Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Milton Caniff/Alex Raymond

Milt Caniff would have been 100 years old this year. R.C. Harvey has a doorstop-sized bio and OSU has a festival devoted to Caniff & storytelling.

Above: Cartoonist Milton Caniff drawing at Real Life Model Bek Stiner, photo from the San Francisco Examiner, 1952.

Photos from The San Francisco Examiner archives have been popping up on eBay. The Caniff photo and the Alex Raymond photo (below) are part of the handful of I saw.

Look at that Caniff guy! Whatta life, huh? Surrounded by the pretty girls! And that Bek Stiner -- who is modeling as "Miss Mizzou, who always wears a trench coat but (it is rumored) nothing underneath" is easy on the eyes!

I found an interesting story about Miss Mizzou.

Miss Columbia Mizzou was a character that appeared occasionally in Mr. Caniff's STEVE CANYON strip. Just so happened that six years after this photo was taken, the Colombia, MO Chamber of Commerce decided a "new $1,500,000 road connecting U.S. Highway 40 and the university stadium be named after Caniff, who is not an alumnus or even a Missourian (he was born in Hillsboro, Ohio). It is further decided that large cutouts of Miss Mizzou, dimpled knee poking through her trench coat, shall mark Caniff Boulevard," so says this issue of Time Magazine online.

Above: Alex Raymond and his drawing board, photo from the San Francisco Examiner, 1950.

Love these shots. Caniff drawing models, Raymond contemplating a script (I think). Looking at Mr. Raymond's shirt, I remember the way he was able to dash off plaid shirts with those swift, exacting lines. He was a master draftsman. Just take a look at this RIP KIRBY daily I posted in November, 2006.

OK, this part of the blog is not as exciting as Miss Mizzou's curves!

One of the last vestiges of this time is the idea that 100% of cartoonists are successful 100% of the time.

Five years ago, I was at a photography studio on the West Side, and some kid, all dressed up in his best suit for a formal family photo, overheard that I drew cartoons. He walked over and asked if I really was a cartoonist. I said that I did, and I asked him if he read comics. He told me he loved PEANUTS. Not manga, not SPONGEBOB. PEANUTS!

And then he asked, very quietly, if "we" were all rich. He had heard you make a lot of money in cartoons.

This was a kid, maybe 9-10 years old, and I believe that you should tell a kid the truth, however unpleasant it may be.

I told him that some cartoonists do make a lot of money, but most of "us" are not millionaires. The kid seemed disappointed. Hopefully, maybe, he's studying now to be one of those lawyers that fight for the arts or something.

FINAL NOTE: The Closest I'll Ever Get to Being Alex Raymond: When I use a brush and ink, I make those same snakey, slathery inky marks that he does!


Mark Anderson said...

Caniff is close to the top of my list of cartoonists to really dig into after both the kids are in school.

I cannot wait for Ohio State this year!

And dig the look on his face while surrounded by all those lovely young ladies!

Also, you're not a millionaire?! What about all those Lynch plush toys, Happy Meals, and bobble heads?

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