Official Press Release
San Diego, CA (July 18, 2013) – Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditoriums are among the most popular museums worldwide, yet most people don’t know that it all started with a daily cartoon drawn by one man—Robert Ripley. IDW and the Library of American Comics will present the definitive edition of Ripley’s sensational cartoons that featured the odd and amazing from around the world.
Originally a sports cartoonist, Ripley drew a “Champs and Chumps” cartoon that eventually morphed into “Believe It or Not!” By 1929, the series took off as Ripley became a world traveler, seeking stories of bizarre and unusual proportion to put in his internationally-known feature. In an era when not many people traveled outside their own home town, let alone out of the country, Ripley became a compulsive traveler and journeyed whenever he could! The cartoons were adapted into radio and television programs, and helped make Ripley the highest paid cartoonist in the world. The franchise still thrives as the famous Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditoriums.
Starting in 2014 IDW and the Library of American Comics will begin reprinting Ripley’s famous daily cartoons in hardcover collections, including bonus and background material from Ripley’s impressive archives. The first volume will collect the cartoons from 1929 and 1930, when Ripley’s fame raised him from relative obscurity to international celebrity!
“Ripley’s Believe It or Not! has been entertaining generations of readers,” said IDW CEO & Publisher Ted Adams, “My grandpa used to read it when he was growing up and I read it with him when I was first getting interested in comic art. Even today, Ripley’s work still holds a special place for me as I recently took my son to the Ripley’s exhibit in San Diego. I’m proud that IDW will be able to reintroduce some of the earliest cartoons to a new audience and look forward to learning even more myself, about Ripley’s fascinating life.”
Established in 2007 by Dean Mullaney, the Library of American Comics has become an authority on comic strip preservation and restoration. Their multi-Eisner Award winning collections present archival material accompanied with enriching information, framing the selected strips against the backdrop of history and culture.
Vice president of Exhibits & Archives at Ripley Entertainment, Inc., Edward Meyers, expressed his enthusiasm for the project as well, “Many of our millions of fans and readers grew up on our paperback series volumes (1929-1984) where drawings were cut and pasted and removed from their original setting, have never seen how Ripley drew and laid the cartoons out for their original newspaper publication. Publishing them in their original format, in book form, for the very first time ever, is going to be a revelation to all our younger readers who may have never realized that first and foremost Robert Ripley— explorer, radio, movie and television personality, entrepreneur and museum impresario– was an astounding artist-cartoonist.”
Continuing to feature important and influential works from the history of comics, IDW and the Library of American Comics will present Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in a series of hardcover collections, each containing two years of Ripley’s cartoons in addition to insightful background information on Ripley and his global travels. Believe it, these books will be a welcome addition to any discerning comics library.