Monday, July 12, 2010

The New Sunday Funnies Stamps

When I was a little guy, one of my treats was to sit on Dad's lap while he read the Sunday Newspaper Funnies to me. 

We skipped over Mary Worth and Apartment 4-G and concentrated on Dennis the Menace, Beetle Bailey, Pogo, Dick Tracy, Blondie, Little Iodine and The Phantom. 

I used to love reading the funnies, but seldom do anymore.  Most of those I loved are gone. This Friday the U.S. Postal Service is issuing commemorative stamps and will have a ceremony in Columbus Ohio to unveil the tiny works of art. 

Five strip characters will be honored including, Calvin and Hobbes, Denace the Menace, Garfiled and Archie. Archie was the creation of Vic Bloom, writer, and Bob Montana, artist, and published by John L Goldwater, who created the characters which were based on the popular Andy Hardy; Mickey Rooney films of the era.

Over the years, the writers and artists for Archie Comics have changed.  Currently Michael Uslan and Dan Parent write the comic books, while Craig Boldman of Hamilton writes the daily comic strip.  Stan Goldberg has been drawing and coloring the comics for years. The daily strip is illustrated by Fernando Ruiz.

This marks the first time that Archie and the other characters appeared on commemorative postage stamps, though not the first time that stamps have featured comic strip or comic book characters.

"We really wanted to come up with very contemporary, very relevant comic strips that are still out there today or very recent, in the case of Calvin and Hobbes," he says. "We just know that they'll be very popular and that people will buy them and save them."

The Archie stamp shows one of the world's most famous love triangles, with perpetual adolescent Archie Andrews sharing a chocolate milkshake with brunette Veronica Lodge on his right and blond Betty Cooper on his left.

Archie debuted in comic books in 1941 and in newspapers in 1946, making it one of the longest-running strips ever.  At this point Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead are all eligible for Social Security and Medicare Benefits, although they have not graduated from Riverdale High as of yet.

 Sunday funnies fans will be able to meet and get autographs from Boldman, Beetle Bailey creator Mort Walker, Garfield creator Jim Davis, Dennis the Menace artists Marcus Hamilton and Ron Ferdinand and Calvin and Hobbes editor Lee Salem at Friday's ceremony at the Ohio State University, home to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum.

Beetle Bailey and His Creator Mort Walker

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