Sally here with Cricket magazine, work by Madeleine Witt and Audra Stang, your CAB reminder, and tons more comics and news!


Trina Schart Hyman

There is an article about the “secret history of Cricket magazine” on Electric Literature. Written by A. J. O’Connell, it details the creation and life of the beloved children’s magazine, with insights from founder Marianne Carus, quotes from long time art director Trina Schart Hyman (my FAVORITE illustrator as a child), and lots of love from authors and illustrators who read the magazine when they were kids.

I myself found Cricket in my local library and enjoyed every new issue I read – and was lucky in that the library had an archive of many of the old issues. It was the very best sort of magazine, full of stories and glorious illustrations by the greatest working creators of the time – and it never really felt like it was “for kids” – which was Marianne Carus’ goal, after all. She felt like kids could handle stories that were darker, that might make you cry, just as well as funny, lighthearted stuff. Like many others, I was inspired by Cricket to make my own “magazine” and published some of the stories I wrote along with illustrations for my family.

Read all about Cricket HERE.

Trina Schart Hyman was a Caldecott Medal winner for her work on St. George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges, and earned a couple of Caldecott Honors as well. I adored her fairy tale illustrations and wrote her a long letter when I was 11 or 12 (and received a lovely response and an autographed book in return). I think I didn’t know that she was the art editor for Cricket magazine until later – I just knew that her illustrations showed up in the magazine frequently. I also didn’t really understand that the SAME Trina Schart Hyman drew the Cricket and Ladybug comic in the magazine.

The first Cricket and Ladybug cartoon, by Trina Schart Hyman and John Grandits (courtesy of John Grandits)

Each issue had a four-panel strip, and additionally the characters Cricket, Old Cricket, Ladybug, and Sluggo would scamper and scurry throughout the magazine, popping up to comment on the stories or merely harass each other for a moment.

“[Trina] just had such a wonderful way of drawing them,” said Leonard. “They served as explanation of difficult words so if there was a vocabulary word that might stop a kid reader the crickets would explain what that word meant. They also had their own little life in the four-block cartoon.”

They were great, and a big part of what made the magazine beloved to me and so many others.

Again, read all about it HERE!


Madeleine Witt – 1 of 30


Madeleine Witt has been making a comic a day this month. She and a number of others I know are doing the “30 Days of Comics” challenge that was begun by Derik Badman in 2009 or 2011 (depending on how you count it). Madeleine’s take on the challenge offers a good insight into why things like this can be good for creators:

I’ll be drawing 1 comic a day for the month of November. I admire & bless all those who draw a comic a day EVERY day, but especially for people who can be paralyzed by internal expectation (me) / aren’t sure of their voices (also me, particularly circa 2014), Novembers have been a fruitful time to experiment and grow. If you’re a young cartoonist or an old cartoonist or a not-yet-cartoonist looking to explore an artistic practice, I think November is a very good time to pick some constraints and try doing 1 thing a day for a little while.

Big general caveat: This sort of thing is not healthy for everyone—you know yourself & your needs and please don’t do this if it isn’t be healthy for you! Everyone please care for yourselves! Thank you! Goodbye!

I like that Madeleine has expanded the context of the challenge beyond just “draw a comic everyday” to include formal restraints. She suggests picking colors, medium, panel setup, or subject matter and then sticking to those choices for the whole month. From my own experience over the past year of drawing a Suzy & Cecil comic every other day, I can vouch for the freedom and creative rush that (perhaps surprisingly) comes from forced structure, discipline, and regularity.

I like the work that Madeleine has been making – you can see all of it HERE. The hashtag #30dayscomics will lead you to more work, both on Instagram and Twitter, and you can follow the 30 Days of Comics Tumblr to keep up with many of this year’s participants.

Audra Stang

Audra Stang is another cartoonist who is releasing her latest comic in this fashion (hot on the heels of the comic she made during the month of October – not necessarily for “Inktober”…!) Her comics all exist within the world and lengthy timeline of “Star Valley”, and this current story catches up with her character Owen (who appeared in last month’s Little Minnow, as a significantly younger version of himself – read that story HERE) and the irrepressible Adelaide, last seen, briefly, a year ago in Secret Knowledge and in April 2008 (in April 2016). Read the new story so far HERE.


Katie Ball a.k.a. Katbus has a new endeavor – My Lucky Sticker Book is a monthly newsletter that showcases sticker artists from around the world. You can check out issue #4 – Halloween edition! – HERE, and subscribe to the newsletter HERE.

Katie is putting together an extra large issue for release in late November, and has sent out the message that if YOU include sticker-making in your bag of tricks, and would like some hype leading into the holiday season, let her know! She will finish compiling her list around the 25th, so send her your website and details about your stickers if you want to be listed. Write to Katie at katie.brawl@gmail.com


Katie Fricas has a “cartoon scrapbook” detailing the first year of Trump’s presidency on The Guardianread the whole thing HERE.


artwork by Killer Acid, courtesy Comic Arts Brooklyn

If you’re in NYC go check out Comic Arts Brooklyn tomorrow. Here’s a write-up on the new location of the show – via Hyperallergic.

Comics Workbook will be there, and I will be too with a few copies of Suzy & Cecil. See you Saturday!


Post Script


Suzy and Cecil – 11-10-2017 – by Gabriella Tito


Joanie and Jordie – 11-10-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio


Cozytown – 11-10-2017 – by Juan Fernandez


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One thought on “11/10/2017

  1. Thanks for that Cricket write up, such a wonderful magazine! Wish i had the chance to grow up reading it (i had to deal with Highlights…ugh, not even a contest!)

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