Friday, January 17, 2020

Walter Cronkite TV Show: "The 21st Century" March 12, 1967

What will life be like in the 21st century? Over fifty years ago, here's Walter Cronkite with some retro speculation:

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

1980s Video: Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons on Watchmen

From the Canadian 1980s comic book interview show "Prisoners of Gravity:"

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

A Milt Gross Cartoon: "Jitterbug Follies" 1939

Here is an animated MGM short in which Milt Gross' characters Count Screwloose and J.R. The Wonder Dog organize a talent contest in hope of snagging the prize money.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Jim Rugg " ... [I]t's like I'm looking for something. I don't find it, so I'm going to try to make it myself."

Comic book artist Jim Rugg and Cecil Castellucci talk to NPR about the release of the new hardcover edition of "The Plain Janes." The comic book series started as a graphic novel about female high school girls in 2007. One of the first popular graphic narratives about teen girls, the series was ahead of its time. Bill O'Driscoll interviews them.

JIM RUGG: I had just grown very dissatisfied with what I was seeing at the comic book store, which was mostly, you know, Punisher, Batman, 30 or 40-year-old white male protagonists. And they all just felt like the same.

O'DRISCOLL: This was around 2003.

RUGG: A lot of the stuff I make tends to be that way, where it's like I'm looking for something. I don't find it, so I'm going to try to make it myself.

 The audio and transcript are here.

Friday, January 10, 2020

From the Dick Buchanan Files: The Old Joke Cemetery

From the amazing cartoon clip file of Dick Buchanan, here is a selection of moldy oldies. There are over two dozen of these old bon mots, these groaners, these dreadful old jokes. You have been warned! But, hey, if you haven't heard these before, then they are all new to you. Thanks and take it away, Dick:


Laugh In Peace

In 1922, Fred Allen commissioned comic-strip artist Martin Branner (Winnie Winkle) to cover a theater curtain with an elaborate mural painting depicting a cemetery with a punchline on each gravestone and crypt. This was the "Old Joke Cemetery," where overworked gags go to die.

Sadly, Fred Allen’s curtain no longer exists. But, thanks to the Old Joke Recovery Act of 1953, the Old Joke Cemetery has been revived by the Cartoon Clip File. Today it consists of an assemblage of vintage gag cartoons clipped from old magazines and haphazardly pasted on the walls of Cartoon Clip File headquarters.

These are the gag cartoon versions old jokes now interred in the Old Joke Cemetery. No one recalls when or where these gags first appeared but they did and they’ve been with us ever since.

Here’s a chance to say goodbye to some favorite old jokes now interred in the Old Joke Cemetery . . . and keep in mind, some of these old jokes are merely resting and will likely re-appear now and again.

1. AL JOHNS. The Saturday Evening Post December 22 – 29, 1962.

 2. SYD HOFF. True Magazine June, 1952.

3. WALTER GOLDSTEIN. The Saturday Evening Post October 16, 1951.

4. PHIL INTERALNDI. Look Magazine December 31, 1962.

5. KAZ. Larry Katzman’s Nurse Nellie cartoons appeared in magazines, book collections and greeting cards. The Saturday Evening Post May 27, 1961.

6. MARTHA BLANCHARD. Look Magazine May 9, 1961.

7. GLEN BERNHARDT. Bernhardt was a West Coast cartoonist who founded the Northern California Cartoon & Humor Association in 1954. Collier’s May 20, 1950.

8. GARDNER REA. Look Magazine April 9, 1963.

9. NED HILTON. Collier’s March 11, 1950.

10. WILLIAM von RIEGEN. Collier’s November 4, 1950.

11. GLEN BERNHARDT. American Magazine June, 1953.

12. BORIS DRUCKER. The Saturday Evening Post June 11, 1949.

13. MICHAEL BERRY. Collier’s December 21, 1946.

14. BRAM. Martin Brammier, Jr. The Saturday Evening Post June 11, 1960.

15. JERRY MARCUS. Here! December, 1951.

16. SYD HOFF. Collier’s March 19, 1949.

17. HERB GREEN. The Saturday Evening Post July 20, 1957.

18. CHON DAY. Collier’s July 18, 1953.

19. PETER WYMA. The Saturday Evening Post April 18, 1959.

20. KATE OSANN. Collier’s April 15, 1950.

21. TUP. Bob Tupper was a popular “men’s interest” magazine cartoonist. a-Laugh-a-Minit January, 1956.
22. GARDNER REA. Collier’s June 26, 1948.

23. JEFF MONAHAN. 1000 Jokes Magazine March-May, 1958.

24. BILL KING. American Legion Magazine May, 1949.

25. JOHN NORMENT. The Saturday Evening Post June 15, 1957.      

Thursday, January 09, 2020

How to Draw Graphic Novels Class

The graphic novel class that I taught at the Conway (NH) Public Library has come to an end. We started in September and ended just this Wednesday, meeting once a week (except for holidays).  This class was in addition to the History of Comics class I was teaching at the Institute of Art and Design at New England College.

It was an honor and great fun to teach the talented cartoonists who attend the Kennett Middle School. The three students created about sixty pages of sequential narrative with their own plots and characters.

There are stories about

  • a playground that brings friends together,
  • a battle between housepets and squirrels, and
  • a lonely doll who finds love. 

All of these stories will soon be on display in the library.

Yes, there is talk of doing another class this fall!

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Vodeo: Robert Crumb Interview: A Compulsion to Reveal

From the Louisiana Channel, here is a rare, new interview with Robert Crumb. He was interviewed by Christian Monggaard in connection with the Louisiana Literature festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark in August 2019.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

BETTY AND VERONICA SPECTACULAR #138, June 1966 "Pay Dates Incorporated"

1966 was a great year! So much pop culture! The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" and the Beatles' "Revolver" albums debuted, as did TV shows like STAR TREK and BATMAN. Also, BETTY AND VERONICA SPECTACULAR #138, June 1966 (which is copyright Archie Publications) was on the comic book spinner racks.

This was a more innocent time and a story like "Pay Dates Incorporated" (see below) simply did not resonate the way that it does today. It all starts with a typical teen problem in these Archie books: how do I get some money to buy some cool stuff? 


I was fortunate enough to hear the story of Archie from Joe Edwards himself. Joe was there, in the MLJ offices, with Bob Montana and John Goldwater, as they were hashing out ideas. Publisher Goldwater (whose first name was the "J" part of the "MLJ" publishing acronym) wanted a new comic book story, maybe something like the Andy Hardy series of movies. But what would it be? What do teenagers want? How do you appeal to them? 
He turned to the then-twenty year old Joseph Edwards. 
"Joe, you're a young guy. What do you want?" asked Goldwater. 
"Three things," said Joe, counting on his fingers. "Girls, of course -- money, so I can take girls out -- and a job, so I can make the money to take out the girls." 
Bob Montana created the initial look of Archie Andrews, Jughead and Betty Cooper for Pep Comics #22, December 1941. By the next year, Archie had his own title.

Okay, so let's go 25 years in the future from 1941 -- to BETTY AND VERONICA SPECTACULAR #138.

How do the girls make money?

The answer is peddling flesh. Yes. Really. In an Archie book. But, hey, it was approved by the Comics Code Authority, so it's alright. Read on!

The art is by the incomparable Harry Lucey. 

(EDIT: Probably not. This blog entry was originally titled "BETTY AND VERONICA SPECTACULAR #138, June 1966 "Pay Dates Incorporated" Art by Harry Lucey" but Rodrigo Baeza tweeted that it looked like Dan DeCarlo's art to him, and a friend of mine concurred that it didn't look like Lucey. Since I'm not sure, I'll keep the are credit off for now. Sorry about the mistake!)

-- Edited from a June 24, 2015 blog post.