Reflections of a Drawingboard Patriot
By Milton Caniff, edited by Shel Dorf (Eclipse Books)
This little rarity is a delightful introduction into the old-fashioned world and magical artistry of possibly the greatest strip cartoonist of all time. Released in the mid 1980s when Caniffâ€™s brand of patriotism was slowly giving way to a much more intolerant and cruel brand of paranoid nationalism, these excerpts from his vast body of work forcefully remind the reader of a purer, more idealistic and aspirational land of Freedom and Opportunity.
Fans will delight in the chance to see some of the creatorâ€™s early reportage and portraiture, his editorial cartooning and landmark strips such as the episode of Terry and the Pirates that was read into the Congressional Record. Also collected are his public service drawings, a Steve Canyon sequence (from 1982) entitled â€˜What is Patriotism?â€™ and his strips dedicated to departed comrades.
Of most moving consequence are the collected Armed Forces Day strips and every Steve Canyon Christmas Day episode (an unbroken string of graphic ruminations on the lot and role of the military everyman) from 1947 to 1987.
Stirring, gripping, heartfelt, these evocations from a master of his craft are the best tribute from, to and by an honest plain-dealer. Simply Wonderful.
Artwork Â© 1987 Milton Caniff. Â© 2007 Ester Parsons Caniff Estate. Text features Â© their respective authors. All Rights Reserved.