Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Hey, let's all take the Metro North train from Grand Central to Westport, CT to hang out with some great cartoon artists, OK? OK!
Pretty much every Saturday, these guys get together for food and shop talk in this commuter town. This was my second visit with these guys since I've been blogging. More about them in this August entry.
Nice thing about Westport is that it's only about an hour from NYC, and the restaurant is an easy walk from the station. Over the years, many cartoonists moved to CT, commuting to "the city" in the 1950s, 60s and 70s to do the rounds. The Famous Artists School, a seminal learn-to-draw-by-mail course, was founded here.
Here's Walt Needham, Stephen Shoff, and Frank Bolle.
Frank Bolle, a veteran cartoon artist, is known for so much: comic books (Doctor Solar, Flash Gordon, all those Gold Key scary books I liked as a kid: Grimm's Ghost Stories, Boris Karloff's Tales of Mystery and Rod Sterling's Twilight Zone), Winnie Winkle, The Heart of Juliet Jones, Apartment 3-G, Golden Books -- well, you get the idea.
Above -- brazenly taken from his excellent Web site -- one of Frank Bolle's "Scouts in Action" pieces for Boy's Life. I grew up with these kinda features.
Ron Goulart, Mike Lynch, Bob Weber, Walt Needham.
Bob Weber pointed out that one of the cartoonists he admires is Bob Weber. Not HIM, but another guy with the same name as him: Bob Weber of the New Yorker. There are actually 3 Bob Webers in pro cartooning if you add Bob's son Bob Weber, Jr, whose Slylock Fox feature was launched by King Features in 1987.
Bob asked me if cartoonists still did the rounds. No, no magazine has those "look days," when cartoonists were welcome to come in and show their roughs in person to the editor. Except, maybe, New Yorker. But you gotta get their OK to get past the security phalynx at the Conde Nast building.
Frank Bolle, Orlando Busino, Ron Goulart.
I have a lot of books on the history of comics, but Ron Goulart's THE FUNNIES is one of my favorites. A list of some of his work is here. At more than 180 books to his credit, chances are that you've read his work as well.
Orlando brought in a couple of Boy's Life covers painted by Lowell Hess. Hess did 22 covers to this magazine. These 2 were pretty wonderful and so I grabbed my digital camera, plunked the covers on a clean nearby table and took as good a picture as you can in a restaurant. Thanks for bringing these in, Orlando!
Above: a November 1960 Hess cover. Click for the large size.
Above is a fun example from April 1959. This is a rebus-filled cover. Clicking on the it will get you an XXL view.
And above is the key. Click for a bigger version.
Here's Lowell Hess and Mike Lynch.
He told me that he wanted to be a cartoonist. He started out as a gag cartoonist, but couldn't sell. So, he went into illustration. "But really, illustrator or cartoonist or whatever -- we're all the same; wandering thie city with our portfolio -- alone -- looking for acceptance," added Lowell.
Illustrator Leif Peng has written about Mr. Hess. Here's one of his blog entires about him. If you do a search at Leif's site, you'll find more! Bookmark his Today's Inspiration site.
Double thanks to Orlando Busino. 1) For bringing in those great Boy's Life cover and 2) for shoving a couple of his (Orlando's) cartoon collections in my hands (Good Boy! and Oh, Gus!) as I raced out to catch the train back to NYC.
Posted by Mike Lynch at 6:37 AM