Not that it’s news to anyone, but Doug Marlette died last week in a car accident in Mississippi. Best known for the creation of the nationally syndicated daily newspaper strip, Kudzu, he was also a Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist. I’ve enjoyed his editorial pieces for years, but Kudzu was never my taste. Having grown up in North Carolina, it was hard to read the comics page without finding Kudzu, but I can’t say that it was ever anymore memorable than B.C. or Funky Winkerbean. Nevertheless, Marlette, a Hillsborough, NC native, was celebrated as one of “Cack-a-lack’s” favorite sons. At first, this story was only notable to me for being about a cartoonist who died tragically, so I was very surprised to find out that he was a Seminole, too. Imagine my shock to find out that FSU had a multiple and major award-winning cartoonist as one of it’s alumni- not that they made a big deal of it until after he died, if they have or will at all, but oh well…go figure.
A former classmate of mine, Mandy Newham, has followed in his footsteps, quite literally, as she continues her wonderful work as editorial cartoonist for the FSView/Florida Flambeau as well as for my former hometown paper, the Smoky Mountain News, since she moved to Western NC last fall. A tough act to follow, but if anyone can, it’s Mandy.