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Meanwhile...: A Biography of Milton Caniff, Creator of Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon Hardcover – July 17, 2007
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More About the Author
Harvey has contributed numerous cartoonists' biographies to Oxford University Press's American National Biography (both online and in print), and has written over 150 short biographies of cartoonists for A Gallery of Rogues: Cartoonists' Self-caricatures (Ohio State University, Cartoon Research Library, 1998). He ghosted an autobiography for Murphy Anderson, a noted comic book artist, and his book about the famous feud between Ham Fisher (Joe Palooka) and Al Capp (Li'l Abner) is awaiting publication at Fantagraphics.
Harvey was associate editor for comic strips of Inks, a scholarly journal about the arts of cartooning. He also curated a comic art exhibition for the Frye Art Museum (September-November 1998) and assembled a book from the show, Children of the Yellow Kid: The Evolution of the American Comic Strip (University of Washington Press, 1998). He published regularly in Cartoonist PROfiles, the profession's most venerable publication, and periodically in Comic Book Marketplace and The Comics Buyer's Guide, and he continues producing articles for The Comics Journal, for which he has written for more than 40 years.
At his website, RCHarvey.com, he posts every other week or so (since 1999) an edition of his online magazine, Rants & Raves, where he reviews graphic novels, reprint collections, and books about cartooning and cartoonists, and retails news, history and lore about cartooning. He can be reached at 17705 E. 99th Avenue, Commerce City, C0 80022 or RC-Harvey@comcast.net. (He often signs his cartoons by affixing a tiny spectacled rabbit. Harvey calls the rabbit Cahoots, but that's not his name. His name, as anyone knows who remembers a Jimmy Stewart movie about a six-foot pooka, is Harvey. RCH is only five-foot-eleven but he has aspirations.)
After graduating from the University of Colorado in 1959, Harvey served in the U.S. Navy then taught English in Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kansas, in the late 1960s, and for over 25 years he was the convention manager of the National Council of Teachers of English. Harvey is a member of the National Cartoonists Society and the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.
Top Customer Reviews
R.C. Harvey, one of the most well-respected authorities on the history of the newspaper comic strip has written the definitive, even monumental, study of Milton Caniff and his work.
Actor Robert Culp referred to Milton Caniff as "immortal" and after reading this fascinating volume, you can understand why.
Mr. Caniff, if he didn't invent the adventure newspaper strip, certainly refined and defined the parameters for generations afterwards.
Not just an accomplished artist, Mr. Caniff was also a consummate story-teller. His influence can still be seen in many forms of media, nearly twenty years after his death.
Through Mr. Harvey's biography (he began writing it before Mr. Caniff passed away), the reader gets to know Milton Caniff as an unassuming workaholic who fit the classic mold of American patriot.
The sections devoted to Terry and the Pirates (and his most iconic creation, Lai Choi San, The Dragon Lady) and Steve Canyon are very illuminating, particularly to students of comic-strip art.
It's hard to realize now the impact the newspaper comic-strip had on the American culture from the 1930s through the 1950s, and Mr. Caniff's work was always held as the standard by which all others strived to attain.
"Meanwhile" is a great book. It's one of the few that I have read in the last few years that I have referred back to within days of finishing it.
This is a classic book about a classic artist whose contributions to American culture need to be rediscovered and celebrated.
Thank you, Mr. Harvey.
Mr. Harvey has done the magical; fleshing out the biography of an icon of the golden era of comic strips and not simply chronicling Mr. Caniff's life, but also taking us behind the scenes and into Milt's mind. It's all here: How Milt worked, what inspired him, the real people who were the models for his characters, the real world of syndicated comic strips.
Folks, this is as close to the excitement of time travel as you'll ever get, a reminder of why people waited with eagerness for the daily paper to drop upon their front doorstep in the years before DVDs and home entertainment centers so that they could catch the latest installment of their favorite newsprint heroes. As a previous reviewer so aptly stated, this is an artform that has fallen by the wayside and been forgotten. Today's comics are disposable jokes, akin to the old Joe Bazooka throwaways inside the bubblegum wrappers.
This book contains treasure, and would be worth the price of admission at twice its cost. There is a reason why Milton Caniff was called the "Rembrandt of the Comic Strip", and the story is inside "Meanwhile".
And one more thing in closing. Milt did this all by himself. No assistants to ink his pencils, no "factory" of interns to rubberstamp the same old hash every week, it was just Milt Caniff and his imagination and brushes and ink-stained hands.
It is the nature of any successful cartoonist that they spend the bulk of their life hunched over a drawing board, endlessly skrith-skratching away. This is not the sort of lifestyle that would seem to lend itself to a lengthy biography. When we consider that there are plenty of well-rounded biographies of political figures, film stars, activists, people whose lives are filled day by day with the fodder of the biographer, that manage to tell their stories in a shorter page count, we have to wonder just what in the world Harvey is on about in a page count that rivals the King James Bible.
I for one certainly approached the book with trepidation. I've been a fan of Harvey's work for years, but my enjoyment of his work is tempered with the caveat that he is on occasion guilty of going over the top. When he goes into critical analysis mode he is always perceptive and thoughtful, but he can also beat a horse within an inch of its life. I was concerned that here Harvey would be shooting the works, analyzing Terry, Steve and their creator ad nauseam.
That fear, I'm happy to say, was completely groundless. Despite the enormous page count this book is, wonder of wonders, a tightly written narrative.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not as many illustrations and comic excerpts as I expected, but there is a lot of information about Milton Caniff, his life and his work here. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
I am really glad I was able to get a copy of this book. I have since bought a companion volume on Milton Caniff's artwork. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Jonathan A. Middleton
Except for the fact that the spine fell apart (it started pretty much everytime this volume was read), this was/is an excellent book, highly readable and a must for anyone wishing... Read morePublished on December 30, 2013 by Oscar Solis
This meaty slab of a book consumed a great deal of my attention over the course of two recent weeks. Read morePublished on November 5, 2008 by Christopher Barat
"Meanwhile..." ismuch more than justa biography of MiltCaniff. It pro-vides an insight tocultural attitudesimmediately prior toWWII, during the war, and on into thelatter part of... Read morePublished on July 4, 2008 by V. Foss
First, some truth in reviewing. I have known Bob Harvey since we worked together on our college newspaper, and I have long admired his writing skills. Read morePublished on March 11, 2008 by Rodney L. Young Jr.
This is the definitive history of Milton Caniff's life as one of the greatest contributors to the art of the comics. It is well-written & complete in detail.Published on December 24, 2007 by G. Brennan