by Jeet Heer
Friday, November 26, 2010
Michael Tisserand, who is working on a biography of George Herriman, grew up in Alexandria, Minnesota. As it happens, Alexandra is also where, many decades before Tisserand arrived on the scene, Cliff Sterrett grew up. Michael was recently back home for the holidays and during his trip he was interviewed for a local radio station about his Herriman research and also about the upcoming Polly and Her Pals, which should be out shortly from IDW. You can listen to the interview here. To hear Michael talk, you have to fast forward till the 32nd minute or so of the hour long show (unless you wanted to hear about the local theater’s production of “Little Women”).
Michael mentioned to me that he wasn’t expecting to answer the questions about comic strip history that got thrown at him, so he go a few things wrong because he was caught off guard (i.e., he forgot the fact the color supplements preceeded the black and white strips). So I hope none of the nerds on this blog get too pedantic with him. But the conversation is really rich in Alexandria lore relating to Sterrett and there are good tidbits about Herriman as well. I wrote the introduction to the new Polly book and I wish I had had some of these bits of texture when I was writing my introduction (I’ll put them in the next Sterrett book). So I encourage comics history buffs to listen. As a bonus, the whole interview is conducted in a lilt and lingo strongly reminiscent of the movie Fargo (set, of course, in a neighboring state). Interestingly as Michael notes this is the same neck of the woods that gave us not only Sterrett but also Frank King and Charles Schulz. So give it a listen.