Dear Friends

On December 14th of 1999, a few weeks after discovering he had colon cancer, cartoonist Charles Schulz wrote the following open letter and announced his retirement from drawing the Peanuts comic strip — a widely adored publishing phenomenon that was read by hundreds of millions of people during its 50 year lifespan. Sadly, just two months after writing the letter, on

We get a kick outa being flattered!

Back in 1986, some years after first becoming a fan of the character as a child, Dale Lund wrote a letter of thanks to Hank Ketcham, the cartoonist responsible for originally creating, drawing, and writing the Dennis the Menace cartoon strip. This charming, illustrated note was Dennis’ reply. Transcript follows. Image courtest of Dale Lund. Image:

A promise is a promise!

In 1947, in his book, Secrets Behind the Comics, then-24-year-old Stan Lee offered readers a chance to have their comic book artwork reviewed for the price of $1. 25 years later, shortly after Stan Lee had become head of Marvel, an aspiring artist named Russell Maheras cheekily attempted to take him up on his old offer by sending him his Souperman spoof along

Fake!

In 1986, having just completed some layouts for a Jonny Quest strip, professional comic book artist Steve Rude decided to fax his work to a personal hero – celebrated cartoonist Alex Toth – in the hope of garnering some productive feedback. Toth’s brutal handwritten response, the reading of which must have been more than a little

Your draughtsmanship is beyond reproach

As creator of his widely-adored comic strip, Little Orphan Annie, the late-Harold Gray no doubt received many a fan letter during his lifetime. The following example of such a missive was sent in 1948 by an eloquent admirer named John, aged just 15; an aspiring cartoonist who, after lavishing four paragraphs worth of praise upon

SUGGESTED REAL NAME: KATHERINE “KITTY” PRYDE

Mid-1978, 18 months prior to the character eventually debuting in Uncanny X-Men #129, Marvel Comics artist John Byrne unveiled his new creation – Katherine “Kitty” Pryde – in an illustrated letter to writer Chris Claremont. Fans approved, and Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat has since become an integral part of the X-Men. Also of note in the letter: the introduction of a

I have never drawn PEANUTS for children

Image: Jeff Overturf Reader David Desmond remembers fondly the day he received the following letter from the late-Charles Schulz, creator of what is widely considered to be one of the greatest comic strips ever created: Peanuts. I can still recall the feelings of amazement and excitement that I experienced when I received this letter. Even then

The birth of Wonder Woman

Here we have a piece of comic book history from early-1941 in the form of a letter from cartoonist Harry G. Peter, written to William Moulton Marston, in which he unveils some very early sketches of Marston’s new superheroine, Wonder Woman; Marston’s handwritten response to Peter can also be seen, penned in red below the original message.

I sure am thinking of you

On October 8th, 1916, seven months after his first comic strip debuted in the Chicago Herald, 24-year-old cartoonist Elzie Segar took out a sheet of his employers’ letterhead and wrote and illustrated the following love letter to then-girlfriend, Myrtle Johnson. Three years later, by which point he had married his sweetheart, his third comic strip – Thimble

A Mad Rejection

There’s nothing like a helping of light-hearted humour to ease the pain of rejection, as evidenced by this form letter from the offices of Mad magazine, one of the most influential humour publications ever released. The letter was sent to all unsuccessful submitters of material during the much-lauded reign of Al Feldstein. Transcript follows. Enormous thanks

Characters are more important than jokes

In the 1980s, intrigued as to the techniques employed when producing one of the world’s most adored comic strips, aspiring artist and Calvin and Hobbes fan Todd Church took a chance and sent an inquisitive letter to the offices of the strip’s Kansas syndicate. A few weeks later – much to his surprise – Todd

You’re chaining up far too many women

Particularly during its infancy in the 1940s, the sight of its numerous characters being bound, dominated and disciplined was an incredibly common occurrence for readers of the Wonder Woman comic. However, it was a certain method of restriction – being chained, specifically – and its repeated usage that sparked the following glorious letter to the strip’s

Doctors always know best

The publication of Blaggard Castle – a 1932 comic book featuring Mickey Mouse and sidekick Horace Horsecollar, in which three mad scientists (Professors Ecks, Doublex and Triplex) claimed that X-rays, if fired at someone, would burn their brains – caused so much unease amongst young patients in Pennsylvania that a Dr. Reuben G. Alley was

Marvel Editors…you are the droppings of the creative world

Mid-1987, after nine years as editor-in-chief, Jim Shooter was fired from his position at Marvel Comics and almost immediately, Vince Colletta – an oft-criticised Marvel inker and friend of Shooter who, it is suggested, had long been given work only due to his strong bond with the boss – found himself ostracised by his remaining

An offense that comes from misinterpretation is vulnerable

No sooner had the above cartoon been published than complaints from offended readers began to reach the offices of The Rebel Yell, student newspaper of the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. It was early-1997, not long after a controversial decision by the school board of Oakland to recognise Ebonics as a primary language had kick-started a national

I will be stopping Calvin and Hobbes

Click here to embiggen Late-1995, ten years after it was first syndicated, Bill Watterson sent the following letter to the thousands of newspapers which carried his widely-adored Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, in doing so announcing the forthcoming end of its run. True to his word, on December 31st of that year the final, 3’160th

Don’t keep remembering what you’ve lost

In 1964, more than forty years after losing his own leg in a childhood accident, award-winning cartoonist Al Capp – creator of the wildly successful Li’l Abner strip – generously sent the following letter to a young fan who had recently become a fellow amputee. It’s beautifully written, and one can only imagine just how

Popeye’s favorit tree

Here’s an utterly charming letter from Popeye in which he ponders an apple tree’s life cycle, written and drawn by Bill Zaboly in 1942. Zaboly was one of the artists responsible for the comic strip following Elzie Segar‘s death in 1938 and lovingly produced this piece for a fan by the name of Jennette Winterhalter. Reading the

Supermensch

From the archives of Heritage Auctions comes what appears to be the hilarious last page of a letter from Comic-Con co-founder and letterer Shel Dorf to legendary DC Comics editor Julie Schwartz. Usually I’d refrain from posting less than the entire missive but this particular sheet, written on Dorf’s early ’80s letterhead and bearing a striking

Superman looks worse in each picture

At some point in the early 1940s, the following letter of complaint was written – along with numerous others during that period – by DC Comics editor Whitney Ellsworth and sent to Jerry Siegel, the man responsible for co-creating Superman and then signing away the character to DC for pittance. This particular day, Ellsworth was

Superman: The Man of Tomorrow

In 1934, four years before the superhero finally found a home at National Allied Publications, Jerry Siegel desperately needed an artist to work on his as-yet-unsuccessful Superman strip as a result of Joe Shuster‘s temporary departure. In an effort to secure his services, Siegel wrote the following letter to Buck Rogers artist Russell Keaton. Ultimately he

I wish I could do a lot more for you

Since the character’s inception in the 1930s, the original creative forces behind Superman – and now their surviving families – have been disagreeing with publishers both behind closed doors and in court. From relatively petty arguments concerning the aesthetics of Superman’s jockstrap through to more pressing matters relating to legal ownership of the Superhero, all

I want to buy it

In August of 1982, aged 22, Marvel Comics fan Randy Schueller received the following letter from then editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics itself: James Shooter. The letter, which boasts a stunning letterhead and simply begins ‘I want to buy it’, was sent in response to an idea Randy had submitted to Shooter’s offices; an idea which