Otis, Melvin Goodge, and A Story of How Books Bring Us Together


The best part about working on a book is that you never know where it could take you. For Melvin Goodge, one of the top-ten cartoon art historians by anyone’s measure (especially mine), it led to an entirely unplanned academic career, the birth of a new publishing format, and a cherished friendship.

While today we all know Melvin Goodge as a professor of Speech Bubbles at the Huntley Smoot University for Comic Sciences, way back in 1978 he was just a fresh-faced associate editor hungry for a little experience and a job that paid something to do anything at all with words. After answering a couple classified ads and landing just one interview, he wound up in the offices of Ringer Publishing Paperbacks. But somehow, Goodge wasn’t assigned a pile of submissions to read or a pile of breakfasts to purchase for the senior editors; by happenstance and two fortuitously timed sick days his first task was the plum assignment of shepherding into being the first paperback to feature all-new material from the hit comic strip Frank and His Friend. Continue reading