Saturday, October 31, 2009

Beware the Cartoonist


Bill "Weg" Green and his burglar. Photo by Craig Abraham.

Here is a story from 2006 -- one I never heard of.

The moral is: never, ever commit a crime against a cartoonist. The criminal will lose.

When a criminal broke into caricaturist Bill "Weg" Green's property, shoving him, cursing, and trying to get away on Weg's grandson's bike -- Bill needed only a moment to draw the perpetrator.
"'We were mainly concerned with catching the offender who was still in the area,' said Senior Constable Aaron Roche of Ringwood police.

"'I thought (the drawing) might be a stick figure or something like that.'

"Seconds later, Mr Green — who still works daily drawing private, AFL and other corporate caricatures, as well as running a gallery — provided a detailed drawing of the burglar's face.

"'It was amazing, the likeness was just fantastic,' Senior Constable Roche said."

The Age has the full story.

Weg Green illustrated the Australian Football League posters from 1954 until he passed away last year.

Hat tip to Small & Big!

I'm just sorry I'm 3 years late on this.


Above image from the Saxton site.

Friday, October 30, 2009

DOCTOR WHO "The Waters of Mars" November 15 Premiere on BBC UPDATED


UPDATE: BBC America will air "The Waters of Mars" on Saturday December 19th at 9pm et/pt.

Just in from The Doctor Who News Page: the next-to-last David Tennant DOCTOR WHO episode "The Waters of Mars" will air on Sunday night, November 15th at 7pm. BBC America has promised to air it in the States "soon."

Here are 2 new previews from the Doctor Who TV Web site:



Smokey Stover's Foo Car


When in Indiana, don't forget to see the real-life Smokey Stover "Foo Car." Mark Anderson has the scoop.


Above Big Little book image nicked from Neatorama's "The Comics Origin of Phrases" entry, which includes explanations of Linus' security blanket, Pogo's "We have met the enemy and he is us," etc.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Video: Rand Holmes Exhibit


The bad news is that I missed the Rand Holmes retrospective exhibit. (BoingBoing has a description here.)

Rand Holmes taught himself how to draw by copying Wally Wood and Will Eisner. He drew, among many other things, Harold Hedd. It was his work in Fog City Comics, that I picked up out of a bin at Cosmic Comics in Cleveland, Ohio many years ago that got my attention. And then I saw his art in the 1980s comic books Alien World and Twisted Tales.

It was in the 1980s that he moved himself and his family to the remote Lasqueti Island, in the Georgia Strait, north of Vancouver. He wanted to live off the land. Rand Holmes concentrated on painting. He was, as you will see when we get to look at all of his sketchbooks in the video, a prolific guy. He didn't talk a lot, his widow explains. But he had a lot of projects.

He died at the age of 55, while undergoing chemotherapy for Lymphoma in 2002.



So, the good news is that even though the event is over, there is this wonderful video report on the 2007 gallery show from Patrick Rosenkranz. Why it's appearing now, two years after the exhibit, is anyone's guess. But I'm thankful and glad to see the work and listen to his wife and sons and friends talk about this talented Canadian underground cartoonist.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gahan Wilson Cartoons


The Golden Age Comics Book Stories showcases a wonderful selection of Playboy gag cartoons by Gahan Wilson. Some seminal, funny cartoons here -- great to revisit these.

Mike Lynch Cartoon in October 28, 2009 Wall Street Journal

You can't simply sell a cartoon that is blatantly critical of business to a pro-business publication. Unless you're clever about it.


In this cartoon of mine, in today's Wall Street Journal, you can see what I mean.

The general challenge is to make a pointed observation about business in a smart way. The specific challenge here was to make the fellow and the angel look alike. This is why they both have heads like lima beans. The WSJ cartoon is published so small, I was worried that it may not be clear that this is THIS guy's guardian angel.

Oddly enough, the year started out with a cartoon of mine in WSJ about angels and devils on shoulders. I never thought about it, but I suppose that that's a genre, along with the desert island gag, the boss chasing the secretary gag, the wise man on the moutain top gag, etc.

My thanks to Greg, Dave, Pletch, Teresa and Marshall for letting me know that I have a cartoon in today's Wall Street Journal!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Glad You're Feeling Better, Ger Apeldoorn!


Above: Ger looks tough.

Ger Apeldoorn is a modern day Renaissance man. You know his name if you love old comics or cartoon strips. He's written a lot about them on the Web and print. His knowledge if formidable and encyclopedic. I first met Ger in the 1990s. He works in TV comedy in the Netherlands.

Ger was diagnosed with a brain tumor. You may already know this if you read Ger's blog, The Fabuleous Fifties. The growth was recently removed and he is recovering. Just this week, the medical tests came back. Good news: the tumor was benign. He is expected to make a full recovery, with no relapse expected.

I am very relieved and glad to hear this and wish Ger and Nel and his two children all the best.

While "life ain't nohow permanent, " as Ger (and Walt Kelly) observe, I'm glad that my friend Ger is still here, with all of us, in this world.

Wishing you all the best, my friend!

TWILIGHT Robert Pattinson Cross-stitch Pattern


Just when you thought you'd seen it all.

From today's Guardian:

This Halloween, show your allegiance to the vampire world by crafting a cross-stitch sampler of Robert Pattinson, the star of the Twilight films

Download a PDF version of the pattern here.

This is really for my friend Stephanie Piro, who is a big fan of TWILIGHT.

BALLYHOO Magazine September 1937


The always-reliable Hairy Green Eyeball blog presents some scans of cartoons from BALLYHOO Magazine this fine day. Above: a Jack Markow cartoon from the September 1937 issue.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Video: Jackie Ormes

Here is a portion of ONE TENTH OF A NATION, a 1953 documentary. In this vintage film clip, we see the first African American woman cartoonist Jackie Ormes at work.



Related: Author Nancy Goldstein talks about Jackie Ormes in this interview from KMBC TV.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Can Free Distribution Work for Indie Artists? - Nina Paley

NEW Adrian Sinnott Blog




My friend, fellow ink-slinger and chair of the Berndt Toast Gang, Adrian Sinnott launches his new blog (Barking Hollow Studios, Inc.; Sketches by Adrian Sinnott) this month.

"I’m sure it’s been done before but I’m hoping this blog will be more of a visual journey than a written one. I realised that many of the quick drawings I do when traveling are only seen by me and, possibly, the person bored with their newspaper in the next seat. I’ve also developed a well-earned reputation of being able to hold a conversation, often for longer than I should. So, here, with a minimum of words, is a diary of drawings from planes, trains, and automobiles. Of course, my Irish tendency to add a bit of color with a few words will invariably bubble to the top."
Adrian is a prolific commercial illustrator, instructor and children's book artist. He's also an all around swell guy who has some great stories to tell.

Welcome, Adrian. And I look forward to lots of bloggy goodness to come.

Wally Wood: 22 Panels That Always Work


A couple of times a year, I get an email informing me of Wally Wood's "22 Panels That Always Work." Do I know about it? Shouldn't I showcase it on my blog?

Like a lot of people who draw, I have a copy of this that I was given at least 20 years ago. It was passed along my a Marvel Comics freelancer (and Wally Wood worshipper) who told me it was full of knowledge.

The "22 Panels" primer is a sheet of paper that's been floating around for decades. It was put together by one of the greatest (some say the greatest) comic book artists, Wally Wood, to show

" ... some interesting ways to get some variety into those boring panels when some dumb writer has a bunch of lame characters sitting around and talking for page after page."

More about this (and a big hat tip) at Charles Yoakum's Ink Destroyed My Brush blog, where you can read the comments section if you don't know what Ben Day is, for instance.

Frank Robbins


Pete Doree blogs about Frank Robbins' 1970s comic book output at his Bronze Age of Blogs. Well worth stoping by to see the scans.

Speaking as a fellow former kid of the 1970s, I didn't like Frank's art then -- but as I got older, I appreciated it a lot more. I still have my copy of The Shadow No. 7, from which the above illustration of Lamont Cranston's girlfriend, Margot Lane, knocking out an evil Nazi, is taken.

Frank had so much energy in those Caniff-style inks that it looked like those people were going to explode. Like Pete says, Frank Robbins' art didn't look like the Marvel house style. That's why I like it so much now. Just looking at his Johnny Hazzard art (excerpted at Pete's blog), you can see the wonderful skill, the artistic knowledge and the pacing.

NCS Cartoonists Visit the Troops


The last week and a half, some of the nation's top cartoonists toured military installations courtesy of the USO. Above: The National Cartoonists Society's "band of 10" pose in front of the last surviving mural of Saddam Hussein in Iraq in this photo by NCS President Jeff Keane. From left: Jeff Bacon, Chip Bok, Stephan Pastis, Mike Peters, Rick Kirkman, Jeff Keane, Michael P. Ramirez, Garry Trudeau, Tom Richmond and Bruce Higdon.



Nicked from the venerable Tom Richmond's blog. Thanks, Tom!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Star Trek Universe Conversations With Nicholas Meyer



Related video: Shatner & Plummer on their friendship through the years.

Happy 50th Anniversary, Asterix!


Asterix (and Uderzo -- both above), created by writer Rene Goscinny and illustrator Albert Uderzo in the pages of Pilote Magazine on October 29, 1959, celebrate their 50th anniversary.

There will be a number of events. In addition to the new book, their 34th album, ASTERIX AND OBELIX'S BIRTHDAY - THE GOLD BOOK, to be released today, Deutsche Welle reports:

This month's anniversary is widely recognized in France: Asterix gets his own postal stamp and the French air force is producing a video in which airplanes will draw an Asterix head in the sky. Paris will also organize a parade themed "The Gauls invade Lutetia" and a series of events will take place in the region of Brittany, where several villages claim to be Asterix' home.

Hugh Schofield, writing for BBC News in Paris, reports on the drop in quality in the series when writer Rene Goscinny passed away in 1977 in today's article titled Should Asterix hang up his sword?

"'Since the death of Goscinny, it has been the slow descent into hell,' says Hugues Dayez, Belgian film critic and comic-strip expert. (In Belgium they take BD [Bandes Dessinées; or, comic strip books] even more seriously than in France.)

"'Uderzo is a great artist, but he is no script-writer. He has no confidence in himself. He has one idea, then another, then another, and in the end the whole thing is a mess. More importantly, all the humour - the wonderful irony - is no longer there. The genius has gone.

"'But the paradox is that despite all this, the Asterix albums have never sold as many as they do now. This is entirely a result of the commercialisation of the brand. In Mr Goscinny's day there was no merchandising, but now it is like a war-machine,' he says"

Ernie Colon Remembers George Tuska


Tom Spurgeon post this remembrance of George Tuska by comics artist Ernie Colon.

I've read it a couple of times now. Sad and touching. Worth going to the link and seeing what Mr. Colon has written.

------------------

My small story, but it's not really my story:

I have a local frame shop the next town over, where they all know me. "Oh, it's Mike who draws the cartoons. Hi Mike! Etc."

Now who doesn't like to be greeted like a celebrity when they walk into a joint, huh?

Anyway, they are a great group and they have done me some great work for me since I moved here in 2007.

One of the owners mentioned that her Dad was friends with a comic book artist. I probably never heard of him, she says. His name is George Tuska. I told her I knew who Tuska was, for sure. I read Tuska's 1970s Marvel comics.

She told me about years and years worth correspondence, between her father and Mr. Tuska, with Tuska doodling on all of the letters. They had known each other for years. I can't remember if they had met as kids or what. Her mother, she told me, has all of the letters and they are considered treasures, kept in a safe place.

I said that if she ever felt she would like to share these personal items with friends and fans of Mr. Tuska, I would be happy to put a selection on my blog.

This is all there is to it. Perhaps one day I'll be fortunate enough to share some of the doodles. Like I said, this isn't really my story. But isn't wonderful that George Tuska touched so many people?

Above graphic of "Mob Buster Robinson" by George Tuska nicked from Golden Age Comic Book Stories.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Charles Schulz Audio Interview

Via YouTube: here's a radio interview with Charles Schulz by radio personality Dennis Daily. The interview focuses on the Charlie Brown specials, the initial struggle to make A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, voice-casting over the years, and some other musings about holidays and the fame of the strip.

There is no date given, but it was in the 1980s or 90s. Better guesses most welcome.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Video: Émile Cohl FANTASMAGORIE

Via Émile Cohl's Wikipedia entry:

Cohl made "Fantasmagorie" from February to May or June 1908. This is considered the first fully animated film ever made. It was made up of 700 drawings, each of which was double-exposed, leading to a running time of almost two minutes. Despite the short running time, the piece was packed with material devised in a "stream of consciousness" style.


George Tuska 1916-2009


George Tuska, veteran comic strip and comic book artist, passed away last night. The cause was a stroke.

The Comics Reporter has an obituary, and quotes a 2001 interview with PC Hamerlinck that describes the then-18-year-old's acquaintance with art:

After high school I visited my aunt in New York City, where I ended up working a few odd jobs. One was designing women's costume jewelry. It was fun, but I soon found out that it just wasn't my thing. Shortly thereafter, a friend of mine invited me to work out with him, lifting weights at a local gym. I exercised for five hours that day. The next day I was so sore I couldn't get out of bed. My friend came over, and we dropped in to visit a friend of his who was a sculptor. His studio was on one of the West 70s Streets, overlooking Central Park. I never got to know his name, but he knew I was interested in art, so he recommended me to the National Academy of Design. At the time it was located at 104th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. Thus began my art career!

Above image of Iron Man #71, November, 1974, nicked from My First Comics.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sick Day


Sick today. I can't come out and blog. More blog soon.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What I Did for Feral Cat Day 2009


This is the cat that has been hanging around this summer. Very sweet, very shy -- but he's playful and comes when called. (And why not? We feed him.)

Impervious to Havahart live animal traps. He is an orange cat, and has been named Dexter.



On Monday, this little gray kitty was caught in the live animal trap. Sweet, not shy, purry, inquisitive, cute -- very charming and he wanted to be adopted by us.

Made up a bunch of "Found Cat" flyers and went door to door, posted notes locally, went to the vet's. No takers.

Tuesday, I took him to the local no kill shelter (the Cocheco Valley Humane Society) where they believe he will be adopted very quickly.

It was very tempting to adopt him, but our hearts are set on Dexter.



This is the way the front of the house looked on National Feral Cat Day.



Resigned to the fact that our friend Dexter may be hanging around all winter, we made a cat house on the porch, nestled in between some straw bales.

A closer look. It's 2 plastic storage bins, one inside the other. Polystyrene and straw are in between the 2 bins for insulation. There's also straw for burrowing inside.

We still hope to catch him in the Havahart, but we also don't want him to freeze ....

Friday, October 16, 2009

R. Crumb Print Snowboard Jacket


Offered for your perusal ....

OK, I don't know what a "Dyer Jacket" is, and when I think "snowboarding" I don't immediately think of the "subversive voice and controversial artwork" of Robert Crumb, that "prominent figure in the 60s and 70s counter culture."

But, well, uh, here it is, like some kind of freakish outwear mash-up: an R. Crumb print design (of what looks like banana peels and tin cans) in a cool $269.00 designer snowboard jacket.

"Check out the print by cartoonist Robert Crumb. A prominent figure in the 60s and 70s counter culture, Crumb is world-renowned for his subversive voice and controversial artwork. We’re only producing 500 pieces in this print, and shipping it in a black bag so you can look sketchy when taking it to the register. Beyond that, the Burton Restricted Dyer Jacket keeps riders like Mikey Rencz and Mark Sollors dry and warm when rooping around the British Columbian backcountry with the help of a hopped up DRYRIDE Durashell™ 2L fabric and strategically placed expedition weight Thermacore™ insulation."
Maybe Mikey Rencz and Mark Sollors (I am guessing they are snowboarders) are big Crumb fans. I don't know.

GREAT CARTOONS OF THE WORLD Part 2


Above: an Al Ross cartoon. Love that simple sketchy line. Al is doing fine at the age of 98, thank you very much!

More cartoons from GREAT CARTOONS OF THE WORLD Edited by John Bailey, copyright 1967 by Crown Publishers, New York, NY.







Here are some wordless stories about this ironic, funny world we live in. Above, here's Bosc, writing about luck and death.



Above: Quentin Blake who was a gag cartoonist, before he turned full-time children's book illustrator.


Above: another cartoon by Bosc about what is art. Oo la la.






Sempe gives us a multi-panel epic.

Mordillo's world is slightly insaner than anyone else's.


Syverson's line: I look at it and marvel at its liquid energy. A forgotten master.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Video: Seth


Canadian cartoonist Seth talks about his own graphic novel GEORGE SPROTT 1894-1975, as well as his participation in THE COLLECTED DOUG WRIGHT: CANADA'S MASTER CARTOONIST in this QTV interview.

HAGAR THE HORRIBLE: THE DAILIES 1973-74



It's the first 2 years of HAGAR THE HORRIBLE, scheduled for release next week in the brand new hardcover HAGAR THE HORRIBLE: THE DAILIES 1973-74.

Wow! $13.57 for 320 pages (according to Amazon)? That's a must buy.

Dik Browne was a master and this strip was his baby. When I was a kid, I cut out the first 6 months of the strip from the Lawrence (KS) Journal-World. I remember studying them and keeping them in neat little pile. That was, until they were lost in a move at some point in the 1970s. Great news that I can see them again after all these years.

Thanks for the heads up, Tony Madeiros!


And don't forget about the BEETLE BAILEY book as well.

Jeff MacNelly


David Apatoff's Illustration Art blog showcases some of Jeff MacNelly's editorial cartoons.

Do read David's background on the self-taught, 3-time Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist. (He also won 2 NCS Reuben Awards.) The art is something to grapple with; powerful, lingering and, above all, MacNelly's own.

MacNelly's art was made for the eye to linger. There is so much understanding of form and shadow -- along with the tremendous, insightful writing.

I attended my first National Cartoonists Society Reubens convention in New York City in 2000. I was a freshly minted newbie. I had just been admitted to the NCS the month before. Didn't know a soul. I registered for the convention in a room off of the main lobby. I was given my badge and a goody bag. Also in this room: tables of flyers and posters and freebies to browse. Jeff MacNelly, to ill to attend, had drawn a full color poster, and as I approached it, looking at his Shoe characters, I heard a voice behind me: "Isn't he the best?" I looked at the guy who spoke. I didn't know who he was. Then I looked at the badge he was wearing. It said "Mike Peters, Editorial Cartoonist." I had not met Mike. We chatted for a minute. Mike, like always, treated me like an equal even though he had never heard of me. I asked about Mr. MacNelly's health. Mike was obviously worried about him.

And I could tell, just the way that other cartoonists spoke about him during that May weekend at the World Trade Center, that MacNelly was a giant. His presence was there.


Above: MacNelly's NCS bio.

And that's the thing about cartooning that gets a proverbial lump in the throat: all the pro cartoonists I have ever met are the most gracious, kindest people.

I wish I had met Jeff MacNelly. I'm glad that David Apatoff shared some of his wonderful editorial cartoons. Thanks, David.

Related: Jeff MacNelly's official site.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Let's Get Some Culture on This Here Blog



Big hat tip to Way Out Junk!

Video: German Cartoonist Flix

From Deutsche Welle TV, here is a video of cartoonist Flix (Felix Görmann), who is drawing a "personal portrait" graphic novel about the Berlin Wall and the divided Germany.

FLIX studied at the School of Visual Arts in Saarbrücken Saar and the Escola Massana in Barcelona. In addition to his regular newspaper series "Verflix," he is also know for several graphic novels published by Carlsen, including "Sag Was" (SAY SOMETHING), "a love story semi-autobiographical, about the beginning and end of a great love" and “Mädchen.”

I posted about Flix in August. Now, below, is the same video, but it's been translated. I am thankful for this, since I only speak "restaurant German" and know how to ask for beer from the tap and where the men's room is.

There are some good shots of Flix drawing and inking, and stay in there for the entire 4 plus minutes to see more of his clear line style. Very appealing. There is also a simply animated sequence. Glad to see the translation and I hope we'll be able to buy the book here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

STAR TREK ETERNAL

From 1996, a series of clips to commemorate the then-30th anniversary of the TREK franchise. Music is by John Williams from, of all things, his score for the NIXON motion picture.



Some lovely moments here and, if you're a fan, then you get a lot of the context of the images. I tend to forget just how much TREK I remember. It's a lot!

Video: Tom Gammill "Learn to Draw #23" with Special Guest Mell Lazarus

GREAT CARTOONS OF THE WORLD Edited by John Bailey


A selection of wordless cartoons from GREAT CARTOONS OF THE WORLD Edited by John Bailey, copyright 1967 by Crown Publishers, New York, NY. This is the first book in what became a series of John Bailey-edited GREAT CARTOONS books.


The above cartoon by Larry made me laugh out loud. There are levels of meaning here.


I don't know who the cool dude is supposed to be, but the kid's expression is so great, that I get the context even though the fellow in the large thought balloon is not known. A bullseye by the French cartoonist Pierre Adebert.

Zacek draws a sad desert island gag.

Czech cartoonist Vladimir Rencin with what may be termed a political cartoon about war.



The Saturday Evening Post mainstay cartoonist Henry Syverson's dynamic pen line is so animated.


Gallagher's cartoons just blast forth with his animated line work.


Vahan Shirvanian made me laugh out loud at the above 4-panel gag. A veteran cartoonist, who is still producing cartoons for the American market from his home in New Jersey.


A great gag cartoon can make you think. Charles Martin's cartoon gives me cold comfort about health care. 40 years later, the writing still resonates.

Mordillo is one of those cartoonists who deserves to more popularly known in the States. Another desert island gag -- beautifully and joyously drawn.


Anatol Kovarsky plays on perception in this breezily drawn (no pun intended) 2-panel exercise.


And another Henry Syverson cartoon finishes up the sampling today. Which reminds me, I need to rake ....