Monday, May 04, 2015

Texas Police Kill Gunmen at Exhibit Featuring Cartoons of Muhammad

Garland, TX: Two gunmen were killed as they opened fire at a "draw Muhammad" gallery show. They shot a security guard. The police returned fire and killed the two assailants. As of this time, the suspects are not identified. There has been no motive announced for the attack. More here.

Just because drawing a caricature of Muhammed is not illegal, doesn't mean you have to do it.

In the background piece for the NY Times "Pamela Geller, the incendiary organizer of Texas ‘prophet Muhammad cartoon contest,’" writer Lindsey Bevers adds that hate-speech has been Ms. Geller's forte since at least 2010, when she lead the fight against what was known was the "ground zero mosque."

The Southern Poverty Law Center has added her name its list of "hate groups leaders," denouncing her actions as head of her own American Freedom Defense Initiative, and Stop Islamization of America. "She’s relentlessly shrill and coarse in her broad-brush denunciations of Islam and makes preposterous claims," the Center said to the Times.

In the news story about the gunmen, Ms. Geller was quoted as saying

“The media is self-enforcing a Shariah. Under the Shariah you cannot criticize or offend Islam.”

The "draw Muhammad" contest in Texas was a hate-baiting exercise. 

NBC News has extensive background on the event here

Friday, May 01, 2015

Gerry Conway: DC Allegedly Uses Spurious Logic to Screw Creators

Comics writer Gerry Conway, who created hundreds of characters while writing comic books for DC, writes at his Conway's Corner Tumblr about not being compensated for a character he created for THE FLASH TV show, and DC's policy of not paying creators.

First, if you created a character while working at DC, you need to send them a letter requesting equity participation. You need to send them one letter for each character you feel you created. And you have to do it before that character appears in a TV show or another form of media. If you wait, and see your character on TV -- it's too late.

And if DC disagrees, then, well, that's that. No equity participation.

Another thing: DC has decided that "derivative characters" are not actually "created." Here's an example that Mr. Conway writes about:

What, exactly, is DC’s definition of a “derivative” character? 
It’s a character that DC decides was “derived” from some other previously existing character. 
For example, Power Girl– “derived” from Superman, because, like Supergirl, she’s a relative of Superman. Which means I can’t claim to be her co-creator because Superman is a pre-existing character. Fair enough, I suppose. The logic here is that Superman is the original creation, so Power Girl is derived from that original creation, so in effect, Power Girl is an extension of Superman, which means, by this tortured logic, that Power Girl was more or less created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

People want stuff for free, and that includes corporations. Oh heck, the Supreme Court says corporations, like Warner Communications, which owns DC Entertainment, IS a person.

So, yes, EVERYBODY wants stuff for free.

So … the other people -- those special, crazy, wonderful creative people -- who create stuff for a living -- are being attacked in small and large ways.

Incrementally, I am seeing my work, and the work of my colleagues, being taken without my knowledge and permission.

But let's get this straight: It's OK if somebody takes a cartoon of mine and shares it on social media. They are showing it for fun. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram are just the new way of cutting out a cartoon and putting it on the fridge.

But when corporations and their lawyers conspire to destroy any incentive for a creator to create (i.e. that want all rights forever and not pay the creator a dime), what then? They should know better. They are cutting their own throats.

So … should cartoonists and writers boycott ARROW and THE FLASH?

More anon ….

Thursday, April 30, 2015

All of the Cartoons from The Saturday Evening Post, January 3, 1959

The first Saturday Evening Post of 1959 gives us an ice skating gag. "Artist Alajalov, who depicts the Wollman Rink in New York's Central Park (give or take a few details), could never make ice skates behave, but he was a whiz on roller skates," reveals an interior blurb.

So nice to see an actual gag on the cover; especially a racy Moms-I'd-Like-to-Double-Lutz sorta gag. Let's take a look at the interior gag cartoons.

Ted Key gives us a great gag. Bounce! Bounce! Bounce! Big Brother Boss is watching you!

Vahan Shirvanian still sells to top markets like Reader's Digest. This same year, he won the National Cartoonists Society Gag Cartoon Division Award.

It's New Year's and it's 1959. Drunks were fodder for humor back then. This was, after all, the era of Thirsty Thurston!

Al Johns gives us an Inuit (they used to be called "Eskimo") gag that is becoming less funny what with the ol' globe warming up and all.

Above: some things change, some don't.

Above: a wordless cartoon that still reads. Although in-line skates are the way most go today, the design of the sleigh is unchanged.

Barney Tobey is a master of the inky wash. Look at those breezy lines!

Dahl shows, without using any words, that the only thing that you should not resist is temptation.

Are there still hurdy gurdy monkeys?

Around here, in the frozen Northern New England area, a lot of the pasty white teenagers go to tanning booths so as to look a Hollywoody, trendy toasty brown. I found the above cartoon by Gene Carr pretty relevant. Oh -- and the oil trucks STILL look like that!

Chon Day gives us a great gag expertly depicted in simple line and wash.

And, of course, Ted Key's Hazel panel ends this issue.

-- Edited from a blog entry originally published January 6, 2008.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

North Dakota: Honoré Daumier Gallery Show

The University of North Dakota Art Collections Exhibition present a gallery show titled "HonorĂ© Daumier: Encore! The Quest for Freedom of Expression through Political and Social Commentary" at the Empire Arts Center through July 14, 2015.

Video: Flemming Rose "Free Speech in a Globalized World" @ ESFLC Berlin 2015

Alison Bechdel’s "Fun Home" on Broadway

The "Stuck in Vermont" TV show is "not stuck in Vermont any more" when host Eva Sollberger follows Vermont resident and cartoonist Alison Bechdel to Broadway for the debut of the FUN HOME musical, based on her graphic novel memoir.

Video: Richard Comely Promotes the New CAPTAIN CANUCK

Video: Garry Trudeau Responds to Critics of his CHARLIE HEBDO Speech

From NBC's MEET THE PRESS: Cartoonist Garry Trudeau responds to critics of a speech he gave earlier this month who alleged he blamed the victims - his fellow cartoonists - for the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Just a silly, fun 2 minute cartoon that I wish could go on for much longer. Go watch. It's only two minutes!

JOHNNY SPACE CAT! from michael robot on Vimeo.

Big hat tip to Nancy Beiman!

1949 Abner Dean Insurance Ad

I love this drawing by cartoonist Abner Dean of himself and his drawing table … and his forgetful ways of smoking. Look at that mushed-up old cushion on the chair, and the brushes and the "tester" area for his color hues to the right of the "Smoke Nokauff Cigarettes" ad.

Hmm. Looks like it was painted in nicotine yellow, doesn't it?

Hey, You Got Your STAR WARS in My STAR TREK!

Alec over at the Starship Axanar blog contends that the image from the new STAR WARS trailer above and the below still, from the fan-production STAR SHIP EXETER episode "The Tressaurian Intersection" are deja vu-ing all over the place. EXETER first showed the image of a wrecked starship eight years ago. (Actually, the episode itself, took about seven years and was released piecemeal. It's now finished and available to view for free at the link.)

Anyway, something to chew on. Wrecked spaceships are nothing new, but the images together are strikingly similar.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Retrospace: The Groovy Age of Travel

Not cartoons, but fun:

The Retrospace blog shows us how the groovy men and women of the 70s traveled by air in this series of airplane interior photos. Even if the plane is stuck on the tarmac for three hours, these people are smoking and drinking and getting it on so much they wouldn't notice.

New Richard Thompson Book COMPLEATING CUL DE SAC

COMPLEATING CUL DE SAC, a new book of Richard Thompson's art has "all the art that was left out of Eisner-award-nominated THE COMPLETE CUL DE SAC, it's 150 pages of strips, interviews and sketches." The book will be a fund raiser for Team Cul De Sac charity. More info. at Richard Thompson's blog here.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Cartoon Class: Can You Draw 160 Cartoons?

A comic book artist friend of mine, when looking at comic book art by Wally Wood (Wally Wood being the best artist ever, in his opinion), would point to Mr. Wood's art and always say, "Look at the knowledge!"

And that's what drawing is all about; acquiring the knowledge of how to draw. How do you draw a fish? A bird? a cool car? a poodle?

Sure, when you read those words you get a visual in your mind -- but how to train your hand to draw what you imagine?

Answer: by drawing a lot.

How do you get to be a better cartoonist?

There is the old piece of advice: take a stack of paper the same height that you are. Draw on every sheet. When you get to the bottom, you've gotten a lot of the bad drawings out of your system and you're a better artist.

I teach cartoon classes in New England and New York. One of the things we do is the "cartoon grid," a series of empty boxes on a page with a word under each panel. As you can see above, there is one of the cartoon grids, all filled out by a recent cartoon class of elementary school kids.

There are 10 kids in the class, all of them in the upper grades at the local elementary school. All of them are fearless drawing machines!

Here are some details:

Above: 4 of one page's 16 panels. The sleepy monster is one of my favorites.

The chef is crying! The student cartoonist added the emotion herself. What's the story? Cutting onions? Did the souffle fall? Did Gordon Ramsey yell?

This is the most devilly devil have ever seen!

I like the addition of "Yo! Yo!!"

Yes, that IS a big nose!

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Captain Underpants!

Look at that breathy exhaust! Great!

This does not look like a nice robot.

I couldn't draw a pencil better myself.

The class of ten kids drew 160 images in about 25 minutes. How it works: you would get the cartoon grid and read all 16 of the boxes. Pick your favorite to draw, draw one image, and then, when finished drawing, pass it to the left, to the next student cartoonist. The 10 pieces of paper went around the circle of hardworking cartoonists until all of the grids were filled in.

Here are the results (click on them to supersize):

Just look at all that knowledge! And look at all of the personal, artistic touches: those steam lines coming out of that hot cup of coffee, the girl dancing with the "TAP TAP" sound effect, the mountain climber with all of his gear. I could go on and on, but pictures are worth a thousand words. And there are 160 pictures to look at, so take a moment to look above, and see this next generation of talent.

It worked out to be about 6.4 drawings per minute.

A lot of pages! It's not a pile of paper as high as I am, but it's a darn good bit of drawing by a classful of talent for sure!

WANT TO HIRE MIKE TO TEACH CARTOONING? Contact: mike@mikelynchcartoons dot com

The New PEANUTS Movie Posters

Cartoon Brew has a story about the new series of PEANUTS movie posters that Fox just released, and why the characters look so hyper-detailed in them. The series of nine posters for the theatrical CGI movie, scheduled for release on November 6, 2015, showcases

Charlie Brown,
Snoopy and Woodstock,
Pig Pen (not "Pigpen"),
Woodstock (a solo poster),
Peppermint Patty,
and Marcie.

Cartoon Brew has all of the posters for your perusal. I agree that they look way too textured, but Blue Sky Studios is doing a 3D CGI big screen version of the classic comic strip, and the decision was made a long time ago to go "off model;" away from the flat, inky world they started living in in 1950.