February 24th, 2013

Saturday Morning Muse — Conchy

by Steve Kelley and Jeff Parker

From time to time Steve and I will blog on Saturdays about our great cartoon influences.  I’ll kick off our blog’s irregular-uncopyrighted feature with this short musing on a great muse of mine…

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I grew up in a little town along the Space Coast of Florida called Satellite Beach in the 60s and 70s.  As a kid, I adored a little-known strip about a beachcomber named, “Conchy” (pron: KONK-ee).  “Conchy” was always one of my favorite comic strips and still is.  It was self-syndicated and ran in the daily color comics (rare then) of our local paper FLORIDA TODAY (called TODAY back then) from 1970 until 1977.
Conchy’s creator, Jim Childress, worked in the art department at TODAY, just up Hwy. A1A from our house and across the Indian River Lagoon in Cocoa, FL.  I remember at age 18 reading about him taking his own life one evening on the beach in Cocoa Beach in 1977, and being heartbroken never having the chance to meet Jim to tell him that he was one of my pagan gods.
I like to credit Jim Childress as one of the great influences on my road to a career as a professional cartoonist.
Apart from “Dustin,” I also draw editorial cartoons for FLORIDA TODAY, and sadly there are no longtime staffers left who knew Jim, but I am lucky enough to possess a “Conchy” original cartoon that a cartoonist friend of mine gave me years later.  I still marvel at the beautiful, tiny masterpiece.
Click here to see an online tribute to “Conchy.”
-Posted by Jeff

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