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.