Thursday, November 30, 2006

NYC NCS Get Together 11/29/06

(Some photos from the November 30, 2006 NCS Long Island get together here.)

November 29, 2006: the NYC NCS monthly get together. The gang filled a couple of tables at The Overlook Lounge in NYC. From left: Brendan Burford, Caroline Dworin, Rina Piccolo, Marc Bilgrey, Tony Murphy, Mort Gerberg, Doug Bratton.

Caroline and Rina kept sketching in a little pad and giggling. I didn't get a good look at what they were sketching, but I hope it was not me.

Brendan Burford told Tony about his recent injury. Brendan is doing just fine, by the way.

Marc told me about all the projects he's working on: novel, cartoons, short stories. I'll be eating his dust in 2007.

Mort had to leave early to get some work done. That is the secret to success!

Doug Bratton also had to leave early. He had to drive back to his place in Rockaway, NJ, but not before we got a chance to see some new baby photos.

Lovely to see the cartoon mural behind them. This is the 30 year old mural.

Anne Gibbons gives the thumbs up to Stephanie Piro's new book MY CAT LOVES ME NAKED.

Mmm. I want some of those fries! If you'll notice, there are actually 2 huge baskets of them.

Isabella Bannerman, Rina Piccolo

Isy came down on the Metro North train to hang out with us.

Mike Lynch, Garry Trudeau, Dan Piraro

I think that Garry has done some of the best work in the comic strip medium over the past 18 months. Interview link here.

Dan was talking about Garry's karaoke abilities which are, if you've seen them, legendary. I haven't, so I'll have to rely on Dan's opinion. A couple recent interviews with Dan here.

Yeah, those are little Christmas ball decorations on the ceiling. They were such trouble to put up last year, that now they just keep them up there year-round.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

RIP KIRBY by Alex Raymond

Today, the pictures do the work. And such wonderful pictures.

Here's a daily strip titled RIP KIRBY by the great Alex Raymond. Mr. Raymond also drew FLASH GORDON, JUNGLE JIM, and SECRET AGENT X-9.

After serving in the Marine corps in WWII, he created his fourth syndicated comic strip: RIP KIRBY. Mr. Raymond served as president of the National Cartoonists Society from 1950-51. He died in an automobile accident on September 6, 1956. Alex Raymond's art influenced Frazetta, Williamson, Stout, and Mark Schultz, among others.

I haven't much to add except a story about a time when I first came to NYC and assisted a comic book artist.

I took a class from a comic book artist at Parsons in the 1980s. I soon was assisting him in his freelance comics work, working my regular job from 9-5, then off to his studio to work until midnight.

Every once ina while, he'd would hold up a piece of art from a comic (by Wally Wood, or some other great), and tell us young assistants, "LOOK at the KNOWLEDGE." And I find myself using those same words today.

Look at the juxtaposition between light and dark. Look at the line work -- the difference between sky and water in the first panel. Look at that knowledge.

There is a reason why Alex Raymond's name still comes up. Looking at this 40 years after his tragic death, it all becomes apparent. But I don't have to work at writing about it. The pictures tell you.

An even bigger picture here.

Comic Superheroes Live on the Silver Screen!

Arie Kaplan and Eddy Friedfeld talk Wednesday, November, 29 2006 at 7:00pm at the 92nd Street Y on Manhattan's East Side.

Tickets are $12 in advance ($15 at door).

With no fewer than four movies featuring comic
superheroes this past summer, it appears Hollywood has
been taken over by men in capes and leotards. Looking
at clips from some recent movies, the fantastic duo
of comics writer Arie Kaplan and entertainment
journalist Eddy Friedfeld explain why comics have
become the new American mythology.

More here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Lee Lorenz and Peter Arno

It's Tuesday -- the traditional New Yorker cartoon "look" day, when cartoons are reviewed by cartoon editor Bob Mankoff. I was just going to drop off a batch of cartoons last week, but then I had a chance to meet a cartoonist I had always admired ....

I met Lee Lorenz (samples of his cartoons here) at The New Yorker magazine offices for the first time Tuesday, November 21, 2006.

Mr. Lorenz was cartoon editor of the NYer mag from 1973 to 1997, and still is a prolific cartoonist contributor with an estimated 1,500 drawings published.

At about 10am this past Tuesday, I had come in and set down my submissions on Bob Mankoff's assistant's desk. Mr. Lorenz had walked in just behind me. I don't know what he looks like, so I would not have recognized him. He started talking to somebody and mentioned he was Lee Lorenz, and was there to do something to a cartoon caption. Not sure. Anyway, I heard him say he was Lee Lorenz.

This person, an assistant I assume, unlocks this tall filing cabinet and pulls out an original Lee Lorenz and hands it to him. By this time, I've pulled my rejections from another file in another cabinet. I wasn't sure. Should I just walk over there and say, "Hi. You don't know me, but I love your work ... ?"

I thought that I might as well grab the moment. So, I introduce myself. I tell him I've been submitting to the magazine for a while, no sales yet. I tell him he's one of my favorite cartoonists. He thanks me.

I tell him about the time that Bob showed me some Lorenz originals, and was telling me, "THAT'S how you draw a crowd scene." Lee demurred, saying that if there ever was a master of the crowd scene, it was Peter Arno. Since Lee knew Arno, I asked if it was true that drawing the cartoon was his favorite part and was it typical that Arno would draw and redraw a cartoon dozens of times before producing a "final" version? Lee said, yes

(Above, a Peter Arno cartoon)

I said that my wife loved his work, and (paraphrasing a line from ENCHANTED APRIL) that that was high praise, if you knew my wife! He laughed and asked what she did. I said she did computer graphics for a living. He said something like, she's in the right business -- it's all PhotoShop now!

As I was leaving he told me "good luck with this week's batch!" I smiled back and, I think, I blushed. "Thanks!"

Gee whiz. What a nice guy.

No buys from that week's batch, by the way. (And, yeah, even though it was that teeny 3 days week from before Thanksgiving, they were looking at cartoons that week.)

Lee Lorenz: Another one of those "the bigger they are, the nicer they are" kinda guys.

More Peter Arno cartoons here.


More SF TV posts for Tuesday ....

STAR TREK: THE NEW VOYAGES is a fan Web site where James Cawley and his group of Trek-fans create new old episodes of STAR TREK. It's kinda like NBC had renewed the show in 1969, and this is the fourth season. They still wear velour, the sets are all there, and the lighting is very much like the original series. The special effects are, of course, better than they could ever have been in the 1960s.

This time around, Mr. Cawley has snagged Walter Koenig, who played Chekov, as well as former story editor/writer talent D.C. Fontana. The most recent episode is out now, available for free on the Web. This is news, since there can be significant lag time (months, years) between episodes. Below are streaming YouTube links to the episode, which are OK -- but the image is a bit squished. You can download the ep. here. You'll see other NEW VOYAGES projects, past and present, there as well.

Paramount/CBS allows this kind of thing as long as no one makes any money off of it. And it also gauges fan reactions to retro-TREK stuff. And old TREK is what the new official Paramount theatrical TREK movie is going to be about.

In the meantime, there's another fan-based project involving a lot of people associated with professional TREK titled STAR TREK Of Gods and Men that will come to a computer screen near you by the end of December. There's a preview, complete with that Carmina Burana-style chanting, at the site.

And, in March, there will be another NEW VOYAGES: World Enough and Time, with George Takei. Preview below.

To Serve All My Days part 1

To Serve All My Days part 2

To Serve All My Days part 3

To Serve All My Days part 4

To Serve All My Days part 5

To Serve All My Days part 6

To Serve All My Days part 7

To Serve All My Days part 8

To Serve All My Days part 9

STAR TREK: Next Voyage: World Enough and Time Preview

If you want to see NEW episodes of OLD TREK, then take a peek. It'll be fun.


The new Dr. Who episode THE RUNAWAY BRIDE, scheduled for Christmas 2006 release in the UK, had a 4 min. preview at (I'm guessing here) a convention and someone recorded it, and put it on YouTube for us to enjoy until the cease and desist letter arrives.

This occurs AFTER the last episode of the second season "Doomsday," which is yet to be seen in the States. While there are no spoilers about what will happen at the end of this particular season in the 4 minute clip, there is a fun surprise -- showing the TARDIS in a new way -- that would be spoiled if you wanted to see THE RUNAWAY BRIDE episode fresh in 2008.

Monday, November 27, 2006

LITTLE LIT Reception & Signing at Rocketship

This Friday, December 1, 2006: Rocketship (that comics gallery just a couple blocks from where I live in Brooklyn, NY) hosts a signing and a reception for a new edition of LITTLE LIT!

Bill Melendez CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS Podcast Interview

Bill Melendez, the man who not only produced all those PEANUTS TV specials, but also supplied Snoopy's voice in every single one is interviewed over at Dennis Camlek's and David Campanelli's Web site.

This is the second part of the interview. The first part, about the IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN can be accessed at that same Web page.

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS is on ABC TV tomorrow night at 8pm.

Thanks to Dennis and David who placed me on their mailing list! And check out some of their other interviews. Fun stuff!

Dan Piraro Interview Podcast

Hey, just heard that there is an interview with Dan Piraro over at

First, there are some tips about buying vegan items online, and then the interview starts. Dan talks about the vegan lifestyle, why he made the choice, and the cartooning business. The interviewer is Erik Marcus, the fellow who runs

ERIK MARCUS (about 16 minutes in): "You're really in a field that is dominated by mediocrity, y'know? The Jim Davises ...."

DAN PIRARO: No kidding.

ERIK MARCUS: "... The Family Circus, and all that. How do you deal with the fact that, you know, in my eyes anyway, you're doing some of the best work out there in your field, and yet there are just so many cartoonists out there -- so many popular comics -- that, frankly, are just never, ever, ever funny. Do you notice that? and how do you ... deal with the frustration of seeing work out there that is just so incredibly successful and so piss poor?"

You can listen here.

And, just in case you want more ....

Here's another interview, complete with video on the same page, and there's links to Dan's swag; like his new ART OF DAN PIRARO.

Hat tip to Dan Piraro hisself for the interview, and Trade Loeffler for the second! Thanks, guys!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Happy Thanksgiving. See everyone next week.

"Old -- yes. Burned-out -- certainly. But I can tell you the memories are still there. Clear ... intact ... indestructible."

This scene, the final 9+ minutes of the movie, always makes me a bit misty. A last glimpse at Spencer Tracy, who passed away 10 days after filming.

Cartoon in Woman's World

I remember having lunch with a new cartoonist who had sold a couple to The New Yorker, but was accumulating a pile of rejected NYer cartoons. He kept them in a pile in his closet. "Those cartoons shouldn't be sitting around," I lectured. "They could be out there, making money!"

I should have said, Do what I say, not what I do. At least, not what I did to a couple of card playing fish.

There are certain markets where I sell a cartoon and never know when it will be run. I recently sold this fish cartoon to Woman's World, and maybe it's in this week's issue or maybe it'll be in next year's. Consider this a heads up. Or a fish heads up. Haw haw.

This one was whipped up in June 2004, and was submitted to 13 markets, finally selling at Woman's World.

Looking at the Cartoon Log of submission dates, here's its history for the first 2 years:

6/15/04 - REJECTED
7/27/04 - REJECTED
8/12/04 - REJECTED
9/29/04 - REJECTED
11/16/04 - REJECTED
12/25/04 - REJECTED
2/5/05 - REJECTED
2/14/05 - REJECTED
6/16/05 - REJECTED
7/7/05 - REJECTED

And, every time it was sent out in a batch of cartoons, it was turned down, like a bed spread, at every market. Sure, maybe another cartoon in that same batch would sell, but those fish were passed over. And over.

I let it languish for a while because, in my mind, it was dreadful. I mean, after a cartoon has been rejected 10 times for over a year, you gotta figure it stinks. Like day old fish. Haw haw.

So it sat around, not doing anything; not trying to make money! Just being part of the apartment clutter, while I forged on, drawing newer, better cartoons.

And then, one day, by chance, I was trying to find an original of mine. I think someone wanted to buy it. Thumbing thru my stacks of originals, I saw the fish cartoon again, and thought, well, it's not SO bad. And I liked the fish, with their big eyes and tiny fins and eensy little playing cards. Aww. They deserve to be published. I'll keep sending the thing out. And so, I added it to a couple more batches that were sent out this year:

4/21/06 - REJECTED
7/19/06 - REJECTED

OK, so those 2 markets rejected it ... AGAIN. Poor fish!

I sent it out again on 10/10/06 to WW, which proved to be the lucky 13th try.

So, another lesson in persistence for me that I share with the blog-reading world.

P.S. Of course, this cartoon makes no sense if you don't know the card game "fish," where a player tells another to "go fish." It's a bad pun -- but not so bad that it didn't finally find an editor who thought it was good enough to give an "OK" on.

P.P.S. I don't know if the New Yorker cartoonist ever sent any of his good work out to other magazines, but I did find out that he was, like me, rejected from THE NEW YORKER REJECTION BOOK.


From the NEW VOYAGES site:

The internet premiere of "To Serve All My Days" by Dorothy Fontana and guest starring Walter Koenig will take place on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday Nov. 23, 2006.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

To Me, You Are the Teacher in the Charlie Brown Cartoon

There are reasons why people love THE GILMORE GIRLS and reasons why people hate THE GILMORE GIRLS. Those reasons are the same: the snappy dialogue. Here's a 2 minute compilation of "Gilmorisms."

Any show that has its characters reference Charlie Brown, Barbara Hutton, Shaft, Fawn Hall, Oscar Levant, Emily Post, Judy Blume and Neil Simon can't be all bad.

Gary Larson Interview

Big, rare interview with THE FAR SIDE guy. To quote Tom Spurgeon's site (where I first saw this):

"Among the figures tossed out is 350,000 in copies sold of the $135 complete collection, which is jaw-dropping, and $2 million a year expected from the once-ubiquitous calendars. It's hard to believe almost a dozen years has passed since Larson called it a day."

A big "Cow Tools" hat tip to Tom's Comics Reporter site.

Cartoon Gags

Wednesday I was chatting with Tony Murphy at the local pub. The subject: gag writing. Tony had a pad of paper that he carried with him. He flipped it open and it was covered with writing; interesting words, phrases, potential gag lines, funny things he overheard. I don't always carry a pad of paper around, and I admire Tony's habit of keeping this pad at hand, and jotting ideas and bits of dialogue down as they occur to him. I asked him if he ever drew in there as well. No, just words.

And it's words that are the life blood of gag writing. No, wait a minute. Sometimes it's words, but sometimes there are no words in a successful cartoon or comic strip. What I mean to say is IDEAS are the life blood of gag writing.

And, of course, the drawing too.

Bob Mankoff says there are these 2 groups of people out there: writers and artists. Sometimes, the group overlaps and you get one person with both qualities. THAT'S a cartoonist!

While I don't write everything down, I do have a good memory. And I remember one story in a comic book about an alien invasion. And I though, Hey! I'd like to draw an alien invasion! That would be fun to draw.

Ooookay. But I had to come up with business cartoons. How can I put those 2 ideas together?

Hmm ... Think, think, think ....

So, I came up with this:

And I liked the gag. But the drawing didn't work for me. I thought that it wasn't clear that they had landed on a desk. So, a redraw:

That lamp helps tell us where we are, and frames the cartoon nicely I thought. And I drew the lead alien, ;eaning in to subordinate alien and he was way more angry -- which, I think, makes it a tad funnier.

And now, let me confess that the story about the flying saucer invasion from a comic book. (It was either STRANGE ADVENTURES or FROM BEYOND THE UNKNOWN.) The story had a Rod Serling-type surprise ending where (and this blew my 9 year old mind at the time) their flying saucers turned out to be about the size of Frisbees. And sure enough, a dog catches one of their ships and the aliens, surprised at the "horrible monster that eats our invasion fleet," retreat.

Thus ends today's ramble.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Chris Ware: 5 Variant New Yorker Covers

Cartoonist Chris Ware's drawn a series of 4 covers (plus an extra 5th for online viewers) for the November 27, 2006 issue of The New Yorker.

Yeah, so if you want all 4, you gotta buy 'em all. And they all tell a story. Above link has an audio interview with Mr. Ware -- but, for now, it isn't working.

Isn't this the kinda variant cover thing that almost killed the comics industry?

Hat tip THE BEAT.

The Big Apple Comicon, November 17, 2006

Here is writer and herstorian Trina Robbins, and former Marvel artist/current Archie delineator Stan Goldberg. Trina's beau Steve Leialoha is out of the frame, having walked behind me and doing a peace sign behind my head. This explains Trina's amused look!

Comics legend Irwin Hasen manning his table, which was next to Stan's. (And my friend Jim Salicrup is going to be next to him -- but, alas, Jim was not there on Friday afternoon.) I love the sign Irwin drew. From top left, clockwise, the Hasen stable of characters he's drawn: Green Lantern (Golden Age version), Wildcat, Dondi and Wonder Woman. In the late 1930s and 40s, Irwin was the go-to guy for drawing the DC comics covers. He had a bold, dynamic graphic style that's been compared to Alex Toth and Mort Meskin. (Two of my personal faves.) Read about his career in a 1999 Alter Ego Magazine interview that Roy Thomas did here.

A portion of an original penciled Archie mural that Stan had drawn that morning. It was taped to the pillar behind him.

Stan was selling a lot of Archie originals, but these pages from 1960s-era MILLIE THE MODEL comics caught my eye. This over size art, with Goldberg pencils and Goldberg inks (a rarity since Stan only pencils these days), was gorgeous to look at and pretty rare.

Readers (mostly little girls) would mail in their designs, and Stan would go through the stacks of mail, picking out a few lucky ones to draw. In the early MILLIEs, Marvel published the WHOLE address of the kids, but, soon changed that to just the kid's name and city and state. Each MILLIE book would have a 25 page story and then 5 pin-up fashion pages.

If you have a sharp eye, you'll see that Stan Lee's name is up there, top right. Stan L. would write some text on the page so as to get credit. But it's Stan G's lush illustrations that are the real attraction. I wonder if the typo in the headline ever got fixed in post-production? Anyone have MILLIE #14?

And on the back of each page of original art was the COMICS MAGAZINE CODE AUTHORITY APPROVED stamp, duly initialed by some CMCA Official. The Comicville Web site has a copy of the code from 1954 here.

The code logo -- a stamp with an "A" on it, reproduced above -- was adopted voluntarily by comics publishers after the Wertham hearings. An excerpt:

GGeneral Standards Part B

1. No comics magazine shall use the word horror or terror in its title.

2. All scenes of horror, excessive bloodshed, gory or gruesome crimes, depravity, lust, sadism, masochism shall not be permitted.

3. All lurid, unsavory, gruesome illustrations shall be eliminated.

4. Inclusion of stories dealing with evil shall be used or shall be published only where the intent is to illustrate a moral issue and in no case shall evil be presented alluringly nor as to injure the sensibilities of the reader.

5. Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism and werewolfism are prohibited.


Anyway, the code symbol was carried on all comic books for many decades. Marvel shed the code logo from its comic book covers, to little fanfare, in 2001. I guess we'd seen enough lurid and unsavory hours of TV to desensitize us.

Above: some of my convention swag. I ran across a cartoon of mine in a magazine when I went into a Penn Station newsstand. I have no recollection of agreeing to sell it! Irwin Hasen has self-published his letters from Alex Toth and they're excellent reading. More anon about this rare item that all Toth fans should have. Aaron Douglas, who plays the Chief in Battlestar Galactica, was very nice. We chatted for maybe 10 minutes. He's new on the convention circuit and had just been to a comic book convention the week before and met tons of comic book artists. They were "great guys," and the gave him a stack of comics for free.

Stan Goldberg and Irwin Hasen, the Penn Pavilion, Big Apple Comicon, November 17, 2006.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

STAR TREK Mirror, Mirror

For no particular reason (except for the fact that TV Land is rerunning a ton of TOS TREK, and local Channel 4 will broadcast the TREK REMASTERED later tonight), here's some STAR TREK video links:

Here's all the enhanced efx from the classic remastered Trek episode MIRROR, MIRROR. It's the "Spock with a beard" episode.

Nice touch: In pretty much EVERY episode of Classic Trek, the ship goes from left to right around a planet. The alternate universe Enterprise orbits from right to left. The efx still don't look near as good as they should be and the rumor is that they are sorting out the bugs as they go along.

Classic Trek mini-blooper: you can see the man behind the door here in this 14 second clip from MIRROR, MIRROR. Like a lot of you, I've seen the episode more than once and never, ever noticed this.

The Mirror Universe idea resurfaced more than once in other Trek incarnations, like Deep Space Nine and Enterprise. A short video plays homage to these sexy Women of the Mirror Universes here.

Of course, in The Original Series, the Captain gets ALL the women!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Interview with Charles Schulz

Mr. Schulz talks about the characters, and how he came up with the name "Snoopy" in this 1997 TV interview.

"You have to do what you want to do and don't listen to anybody."

Friday, November 17, 2006

The New People (1969)

Hey, here's 3 1/2 minutes of the end of THE NEW PEOPLE, with some vintage 1969 commercials. THE NEW PEOPLE, created by Rod Serling and produced by Aaron Spelling, was about teens who had crash landed on an island. Yeah, reminded me of LOST. But really it's just an opportunity for all of these mod teens to start a NEW society without any interference from THE MAN!

Mike Lynch Cartoon in December 2006 Prospect Magazine (UK)

Prospect Magazine (UK -- NOT "THE American Prospect" mag) publishes a cartoon that takes a business expression literally. And it's hostile. I find that a lot of time, cartoons that are passively hostile sell. Cartoons that are openly angry do not. Back that idea in a minute.

Above is the version that the editors saw. They asked for color, which, I thought, actually helped out the gag.

Now they are holding either (a) balls or (b) tomatoes. It's funny not so much for what is happening, but for what will happen next. It's the expectation of chaos that gooses this one along, and makes it humorous. This is something that Gary Larson used to do so well with his FAR SIDE cartoons. But, still, readers

... were outraged at the idea of deriving humor from the suffering of animals -- even if imaginary -- as in the cartoon of two dogs playing tethercat, or the one showing a pet owner encouraging her little Fifi to dash full speed through a (boarded-up) dog door.

-- from a 1999 article on Gary Larson

That Fifi cartoon still makes me smile.

Openly nasty cartoons rarely sell. I drew 2 todders, and one says to the other, "Yeah, your diaper makes you look fat. Your whole outfit makes you look fat."

I guess it was too mean, what with childhood obesity and all. Maybe it should have been, "Yeah, your diaper makes you look big-boned. Your whole outfit makes you look big-boned." Anyway, the thing never sold. I guess editors are sensitive to their readers' sensibilities.

This one, of a professional white collar worker throttling same, was not published in the US, despite repeated submissions. The UK edition of Reader's Digest picked it up. I think overt violence -- even if they are just cartoon people -- makes editors squeamish. If, for instance, the fellow was choking a minority, it would set a whole different tone. Because it's middle-aged white guys, it's more acceptable. You can portray the middle-aged white guy as the biggest idiot in the world, and no one complains. As one of those MAWGs, I'm offended!

But I still laugh at Homer Simpson and so, recognize, ironically, that I am part of the problem.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

First Time Lucy Held the Football for Charlie Brown

OK, here it is. Here's Lucy pulling back the football for the first time: November 16, 1952. Click on the scan for the XXL size. This is bad scan is from page 268 of your Fantagraphics COMPLETE PEANUTS, which, of course, ALL of us own, right? Right?

And it's also reprinted in PEANUTS: A GOLDEN CELEBRATION.

Derrick Bang in his THE FOOTBALL GAGS points out it was actually Violet on 11/14/51 who first was in the football-holder role. And he documents every time the gag was revisited through 1999.

With the bulk of Charlie Brown's weight distribution being in his over-size, massive, round head, that fall to the ground must really, really hurt him. He should go to the hospital for a cat scan.

On This Day in History ...

According to The Daily Cartoonist, November 16, 1952 was the first time that Lucy pulled the football away from Charlie Brown.

Does anyone have a copy of that seminal PEANUTS strip?

The Famous Artists Course Online

Norman Rockwell and Rube Goldberg, among others, began THE FAMOUS ARTISTS COURSE over 50 years ago. Designed as a correspondence course, the books they sent you are wonderful to look at. The ASIFA has posted some scans here. And scroll down the page for even more good links.

Hat tip Dirk Deppey!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Roo and Sam Getting Along Fine, Thanks!

Personal blogs being what they are, you gotta expect some personal rambling. So, please excuse me for gushing about my kitties. Samson was a rescued kitten. We were fortunate to find such a sweet little kitty. He and our 4 year old Rufus ("Roo" for short) are getting along great, and Roo is no longer a lonely cat. Above photo is Roo (orange) and Sam, taken less than 24 hours after Sam arrived.

Sam likes having his photo taken.

Thanks to those who have sent on kind notes about our cats recently. We appreciate!

Dolphins Taught to Sing BATMAN Theme

News in Science reports this shocking (but entertaining) waste of money, as well as the trainers' and dolphins' time.

H/t Boing Boing.

VHS, 30, dies of loneliness

Publisher's Weekly picks up the story from Variety.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Casper the Friendly Ghost, Created by Seymour Reit and/or Joe Oriolo

A correction to an earlier blog.
Lee Ames asked that I change what I wrote about Casper, The Friendly Ghost from
our July 27, 2006 Berndt Toast meeting.

I had written that Joe Oriolo was the creator of Casper. I've since learned
that this is not entirely true.

For the Steven Spielberg-produced Casper movie, the credits read, “created
by Joe Oriolo as appeared in the original story written by Joe Oriolo
and Seymour Reit.” Lee told me that he knew Seymour Reit, and knew that
Reit got royalty checks from Casper licensing. So, I stand corrected by
Mssrs. Ames and Spielberg: Sy Reit deserves credit.

Don Markstein's TOONPEDIA credits them both, acknowledging that they fought over the property.
Here's Seymour Reit's 2001 obit from CNN.

Thanks for the call, Lee. The record should be set straight.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Lynn Johnston's Retirement

Patti Eddington writes in The Grand Rapids Press that FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE creator Lynn Johnston will, as previously announced, retire in the fall of 2007. She's been drawing one of the world's most popular comic strips, appearing in over 2,000 papers, for 28 years.

"Fans will be delighted to know that the strip will not end. Rather, it will continue as a still-being discussed hybrid of some earlier, little seen work along with some new material."

I met Ms. Johnston only once, and she was so gracious and genuine. It was my first National Cartoonists Society Reubens convention, and she came right up to me and introduced herself. She asked me a lot of questions and asked how I was enjoying the evening. I think she chatted with me for maybe 5 minutes, asking me more questions about my then-early cartooning career. It made my weekend. Heck, it was one of the reasons I decided I liked the NCS. She really is like a favorite aunt in the cartoon world. She introduced me to her daughter and husband. Such nice people.

I'm sorry that she will be leaving the strip, and (like she undoubtedly is) I'm worried it will change. But she really deserves time off "to jump out of an airplane again and bungee jump and see the Eiffel Tower ...."

Hat tip to Journalista!

Mike Lynch Cartoon in November 2006 Oldie Magazine

"The Oldie ... an indispensable antidote to the triviality of the 21st century." -- P.D. James

THE OLDIE magazine is "a monthly rebuke to the formulaic, celebrity-led concept of features in out newspapers and magazines," writes the Independent. It's been on UK newsstands since 1992.

And editor Richard Ingrams, who was editor of Private Eye for 23 years, runs cartoons in the magazine. Thompson, McLachlan, NAF, and many other magazine cartoonists are in here. My fellow Brooklynite and friend Nick Downes has 3 in this issue. I'm eating his cartoon dust!

I've been sending to THE OLDIE for a couple of years. I would mail 10-20 cartoons every couple of months. After maybe a year and a half, I got a copy of the magazine in the mail, with a check. Since then, I've made a couple of sales a year. Like a lot of markets, I simply do not know what Mr. Ingrams will buy. I just try to send interesting cartoons.

The princess using an online site to choose frog suitors is a wordless cartoon first submitted on June 1, 2005 to Reader's Digest. It was submitted to 8 other markets before selling. I remember an editor -- although I no longer recall what market the editor worked for -- who really liked the cartoon, even though the mag did not buy it. I hate when that happens! This isn't the first time that an editor said that he/she liked a cartoon, but would not buy.

A magazine is a group effort and, in many markets, more than one person is involved in the cartoon-buying process. It's not a democracy around that meeting table. A couple of editorial people can like a cartoon, but if the editor-in-chief doesn't like it, or doesn't get it, then it will be trashed.

If you'll notice, there is no signature on this cartoon. I though that the editor had sliced it off, but, upon looking at the original I see I was wrong. I had forgotten to sign it! Ah well!