Friday, September 30, 2011

Video: Peter Bagge

Gluyas Williams

Above: a Gluyas Williams dustjacket cover for a Robert Benchley book.

Had a great chat with illustrator Sandy Kossin about Gluyas Williams.

Sandy had brought in some prints of Williams' work to a Berndt Toast lunch. Gluyas Williams was a distinctive illustrator and cartoonist whose clean line work appeared in the old Life Magazine (back when Life had cartoons in it) and the New Yorker. His illustrations were mainstays in advertising. He was a syndicated cartoonist. If you have an old volume by Edward Streeter or Robert Benchley, chances are his drawings are salted in there like a Big Little Book -- practically every other page. Ditto an old New Yorker cartoon collection. (Look for "The Day a Cake of Soap Sank at Procter & Gamble's" and the trapeze artist cartoon.) His work was everywhere.

So, back to me and Sandy: we were staring at this grand crowd scene. Sandy noted that every single one of those people was an individual. I stared at it. The drawing was of what looked like several hundred people on a Coney Island beach. The vista stretched back to the boardwalk. I leaned in to the drawing, looking at all of the people in the background. I took off my glasses. I'm near-sighted. I see better up close. Sure enough. Sandy was right. Everybody was a specific character.

Here's a small scan of the work, titled "Coney Island:"

Going beyond the simplicity of his line style, his people are full of personality. Williams' ink line gives us form and movement. I loved looking at that scene and I thought I would share more today.

I was going to scan in more of Williams' work, but there's already a great site devoted to him. 

And that's where I nicked most of these great scans. Please stop by to browse more.

NUTS by Gahan Wilson

NUTS, the comic strip by Gahan Wilson that originally appeared in National Lampoon, has been collected in its entirety by Fantagraphics.

CBR interviews New Yorker and Playboy cartoonist Gahan Wilson about NUTS:

They [National Lampoon] asked me to do something as horrible as I possibly could. I toyed with Frankenstein monsters and all that kinds of stuff. Suddenly, I saw this little kid, I think it was in Central Park. He was walking along with his parents, it was a very busy day and he's trying to cope with it all and take it in. I was very touched by him. It reminded me that [childhood] was probably the most difficult time you go through, 'cause it's totally incomprehensible, and yet they do they struggle through. People treat them like they're teensy weensy, cutesy wootsy, but they're human beings. Little, very young, human beings. They're not cutesy wootsy. That's how I hit on the "Nuts" idea, and once I opened the gate, it just poured out of me. Now, [Fantagraphics is] going to bring out a book, which is very well done. It's a nice little collection, and this will be the whole thing.

TARZAN by Bob Lubbers

Above: panel detail by the one and only Bob Lubbers. 

Ger Apeldoorn shares a wonderfully delineated 1951 TARZAN daily comic strip sequence by Bob Lubbers. There are many strips here, an entire story. As Ger says, "Makes you wan to to get out to the jungle and swing, huh?"

Video: DOCTOR WHO: The Series So Far 1963-2011

DOCTOR WHO: the series so far, from 1963 to 2011 via vampiremonkeyonspeed:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Exhibition: Banned Saucy Postcards

 Above: the caption is "Ah, Mr. Mactavish, I see you have some ginger nuts."

The Daily Mail reports

A new exhibition displaying 1,300 titillating postcards, seized by police between 1951 to 1961, is being held by the British Cartoon Archive at the University of Kent. The display features cards that were seized by police in Margate, Kent.
... The cards are among 35,000 cartoons digitised and made available free online by the British Cartoon Archive following a £150,000 grant.

The newly-digitised cartoons include work by famous cartoonists such as Mac, in the Daily Mail.

The exhibition of banned postcards, entitled ‘I wish I could see my little Willy’[that's the caption of the above cartoon], will be displayed at the university’s Canterbury campus until November 13.
Hat tip to Mark Anderson!

EDIT: my friend, cartoonist Royston Robertson, has been to the exhibit and offers this report!

Too Many Sketchbooks

I lost a sketchbook this week. Fortunately, I found it again (it was in the backseat of the car). Previously, in July 2009, I had written here about sketchbooks and how I probably have too many. Below is the post once again (yes, this is a crummy rerun), and I invite your comments about the number of sketchbooks you deal with.

I had a great time traveling to NY last week. I think I packed pretty well for a week away. Except for sketchbooks. I put it to my friend Juana Medina when I asked, Do I have too many sketchbooks?

I have four. Each one has its special purpose.
  • A new 8 1/2 x 11 spiralbound book for new commercial projects (a comic strip idea and a graphic novel idea),
  • another sketchbook for doodling gag ideas (I draw on both sides of the page, dividing each page into 8 squares. I really get my money's worth out of this small book),
  • a third teeny, eentsy pocket sketchbook for doodling ideas for cartoon classes,
  • and a nice clothbound landscape book for drawing travel diaries; the black sketchbook, looking like a rectangular black hole, is in the lower right of the above photo.

And so Juana told me how organized I was, which was very nice and very flattering. I told her that, although that's a nice thought, I think I am toting around just too much mass. Why not just have one, big, general sketchbook?

I am curious to hear if other people have more than one sketchbook and, if so, are the sketchbooks divided by project? Do you have a "nice" sketchbook for your best work and one "not so nice" sketchbook, for not so important drawings? Do your sketchbooks vary by the medium you use?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

1970 Interview: Whitney Darrow, Jr.

From Cartoonist PROfiles #7, August 1970, here's a good interview with New Yorker gentleman-cartoonist Whitney Darrow. One of the reasons it's good is because of Jud Hurd, who WAS Cartoonist PROfiles and a cartoonist himself. Jud conducted a lot of the interviews through the magazine's run.

The preliminary sketches for Mr. Darrow's New Yorker cartoon (page 57) are fascinating. They're the reason I wanted to share the piece. You can see that he studied under George Bridgman.

The issue has a beautiful wrap-around cover by Sergio Aragones, along with an interview with the MAD Magazine artist. That's all scanned for your pleasure here.

Some more beautiful Darrow drawings from THE OFFICE PARTY book here.

Video: Sergio Aragones

From the2011 Wondercon: Sergio Aragones talks about working as a cartoonist and what new products he has (a GROO game!) in this video from Reality Check.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Our Prince Edward Island Vacation


My wife and I spent a few days in Prince Edward Island. I told you about the international editorial cartoon exhibition, Freedom in Broad Strokes. Now, below, are some scenes from our trip.

These are color sketches, blown up from my sketchbook. I was doodling and scribbling with no pencil foundation so, you know, it's doodly and messy and all that

  • Pen: Micron Pigma 5mm
  • Color: a kids' watercolor set from a dimestore

First up: Canadian Maritime Swimwear. It's a bit chilly, but the locals are used to it!

Below: Camping in PEI! Active fun for some, passive smoking for others!

Night time was dark and you could only hear voices and see everyone's campfire. One young girl was thrashing on an old guitar, singing what sounded like folk songs, but, when listening closely, they all turned out to be old Alanis Morissette hits. The middle aged fellow in a Winnebago was visibly smitten, He really did stand at the edge of his site and go "Wooo!"

Some good things and bad things about the trip:

EDIT: "NO BARS" should be on the right and "IRISH BARS" should be on the left. Thanks to Caryn Alma for pointing out my transpositional boo-boo.

"No bars" was probably for the best. My wife played great Irish music with the session players at The Old Triangle. She was in top form!

And here are the actual uncut pages:

Yes, that's the bookmark hanging there on the page. I am a lazy scanner, huh?

Oh, the toe's all better now!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Brilliantly smart-ass responses to completely well-meaning signs

 From Happyplace: here is a collection of brilliantly smart-ass responses to completely well-meaning signs.

Some are rude and NSFW.


Hat tips all around to Alisa Harris via Ray Alma!

Video: LOST IN SPACE CBS Network Presentation

Above: LOST IN SPACE series regular Marta Kristin strikes a "gazing into the future" look for this publicity photo nicked from

From 1965, below is a description of the then-new LOST IN SPACE TV series. My guess is that this "Network Sales Presentation" was whipped up for nervous affiliate program directors who may have been wary of a science fiction show on prime time. The emphasis here is on explaining how the viewer can relate to the cast and "how it [LOST IN SPACE} can sell for you." The narrator sounds like he's right out of those Encyclopedia Britannica educational films, combining gee whiz facts with jokey remarks. For instance, TV's ZORRO, Guy Williams' "jet propelled rocket pack" is described with the comment, "wouldn't Dad like to use this beat that thruway traffic?" Marta Kristin is the pretty big sister "who has a problem every teenager can relate to: what is she going to do for a boyfriend?" The original unaired pilot, "No Place to Hide," had the Robinson family ONLY, without comic foil Dr. Smith or the Robot. This 6 minute film appears to only use footage from that source. The presentation also lacks dialogue and John Williams' music.
Thirty years after the original series was cancelled, there was, of course, a theatrical movie in 1998, as well as a 2003 pilot, for a new Warner Bros. TV series to be titled THE ROBINSONS: LOST IN SPACE. Despite it being directed by John Woo, the WB passed on it. The sets lived on, becoming part of the Pegasus Battlestar in the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA revamp.

Roger Ebert's Fanzine Writings

Bhob Stewart's Potrzebie blog gives us a peek at Roger Ebert's juvenile writings from science fiction fanzines.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

How to Speak Klingon Lesson 10: Jokes

Why did the targ cross the road?

One of a series of videos from STAR TREK Infinite Space.

And here it is in German:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Video: Joe Shuster Canadian Co-Creator of SUPERMAN

Truth, justice and the CANADIAN way!

Below is a 30 second Canada Heritage Minutes TV spot where an actor (Adam Reid) portraying the very young Joe Shuster explains his idea for a new comic strip hero to a nice lady by the name of Lois (Catherine Colvey).

Part of the CRB Foundation Heritage Project.

According to the novelist Mordecai Richler, Shuster's Superman is a perfect expression of the Canadian psyche. The mighty "man of steel" hides his extraordinary strength, speed, and superhuman powers under the bland, self-effacing guise of the weak and clumsy Clark Kent. He is a hero who does not take any credit for his own heroism, a glamorous figure in cape and tights who is content to live his daily life in horn-rimmed glasses and brown suits.

Richler wryly suggests that Superman, with his modest alter-ego, is the archetypal Canadian personality who became a "universal hero," famed throughout the world as the champion of everything virtuous.

Video: Charles Schulz Tribute

Via spellkazter114:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Video: Australian Cartoonist Eric Joliffe

A short, charming color film visit with Australian cartoonist Eric Joliffe (1907-2001) from maybe 30-40 years ago. Mr. Joliffe is in what looks like his living room and shows the reporter a cartoon. The film profiles his concern for "the people of the North," the Aboriginals. Some stunning charcoal portraits are shown. No mention made of where or when this 1:45 video is from.  It ends abruptly. Here's hoping that the YouTube poster mike44920 will post more,

Alderaan 5 Day Forecast T-Shirt

Here's your five day forecast for Alderaan via Snorgtees.

Philadelphia: Tomb of Dracula #10 (1976) Live! Onstage!

Above cover to Marvel Comics' TOMB OF DRACULA #10 from the Grand Comic Book Database, cover by Gil Kane with inks by Tom Palmer. Interior written by Marv Wolfman. Gene Colan penciled with Jack Abel inking.

Philadelphia's Play & Players Theater will perform the comic book onstage, which features the debut of "Blade -- The Vampire Slayer!" Details below:

Superheroes Are Super!
Comic book nerds rejoice! Now you can watch your favorite classic comic book titles come to life during these staged, word-for-word readings, equipped with low-budget costumes, special effects, witty wordplay and, of course, some physical hijinks. The October “issue” will include a performance of Tomb of Dracula #10 from 1976 and a special appearance by Philly cartoonist Robert Berry, who will be honoring the recently deceased graphic artist Gene Colan and his legendary work. December’s “issue” will have a holiday theme.
Oct. 21-22. Dec. 9-10. 9pm. $12-$15. Plays & Players Theater, 1714 Delancey St. 215.735.0630.

Read more:

TOMB #10 has a July 1973 cover date according to the Grand Comic Book Database. Perhaps the 1976 date is a misprint.

Businessman would have pursued a career as a cartoonist "if he had not been forced to face the financial reality of paying off a mortgage ...."

One of Steve Bee's pensions cartoons from 2010. 

Businessman Steve Bee, who is director of Jargon Free Benefits, on his new book of cartoons about pensions, titled "Pensions Guru," that he is publishing:

"I had a stab at being a professional cartoonist but earning money from it is really hard. I was never good enough to be a professional cartoonist. I always enjoyed drawing but then I needed a mortgage so I started doing this." - from Money Marketing Profile

Cartoonist Attempting to Both Run and Live-Draw NYC Marathon

Illustrator Christoph Niemann proposes to not only run in the tough, prestigious NYC Marathon, but also to live-blog and draw while doing so. The Gothamist has more.

"On November 6 I will attempt to live-draw the New York City Marathon. How will I finish the race? Curled up on the sidewalk in Park Slope? In an oxygen tent on First Avenue? Or actually in Central Park? Before sunset? Find out by following my live tweets."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Steve Brodner: An American Way of Death

Steve Brodner writes abut the Troy Davis execution, scheduled for 7pm this evening. "The Symbol of Justice is being redesigned today and here’s the updated version." Please read the rest here.

Preview "Chroniques de Jérusalem" by Guy Delisle

One of my favorite creators of nonfiction comics is Guy Delisle. Le Monde previews his latest book, titled JERUSALEM:  CHRONICLES FROM THE HOLY CITY. It's in French and if you do not speak or read French (like me), just sit back and look at the wonderful drawings. With an initial print run of 30,000 copies for its 2012 publication, JERUSALEM has publisher Drawn & Quarterly's confidence.And, yes, so far as I know, it'll be published in English.

In the meantime, give his book PYONGYANG a try.

Below: 2 panels from JERUSALEM:

Freedom of Expression in Broad Strokes

Above: the Stratford Town Centre entrance, Stratford, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

The cartoon highlight of our recent trip to Prince Edward Island was seeing the traveling exhibit of international editorial cartoons titled "Freedom of Expression in Broad Strokes."

Created by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom (CCWPF), the show "will be displayed in cities that are members of the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination." The show originally opened May 3, 2011, World Press Freedom Day, in Ottawa.

In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly declared May 3 as World Press Freedom Day to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and to remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Day is also now used to draw attention to the dangers faced by journalists when reporting the news.  In 2010, 87 journalists were killed, while a further 51 were kidnapped, and more than one thousand media workers including cartoonists were physically attacked or threatened with violence while doing their job.

Since 2001, there's been an annual international competition for best editorial cartoon. The cartoons exhibited are all from this contest held by the CCWPF in conjunction with its Press Freedom Award. The 2011 winners are here.

Above: in the lobby of the Stratford Town Centre. The sun streams in and strikes the metal braces that are in the interior of each of these pillars, creating a fenced-in pattern over the image of a cartoonist in shackles, holding an inky brush. It's drawn by Roar Hagen of Norway.

Above: a better view, from the cover of the brochure.

Below are a few cartoons that I took a photo of. 


Signe Wilkinson, USA

The first woman to win the Pulitzer prize for editorial cartooning in 1992 Ms. Wilkinson draws for the Philadelphia Daily News.

Mohammad Al Adwani, Iraq

"I try to find humour in some of the most vicious events that happen on a daily basis in Baghdad," says Mr. Al-Adwani. Like a  many other artists in Iraq he has received death threats.


Slobodan Trifkovic, Serbia

Known for his biting satire, he does not shy away from controversy.
Anton Reisinger, Croatia
Trained as an architect, his cartoons have appeared in many international magazines

Clay Bennett, USA
Clay Bennett draws for the Chattanooga Time Free Press and won a Pulitzer Prize in 2002
Some great cartoons here with stunning use of universal visual metaphors. The gallery show consists of a series of three-sided freestanding pillars, about eight feet high. Each pillar has three or four editorial cartoon prints on each side, with context for the cartoon and credits. Looks like these structures can be easily collapsed and transported to the next location.

Well worth seeing just for the breadth of the talent and the international scope. 

Thanks to Bado's Blog, here is the "Freedom of Expression in Broad Strokes" exhibition tour schedule:

  • Ottawa ON, June 20-28, 2011, Constitution Square, 350 Albert St.
  • Aurora ON, July 9-August 14, 2011, Aurora Cultural Centre.
  • Stratford PEI, August 18-September 14, 2011, Stratford Recreation Office.
  • Moose Jaw SK, September 19-October 7, 2011, Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery.
  • Wetaskiwin AB, October 10-20, 2011, Westakiwin Library.
  • Québec QC, October 25-November 20, 2011, Musée de la civilisation du Québec.
  • Toronto ON, November 23-25, 2011, Fairmont Royal York Hotel.
  • Orleans ON, January 2-19, 2012, Shenkman Arts Centre.
  • Gatineau QC, January 2012, Maison du citoyen.
  • Vaughan ON, February 26-March 3, 2012, Vaughan Public Librairies.
  • Saint John NB, March 7-28, 2012, Millennium Artplace.
  • Paris, April 2012, UNESCO Headquarters.
  • Thunder Bay ON, April-May 2012, Thunder Bay Art Gallery.
  • Calgary AB, August 31-September 21, 2012, Calgary City Hall.