The USPS announced its 2010 stamp issues today and it's got good news for collectors. Included are Bill Mauldin and Sunday Funnies.
With this stamp, the U.S. Postal Service honors Bill Mauldin, one of America’s favorite cartoonists. During World War II, military readers got a knowing laugh from Mauldin’s characters Willie and Joe, who gave their civilian audience an idea of what life was like for soldiers. After the war, Mauldin became a popular and influential editorial cartoonist. The stamp goes on sale in March.
In 1945, he won a Pulitzer Prize “for distinguished service as a cartoonist” and the Allied high command awarded him its Legion of Merit. His illustrated memoir, Up Front, was a bestseller. That same year, his “dogface” Willie appeared on the cover of Time.
U.S. Postal Service art director Terry McCaffrey chose to honor Mauldin through a combination of photography and an example of Mauldin’s art. The photo of Bill Mauldin is by John Phillips, a photographer for Life magazine; it was taken in Italy on December 31, 1943. Mauldin’s cartoon, showing his characters Willie and Joe, is used courtesy of the 45th Infantry Division Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
The Sunday Funnies stamp pane honors Archie, Beetle Bailey, Dennis the Menace, Garfield and Calvin and Hobbes. The stamps will go on sale in July.
Offering an idealized portrait of American adolescence, Archie existed only in comic-book form before debuting in newspapers in 1946. A typical small-town teenager with a knack for goofing things up, 17-year-old Archie Andrews is often torn between haughty brunette Veronica Lodge and sweet, blonde Betty Cooper.
A military strip with universal appeal, Beetle Bailey first appeared in September 1950. Possibly the laziest man in the army, Private Beetle Bailey is an expert at sleeping and avoiding work. His chronic indolence antagonizes Sergeant Orville P. Snorkel, who is tough on his men but calls them “my boys.”
Dennis the Menace follows the antics of Dennis Mitchell, a good-hearted but mischievous little boy who is perpetually “5-ana-half” years old. His curiosity tests the patience of his loving parents and neighbors, guaranteeing that their lives are anything but dull. The comic debuted in March 1951 as a single-panel gag.
Garfield first waddled onto the comics page in June 1978. Self-centered and cynical, the crabby tabby hates Mondays and loves lasagna. He lives with Jon Arbuckle, a bumbling bachelor with a fatally flawed fashion sense, and Odie, a dopey but devoted dog.
Calvin and Hobbes explores the fantasy life of 6-year-old Calvin and his tiger pal, Hobbes. The inseparable friends ponder the mysteries of the world and test the fortitude of Calvin’s parents, who never know where their son’s imagination will take him. The strip ran from November 1985 to December 1995.
Mauldin's work was also featured in one of the World War II 50th anniversary panes. Mort Walker, creator of Beetle Bailey was instrumental in getting the last set of comic strip stamps issued. Most of the Sunday Funnies seem to be aimed at commercialism and collectors though. Archie has been in the news this year for his 'marriage' to Veronica (and Betty. Read the comic books) and a collection of the strip is due next year. Garfield continues to be one of the most popular strips of course, and has appeared on non-American stamps.