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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Speaking Of The Funny Papers.....

Fellow blogger Lorraine Hart is absolutely right in her post this morning about the important place comic strips have in creating a quality life for true red-blooded Americans in our South Sound. Comics and cartoons feed and address important needs for which our travels in the twenty-four hours that make a day may otherwise easily overlook.

Humor is quite possibly the most necessary component in everyone's life. If we aren't clever enough to stumble over it on our own, thank goodness (as Lorraine says) for cartoonists like Gary Trudeau! I am of course as much in love with the funny papers as anyone.

When I was in elementary school and a frequent candidate for extra dental work, I remember following strips like Nancy, Peanuts and Family Circle at home. It is equally true that comics made it possible for me to rate in that era going to the dentist for silver amalgam fillings hands down over a visit with my friendly family pediatrician!

The dentist we patronized at the time was an older, fully white-haired and bespectacled Japanese-American professional by the name of Susumu Fukuda, who leased a suite of offices on the second floor of the old now older Jackson Building which still stands today in Seattle's International District.

While Dr. Fukuda then looked to be twice as old as most every adult I ever knew at the time, and his English had a trace of a Japanese accent as he'd spent a part of his youth in Japan, he was very astute and quite acclimated to American tastes.

He'd made it a point to subscribe to Highlights for Children. Copies of this magazine were literally stacked in his waiting room most likely to impress all the moms. An equal stack of Archie, Jughead & Veronica comic books, with a little Casper and Bugs Bunny throw-in for good measure, provided some entertainment for the younger set.

But one gets older. There comes a time when Archie, Veronica and Jughead don't always cut it anymore. At some point I moved on to other titles including Lorraine's favorite Doonesberry. Gary Larson's The Far Side and Berkeley Breathed's masterpiece Bloom County.

However, the biggest thrill I ever had in connection with cartoons was when a college acquaintance and a fellow UW Journalism school student I used to know, volunteered to introduce me to his good buddy.

This good buddy, a cartoonist, created a few illustrations along the lines of good-humored college oriented commentary in the mid-seventies having to do with streakers, a phenomenon which had hit campus around the same time especially in the residential area around fraternity row.

The may I say - adorable drawings suggested the giddy, gleeful and unrepentant spirits whose simple, winsome and marshmallow-shaped bodies were drawn dashing alongside and by the otherwise dignified masthead of the student newspaper, The University of Washington Daily, and I had fallen totally in love with these characters.

From that interval onwards I was a life-long fan of their creator, who was one his way to becoming the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's pride and joy, none other than Pulitzer Prize Winning editorial cartoonist, David Horsey.

Horsey's prolific talent and extraordinary take on life - most often in these United States, is well documented and has won him I'm certain millions of fans around the nation, not to mention possibly the entire planet.

And fond as I am of remembering a scant handful of seconds, l was well aware even then, there must have been hundreds if not thousands of people before me who patted themselves on the back to have been so lucky to be ushered in for a brief and abbreviated audience with this gifted and outstanding cartoonist, editorialist, political observer and fellow member of the human race.

In recent years, in addition to tackling those major topics that frame really important issues in the world today, Horsey has taken some good shots at smaller targets including one or two events in my tiny borough of Federal Way, WA as he continues working to educate and entertain his audiences, while managing to elevate or poke holes in everything between the unusual and mundane, soaring to levels most of us can only admire and appreciate.


Lorraine Hart said...

Well, now you've tickled my interest to find someone new...and a neighbour, no less! Will report back.

Lorraine Hart said...

Oh yes...and YAY for kids loved it.

You share my other fave-raves Mizu. I can remember buying a whole set of cards that had this one "Far Side"...The space shuttle, with earth in the background...and a dog putting his head out the shuttle window. Caption said..."Why dogs can't be astronauts."

Who could forget the Bloom County where the little girl lectured all the males (including Opus) and asked them to think about the one thing that gives their lives meaning...and in the last panel, they're all looking in their BVD's!

Okay...seriously...I'm going to check out this other guy, knowing your taste to be GOOD!!

Lorraine Hart said...

Two giggling thumbs up for Mr. David Horsey's wild ride!

Was he as much fun in person, or a quiet type?

M. Sugimura said...

I really don't know the man well enough to answer with authority - my acquaintance however did. I do recall this acquaintance relating a cross-country trip around the US visiting with and meeting people in the news business while they were both in school.

Scoping out the opportunities...this was right after Watergate when many folks entering J-school saw themselves as possibly the next Woodward & Bernstein!

Interestingly enough, I had been told that one of the editors they met along the way was none other than Benjamin C. Bradlee of the Washington Post who was executive editor during the period that encompassed the Pentagon Papers and Watergate.

Bradlee as you may recall, was basically Woodward & Bernstein's boss at the time the newspaper was deeply involved in the publication of the details surrounding that difficult time.

If any other fellow student with whom I met during my student days told such a story, chances are I would never forget the dropping of such a huge name in the media universe, and I have not.

So I'm indebted in this respect for this story and one or two more shared by David Horsey's good friend, who was in turn my editor during a brief student internship I had in college at the now defunct Redmond weekly the Sammamish Valley News.

I gathered from my acquaintance that both young men had a pretty fair idea of where their resoective talents might take them, and were comfortable seeing themselves in that picture. And I'd be willing to say that not only myself but most of their peers came to a similar conclusion.

I remember this acquaintance relating that one of the editors they met on the aforementioned trip was Benjamin Bradley of the Washington Post.

JosephMcG said...

I consider Horsey to be a very fine teacher...

M. Sugimura said...

Oneal! Glad to see you're in the neighborhood! :)