Mike Curtis (writer)
|Born||1953 (age 62–63)
|Area(s)||Writer, editor, publisher, television host|
Shanda the Panda
|Awards||Harvey Award 2013, 2014, 2015|
Mike Curtis (b. 1953) is an American writer who scripts the Dick Tracy comic strip, with Joe Staton as artist. He has been working professionally in comic books as a writer since the mid-1980s. He has also been a newspaper editor, deputy sheriff, comic book publisher, movie theater manager, TV horror movie host, Santa Claus for 39 years in the family tradition, and is a Baptist minister.
In the early 1970s Curtis and his best friend and cousin Wally Hall formed a comedy team called "Curtis and Hall". The duo was very active on local TV with their show "Curtis and Hall's Cosmic Banana Revue", in addition to performing weekly on college TV. Before the duo split amicably, they considered attending the tryouts for Hee Haw in nearby Nashville. One of their most frequent sketches were original routines with themselves as the Marx Brothers (with Hall portraying Chico and Curtis as Groucho). Curtis and Hall considered their best work a sketch called "Dinosaur Boogie," featuring plastic dinosaurs on wire hangers. Curtis refers to "Boogie" as “the ultimate cheap dinosaur movie”.
In the 1970s, Curtis was a horror movie TV host on Channel 6 in Jackson, Tennessee, as Count Basil on Shock Theater. He brought back the character in 2010 as horror host guest at the Sivads of March event in Memphis, Tennessee honoring that city's horror host.
In the 1980s, Curtis entered the comic book field by writing Richie Rich, Casper The Friendly Ghost, and New Kids on the Block for Harvey Comics. While there, he also designed the Harvey Enchanted Forest map (based on Irish Bayou in Louisiana) and scripted several pilots for Casper TV series and specials.
In the 1990s, Curtis teamed up with artist Mike Sagara to produce his own comic, Shanda the Panda, an anthropomorphic or "furry" comic about a theater manager. With the first comic published by MU Press, the title moved to Antarctic Press for the second issue. There it ran for 14 issues, while Curtis' wife Carole produced a Native American cat adventure comic called Katmandu with artist Terrie Smith.
Later the Curtises took their titles to Vision Comics, while also beginning their own imprint, Shanda Fantasy Arts. Eventually. both flagship titles were reclaimed under the SFA Banner. SFA has published dozens of comic series and specials, including Extinctioners, Albedo Anthropomorphics, and the non-furry Last Kiss. Curtis has also written a short story and novella dealing with the adventures of George Reeves as Superman.
Shanda and Katmandu are still being published by the Curtises, but both series ended in 2012. They expect to publish an occasional comic or comic story, but the main focus is now on Dick Tracy.
When not at fan conventions, the Curtises live on a farm in Greenbrier, Arkansas. Mrs. Curtis makes jewelry, does costume work, and is active in the local Society for Creative Anachronism. Curtis is now working on several novels and other projects with various projected print dates, including an alternate history novel with friend Richard Thatcher.
Curtis and Staton were selected by Tribune Media Services to continue the Dick Tracy comic strip (which was approaching its 80th Anniversary) in January 2011. They are only the fifth team to ever do so. Shelley Pleger, inker, who has worked as an artist for Disney, and Shane Fisher, Sunday colorist and a talented graduate of the Joe Kubert School of Cartooning, round out the team.
Staton and Curtis had their first eBook collection, Calling Dick Tracy, published by Rabbit Hole Graphics.
- Curtis entry, Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- Boucher, Geoff. "Dick Tracy: Is there a fedora future for the 80-year-old icon?" Los Angeles Times (Feb. 21, 2011).
- "Sivads of March". Guerrillamonster.com. 2005-03-23. Retrieved 2011-08-14.
- "Case closed: Dick Tracy artist retires from long-running detective comic strip". Chicago Tribune. 2011-02-20. Retrieved 2011-08-14.
- Rosenthal, Phil (January 19, 2011). "Dick Locher passes TMS' 'Dick Tracy' to new artist, writer". Tower Ticker. Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on January 16, 2012. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- Calling Dick Tracy on Amazon.com. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- "Congratulations Team Tracy on 2014 Harvey Award!," Dick Tracy Depot (Sept. 7, 2014).