Sunday, May 10, 2009


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics

[At the risk of stifling some entertaining missives from outraged fans, I have already assured Jim that Mandrake and The Phantom are still in syndication (albeit in darn few papers). -- Allan]

Jim Ivey's new book, Graphic Shorthand, is available from for $19.95 plus shipping, or you can order direct from Ivey for $25 postpaid. Jim Ivey teaches the fundamentals of cartooning in his own inimitable style. The book is 128 pages, coil-bound. Send your order to:

Jim Ivey
5840 Dahlia Dr. #7
Orlando FL 32807

Also still available, Jim Ivey's career retrospective Cartoons I Liked, available on or direct from Jim Ivey for $20 postpaid. When ordered from Ivey direct, either book will include an original Ivey sketch.


I attribute the lack of adventure strips and abundance of joke strips to the length of our attention spans. Sad, isn't it?
How many papers still run Phantom? I still get it in my paper daily & Sunday.
Tarzan is in repeats daily and Sunday online @ Flash Gordon - Sunday only is part of Comics Kingdom that several newspapers purchase from KFS for their online edition. I used to read The Phantom in the Baltimore Sun a few years ago.
Sadly the simple answer is that syndicate executives seem to think people are impatient and have short attention spans. It's hard to sell a continuity strip because people (supposedly) want instant gratification and don't want to have to read tomorrow's (or next week's) paper to find out how things turn out. They forget that one of the resason for the comic strip was to keep people buying the paper every day.

On the Internet of course many "online-only" strips are adventure strips, arguably including Brooke McEldowney's "Pibgorn."
It's a tired old saying, but it's true. Telling adventure stories in the small space afforded by newspapers today is not an easy game to play. The pictures become increasingly difficult to see, and the captions to read (resulting in the "Me Tarzan, you Jane" shorthand dialogue Lee Falk used in his later years since pronouns took up too much darn SPACE). Comic books may provide more space, but adventure is out of fashion, being replaced by death, sex and violence parading in spandex. Not in all cases, but in way too many.
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