Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Video: "Making Paper: From Trees To Tribunes" 1937 Chicago Tribune Documentary

How does the Chicago Tribune get printed? It all starts in the timberlands of Quebec ...




At 18:39, we get a brief peek at Chicago Tribune cartoonist Chester Gould working on a DICK TRACY daily and (I'm guessing here) editorial cartoonist Carey Orr.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Wishing Ted Rall All the Best with His First Amendment Hearing

A week from today my colleague, editorial cartoonist Ted Rall, will take the LA Times to court.

The paper fired Rall for lying. Then the LA Times wrote an op ed, slandering Ted. He was able to prove that the paper was wrong, but ...

"Times executives doubled down, publishing a second piece reaffirming the first one. In March 2016, I filed suit in LA Superior Court against the Times for defamation, wrongful termination, blacklisting and other charges."

Due to the Times' lawyers citing a law for out-of-state residents to have to prove that they can pay 100% of the defense's legal fees, Ted was forced to raise $75,000 as a cash bond just to have his three days of hearings next week. So ... even though he wants his day in court, it'll cost. He was able to raise the money through GoFundMe.com. I gave a contribution.

His syndicated column, Sue the SOBs? It’s Harder Than You Think, has a lot more details, including the financial conflict of interest between the paper and the LA police.

I wish him all the best. This is not a cause that I see getting much coverage the past year, but I hope that changes. If he is successful, a trial date will be set for later in 2017 or maybe it'll be 2018. This is only the beginning. I hope you will take a moment to read what's going on.

Monday, February 20, 2017

James Stevenson 1929 - 2017


Above: Mr. Stevenson in the 1960s.

James Stevenson has died. He was 87 years old.

A prolific author and illustrator, he created about a hundred children's books, thousands of New Yorker drawings and covers, as well as a continuing series "Lost and Found in New York" for the New York Times.

James Stevenson interned at The New Yorker magazine offices in the mid-1940s. It was then that he began to give ideas to the cartoonists. He was hired as a full-time "idea-man" in 1949. Stevenson was given an office and, as Michael Maslin notes in his Inkspill blog,

... instructed not to tell anyone what he did. He eventually began publishing his own cartoons and covers as well as a ground-breaking Talk of the Town pieces (ground breaking in that the pieces were illustrated). His contributions to the magazine number over 2000.   Key collections: Sorry Lady — This Beach is Private! ( MacMillan, 1963), Let’s Boogie ( Dodd, Mead, 1978).  Stevenson has long been a children’s book author, with roughly one hundred titles to his credit.  He is a frequent contributor to the Op-Ed page of The New York Times, under the heading Lost and Found New York. Stevenson’s recent book, published in 2013, The Life, Loves and Laughs of Frank Modell, is essential. 

James Stevenson was a writer and an artist, creating many New Yorker covers, around 100 children's books and 1,987 New Yorker cartoons.

His work is vibrant, skillful and full of life. It is a joy to look at. I am so sorry I never had the chance to meet him and let him know how much I loved what he did. Here are a few samples of his prolific output from some of the books I own:







Friday, February 17, 2017

Harry Bliss Comic Offends, Readers React; Cartoonist Responds


Harry Bliss' daily panel "Bliss" depicts a man trying to stop Dracula with a Star of David in his February 10, 2017 syndicated comic.

The Boston Globe has an article about "a few readers" writing to express their displeasure and offense.

Here's a sample:

"The cartoon seems to imply that the Shield of David is not a true symbol of God, or that Jews and their symbols are less godly than Christians and their symbols, or that Jews are too stupid to know they are supposed to use a Christian symbol to ward off pagan vampires.


"Perhaps Harry Bliss is not thinking about the wave of anti-Semitism inspired by our new president and his strategists, but printing this comic helps normalize a hateful agenda. I am deeply disturbed and disappointed that the Globe would sanction publishing such an offensive cartoon."

I remember a similar gag from LOVE AT FIRST BITE, a 1979 comedy movie with George Hamilton, Susan Saint James, and Richard Benjamin about a fish-out-of-water Count Dracula in modern day America. I don't remember any outrage. The bit occurs at about 1:13.



Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Glenn McCoy Betsy DeVos Editorial Cartoon: "“I’m surprised that you see ‘hate’ in this cartoon"



Glenn McCoy's February 13, 2017 editorial cartoon about Betsy DeVos has been divisive.

Glenn has made a statement on the Belleville (IL) News Democrat newspaper's site:


“My cartoon was about how, in this day and age, decades beyond the civil rights protests, it’s sad that people are still being denied the right to speak freely or do their jobs or enter public buildings because others disagree with who they are or how they think,” he wrote. “I’m surprised that you see ‘hate’ in this cartoon when I thought I was speaking out against hate. It’s a woman passively walking while being protected from angry protesters. Isn’t that what went down the other day when DeVos visited a school to do her job? You may disagree with her on issues but I didn’t see any hate coming from her. I did, however see hate going in the other direction which is what made me think of the Rockwell image. That was the only comparison I was drawing. The level of toxicity in today’s political climate has reached ridiculous levels.”


Read more here: http://www.bnd.com/news/local/article132724844.html#storylink=cpy
 
 
My take: Glenn says that billionaire Betsy DeVos is a victim of hate; that she is just like six year old Ruby Bridges, the little African American girl, in the iconic painting by Norman Rockwell, "The Problem We All Live With" (1964).

Ruby Bridges is on her way to her first day of school at the William Frantz Elementary School. She is six years old. She will be the first non-white student attending that day. The four U.S. Marshals are there to ensure that the desegregation laws are adhered to.

Betsy DeVos is a white, 59 year old billionaire who was confirmed by the Senate in an historically close vote as the new Secretary of Education on January 31st, 2017. She has been heavily involved in Republican politics since the 1990s.

Glenn equates the N-word with "conservative" here, and anger at DeVos as being the same as bigots and white supremacists.

I disagree with this cartoon fundamentally. There is no comparison.

But, I believe in Glenn's right to draw it and sell it. And he has. He sold it to his paper, the Belleville News-Democrat. Universal Press has it on their site and it's available thru their syndication services.

Cartooning is a commercial art. If there is commerce for a certain sense of humor, a certain viewpoint, then the market will reward it.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Howard Shoemaker RIP



Howard "Shoe" Shoemaker passed away on January 28, 2017.  He was 85.

He lived in Nebraska. He used to work for the Omaha-based Bozell & Jacobs advertising agency before cartooning full-time. Mr. Shoemaker was a decades-long contributor to Playboy Magazine, among many others.

In 1964, he created a book of Porsche cartoons, which is now a collector's item commanding hundreds of dollars a copy today. 




From the Omaha World-Herald obituary:

He had six children, 13 grandkids and 13 great-grandkids. Shoemaker’s daughter Mareaeric Campagna said the family car was a Porsche. There would be outings in the hills of Council Bluffs, or Shoemaker would wake up his kids and take them out in the car to make the first tracks in fresh snow.
The house was filled with jazz, the Beatles and dance parties, his daughter said. Shoemaker’s drawing board was in the middle of the living room of the house in the Field Club neighborhood.
He jotted down ideas on napkins or his hand — a trait he passed down to children and grandchildren. And he drew cartoons on everything. Bar napkins, tags, cards and envelopes, which amused post office workers. All are treasured now, his daughter said.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Remembering Charles Schulz


Remembering Charles Schulz, who died on this day 17 years ago. How we love him.