Yes, you read that correctly. Milt Caniff, who died in 1988, once said (back in the 1940s, mind you, and the emphasis is mine):
Readers — soldiers, airmen — write in and say how authentic it [“Male Call,” that is] all is, and all I need is a little encouragement. Besides, all those gadgets and whatnot are part of the fun of it. It’s the satisfaction of drawing that keeps you from going out of your skull from the sheer challenge of every week. Having to fill up space but not having to fill it with a bunch of bookkeeping from last week — that’s the saving thing. Each drawing is a brand-new adventure. If you don’t treat it that way, then you really are in trouble. The guy who does the same thing over and over again must have a hard time sleeping at night. With me — Wow, let’s shoot that from another angle; let’s do it from low or from the side or from the roof or something.
This is from the introductory essay in Male Call, which reproduces the strips Caniff did for the Armed Forces-only newspapers from 1942 to 1946, which began with a special “Terry and the Pirates” strip but which quickly became “Male Call.” It’s a very cool collection and I encourage you to read it. I’m don’t know if Caniff had anyone specific in mind, but this quote could easily be applied to several high-profile artists in comics right now. I wonder if Caniff is rolling over in his grave when the latest issue of, let’s say, Uncanny X-Men comes out.
Milt Caniff: dead for 24 years and still kicking ass!
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