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“Captain Cartoon” exists as my most successful creation, but Gangbuster is right up there with him.
As gangs continue to riddle the country with death, drugs and blood-spattered violence, cartoonist Dick Kulpa has decided to re-energize a program with a rich history of positive results. GANGBUSTER!
Originally issued in 1986, the Gangbuster comic book project continues to be distributed by several police agencies, albeit on a small scale (and one within reach of Kulpa’s limited resources.)
“Police agencies who’ve distributed Gangbuster see this as an ideal “bridge-builder”, a way to break the ice when communicating with kids,” Kulpa says. “A comic book is non-threatening and looks downright fun. Upon its reading, however, is when Gangbuster’s ‘Trojan Horse’ value emerges — kids learn obvious, common sense lessons as to why gangs are bad for them.”
“In its short and sweet 8-page format, these lessons are easily absorbed,” Kulpa added.
Gangbuster met with phenomenal acceptance in his initial Rockford, Illinois debut, and subsequent surveys distributed by youth-gang counselors…
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As a caricature artist I’ve drawn many thousands of kids – particularly young tourists from the northeast – since 2005. Recently at the Sailfish Marina on Singer Island (Florida), I counted a number of childrens from Connecticut as having caricatures done. That’s because I always ask where they’re hailing from.
I conceivably could have drawn one of those children, though I’ll probably never know this. One thing is certain, however: I will never get to draw them now.
This is MY take on this senseless debacle.
A “printable” version of this has been added to my home website.
BOCA RATON, FL — When author and prominent attorney Kathy Johnson approached Dick Kulpa in 2009 to help develop her Starlette Universe, his initial inclination was to decline her offer, since this entailed drawing pretty teen girly-girls and not the macho super heroes he once aspired to.
The satirical aspect of the Starlette Universe grabbed him, however, and the rest is history. “Especially the parts with the flying pig. And a talking cow.” he quipped.
Plus, these “Barbies” had attitudes, he’d soon discover.
“Kathy’s penchant for puns and poetry intrigued me to no end,” admits Kulpa, and to have a pageant judge coaching me — sometimes vigorously — as to the fine points of drawing glamorous, pretty girls proved invaluable.” After all, back in 1984 Marvel production guru Sol Brodsky advised Kulpa to learn just that.
“The Starlette Universe features six distinctively different teen girls and their”miss”adventures rivaling anything superheroes offer,” says Kulpa. Their chief nemesis is a jealous, demonic teen queen named “Eva” (the evil) who possesses the bizarre ability to shape-shift into any scary creature she chooses. “What cracks me up,” Kulpa says, “is when the Starlette girls confront adversity with a barrage of puns — and GOOD puns at that!”
The Starlettes also offer solid life lessons mixed in with their entertaining tales, something Kulpa embraces. “I have a long term history producing cartoons and comics offering added social benefit, i.e. the anti-gang “Gangbuster” comic book, as well as political cartoons, so that part is right up my alley.”
“Add to the mix that the author successfully raised a daughter to become a successful national beauty pageant contestant and now a highly respected attorney. Kathy’s record speaks for itself,” says Kulpa, who himself has no plans on entering beauty pageants.
The former CRACKED Magazine publisher successfully resurrected his artistic career in CRACKED’s aftermath with “Captain Cartoon,” South Florida caricature artist who’s drawn over 35,000 people since 2005. “Those caricatures are hanging around the world, from Moscow (Russia) to Mukwonago, Wisconsin,” he added. Kulpa’s also produced a coloring book, illustrated slide shows and several cartoon billboards among a variety of caricature and cartoon-based projects. Kulpa reveals he’s also written a book about his CRACKED adventure encompassing all points start-to-finish, but he’s declined to say anything further.
Kulpa has thrown his support to Kathy Johnson’s just-launched Starlette Kickstarter campaign, and produced a first ever semi-animated video on behalf of the Starlette Universe. “It highlights Kathy Johnson’s pun technique and even uses my own music as its soundtrack,” says Kulpa.
“This o-‘puns’ up more opportunities,” he quipped. Kulpa also hints that he may include a bonus autographed CRACKED Magazine along with the rewards posted on Kickstarter for Starlette Universe support.
See Dick Kulpa’s animated video on Kickstarter (and throw some support to the Starlettes 🙂
Kathy Johnson’s “STARLETTE UNIVERSE Book 1: ‘CAT’ASTROPHE” introduces young readers to six glamorous girls who stand up for what is right
BOCA RATON, Fla. – “STARLETTE UNIVERSE Book 1: ‘CAT’ASTROPHE” (ISBN 061561177X) by Kathy Johnson, a fashion-savvy pageant mom and part-time pageant judge, is the first installment of a new illustrated series depicting the adventures of a group of bright, beautiful girls and their irrepressible dog.
Bursting with color, wordplay and catchy rhymes, the book introduces readers to Jinnie, Bekka, Skylar, Ashlee, Sallee, Lizzie and Punkin, Skylar’s German schnauzer. United by friendship, fashion, boys and more, the girls are against cliques, evil kids or anyone who doesn’t treat them nicely. In “‘CAT’ASTROPHE,” the gang encounters their nemesis, Eva the Evil, who uses an innocent kitty cat to lure Ashlee into danger. Racing to save the poor feline, Ashlee demonstrates her love of animals and hatred of cruelty. Cuddling the poor creature in her arms, it would be up to the rest of the Starlettes to save the day.
“Along with all the fun, young girls can learn serious messages and rules for living with good advice and character lessons,” says Johnson. “After entering Starlette Universe, all readers are faced with a decision: Team GOoD? Or Team D-evil?”
Aimed at young girls and designed to appeal to their fashion sense, language and adventurous spirit, the book shares profiles of each Starlette and explains their likes and dislikes. The narrative is delivered in rhyming verse that uses hyphens and mash-ups to add new meaning to common words and phrases. The book is fully illustrated by legendary cartoonist Dick Kulpa, with full-color depictions of the girls and their adventures.
Kathy Johnson’s “STARLETTE UNIVERSE Book 1: ‘CAT’ASTROPHE” available for sale online at Amazon.com and other channels.
About the Author:
Kathy Johnson is a poet, pageant mom and attorney. A longtime beauty pageant judge, she is the mother of Miss Vermont 1999 and Miss Vermont USA 2001. Her illustrated creation, STARLETTE UNIVERSE, first appeared in the pages of Pageantry magazine.
About the Artist:
Dick Kulpa is former cartoonist and publisher of Cracked Magazine, Former Editor of Weekly World News, and former illustrator of the nationally-syndicated Star Trek, Bruce Lee and Ghost Story Club comic strips.
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