Comic Strip To Comic Books

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By: Dave Astor

Give me “Liberty” after its newspaper death.

That’s what “Liberty Meadows” readers want — and will get — next month. Frank Cho is ending his Creators Syndicate comic strip with a Dec. 30 cliffhanger about who the Brandy character will marry. The answer will be revealed in a January-released comic book called “The Wedding Album.”

Cho, 29, said a major reason why he’s leaving syndication after five years is that many newspapers feel Brandy is drawn too voluptuously — and don’t allow him enough freedom to address topics such as sex, religion, drugs, violence, and race.

“I’m sick and tired of my strips getting watered down,” he said. “Newspaper comic pages are 50 years behind in content and creative freedom compared to other forms of entertainment.”

Creators President Rick Newcombe said, “Frank is an enormously talented artist who could easily be in 1,000 papers if he toned down ‘Liberty Meadows.'” The comic ( had 100 clients at its peak, and 40 as of late last month.

Newcombe said a number of papers complained about what they saw as Cho’s “fraternity-house, bathroom humor,” but he added that Brandy was in the sexy tradition of characters such as Milt Caniff’s Dragon Lady and Al Capp’s Daisy Mae.

Cho created 24 “Liberty Meadows” comic books before the special January one, and will continue doing the comic books after that. Ending the newspaper strip will also give the Maryland resident more time with his first child, who’s due to be born this month.


… For Publicity And To Help People

The National Cartoonists Society (NCS) plans several efforts to publicize cartooning and help people at the same time.

“Baby Blues” co-creator Rick Kirkman of King Features Syndicate, writing in the NCS newsletter, noted that these efforts include getting NCS members involved in existing (and possibly new) programs to increase literacy among children, creating an annual NCS scholarship award, and setting up a database of NCS members willing to do media interviews.


100 Days That Shook The World

Scripps Howard News Service will offer a paginated day-by-day timeline to mark Dec. 20, the 100th day since Sept. 11. The timeline is produced by Ryan Alessi and Hank Wilson of SHNS.


Column Is By Author Fern Reiss

Fern Reiss, author of a new book called “Terrorism and Kids: Comforting Your Child,” is doing a 500-word column on the same subject.

The weekly “Terrorism and Kids” feature discusses topics such as anthrax and modeling good stress behavior.

Reiss’ column is available through Peanut Butter and Jelly Press (


It’s A Weekly Parenting Column

“Kid Tips,” a weekly parenting column by California psychologist/author/professor Tom McMahon, is being distributed by King Features Syndicate.

McMahon, who was formerly with Universal Press Syndicate, does his column for about 50 papers.


He Was Cartoonist And NCS Prez

Former National Cartoonists Society President Harry Devlin died Nov. 25 of lymphoma at the age of 83.

The Mountainside, N.J., resident was a comic creator, political cartoonist, illustrator, and painter.


… To Your Entertainment Questions

United Media’s Newspaper Enterprise Association is syndicating a new question-and-answer column called “Ask Holly Wood.”



Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services is distributing commentary articles from London’s Institute for War & Peace Reporting. …

A cartoon called “What the Black” is being offered by Richard Harris Jr. (, creator of “The CheapSeats” sports cartoon in Newsday, Melville, N.Y. …

Davy Associates of San Clemente, Calif., is syndicating the “Wotzit?” visual puzzle feature by Jim Allen and once again distributing the “Offline” business comic by Herb
Stansbury. …

Andrews McMeel Universal (AMP) published four “For Better or For Worse” books by Lynn Johnston of United Media. They include “All About April: Our Little Girl Grows Up,” “Graduation: A Time for Change,” and the small-format “Wags and Kisses” and “A Perfect Christmas.” …

AMP also published “When Did Ignorance Become a Point of View?” by “Dilbert” creator Scott Adams of United, “Big Honkin’ Zits” by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman of King Features Syndicate, “Butt-Naked Baby Blues” by Jerry Scott and Rick Kirkman of King, “Mutts Sunday Mornings” by Patrick McDonnell of King, “The Lower You Ride, The Cooler You Are” by “Baldo” creators Hector Cantu and Carlos Castellanos of Universal Press Syndicate, “Your Grandma Rocks, Mine Rolls” by “Grand Avenue” creator Steve Breen of United, and “Old Age Isn’t For Sissies” by “Lola” creators Steve Dickenson and Todd Clark of Tribune Media Services. …

Another comic collection, from NBM, is “Who Wants to Be a Fenderhead” by “Drabble” creator Kevin Fagan of United. …

A show of cartoons by Che Rippinger ( is starting Dec. 7 at the Denver Press Club.

To see the last 10 “Syndicate World” columns, click here. Previous columns may be purchased in our paid archives. Search for “Astor” in the “Author” field.

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