Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Former Marvel Comics Letterer Rick Parker: Notes for Aspriring Comics Artists Regarding Lettering

Photo of Rick Parker in the Marvel Bullpen, ca.1979 by Eliot R. Brown.

If you know comics, you know Rick Parker. He first went to work for Marvel Comics as a letterer in the late 1970s. Lettering ma be how he got his start, but he's also known as a writer and cartoonist. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Village Voice, Time Magazine and various comics. He's best known as the artist of MTV's Beavis and Butthead comic book, which was published by Marvel from 1994 to 1996. He wrote and drew his own graphic novel, Deadboy, in 2010. His work also appeared under the Papercutz imprint.

Here's his advice on lettering, from Rick Parker's Facebook page:




Lately, so many people have messaged me asking about lettering, I thought perhaps I would make a few public comments in the hope that they might help aspiring comic artists with their lettering.

It's my opinion that cartoonists and the people who look at their work would all be better off if we all hand-lettered our work.

Fonts are really cold and have no soul. At best, comics is an artform done by a human hand. There is almost no lettering in comics today that is as good as the hand lettering on comics in the good old days by artists like Ben Oda, Sam Rosen, Joe Rosen, Gaspar Saladino.

Look around. All the great cartoonists working today letter their own work. Crumb, Dan Clowes, The Hernandez Brothers, Chris Ware, Noah Van Sciver and many others.

There is a good reason for this. They want their lettering to be a perfect match with their artwork stylistically. And for other reasons. It's more enjoyable to look at.

In my experience, and to be as brief and possible, the most important thing is that the lettering has to be EASY TO READ. One of the most important ways to accomplish this is to avoid having any letters touching and to leave ample white space around the lettering in the balloons.

I put together this sample with you in mind. Look at each letter and copy it a few times. Don't worry about your work looking like mine. After a while your own style will develop.

Each letter is composed of a variety of strokes. The vertical mark, the horizontal mark, the diagonal mark and several variations of circles. There are not that many strokes. Practice making them. The entire alphabet can be written down in only 62 simple strokes.

Finally, please keep in mind that the "I" with the serifs on it is a personal pronoun and should not be used in a words like "ship, thin, crisp or little".

It should be used in a case such as , "I went out for a walk."

Good Luck.

Monday, July 06, 2020

From the Dick Buchanan Files: The Search for Happiness Part Two: Here Comes the Bride! 1942 - 1964

Dick Buchanan has another 25 gag cartoons regarding the journey toward happiness that we all are on -- successfully or not!

Thanks and take it away, Dick!


Part Two: Here Comes the Bride!
(1942 – 1964)

This is the second part of The Search for Happiness—the Wedding.

DISCLAIMER: The actions portrayed in these cartoons were intended to show the humorous side of the wedding experience. They bear no resemblance to actual persons or behavior which may, or may not, have been common practice then or now.

1. CEM (Charles E. Martin). Liberty Magazine August 10, 1946.

2. BILL KING. 1000 Jokes Magazine Winter, 1944.

3. DAVE GERARD. The Saturday Evening Post July 19, 1947.

4. GEORGE WOLFE. True Magazine 1940’s.

5. DICK CAVALLI. American Legion Magazine February, 1953.

6. MARTHA BLANCHARD. 1000 Jokes Magazine December, 1962 – February, 1963.

7. SALO ROTH. Liberty Magazine January 12, 1946.

8. SYD HOFF. True Magazine March, 1952.

9. JEFF KEATE. Liberty Magazine March 1, 1947.

10. JERRY MARCUS. The Saturday Evening Post May 7, 1949.

11. JACK TIPPIT. The Saturday Evening. October 15, 1960.

12. JACK TYRELL. The Saturday Evening Post July 26, 1958.

13. BOB SCHROETER. American Legion Magazine March, 1954.

14. LARRY FRICK. American Magazine June, 1951.

15. CLYDE LAMB. For Laughing Out Loud October – December, 1961.

16. BILL YATES. The Saturday Evening Post November 22, 1952.

17. JOE ZEIS. The Saturday Evening Post October 10, 1959.

18. JEFF KEATE. American Magazine June, 1950.

19. BOB SCHROETER. American Magazine February, 1951.

20. JOHN DEMPSEY. Collier’s July 8, 1955.

21. IRWIN CAPLAN. For Laughing Out Loud October – December, 1956.

22. CLYDE LAMB. Judge Magazine October 26, 1953.

23. GEORGE GATELY. 1000 Jokes Magazine March – May, 1964.

24. HERB MIDDLECAMP. The Saturday Evening Post August 8, 1942.

25. GEORGE SHELLHASE. Collier’s October 23, 1943.

Friday, July 03, 2020

Henry Martin 1925 - 2020

Prolific New Yorker cartoonist Henry Martin passed away on June 30th. He had 691 drawings published in The New Yorker.

Via Michael Maslin: His daughter Ann, best known for her "Baby-Sitters Club" series of YA books, posted this on Facebook:

"My father, Henry Martin, passed away yesterday, June 30th, two weeks shy of his 95th birthday. I’d like to share what my sister Jane wrote, which I think he would have thoroughly enjoyed:

"Longtime New Yorker cartoonist Henry Read Martin (who signed his cartoons H. Martin) died on June 30, 2020, just two weeks shy of his 95th birthday. For a man who had dealt with serious heart issues since he was fifteen, his sweet, loving, funny ticker sure gave him his money’s worth.

"Also known as Hank, Martin was born in Louisville, KY, where he attended public schools until entering Texas Country Day School in Dallas, TX, now known as St. Mark’s School of Texas. He graduated from Princeton University in 1948, after which he attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago. Hank then headed back East and began his 45-year career with The New Yorker magazine. He sold his first drawing — known as a 'spot' (the small drawing inside a story) — to The New Yorker in April 1950, though it was another 14 years before he sold his first cartoon there. He was also a longtime contributor to Punch magazine and The Spectator in England and for fifteen years had a daily syndicated newspaper cartoon called 'Good News/Bad News.' Collections of his cartoons included Good News/Bad News and Yak! Yak! Yak! Blah! Blah! Blah!, both published by Charles Scribner’s Sons. Hank received the National Cartoonist’s Society’s Gag Cartoon Award in 1978 and also illustrated many books published by Peter Pauper Press.

"In 1953 Hank married Edith (Edie) Matthews and they settled in Princeton, NJ, where they raised their two daughters and Edie taught pre-school. It was Edie who noticed a sign for a one-room office for rent across the street from the Princeton University Press that became Hank’s studio for close to forty years. For years he commuted to it on his bicycle and friends often stopped by his window to say hello. Despite working with pen and ink, Hank always wore a coat and tie to work 'because you never know when someone is going to stop by and ask you to lunch.' In fact, every Thursday for over ten years, Hank and other Princeton cartoonists such as Arnold Roth, Clarence Brown and Mike Ramus met regularly for lunch at the (now defunct) Annex Restaurant on Nassau Street.

"On Wednesdays Hank would take the bus into New York 'to peddle his wares' at The New Yorker, Good Housekeeping, Ladies’ Home Journal and The Saturday Evening Post. Wednesday was 'Look Day' at The New Yorker where the cartoon editor chose potential cartoons from each artist. Hank capped those days with lunch with the New Yorker cartoonists, a group often consisting of some combination of George Booth, Roz Chast, Sid Harris, Lee Lorenz, Nurit Karlin, Mort Gerberg, Sam Gross, Frank Modell, Jack Ziegler, Warren Miller and Peter Porges (who usually sold his drawings elsewhere but regularly joined the lunch). It was a long-held tradition: in the 1940’s the cartoonists’ lunch included such luminaries as Charles Addams, Charles Saxon, Barney Tobey, Whitney Darrow and William Steig.

"In Princeton Hank served on the boards of several local Princeton organizations including SAVE, McCarter Theater and Friends of the Princeton Public Library. The Special Collections at Princeton University Library holds over 500 of his original cartoons published in the New Yorker and other publications along with 680 pen drawings for the famous New Yorker ‘spots.’ Also included in the collection is a complete set of his illustrated books and other archival materials. Hank also contributed cartoons and drawings to the Princeton Alumni Weekly as well as other Princeton University-themed mailings throughout his career and into retirement. In addition, the Morgan Library in New York City holds eight of his cartoons in its permanent collection.

"Hank and Edie remained in Princeton until moving to Pennswood Village in Newtown, PA in 1998. Edie predeceased him in 2010. He is survived by his sister Adele Vinsel of Louisville, KY, two daughters, 'The Baby-Sitters Club' author Ann M. Martin and Jane Read Martin, as well as son-in-law Douglas McGrath, grandson Henry, and eight nieces and nephews."

Michael Maslin Remembers Henry Martin 

The Daily Cartoonist: Henry Martin - RIP

1978 Cartoonist Profiles interview with Henry

Mark Anderson: Henry Martin - An Appreciation


Thursday, July 02, 2020

From the Dick Buchanan Files: The Search for Happiness Part One: The Mating Game 1949 - 1959

Dick Buchanan has a special entry of cartoons today and tomorrow. And it has to do with a constitutionally protected pursuit! Thank you and take it away, Dick!


Part One: The Mating Game
(1949 – 1959)

When the Cartoon Clip File is sorted by subject, the largest file by far is the one marked The Search for Happiness. It contains cartoons dealing with love and marriage--a source of humor for centuries, if not longer. Having nothing better to do, we’ve selected some typical gag cartoons from this voluminous file and arranged them in our version of chronological order.

The Search for Happiness is collection of gag cartoons, haphazardly clipped from the pages of the great national magazines of the mid-20th century which clearly illustrate each step of the journey. Part One is the story from the first meeting to proposal. Take a look!

DISCLAIMER: The actions portrayed in these cartoons were intended to show the humorous side of the mating experience. They bear no resemblance to actual persons or behavior which may, or may not, have been common practice then or now.

1. BOB BARNES. American Magazine June, 1950.

2. SALO ROTH. Collier’s July 18, 1953.

3. MARY GIBSON. Collier’s November 24, 1951.

4. ROY FOX. The Saturday Evening Post February 21, 1948.

5. GEORGE KESNER. The Saturday Evening Post August 31, 1957.

6. JAN AND STAN BERENSTAIN. Collier’s June 17, 1950.

7. VIRGIL PARTCH. Collier’s April 29, 1955.

8. WALTER GOLDSTEIN. The Saturday Evening Post January 6, 1951.

9. GUSTAV LUNDBERG. Collier’s December 9. 1950.

10. TOM HENDERSON. American Legion Magazine February, 1963.

11. GEORGE WOLFE. American Legion Magazine April, 1959.

12. LARRY FRICK. American Magazine April, 1951.

13. JERRY MARCUS. Collier’s July 1, 1950.

14. LEW FOLLETTE. Collier’s October 18, 1948.

15. STAN FINE. Look Magazine May 12, 1959.

16. MORT TEMES. The Saturday1 Evening Post March 19, 1955.

17. GEORGE CRENSHAW. American Magazine February, 1950.

18. BILL KING. Collier’s June 10, 1950.

19. WALTER GOLDSTEIN. The Saturday Evening Post October 3, 1953.

20. FRANK O’NEAL. The Saturday Evening Post October 3, 1953.

21. GARDNER REA. Look Magazine September 16, 1958.

22. MELL LAZARUS. The Saturday Evening Post February 11, 1950.

23. DAVID PASCAL. 1000 Jokes Magazine Fall, 1952.

24. WALTER GOLDSTEIN. The Saturday Evening Post September 10, 1949.

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

Next . . . THE WEDDING.