Friday, May 30, 2008

Mel Casson 1920-2008

King Features reports the death Mel Casson. From their press release:

"Cartoonist legend Mel Casson, the writer and illustrator of the comic strip Redeye, died on May 21 at his home in Westport, Conn. He was 87."

I met Mel a couple of times at the CT NCS chapter get togethers. He was a great guy and full of great stories.

Below is a sampling of some of his gag cartoon work that he did for the book EVER SINCE ADAM AND EVE, edited by Mr. Casson and Alfred Andriola and copyright 1955 by them as well.

"You and your bright ideas. We haven't sold a painting in two days."

"Any volunteers to bisect a curve?"

"Which of you is Mr. Bingham?"

I love you too, Roger, but how will I explain to my family?"

"This is the reason I gave up playing with dolls."

"Three parts gin ... one part vermouth ... and a dash of aphrodisiac."

"Harvey, remind me to pick up a quart of milk on the way home."

Best Cartoons of the Year 1964

Here's some cartoons from the BEST CARTOONS OF 1964, "being a selection, by the artists themselves, of the best cartoons they drew for the leading magazines in the country for the past year." It's copyright 1964 by the series' long time editor Lawrence Lariar. The nice paper cover has long since been landfill, so here's the frontispiece.

Bob Weber's cartoons are always fun. Full of lowlifes, full of action -- and there's always an old timey cartoon touch to admire. In this case, I'm admiring the little puffs of smoke behind the hubby. This guy gets snaps for escaping the police and running through town without losing his stogie!

Here's a nice pen scratchy Joe Farris cartoon. It's only by letting my eye wander for a moment, keying in on what the shrink is looking at, that I was able to see those patient's fingers.

George Dole is one of the greats. I like his wide-eyed characters and easy, quick sketch style.

I like how the kid's hand is at his hip. So theatrical. Bo Brown has made a good point.

Jack Tippit with a prescient cartoon. Lariar wrote in his introduction that, "The past year may well go down in history as The Year of the Unleashed Libido." This cartoon certainly qualifies.

Arthur Henrickson with an early raw food market cartoon.

The one and only Don Orehek with a dopey cop. Note how his black spotting gets your eye bouncing between the 4 "Budapest String Quartet members" and the foreground.

Vahan Shirvanian (who just had a cartoon in yesterday's Wall Street Journal) gives us a 2 panel take on an old idea. I laughed at it. Maybe you saw it coming, but I didn't!

Do kids even know what a divining rod is? Here's another multi-panel by Jack Tippit. You can never have enough Tippit.

Michaud made me laugh out loud. Another "Year of the Libido" cartoon, for those who are counting! Look at the lovely little details of the room, and that easy, sweeping wash.

Jim Whiting reporting on the wild, drunken parties. Nowadays, a quick phone call from one of the kids' cell phones to Child Protective Services would bring about a swift end to this behavior!

This is maybe a dated and silly gag, but look at the composition: a sea of frowns as we look from left to right -- and then we see the exception, and read the gag line. All done in an economic 2-3 seconds.

The Trial of the Sober Dog by Nick Abadzis

Nick Abadzis sends along a note:


Announcing a new graphic novella, serialised in The Times every Monday from June 2nd for the next six months:

The Trial of the Sober Dog by Nick Abadzis

Everyone one had one: the person at school who was thought most likely to succeed. A chance encounter at a private view sees friends Marco and Petra encounter their old school rival Joe Chase again after many years. It seems he has indeed lived up to his potential… but things aren’t always what they seem. No matter how it seems to observers, nobody can have it all…

Told through observations, anecdotes, flashbacks and musings by different narrators, each episode shows a different aspect of Chase and multiple reasons why he might still be nicknamed The Sober Dog…

The Times relaunch on June 2nd features The Sober Dog as its new T2 Monday strip in full colour. Every episode will be available to read online, the day after publication, here:

Graphic novels – comics – in The Times? It’s all true. Follow the exploits and observations of the Sober Dog and his “friends” every week!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jim Salicrup!

Many happy returns to man about town, bon vivant, and the editor who is lightest on his feet: the one and only Jim Salicrup!

From left: Jim Salicrup, Mike Lynch at Rocketship Comics back on June 9, 2006.

Early Frank King Strips

Kevin Huizenga, a cartoonist in his own right, has some great show and tell: full page cartoons drawn by the pen of another cartoonist -- Frank King -- best known for creating the still-running GASOLINE ALLEY comic strip. This is a great collection of work from 1910 to 1919.

A big thanks to Dirk Deppey at Journalista!

Just for fun: 20 seconds from the TREES TO TRIBUNES documentary showing Frank King at work as well as the real life inspiration for GASOLINE ALLEY's lead character Walt Wallet:

Alexander Courage 1919-2008

The man who will be best remembered as the composer of the original STAR TREK TV theme music had been in declining health since 2005. Mr. Courage passed away on May 15, 2008 at the Sunrise assisted-living facility in Pacific Palisades, CA.
"Courage himself was a genial man with an impish sense of humor. His Trek cue titles are marked by odd puns and inside jokes like 'Monitor Gizzard,' 'Lurch Time' (for a ship-shaking scene in 'The Naked Time') and 'Banana Farm.' After Courage wrote the Star Trek theme music Gene Roddenberry offered to write lyrics to the tune—an arrangement that earned the Trek creator half of the royalties on the oft-played theme and cost Courage quite a lot of money, particularly given that Roddenberry’s lyrics were never given any authentic recording or performance until Nichelle Nichols recorded a version late in her career. Stung by the arrangement, the cheeky Courage would sometimes sign Roddenberry’s name when asked for his autograph.

- Jeff Bond at

Also at the above link: a video documentary about Courage.

Jon Burlingame writes an excellent overview of Courage's career for the Film Music Society.

Star Trek Soundtracks page

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Alison Bechdel Tries to Take a Sabbatical

"Dykes to watch out for cartoonist takes a break after 25 years"

This is difficult to watch.

Gregorius Nekschot Video Interview

"I have this very deep urge urge to make fun of sensitive issues. I can't help myself. If you laugh, you are not afraid."

Just posted: a February 28, 2008 interview with "Gregorius Nekschot" in Dutch, German and English. Mr. Nekschot was arrested in his home for posting offensive anti-Islamic cartoons on his blog. A quote from the article linked above:

"Prosecutors said eight cartoons by Gregorius Nekschott considered reprehensible had been pulled from his website for 'exceeding the limits' of freedom of expression."

More at Comics Reporter.

A Visit with Bob Weber

Cartoonist Jim Sizemore has a new blog, the Doodlemeister blog.

Like a fool, I publicized it here. Yes, it was a foolish thing to do: publicize a blog that is one day soon going to eclipse mine big time!

Well, anyway, Jim has been doing some great work and I have no choice but to bring to your attention today's entry about Bob Weber, the man behind King Features' Moose & Molly newspaper strip since 1965.

Bob's a great guy, and exemplifies the kind of graciousness and kindness that is all part of the pro cartooning world. Thanks for sharing this, Jim.

Bob Staake Draws a New Yorker Cover

Behind the scenes stuff is like catnip. I love learning about the process and the trials and tribulations behind cartoon and illustration work. Here's the one and only Bob Staake talking about creating a New Yorker magazine cover.

Secret Cartoon Police

From Mike Rhode's ComicsDC blog:

" ... [T]he Dutch Secret Service apparently have a division dedicated to checking all the cartoons being published in the country for their political correctness."

H/t to Journalista!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bad Tokyopop Contract

Graphic novelist Bryan Lee O'Malley writes passionately about a really crummy contract that Tokyopop is offering.
"I'm going to go through this piece of shit with you, because I'm sure a lot of aspiring cartoonists read my blog and I want to do my part to help you all have a future.

"Read my bloggy lips: if you sign this contract, say goodbye to THE FUTURE."

It seems a lot like the online Zuda contract: Tokyopop's "Manga Pilot" venture wants all rights and no liability. As Bryan points out, there are waaaay too many other, better ways to get your work out there. Do not sell yourself out just to get published.


Dealing with Contracts

Wes Molebash on Zuda

Gerry Mooney's Reubens Photos

New Orleans beat the crap outta poor Gerry Mooney! Photos here.

2008 Reubens Photos

Above: It's the one and only Shaenon Garrity & Mike Lynch.

The weather report for New Orleans was for hot, hot, steamy, rainy weather all weekend. But it only rained on Thursday and by Friday the rain was intermittent, leaving only the hot, hot & steamy behind ....

I am placing these photos here randomly since if I got them organized, it would be days later before I could manage. See below for some more links to more sites with more organized pictures.

Above is the one and only legendary Jack Davis and me, Mike Lynch, in a photo taken by his wife, Deena "I take very bad photos" Davis. Really. She warned me. Mr. Davis made fun of her cutting off the tops of our mutual heads.

Richard Thompson and Rob Rogers. It was at the till-all-hours meet & greet on the first night there. All are bleary and tired, but happy.

Um, ask Mark Tatulli about The Great American Comic Strip Suck-a-thon. It's for real and it's coming in June 2009.

Reuben Award winner Al Jaffee and Mike Lynch.

Two comic strippers: Paul Gilligan and Hilary Price, looking way too awake for this photo taken in the wee hours after the Reubens ceremony.

Anne Gibbons, Isabella Bannerman and myself. The new Six Chix site & blog is here!

Two of the best: Richard Thompson with magazine cartoonist Benita Epstein.

The one and only Lynn Johnston and the Washington Post's Amy Lago.

The award winning Sandra Boynton and myself.

My friends from Maine: Amy Miller and her husband, NCS Division Award nominee John Klossner.

Mark Tatulli, Keith Robinson and R.C. Harvey.

Mike Lynch, Rina Piccolo and Richard Thompson.

Jay Kennedy Memorial Scholarship winner Juana Medina and myself.

Mort Gerberg & Nick Meglin.

Alan Gardner (The Daily Cartoonist) and Daryl Cagle.

Stan Goldberg, Frank Springer and Hy Eisman.

Terri Libenson and Gerry Mooney.

Me, hovering above Bunny Hoest and Don Orehek.

The cocktail reception room has all these posters of the nominees.

John Martz, Canadian NCS Chapter Chairman and also a great cartoonist and one of guys behind the Drawn! site.

Ray Billingsley draws Curtis.

That's lawyer Stu Rees manning the Orphan works table.

Sergio Aragones, Rina Piccolo and me.

Chad Carpenter
and Amy Lago.

Carla Ventresca, Henry Beckett and Terri Libenson.

Bunny Hoest, and the Mikes: Peters and Lynch.

Eddie and Beth Pittman, Stan and Pauline Goldberg.

Hy and Florenz Eisman who clean up very well!

Don Orehek does justice to the jester's hat.

The gleaming awards display.

Sergio Aragones and Cathy Guisewite going over the notes before the Reubens. They look far too serious!

The Mutts negotiate with terrorists in this parody by Mike Peters.

Mm. Breakfast!

Mort and Judith Gerberg dance.

It's me and Leif Peng! Two of your favorite bloggers ever. Leif's blog is Today's Inspiration. Go and bookmark, you fool!

Don Orehek drawing.

A couple of drawings from a mural protesting the orphan works bill currently being reviewed in congress.

Sergio Aragones strikes a post with husband & wife creators of El Tigre, Sandra Equihua and Jorge Gutierrez.

Who is this masked man?

All in all, an excellent and massive dose of fun. I was involved in some meetings and behind the scenes stuff. At one point, it had been over 2 days and I'd not stepped out of the hotel. Too busy!
Related links:

Mike Lynch Cartoons Reubens photostream at Flickr

Tom Richmond has some great photos and superior reports at his MAD blog, including the cartoonists building at Habitat for Humanity:

And there will be more of the Reubens collective memory at Tom Spurgeon's Comics Reporter site as the week progresses ....


On the airplane home, I learned of the passing of Thelma Keane, Family Circus cartoonist's Bil Keane's wife.

"'She was the inspiration for all of my success,' Bil Keane, 85, told the Associated Press from his home in Paradise Valley on Sunday. 'When the cartoon first appeared, she looked so much like Mommy that if she was in the supermarket pushing her cart around, people would come up to her and say, 'Aren't you the Mommy in 'Family Circus?' And she would admit it.'"

Bil's son Jeff is the current National Cartoonists Society president. My condolences to the Keane family on this sad loss.