the workload of a fallen 00 Section agent, but something evil is moving through the back streets of the city and sinister plans are being laid for Bond in Berlin.

Ellis says his Bond is a much darker character, and the story is devoid of the kind of gadgets and gimmicks that the movies trade in. For Ellis, the definitive Bond is found in the mid- to late-period of Ian Fleming’s novels. “Those novels,” explains Cliff Biggers in Comic Shop News No.1474, “portray a more broken, disturbed character who seemed conflicted by the world in which he operated.” And “that,” said Ellis, “is pretty much where I’m going. That is by far the most interesting Bond, for me —the man whose job is killing him.”

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


A California auction house tried to sell an early drawing by Dr. Seuss. But the cartoon, a 1929 contribution to the humor magazine Judge, failed to attract bidders because the last of the scenarios depicted was blatantly racist.


The racist content should come as no surprise (except, perhaps, to doting parents who treasure the hours they spent reading Seuss books to their small children; they have to be grossly disillusioned by this news). In 1929, such racist visual slurs were common, and Seuss, like most Americans, participated in them. And during World War II, his editorial cartoons gave Japanese stereotypical features and behaviors. But Seuss’s cartoon behavior in those benighted times can’t escape contemporary censorship: the National Education Association’s Asian Pacific Islander caucus objected to the use of Dr. Seuss as a figurehead for the “Read Across America” campaign in 2003.

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Defraction“Kick-ass couples” reads one of the headlines in January 16's Entertainment Weekly article about husband-and-wife teams producing comics. Starting with Kelly Sue DeConnick and husband Matt Fraction (known collectively as DeFraction) — who are pictured — Kat Ward goes on to list Terry and Rachel Dodson (and all this time, I thought they were siblings, not spouses), Mike and Laura Allread, Walter and Louise Simonson, Stuart and Kathryn Immonen, and Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti.

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


Fun Home theaterThe Broadway musical based upon Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel, Fun Home, has won the Tony Award for best new musical. It was a Pulitzer finalist for drama a year ago and received Obie and Lucille Lortel awards (best musical) for its Public Theater run that ended in 2014. Said Michael Paulson at the New York Times: “The Tony is always a boon for the winning show. But for ‘Fun Home,’ the award is likely to be a major turning point, allowing the production to reach new markets, and new audiences, that might have been initially put off by its searing exploration of sexuality and suicide.”

Fun Home The Musical

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


Tintin castSurprise evidence in a Dutch court case could shift some or all rights to Tintin, one of the world's most valuable comic properties, from organizations controlled by the heirs of Tintin creator Herge to his publisher. In settling a dispute between a fan group and the custodian of commercial rights to the property, a 1942 contract was produced in which Herge had assigned his rights to his publisher, Casterman. “What this means for the overall rights to the property is uncertain,” speculates ComicsReporter. “Much of Herge's ouevre was created after 1942, and the document could have been modified by agreement at a later date. But the newly surfaced document from the middle of the World War then convulsing Europe certainly raises new questions that, given the amount of money involved, someone will want to investigate.”

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


CXC logoThe ComicsReporter’s Tom Spurgeon recently moved to Columbus, Ohio to join Bone creator Jeff Smith in staging a new comic convention; called Cartoon Crossroads Columbus (CXC), its inauguration took place in Columbus, October 1-3, and featured such guests as Art Spiegelman, Kate Benton, Craig Thompson, Bill Griffith, Francoise Mouly and others.

Smith was a featured guest and is CXC’s President and Artistic Director; Spurgeon is Executive Director. An annual CXC may eventually replace the triennial Festival of Cartoon Art, sponsored by the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum on the campus of Ohio State University. Its founder, Lucy Caswell, is on CXC’s executive committee and board.

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


Barney Google and Snuffy Smith cartoonist John Rose recently received the Lum and Abner Memorial Award from the National Lum and Abner Society for his contributions to rural humor through the strip; “Lum and Abner” was a popular network radio comedy program that aired from 1931 to 1954.

You can read the strip every week on Comics Sherpa here, listen to the old time radio programs here, and read about the Lum and Abner Museum here.



Lum and Abner strip



John Rose honored
The National Lum And Abner Society founders (from left) Tim Hollis, Sam Brown, and Donnie Pitchford stand with Barney Google and Snuffy Smith cartoonist John Rose outside the Ouachita Little Theater in Mena, Arkansas.

Thanks to King Features for the above photograph and caption.

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Drawn and Quarterly 25th cover


Drawn & Quarterly is celebrating its 25th anniversary with the publication of a 776-page compendium of new or rare work by its cartoonists (including Adrian Tomine, Chester Brown, Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware, Joe Sacco, Art Spiegelman and others), plus photographs, reminiscences, interviews and essays: Drawn & Quarterly: Twenty-Five Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels...


T Lewis and Michael Fry’s comic strip Over the Hedge has hit the 20 year mark in the funny pages...


And Disneyland turned 60 on July 17.

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


Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas:
A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream

Adapted by Troy Little

This graphic novel is due to appear in October, but Top Shelf was handing out free “limited edition previews” during the San Diego Comic-Con, and I picked one up. Delicious. If ever a writer’s work deserved — demanded — adaptation into comics form, it’s Hunter Thompson’s iconic Fear and Loathing.

The words are all Thompson’s. “You don’t mess with those,” said Little, “-- I merely bring my artistic sensibilities to support them.” As you can tell from the two pages presented below, Little has captured with gonzo flair and panache the insanity and drug- and booze-fueled excitement of Thompson’s epic 1971 journey. Don't miss this one.




Incidentally, Anita Thompson, the widow of Hunter S., is working to turn Owl Farm, his home for 30 years on Woody Creek near Aspen, Colorado, into a museum dedicated to the gonzo journalist. She’s left the rooms in the house the way they were when Thompson was alive: “It’s history,” she said.


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Artist Imprisoned and Beaten for Lampooning the Government

Despite Iran’s sponsoring a commendable anti-Cutthroat CalipHATE cartoon contest, the tyrannical theocracy can’t seem to refrain from very nearly doing some of the things it objects to when the CalipHATE does them. Atena Farghadani, a 28-year-old artist and activist, was recently sentenced to 12.5 years in prison for posting drawings and content critical of the government on her Facebook page. She drew members of the country’s parliament as monkeys and cows because of their vote to restrict contraception and ban certain methods of birth-control.


Nick Kowsar, an Iranian cartoonist who now lives and works in the U.S., fled his country because he was jailed 15 years ago for drawing cartoons critical of Iran’s leaders and feared for his life. Kowsar explained the significance of what Karghadani had done:

“Atena is being punished for something many of us have been doing in Iran: drawing politicians as animals, without naming them,” Kowsar told Comic Riffs. “Of course, I drew a crocodile and made a name that rhymed with the name of powerful Ayatollah, and caused a national security crisis in 2000. What Atena drew was just an innocent take on what the parliamentarians are doing, and based on the Iranian culture, monkeys are considered the followers and imitators, [and] cows are the stupid ones. Many members of the Iranian parliament are just following the leaders without any thoughts.”

The charges upon which Farghadanil’s sentence is based include gathering and colluding against national security, spreading propaganda against the system, insulting members of parliament through paintings, and insulting her interrogators.

Michael Cavna at ComicRiffs summarized the history of the case: “Farghadani, a former fine-arts student who has expressed her opinions prominently through provocative works, was arrested last August and held for months. She was released for several weeks late last year before being rearrested after she spoke out about her mistreatment at the hands of guards [with details including being strip-searched over a minor offence, beaten and verbally abused by guards]. During her second incarceration, in Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison, she went on a hunger strike in February, reportedly suffered a heart attack and at one point lost consciousness.”

According to some sources, the longest that Farghadani can legally be imprisoned is seven years and six months. She had twenty days to appeal her sentence, but the twenty days ran out by the last week in June, and as of this writing (October 2), I don’t know what has become of her appeal. But I have little hope in the restraint of Iranian judicial system: after visiting his client on June 10, her lawyer was arrested for shaking her hand, according to a report on Global Village.

Amnesty International reports that charges of an “illegitimate sexual relationship short of adultery” have been brought against Farghadani and her lawyer Mohammad Moghimi amid allegations he visited her in jail and shook her hand — which is illegal in Iran.


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