Monday, June 17, 2024

The Garden As of June 15, 2024


The garden as of June 15, 2024. Some carrot “volunteers” that I’m keeping on. Otherwise, it’s zinnias in most of the raised beds and tomatoes and cucumbers on the side porch. Everything is green and growing fast. 


Friday, June 14, 2024

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Stan and Jan Berenstain's Gag Cartoon Panel "Sister"

The University of the Arts in Philadelphia suddenly closed on Friday, June 7th. 


"The school officially closed Friday, as hundreds of staff members were laid off and more than a thousand students were left without a place to earn a degree. The school's closure was announced just a week prior to its shuttering, which set off outcries and protests in the days that followed." - The Philly Voice

 The Daily Cartoonist has more links here.

Stan and Jan Berenstain met as art students there in the 1940s. Their career in cartooning, before their kids' books -- before The Berenstain Bears series -- was long and varied and, unfortunately, pretty much unknown. 

Last time, we looked at the gag cartoons that they created, and today we have their "Sister" series of cartoons. Like "Little Lulu" and "Hazel" before it, "Sister" was a regular magazine cartoon feature that appealed to a middle class audience. "Sister," however, did not go the newspaper syndication route or see life in comic books. Dick Buchanan has clipped twenty of this 1950s family gag feature and presents them now. Thanks and take it away, Dick!



(1950 – 1952)

Stan and Jan Berenstain’s gag cartoons were in great demand by the editors of Collier’s and The Saturday Evening Post and other national weekly magazines which were aimed at a family audience.  Their cartoons dealt with young families and children and they hit the spot with readers. 

In 1950 Collier’s cartoon editor Gurney Williams gave them the opportunity to publish a regular gag panel cartoon and their contribution was Sister.  Sister was a high-spirited young girl whose misadventures were always amusing and she became of popular Collier’s feature for several years.  

Here, for the first time in a long time, are some examples of this series . . . Take a look!

1. JAN and STAN BERENSTAIN.  Collier’s  March 11, 1950.


2. JAN and STAN BERENSTAIN.  Collier’s  April 22, 1950. 


3. JAN and STAN BERENSTAIN.  Collier’s  June 10, 1950.


4. JAN and STAN BERENSTAIN.  Collier’s  October 21, 1950.


5. JAN and STAN BERENSTAIN.  Collier’s  October 28, 1950.


6. JAN and STAN BERENSTAIN.  Collier’s  November 18, 1950.


7. JAN and STAN BERENSTAIN.  Collier’s  December 9, 1950.


8. JAN and STAN BERENSTAIN.  Collier’s  December 16, 1950.


9.  JAN and STAN BERENSTAIN.  Collier’s  December 23, 1950.


10. JAN and STAN BERENSTAIN.  Collier’s  February 17, 1951.


11. JAN and STAN BERENSTAIN.  Collier’s  May 26, 1951.


12. JAN and STAN BERENSTAIN.  Collier’s  July 21, 1951.


13. JAN and STAN BERENSTAIN.  Collier’s  November 24, 1951.


14. JAN and STAN BERENSTAIN.  Collier’s  December 29, 1951.


15. JAN and STAN BERENSTAIN.  Collier’s  February  2, 1952.


16. JAN and STAN BERENSTAIN.  Collier’s  March 1, 1952.


17. JAN and STAN BERENSTAIN.  Collier’s  April 5, 1952.


18. JAN and STAN BERENSTAIN.  Collier’s  April 19, 1952.


19. JAN and STAN BERENSTAIN.  Collier’s  August 2, 1952.


20. JAN and STAN BERENSTAIN.  Collier’s  August 9, 1952.


- Edited from a May 5, 2021 blog entry.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Events Related to the Release of Fantagraphics' "STAN MACK’S REAL LIFE FUNNIES: The Collected Conceits, Delusions, and Hijinks of New Yorkers from 1974 to 1995"

Stan Mack has a new book out compiling his long-running Real Life Funnies.

There is a new podcast:

"'To do them one week at a time is one thing, all you have to do is hit that darned deadline. But to look at 20 years in front of you... it’s such a wide span of what New York was in those days.'

"Stan Mack is on the latest Virtual Memories show: 'Legendary cartoonist & artist Stan Mack pioneered documentary comics and bought New York’s multitudes to life with 'Stan Mack’s Real Life Funnies' (RLF) in the Village Voice, now collected as 'STAN MACK’S REAL LIFE FUNNIES: The Collected Conceits, Delusions, and Hijinks of New Yorkers from 1974 to 1995' ( Fantagraphics)'. Listen here"


And, if you are in NYC tonight:

On June 13 @ 6:30 pm—8:30 pm, New York's Society Of Illustrators marks this Fantagraphics compendium of 'Village Voice' comics by Stan Mack with a special evening where he will be joined by illustrators Steve Brodner, Victor Juhasz Illustrations, and Rick Meyerowitz. Book here:"
Hat tip to Paul Gravett!

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

See Steve Ditko's Original Art for the Spider-Man Origin Story

Ever wanted to see the art by Steve Ditko from the very first Spider-Man story? Get down to the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. This from Sara Duke, Curator, Popular & Applied Graphic Art at The Library of Congress:

"There's a new Treasures exhibition at the Library of Congress. Among our treasured collections is the original art for Amazing Fantasy 15, but really there are a lot of fantastic items. Open Tuesday through Saturday and on Thursday evenings. Tickets required. Link here."

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

ComicsBeat "NYCC ’24: The High Cost of Artist Alley at New York Comic Con"


The New York Comic Convention, or NYCC, is a big, annual event -- whose prices are increasing substantially for its artists, as well as other exhibitors and fans. Billy Henehan writes about this in "NYCC ’24: The High Cost of Artist Alley at New York Comic Con" for ComicsBeat:

"It’s been common knowledge for years that New York Comic Con is an expensive convention, both for fans and professionals. Fans wandering Artist Alley at NYCC are not surprised to see artists charging more for sketches and signatures at NYCC compared to smaller shows like HeroesCon, Baltimore and Terrificon. The 'NYCC tax,' as it has come to be called in the sketch collecting community.

"It’s rare to find out just how much more artists are paying for their NYCC Artist Alley tables. ReedPop, the owner of NYCC, publishes the Artist Alley price right on the application on the NYCC site. But few people outside of artists applying for a table head to that part of the NYCC site. So when artist TC Ford announced on his Facebook that 'Artist Alley NYCC is $565…IF they accept you…', the community woke up to just how much artists are paying to present the products of their labor there.


"And that all caps 'IF' is very prescient. Despite the higher than ever Artist Alley table price, ReedPop will likely be turning people away when it comes to booking a table in Artist Alley at NYCC this year, as it has it years past.

"The Artist Alley table is just one of many costs involved at tabling at NYCC. Out of town artists have to contend with paying for hotels, travel and food. These costs will no doubt be passed down to fans, the ultimate consumer at NYCC, who may find their favorite comics pros charging even higher prices for signatures and sketches at NYCC compared to other shows or previous years.

"Artist Alley cost $525 at NYCC in 2023. This isn’t the only cost increase to happen at NYCC for 2024. Professional badges increased $15 from $85 to $100. And it’s not just professionals feeling the hit. Ticket prices went up across the board. Compared to last year, Four Day passes increased from $230 to $240. Individual day passes increased from $70 to $75. Even kids aren’t immune to the price hike. A NYCC Sunday Kids pass cost $25 in 2023, but was bumped up to $30 for 2024. Even the per ticket service fee that NYCC charges on each ticket went up this year, from $3.25 in 2023 to $3.50 in 2024. Four Day pass holders pay an even higher service fee. If you a bought a Four Day pass this year before they sold out, a service fee of $9.50 was tacked onto your order, bringing your cost up to $249.50 before tax and shipping charges.

"New York City is an expensive city for sure, but it wasn’t that many years ago that NYCC cost $65 for a Three Day pass. Now you can’t even get in the front door one day at NYCC for that price. Unfortunately, for both comics pros and comics fans, NYCC ’24 is shaping up to be the most expensive one yet."

I have tabled at a couple of conventions through the years. If you are fortunate enough to be in the National Cartoonists Society, you can have a space at their table and that helps solve that return on investment equation. A lot of people I met who tabled had a full-time non-comics job and that was how they paid the thousands of dollars in overhead. But with that formula, you are forever tethered to your job.

Monday, June 10, 2024

"Binghamton alumna brings the ‘Mary Worth’ world to life"

Karen Moy has written the "Mary Worth" comic strip for the past two decades. Image Credit: Mike Jee.


Mary Worth writer Karen Moy is interviewed by her alma mater, the Binghamton University News, about her twenty years of writing the Mary Worth comic strip.  

"After working in medical advertising, Moy got a job as an assistant with Hearst Corporation, which owns King Features. She served as a comic strip ghostwriter when the need arose.

"'I said: ‘Yes, I can do it’ and submitted samples of my work,' she says. 'Based on those scripts, I was accepted as a temporary ghostwriter for other comic strips. When ‘Mary Worth’ needed a ghostwriter, I volunteered for that, too. I was already a fan of the ‘Mary Worth’ world, so it came easily to me and was a good fit.'

"In early 2004, Moy became the credited writer of the comic strip after John Saunders (son of original 'Mary Worth' writer Allen Saunders) died.

"Collaboration and inspiration

"Moy put her own touches on the strip after taking over the storytelling, introducing new characters and neighbors for Mary. For her first 12 years as writer, Moy worked with comic-book artist Joe Giella, a legendary illustrator who was an inker for DC Comics during the “Silver Age of Comic Books” in the late 1950s and 1960s. After retiring in 2016, Giella was replaced by June Brigman, who spent 16 years illustrating the “Brenda Starr, Reporter” comic strip (Brigman drew the 'Mary Worth'-style illustration on the cover of Binghamton University Magazine).

"'June has been doing this for so long that I have great faith in her,' Moy says. 'She has so much experience. Drawing ‘Brenda Starr,’ I knew she was familiar with a continuity strip, which requires more demands and details than a gag-a-day strip.'"

Friday, June 07, 2024


THE BETTER HALF was created by veteran cartoonist Bob Barnes in 1956 and syndicated by the Register and Hall Syndicate, and then by King Features until the panel ended in 2014. Two years into the feature, Barnes won Best Newspaper Panel from the National Cartoonists Society. The panel changed hands after Barnes' death in 1970

"His wife Ruth Barnes and illustrator Dick Rogers continued the strip until September 30, 1979. It then passed to Vinnie Vinson (October 1, 1979 to October 3, 1982) and Randy Glasbergen (October 10, 1982 to November 30, 2014).[1]

"Between 1982 and 1992, Glasbergen did the strip under the pseudonym "Jay Harris," so as not to confuse publishers who were familiar with his different style of humor and character design. ("Harris" was his wife's maiden name.) As he was able to transform the characters to his own style, he began using his own name. In the process, Stanley became much shorter than Harriet and lost his scruffy mustache.

"At the end of syndication, The Better Half was appearing seven days a week in approximately 150 print and online newspapers around the world. The strip ended on November 30, 2014, after a 58-year run" - Wikipedia

Stanley and Harriet Parker spar over middle class concerns. She stays home and irons and does the wash and is a bad woman driver. He smokes his pipe, mows the lawn, complains about the bills and occasionally ogles other ladies. If the spouses aren't trading zingers with another, they are combating the many butchers, paper boys, garbage men, store clerks and others that populate the suburbs.

James Coco and Lily Tomlin portrayed the couple in an unsold 1970s ABC TV pilot.

Here are two dozen from THE BETTER HALF book, a paperback collection published by Duell, Slean and Pearce, New York and is copyright 1963 by the Register and Hall Syndicate



From the Dick Buchanan Files: Bob Barnes 1913 - 1970


Edited from a January 12, 2012 blog entry. I wish I could fine video of that unsold TV pilot.