May 31, 2008

Redeye cartoonist dies

Cartoonist Legend Mel Casson Dies at 87Cartoonist legend Mel Casson, the writer and illustrator of the comic strip “Redeye,” died on May 21 at his Westport home. He was 87.

Casson was a 40-year Westport resident and lived on Guyer Road. For almost 20 years Casson illustrated “Redeye,” a parody strip about a 19th century tribe of Native Americans, for King Features Syndicate.

When cartoonist Bill Yates, who wrote the “Redeye” scripts, retired in 1999, Casson assumed full writing and drawing duties of the strip.
Comment:  "Parody" translates to "weak humor based on Native stereotypes." From what I saw of Redeye, it was about as funny as Beetle Bailey or Nancy. (That means not very, for the young folks reading this blog.)

It's been a long time since I read Redeye, but I believe it featured the standard stereotypes: a chief, teepees, bows and arrows, etc. About the only nonstereotypical touch was giving Redeye a hat and vest rather than the usual buckskins and feathers.

Good-bye to Casson and good riddance to Redeye. One hopes it'll go to the "happy hunting ground," a phrase I'll bet it used more than once.

For more on the subject, see Native Comic Strips vs. Comic Books.

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