Friday, April 18, 2014

Mike Lynch is "Mr. Comics Smarty-Pants" by Brian Fies

I talked about how there's a Walt Kelly quote on the wall of a grocery store, and how none of the employees know who on earth he is. So, I have been lecturing them, there in the checkout line, about Mr. Kelly; that he's a famous cartoonist, the creator of POGO, etc.

My pal, the award winning graphic novelist and writer Brian Fies, in the comments section (see link above), imagined the employees' reaction when I am around.

So, I drew it up.

Here ya go:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

William Hanna on TO TELL THE TRUTH Game Show (1975)

Garry Moore hosts, with Bill Cullen, Peggy Cass, Nipsey Russell, and Kitty Carlisle on the panel.

Hat tip to garrison skunk:

Watch for the Dick DeBartolo cameo.

"Little Orphan Annie" Cartoonist Tex Blaisdell on TO TELL THE TRUTH Game Show

Bill Cullen hosts, with Tom Posten, Kitty Carlisle, Gene Rayburn and Peggy Cass on the panel.

Hat tip to garrisonskunk:

World's Fastest Cartoonist Nino Falanga on TO TELL THE TRUTH Game Show (1971)

Bill Cullen hosts, with Kitty Carlisle, Durwood Kirby, Gene Rayburn and Peggy Cass on the panel.

Vid posted by garrisonskunk:

More on Mr. Falanga here.

Perry, IA: The V.T. Hamlin Room at the Hotel Pattee

One of the pleasures of this year so far was being in Perry, Iowa, where I got to teach cartooning classes at the elementary school and then give a keynote address to the annual Chamber of Commerce dinner.

It was a celebration of cartoonists from Iowa, and seeing as I was born in Iowa City, I qualified! Also joining me was my friend, fellow cartoonist Dave Carpenter, who lives and works in Iowa.

I stayed at the Hotel Pattee in the V.T. "Snick" Hamlin room. Hamlin (1900-1993) was the creator of the Alley Oop comic strip and was born there in Perry. The room, appropriately, has Oop's dinosaur "Dinny" on the wall and the name of Alley Oop's residence, the "Land of Moo." As you can see, above Dinny is a row of comic book pages from some Alley Oop comics. These were made into a wallpaper mural that lines the top of the walls of the bedroom/living area.

The walls are decorated with Alley Oop memorabilia and articles.

I read from my Library of American Comics Essential ALLEY OOP book while there.

ALLEY OOP by Jack and Carole Bender on GoComics
R.C. Harvey: "A Stretch in the Bone Age: The Life and Cartooning Genius of V.T. Hamlin"
University of Missouri V.T. Hamlin Collection one and two

Build Bob Staake's Bookmobile Model

Build Bob Staake's paper bookmobile: print, cut and fold!

As Bob says:

"Fun for schools, librarians, kids, adults, and bibliophiles -- because you CAN'T make a 3-D paper bookmobile on an iPad or a Kindle!"

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Walt Kelly Lives

"Food for thought is no substitute for the real thing." Walt Kelly

You can see this quote on the wall from any checkout line at the North Conway, NH Hannaford's grocery store. I've been in there a couple of times. Every time I ask the checkout person about it:

Me: Who's Walt Kelly? 
Checkout Person: Who? 
Me (pointing to quote on the wall): Walt Kelly.  
Checkout Person: Oh. I don't know who that is. (Smiling.) They don't tell us anything here. 
Me: Oh. (Pause.) I know who it is. 
Checkout Person: You know?  
Me: He was a cartoonist. He did POGO. He died in 1973. 

And then they hand me my change and I go away.

Yeah, it's too bad that the publicly held Hannaford's store, which probably had many meetings about what appropriate quotes to put up on their wall, did not bother to let any of its workers know who the heck this Walt Kelly guy was. This should have been a chance to keep POGO alive, guys! Then I wouldn't have to be Mr. comics-smarty-pants at the checkout!


We have met the enemy and he is us.

Dramatic Movie Score

Because there are certain dramatic moments in life when you absolutely need this sort of thing.

I think I am going to assign this as a ring tone to all my major clients!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

TONIGHT: "The Art of Cartooning" With Mike Lynch and Stephanie Piro Tuesday April 15th

Portsmouth, NH: I'm presenting a talk about cartooning TONIGHT April 15, 2014 with my friend Stephanie Piro.

TUES 4/15 DRAWN AND QUARTERED: THE ART OF CARTOONING 6 to 9 p.m.; $15 or free from members of the New Hampshire Creative Club; at The Pearl, 45 Pearl St., Portsmouth; call (603) 382-5530 or register online at

There's going to be a meet and greet for the first hour, and, around 7pm,  Stephanie will talk about what she does. You know her work for King Features' SIX CHIX and her National Cartoonists Society Division Award nominated FAIR GAME cartoon panel. Then me, Mike Lynch, will talk cartooning. The NHCC has the venue until 9pm, so there should be some time for a QandA if people want, and some more one-on-one shop talk before we break for the evening.

If you are in the Boston/Portsmouth/Manchester/Concord/Portland area, please consider coming.

Video: Mickey Rooney as "Mickey 'Himself' McGuire" in MICKEY'S LUCK (1930)

A salute to the late Mickey Rooney, who audaciously tried taking a comic strip character's name for his own, but did not get away with it.

Below is one of the TOONERVILLE FOLKS comedy shorts, based on the newspaper comic panel by Fontaine Fox. It stars a wee Mickey Rooney. He's the tough ne'er do well tyke "Mickey 'Himself' McGuire" in MICKEY'S LUCK (1930).

Sure. it's similar to the Our Gang shorts, and you don't need me to tell you who Mickey is. He's the bossy one in the big black hat (see above drawing), the one moving the plot along.

There were 55 live-action two-reelers made, straddling the silent and sound eras, from 1926 to 1936.

Mickey's real name was Joe Yule, Jr. In the early silent shorts, he was billed as Mickey McBan and then Mickey Yule before settling on the same name as the bully from the feature, Mickey "Himself" Maguire. And that was okay for a decade, while filming these movies.

By the 1930s, at the same time he was shooting the TOONERVILLE series, he was in another series based on a cartoonist's creation. He was the voice of OSWALD, THE LUCKY RABBIT for Disney,

With parts in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM and MANHATTAN MELODRAMA, it was time to move on. Besides, he was getting a little big to play Maguire.

In 1936, he left these shorts to do other roles. The first Andy Hardy movie, YOU'RE ONLY YOUNG ONCE,  was a year away, and after that, in 1938, his scene-stealing role as Whitey Marsh with Spencer Tracy in BOY'S TOWN.

But the syndicate threatened him with a legal suit. The name of "Mickey 'Himself' McGuire" was one of the characters in the Toonerville Folks comic strip before he had it, of course, and he could nor formally appropriate it. And so he changed his name for good this time, from Mickey McGuire to Mickey Rooney.

On an odd note, the popular panel was known by a couple of names too. In some papers it was Toonerville Folks, and in others Toonerville Trolley. The panel (it was always a panel, not a strip.) ran in up to 300 newspapers from 1913 through to 1955.

The Mickey Rooney live-action shorts were the "middle" movie series. The live-action series was bracketed by animated films. The first time that the Toonerville panel was brought to life in the movies was in a series of silent animated shorts from the Betzwood Motion Picture Studio between 1920 and 1921. The final time that the series was in the movies was Van Beuren Studio's production of "Toonerville Trolley" in 1936.

One of the featured players in these live-action pictures was Billy Barty, who played Mickey's brother Billy McGuire. He was three years old when he appeared in his first one. He's six here in MICKEY'S LUCK. Mickey Rooney is ten years old:


Child Star Delia Bogard Interview (1989)

Via Barry Conrad. Delia Bogard starred, along with Rooney and Barty, in the Mickey McGuire series:

Monday, April 14, 2014

DC Nation Video: Tales of Metropolis "Lois"

British Pathé Short Film: Cartoonists' Club (1947)

It's 1947 and at the White Swan pub, various artists known as "cartoonists" have their "Cartoonists' Club" get together and draw. This time, we get a rundown of who the cartoonists are -- but we do not get to see what they are drawing until the end ….

British Pathé Short Film: Cartoonists Conference (1962)

A whole bunch of unnamed British cartoonists get together and draw bathing beauties and kids in this three minute short from British Pathé.

British Pathé Short Film: Charles Cole Blindfolded Cartoonist (1941)

British Pathé Short Film: Cartoonist Rowland Emett at Home (1963)

("The Vintage Car of the Future," on display at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. Photo by Jeff Powell.)

The British cartoonist Rowland Emett (1906-1990) should have a renaissance. He drew crazily detailed cartoons of the strangest trolleys/blimps/etc. you ever saw. Before he did the drawing, he created a "whimsical kinetic drawing" of it, according to this British Pathé short:

Related video shorts:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Tom Toles: "Catapult Love" Musical Comedy Show Indiegogo Campaign

Editorial Cartoonist Tom Toles joins Katie Goodman, and her co-writer Soren Kisiel, to create "Catapult Love, " a new musical comedy adventure. They have created an Indiegogo Campaign to raise funds. More here.

Video: Gerald Scarfe on "Scarfes" Bar Opening

Political cartoonist Gerald Scarfe on the opening of Scarfe's Bar, which is located in the Rosewood London hotel. 

"Batman: Strange Days" - Bruce Timm's Batman 75th Anniversary Short

Bruce Timm plus BATMAN's 75th anniversary equals cartoony goodness:

From the descrip:

A brand new short from producer Bruce Timm featuring a lost tale from Batman's past, the Dark Knight tracks a strange giant to the mysterious lair of Dr. Hugo Strange.
Don't miss "Batman: Strange Days" and other unique DC Nation shorts Wednesday nights at 6:30 p.m. (5:30 CST) on Cartoon Network during Teen Titans Go!
To hear Bruce Timm talk about the development of this Batman 75th Anniversary short, be sure to catch the most recent episode of "DC All Access."

"The Art of Cartooning" With Mike Lynch and Stephanie Piro Tuesday April 15

The Portsmouth [NH]' Herald shows some cartoons of mine and an announcement of a cartooning talk that I'll be giving on Tuesday evening April 15th with Stephanie Piro.

TUES 4/15 DRAWN AND QUARTERED: THE ART OF CARTOONING 6 to 9 p.m.; $15 or free from members of the New Hampshire Creative Club; at The Pearl, 45 Pearl St., Portsmouth; call (603) 382-5530 or register online at

Yeah, I'm biased, but it will be a good talk about what we do: cartooning in the 21st century. And it's a chance to chat. The event will have a wine-and-cheese time beforehand, so it'll provide opportunity to say hello in person. More comes out of shop talk than any other kind of talk. We'll each give presentations about cartooning, and then there's an audience Q and A.

If you are in the Boston/Portsmouth/Manchester/Concord/Portland area, please consider coming. And thanks in advance for making the time.

These cartoons originally appeared in Mad Magazine ("wrinkly") and Harvard Business Review ("You've Caught Your Tail …").

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Travels with Ink and Nib and Brush

I'll be in my home state of Iowa for a couple of days. I'm going to do all day cartoon classes with the kids at Perry (Iowa) Elementary and give the keynote address to the Chamber of Commerce.

If you cartoon and you travel, then you tend to take your tools with you. But what if the tools you use are of the old-time paper-and-dip-pen variety?

Here's some advice about traveling with your precious old school drawing tools:

Traveling? I don't envy you. But if you have to travel, and you are a dedicated old school cartoonist who loves the old school drawing tools, then you already have a method for safely transporting your beloved art supplies through the rigors of the TSA, the baggage handlers, airplane pressure, etc.

Here's what I do:

Nibs! Those nibs (that you have delicately broken in) can be easily placed ...

... in a protective matchbox. When the TSA employee asks, Do you have anything that could be considered a weapon? -- Well, I have do not believe that nibs could be used as a weapon. At least, not a very effective one. Regardless, nibs get checked thru baggage. Along with the holder.
I like the ink in those squatty glass containers that are tough and ready for some travel tumbling and turbulence. (No Higgins Ink plastic containers if you please!) Wrapped in a couple layers of plastic wrap and then this baby is wrapped again in swaddling clothes (i.e., a black t-shirt),

A good brush is like your pal. Like a pen nib, it needs to be broken in and then it can last (with the proper care) for a long time. The problem is how do you protect your brush shape?

I just get a card (an index card, or piece of cardboard) and tape the brush down. And then I take another card and tape it on top, creating, for all intents and purposes, a snug brush sandwich.

Confession: I usually use those Pigma permanent ink pens. Below is a drawing from last year depicting "the pens on my desk:"

Related: Some sketchbook drawings and a few more of my sketches.

Also related: Do you have too many sketchbooks?

-- This blog entry originally appeared in January 2010.