Thursday, January 31, 2008
Allan Holtz' Stripper's Guide blog transcribes a 1952 Editor and Publisher article on Walt Kelly. The 38 year old Kelly had just received the "Billy DeBeck Award" from the National Cartoonists Society, the "Oscar" of the cartooning world. (The award was later renamed the "Reuben" after Rube Goldberg.)
Above: Image from a scan of "The Ooglies," from The Brownies comic book, Dell Four-Color #244, September 1949. Complete story at Pappy's Golden Age Blogzine.
Big hat tip to Journalista!
Above: a local TV listings book from what year I don't know, but isn't that a lovely portrait of Mr. Kelly and Porkypine and Pogo? I have a small trove of photos of cartoonists on the hard drive, and this one deserved to be seen. I just didn't include any background information with it. The mag probably commemorated the 1969 POGO SPECIAL BIRTHDAY SPECIAL, co-directed by Chuck Jones, with voices by Les Tremayne, June Foray, Mr. Jones and Mr. Kelly.
And here it is, THE POGO SPECIAL BIRTHDAY SPECIAL, in three parts:
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Above LAUGH RIOT, February 1966.
Mark Anderson shares an original gag cartoon from the above issue of LAUGH RIOT (I think) by the one and only Bill Hoest.
Bill Hoest was one of Hefner's favorite cartoonists. Even so, Hef couldn't buy all of Bill's output. I bet this cartoon was first turned down by Playboy before it made the rounds.
And what output: Bill was not only a major magazine cartoonist, but he also was syndicated in Parade Magazine (Howard Huge), and National Enquirer (Bumper Snickers), as well as helming a number of comic strips (Agatha Crumm, What a Guy!), of which The Lockhorns survives today, syndicated in over 500 papers. On top of this, Bill served as National Cartoonists Society president. He won NCS Division Awards for syndicated panel (twice) and gag cartoons. He passed away in 1988.
Some background on Humorama:
LAUGH RIOT was published by Humorama. Humorama published a variety of "mags men like," all risque back then in the 1950s, 60s and 70s -- tame nowadays. They had titles like JEST, GEE-WHIZ! BREEZY, GAZE, JOKER, STAR, SNAPPY, and others. They had bawdy stories, racy cartoons, and photos of loose women in loose attire -- wink wink nudge nudge.
Mark scans not only the front, but also the back of the original, where we can see there are words written and then crossed out, and there are other little marks ("47%") and stamps with the name and address of Humorama.
Here's my take on those marks:
A lot of the gag cartoons that ran in one magazine, might be republished years later in another one of their mags. Sometimes you can make out a history of where the cartoon was published by reading the back of the original. I'm guessing, but it looks like this Bill Hoest cartoon was bought for the February 1966 issue of LAUGH RIOT magazine, then reran in JOKER magazine (May 1972?). I couldn't tell if "Gags for Stags" was the name of yet another magazine or just the department that it appeared in. All my searches for "Gags for Stags" magazine turned up nothing.
If anyone else out there has copies of these mags or a better working knowledge of the markings on the back, please me or Mark know. I'd love to hear from you.
A great gallery of Humorama magazine covers from the Bipcomics Web site.
From Sandra Bell-Lundy's Between Friends blog comes a great piece of insider information on the syndicated strip business titled Developing the Strip. For anyone wanting to know the relationship between editor and cartoonist (in this case, it's Sandra and the late Jay Kennedy of King Features), this is a pretty raw look at the development period; a time when the writing and the look of the fledgling strip is hammered out.
"A big problem I seemed to have was not drawing my characters in a consistent style. Jay frequently pointed out hair and nose and neck length discrepancies."She reproduces comments that Jay wrote on her early efforts.
Above: Jay's comments on noses -- written and drawn by him.
It was interesting to hear that the sales team recommendation ("One day, Jay called me and said the sales people had suggested that I feature Helen more often as she was an African-American woman and it would help make my strip more diverse.") was taken during this time, resulting in a new character.
This is the fifth installment of Sandra's "road to syndication" series.
Road to Syndication part 1
Road to Syndication part 2
Road to Syndication part 3
Road to Syndication part 4
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
It's part of a series of documentaries titled COMIX that have been shown on European television. In this episode, 3 manga creators are interviewed: Usumaru Furuya, Jiro Taniguchi, and Kiriko Nananan.
The film is in German. If you don't speak or read German (like me), it's still interesting and easy to follow.
The documentary is in three parts:
Here's a description from a Google-translated TV schedule Web site.
Directed by: Benoît Peeters
The wave manga is currently expected to descend on Europe. In Japan, which is already a social phenomenon: everyone reads manga, the albums cover all the possible topics, in every style imaginable. This part of the documentary series "Comix" discover the universe and the methods of work of three very different authors. Usumaru Furuya workshop works with a team to produce a series of action as the soap opera "Pi". Jiro Taniguchi, l'auteur de Jiro Taniguchi, author of "Neighborhood distant," also works in a workshop, but his approach is more introspective, more intimate. Finally, the young Kiriko Nananan creates alone, a new form of manga specifically designed for girls.
Related: French cartoonist Olivier Martin lives and works in Japan for two years, soaking up manga style in this 3 part film: part one, part two, and part three.
Above: top: Kirk dresses down the shore leave party from the TOS episode The Trouble with Tribbles; bottom: same scene, but slightly altered, from Trials and Tribble-ations, a 1996 episode of DEEP SPACE NINE. Notice a couple of DS9 actors sandwiched in that line-up now. Image from the Ex Astris Scientia site.
12 years ago, STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE (1993-99) went back in time to STAR TREK THE ORIGINAL SERIES (1966-69) in its episode Trials and Tribble-ations. The DS9 cast, via computer graphics integration, woven into an episode with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and tribbles. Here's a behind the scenes documentary video from the DS9 DVD set:
Trials and Tribble-ations: Uniting Two Legends Part 1
Trials and Tribble-ations: Uniting Two Legends Part 2
Monday, January 28, 2008
Johnny C.'s A Hole in the Head blog presents a 1964 cartoon booklet The Art of Living With Yourself ... and Others.
This booklet is from a series made by The Mental Health Society of Chicago for the Western Electric Company. The cartoon art looks like it came out of any big advertising firm in the early 1960s. Once you rip away the funny art, I agree with Johnny: it's the same good management skills that people are told now -- except with PowerPoint bullet points instead of fun cartoons!
Thanks for sharing this, Johnny!
UPDATE: Dirk Deppey, whose eyes are keener than mine, notes via Journalista! that the book bears the signature of Eisner studio alum Klaus Nordling.
My friend Mark Anderson has some cool toys, and occasionally, he shares with others. In this case, he has a set of pin-up cartoon playing cards by an unknown cartoonist. All the cards, each with its unique color gag cartoon, are there to click through and enjoy.
Go read my comments and see if you can add anything to ID the mystery cartoonist. Or, just ogle the fun good girl art!
UPDATE: Thanks to a fellow cartoonist who emailed me, the man who drew those cards is most likely Bill Wenzel! Wenzel was a prolific cartoonist for The Kinds of Magazines Men Like. Thanks, Mac, for shining the light on this.
Above 2 Wenzel cartoons from the Comic Art Fans History of the Sex Cartoon by George Hagenauer.
The major markets have a set price for their cartoons. If you sell a cartoon to, for instance, The New Yorker, they won't call you up to ask how much you want. They all ready have a price for you. The same with Playboy and other major markets. But, you all ready know all this.
When I began magazine cartooning, it was simple: look at a couple of issues, get a feel for their audience and mail appropriate cartoons.
After a while, I had sold some cartoons, but there were still other cartoons, sitting in a pile, unsold. They had done the rounds, and been rejected. How do you turn them into money?
I went to a big newsstand and looked at the magazines. I went to the downtown Brooklyn Business Library to see what kind of business publications they had. An amazing selection! There was a magazine for and about board members. I had cartoons about board members. There was a magazine for veterinarians. I had dog and cat cartoons.
So, I started a new challenge for myself: I mailed cartoons to magazines that did not use cartoons at all.
Yeah, most of the time I was wasting my time and postage. (Yeah, I mail my submissions on paper.)
But some of the publications were interested, and some wanted to buy. And the editors asked what I would charge.
What is the value of your cartoon?
Well, of course, decide if you will work for free. Will you give away your cartoons? If so, then you know your answer is that you will work for the exposure.
If you give your cartoons away for free, you will not make a living as a cartoonist. There are many talented people out there who are giving away their work on the Web, and most of them have to work full-time in jobs other than cartooning.
I show my cartoons for free on my Web site. I think this is just normal business. It doesn't bother me if someone wants to copy one of my cartoons for their friends. But it's wrong if a publication (print or Web) thinks they can just grab a cartoon for free content.
So, when editors asked about my rates, I decided I would not work for free. I want to be a real, working cartoonist. I had a minimum set in my head and if they balked, then I would walk away. This isn't posturing, this isn't being unrealistic. This is me making a living.
If an editor says,"We are looking for free content."
I tell them, I can't afford to give away my work for free.
Sometimes, I lose the client. And the client is worth losing, since they do not recognize that cartoons -- along with the freelance writers, the designers, the photographers -- everyone contributing to the content of a publication -- deserves to be paid.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Atom Bomb Bikini, the blog of cartoonist Rob Ullman, draws an autobiographical comic about his life as a cartoonist in Richmond, VA.
Mick Stevens draws "Anyone Can Be a Cartoonist" at The New Yorker's Cartoonist of the Month blog.
Related: I Almost Drew NANCY by Ivan Brunetti ... as if you haven't seen it by now.
Related: Getting Your Cartoons Out There from my old MySpace blog.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Above: The first of several from S. Gross. Gosh, imagine the upswing in enrollment at the Center for Cartoon Studies if this girl went door to door!
You can definitely see the Addams influence in Sam's early work.
Bo Brown's cartoon is great. Such a seemingly pedestrian couple of women in a benign looking picture. The gag line makes it all so hostile and funny.
Above: a number of cartoons concerned the KKK.
Above: I'm a fan of Al Ross' loopy, sketchy style. It almost looks to "rough" to be a final finish!
Did anyone notice what happened to Al Ross' signature in the column of signatures from the book's cover?
Above: click on the tower of artist's signatures to see what I mean.
Above: Erikson gives us elitist white humor! Yikes!
Above: Sure looks like those are Wednesday's pigtails! And the boy's built like Puggsly.
Above: Another Sam Gross cartoon. Nothing is sacred to this man. His new collection of cartoons, We Have Ways of Making You Laugh: 120 Funny Swastika Cartoons, will be out in March 2008 from Simon & Schuster.
Above: Well, it's probably better than a Bratz doll.
More KKK humor. Yeesh.
Even the Christians are made fun of!
I love Reamer Keller's cartoons. His style is unmistakable.
Interlandi's great drawing skill is always delightful to linger over. I love her '60s bouffant.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
TABOO, an 88 page hardcover collection of gag cartoons, edited by Charles M. Preston, Trident Press 1966, New York, New York. Above is the dust jacket. Click to supersize so you can read the six gags ...
There are a number of censored cartoon books that are now in print, but this was the granddaddy to them. Most of the cartoons are not so edgy today, natch! A lot have to with racism, homosexuality, and, well, potty humor.
From the cover:
"For the first time, an outrageous collection of iconoclastic hilarity -- these cartoons, hitherto considered unpublishable, mark a significant point in the struggle against censorship and prudery (and they're funny too)."
The above cartoon made me laugh out loud. It's those pooch lips on Ann Stalkley that did it. A great, busy, sketchy city scene. I think I know who the cartoonist is, but I am not sure.
Above: an early Sam Gross cartoon.
Above: Herbert Goldberg's cartoon isn't funny to me. It looks like to be a rough.
Above: Henry Martin's cartoon is silly, but it made me smile. I love what he does here with very basic lines and a touch of graphite on pebbled paper.
(Whenever I think of Moses, I think of the Mel Brooks bit from THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD PART 1.)
Above: more holy humor. Seems harmless to me! Three little words is all it took to make a good gag -- made even better by the dead-on look of holy beatitude by Joseph.
Above: Interlandi's silent gag and excellent figure work seal a wonderful cartoon together. The look of realization on both of their faces in the penultimate panel is masterful.
Above: the hardcover has a column of cartoonists' signatures on the front cover. A great design touch! And something I didn't notice until today, when I took the dust jacket off the book!
Above: Comic strip im--- HEY CAT!!!!! HEY!!!!!!! TROUT!!!!!!!!!!!! OUTTA THE WAY!!!!!!!!
Above: Comic strip images by (l. to r.) Tony Murphy and Wiley Miller above the fold!
"The Comics Smackdown Begins" so says Monday's Concord Monitor. It's the CM's Second Annual Great Comics Contest. Staff writer Felice Belman tells us:
"Both 'Shoe' and 'Hager the Horrible' strike us as having run their course. Your first task, as Comics Contest voters, is to decide which of the two will get the ax."
There is no further description of the criteria for a strip "running its course." And then Ms Belman asks readers to pick one of the four strips below to replace the "run their course" strips:
The nice thing about this is that Tony's a friend and it was cool to see his lead character there, on the front page of one of the local papers. His strip is just this month being launched by the Washington Post Writers Group. The nasty thing is that his strip, IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU, the new kid on the block, is competing with older, better known strips. Here are the 4 strips in competition:
• Stone Soup by Jan Eliot
• Rhymes with Orange by Hilary Price
• Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller
• It's All About You by Tony MurphyAnd, of course, polls are the absolutely wrong way to go. They are degrading, unscientific and an abdication of the editor's responsibility. Then-National Cartoonists Society President Rick Stromoski wrote about why this is in a letter to the Hartford Courant in October 2006. Here's a link to what he wrote from the Daily Cartoonist Web site.
Factoid: when a strip is on "trial," the paper usually does not pay for the use of the feature. And the syndicate doesn't compensate the cartoonist.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
And, here is Ms. Bechdel shooting video of the Germans filming her:
From the WCAX TV News series "Drawn Here," about Vermont-area cartoonists, a video report on Ms. Bechdel from May 17, 2007.
Hat tip to Journalista! for links to the video of Alison Bechdel shooting video of the Germans shooting video.
Related: the Newsarama Blog has a round-up of the WCAX series on cartoonists. I did not see any video, but there are text interviews from the Spring 2007 series.
Fortunately, Alison Bechdel posted this WCAX video profile of the New Yorker's Ed Koren.
As Tom Spurgeon wrote in today's Comics Reporter:
"It was created in 1929 by cartoon juggernaut Jimmy Hatlo, was nationally syndicated starting in 1936. Bob Dunn followed Hatlo on the feature and Scaduto followed Dunn, giving the strip a strong creative continuity during its multiple decade run."
And I agree, as Tom writes further, that it was surprising that King would pull a feature that had over 100 papers. But, there was no one who could do it like Al Scaduto.
Al was the last of the bigfoot cartoonists -- guys like Rube Goldberg, Elzie Segar and Milt Gross (who Al knew). Perhaps it's fitting that the 79 year old feature ends with him. There is, sadly, no one around to fill those big feet.
Above is a photo of Al and me, taken a year ago. As some of you know, I had the honor of being the Chapter Chair of the National Cartoonists Society Long Island Chapter for a while.
I was pretty nervous about being the ringleader of what's called the Berndt Toast Gang; a legendary group of Long Island cartoonists. Getting up to talk about chapter business, in front of the likes of Scaduto, Giella, Drucker, Orehek, Sy Barry and others, was daunting. I tried not to let it show. the first couple of months I had that whole I'm-not-worthy feeling.
Out of the blue, Al Scaduto called me after a get together. Since I was still on the Long Island Expressway (or, the Long Island Parking Lot, due its reputation for gridlock), he'd leave a message, telling me how much he and his fiance Claire enjoyed themselves at the BTG lunch. And he always thanked me for being responsible for such a relaxed atmosphere at the get togethers.
To get a phone call like this made me feel great. Al was always a gracious gentlemen. He would always ask after me, and my wife, and ask how things are going. And he would listen to the answers.
Al was very much part of the heart of the Gang. He will be missed.
Above right: a small selection of a large number of originals that he brought in last year to show the Gang.
A hat tip to Journalista! where I first saw mention of the CT Post article.
Memories of Al Scaduto
Some Al Scaduto Links
Monday, January 21, 2008
A personal note to say thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday this weekend. To my pleasant surprise, my birthday was noted on some chat boards and Comics Reporter.
This is my 1001st posting on Blogger, and I thought I'd share the above drawing, signed "Mike Lynch '76" that was mailed to me by my old friend Phil, some 32 years later.
I first met Phil in 7th grade, back at White Station Junior High in Memphis, TN. He made junior high a lot more tolerable! Thanks, Phil! When I moved away, we stayed in touch during our teenage years. And then, we stopped writing. A couple of decades later, Phil found me via the Web. We've been in touch since then.
The above bit of embarrassing Lynchian juvenilia is from a letter I wrote him when I was 14 years old. All these years later, STAR TREK and drawing are still the two big whoopee cushions in my sofa of life ... along with, of course, Mrs. Lynch, and Roo and Sam and Trout!
And a big thanks to all of you out there. I never knew I had so many nice folks who took time to type a happy birthday sentiment. Gee whiz. Thanks.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Related: Some 42 years later, once again, Leonard Nimoy's voice over reminds you the viewer that STAR TREK is coming soon in this, the first theatrical trailer for the 2008 STAR TREK movie. The trailer came out on Friday, the movie is scheduled for December 2008. More at this Trekmovie link.
Friday, January 18, 2008
One of the nice things about cartoons is that you can sneak in something personal that only you will know about. In this case, it's Rufus.
Please allow for a big digression here where I tell you about Rufus, and how I was wrong and my wife was right.
Above: our beloved Rufus, snuggled in Stacy's fiddle case.
Rufus, or "Roo" for short, is a big, lumbering orange, stripy cat that is built like a bull. Although seemingly bred for combat, he lives for love. He's a very large sweetheart of a feline that loves to be talked to, and receive copious pats upon his huge head and his thick, fleecy tummy.
He was, like all of our three cats, a rescue. Rufus was found, tied to a broken down building with a urine-soaked string. A woman who was passing by, snipped the string and took him away from that building in Red Hook. She took him to our vet's, where he was fed, cleaned up, and put in a cage in the back room. Around his time, we were looking for a new kitty, and we'd gone to the vet's.
"Have you seen the orange cat with the large head?" a vet tech asked.
So we sat in one of the exam rooms with the cat that they all called "Big Head." His head was rather large, but not abnormally so (i.e., none of that the-front-part-of-the-cat-tips-over kinda physics here). He sat motionless on wife Stacy's lap. We talked and patted him a bit. He stayed motionless. After 5-10 minutes, he pooped. Right there on her lap, he pooped. Enter vet tech with towels, apologies and an offer to whisk the cat away.
"Oh, no,"said my wife.
I think she started loving the cat right then and there. I was not in favor of the cat who had obviously never been properly socialized. Stacy theorized that he was near feral and scared (shitless). This was a cat who needed a good home to become a good kitty.
So, we adopted Bighead. We brought the problem cat to our home, where he hid behind a bookcase (living room) or under the bed (bedroom). He would only come out in the dead of night, making his presence known at3am by knocking over the garbage. Garbage, he thought, was where the food was. Amazingly, he used the litter box right off.
Well, after a couple of weeks of us talking to him under the bed, and him just staring, staring, staring back at us, Roo began to walk out a little bit. And he watched us with our other kitties back then: Bertie and Max. He watched us talking to them, playing with them. Bighead stared. He was taking it all in. It took a while, but he began to perceive that our place was a place where kitties were patted and no one was beaten or hit or tied up with a string -- well -- then he relaxed.
One of the first things he did was begin to sleep. He slept like the dead, for what seemed like a month. I guess he had never really relaxed before. Heaven knows what life was like in Red Hook.
Anyway, so I like to draw Rufus. From time to time he makes it into a cartoon and from time to time that cartoon will sell. One of the reasons I like him is his stripes. Rufus has those stripes on his face that makes him look worried, regardless of his mood.
One of the things that he had to "learn" was playing. I don't think he ever played before. Thanks to our guys (especially Max), Rufus learned to play -- that it's OK to swat, run & wrestle in fun.
Hence, the cartoon. I told you we'd get to the cartoon!
This cartoon was drawn nearly three years ago. It was submitted 15 times to other markets and other clients. It sold this past fall to Harvard.
Although, sadly, our kitties Bertie and Max have passed away, Rufus has two new playmates -- both rescues -- named Sam and Trout. I better sell some cartoons featuring them or jealousy will read its big head!
Today's Factoid: Some of the cartoons are in B&W, some are in color. The editor will ask for color. It's not up to us cartoonists.
This'll have to do until I can get my hands on the new STAR TREK theatrical trailer (which you get to see if you paid good money to see the movie CLOVERFIELD this weekend).
Hardcore Nerd to Nerd Factoid: Did you catch the cool Cylon sound effect for Nomad!?
Related: a STAR TREK VOYAGER - A-TEAM version.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Congratulations to my friend and fellow cartoonist Stephanie Piro upon her winning the Illustrator of the Year award by the Cat Writers' Association for her great illustrations in PAWS FOR THOUGHT: UNDERSTANDING WHAT YOUR CAT IS THINKING written by Anne Leighton. She also won a Certificate of Excellence for her illustrations for another book: 101 COOL GAMES FOR COOL CATS written by Elissa Wolfson. Both books are available in European bookstores, and online via the Cat Lovers Club.
And Stephanie's own book, full of wonderful cat cartoons, MY CAT LOVES ME NAKED, also received a Certificate of Excellence.
Here's the story from the Rochester Times newspaper.
Some samples of the work from her site here.
I went thru a period of using charcoal and conte crayons. My wife says she likes this period a lot, but it was a pain to control the line, and, well, of course, you can't really erase anything.
But, now that I see it again today, I do like the swirly, swooshy effect going on in the above panel.
The second cartoon below, which appeared in Barron's, I drew with a one of those Micra Pigma pens. A small one. A #2 I think. You can see that some of the line reproduction is weak. I need to up my line strength.
Related: Mark Anderson announces the Andertalk cartoon forum.
Thanks, Mark, for starting up fun cartoon forum!