Russ Maheras

Russ Maheras
Chicago area,
Chicago native; long-time public affairs specialist; former electronic countermeasures technician on A-10, SR-71, U-2, RC-135 and C-5 aircraft; professional cartoonist; comics historian; and 20-year Air Force veteran. Lived all over – including 10 years overseas. Hobbies include history, science, technology, cartooning, film and sports. Grew up on the west side of Chicago, and unlike most baseball fans in the city, roots for both the White Sox AND the Cubs.


Most of us have heard the widespread news buzz in social and legacy media regarding several recent comic book publicity stunts.  Archie’s going to be shot and killed, Thor will soon be a woman, and the role of Captain America will soon be filled by his black partner, the Falcon/… Read full post »

JULY 28, 2012 5:56PM

'Mars Attacks' and Me


One fateful day in 1962, during a trip to a local corner drugstore in Chicago, a colorful box of garish trading cards on the counter suddenly caught my eye. Prominently featured on its red and yellow pop-up teaser top was a menacing bug-eyed alien flanked by the fauxRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 13, 2012 12:56PM

Sixty-five years of flying high with Steve Canyon

Note: I wrote the following essay for the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con International program book, which celebrated a number of cartooning milestones that year -- including the 60th anniversary of Steve Canyon. It has been slightly modified here to reflect the most current Steve Canyon anniversary date.Read full post »

A popular monthly magazine for young boys during the 1930s and 1940s was “Open Road for Boys.” One of its regular features was a cartoon contest, where a house cartoonist would draw a set-up cartoon, and readers were then asked to send in their own cartoon submissions depicting what they… Read full post »

DECEMBER 11, 2011 7:07PM

Not-so-organic food?

Not-so-organic food

OCTOBER 26, 2011 12:18AM

Happy Halloween Salon

Happy Halloween Salon

On June 20, 2005, I e-mailed the message below to Mr. Avi Arad, then chairman and CEO of Marvel Studios, regarding their newly announced Captain America film project. In it, I gave my sincere thoughts about how I hoped the film project would evolve and solidify, based on my many years… Read full post »

(Note: This is the expanded version of my original Open Salon essay, and it was published July 22, 2011 on Noah Berlatsky's Web site, Hooded Utilitarian) 

If you knew anything at all about me, you’d probably think I’d be the one guy in the world who should have enjoyed someRead full post »

Like many, I’ve been watching the grim news accounts of the deadly and devastating tornadoes that have been ripping through the central and southern parts of the United States this spring. Destruction in the hardest hit towns is total, and my heart goes out to the shocked and dazed survivors &n… Read full post »

MARCH 3, 2011 10:26PM

The 'myth' of media bias

In numerous discussions over the years with professional journalists, I've found that, almost to a person, they bristle at the term "media bias" -- treating it as if it's some absurd myth. But after many years of closely working with and watching journalists in action, the only thRead full post »

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On Jan. 21, 1990, at 0500 hours, an important chapter in America's Cold War effort closed forever when SR-71 Blackbird #17962 took off into the pre-dawn darkness at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. This was the last flight ever from Detachment 1, 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing (Strategic Air Comma… Read full post »

AUGUST 21, 2010 1:35PM

Rolling home the money, circa 1925

This 1925 ad for a B. "Tack" Knight cartooning course book really made me laugh. Yeah, guys! The cartoonist's hardest job is rolling home the money in a wheelbarrow!!! Maybe in the 1920s it was! NOTE: This house ad was in the back of the book, Commercial Art and Cartooning, by… Read full post »

MARCH 30, 2010 12:15AM

Electrocuting whales

When I first saw the cover of this copy of the June 1919 issue of "Illustrated World" at a  flea market, I just had to buy the magazine. It's so out of step with today's way of thinking, it had me shaking my head in amazement. 


For those who have never seen this mRead full post »

DECEMBER 1, 2009 3:38AM

Chicago's greatest 'unknown' cartoonist

For the vast majority of comics aficionados under the age of 45, the name Alan James Hanley is probably meaningless. Hint: He’s not the same guy who owns and runs the renowned comic book store, Alan Hanley’s Universe, across the street from the Empire State Building in New York City.


Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 12, 2009 3:31PM

The ultimate pyrrhic victory?

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 21, 2009 10:27AM

‘Mad’ creator’s early Army cartoons

In 1943, when an 18-year-old novice cartoonist named Harvey Kurtzman was drafted into the U.S. Army during the height of World War II, no one – including Kurtzman himself – could have imagined the enormous impact the young artist would someday have on popular culture.


Kurtzman&rsquo… Read full post »

AUGUST 5, 2009 10:18PM

George Carlin's U.S. Air Force years

The August 3 entry on cartoonist/artist Skip Williamson’s blog here led off with a quote from George Carlin, and that got me thinking again about a few tidbits of little-known Carlin trivia I shared with folks on another Web site not too long ago.


Carlin, as you may or may… Read full post »

In my previous entry, without elaborating, I mentioned that editorial cartoonists were treated like “kings” in the past. This was particularly true in the early part of the last century. Most were men, most were paid very, very well for their era, and the very best – like/… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 30, 2009 6:49PM

State of newspaper editorial cartooning in five years?

Once upon a time, newspaper editorial cartoonists in the United States were treated like kings. The best gave their newspapers national prestige, helped boost circulations, and were fought after with big money and other perks as vigorously as any top sports star is today. Their cartoons were editoria… Read full post »