The Purple Pinup Guru Platform

When purple things are pulsating on your mind, I'm the one whose clock you want to clean. Aiding is Sparky, the Astral Plane Zen Pup Dog from his mountain stronghold on the Northernmost Island of the Happy Ninja Island chain, this blog will also act as a journal to my wacky antics at an entertainment company and the progress of my self published comic book, The Deposit Man which only appears when I damn well feel like it. Real Soon Now.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Sparky: Sweet! It's an obvious
"Terry and the Pirates" Cameo
in today's Funky Winkerbean -

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Let's review:

Terry and the Pirates

Terry and the Pirates was an action-adventure comic strip created by cartoonist Milton Caniff. Colonel Joseph Patterson, editor for the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate, had admired Caniff’s work on the children's adventure strip Dickie Dare and hired him to create the new adventure strip, providing Caniff with the title and locale. The daily strip began October 22, 1934, with the Sunday color pages beginning December 9, 1934. Initially the storylines of the daily strips and Sunday pages were different but on August 26, 1936 they merged into a single storyline.

The adventure begins with young Terry Lee, "a wide-awake American boy," arriving in contemporary China with his friend, two-fisted ‘journalist’ Pat Ryan. Seeking a lost gold mine they meet George Webster "Connie" Confucius, interpreter and local guide.

Initially crudely drawn backgrounds and stereotypical characters surrounded Terry as he and his growing list of friends adventured through China, matching wits with pirates and various other villains, especially famed femme fatale The Dragon Lady. However due to a successful collaboration with cartoonist Noel Sickles Caniff dramatically improved to produce some of the most memorable strips in the history of the medium.

<>Caniff became increasingly concerned by the contemporary Sino-Japanese War, but was prevented by his newspaper syndicate from identifying the Japanese directly. Caniff referred to them as "the invaders," and they soon became an integral part of the storyline.

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Issue 23 of Terry and the Pirates — Adventure looms with Connie,
Terry Lee,
Normandie Drake, Pat Ryan and Big Stoop

After America's entry into World War II, Terry joined the U.S. Army Air Force, while Pat Ryan became a naval commando and the Dragon Lady and her pirates became Chinese guerrillas. The series then became almost exclusively concerned with the war. This change of tone is considered the end of the strip's prime although it remained highly acclaimed. A notable example is the October 17, 1943 Sunday page where the recently commissioned Terry receives a speech on his responsibilities as a fighter pilot from his trainer, Flip Corkin. In an unusual honor the episode was read aloud in the U.S. Congress and added to the Congressional Record.

The intensely patriotic Caniff, who donated design and illustration work to the military, created a free variant of Terry and the Pirates for the military newspaper Stars and Stripes. Originally starring the beautiful adventuress Burma it was racier than the regular strip and complaints caused Caniff to rename it Male Call to avoid confusion. Male Call was discontinued in 1946.

Although Terry and the Pirates had made Caniff famous the strip was actually owned by the newspaper syndicate and, seeking creative control of his own work, Caniff left the strip in 1946. Caniff's last Terry strip was published on December 29, and the following year he began Steve Canyon, an action-adventure strip that ran until shortly after his death in 1988.

After Caniff's departure Terry and the Pirates was assigned to Associated Press artist George Wunder, who produced it for twenty-seven more years until its discontinuation in 1973.

In 1995 the strip was one of 20 included in the Comic Strip Classics series of commemorative postage stamps.

That same year an attempt was made to revive the strip using characters updated by Hollywood producer Michael E. Uslan and illustrated by noted artists Tim and Greg Hildebrandt. The new version debuted March 26 but ran for little more than a year before being discontinued.

In 1953, Canada Dry offered a "premium giveaway" (freebie) with a case of its ginger ale — one minibook in a trilogy series of Terry and the Pirates strips printed by Harvey Comics. Other incarnations of Caniff's beloved work included a television series and a radio show.

Related topics

External links

Funky Winkerbean

Funky Winkerbean is a comic strip created by high school teacher Tom Batiuk (pronounced "BAT-ick"), which debuted on March 26, 1972.

The strip is centered around Westview High School and initially focused on several of its students: Funky Winkerbean, Crazy Harry, Barry Balderman, Bull Bushka, Cindy, Junebug, Leslie P. "Les" Moore, majorette Holly Budd (daughter of Melinda Budd, original majorette for Westview High) and Lisa. The students graduated and now Funky co-owns the local pizza parlor with Tony Montoni, Les teaches English at Westview and is married to Lisa, and Cindy Summers is a newscaster. The strip follows their stories as well as a new generation at Westview, including Wally, Becky, and Monroe. Characters who work at the school include Principal Fred Fairgood, band director Harry L. Dinkle, and Cliff the security guard.

In 1992, Batiuk changed the strip's format. It was established Funky, Les, Cindy, et al. had graduated from Westview in 1988; their college years were skipped, and the storyline moved to 1992. At the same time, the characters started to age with the reader. In fact, Funky married Cindy in 1998, but they are now divorced. Les and Lisa were married in a Halloween-themed 1996 story where they were dressed as Batman and Robin.

While the strip is humorous, Batiuk has used it to tackle issues such as teen pregnancy, suicide, dyslexia, gun violence, and breast cancer.

Two minor characters have been spun off into their own strips: the bus driver Crankshaft in 1987 and the talk show host John Darling in 1979. The latter caused a sensation in 1991 when Batiuk had Darling murdered in the second to last strip. In Funky Winkerbean, Les Moore wrote a book on Darling's murder and solved the case in a 1997 storyline.

Batiuk's neighbor, comic book writer Tony Isabella, occasionally appears in the strip as himself. Another comic book creator, super-hero artist John Byrne, drew ten weeks of the strip while Batiuk was recovering from foot surgery. Batiuk's bus driver character Crankshaft appeared in one issue of John's NeXtMen Comic as "himself."

External links

The July 5th Strip below:

Above strip ©
Tom Batiuk (citing fair use)

King Features says: Tom Batiuk's popular Funky Winkerbean made its debut on the comics pages in 1972, and today appears in more than 400 newspapers worldwide. The cartoonist not only entertains teenagers and adults alike with his portrayal of the students and faculty at Westview High, but has earned high marks for his sensitive treatment of important social and educational issues. His groundbreaking series on teen pregnancy, reading impairment dyslexia, teen suicide, teen dating abuse and breast cancer earned Batiuk high marks from fans, educators and community leaders. And because of the popularity of the Harry L. Dinkle character, "The World's Greatest Band Leader," the Funky characters became the first comic-strip stars to march in the Rose Bowl Parade.

- Sparky o&o


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