Hanging Out With Leonard Starr

Me and Leonard Starr.

Me and Leonard Starr.

If I had to pick a favorite moment at Comic-Con International, it’d be easy. Except it wasn’t a moment. It was more like two or three hours. I had lunch the first day and drinks later that night with a personal hero: Leonard Starr.

Leonard created, wrote and drew one of the best adventure comic strips of all time: On Stage With Mary Perkins. I don’t think a more gorgeous strip was ever drawn. The sheer beauty of the art and the fact that the main character was a stage and movie actress might have made some people mistake it as a soap opera comic.

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But if it was a soap opera, you didn’t notice as soon as you started reading it. Adventure, mystery, drama, humor–On Stage was like a movie from Hollywood’s golden era. Great scenery and production values; top-notch, bigger-than-life actors; and a story that had just the right mixture of human interest, suspense and humor.

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If doing On Stage for over 20 years wasn’t enough, Leonard went on to write and draw Annie (the revamped version of Little Orphan Annie) for another tw0-plus decades. But it was On Stage that changed my life…

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Don’t believe me? Well, at some point during my first date with Shelagh, the subject of favorite comic strips came up. (Probably because she knew I was a comics geek.) And the one strip that we both loved was On Stage. Of course, it’s a well known fact that if you find a woman who shares your taste in comics–well, you better marry her.

So…thanks, Leonard!

(On Stage art copyright of respective copyright holder.)

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9 Comments

  1. Leonard Starr is one of my favorite comic strip creators. I loved On Stage and I loved what he did with Annie. I got to meet him at NY Comic Con last year. It’s so cool you got to spend time with him.

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  2. I have an original Sunday On Stage hanging in my front hall. It’s from ’72, & I got it sometime in the ’80’s at a gallery in NY. On Stage is a personal favorite — I think it’s one of the best strips ever done, both for it’s superb draughtsmanship & it’s sophisticated story structure. Glad you agree. You’re a lucky guy to have spent time with Leonard Starr!

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  3. Welcome back to Washington, but so glad you had a fabulous time at Comic Con! Wish we could have been there too, but perhaps next year 🙂 Based on your recommendations, I’ll have to look up On Stage with Mary Perkins…

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  4. I’m glad to hear from some other On Stage fans. I just found a link to some original On Stage art for those who are wondering what all the fuss is about. I didn’t see this stuff at first and only found it through a Google image search that oddly enough took me back to the Classics Comics site: http://tinyurl.com/ntdnd8

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  5. I loved ‘Onstage’. I had a crush on the Maximus character when I was in high school.

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  6. If I had a “crush” on anyone it was Mary!!

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  7. John, I’d never seen or heard of Leonard’s comics here Down Under, but having seen those few samples of his beautiful art and intriguing story lines I’m very impressed. A person who can imagine and realise something like that must be a great lunch companion!

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  8. John, I also met Leonard at San Diego. Purchased three original dailies. Talked to him a couple times and went to the Spotlight panel. After getting a thorough look at his work via the Classics Comics Press books over the last few years, my appreciation for Leonard’s writing on the strip has exploded. Despite all the media hoopla at SDCC, they still bring great comic guests like Leonard as Special Guests.

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  9. Steven, I was there at the Spotlight panel as well and it was a treat. I just wish more people had attended. (That’s the trouble with being out of the limelight for a few years, I guess.) I do suspect that the ratio of pros in the room was quite high. Leonard’s well respected by those of us who have been around for a few years. And you’re right about his writing. As great as his art is, it’s his writing that amazes me. I’m grateful that the series is being reprinted at last!

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