The Penultimate LOAC Wheel of Fortune

Throughout 2019 we’ve been following the LOAC road to our two hundredth release by running a monthly LOAC Wheel of Fortune, choosing a theme and the books from our decade-plus backlist that fits into it, then loading those results into the Wheel, giving it a spin, and shining the spotlight on the randomly-chosen result. Since November is the eleventh month, and since eleven is represented by two “1”s, we decided to start with our 11th book and include every subsequent “ends-in-1” release to see what we’d get. The results are pretty interesting:

This month’s LOAC Wheel of Fortune list. What’s with the colorful “06” next to Superman Atomic Age Sundays Volume 1? Blame it on Red Kryptonite, folks!

We certainly don’t plan any patterns with thoughts of, “Wouldn’t it be great if Book X corresponded to release number Y?”, but a big scoop of randomness placed our first two Li’l Abner releases ten books apart, and the pattern repeated between the Caniff artbook and Steve Canyon Volume 1, and between Star Wars Volumes 2 and 3. It’s the luck of the draw.

And speaking of luck, we shuffled the list into random order and here’s how it looked:

After the familiar spinneroo, the November “focus book of the month” turned out to be —

We talk often about Milton Caniff in this space, and isn’t that as it should be? While we all have our favorites, when it comes to adventure cartooning in particular and newspaper cartooning in general, aren’t Caniff, Foster, and Raymond the genre’s Trinity? (Especially considering how many humor cartoonists acknowledged their debts to one of more of those men — in our upcoming Steve Canyon Volume 10, for instance, we excerpt a highly complimentary letter to Caniff from Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, who talks of being a kid, poring over Terry and the Pirates comics.) So it only seemed proper that our first full “artbook” was devoted to the Rembrandt of the Comic Strips.

Anyone with an interest in the comics medium is forever indebted to Milton because [A] he kept everything and eventually bequeathed it all to his alma mater, The Ohio State University, where it became the foundation for today’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum …


… And [B] he had an unerring nose for promotion and publicity, so weekly magazines and newspapers across the country kept tabs of his movements and activities. In a lot of places, when Milton Caniff came to town, it was Big News — and that coverage yields some fascinating insights about the man and his career. There aren’t many persons involved with comics at any level of the business about whom you can say a 952-page biography exists, yet there is still much more to say. Everyone with a basic knowledge of comic strips knows Terry and Steve Canyon

… But our efforts have brought to light other rare pieces, like this sketch of his (and Norman Rockwell’s) sometimes-model, Gen Melia …

Many similar wonderful pieces, encompassing a broad range of topics and production media, made their way into Caniff. I find it to be the kind of book that rewards a reader the first time through, and surprises and rewards him on occasional re-readings, as well.

The LOAC Wheel of Fortune makes its final appearance next month — what category should we load onto it, and to which of our books would it apply? We have ideas we’re kicking about, but if you have thoughts, send them to us at LOAC on Facebook, or using our public e-mail address, Your suggestion could be the one that helps determine the Wheel’s fateful final spin …




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