PG 1

EK: Downtown Kitchener, looking at Coffee Culture Café and Eatery at 1 King Street West, and the Matter of Taste Coffee Shop and CBC Kitchener-Waterloo building at 117 King Street West.

More on this page and Dave and Carson's working process can be found on the AMOMENTOFCEREBUS blog for: Aug 14, 2016

PG 2-4

EK: The photos used on this page are of the Local Heroes comic shop in Norfolk, VA. These images were originally part of Carson's tryout pages for SDOAR when Dave's hand and wrist problems stopped him from completing the art duties on SDOAR. More about the Photorealist Tryouts for SDOAR can be read at AMOC for May 2016, especially May 21 and May 28.

Carson's original tryout, mockups, and working process for these pages can be seen at AMOC for Jun 25, 2016, Jul 23, 2016 and Oct 16, 2016, along with Dave Sim's feedback in the comment sections of these posts, (posted under the name "Unknown.")

(Carson's SDOAR tryout pages.)

PG 5

EK: Dave's cover and pencil sketch for what was originally intended to be SDOAR issue #1 when the comic was originally going to be serialized by IDW

PG 6

DS: ALTER EGO, comics' most venerable zine is available from TwoMorrows Publishing ( pictured: issue 113 [PUBLISHED OCT 2012], cover by Gene Colan. Order from here.

EK: This was a weird one. I basically walked into my LCS, saw this magazine on the shelf, opened it up, and BOOM, there was the interview with Starr discussing the crash. From the article:

LEONARD STARR: We were both car enthusiasts, and Alex had been taking speed-driving lessons. I guess he got good at it, but not good enough, because he kept wrecking cars on the Merritt Parkway at night. Alex drove expensive cars like Mercedes, which he drew in Rip Kirby. When Alex’s body was brought to the hospital, his regular doctor was there and said, “That stupid bastard finally did it.”

Stan had just bought a new Corvette. Alex dropped by and wanted to try it out. At one point, they were driving uphill very fast as they were coming to a crossroad. Being unfamiliar with the car, Alex hit the accelerator instead of the brake, and they went up into air, off the road, and hit a tree in mid-air. Stan was thrown clear; his ear was almost torn off and his shoulder was dislocated. They managed to sew the ear back on and put his arm in a sling. He would never wear a seat beat after that. If he had been wearing one, it would’ve been all over for him. The driving shaft of the steering wheel went right through Alex.

Alex was having an affair with a certain Mrs. White. None of us met her, but he was madly in love with her, and she with him. His wife wouldn’t give him a divorce because she was devoutly Catholic, as Alex was. They had five kids, who were mostly grown by the time of the accident. Some time after the accident, a couple of insurance investigators showed up, thinking Alex deliberately crashed the car because he had a million-dollar insurance policy that would have been voided if this was suicide. Stan got furious and said, “Do you think he would have done that with me in the car? My best friend?” Stan threw them out of his house. That was the end of that.

Years later, Stan and I were sharing a studio, and were talking about it, and he started thinking about it, and says, “You know....” Well, they said Alex was an experienced driver and wouldn’t have made a mistake like that. Thinking about it, well, they have a point. Would you make that mistake?

Jim Amash: No.

STARR: It doesn’t take more than five minutes to get familiar with a new car, and then it’s like you’ve been driving it forever.

PG 7

DS: photo reference for Leonard Starr: page 5 of volume 7 of Classic Comics Press' reprinting of Starr's MARY PERKINS ON STAGE (all volumes available at, all volumes HIGHLY recommended!). Photo attributed "courtesy Leonard Starr & James Gauthier". The "1960" is a guess on my part.

The quote is from "There's Been A Lot of Characters In This Business" interview by Jim Amash in ALTER EGO No.113 (p.36)

PG 8

DS: These images which I've recreated are "after Leonard Starr" from MARY PERKINS ON STAGE volume 6. From top to bottom: May 5, 1963 panel 3 (Sunday page); September 1, 1963 panel 6 (Sunday page); August 29, 1963 (daily); September 18, 1963 (daily). Major metaphysical jigsaw puzzle pieces as well as a great, great story from Leonard Starr at one of his many career peaks. Volume 6 was a favourite of mine even before it proved to be a part of THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND.

PG 9

DS: recreated panel after Leonard Starr from MARY PERKINS ON STAGE volume 6; May 1, 1963

PG 10

DS: comic-store edition cover of glamourpuss No.1 (2008) Aardvark-Vanaheim (as opposed to the Fashion Industry Preview Edition)

PG 11 - 12

DS: The Sarah Jessica Parker image is from the ad launch of her fragrance, Lovely. Uncredited model above her from a Banana Republic ad.

PG 13

EK: The lack of comic-book (or comic-strip) adaptations of GONE WITH THE WIND plays a significant role in SDOAR. The only reference to a published comic version is found in MARGARET MITCHELL'S GONE WITH THE WIND: A BESTSELLER'S ODYSSEY FROM ATLANTA TO HOLLYWOOD by Ellen F. Brown and John Wiley (Taylor Trade Publishing, 2011), which mentions there was a 7 volume Japanese comic strip (emphasis mine) adaptation published in the 1970s. Given how protective Margaret Mitchell was over the work, including adaptations and foreign publications, it's fairly safe to assume this was done without any authorization from the Estate.

PG 14

DS: CARTOONIST SHOWCASE was an early comic strip reprint publication published by Edwin & Joan Aprill. No.12 was limited to 500 copies; the image of Alexandra Richards was taken from a pictorial in GLAMOUR magazine; the uncredited model was in a Ralph Lauren ad campaign (both Fall of 2007)

PG 15

DS: uncredited model on the right from a GLAMOUR magazine pictorial; uncredited model on the right from a Chanel ad campaign (both Fall of 2007)

PG 16

DS: RIP KIRBY recreated panels after John Prentice top: February 20, 1964; bottom: June 18, 1960. The bottom panel turned out to be a swipe from an Alex Raymond RIP KIRBY panel from February 18, 1954 -- no wonder I liked it so much!

THE ART OF AL WILLIAMSON by James Van Hise was published by Blue Dolphin Enterprises, Inc. April, 1983. The quote from John Prentice comes from "A Talk With John Prentice" in that same publication (p.65)

image from for RIP KIRBY Feb 18 1954

PG 17

DS: Al Williamson quote is from "Al Williamson Interviewed" by Steve Ringgenberg THE COMICS JOURNAL No.90 (June, 1984) (p.89) in reference to his experience with the LA Times syndicate on the STAR WARS newspaper strip. The Williamson portrait is adapted from a photo by Mike Catron in the same magazine.

PG 18

DS: The bottom panel is a paraphrase from CARTOONIST PROfiles No.4 (1969) published by Jud Hurd, interview by Jud Hurd where, coincidentally, Stan Drake was speaking to PEANUTS creator Charles Schulz on the phone: "Do you know how long it takes to do a realistic doorjamb? It sounds stupid but it has to be in perspective it has to be ruled in pencil, and all the little wood layers in a doorjamb, in order to make it look real, must be there the way it looks. Then you have to ink all this in--a lot of little tight ruling that has nothing to do with creativity." Reprinted in CARTOON SUCCESS SECRETS: A TRIBUTE TO 30 YEARS OF CARTOONIST PROfiles, Andrews McMeel Publishing, Missouri 2004 p. 76-77 [ CARTOONIST PROfiles RAN FROM 1969 - 2005. Back issues available at].

PG 19

DS: Bottom strip is a recreation after Alex Raymond of one of his last RIP KIRBY strips, September 13, 1956 published one week after his death. Available in ALEX RAYMOND RIP KIRBY THE FIRST MODERN DETECTIVE: COMPLETE COMIC STRIPS 1954-1956 [VOL 4] from IDW

EK: For more on Dave Sim's comments about Vol 4, see the AMOC post for Feb 8, 2012

PG 20

DS: Recreations in order on this page: RIP KIRBY after Alex Raymond May 10, 1954; after John Prentice March 4, 1959 (Sara Jane "Bunny" Drake figures prominently in Part Three); after Alex Raymond November 6, 1952; after John Prentice April 11, 1964; after Alex Raymond September 21, 1951. The Spanish hardcovers from EDITORIAL PLANETA-DeAGOSTINI, S.A. (Barcelona) released between 2004 and 2005 were all I had to work from at the time

PG 21

DS: "11 Shortcuts to Fall A-List Style" GLAMOUR magazine Fall, 2007 adapted from a photo by Patric Shaw. Model uncredited

EK: Several clippings from the 1950's reveal the connections between fashion and comic-strip art of the time.

From the Des Moines Tribune for Jan 2, 1950, "Rip Kirby Artist is A-1 Draftsman, But He Had to Mix Work, Ability": "In the matter of women's clothes, Raymond takes extreme care that his characters are not dressed out of style or in poor taste. Helping him check this phase of his work is Joan Weed, who doubles as his secretary and consultant on feminine fads and fancies."

From the Miami Herald for Aug 24, 1952 "Rip Leaves Nothing to Chance": "For instance, Raymond leaves nothing to chance in properly dressing his feminine characters, notably "Honey Dorian" ... "An example of how this system works is the view below of "Honey Dorian" in a creation advised by Miss Weed and drawn from a pose by Miss (Beulah) Bestor"

In 1959, the International Silk Association had several newspaper comic-strip artists (including Stan Drake, John Prentice, Leonard Starr, Milton Caniff, Al Capp, George Wunder, and Mel Casson) attend their annual fashion show ("Silky 1959") at the Waldorf-Astoria Empire Room in New York to draw the outfits the models were wearing (unfortunately, I was unable to find Stan Drake's illustration for the event).

The Montgomery Advertiser Feb 8 1959

The Journal Herald Jan 13, 1959, with an interview with Milt Caniff about the show and a mention that Stan Drake "sketched Adele Simpson's cerise silk cocktail dress for his Juliet."

The Daily World Feb 3 1959

The Philadelphia Inquirer Jan 27, 1959

The Tucson Daily Citizen Jan 16 1959

EK: For more from Dave on illustrating fashion models and clothes, see the A MOMENT OF CEREBUS post for Jun 10 2012

PG 22

DS: Panel recreations in order on this page: RIP KIRBY, all after Alex Raymond June 20, 1954; January 15, 1955; May 19, 1955; May 10, 1954

PG 23

DS: Panel recreations in order on this page: RIP KIRBY all after Alex Raymond May 23, 1953; July 2, 1956; June 5, 1956; February 5, 1955. Neal Adams quotes are from my epic-length interview with Neal Adams, "Neal Adams, Niagara Falls and Other Forces of Nature" FOLLOWING CEREBUS No.9 (Win-Mill Productions, Arlington, Texas, 2006). The top four quotes are on p.57, the fifth quote is on p.61 The drawing of Neal is from a photo by Bob Keenan reproduced on the inside front cover of THE ART OF NEAL ADAMS VOLUME 2 published by Sal Quartuccio, 1977.

PG 24

DS: Panel recreations in order on this page: RIP KIRBY all after Alex Raymond August 5, 1954; March 23, 1956; April 18, 1955

PG 25

DS: Since I had no direct contact with Neal Adams, I would have originally heard the Neal Adams "brush" quote from either Marshall Rogers or Joe Rubinstein who both worked at Neal's Continuity Associates. The uncredited fashion model and photographer are from GLAMOUR magazine Fall of 2007

PG 26

DS: Panel recreations in order on this page: RIP KIRBY all after Alex Raymond August 14, 1950; September 19, 1952; April 23, 1955; December 18, 1950; June 29, 1955; April 9, 1955

PG 27

DS: Panel recreations in order on this page RIP KIRBY after Alex Raymond May 20, 1954; August 25, 1953; TERRY AND THE PIRATES after Milt Caniff September 27, 1936; Milt Caniff portrait from unattributed frontispiece photo in THE COMPLETE TERRY AND THE PIRATES 1934-1936 [Vol. 1 from IDW] captioned "Milton Caniff in his New York City Studio, 1930s"; Noel Sickles from unattributed photo on p.18 of the same volume, captioned "Noel Sickles at his drawing board mid-1930s"

PG 28

DS: Hal Foster portrait from unattributed photo HAL FOSTER PRINCE OF ILLUSTRATORS, FATHER OF THE ADVENTURE STRIP by Brian M. Kane (Vanguard Productions, 2001) p.89; Alex Raymond portrait from King Features Syndicate publicity photo ALEX RAYMOND HIS LIFE AND ART by Tom Roberts (Adventure House Press, 2007) p.99; Milt Caniff portrait from photo supplied by Lucy Caswell CARTOON RESEARCH LIBRARY Ohio State University

PG 29

DS: The Milt Caniff quote is attributed by Tom Roberts in his "Footnotes" to ALEX RAYMOND HIS LIFE AND ART [PG. 50] to "Robert G. [sic] Harvey 'Meanwhile--The Life and Art of Milton Caniff' unpublished, 1990. Ohio State University, Cartoon and Graphic Art Research Library" so I don't know if this is how the quote appeared in Harvey's published book. I'll take a closer look at the full quote when we get to that part.

Recreated panel is from FLASH GORDON October 7, 1934 "And Dale [Arden], resigned to her fate prays for Flash--". And may I say that's quite a…unique…prayer posture she has there.

EK: See note for pg. 55 for comparisons between Roberts' and Harvey's published versions of the Caniff's quote about Alex Raymond.

PG 30

DS: "Eisenshpritz", a term I've modified slightly here, was a term coined by Harvey Kurtzman to describe "the rain that frequently pelted [Will] Eisner's panels" WILL EISNER A SPIRITED LIFE by Bob Andelman (M Press Books, 2005, Oregon) p.54

(what is an "Eisnershpritz" anyway? Read here)

PG 31 - 34

EK: For more on Dave and Carson's working process on the framing sequence involving Jack for these pages, see Carson's post on AMOC for Nov 26, 2016: "SDOAR - Dave's Mock-Ups: Part 1"

Panel 1 appears in the original mock-ups and LTL version with Jack inside of a BANG sound effect. The 2020 California Test Market Fundraiser Edition (aka SDOAR FE, comprising the first 116 pages and limited to only 400 copies) has this panel with a close-up on Jack screaming "EEEEEEE". Carson had this to say about the differences:

"Dave didn't think the face in the BANG looked like an EEEEEEEEEE face. So he did that thing in the FE. I always hated that and it is back to the original in the [LTL] book."

PG 35

DS: completely made up although I did use a stone wall around the corner from the studio for reference

PG 36

DS: image traced from the cover of CARTOONIST PROfiles No.30 (June, 1976) featuring DON Q by David Gantz distributed by the New York Times Special Features Syndicate. CARTOONIST PROfiles has been published by Jud Hurd since 1969. [FROM CARTOONISTPROFILES.COM: “Cartoonist PROfiles, the leading magazine covering all aspects of the professional cartooning world, was published quarterly from 1969 to 2005. The last issue was published in 2005, when Editor and Founder Jud Hurd passed away.”] Andrews McMeel Publishing (Kansas City) published a collection of interviews under the title CARTOON SUCCESS SECRETS: A TRIBUTE TO THIRTY YEARS OF CARTOONIST PROFILES (2004) that I highly recommend (available to order at

PG 37

DS: "They'll Do It Every Time" was a panel cartoon created by Jimmy Hatlo in 1929 and then continued by Bob Dunn and Al Scaduto after Hatlo's death. Bob Dunn was known as the premiere toastmaster of the National Cartoonists Society. The drawing of him was adapted from the column head photo of him in CARTOONIST PROfiles. The Jud Hurd picture is swiped from Stan Drake's portrait of him (which is why it's the best thing on the page).

Bob Dunn photo from CARTOONIST PROfiles No. 29, March 1976

PG 38:

DS: The top panel was the first one done with my new magnifier lamp and a brand new Hunt 102 pen nib. Took about two days. Seductive thing, magnification.

PG 39:

DS: Picture of Alex Raymond and his wife Helen [with their pet dog Desmond], traced from a publicity photo featured on page 291 of Tom Roberts' THE LIFE AND ART OF ALEX RAYMOND (Adventure House, 2007 ISBN 978-1-886937-78-9) from "a series of articles spotlighting artists and their studio companion pets", from which I left out Raymond's portrait of Desmond and Rip Kirby's butler Desmond (which I hated to do because it was pretty cute).

PG 40:

DS: "Sports Car Crash Kills Cartoonist" page one of the WESTPORT TOWN CRIER September 13, 1956. Thanks to the Westport Public Library for the photocopy and transcript.

PG 41:

DS: Hal Foster picture traced from the photo on page 89 of HAL FOSTER PRINCE OF ILLUSTRATORS by Brian Kane (Vanguard Press, 2001) [available to order at], copyright Harold Rudolf Foster Estate; Alex Raymond picture traced from a King Features publicity photo on page 99 of ALEX RAYMOND HIS LIFE AND ART; thanks to Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum for the photo of Milt Caniff

PG 42:

DS: Picture of Hal Foster traced from the photo on page 113, Prince Valiant drawing traced from the spot illo on page 160 of HAL FOSTER PRINCE OF ILLUSTRATORS by Brian Kane; PRINCE VALIANT panel traced from panel 5 of the 28 June 64 Sunday page as reproduced in Russ Cochran's GRAPHIC GALLERY 9 (1976); TARZAN panel traced from panel 8 of the 6 August 33 Foster Sunday page reproduced on page 187 of THE SMITHSONIAN COLLECTION OF NEWSPAPER COMICS

PG 43:

DS: Russ Heath panel traced from "The Prisoner" OUR ARMY AT WAR No.245 (May, 1972) DC Comics; Jeff Jones panel traced from the splash panel for "Cold Cuts" VAMPIRELLA No.34 (June, 1974) Warren Publishing; John Severin (actually inking Wally Wood, but it's my favourite job of his) panel traced from "Creeps" CREEPY No.78 (March, 1976) Warren Publishing

PG 44:

DS: picture of Alex Raymond traced from the photograph on page 254 of ALEX RAYMOND HIS LIFE AND ART by Tom Roberts. Flash Gordon and Dale Arden traced from panel 3 of FLASH GORDON Sunday page for 8 December 35 as it appeared on page 173 of the 2 August 13 HERITAGE AUCTION CATALOGUE (Auction #7079); SECRET AGENT X-9 panel for 31 July 35 traced from Russ Cochran's GRAPHIC GALLERY 10 (page 2) (1977)

PG 45:

DS: Joe Shuster panel traced from a reprint of ACTION COMICS No.1 (briefly thought of pitching DC on a "What If Alex Raymond Had Drawn ACTION No.1" one-shot); the clearest copy I could find to trace of the oft-reprinted Williamson/Frazetta collaboration was in Russ Cochran's GRAPHIC GALLERY 3 (1974 -- where it was offered for $250) (sold through Heritage Auctions on Nov 22, 2014 for $20,315). Carmine Infantino inking himself (which he was rarely allowed to do) qualifies him in my book as one of the top Stylized Realists. Traced from page three of "Ten Miles To Nowhere" DETECTIVE COMICS No.327 (May, 1964) reprinted in (extremely crisp!) black and white in SHOWCASE PRESENTS: THE ELONGATED MAN (DC Comics , 2006) HIGHLY recommended!

PG 46:

DS: Milt Caniff picture traced from the back cover photograph; 5 September 48 STEVE CANYON panel traced from page 100 of STEVE CANYON 1948 (Checker Book Publishing 2003); Steve Canyon figure traced from Caniff's drawing as it appeared on page 10 of STERANKO'S HISTORY OF COMICS volume one (Supergraphics, 1970); TERRY AND THE PIRATES panel for 19 January 39 traced from page 40 of THE COMPLETE TERRY AND THE PIRATES 1939-1940 (Vol. 3, IDW, 2008)

PG 47:

DS: Joe Simon and Jack Kirby "I Was A Pick-Up!" splash page from YOUNG ROMANCE No.1 (September 1947) traced from page 13 of Greg Theakston's THE JACK KIRBY TREASURY volume 2 (Eclipse Books, 1991); Will Eisner panel traced from A LIFE FORCE page 31 (Kitchen Sink Press, 1989); Joe Kubert OUR ARMY AT WAR No.112 cover (DC Comics November, 1961) traced from page 120 of THE SILVER AGE OF COMIC BOOK ART by Arlen Schumer (Collectors Press , 2003)

EK: Milt Caniff's art supplies pictured below, which I won on ComicLink. Included was a letter of provenance from the consignor: "In the 1980's I got to know Terry & the Pirates and Steve Canyon creator Milton Caniff..After his passing I was speaking to his housekeeper about his drawing table and artwork. Most of it was going to Ohio State, but [he] said there was so much I could have a handful of Milt's drawing pens, pencils, etc. This lot of items includes all I still have left, and the box they were send (sic) to me in."

PG 48:

DS: Roy Crane BUZ SAWYER panel for 5 September 1961, traced from page 62 of COMICS REVUE #301-302, June, 2011 (Manuscript Press) (I like the way hand-drawn Craftint looks: I'm going to have to do some more of that someday!); Harold Gray LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE for 27 October 38 traced from page 266 of THE SMITHSONIAN COLLECTION OF NEWSPAPER COMICS (Harry N. Abrams, 1977); Alex Toth (and Mike Peppe) splash panel from "Blinded By Love" POPULAR ROMANCE No.22 (Standard, 1953) traced from HERITAGE AUCTION CATALOGUE for 23 February 12 page 204 (Auction #7054); Alex Toth panel traced from page 250 of GENIUS ILLUSTRATED THE LIFE AND ART OF ALEX TOTH by Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell (IDW, 2012)

PG 49:

DS: Jack Kirby drawing (captioned "A rare drawing both penciled and inked by Jack": works for me!) traced from page 131 of THE COLLECTED JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR volume one (TwoMorrows Publishing 2004); Neal Adams drawing from the splash page of "No Evil Shall Escape My Sight" (GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW No.76, 1971, DC Comics) traced from THE DC COMICS GUIDE TO INKING COMICS by Klaus Janson (Watson-Guptill Publications, 2003) page 54; Art Adams drawing detail from the cover of ANGEL & THE APE No.3 (DC Comics, 2001) traced from page 55 of MODERN MASTERS VOLUME SIX: ARTHUR ADAMS by George Khoury and Eric Nolen-Weathington, (TwoMorrows Publishing, 2006); Marc Silvestri drawing traced from page 128 of IMAGE COMICS: THE ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE by George Khoury (TwoMorrows Publishing 2006); Bruce Timm drawing traced from page 92 of MODERN MASTERS VOLUME THREE: BRUCE TIMM edited by Eric Nolen-Weathington (TwoMorrows Publishing, 2006)

PG 50:

DS: Hal Foster picture traced from photo on page 65 of HAL FOSTER PRINCE OF ILLUSTRATORS by Brian Kane (Vanguard Press, 2004); Alex Raymond picture traced from "syndicate promotional photograph" on page 89 of ALEX RAYMOND HIS LIFE AND ART by Tom Roberts; Milt Caniff picture traced from the photo on page 4 of THE COMPLETE TERRY AND THE PIRATES 1939-1940 by Dean Mullaney (IDW, 2008); Tarzan figure from panel one of Foster's 31 December 33 strip traced from page 26 of Russ Cochran's GRAPHIC GALLERY 11 (1977); Prince Valiant on horseback from the Sunday page for 28 August 49 traced from page 2 of Russ Cochran's GRAPHIC GALLERY 7 (1976); Secret Agent X-9 figure traced from a Spanish promotional campaign for the strip (found on page 94 of ALEX RAYMOND HIS LIFE AND ART by Tom Roberts); Flash Gordon versus giants figures from the 25 June 39 Sunday page traced from page 6 of Russ Cochran's GRAPHIC GALLERY 11 (1977); Dragon Lady and soldier figures from 27 August 40 daily traced from page 291; Connie, Big Stoop, Pat Ryan and Terry Lee figures from 19 June 40 daily traced from page 261 of THE COMPLETE TERRY AND THE PIRATES 1939-1940 (IDW, 2008) (almost impossible to find full figure shots in Caniff's strips that aren't silhouettes: I moved Big Stoop down a bit so everyone would be on the same horizontal plane)

EK: Caniff relates his first in-person meeting with Foster in R.C. Harvey’s MEANWHILE - THE LIFE AND ART OF MILTON CANIFF (Fantagraphics Books, 2007) in New York in August 1940, when they went for dinner with their wives (Bunny Caniff and Helen Foster) while Foster was in town for a meeting with King Features (page 330):

“The conversation at the table was that evening was lively, a good deal of it shop talk. The discussed circulation and syndicate policies and adventures with fans. 'You know,' Foster mused at one point, 'if you and that other whippersnapper —what’s his name? Alex Raymond - if the two of you were only to die or somehow disappear, I’d have the field to myself. And then I alone would receive the adulation of the multitudes as the best funny-paper artist in the business.' Caniff had come to know Foster through his letters and so was not surprised by Foster's seeming ostentation. He knew it was mostly a masquerade, a kind of parody of self-importance."'

Caniff goes on to say, “A lot of people thought he was a conceited bastard…He had this curious conceit. Understandably, he thought well of himself: he was so damn good. I think it was his way — this was his joke. He would say these bald things about himself — so bald that you’d say, Oh Shit. Then afterwards, you’d think, Well maybe he was having me on, pulling my leg. I think he was kind of shy. Very often, a shy person as famous as he was will be kind of flamboyant. I liked him. Admired his work, but I also liked him personally.”

It's interesting Caniff's anecdote depicts Foster as having to pause to recall Alex Raymond’s name when bringing him up in conversation (especially after having come from the King Features offices), thereby implying Raymond had made a diminished impression on Foster. Some possibilities for Foster's pause: a) Caniff was embellishing when he told the anecdote for effect, b) Caniff was deliberately trying to reduce Raymond’s stature in Foster’s personal pecking order, while simultaneously raising his own place (“Hal Foster couldn’t remember Alex Raymond’s name, while I was deemed worthy enough to have dinner with him”), or c) Foster himself was trying to downplay Raymond’s effect on him when the conversation originally happened.

PG 51:

DS: Matt Clark watercolour (adapted to black and white illustration) traced from page 99 of THE LIFE AND ART OF ALEX RAYMOND by Tom Roberts where it is captioned as having been an ad for "Body by Fisher" appearing in newspapers in 1933. Jose Maria Sert and Frank Brangwyn paintings (adapted to black and white illustration) traced from Google Image: likewise the John Singer Sargeant ink sketch (Brian Kane cites all three as Foster's "artistic heroes" on page 128 of his book: I'll take his word for it).

EK: Image of Titan from collection of murals titled “American Progress,” commissioned for the interior of 30 Rockefeller centre. This particular piece is located on the ceiling of the main lobby, and is entitled “Time.” From “This dramatic ceiling mural depicts heroic-sized, Titans who symbolize the three aspects of time: Past, Present and Future. By exposing their bodies and making them muscular, Sert implies that time is both part of nature and is powerful. The Titans are portrayed evaluating man’s achievements, with the mural integrating the architecture into the subject matter—both the scales and the Titans’ feet are shown resting on actual marble columns that support the lobby ceiling, creating a panoramic vision of the weighing of man’s deeds.”

Sert received the commission after the previous artist hired for the job, Diego Rivera (husband of Frida Khalo), was said to have been fired by the Rockefellers for following his pro-communist beliefs and inserting a likeness of Lenin into his paintings for the commission.

John Singer Sargent drawing listed as “Portrait of Laurence Peter Alexander Harrison, Esq., ca. 1900, pencil on paper” at

PG 52:

DS: Top left and top right: panels 1 and 5 (respectively) of the 9 May 37 FLASH GORDON Sunday page traced from Russ Cochran's GRAPHIC GALLERY 10 (1977) page 8;

middle right and bottom: panels 5 and 8 (respectively) of the 18 August 35 FLASH GORDON Sunday page traced from Russ Cochran's GRAPHIC GALLERY 5 (1975)

centre: panel 5 of the 2 June 35 FLASH GORDON Sunday page as reproduced actual size (if more people would do that it would make my job a lot easier!) on page 26 of Tom Roberts' ALEX RAYMOND HIS LIFE AND ART (with my own whimsical dialogue and lettering)

PG 53:

DS: Top left: panel 2 of the 31 August 41 FLASH GORDON Sunday page traced from Russ Cochran's GRAPHIC GALLERY 10 (1977) page 13.

Top right and middle right: panels 3 and 4 (respectively) from the 21 March 43 FLASH GORDON Sunday page, traced from Russ Cochran's GRAPHIC GALLERY 3 (1974);

panel 4 of the 2 March 41 FLASH GORDON Sunday page traced from page 296 of Tom Roberts' ALEX RAYMOND HIS LIFE AND ART;

bottom: panel 4 of the 10 September 39 FLASH GORDON Sunday page, traced from Russ Cochran's GRAPHIC GALLERY 10 (1977)

PG 54:

DS: picture of Hal Foster traced from the cover photo used on Brian M. Kane's HAL FOSTER PRINCE OF ILLUSTRATORS (Vanguard Press, 2004)

PG 55:

DS: Thanks to Ohio State University Cartoon Research Library for supplying me with the promotional photo of Milt Caniff. The text is quoted in Tom Roberts' ALEX RAYMOND HIS LIFE AND ART on page 50 and cited as being from R.C. Harvey's -- then -- unpublished manuscript for MEANWHILE - THE LIFE AND ART OF MILTON CANIFF on file with the Ohio State University Cartoon Research Library.

EK: The quote as it appears in the published MEANWHILE pg. 616 - 617 (Fantagraphics Books)

“I don’t remember exactly how I met him,” Caniff said. ‘Probably ran into him when I was up in the King Features offices with Dwyer, then went to lunch somewhere, the bunch of us. Usually at one of the joints around there - like the Palm. Or I may have met him there at the Palm. Alex made quite a blast when his stuff appeared. Nothing gradual about it: he was good right off the bat. As soon as Flash Gordon came out, it startled the hell out of everybody. I remember reading his stuff every day and enjoying it very much, but I never thought of him in terms of a rival. We were rivals because we were shooting for the same audience to some extent. I was doing an adventure thing in faraway places, and he was doing space adventure and a crime story, close-up in this country. But I never thought in terms of him being a bitter rival - a mean, old hate-his-guts rival. I had great admiration for him. And this is nothing about my character at all; it was just that I admired what he did as well as he did it. His style wasn’t my bag at all. As Noel Sickles used to say, I don’t want to draw anybody whose pants are pressed. It’s much more fun to do wrinkles than a knife edge.”

And in AR: HS LIFE AND ART pg. 50 (underlined portion excised in MEANWHILE):

“I don’t remember exactly how I met him. Probably ran into him when I was up in the King Features offices with Dwyer [Bill Dwyer, the cartoonist then doing Dumb Dora], then went to lunch somewhere, the bunch of us. Usually at one of the joints around there - like the Palm. Or I may have met him there at the Palm. Alex made quite a blast when his stuff appeared. Nothing gradual about it: he was good right off the bat. As soon as Flash Gordon came out, it startled the hell out of everybody. He was a hotshot right from the beginning. He’d been around for a while; he’d been on staff at King Features for a couple of years before he made it big with Flash Gordon. He’d taken off a year or so to develop that style of his, real fashion plate stuff. And the boys at King Features told me it was just as if someone else had done the work; he couldn’t have done that sort of thing the previous year. And this year, he comes in doing Flash Gordon and Secret Agent - bang! - just like that. And there was nobody else; he had no ghost. Sylvan Byck [had] told me the story.

I remember reading his stuff every day and enjoying it very much, but I never thought of him in terms of a rival. We were rivals because we were shooting for the same audience to some extent. I was doing an adventure thing in faraway places, and he was doing space adventure and a crime story, close-up in this country. But I never thought in terms of him being a bitter rival - a mean, old hate-his-guts rival. I had great admiration for him. And this is nothing about my character at all; it was just that I admired what he did as well as he did it. His style wasn’t my bag at all. As Noel Sickles used to say, I don’t want to draw anybody whose pants are pressed. It’s much more fun to do wrinkles than a knife edge.”

PG 56:

DS: Top panel from the 26 January 48 STEVE CANYON Sunday page, traced from STEVE CANYON: 1948 page 18 (Checker Book Publishing, 2003);

bottom panel from the 8 April 45 TERRY AND THE PIRATES Sunday page, traced from THE ART OF THE COMIC STRIP University of Maryland Department of Art exhibition catalogue 1970-71 page 48

PG 59 - 64:

EK: A simply beautiful 2 page spread by Carson on pages 60-61. For more on Dave and Carson's process on these pages, see AMOC for Nov 12, 2016, Nov 19, 2016, Nov 26, 2016 and Mar 21, 2017

PG 66:

DS:HOGAN'S ALLEY #3 was almost impossible to find when I began my research. Sandeep Atwal found a scan of the article online, a print-out of which I have used ever since. Copies of HOGAN’S ALLEY as well as digital back issues can be found at ALEX RAYMOND’S LAST RIDE can be found at

The confusion surrounding the origin and production of the piece -- which we will examine in due course -- seem to me another example of Comic Art Metaphysics in action, a long-term recoil which continued …and affect Alex Raymond and the perception of him and his work decades after his death.

PG 67:

DS:As we'll see when we get there, "Alex Raymond's Last Ride" is as much a mystery to its (purported?) author and its publisher as it is to me. No transcript of the original interview with Stan Drake or copy of the tape seems to exist. (Arlen Schumer recalls that he turned in the tape to be transcribed as a Q&A and was surprised when it was published as an article).

It needs to be understood that recording was a different concept back in the cassette tape days. It was wildly extravagant to record a tape and then keep it in perpetuity. I recorded over all of my COMIC ART NEWS & REVIEWS interview tapes without thinking about it. I had the edited transcript, what did I need the tape for? Usually for recording songs off the radio and TV shows in those pre-videotape days…or more interviews.

PG 69:

DS: These are traced selected images from pages 234 (the Rip Kirby figure and bust at right) and 235 (the Rip and Honey Dorian prototypes at top and Pagan Lee prototype at bottom) of Tom Roberts' definitive ALEX RAYMOND: HIS LIFE AND ART which were captioned, respectively, by Roberts: "Rip concept drawing No.1" and "Rip concept drawing no.2…a portion of this drawing appeared in EDITOR & PUBLISHER, December 8, 1945 with the first announcement of the new RIP KIRBY strip."

PG 70:

DS: Traced selected images from pages 235 (the Rip Kirby figure and the two men) and 240 (the Honey Dorian prototypes) of Tom Roberts’ ALEX RAYMOND: HIS LIFE AND ART, captioned with "More early concept drawings...later used by King Features as promotional material."

PG 71:

DS: traced from top: the second RIP KIRBY strip, 5 March 46; middle: 29 May 46; bottom: 30 August 46. The effeminacy charge seemed to have been a defence mechanism on the part of top-ranked artists who couldn't cope with the Comic Art Metaphysics of falling so far short of Raymond's unmatched abilities even at the highest levels of the field.

Al Williamson recounts the story of being a student of Burne Hogarth (definitely a "highest levels" comics illustrator) the stylized realist who had succeeded Hal Foster on TARZAN: "After about two months of going to the school, I guess maybe I talked about Raymond once too often and he just went off on a tear. He said, 'Raymond can't draw! Austin Briggs can draw rings around him. Every time Raymond draws male figures, they all look like fairies!' This went on and on. Here I am 14 years old, see [laughs] and he's absolutely raving!" ("Williamson's Warren Days" interview by Jon B. Cooke, THE WARREN COMPANION TwoMorrows Publishing, 2001)

PG 72:

DS: RIP KIRBY strips as follows: top left 26 November 46; top right: 12 February 47; middle left: 5 March 48; middle right: 18 January 49; bottom: 29 December 47 (found on page 28 of Russ Cochran's GRAPHIC GALLERY 10, 1977). To see an example of how Raymond's lines would "fatten up" and become more Caniff-like , compare the 9 January 47 strip (reproduced from the original artwork) with the 10 January 47 strip (reproduced from syndicate proofs) directly below it on page 111 of RIP KIRBY VOLUME ONE from IDW's The Library of American Comics.

PG 73:

DS: top: 13 April 49; right: 19 March 48 (found on page 28 of Russ Cochran's GRAPHIC GALLERY 10, 1977); left: 25 November 47, bottom: 7 May 47 (found on page 44 of CARTOONIST PROFILES No.30, June 1976, the panel, there reproduced actual size -- and illustrating the Bob Dunn article discussed on page 37 of SDOAR— does not have the word balloons on it. Why, I don't know and couldn't hazard a guess.)

PG 74:

DS: top: 2 August 49; middle : 20 October 49 (reiterating 16 January 48's "orphaned/abducted child/children in peril" --a strangely recurrent RIP KIRBY motif ---with the unnamed Nurse prefiguring Valerie; see pages 217 RIP KIRBY VOLUME 1 and 109 RIP KIRBY VOLUME 2 from IDW for the visual and thematic parallel; also, it seems to me, metaphysically linked to "Miss Mitchell": see page 75-76); bottom: 24 October 49

RIP KIRBY Jan 16 1948 "Bleak Prospects" storyline

RIP KIRBY Oct 20 1949 "My Little Runaway" storyline

PG 75:

DS: top: 26 October 49; middle: 8 September 49 (most of the car crashes in RIP KIRBY involved the cars plunging from a great height--see 19 April 47 and 21 April 47 for the earliest example--which, of course, didn't happen on September 6, 1956. It did happen, but decades later and to someone else); bottom: 10 November 49

RIP KIRBY Apr 19 1947


PG 76:

DS: top: 11 October 49; middle left: STEVE CANYON 11 January 48; middle right: RIP KIRBY 11 October 49; bottom: 10 October 49

PG 77:

DS: top left and right: RIP KIRBY 10 October 49; bottom 4 panels 10 October 49; "I Was A Pick-Up" appeared in the first romance comic book, Simon & Kirby's YOUNG ROMANCE No.1 and reiterates and fictionalizes a seminal event in the life of "Miss Mitchell".

PG 78-82:

DS: What I'm suggesting in THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND isn't that there's a Conspiracy-Based structure to Reality (which would be the Literalist inference of what I'm discussing): just a cause-and-effect of Intent combined with Action which results (in this instance--as an example--in Alex Raymond replacing Milt Caniff as NCS president) in a metaphysical recoil effect (Reaction) caused by Raymond relentlessly proving his superior drawing abilities in Caniff's own style (Intent and Action) . Often called The Law of Unintended Consequences, it seems to me that it manifests itself in numerous forms in both the fictional and real world--like Joe Gowdy and Rip Kirby, the good guys, representing Caniff and Raymond, having a fistfight. And, I assume, the effect is magnified when, as Raymond was doing, you are achieving a level of super-reality in your work that hasn't previously been achieved.

It seems to me, also, to really be the diametric opposite of "S--t happens" as Reality constructs go. It seems to me that "S--t" is the direct consequence of Intent and Action. The idea that "S--t" just "happens" seems to me to be the result of attempting to hide your own Intent and Actions from yourself. "S--t" didn't just "happen": you MADE "S--t" "happen". TO you.

What I'm attempting to do in THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND is to follow the manifestations in the fictional world and--combined with what we know about verifiable real world events--to document the Intent/Action/Reaction oscillation of events (in the fictional world, into the real world, back into the fictional world, back into the real world) which led to September 6, 1956--and, it seems to me, further led to comparable events which occurred years or even decades later.

If you, the reader, think I end up making a persuasive case , we have a new way of examining Reality. If you don't think I've made a persuasive case, then hopefully I've at least told you and shown you an interesting, albeit highly speculative, story and a different way of thinking about Reality.

EK: Rube Goldberg, Alex Raymond, and Milt Caniff on the election of Raymond to the position of the National Cartoonists Society 29 March 1950 appears in a variety of sources. A clipping of the photo from the JOURNAL-AMERICAN is in the OSU Caniff files, specifically in MAC.P93.6 (Milton Caniff Collection, SPEC.CGA.MAC, Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, Ohio State University).

PG 83:

DS: RIP KIRBY panel from 25 October 1947. "You stole my inventions" was part of the enactment (and recurs in proximity to Raymond through 1956). In itself, not really a cause of Dire Reaction (Caniff certainly appeared to have no problem with George Wunder, who succeeded him on TERRY AND THE PIRATES, or Frank Robbins or Ramona Fradon or the other Caniff Clones), except when attached to Malign Intent…

PG 84:

DS: …which I see as the subtext of Caniff's "entire windshield": WHY Raymond was drawing rings around Caniff in Caniff's own style for three years. Bad Intent+ Bad Action=Bad Recoil.

top:1 December 1948; middle: 15 January 1947

PG 85:

DS: Contentment with your situation is a HUGE part of staying on the good side of your own Comic Art Metaphysics. I got to do the only 6,000-page graphic novel. That's it. But that's also a hell of a lot. When you "get" that--and the complete creative freedom that comes from self-publishing--you have to accept that wanting more: to be the richest cartoonist (Charles Schulz isn't Stan Drake and Stan Drake isn't Charles Schulz) or the most popular cartoonist, personally (Berkeley] Breathed isn't Neal Adams and Neal Adams isn't Berkeley] Breathed), is just plain greedy and the consequences are right there ready to land on you with metaphysical hobnail boots if you stop being content and choose to "overreach".

It seems to me that Raymond should have looked at his own completely unparalleled artistic gifts and been content, rather than trying to diminish Caniff "getting" the biggest launch for a syndicated adventure strip by proving his superiority to Caniff. It seems to me he invited serious consequences in doing so--and got them.


PG 86:

DS: Raymond also should have recognized the Reality that he couldn't be on the cover of TIME magazine--no matter how big a launch RIP KIRBY had-- because of the profound animosity between Time-Life's Henry R. Luce and King Features' William Randolph Hearst. Caniff's appearance on the TIME had as much to do with the politics of Caniff being a long-time favourite of The Pentagon as it did with any cartoon artistic merit.

At the same time, the cover of TIME magazine-- particularly in the late 1940s when only the Top Individuals in any field were candidates for the honour--few were called, fewer were chosen--is completely outside of our frame of reference here in the Garage Band Age of Comics. My reaction: "You can pencil and ink like Alex Raymond. Isn't that enough for you?" is a Garage Band sentiment far below the societal plateau Raymond and Caniff were on in 1947. I can't imagine that plateau and wouldn't attempt to.

The fact of the Big Three having creative ownership and control of their strips seems to point in the direction of another aspect of Comic Art Metaphysics. RIP KIRBY was inherited by Helen Raymond after Alex's death and she continued to derive a 50% share of the creator income from the strip (John Prentice who wrote and drew the strip from 1946 to 1999 got the other half). The Estate of Estelle Parsons Caniff, Milt's widow still has control of STEVE CANYON. Hal Foster sold PRINCE VALIANT to King Features Syndicate in 1979 and, according to Brian Kane's HAL FOSTER: PRINCE OF ILLUSTRATORS, after hip replacement surgery two months later, Helen wrote in a letter observing "The operation itself was quite successful and he has no pain, but either the shock or the anesthetic took its toll on his mind. He cannot remember moving [to Florida], being in the hospital or having the operation. Kane added that Foster "spent his remaining days without the recollection of his 70-year career as an artist."

EK: From pg 244 of Tom Roberts' ALEX RAYMOND HIS LIFE AND ART: "Before World War II [Alex Raymond] had felt deprived of the kind of attention that other artists received, notably Milt Caniff of Terry & The Pirates and Al Capp of Li'l Abner. Each of these artists had been the subject of large, in-depth, illustrated articles in national periodicals. Ray Burns offered the following explanation for the neglect: 'There was an antipathy that the Life people had against Hearst. They wouldn't feature any Hearst personality in Life or Time. Alex was dying to get a spread like Caniff and Capp used to get. They benefited hugely from the exposure. Time and Life called anybody who worked for Hearst, 'Hearstlings,' in a derogatory way, and would not give them any publicity. It was just some political thing with them.'"

Burns goes on to recount a later incident where LIFE staged a day long photo shoot with Raymond for an article on people who worked in bed. The piece was never used when the article came out, much to Raymond's disappointment. The article and incident will be looked at later in SDOAR.

TIME Jan 13 1947. To read the article, click here

PG 86-87:

DS: top: FLASH GORDON 21 February 1943.

There's also a fine edge of lunacy in retrospect, that these guys had no idea that their whole discipline was going to be wiped out--and moved, bag and baggage, into the comic-BOOK field -- because of the devastating effect of TV on their livelihood. They were really fighting over who could get -- and keep -- the best deck chairs on the Titanic and were completely unaware of that irreversible Reality.

EK: From the introduction by Armando Mendez to THE HEART OF JULIET JONES Vol 1 from Classic Comics Press on the strip's beginnings: "Drake truly believed he had hit the jackpot. In 1955, in an interview conducted at his sprawling Westport home which featured its own lake, he revealed somewhat defensively that he made $85 thousand a year and owned three cars."

Compared with an interview with Stan Drake in the 80's and readers' polls of the time showing the decline of THE HEART OF JULIET JONES in popularity; from the the most successful launch of a newspaper strip since RIP KIRBY in the 1950s to the bottom 5 in a reader's poll 30 years later (despite the few remaining loyal fans).