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Meanwhile.: A Biography of Milton Caniff, Creator of Terry and the Pirates, and Steve Canyon

Harvey, R. C.

19 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1560977825 / ISBN 13: 9781560977827
Published by Fantagraphics Books, 2007
Used Condition: Very Good
From Moe's Books (Berkeley, CA, U.S.A.)

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1560977825 1560977825 Very Good. (Binding: Hard Cover, Jacket: Very Good). Bookseller Inventory # 1088303

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Meanwhile.: A Biography of Milton Caniff, ...

Publisher: Fantagraphics Books

Publication Date: 2007

Book Condition:Very Good

About this title


The comprehensive biography of one of the 20th century's most influential cartoonists, the legendary creator of Steve Canyon and Terry and the Pirates. This book analyzes his storytelling techniques, examines his artistic innovations and work routines, and serves as a history of the medium.

Milton Caniff was one of the most influential American cartoonists of the 20th century. He rose to prominence during World War II when he took the characters in his Terry and the Pirates strip into the war. The trenchant pragmatic patriotism of the strip warmed hearts and steeled nerves on the home front as well as the battlefront (one of his strips was read into the Congressional Record). He went on to create Steve Canyon, which was syndicated from 1947 to Caniff's death in 1988.

Meanwhile... traces Caniff's life from the cradle to the grave, examining the artistic innovations and work routines of a nationally distributed cartoonist whose career was central to the development of the art form, and marking the milestones in the development of the comic strip that Caniff established. Caniff reshaped the medium and set standards by which all storytelling strips were subsequently judged. He created many colorful characters, including the stalwart Pat Ryan from Terry and the Pirates, Burma the shady lady, and, most memorable of all, the Dragon Lady, a beautiful but mysteriously menacing pirate queen who turned Chinese patriot during the War. While Meanwhile... provides a biography of Caniff and analyzes his storytelling techniques, it also serves as a history of the medium and reveals the inner workings of the syndicate business (at which Caniff was as expert as he was at cartooning).

The book charts Caniff's rise to fame and fortune, then recounts the decline of his strip Steve Canyon's popularity (whose protagonist served as an unofficial spokesman for the U.S. Air Force from the Korean War until the end of the strip in 1988) when the same brand of patriotism that had inspired admiration during World War II provoked protest during Vietnam, a bittersweet conclusion to a career spent producing a daily feature for 55 years, a record that would stand for a generation. A 2008 Eisner Award Nominee: Best Comics-Related Book; a 2008 Harvey Award Nominee: Best Biographical, Historical or Journalistic Presentation.

From Booklist:

In the 1930s and 1940s, the newspaper comic strip was one of the nation's most popular storytelling media, and Caniff's exotic high-adventure Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon were among the most widely read strips. The popularity of the China-based Terry skyrocketed in the early forties, when its cast entered World War II, but it was Caniff's bold abandonment of the successful strip in 1946 to launch Canyon, which continued until the artist's death, in 1988, that landed him on the cover of Time. Today aficionados consider his achievement unmatched, and his innovative combination of atmospherically chiaroscuro illustration and cinematic continuity still hugely influences contemporary cartoonists. Comics scholar Harvey, who worked on this biography for nearly 25 years, had the benefit of extensively interviewing Caniff, and the wealth of firsthand information he obtained and conveys helps explain why it weighs in at just short of 1,000 pages, which may strike some as excessive but, given Caniff's towering stature in the comics field, seems only appropriate, perhaps even necessary. Flagg, Gordon

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