Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Doug Marlette

I think the first time I ever saw cartoonist Doug Marlette, who died yesterday in an auto accident, was on a talk show. THE MIKE DOUGLAS SHOW perhaps? GOOD MORNING AMERICA maybe? He was a Southern boy originally from my late mother’s home state of North Carolina and his long-running popular newspaper comic strip was called KUDZU. Marlette was also a Pulitzer prize winning editorial cartoonist whose pointed panels graced the pages of many papers over the years but most notably those of THE ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. That’s the reason that he got talk show gigs!
KUDZU was a rather generic young man whose strip became even more popular when Marlette highlighted one of its supporting characters, the Rev. Will B. Dunn. The character of the Southern holier-than-thou preacher was used to comment on society’s mores (and/or lack of same) as well as to comment on the growing political and social effects of the religious right and actually got at least one strip reprint book all to himself.
A man of many talents, the late cartoonist also wrote and published a novel a few years ago and the marvelous book seen here, IN YOUR FACE-A CARTOONIST AT WORK. Sort of an autobiography/KUDZU collection/editorial cartoon collection and how-to book, it’s a fun read and a delightful insight into a very creative mind. A creative mind whose work I didn't get to see as often as I'd like but one I’m certainly going to miss.

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