Picayune’s Blondie connection: Frank Cummings

Published 3:03 am Sunday, September 12, 2010

Did you know that Picayune has a connection to the comic strip Blondie?

Frank Cummings, who has been a sought- out commercial artist for many years and now the assistant to the Blondie Comic strip head artist— John Marshall, sold ads for the Picayune Item back in the early to mid 1980’s.

Cummings says, “I met Tom Andrews when I worked for a retailer in Picayune. He got me to come work at the Item with him and I sold ads for him. The Item was a good place to work and the area is terrific. My parents lived there for years.”

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Frank says, “My early career was spent working in newspaper and advertising agency art departments. I found that I loved the print medium and by 1992, I self- published “JAB”— a regional (southeast) illustrated satire/humor magazine.”

He says, “After a few years, the magazine had caught the eye of exercise guru Richard Simmons and I designed his “Cruise to Lose” t-shirts. Shortly after that I was designing his monthly newsletter and from there went on to design his packages for his weightloss programs.”

“Richard recommended me to do the design on Marie Osmond’s collector dolls, which sold on Q.V.C. I did the box design for her Annabelle dolls and some others.”

He continued, “I went on to close down “JAB” and go to work for “Cracked” when they approached me. I was happy to give up the nightmares of self- publishing and devote myself to doing what I love.”

Cummings was then approached by King Features Syndicate and Dean Young (Whose father “Chic” began the strip and worked with him prior to his passing.) He was hired by Young and King Features Syndicate as the assistant artist to complete the artistic team.

Cummings press release states that the Monday through Friday strips that he illustrates are read by millions of people in over 2500 newspapers and translated into 35 languages daily.

“I have loved to draw from the time that I was a little bitty boy, I would never have dreamt that one day I would be illustrating for a comic strip like Blondie.”