Monday, August 19, 2019

Ernie Colón 1931 - 2019

The comic book artist Ernie Colón passed away at his Huntington, NY home. The cause was colorectal cancer. He was 88 years old.

He was a journeyman cartoonist, who worked in comic strips, and then in comic books -- both kids, books and superhero "Amethyst" and "Arak, the Barbarian") -- and then in graphic novels ("The 9/11 Commission Report"). He worked in all the popular formats and hit home runs over and over.

He was, so far as I know, the first comic book artist from Puerto Rico to work in mainstream comics. In 1955, he got a job drawing backgrounds for Ham Fisher on his "Joe Palooka" comic strip. The job was short-lived due to Mr. Fisher committing suicide near the end of the year. He then took a job in production with Harvey Comics, and soon was ghosting comic book pages for Casper and Richie Rich. According to a 2007 Comics Journal interview, he estimated he drew about 15,000 pages at Harvey Comics.

"While there he met Mr. [Sid] Jacobson, a Harvey staff editor who would become a collaborator and a lifelong friend.
"'Wherever I worked as an editor, I always hired him,' Mr. Jacobson said in a phone interview. 'We were very close. We were like brothers. We went through a lot of marriages together.'
"Mr. Colón was married four times; Mr. Jacobson, three.
"The men created several nonfiction books, including biographies of Che Guevara and Anne Frank and 'The Torture Report: A Graphic Adaptation' (2017), an illustrated summary of a 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s torture of terrorism suspects.
"'He was an absolute fine artist,' Mr. Jacobson said. 'In my writing, I would give an idea of each panel, but he did the job of expanding it. ‘9/11’ is a damn good example of his ability.'"
-- New York Times obituary

Ernie became a Berndt Toast Gang member maybe fifteen years back. I remember the first time he showed up. I wasn't sure who he was, but he looked familiar. I introduced myself, and he told me his name. I was amazed. I didn't know you lived on Long Island, I said. He told me he lived right around the corner. He became a semi-regular and showed up whenever he could. Ernie was very busy, and Ernie was very humble about his work. From Casper to Amethyst to the 9/11 Commission Report. He did it all and made it look easy. He will be missed. 

Friday, August 16, 2019

Home Folks by Jay Jackson

Over at Booksteve's Library, there's a number of great big panels of "Home Folks" by African American cartoonist Jay Jackson. Not a lot is known about Mr. Jackson, who passed away suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 49 in 1954.

"His weekly panel HOME FOLKS, always crowded with many characters and variations on a theme a la a number of classic cartoon panels dating back to the 1920s, is brilliant. Running exclusively in small African-American newspapers, week after week he managed to hit the nail on the head regarding not just exclusively the black experience but human life in general--even animal life at times"

 There are more panels at the above link.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Animated Short: Der Fuhrer's Face (1943)

Here's the Academy Award winning short Der Fuhrer's Face.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Documentary: The Overstreet World of Comic Books (1993)

From 1993, it's The Overstreet World of Comic Books; an hour-long overview of comic book collecting, fans and pros, and the convention scene from the Overstreet Price Guide people. A great capsule of the time, with (among others)

Murphy Anderson
Carl Barks
Peter David
Will Eisner
Harlan Ellison
Steve Geppi
Russ Heath
Gil Kane
Jack and Roz Kirby
Stan Lee
Scott McCloud
Todd MacFarlane
Sheldon Moldoff
Martin Nodell
Paul Norris
Joe Quesada
Julius Schwartz
Jim Shooter
Dick Sprang
Vin Sullivan
Jerry Weist

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Documentary: The Masters of Comic Book Art (1987)

From 1987, here is The Masters of Comic Book Art, a direct to VHS Tape documentary about comic book artists hosted by Harlan Ellison.

Meet the heroes behind the superheroes as award-winning(sic) author Harlan Ellison introduces ten of the world's greatest comic book artists. Exclusive interviews and samples of their sensational art reveal the philosophy and creative process behind their finest characters, stories and series. Trace the evolution of comics - from the 'Golden Age' beginning in the '30s to today's best selling graphic novels - with The Masters Of Comic Book Art, featuring: 

Will Eisner (The Spirit, A Contract With God)
Harvey Kurtzman (Mad, Little Annie Fanny)
Jack Kirby (The Silver Surfer, The New Gods)
Steve Ditko (Spider-Man, Mr A)
Neal Adams (The Batman, Green Lantern/Green Arrow)
Berni Wrightson (Swamp Thing, Frankenstein)
Moebius (Arzak, Heavy Metal)
Frank Miller (Ronin, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns)
Dave Sim (Cerebus The Aardvark)
Art Spiegelman (Maus, RAW Magazine)

Handy toggle guide:

Will Eisner 4:06 | Harvey Kurtzman 8:46 | Jack Kirby 14:13 | Steve Ditko 19:31 | Neal Adams 26:29 Berni Wrightson 31:53 | Moebius 37:27 |Frank Miller 42:36 | Dave Sim 48:39 | Art Spiegelman 53:44

Monday, August 12, 2019

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Recent Gag Cartoon Additions 1950 - 1970

Dick Buchanan shares his clipping technique and some recent old gag cartoon additions to his Cartoon Clip File, which he is graciously sharing. This is the best way to start a week. Thanks so much, Dick!



Each week more cartoons and clipped from the great magazines of the past. Some cartoons are the single column variety, others are full page cartoons.  Most are the standard two column variety.  As detailed in the marvelous blog A Case for Scissors, here’s how it works.  Cartoons are neatly removed from a vintage magazine.  Cartoons were cut from the magazine and kept in a simple manila folder.  Originally, long ago, scissors were used. Today a Wescott metal ruler and a Gem single edge razor blade are used to neatly remove the cartoon which is annotated with Uniball Vision Elite pen. Also kept on hand is a package of Johnson & Johnson band aids. Once clipped it is scanned and the original hard copy filed alphabetically by cartoonist. Today the Cartoon Clip File contains thousands of gag cartoons by more than 450 cartoonists. Here is a selection of some of the recent additions to the Clip File . . .

1. MORT GERBERG. True Magazine February, 1970.

2. W.F. BROWN. The Saturday Evening Post April 27, 1957.

3. ED NOFZIGER. American Magazine February, 1951.

4. CHARLES RODRIGUES. Cartoons & Gags February, 1962

5. VAHAN SHIRVANIAN. The Saturday Evening Post April 27, 1957.

6. LARRY FRICK. American Magazine September, 1950.

7. FRANK MODELL. Look Magazine February 10, 1970.

8. DICK CAVALLI. American Magazine February, 1950.

9. JERRY MARCUS. The Saturday Evening Post October 1, 1960.

10. ELI STEIN. 1000 Jokes Magazine December, 1959-February, 1960.

11. VINCENT FALETTI. American Magazine September, 1950.

12. DON TOBIN. Collier’s April 22, 1950.

13. MORT WALKER. American Magazine August, 1950.

14. STAN HUNT. Look Magazine January 21, 1958.

15. HAROLD CURRIER. The Saturday Evening Post April 17, 1954.  

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Nancy Comic Strip "Draw, You Varmint" Published Sixty Years Ago Today

60 years ago today!

Hat tip to Paul Karasik! Read the book that he and Mark Newgarden wrote HOW TO READ NANCY.

Elmira, NY Gallery Ahow: “From Pencil to Page: Eugene “Zim” Zimmerman’s Creative Process”

If you are in the Finger lakes are of upstate New York, drop by the Chemung Historical Society in Elmira, where there is a gallery show of Puck and Judge Magazine cartoonist Eugene "Zim" Zimmerman's work through next month. He was a prolific and skilled cartoonist at the turn of the last century.

Karey Solomon writes for Mountain Home:

Those years on either side of the turn of the twentieth century were a heyday for illustrators. Newspapers and magazines had not yet perfected the translation of a photograph to the printed page, so everything from articles to editorials required the skilled hand of an artist to depict and often interpret the news. They all developed their own styles—Zim may have originated the grotesque caricature, Erin notes. Cartoonists like Zim became superstars of the day, along with others—like R.L. “Believe it or Not” Ripley, and Walt Disney—in an even larger way. Some, like Disney, went into animation. Others drew the political cartoons and the comic strips that were sometimes collectively referred to as “the funnies.” Many augmented their income by teaching art; Zim also created a twenty-booklet correspondence course and took great interest in his students.

Thanks to D.D. Degg for this!

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

"Lifesaver" AROUND THE BLOCK WITH DUNC AND LOO by John Stanley

Here is a four page story by John Stanley, with art finished by Bill Williams, from the short-lived AROUND THE BLOCK WITH DUNC AND LOO Dell comic book series. (It was later shortened to DUNC AND LOO.) This has to be the most action-filled, hilarious four pages of fun comics I have seen in a long time. And the whole series is pretty much forgotten, except among us comics nerds.

The reason I wanted to post this was to show just how much story with character motivation you could stuff into such a short story. This is comics at its kinetic best by the master, John Stanley. And just look at the issue that I bought: its spine is rolled and there are tears along the staples. This is one well-read comic book!

Who are Dunc and Loo? Don Markstein puts it best:

Dunc was "classically handsome", with regular features and neatly-combed black hair, and always well dressed, with a coat and tie. He focused on girls, practically to the exclusion of everything else. His main lust object was Beth O'Bunnion, whom he met in the first issue (Oct-Dec 1961). Much of the action involved him trying to avoid Beth's protective father or appease her hulking, brutish brother, Buddy. 
Loo was Dunc's best pal. He was also obsessed with girls, but not so monomaniacally. He had unkempt red hair and usually dressed sloppily, in jeans and T-shirts. Loo had a kid brother, Joey, who sometimes had separate adventures, opening the comic to young kid humor as well as the teenage variety. All of the regulars lived in the same New York City apartment building. 
Readers seem unanimous in their opinion that every page of every issue of Around the Block with Dunc & Loo was hilarious. Still, it lasted only eight issues. The final one was dated Oct-Dec 1963.

Here's "Lifesaver," the four page opening story from DUNC AND LOO No. 5. September November 1962. It's copyright Dell Publishing.

Related: CartoonSnap has more DUNC AND LOO

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

The Anniversary of Snoopy's Friend "Woodstock"

From CBS Sunday Morning:

The Charles M. Schulz Museum, in Santa Rosa, Calif., is celebrating one of the most popular "Peanuts" characters with an exhibition devoted to Woodstock, the little "hippie bird" who became a valued friend of Snoopy's. Luke Burbank talks with the comic strip artist's widow, Jean Schulz, exhibition curator Benjamin Clark, and cartoonist Paige Braddock, about the important role Woodstock played in the Peanuts universe.


Jane Pauley Interviews Her Husband Garry Trudeau for CBS Sunday Morning

Monday, August 05, 2019

George Price: Early Years

A few cartoons from THE GOOD HUMOR MAN, "A happy array of Cartoons, Sketched and a gay Diary compiled and edited by Richard McAllister." Farrar and Rinehart, Inc., Publisher, New York. Copyright 1940 by George Price.

"Some of the drawings in this book originally appeared in The New Yorker, Collier's, The Saturday Evening Post and the original Life.

"The description of Mr. Price in the title of this book is used with the co-operation of the Good Humor Corporation."

From the book's INTRODUCTION:

"When we first planned this book we asked Mr. Price if he would write up a few of his experiences.

"... When we finished reading the diary we asked Mr. Price whom he thought he was ribbing. Certainly, we stated, there was not the least truth in all this.

"Mr. Price was indignant. 'Every word is absolute gospel,' he said stiffly. 'If you knew anything at all about the cartoon business you wouldn't question that for a moment.'"

Below are some excerpts from Mr. Price's "gay Diary:"

June 22nd

"Made out very well at Collier's today. Gurney Williams held five of my roughs for the art meeting.

"When submitting drawings to Gurney I strike quickly, like a cobra. On top of my batch, I place my strongest idea. Get him in into a good humor from the very start, I find, and he will okay ideas like mad.

"More times than I like to think of, though, I have no 'strong' idea to place on top (on top, or anywhere) and the whole session has dissolved into a fiasco.

"Cleveland Amory at the Saturday Evening Post I approach differently. In his case it his best use a 'build up.'

"On top of the batch, instead of my best, I place one of my sourest ideas. Beneath that I place the worst, the very worst, of the lot. Usually, it is so bad as to bring from Clip a quiet moan. After an introduction like that the remaining ideas, no matter how mediocre, appear like so many nuggets."

June 25th

"Another milestone passes! I sold a cartoon to Life* today!

"For a long time now I have struggled to make this magazine. It was a tough one to crack. Not that I hadn't received encouragement. It wasn't eight months before the elevator operator was calling me by my first name. Never had I been able to get past the receptionist, however, and my drawings had always come back with a plain rejection slip.

"Life, of course, has long been know for the odd manner in which it is edited. Since its inception the magazine has used its famous 'passerby' system. The publisher's reason, with no little logic, that since the man-in-the-street reads the magazine, the man-in-the-street should have some say in the editing of it.

"The cartoons are selected entirely on this basis. A few days before an issue goes to press, the editors lean out the office windows, show the cartoons to anyone who happens to be passing by and ask for a frank opinion.

"Until a few years ago this system worked without a hitch. Life's offices were located on the first floor, and passerby were in easy access.

"Then complications arose. The offices were moved up to the twenty-third floor. In spite of the apparent difficulty of employing the passerby system under these conditions, the owners demanded that this traditional style of editing be adhered to.

"People who happen to be passing the twenty-third floor windows, of course, are few and far between. There remains, in fact, but one type of passerby on whom Life can now try out their cartoons -- the occasional human fly who happens to be scaling the building.

"It is a familiar sight along Bleecker Street (and to me a somewhat amusing one) to see the editors of Life, each clutching a handful of cartoons, anxiously peering from their windows hoping a human fly will begin an ascent in time for them to make a deadline.

"With a set-up like that, if I ever expected to sell a cartoon to Life, my course was clear. The plan was a risky one, but I was willing to gamble. I made up my mind to climb the building, pretending to be a human fly.

"*Mr. Price, of course, refers to the humorous magazine of that name. It has since been discontinued."

"At ten o'clock this morning I began my ascent. I had never before scaled a building and there were several fearful moments during the first stages of the journey when I was tempted to quit. The sight of Life's editors poking their heads out the window spurred me on, however, and I manfully stuck to my task.

"By noon I had reached the eighth floor. Here a little Gypsy Tea Room was located. I lunched leisurely and had my tea leaves read.

"Resuming my climb I passed the twentieth floor two hours later, and fortified by a shot of bourbon from a stenographer with a southern drawl, I started on the home stretch.

"By this time Life's editors, informed of my approach, lined the windows shouting encouragement.

"' ... Er -- young man,' one of them said, 'we would like to ask a favor of you.' He then explained the passerby system and I listened with interest as if hearing about the whole thing for the first time. I agreed, naturally, to look at their cartoons.

" ... Each I rejected. I would shake my head regretfully and hand the cartoon back with some remark like: 'I'm sorry, it just doesn't make seem funny to me,' or, 'Don't get it,' or, at a particularly bad one, 'Ugh.'

"One hour passed. Another. The editors, as the stack of drawings decreased without an approval, became alarmed. 'I do hope he likes one of them,' I heard a layout man say nervously. 'We still have that half-page open in the next issue, you know.'

"Finally, I had looked at all of them. I shrugged. 'Sorry,' I said, 'but none of these hit me.'

"There was an embarrassed pause. Then, as if it were a random thought, I asked if they had any cartoons about camels around. I didn't know why, I said, but cartoons about camels always struck me funny.

"After a hurried conference one of the assistants was dispatched to the mailing room. He rushed back with a cartoon showing two large camels and one baby camel. They handed the drawing to me and anxiously watched my reaction.

"I roared with laughter. I guffawed so heartily that for one breathless moment I almost lost my grip on the gargoyle.

"'It's in!' the editor-in-chief shouted 'Set it up for a half-page!' He handed the cartoon to an assistant. 'By the way,' he said, ' who drew it?' The assistant told him the artist was named George Price.

"'Send him a check,' the editor-in-chief said.

"We exchanged farewells. I continued on my way up to the roof, came down in the elevator and rushed back to my studio glowing with triumph."

Friday, August 02, 2019

Cartoon Illustrations from Woman's Day, July 1951

Here are some great illustrations for stories and ads from the July 1951 Woman's Day magazine. It's copyright 1951 by Woman's Day, Inc. in New York City. It cost 20 cents and, oddly, you could not subscribe to it.

When it comes to midcentury cartoonist/illustrators, one of my favorites is Roy Doty:

There are a good number of cartoon illustrations that are uncredited. Here's some great art, but no signature or attribution:

Indulge me here while I read about the new "What's My Line" TV quiz show. 

Some illustrations by Richard Scarry:

The great gag cartoonist Sam Cobean:

Cartoon drawings were usual for a lot of ads. I would guess this one is by Roy Doty, but I'm not sure. 

New Yorker cartoonist Mary Gibson draws for Drano:

More Richard Scarry:

More art with no name attached. Most were done by a staff illustrator at the ad agency:

More great Roy Doty spots:

More anonymous cartoon art. I enjoyed this ad, especially the women's clothing and hairstyles! Talk about high maintenance!