Frau Grace’s dad fell and broke his hip. He’s 95 and you know how serious that it. Frau Grace is going down tomorrow, Monday. I have to stay for my eye surgery. That’s on Thursday. On Saturday I’ll be flying to Orlando. It may be for an extended period. Things may get a little spotty here on the blog. Sorry.
Wish me luck on my surgery. It’s for cataracts. It’s getting so that it’s very difficult for me to draw, and sometimes I really shouldn’t be driving. I’m so looking forward to being able to see well for the first time since I was a kid.
And I just signed a three year renewal of my contract with King Features. So you’ll have to put up with me for a while longer. The contract will take me through January 2019.
This story is from 2002. I was very busy at the time, and my friend who was also a terrific cartoonist in his own right, Jay Scruggs, inked this story for me. Notice how nice and neat the lettering is. Back then I created a font suitcase with my own letters. Actually I created several sets, and I wrote a little program to alternate the letters so one “A” didn’t look like every other “A”. If you study the fonts closely you will see that there are at least three different versions of each letter. I believe that when I or somebody else (In this case it might have been Mike Mikula who did the lettering for me for that time – I was busy drawing comic book stories) struck a letter on the key board, the computer would type the letter and then switch to the next set of fonts. Pretty smart, huh? Lots of cartoonists these days do everything on the computer including drawing. Their computer lettering isn’t always good. Some of them even left justify everything. So many new newspaper cartoonists even cut and paste from one panel to the next. For crying out loud, if they don’t like drawing cartoons, what are they doing it for? Except for that two year period back when I didn’t have the time, I’ve drawn and lettered every panel one by one. And I love it. Here’s Arnold competing for Doris’ affection:
My hat is off to you who have served in the past and those who are serving now. And may I extend my thanks to your families who also serve. I am very grateful. There’s a young man who grew up three houses down from me. He’s 30 now. His job has been to diffuse IEDs along the roads in the Middle East. I worry about him all the time. What astounding bravery!
I regret to say that I never served. I was in graduate school during most of the Vietnam War studying physics. My Father, also Bud Grace, was on the USS Arkansas during WWI. They had a bear as a mascot and he was the guy who wrestled the bear.
Before that, My Great Grandfather, Goerge Luttrel, served in the Civil War, first under Stonewall Jackson and then under Robert E. Lee. He served for the duration except for 6 months in a hospital. He fought in 13 major battles. His Brother, Samuel, was shot dead at his side as they marched to Gettysburg.
This is a newspaper article from 1931 which details my Great Grand Father’s serviceAnother ancestor of mine served in the American Revolution. There is a monument to him near Cape May Courthouse, New Jersey:
Thank you for your service.
Yes, I’m finally recovered from last weekend. And guess what I worked on all last week! Christmas Cards! That’s right, folks. I’ve been drawing Christmas cards for years just to give them to my friends and family. Frau Grace said I should make them available to people who read my comic strip. And so I am. Next week I should have a page up where you can see them. So be sure to check out the blog next week. Oh. Here’s a little preview…
Other than that, my well is finally in. They left a mess in the yard, but I finally have good water. I’m very happy. You and I are very fortunate. There are hundreds of millions of people on this planet who don’t have access to clean drinking water. This is the ditch where they laid the pip an the pump wires. The white thing in the distance is the well head. There are regulations about where you can put a well. I had to get a variance to put it near the water. There was no other place
This is Juan. Big guy. Strong as an ox.
That’s Bill hooking up the wiring.
The well has to be purged for about a week. We can cook with it and bathe, but we’re not supposed to drink it until it’s been tested. But what a difference already. Bill said there was a ball of iron on the wiring in the old well where the leak in the steel pipe was and it as big as your fist. The new well is 540 feet deep, and the water is just wonderful. The water comes from and aquifer originating in Pennsylvania as I understand. It takes about 12 years to get here from there.
Speaking of Elvis, in 2002 at this time of the year he made an appearance. He co-starred with Bob the Zombie. Another mega superstar also made an appearance. I bought Tiny’s first two albums. When he was still alive, of course. I’m still a huge fan. Terrific music. But what a tragic life he lead. Keep an eye out for a cameo appearance by Colonel Parker. Now I know that I had an Elvis story last week here on my blog. But that wasn’t the real Elvis. That, of course, was Arnold Arnoldski, the world’s foremost Elvis impersonator. This time it’s the actual bona fide Elvis Aaron Presley. And while I’m at it, here’s Buddy Valentine singing a big Elvis hit. Maybe not quite as good…
Halloween was my mother’s favorite holiday. when I was a little kid she used to dress me up. Always as a little old woman. I was never in a Halloween contest where I didn’t win first prize. No kidding. The only trouble with Halloween is that winter’s right around the corner. In my neck of the woods the leaves are turning now, and soon the trees will be bare. They’re pretty now, but in two weeks we start five months of cold and damp. Geeze.
I’m in Northern Virginia just now. My eyes have been giving me trouble, and it’s been getting hard for me to draw. In the not too distant future I’ll have cataract surgery. I’m looking forward to being able to see in the distance at least, without glasses. My vision is about 500/20 without my glasses. I’ve had bad eyesight all my life, and staring at white paper for hours a day doesn’t help.
We stopped in at the 29 Diner in Fairfax Virginia for breakfast yesterday morning. It’s been there since 1947. And it hasn’t changed much. I remember about 15 years ago or so, Bill Griffith had a drawing of it in his Zippy Comic strip. It’s a classic pace to eat. If you go in there at 3 or four in the morning any day you’ll find people eating.
There’s Frau Grace and our friend, Umberto at the end table
The boss wears pajamas to work.
Speaking of Halloween, I’ve had lots of different spooky characters appear. Last year Dr. Frankenblort and Igor were working on a monster. Remember? Instead of a criminal brain, Igor bought a meatloaf. I’ve had vampires and cannibals, but my favorite, of course, is Bob the Zombie. Bob is a real zombie, not like those Hollywood Zombies you see in all the movies now days. Watch those old zombie movies from the forties. That’s Bob the Zombie. Now that’s how real zombies act. They don’t run around eating people’s intestines like they do in the new movies. Bob’s mother is based on Maria Ouspenskaya. She played Lon Chaney Jr’s mother in The Wolf Man. Beautiful. Back in 1999 Arnoldine had her first date with Bob. Here it is. I hope it isn’t too scary for you!
I got to see my old high school classmates, Judie and Joe Bill. And just today, Joe Bill sent me a news article about my old home town, Bradenton, Florida. The good residents of Bradenton are finally getting a little bit of cultural edification. Yes they are bringing to town a poop exhibit. I only wish I could be there. Here’s the article.
Did I mention in an earlier blog that Bradenton is home to the world’s oldest living sea cow in captivity. I remember Baby Snoots from when I was a teenager. And that was a long time ago. Well, Baby Snoots is now a hearty 68 years old or so. Bradenton is in Manatee County. If you don’t know, a manatee is a sea cow. I went to Manatee High School. Our football team was lousy back then. The Fighting Sea Cows. Now they’re a national powerhouse. I understand that the school board brought in a new supervisor and one of the first things she did was fire the long time coach two years ago. The coach was Joe Kinnan who graduated one year after I did. He was well loved and respected. I think they fired the wrong one. I also got an email from my old political science teacher, Marion Brady. Marion is at the forefront of a national movement to improve teaching methods and testing. He knows what he’s talking about. He was the very best teacher I had, and many people who were in high school will attest to the fact. He, like Joe Kinnan so many years later, was fired for being too good.
I’ve mentioned Joe Bill before. He’s been a professional musician since we were in school together. And he’s as good as anyone you’ve ever heard. This is my favorite, written and performed by him. It’s copyrighted by Joe Bill Loudermilk. It’s titled Good Hearts.
Here are a bunch of Spencer Sundays from 2009,2010 and 2011. (If you don’t know, and if the strips appear incomplete, you can click on each strip to view it)