My dad Fred McLaren passed away in 2016, but his talent lives on through his artwork and writing. The project he was most proud of (his dream come true) was Thornsby, a syndicated comic panel which ran in newspapers across the United States during the 1970s. Thornsby is now a part of newspaper history, but it has long been my dream to share this treasure with today's audience. I wanted a permanent hard copy book containing the complete Thornsby cartoon run, so that his vision can be shared for posterity.
In October 2020, my wife Mary and I made it happen. We authored and published the definitive book of Thornsby as a loving tribute to its talented creator. It's a very personal book for me, allowing me to revisit a huge part of my life. I originally planned the book as a gift for a few family members, but then decided the universal appeal of his humorous writing and expert cartooning should be seen by a wider audience. My hope is that people, young and old, will discover or rediscover this long-hidden gem. Within my own family, I hope the book will be passed from generation to generation, so that my dad will be with them always. Our book has been accepted into the Library of Congress, a huge honor for any independently produced book. With the help of family, friends, and newcomers who have the book, imy dream that Thornsby will live forever is now happening!
For those new to Thornsby, here's my summary from Lulu, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, where you can find hardcover and softcover versions of "Thornsby by Fred McLaren: The Complete Comic Collection":
Relive the trippy and turbulent 1970s with "Thornsby"! From creator, writer and artist Fred McLaren, "Thornsby" was a topical and humorous single-panel cartoon published in newspapers nationwide during this splashy decade. The hero was a family man who longed for the nostalgic days of his 1940s youth. With his unique and quirky sense of humor, he struggled with the reality of being a middle-aged man in the 1970s. Americans faced a decade of jarring political and socioeconomic changes, including inflation, pollution, shortages, recalls, protests, women's liberation, and so much more. Thornsby, his devoted wife Blanch, and free spirit son Tune-In (with his flower child girlfriend Vibes) had to find a way to muddle through this strange new world. For the first time ever, the complete syndicated run of 768 "Thornsby" cartoons is presented in this book as a tribute to its talented creator across over 450 pages of memories. Never-before-seen promotional and publicity materials are included, as well as other photographs, bonuses, and surprises. The very personal introduction and numerous cartoon anecdotes are written by Fred's son Tom McLaren. "Thornsby" is a witty and entertaining look back at the 1970s for comic strip historians, retro collectors, and fans of good humor.