Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I'm Either Away from my Blog or in a Meeting

I'm out of town. Back to blogging next week.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Cartoon Satisfaction

Mmm. What's pure cartoon satisfaction? In my business, it's when you spend a few seconds looking at a gag cartoon and you actually smile or laugh out loud. And then it's done. You've looked at it, found the joke and reacted -- all in a few seconds. And, that's it.

That's all there is.

I gave a presentation last year with two other comics pros. Between these 2 guys, they got over 60 years in the business. One guy drew strips, the other guy drew comic books. After they gave their presentations, it was my turn. I joked that the two other guys were on the losing end of cutting edge 21st century cartooning. What with everyone wanting easily readable, transportable media -- my cartoons take mere seconds to read -- while their works have anywhere from three to maybe hundreds of panels! Who wants to read ALL THAT on their Blackberry? I work in the "stealth cartoon" category!

But, now after looking at the popularity with manga -- long form, thick books full of hundreds of pages and stories that can go on for years -- I think I was wrong.

My 2 cents.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Lee Salem Interviewed by "Mr. Media"

Bob "Mr. Media" Andelman interviews Universal Press Syndicate President Lee Salem at his site here.

You got your choice: a transcript of the interview is there, as well as a streaming audio file, a podcast, etc. An amazing line-up of all of the strips that have been started under Mr. Salem's tenure.

"... I think [cartoonists submitting their work] rely too much on fancy packaging and less on writing and art in the original material, and that’s the one thing I would encourage people interested in the art form, is to spend time on the writing, spend time on the art work, and then don’t worry about the quality of the package. Assume that the editors are going to do their job and read the material."

Irwin Caplan 1919-2007

Veteran cartoonist Irwin Caplan passed away.

Born in 1919, Mr. Caplan was drawing from an early age. After serving in the Army during WWII, Caplan went to NYC to seek a career. During the 1940s, through the 60s, he had 2 syndicated strips. He was a prolific contributor to the leading glossy magazines, winning a National Cartoonists Society Division Award in 1972. (UPDATE: He won two NCS Division Awards, one in '72, and another in 1981.)

The Seattle Times has the obit, written by Karen Gaudette.

Hat tip to Arnold Wagner.

Below are pages from BEST CARTOONS OF 1945 edited by Lawrence Lariar that showcase then Sergeant Caplan's work. There's a wonderful inky fluidity in his lines, even in these early works at the beginning of what would be a long career.

UPDATE: a link to some murals he painted in high school. Great stuff!

Hat tip to Jon Herman!

Hardhat's Bedtime Story Book by Al Capp


Hat tip Tom Spurgeon!

Mike Lynch Cartoon in March 2007 Spectator

The Spectator, a London-based weekly, has published one of my business cartoons in its current issue. I'm gratified, belatedly.

OK, let's shft here, and talk about WDYGYI (Where Do You Get Your Ideas?). OK? OK!

Sometimes I get ideas out of anger.

There's a saying. Is it a well known saying? It goes something like, Anger turned outward is violence; anger turned inward is depression; anger turned sideways is Hawkeye.

No, that's an old M*A*S*H episode.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. Hate.

One thing I hate is office politics.

Everyone knows about it. And it seems to be everywhere: business, academia, fast food, white dollar, blue collar, etc. There's always some worker who's (a) untouchable, even though they are (b) incompetent.

This time, in today's cartoon, our incompetent worker is a lazy soul -- but sneaky.

I should have drawn him playing Tetris or surfing LiveJournal or watching LonelyGirl or something.

I drove over 600 miles this past weekend, back and forth to New Hampshire. (More about that later.) But that's nothing compared to the 3,458 miles this cartoon went. This is a double-dip cartoon, selling first in the US, and then traveling to the UK to be snagged by the SPECTATOR.

Last night I was watching the Oscars, saw a clip from the Oscar Award winning short WEST BANK STORY. It looked good -- and it was taking a very violent, angry situation and twisting it into something funny. Anyway, I think it MAY be funny. (I haven't watched it yet.) In less than a minute after watching it win, I downloaded it from iTunes. I "own" it. Talk about immediate gratification!

Cartoons -- inky, flat, gag cartoons -- have a slower road to hoe for any kinda gratification, gang.

The above cartoon was drawn in early June 2005. It was bought in September 2005 by a US media outlet. I sent it to Spectator in July 2006. I got a note from the cartoon editor letting me that he was holding a couple, and it's on the newsstand this week.

Don't get me wrong. I'm gratified!!! Just not immediately. But that's the way it is.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Product Placement in Comic Strips?

"Last week an anonymous Albany reader mailed us clippings of 10 comic strips from a 4-day period in early February asking what’s up with all the product placement," writes M. Monica Bartoszek, Senior Editor of Operations on the Times-Union Ediyors' Blog. Continues here.

Hat tip to Tom Spurgeon.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Berndt Toast Gang Meeting February 22, 2007

Berndt Toast Gang January 31, 1991: Joe Edwards and Steve Duquette

Although it "smelled like snow" outside (to quote Steve Duquette), the snow respectfully turned to a soft rain as we all drove in for this month's get together.

"Archie Comics genius Joe Edwards ... had a lovely graveside memorial last Sunday," wrote columnist Ellis Henican in Sunday's Newsday. "But a far less somber send-off is set for Thursday. The Berndt Toast Gang, the Long Island chapter of the National Cartoonists Society, meets for lunch."

After a "Berndt Toast" to absent friends, I spoke about the three kinds of people in Joe's life: his family (three generations of whom were in attendance), his colleagues (the Berndt Toast Gang, and the Archie crew) and, of course, the fans. I read some of the things people are saying about him on the blogs:

"I loved Li'l Jinx!"

"I've long been a fan of the man's work. My subscription to Li'l Jinx in the 70's was one of the firs I had to ANY publication."

"I grew up reading Archie comic books. It was the one thing I can remember saving up for when I was younger. I actually kept all my old Archie comics and my kids read them now."

"I agree. Glad to see your kinds also like it. When I read those comics you could relate to what happens in school, so they kept it real."

Jerry Edwards talks about his brother Joe

Jerry Edwards stood, introduced the family, and told us how much Berndt Toast meant to his brother Joe. Growing up, the family had a tough life, with the kids being split up, having to go to separate foster homes. What Joe really wanted when he grew up was a base; a family.

Joe and Eda were together for 63 years. All the time. And that's what Joe wanted. He didn't want to go into the city.

Actually, added Jerry, since Joe worked at the drafting table at home, and he and Eda were always together, it was, "really like 189 years."

Jerry Edwards raised his arms, looked at the family. "This is Joe's base. And Berndt Toast is part of his family."

Joe Edwards was a cartoon illustrator whose genius was that he got what he wanted: a loving family.

Here's a list of links about Joe:

  • Joe's page at the NCS here

  • Archie Comics press release here

  • Ellis Henican's Newsday column (scroll down)

On display: cutouts from the children's' book illustrations of Adrian Sinnott. Foreground: two of Adrian's students, Anthony and Javier, and, to the far right, Lewis Matheney.

We welcomed illustrator/teacher/curator Lewis Matheney, cartoonist Ruth Marcus (whose work you may have seen in Good Housekeeping or Rosie magazines), Denise Ozker from the Graphic Artists Guild, and Derek Mainhart, who teaches cartooning in nearby Deer Park. Elissa Lynch (no relation) from Diamond Distribution, the people who distribute all the comics to the comic books stores (about 94 million as of 2005), drove in from Maryland. Well, actually, she's also in the NYC environs for the Comicon, and to talk up Free Comic Book Day on May 5, 2007!

Ernie Colon, Mike Lynch. It was a kick to meet Ernie, whose reputation precedes him. He's a journeyman artist, whose labored successfully on everything from Batman to Richie Rich. His most recent work, THE 9/11 REPORT, with Sid Jacobson, was a major 2006 release .

Trish, Tom Gill's wife, surprised us with an appearance. Tom's book of his days at the NY Daily News, Dell Comics and USO/NCS tours has been delayed, but I hope to see it published and on the stands later this year. I talked to the publisher, and she hopes for that too!

Some photos. It looks like I was following Don Orehek around!

Diamond Comics Public Relations Representative Elissa Lynch, Playboy's Don Orehek, the Graphic Artists Guild's Cartoonist Alliance President Denise Ozker

Don Orehek and Art Cumings. We welcomed back Art and Alda Cumings, who we haven't seen at lunch since June!

Joe Vissichelli (partially obscured -- if you know Joe, he has whole weeks in this state), Don Orehek, Tony D'Amato, Dan Danglo. Steve Duquette is behind Tony, and I don't recall whose nose that is on the right. Comments welcome.

Steve Duquette, Mike Lynch, Don Orehek, Art Cumings

Today's Cartoon Factoid: journalist Ellis Henican has a cartoon connection; he's the voice of the Cartoon Network character Derek "Stormy" Waters in SEALAB 2021.

SKY MASTERS and Jacob Bronowski

Today, Mark Evanier reminds us to use common sense when buying animation cels and original art. And not even the people who sell these cels know what they're selling. My story:

I once saw a couple of SKY MASTERS originals for sale. This was in one of those animation galleries that seemed to be all over Midtown Manhattan in the 1990s. I'd never seen an original SKY MASTERS, and this looked like a Sunday original, so I was looking at this pretty closely. It was in one of those little plastic sleeves, so I was able to actually hold the blessed thing close. Since I'm near-sighted, I take off my glasses. This sometimes looks like a theatrical gesture, but the truth is that I can see better close up without them. (Like Stan Goldberg, I take off my glasses to draw.)

Anyway, so there I am in some animation gallery -- nothing but framed cels and Disney posters -- and I'm looking at this wonderful newspaper comic strip original, minding my own business. The owner sees me, and, looking up from her desk in the back of the place, announces "That's a storyboard."

Being a cartoon nerd and defender of truth, I correct her. "No, this is a newspaper comic strip from the 1950s, penciled by Jack Kirby, and inked by either Wally Wood or Dick Ayers."

"No. It's a storyboard. It's a storyboard for a movie or something. That's how a storyboard looks," says the owner. And she proceeds to explain, as if to a slow witted product of first cousins, what exactly a storyboard is.

When I point out that storyboards NEVER look like this, with a logo and date and the name of a syndicate, she informs me what a storyboard is ONE MORE TIME. Slower, this time. And louder. Oh Lord. A true believer. She would not listen to me.

There is a fundamental, sometimes tragic, difference, as Bronowski points out, between knowledge and certainty. ("All knowledge — all information between human beings — can only be exchanged within a play of tolerance. And that is true whether the exchange is in science, or in literature, or in religion, or in politics, or in any form of thought that aspires to dogma. It's a major tragedy of my lifetime and yours that scientists were refining, to the most exquisite precision, the Principle of Tolerance—and turning their backs on the fact that all around them, tolerance was crashing to the ground beyond repair, between knowledge and certainty." — Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man).

I put the SKY MASTERS down, put my glasses back on, and leave the store, emitting a Charlie Brown *SIGH.*


  • Brendan Burford posts his photos of the SYNCOPATED COMICS release party that I wrote about here.

  • Tom Spurgeon talks about the challenge facing NBM with its publication of Forever Nuts: Classic Screwball Strips -- The Early Years of Mutt & Jeff.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Star Trek NBC Previews & Alternate Pilot Footage

Some YouTube links related to the 1960s ....

The first episode (also called the second pilot) of STAR TREK titled "Where No Man Has Gone Before" had an alternate beginning, with some different shots and music. Video link here. The music that was used in the title and end title sequences was released in a TOS soundtrack CD some years ago. There's an extra line of dialogue from Kirk to Spock in the teaser.

And here are links to some network previews of STAR TREK from 1966 - 1968.

The first promo may be the very first glimpse that anyone had of the show. It's about 20 seconds long, and consists of some different shots of a painting of the principals. A painting that was used on the the cover of the James Blish STAR TREK adaptation. Why "this first adult space adventure blasts off September 15th," I don't know. I mean, the first show was shown on September 8th, 1966. Did this broadcast of a week earlier not "count" since (I'm guessing here) it was part of an NBC premiere week? Maybe.

The second season promo is longer, and has a mechanical sort of music with some drumbeats. There is a slight variation of the promo here.

"I'm Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise. Join us each week for exciting, exotic adventures in outer space," says Shatner as he comes down the steps in the engine rooms and walks to the camera. This is the promotion for the third season of the show. There must have been no new footage (perhaps due to its last minute reprieve from cancellation), since the only exotic action that's shown is from the previous season.

And just for fun, here's one more video: a 1965 promo for the entire "all color" NBC line up. Like I said it's 1965, so there's no TREK yet -- but the first scene (which I won't spoil) is pretty prescient of what happens at concerts and plays and movie houses today. This promo runs about 25 minutes, and I didn't stay to watch it all.

FOREVER NUTS New Collection of Old Comic Strips

NBM Publishing announced that they will collect the early years of the Mutt & Jeff comic strip by Bud Fisher in its THE EARLY YEARS OF MUTT AND JEFF (FOREVER NUTS: CLASSIC SCREWBALL STRIPS), edited by Jeffrey Lindenblatt. It's scheduled release: July, 2007.

This will be the first of a proposed series of classic newspaper strip hardcover reprint books from NBM. Here's the announcement:

FOREVER NUTS is a new series of reprints concentrating on very early, very goofy strips — early classics that have aged surprisingly well, with off-the-wall humor that remains fresh to this day. Each volume will present a different strip from the early 20th century.

Hat tip to THE BEAT.

Syncopated Comics Release Shindig February 20, 2007

SYNCOPATED COMICS #3, which is the brainchild of Brendan Burford, had its celebratory get together at a bar on the Lower East Side last night. Even though I got there late (the free beer had just run out, for which I squarely point the finger of blame at bleary-eyed Ed Steckley), I did manage to shove King Features' editor-in-chief Jay Kennedy aside and get a minty fresh copy of SYNCOPATED.
Brendan Burford hard at work signing books and guarding the coats. Autographs $10!?!? Wha -- ?!

Chatted with Caroline Dworin, Tom Hart & Nick Bertozzi. You can read Caroline's words in the NY Times, and she's sold a cartoon to the New Yorker. It was terrific to finally meet Tom, whose work I admire. Nick's a fan of Ernest Shackleton, the polar explorer, and so am I. He drew "The Voyage of the James Caird" for SYNCOPATED. So, of course, we were chatting like a couple of excited schoolgirls about Shack's great open boat journey.

Speaking of excited schoolgirls -- Chari Pere and Marguerite Dabaie, two SVA cartooning majors, joined the well wishers. Neither one of them were drinking, which, of course, meant they were blameless in the Great Sucking Up of Free Beer, but that aroused suspicion. I mean, they are CARTOONISTS, after all ...

Here's Heather with hubby Ed Steckley. Maybe she'll reform Ed. Good luck with that.

Mike Lynch and Marc Bilgrey. Actually, I met Marc later that evening at a raucous Irish pub. It just looks like we're at the party. Marc's a guy who's done it all -- his novel came out last year, he's worked with Woody Allen and written for Mad magazine -- and that's just the tip o' the Bilgrey iceberg. He's a great guy, and not at all raucous.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Cartoonists Getting Rich!

"How Comics Cartoons Make Fortunes" is the title of a Modern Mechanix article from 1933. You'll find out that Robert Ripley makes $7,000 a week -- "Believe it or Not!" This is all dreadfully depressing. Even with the couple of generations' worth of inflation, this is nice money. no -- not NICE -- OUTSTANDING MONEY.

Hey, was this all before income tax?! No, don't tell me. If it was, it would even be more depressing.

Posted at the Modern Mechanix blog site; "Yesterday's Tomorrow, Today."

I think I saw this last year and why I didn't post to it them I don't know. Probably too depressing. Have I said that enough?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Cartoonists Day Web Site

May 5th is Cartoonists Day! It's been Cartoonists Day for maybe 7 or 8 years. I don't know. I remember a while ago, it was kind of a big deal, but then I forgot about it.

Anyway, it's being dusted off and gussied up for 2007. Now there is this new site dedicated to this yearly event where good citizens shower cartoonists with money and ink and bristol and Wacom tablets.

Well, maybe not.

This year, Cartoonists Day coincides with the annual Free Comic Book Day. And, at least last year, it was Webcomics Awareness Day.

And it'll be Cinco de Mayo too.

Uh ... that's about it. I know that, at some point in the future, there will be events appearing here and there, now and then -- to this one and that one.

Stay tuned.

"Guilty Pleasures of the Literary Greats" by Drew Friedman

From the NY Observer weekly newspaper here. His drawing of Faulkner watching Joe E. Ross is a scream.

Hat tip the the Fantagraphics Blog!

Lee Salem Interview

Universal Press Syndicate President Lee Salem will be interviewed this week by "Mr. Media," the blog of Bob Andelman.

Currently on the site, last week's interview with writer and TV creator David Simon. Mr. Simon wrote the book that was the basis of the best show on TV; HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREETS.

Hat tip: E&P.

Syncopated Comics Release Party Tomorrow

NYC: Tuesday night is the night for the celebratory launch of Brendan Burford's SYNCOPATED COMICS #3. Vitals are at the SYNCOPATED blog here.

Contributors to this issue include: Nick Bertozzi, Susie Cagle, Jim Campbell, Greg Cook, Tom Devlin, Gary Gianni, Paul Hoppe, Dave Kiersh, John Martz, Rina Piccolo, and (of course) Brendan Burford.

Alberto Giolitti

Something from my stash of original art. Even though I'm not a fan of this comic book, there's something to look at and learn here.

Alberto Giolitti -- the man who drew the above page -- was an Italian-born comic book artist who did a lot of work for Dell/Western Comics (later Gold Key) for over a generation. The company specialized in licensing comic book versions of Disney movies and Warner Brothers properties.

Gioletti worked on many major titles, and is best remembered here for his work on TUROK, DINOSAUR HUNTER, which was about a couple of Native Americans stranded in a valley with a bunch of dinosaurs. Mr. Gioletti also did the STAR TREK (which is still in print), TWILIGHT ZONE, BORIS KARLOFF comic books, and many Western properties.

He came to America via Buenos Aires in 1949, and worked in the NYC area for about a dozen years before returning to Italy. He continued working for Gold Key while there, and started Gioletti Studios, employing up to 55 artists for a variety of high and low profile properties for international markets. In Italy, he may be best remembered for a comic book titled TEX.

When I was a kid, I was not into his work. I disdained his STAR TREK comics. The bridge didn't look right, for instance. It wasn't until later I found out that he had not seen the series at that point. The show was not available in Italy. Dell comics just mailed him a TREK press kit, expecting him to wing it.

It wasn't until I learned how to use a brush that I rediscovered Gioletti's mastery. This was when I first moved to NYC in 1986.

Above: an issue of Sergeant Preston of the Yukon. It's the #15, from 1955. PRESTON was based on the radio and TV series that was created by the same people who created The Lone Ranger. Gioletti worked on this.

Well, again, I'm not a fan of PRESTON. It's not that I don't like the guy, or his big ol' malamute "King," it's just that I didn't grow up with the show. But I did get a chance to buy some original Giolitti art from this comic book. The art is what's called "LS" or Large Size original art, with dimensions of 14 x 22 inches. Most of today's comic book artist work 5 x 10 inches. Obviously, the larger the size, the more detail.

I bought a couple of originals while I was assisting a comic book artist. (This was back when I thought I might draw superheroes, and wanted to have more original art. I think I bought a couple of pages for $50.) Seeing the page above, it was a personal relief to discover that the ink was not all opaque. It looks watery here and there. The same thing would happen to me -- especially with Higgins ink.

The more I looked at this panel, the more I liked all those little noodly details that Gioletti spent time on -- the same stuff that I didn't like when I was little. Go figure.

Gioletti was a nut for reference, taking photos of people and places. And it shows. Look at that shadow of the dog, just splashed in there. You almost don't see it. So well done. And the detail of him (the dog) looking off panel, keeping an eye out for any danger. Good dog!

The fact that Preston and the old man are walking, each with the opposite foot forward is a nice touch. And those details of the town in the tundra down there, with each building made out of pine planks, looks right. And there's even the nice touch of the Aurora on the horizon. With the shadows on the foreground characters, it helps them "pop" into the foreground, away from the town and mountains.

Above is the printed version. I always liked B&W art better than the color books. The color here seems at odds with the piece. It's too garish -- as most comic book colors back in 1955, when palates were limited. Shrinking the art eliminated the uneven ink problem.

Now, I could go on for a long time about all the other panels -- but I just wanted to talk about the guy and his work -- and celebrate his art, by looking at this one tiny bit, from 52 years ago.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Classics Illustrated Memories

Sue Wunder writes about how reading Classics Illustrated comics started her reading habit in today's Christian Science Monitor.

"[The comics] might have horrified the original authors, but the little comics utterly absorbed me."

Hat tip to Dirk Deppey.

The Complete Pogo/Old Comics Sites

Fantagraphics announced that there will be a new series of books, beginning this fall, that will collect POGO in its entirety. Jeff Smith will design, and the cover that's reproduced is pretty much the final design.

POGO is just one great American strip that is getting reprinted. We're deluged with a lot of great material now. Just off the top of my head (and with help from the Fantagraphics "Flog" blog), here's a list of available hardcover books reprinting newspaper strips:











And there's more coming up.

If you like old newspaper comics, here are a few sites of interest:

Coconino World is a huge site, in French and English, that celebrates a lot of classic cartoonists. If you go to this page, you can start looking at Swinnerton, McManus, etc.

Shane Glines' Cartoon Retro (subscription only), celebrates classic cartoon illustrators. Lots of stuff here. Join up for a month. I did.

Andy's Early Comics Archive is an incredible collection of cartoons through the centuries with tremendously large scan for much oohing and aahing. I love the page of photos and caricatures of cartoonists here.

Craig Yoe's Arf Lover's Blog is a wonderful collection of cool stuff. I always wind up spending time looking at old gag cartoons, old comics and other items of delight that Craig has.

Stripper's Guide by Allan Holtz is not as racy as it sounds. Lots of great old comic strips here.

Barnacle Press is a trove of old features from the comics pages.

Arnold Wagner's Cartoonology always has the insider stories about cartooning and comics.

Leif Peng's Today's Inspiration blog tends to be more about post-war illustration, but the site is such an interesting place to visit and it's full of vintage material, that it's worth a looksee.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sci Fi Channel Orders 13 More Episodes of Battlestar

The rumors were that the successful BATTLESTAR GALACTICA show might be canceled.

Anthony Crupi at Mediaweek has the story of its renewal.

"... the audience surges came as the February Playboy was hitting newsstands; that particular issue featured a revealing cover shot and a 10-page pictorial of Battlestar actress Tricia Helfer, a.k.a. Number Six."

And, heck, as we all know, it didn't hurt that there was a Mike Lynch Cartoon in there!

The Pocket Cartoon Course

THE POCKET CARTOON COURSE, from Snack-Pack Co. in Indianapolis, put together this 22 lesson course in 1943. Mike Rhodes, of the ComicsDC Blog, shares it with us here.

I assume this is for people who do not have the time to actually sit down at a table and draw. This is for people on the go! Heck, put it on people's phones and it would sell today.

"All you need is a pencil and a few sheets of paper!"

Hat tip to Richard Thompson. Thanks, Richard!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

William Shatner - 50 Years in TV

Produced for the Television Academy Hall of Fame Ceremonies, this professionally put together compilation of Shatner's TV work runs a bit over 11 minutes.

Left, a photo of Mr. Shatner in the movie IMPULSE (1974), reviewed by Mike ("If you're looking for Shatner in classic hammy-acting mode ...") White for "Cashiers du Cinemart" here.

John Callahan Documentary

Cartoonist John Callahan is the subject of an hour long Dutch TV documentary. Click on "video" on the right hand side of this page. Yes, the page is in Dutch -- but the video is not.

And you get to see Callahan's day, Callahan talking about his life, the complaints about his edgy cartoons -- and, best of all, you get to see Callahan drawing.

There is nudity (not Callahan) and, if I remember, some swearing.

An interesting slice of his life, with him making some music and talking about his philosophy of life, what it's like to be a quadriplegic cartoonist, and -- I said it before and I'll say it again -- close ups of him drawing.

Thanks to cartoonist Lars Doornbos for finding this and letting me know about it!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Avast, there, me hardies!

Just got an email from a talented cartoonist who wanted to know if there was an RSS feed for the Mike Lynch Cartoons blog. I wrote back:

There's a link at the bottom of that reads: Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)

And, by clicking that, you SHOULD be able to get an RSS feed. I put SHOULD in capitals to denote the fact that I've never used that link myself and don't know for sure if it works. Another option: Firefox browsers have an RSS graphic at the top of the browser, just to the right of the URL. Clicking on that SHOULD (yes, again with all caps) do the trick -- if you use Firefox.

Arrr! While I don't know much about RSS yet, let me remind you Robert Louis Stevenson fans out there -- and you know who you are -- that scientists are working around the clock to perfect the new cool, new RLS feed!

Ha ha ha!

(I know. A wretched joke. I should walk the plank, etc. And I wonder why I don't get as much traffic as I did in 2006!)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Entire PLAYBOY Magazine on DVD

It's a bad news, good news thing.

Good news for cartoon fans. All 600+ issues of PLAYBOY magazine will be reproduced on DVD. Cole, Silverstein, Wilson, Gerberg, Dedini, Interlandi, Hoest -- they'll all be there, in this new page by page DVD -- similar in format to the NEW YORKER DVD set.

PLAYBOY is, along with the NEW YORKER, a seminal publication of 20th century magazine cartooning.

The bad news is for the people who created the content. None of the creators of any of that content will be compensated. Not centerfolds, not writers, not photographers, no one.

And the new owners of NATIONAL LAMPOON will follow suit. (I wrote about LAMPOON and the business practices of its new owners on August 4, 2006 here.)

The COMPLETE PLAYBOY DVD will make money, sure. But only for the men and women in the PLAYBOY business offices. This is wrong.

Some thoughtful comments from Tom Spurgeon here.

DOCTOR WHO Spin-offs: The Sarah Jane Adventures & Torchwood

If you live in Great Britain, you naturally grew up with DOCTOR WHO. The show was, for years, just there, grinding on year after year. You may or may not have watched it, but was part of the TV schedule for a couple of generations.

If you lived in the US -- well ,then -- who (no pun intended) knows? I remember watching the Tom Baker version in the late 1970s. So cheap and so far out and so silly. The original series ran from 1963 to 1989, with a TV movie in 1996. A new series, produced by Russell T. Davies, resurrected the concept two years ago, and it's been met with ratings success.

Now, Mr. Davies and the BBC has added a couple of other TV shows to the WHOvian franchise (no, it's not DR. WHO: DEEP SPACE NINE or DR. WHO: THE NEXT GENERATION). Both of these new series have been unseen in the US so far.

THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES, which premiered last month on BBC One, is a new series based on a character that first appeared on the programme (hey, that's the way it's spelled) from 1973-76.

The one hour pilot, Invasion of the Bane, has been chopped up into multiple parts for YouTube distribution. The first part is here. And you can pick up the rest of the links there.

Another Doctor Who spin-off, TORCHWOOD, was broadcast by BBC Three this fall. TORCHWOOD is a covert agency, above the government, above the police, that investigates extraterrestrial visits and scavenges futuristic alien technology for its own use. Another WHO character alum, "Captain Jack Harkness," heads the group of investigators. YouTube has the first episode "Everything Changes." And there are more at YouTube, if you want to seek them out.

Both are running and jumping shows (to paraphrase Irwin Allen*). There is some care taken about character and coherency -- and, in each of the pilots, there is a central mystery that the plot is hung on -- but in the end, it's a lot of running and jumping.

And monsters, as well as a few wisecracks.

Some American SciFi fans do not like DOCTOR WHO because it's, well, intentionally a little silly. I always liked it, but I like STAR TREK, and, heck, TREK can get pretty silly too.

However, TORCHWOOD titillates, with some serious nods to sex (not just hetero), and some darker violence.

SJA is more for the kids, with lots of dubious goings on at a soda pop factory.

Both pilots start with (A) an outsider trying to figure out who this secret Smith person/Torchwood Institute is up to, while (B) our lead character(s) unravel a mystery having to do with the aforementioned monsters -- some from outer space, some in our id.

Anyway, these shows are out there in cyberland (until the cease & desist letter) if you want to have a taste of them before they officially arrive on broadcast TV in the US. I particularly liked the first 2 episodes of TORCHWOOD, which has been renewed for a second 13 episode season.

* "Allen held the quaint notion that American kids wanted to see lots of running, jumping and fighting in their sci-fi programs. Unfortunately, these elements generally fell in the place of plot, dialogue and believability". -- from the TVParty site.

Archie Comics Press Release: Archie Artist Joe Edwards Passes Away

Veteran comic book artist Joe Edwards died on Thursday, February 8. In a career spanning over 65 years, Edwards wrote and drew comic book stories for various companies, most prominently Archie Comics.

After studying art at Rome Academy and Hastings Animation School, Edwards landed a job drawing for Demby Studios, one of several outfits generating comic book stories for various publishers in the fledging days of the industry.

After drawing comics for Dell and Timely, he joined Archie, which was then known as MLJ Comics. Edwards' animation training made him perfect for "funny animal" features including Squoimy the Woim, Cubby the Bear and Bumbie the Bee-tective, all of which have the distinction of gracing the pages of a milestone comic from MLJ: Archie Comics #1 from 1942.

When the Archie comic series took off, Edwards drew many stories featuring the flagship characters as well. Over the years, he continued to contribute to the company with stories and art on features including Super Duck, Captain Sprocket and the series he is most associated with, Li'l Jinx. The mischievous little girl was so named because, like Edwards' son, she was born on Halloween. The feature appeared for years not only as its own series but also as a backup in such titles as Little Archie and the Archie Giant Series.

Joe Edwards was 85 years old. Funeral arrangements have been made for Sunday, February 11.

H/t to THE BEAT and Silver Bullet Comics.

UPDATE: Here's the AP obituary.