Official Press Release
DAYTON, Ohio: Steve Canyon, the long-running adventure serial and signature work by the “Rembrandt of Cartooning,” the late Milton Caniff, has been cleared for September take-off in a series of trade paperbacks from Checker Book Publishing Group under license granted by Caniff’s estate.
Checker will commence fall publication with Milton Caniff’s Steve Canyon 1947 (ISBN 0-9710249-9-5, $15.95 tpb), which will contain strips from January 13 through November 24, 1947 and contain the stories “Copperhead,” “Delta,” “Easter’s Oil,” and “Jewels of Africa.” Each Checker edition will contain several of Caniff’s gloriously illustrated Canyon adventures, along with contextual and interpretive material, and will run roughly 200 pages. Checker plans to release its collections quarterly.
Steve Canyon was most recently collected by Kitchen Sink Press in both hard- and softcover editions in the 1980s, all of which are now out of print. Used and rare booksellers list many of these collections at more than $100. Caniff’s earlier work on the strip Terry and the Pirates, which first won him national prominence in the 1930s, was compiled by NBM, but is also out of print, making Checker’s Canyon collections the only affordable and accessible source for the work of one of cartooning’s true masters.
Caniff earned worldwide acclaim at the helm of Terry and the Pirates in the ’30s and ’40s, but eventually rebelled against his syndicate’s editorial oversight and ownership of copyright to his work. Leveraging his global reputation, Caniff launched Canyon in 1947 under his own copyright and syndicated it himself. It was an instant success which ran continuously in syndication for 40 years, ending only upon Caniff’s death in 1988.
Caniff and his new home in print, Checker Book Publishing Group, share common roots in Dayton, Ohio, where Caniff was raised after relocating from his 1907 birthplace in nearby, rural Hillsboro, Ohio. When he was 13, Caniff’s first professional cartoons (humor and instruction for Boy Scouts), appeared in the pages of The Dayton Journal Herald. From there, he moved on to The Columbus Dispatch while attending The Ohio State University, and eventually to New York (where he was a founding member and president of the National Cartoonist’s Society) and finally to Southern California. Checker was founded and maintains its headquarters in the Gem City, and plans several local events to commemorate the relaunch of the works of one Dayton’s favorite sons.
Checker secured the Canyon license from the Esther Parsons Caniff Estate, as represented by the Toni Mendez Agency, Inc. first by the late Ms. Mendez, who passed away in March, and ultimately by Maryse Chovel, who concluded negotiations on behalf of the Estate.
Checker Book Publishing Group was established in 2000 to bring the absolute best of dormant, unpublished, and underpublished serial comics material back to print. A private concern, Checker compiles complete, durable and affordable cartoon trade books for sale to such comic shops, bookstores and libraries as may require them for resale or public archiving. These endeavors are pursued with stalwart vigor by certain residents of Dayton, Ohio, in which city the press maintains its offices.
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