By: Dave Astor
A broad spectrum of art from abroad (as well as America) is now available via two Web sites.
The new WittyWorld International Features syndicate (http://buy.wittyworld.com) represents artists from countries such as Albania, Australia, Austria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Hungary, Italy, and Singapore.
Among the syndicate’s offerings are a comic strip, editorial cartoons, and thousands of editorial illustrations. Also available are contributors represented by the Pen Tip syndicate.
Clients include The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Denver Post, and other newspapers, both foreign and domestic, according to syndicate founder and President Joseph Szabo.
There is also the WittyWorld International Cartoon Center (http://www.wittyworld.com) — a site that features cartoons, news, articles, calendar listings, a “Censorship” section a “Who’s Who” section, and more.
The site is essentially a continuation of the Szabo-founded WittyWorld International Cartoon Magazine, which appeared in print form from 1987 to 1999 and was circulated in more than 100 countries.
‘Peanuts’ Trust Goes To Court
It Sues Cartoon Museum Founder
“Peanuts” comics custody is the subject of a lawsuit filed in San Francisco.
The trust controlling Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts” comic filed suit against “Beetle Bailey” creator Mort Walker, founder of the International Museum of Cartoon Art (IMCA), The Associated Press reported. The trust seeks the return of “Peanuts” strips that Schulz lent IMCA — saying the Boca Raton, Fla.-based museum no longer needs the comics because it’s no longer in operation.
But Walker told E&P Online he hopes to reopen the museum in another locale, with a possible deal in the works to move the museum to New York City. “I was kind of shocked the suit was filed,” said Walker, noting that he had offered to temporarily return the “Peanuts” comics — he placed the number of them at 19 – if he could get them back when IMCA reopened.
A representative of the Schulz trust couldn’t be reached for comment. But the trust reportedly wants the comics returned for display at the Charles M. Schulz Museum, which opened this August in Santa Rosa, Calif.
Walker said that museum already has thousands of Schulz originals, and added that he would hate to set a “chaos”-creating precedent of people asking for parts of the IMCA collection back. But Walker did note that he will suggest, when meeting this month with the IMCA board, the possibility of resolving the dispute by returning the “Peanuts” strips.
Schulz lent IMCA the comics in the 1970s, according to Walker. The “Peanuts” creator, who died in 2000, also donated more than $1 million to the museum. “He was always very generous with us,” said Walker, who’s still waiting to see if IMCA’s building will be sold. The latest possibility is that the city of Boca Raton would buy the building for $2.75 million and turn it into a cultural center.
The 1974-founded IMCA was operating in Boca on a skeletal basis until closing at the end of August. Its collection of about 200,000 originals is now stored in Boca and Connecticut.
Both “Peanuts” and “Beetle Bailey” started in 1950. Reruns of the former comic still appear in about 2,400 newspapers, while Walker’s strip has about 1,800 clients.
Ann Landers Auctions Raise $300Gs
Car, Furniture, Art, Letters Among Items Sold
Ann Landers’ possessions were auctioned for nearly $250,000 in San Francisco and $55,000 in Elgin, Ill.
The late columnist’s 1992 Cadillac brought in more than $10,000, Bunte Auction Services co-owner Kerry Bunte told E&P Online. He added that two IBM typewriters sold for $225 and $175, Landers’ Sioux City (Iowa) Central High School yearbook for $150, various owl statues for $25 to $1,400, and books autographed by Richard Nixon and Robert Kennedy for several hundred dollars apiece.
Bunte held its sale the weekend of Nov. 23-24, while Butterfields Auctioneers in San Francisco raised the $250,000 Nov. 24. The highest price at the latter sale was $29,125 for a rare signed “Enchanted Owl” print by Canadian Inuit artist Kenojuak Ashevak, according to the Chicago Tribune, where Landers worked after leaving the Chicago Sun-Times in 1987.
The Tribune said other items Butterfields sold included six Louis XVI-style light fixtures ($8,000-plus), an 18th-century Italian settee ($6,500), 27 boxes of correspondence with notables such as President Carter and Barbara Walters ($5,875), a 1977 painting of Landers ($1,200), and five letters from Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis ($1,000-plus).
Creators Syndicate advice columnist Margo Howard, Landers’ daughter, said the auctions were held because there was too much in her mother’s 15-room apartment for the family to keep it all and because she wanted her mother’s fans to have some of what she owned.
Landers, who died in June at age 83, appeared in 1,200 newspapers via Creators.
‘Bizarro’ Move To King Features
The Second Comic Coming To KFS Jan. 1
The offbeat goes on at King Features Syndicate, which is picking up the “Bizarro” comic Jan. 1. Dan Piraro’s 17-year-old panel will move from Universal Press Syndicate.
As previously reported, another comic coming to King on New Year’s Day (from Tribune Media Services) is Mike Peters’ offbeat “Mother Goose & Grimm.”
Piraro said one reason he’s joining King is because he feels the syndicate will increase sales of his comic, which runs in about 200 newspapers.
Universal’s reaction? “Ironically, our concentration of good panels may be the reason Dan thought he might be more comfortable in his new home,” said syndicate president Bob Duffy. “We certainly wish him continued success.”
“Bizarro” entered syndication in 1985 with Chronicle Features — essentially replacing Gary Larson’s famous “Far Side,” which had moved to Universal. Ten years later, “Bizarro” also moved to Universal — around the time Larson retired. (“Far Side” reruns are still distributed internationally by Creators Syndicate.) Piraro’s feature went on to win the National Cartoonists Society’s award for best comic panel in 2000, 2001, and 2002.
Piraro, 44, also does a one-man act called “The Bizarro Bologna Show,” which has received positive reviews. “I’ve performed it in a handful of cities in which my cartoons run,” he told E&P Online. “I intend to do a lot more performing in the future, and have had a ball converting my cartoon humor into stage routines.”