By Mike Weland
The Kootenai Valley Times is delighted to invite ZED to its front page, and we extend our thanks to cartoonist Duane M. Abel for sharing his talent with our readers.
Beginning today, ZED will appear at the bottom of the main column of the front page and will be updated each week.
Born in a small Ohio town and growing up on a steady diet of Saturday morning cartoons, the Sunday funnies and cereal, Duane joined the ranks of professional cartooning at the age of 13, selling cartoons to several small magazines and regional publications.
Applying his four words to success — work, study, learn and try — Duane walked into his hometown newspaper at the age of 15 with the comic strip “ZED.” The feature began in the fall of 1995 and soon Duane was offered a syndication contract from a Future Features Syndicate.
By signing on the dotted line Duane became the youngest syndicated cartoonist in the country, but before launching the comic strip, the syndicate closed its doors.
However, with a strong local readerships Duane began to offer his creation to other publications.
It was during this exciting time that Duane was offered a full tuition scholarship to the University of Akron to major in Theatre Arts.
While preparing “ZED” for his first book collection with Plan Nine Publishing, Duane signed another contract with American International Syndicate, where the owner suffered a heart attack before promoting “ZED” to newspapers.
Duane was too busy to notice as he was touring in a one man theatrical production and exciting football fans as the school mascot, Zippy the Kangaroo!
Upon graduation Duane married his college sweetheart, Coral, and soon welcomed his first child into the world. He then took control of his creative destiny and formed Corkey Comics, ensuring that “ZED” would always have a home in book collections and newspapers.
“ZED” currently appears in several weekly newspapers and has been collected into Corkey Comics book publications. https://www.corkeycomics.com/
Duane is a proud member of The National Cartoonists Society and has been nominated for the Ignatz Award. Duane travels to more than 100 schools every year presenting his student assembly, “Draw Your Destiny,” and he’s a very busy keynote speaker sharing the wisdom of the Sunday Funnies and how they can be used for personal and professional development.
Duane and his wife are proud parents of two boys, Zackie and Clayton, and live in a small Ohio town.