Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Still Moving

Here's our Sam the cat, trying to assist us in the big move from NYC to the Boonies.

Back soon.

Friday, August 24, 2007

We're Moving

No, not the blog. the blog is staying here (with, perhaps, an interruption or two in the next week). The people, I mean. The people are moving. We're moving from our apartment in Brooklyn (left) to our new home in New Hampshire (right).

Above: a photo of a corner of our book-laden living room in our 1 bedroom apartment taken by Mark Anderson back in September 2006, when he was up for the THIS INKING LIFE gallery show.

That same area, as of 6:00AM Friday morning.

Moving from Brooklyn is a big change. One I'm looking forward to. So many friends in NYC and in "the boonies" are helping us with this. I can't say thank you enough.

STAR TREK NEW VOYAGES: "World Enough and Time" [updated]

The pro/am fan-made STAR TREK episode "World Enough and Time" can be seen here. It premiered on the Web last night and there are still problems being able to stream it due to high demand. The small Flash version worked for me, at least for the first 25 of its mammoth 63 minute length, and then it went dead. And this was after letting it spool all night.

UPDATE: Site is not working. Too much TREK love and too little bandwidth! Too bad that YouTube or some other similarly well-equipped site didn't host this.

UPDATE: You can download New Voyages torrents, including WEaT, here.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Robert Burns Moment

I was on the phone, talking cartoons, to cartoonist pal Stephanie Piro, when she suddenly said, "The cats are acting funny."

We went back to talking for a couple minutes, and then, again, "What is going on? The cats are acting funny."

Her 3 cats were huddled close to her husband John's banjo, which was leaning against the living room wall.

John Nolan, newspaper editor, musician and admirer of the poet, Robert Burns (John hosts an annual "Burns Night" celebration), walked toward the banjo. The cats did not move. All of them were attentively watching the banjo. Something was in there.

The following moment inspired these words (by my wife, Stacy) and pictures (by me).

To a Mouse, on Him Turning Up in an Unexpected Spot

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin tim'rous mousie,
I hear you've found a brand new housie.
There, with all yer bairns and spousie
Youll take your place -
Spite Nolan's yelps and curses, grousy -
In banjo case.

Perhaps you'll join him in a "choon".
He's hundreds you know, or will you soon.
Your timid squeek could be a boon,
And needed clearly
To balance booming baritoon,
At party, yearly.

But best-laid schemes o' men an' mice
Often come at bloody price.
And dwellings first that seemed so nice,
Now mordant.
For grisly death at feline vise
Turns home discordant


This has been an encore presentation of the Mike Lynch Cartoons blog. The above appeared in its original form on May 4, 2006, back when this blog first started over at MySpace.

DuoShade Ad from 1988

An ad for "DuoShade" paper by Grafix from the Spring 1988 issue of WITTYWORLD Magazine.

Duotone paper was the choice a many cartoonists, particularly editorial cartoonists. It looked like a sheet of bristol and you could ink on it. And then, once you were done with the inking, you could open up a small bottle of clear liquid and brush on a clear chemical that would react with the paper, revealing shading lines or dots.

I've been told that the chemicals caused cancer. I've never seen proof, but several pros have told me that it was dangerous.

Regardless, the need for this product has virtually gone away with the advent of visual manipulation programs like PhotoShop. Maybe if you're a tough Reaganesque cowboy, you're way too tough to get cancer.

Ed Whelan Comics

Start here.

This is one of the reasons why the Internets is a nice place.

H/t to Comics Reporter.

Persistence and Kindness in Business

From Reader's Digest (UK):

"Thompson gets great results, despite his lack of people skills."

This started a couple years ago. I mailed about 10 cartoons to a small publication. I got an email back from the editor. He loved the cartoons, but didn't have the budget line to pay to publish the cartoons

This is, like I just said, a small company. Regardless, they have budgets for salaries, employee health care, utilities, rent, etc. If a small company wants to buy some cartoons for their newsletters or presentations, that's great. A lot of 'em don't have the available money in their media budget. Not good. I can't afford to give cartoons away.

Anyway, there's more to my story ...

So, every once in a while I'd send this fellow a note and a couple of cartoons. He would always kick back a nice email to me about them.

I figured he would never buy, but it was always a pleasant surprise to hear how much he appreciated them. Yeah, I'm a sucker for praise!

Now, it's about three years later. This year he has the budget line for cartoons and it'll be a new regular gig. It's not going to be a big paying client, like Harvard Business Review. But I look forward to working with him.


This has been an encore presentation of the Mike Lynch Cartoons blog. The above appeared in its original form on March 28, 2006, back when this blog first started over at MySpace.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Above: the iconic jagged line that instantly tells you just whose shirt this is. I had no idea how many times this image has recurred. From left, some samples from publishing and textiles: a 2000 OSU exhibit catalog (designed by my friend Frank Pauer), a Charlie Brown yellow shirt that you can buy, and the cover of the new SCHULZ AND PEANUTS biography. I wonder why oh why does the SCHULZ AND PEANUTS cover art (which may or may not be the final art) seem to be a machined replica of the famous zig-zag. It should at least appear to be from the inky hand of Mr. Schulz.

There are number of good links for David Michaelis' forthcoming SCHULZ AND PEANUTS biography of Charles Schulz. These will help keep one sated until its arrival in October

A "BookExpoCast" podcast interview with Mr. Michaelis here.

Nat Gertler's review based on his reading the uncorrected proofs here.

Schulz Museum's announcement about the book here, along with a note that there will be a new PBS documentary titled Good Ol' Charlie Schulz airing in October 2007.

Getting Paid

"If you kept up with my blog, you'd understand."

I sold some cartoons to a client. I emailed the finishes to the editor and invoiced him that day. (The above cartoon is not one of the cartoons. It was bought by a very good market that pays consistently on time. I'm just using it as an illustration.) This client is supposed to pay within 30 days.

Over a month goes by, no payment.

I sent a friendly reminder email last week and then, yesterday, I left a phone message. "Hi, uh, it's Mike calling. Just want to know if there's a check in the mail. It's my rent time. Ha, ha." (That's not a joke, really. I do have to pay New York rent, which is NOT CHEAP.)

No answer.

Now, it's my personal rule not to let things get behind. Sometimes there are good reasons why I don't get paid. Not all the time, but some times. I'm open to there being a problem on their side. And I want to be civil and friendly. No confrontations. Regardless, I'm frustrated that the editor won't contact me.

So today I checked out the site for the magazine. This is a national mag, on newsstands from coast to coast. The site was there, operating just fine. So then I looked at this feature called EDITOR'S BLOG.

One of the topics for the blog: "Freelancing has never been an easy way to make a living. Is it getting harder?" And there's a place to MAKE COMMENTS.

The editor won't return my call, but he has time to blog. Hmm.

Like I said, I'm not making this up.

Hmm. Is freelancing getting harder?

I immediately thought of Al Jaffee's Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions.

"No, it's not hard since I've given up eating."

"It'd be a lot easier if you'd just PAY ME."

"My mom is gonna call your mom and then, oh boy, you're going to be in a lotta trouble."

This isn't the first time that it's happened to me. I just try to be persistent and nice. "Is there anything else that you need? Can we go over my contact details again? Can you Fed Ex a hand-written check?" And if I get a non-responsive person on the phone, I counter with, "What would you do if you were in my situation?"

Well, I won't post a comment on that mag's blog. I won't say what magazine it is. Hopefully, it will work out. Especially if I'm persistent about it. I suppose there's a chance of the editor somehow seeing this blog and -- BOOM! -- no more business from him. Ah well.

The darn thing is, it's such a small bit of money to the corporate world. It's a plane ticket. It's lunch for board. It's a car rental.

Besides my sweet big cat Roo getting in my way as I draw, this is another time drag; another reason I don't produce more cartoons! Too much time spent in the Mike Lynch Accounts Receivable Department.


This has been an encore presentation of the Mike Lynch Cartoons blog. The above appeared in its original form on March 2, 2006, back when this blog first started over at MySpace.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Doug Marlette Memorial Site

Go and explore the Tulsa World's extensive Doug Marlette site "dedicated to his work and the effect it had on the communities he served."

Hat tip to Comics Reporter.

HAPPINESS IS A DRY MARTINI by Johnny Carson, cartoons by Whitney Darrow, Jr

"HAPPINESS IS ... getting up at 2 A.M. to feed the baby and finding two bottles -- one for the baby and one for you."

Nudist colonies, Playboy bunnies, artist's models, busty schoolteachers -- it's all in the HAPPINESS IS A DRY MARTINI Fawcett Crest paperback credited to Johnny Carson. Despite the floating head of Carson on the cover, I suspect the book was ghost written by some of his gag writers.

This 1968 adult riff on HAPPINESS IS A WARM PUPPY, has slick drawings by New Yorker magazine cartoonist Whitney Darrow, Jr.

Go and look at Johnny C.'s Hole in the Head blog for part one and part two.

Another great Hole in the Head blog entry!Thanks, Johnny!

And a pre-happy birthday to Whitney Darrow, Jr., born 98 years ago tomorrow!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Our Future World in 1999 According to 1966 Reader's Digest Book

Here's the Reader's Digest NEW Reading Skills Reader from 1966 with a spectacular future world painting by Fred Freeman (1906-1988). Looky them jet packs! Way cool!

Mr. Freeman was a veteran illustrator for many magazines and books. He may be best known for the 120 illustrations he drew for the book First Men to the Moon (1960), with text by Werner von Braun.

Below is a key to Fred Freeman's cover painting:

It's apparent that the oil companies did not have any input into this! And the lawyers would have a field day with moving sidewalks, rocket belts, etc. Man oh man, I am too cynical now.

I remember thinking, when I was a kid in Iowa City, that this was going to be the way it would be! Heck, it's in a BOOK. It's gotta be true if it's in BOOK.

OK, you saw that there are references to some page numbers. Below is referenced When You Grow Up story, which is fun to read

And, if you don't look out, you may build some skills, mate!

Click here for LARGE version.

I like the idea that people get to work later in the day so they can sleep in like great sloths and they don't have to work long hours. Ha ha ha!

Click here for LARGE version.

Food is like candy! More jet packs! Clothes made of glass!

Click here for LARGE version.

In the future, we will all wear what looks like velour jumpsuits with piping ala Lost in Space. And where's my personal robot? Can I have Andrea, from What Are Little Girls Made Of? Can I? Huh?

A labor-saving android from a 1966 episode of Star Trek. She's Shatnerlicious!


This has been an encore presentation of the Mike Lynch Cartoons blog. The above appeared in its original form on Wednesday, July 12, 2006, back when this blog first started over at MySpace.

Jack Cole's BETSY AND ME Collection & More

Cartoonist Jack Cole, who created Plastic Man, became a master gag cartoonist for Hefner's then-young PLAYBOY magazine, and finally topped his off his career by fulfilling his long-held dream of drawing a syndicated comic strip. The strip, BETSY AND ME, was popular -- but sadly short-lived.

After completing two and half months of dailies, Mr. Cole suddenly and, for reasons which may only have been known to him, committed suicide. More here in an article by Jack Yanc for the Tucson Weekly, and there is a link to JACK COLE AND PLASTIC MAN by Art Speigelman with Chip Kidd.

The style of the comic strip BETSY AND ME, as different from his illustrative gag cartoons and comic book work as could be, detailed the life of a young married couple, drawn in, as Ron Goulart aptly describes in his HOGAN'S ALLEY article, "reminiscent of the drawing in the UPA animated cartoons." Lots of good sample of the strip are at that link. Go peek.

A book of the comic strip BETSY AND ME is scheduled this November.

With the first volume of a new TERRY AND THE PIRATES collection, Mark Evanier's bio of Jack Kirby, along with SCHULZ AND PEANUTS: A BIOGRAPHY by David Michaelis (look at that killer cover below), Fall 2007 is a great time to spend those long autumn evenings in the study, soaking up great cartoony works. And I'm not even mentioning some of the other items like a new POGO collection, or the next WALT & SKEEZIX.

Big hat tip to Tom Spurgeon over at Comics Reporter.

Stephen Silver: bonus

Some great video of pro character designer Stephen Silver sketching and talking about not only keeping a sketch book, but how to keep a sketch book from his Stephen Silver Blog.

Stephen Silver: bonus

He talks about the fundamentals of drawing and learning about why a drawing is well drawn. This is a bonus to his blog, part of the online art school "Schoolism." The video's just over 7 minutes long.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

How Do You Come Up with All Those Cartoon Ideas?

"Let me ask you something. Where do you get your material?"

"I hear a voice."

"What kind of voice?"

"A man's voice, but he speaks in German so I have to get a translator."

OK, that's the way that Seinfeld said it. That's entertaining, but not helpful.

A lot of it is habit, so says fellow cartoonist Randy Glasbergen. Things happen. And you start to "think funny."

And I don't just mean putting baloney slices in your shoes.*

OK, here's a story behind a cartoon. I was lost in JFK. I couldn't find an information booth for the longest time. It seemed like I was in an uninhabited sector of the airport. I finally find this little counter. The sign said INFORMATION, but no one was there. I looked around. There was only one person I could see: a woman, a passenger I guess, reading People magazine. So, the only information near the information booth about Paris Hilton.

The above cartoon idea happened and it was published in Punch magazine, back when it was around.

"And to port, the most sequestered jury in the world."

I had to come up with some law cartoons. I had no ideas. I started to think of the most tried and true cartoon cliches in magazine cartooning. You know: the two guys on shackled on the dungeon wall, caveman inventing the wheel, talking dogs, etc.

And then I drew a desert island, and then doodled people on it. And then I thought, who are these people? Well, it was pretty easy to draw a dozen and call them "the most sequestered jury." The fact that they're part of some silly tour came a little later. This was sold to the second market I sent it to.

"Mrs. Berg calls my book report a finely crafted debut and she looks forward to my next effort."

The story behind this cartoon: One day I was reading the NY Times Book Review. The writer was fond of using the above kinda phrases. Putting the pretentious five-dollar words in the kid's mouth made it all look silly. An editor did too, so that one sold. Mrs. Berg, by the way, was the name of my first grade teacher.

A lot of my time is spent doodling or looking at the wall. I don't know where ideas come from, but they can be teased out. And you can make money from them.

*Steve Martin


This has been an encore presentation of the Mike Lynch Cartoons blog. The above was edited this day and originally appeared way back on Thursday, March 2, 2006, back when this blog first started over at MySpace.

31 Years Ago Today: SPACE:1999 Season 2 Premiere

This is what I was doing Thursday, August 19, 1976: watching the second season premiere of SPACE: 1999 on WUAB Channel 43 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Honestly, it really sounds like actress Catherine Schell, who had been in one of the Bond movies (ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE) and RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER, is smilingly consoling us for enduring the cosmic boringness of the first season. The show tended to be ponderous and bleak in its stories. Ms. Schell reassures us that now that she's on board, there will be "bigger and better" monsters and things blowing up real good in the new season. And where is co-star Barbara Bain?! The woman had won 3 consecutive Emmies for her MISSION IMPOSSIBLE run. She was a pretty big star! And she was, in real life, the wife of star Martin Landau. She's not in any of the previews!

Big hat tip to Videoholic for taping this waaay back then on his then-cutting edge Betamax when it happened! Like him, I was watching all this on WUAB TV Channel 43 in Cleveland!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Censored Cartoons

Oh, hi! Still unpacking here at the new house, so here's a warmed over item from the ol' blog (back when in its fledgling Myspace incarnation) from Monday, April 24, 2006. The book I mention did get published earlier this year, albeit without any Mike Lynch Cartoons. Mores the pity.

This past fall I was asked by an editor to tell stories about censored cartoons. (There may or may not be a forthcoming book about censored cartoons. I don't know.) This is one of the stories I told.

I had a regular client that I did a lot of cartoons for. I'm not going to identify the client. I was doing good, regular work for them. I think I had been drawing cartoons regularly for a number of months. I was in a honeymoon period. Many of my cartoons were getting bought. the editor was happy. Mike was happy. Everyone was happy. And then there comes the inevitable moment of screw up.

Background: This was back when overweight people were suing the fast food restaurants. A few months after that, news stories reported (and this is not a joke) that pet owners were suing pet food manufacturers on behalf of their hefty pets. So I pitched a cartoon about it and it was given a green light. This is the one I drew up:

I got a call from the editor as soon as I emailed it to her. She was upset. "You can't have the guy fat and a slob. Fat people aren't necessarily sloppy housekeepers, you know?" I told her it was funny because all this irresponsible guy and his cat do all day is sit around eat, and they toss the wrappers and containers around. The clutter made this easy to see.

Well, she was really upset. He can be fat. He can be a slob. But he can't be both. Weird.
He who takes the king's money is the king's man. I drew up another, sanitized version:

And she was relieved. When it was published, there was no outcry that I heard of.

(Heck, you can sure see that I went for a broader, more cartoony, simple style in this second cartoon since I was pressed for time.)

Afterward, the editor filled me in. This publication had run a major multi-part story about obese children. The series was meant to illuminate their worlds in a thoughtful way. And it did. But the schoolmates of the kids ridiculed them. And these kids who had that thought they would be celebrities for a week, became even bigger targets of teasing. The parents of the obese children called the publication, holding them liable for the bullying their kids were enduring. The publication apologized and treated the kids and parents to a day at the publication's offices: a tour, a nice lunch, etc. That smoothed things over.

And it explained why, when this publication shows an obese person (or cat), they are overly sensitive.

And it explained why they outright rejected this one:

Friday, August 17, 2007

New Roy Delgado Blog

Just this month, my cartoonist colleague Roy Delgado started his new blog. Roy's cartoons can be seen everywhere: Barron's, Playboy, Harvard Business Review, etc.

Except for The New Yorker magazine. He's submitted cartoons to the prized cartoon market for something like 17-18 years. Is that right Roy? I'm going by memory here. Anyway, that's a lot of cartoons! And a lot of persistence.

Roy's written a book, full of his cartoons, all about the years of 100% rejection from The New Yorker titled A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE NEW YORKER. All the cartoons in it were first submitted and rejected by the NYer, and then were bought by other publications.

By the way, Roy has a cartoon in today's Wall Street Journal, as well as a couple in the July-August Harvard Business Review. I told you that his cartoons are everywhere!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Rod McKie: Time Management & Tools of the Trade

Above: A rare cat-free photo of my messy desk, and key to said mess.

From my pal Rod McKie's Cartoons and Illustration blog comes some insight into increasing production by managing your time, along with an examination -- complete with photo of the McKie messy desk -- of the art supplies Rod uses.

I'm a great believer in creative mess. My desk is full of notes, pens, pencils, rulers, erasers, brush (to brush away eraser crumbs), scissors, business cards, sketches, etc. Mark Anderson, however, maintains a neat and tidy studio; so neat you could eat off of his studio floor. And he'll make do just that, my friend, if you do not laugh heartily at his cartoons.

Unseen Bill Holman Comics

From a 27 year old issue of Jud Hurd's late, great Cartoonist PROfiles ....

Here are 10 examples of an unseen and unsold newspaper panel proposal from Bill Holman, the man behind the legendary screwball strip SMOKEY STOVER (1935-1973).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Congratulations to Greg Fox!

My friend, cartoonist Greg Fox, won the "Life Without Fair Courts" cartoon contest sponsored by Lambda Legal. Congratulations, Greg!

Ted Rall and Matt Bors came in second and third, respectively.

More at Editor & Publisher.

The winning entries at the Lambda site.

Greg's own take on winning at his Kyle's Bed & Breakfast Blog.

1977 NY Times: 25 Years of Mad Magazine UPDATED

A heartfelt article about MAD's influence on R. Crumb, The Muppets, and the world at large.

From the July 31, 1977 New York Times: "THE 'MAD' GENERATION - After 25 years of perpetuating humor in the jugular vein, the magazine that wised up millions of kids is still a crazy hit" by Tony Hiss (son of Alger) and Jeff Lewis.

Below is page one, which should blow up nice and big for easy reading of the ol' pixels.

Like millions of other boys, I grew up with MAD. In the early 1970s, I distinctly recall making the decision to subscribe (when I realized I could get the mag for less than the cover price of 40 cents if I could save up the dollars), and walking down the shag-carpeted hallway to good ol' Dad, sitting in his chair in the living room, to ask him to make out a check to the good folks at E.C. Publications.

Above: a special painting by Norman Mingo done especially for the Times, so says the article. Let me know if that's not true.

I was pleased to see credit given to Harvey Kurtzman, and there is a hat tip to the circumstances of his leaving the mag after its first 22 issues.

I love the above photo, taken in 1963, of Bill Gaines, in what looks like full samba mode, and some of the MAD staff (from top to bottom in the doorway) Nick Meglin, John Putnam, Al Feldstein, Leonard Brenner, Nelson Tirado and Jerry De Fuccio.

The scan on this is not the greatest. The Times magazine, as of 31 years ago, was rather large and required multiple scans in my pokey scanner.

By the way, last week, the Times cut the width of their paper by 1.5 inches. Shrinky, shrinky, shrinky! This makes the Times about the same width as the Wall Street Journal. And this is after raising its price from $1.00 to $1.25 per daily issue. My wallet is going shrinky too.

"Alfred E. Neuman was everything that parents prayed deep-down their kids wouldn't turn into -- and feared they would." Holy cow!

This article made me want to go and read a lot of old MADs.

UPDATE: Mark Evanier responds to this article here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Drawing Dick Cheney with Editorial Cartoonist Justin Bilicki

My thanks to editorial cartoonist Justin Bilicki for letting me know about this video.

The canned laughter and applause aside, Justin is at ease here and he really should do chalk talks in front of people.

I remember Tom Gill (who used to draw The Lone Ranger comic books) telling me about the NCS USO tours to Korea & Europe, and the chalk talks that he would do, along with people like Caniff, Rube Goldberg, etc. Justin would've been a natural.

Another great link: the Bilicki Blog.

The Stripper's Guide Dictionary Part 1: Sunday Strips

Another part one of a multi-part piece.

Great article about the sizes of newspaper comic strip sections through the years from Allan Holtz's Stripper's Guide. Shrinky, shrinky, shrinky!

Hat tip Journalista!

Interview with Lynn Johnston

From the blog titled Panels and Pixels: comes part one of an interview with Lynn Johnston.

New St. Trinian's Movie

More comics-turned-into-movies news.

When they first skipped mischievously across the screen in 1954, the cigarette-smoking, suspender-wearing, trouble-making pupils of St Trinian's annihilated the long-held belief that girls were made of sugar and spice and all things nice.

Now, 53 years on, the young ladies are returning to the big screen in a £7 million adaptation of cartoonist Ronald Searle's hilarious tales of mischief and japery.

-- from the Daily Mail.

Some of the bad girls of St. Trinian's. More photos from MSN Movies site.

Big hat tip to THE BEAT!

Want to know more about/see more Ronald Searle? Check out the Ronald Searle Blog.

A 3 part essay, with tons of movies photos and drawings, about St. Trinian's at the Searle blog. For some reason, I cannot find "St. Trinian's Part 1" or "St. Trinian's Part 2," but here is St. Trinian's Part 3.