Friday, November 30, 2007

Star Wars Deleted Magic part 1

Here is something interesting for those of you (like me) who haven't heard of this project. Filmmaker Garrett Gilchrist put together a version of STAR WARS (1977) incorporating alternate takes and filmed but deleted scenes. It's "a look behind the scenes at what didn't make it to the final cut of the Star Wars trilogy."


Submitted for your weekend viewing pleasure ....

STAR WARS DELETED MAGIC (2005?) is a version of STAR WARS (1977) that's full of filmed alternate takes, actors speaking through imperial soldier masks and c-3PO masks, and deleted scenes re-cut in according to early existing script drafts.

It's "a look behind the scenes at what didn't make it to the final cut of the Star Wars trilogy," put together painstakingly by fan and filmmaker Garrett Gilchrist. I was hooked early on. Here's the first couple of minutes via YouTube:

I'm not a huge WARS fan (more of a TREK guy, as ya'll know), so this was all new to me. Better watch this now as those YouTube folks tend to yank vids like this. It's in 17 parts:


Eldon Dedini Illustrations 1959

Via comes copious scans of a Dedini-illustrated 1959 paperback book.

And there's a book's worth of Dedini cartoons, from FEETS & CHEEKS, also scanned in by those lovely folks at Goofbutton, here.

H/t Comics Reporter!

Happy Friday

Above: a bit of the front yard & driveway when we got our first snow last week. More expected soon! Have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

NEW YORKER Steals from FAR SIDE???

Above: Lee Lorenz's NYer mag cartoon of this week.

Similar ideas happen all the time in gag cartooning, but Newsarama smells cover up!

Personally, I don't think Lee Lorenz is stealing from an old Gary Larson cartoon.

Above: Gary Larson, FAR SIDE, 1984

The Gelflog has more here.

Mankoff explains that the sheer volume of cartoons produced by artists means that there is often overlap of ideas. "Often in the same week different cartoonists will independently come up with identical ideas," he says. "Other times cartoonists generate ideas that have been previously published in the magazine. This is not plagiarism; rather it is the result of very creative people developing many ideas from a few well-established, well-traveled cartoon settings"

H/t to Comics Reporter.

Jon Witcomb Famous Artist

My pal Leif Peng over at Today's Inspiration always, always, always has a great blog entry. Really great. Great, great, great. How I hate him.

Today, it's Jon Witcomb Famous Artist, and we get to see lots of great old magazine art and the above ad as well, with Mr. Witcomb, smoking Fatima (!?) cigarettes and -- what is that next to his drawing board -- a bowl of, uh, lemonade? No ... hopefully, it's paint thinner. There is also some how to draw lessons from Mr. W. too.

Note to the kiddies out there: open flames + paint thinner = KABOOM!

Holiday Presents Not to Get

So many sites will give advice about what to buy this year for your friends, loved ones and geeks this Holiday season. The Mike Lynch Cartoons blog will showcase the ones that should have hazard lights flashing around them. I'm your flagman, telling you to move along, move along, nothing good to buy here.

These items should have that Federation President guy from STAR TREK IV (above) saying, "Avoid the planet Earth at all costs -- but especially avoid these terrible gifts."

Under the heading of Strange Product Tie-ins, come this porcelain decanter in the shape of Mr. Spock. It was originally full of some odd liqueur. Now, if this was, let's say, the head of Montgomery Scott and it was filled with scotch, ooookay! Then, it would make sense. Thanks to John Kenneth Muir's Reflections on Film/TV blog!
Above image taken from Nostalgia Central's Give-a-Show page.

Kenner's Give-a-Show Projector was a little red projector for kids that would show a series of slides on the wall. This was big time entertainment in the 1960s. Jon's Random Acts of Geekness blog shares one slide show a week with us. Here is the most recent one with Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear. It's terrible, in a Leonard Pinth-Garnell* way.

Booksteve's Library parses a 1950s ad for guns for kids for unintended sexual innuendo.

Johnny C.'s A-Hole-in-the-Head blog shares the above scary advertising photo (among other things) for Bernadine's Wigs from a June 9, 1971 Las Vegas souvenir newspaper. I think Toby of Bernadine's Wigs is the devil and if you buy a wig from him you MUST DO HIS BIDDING!

* Leonard Pinth-Garnell was an SNL character first played by Dan Aykroyd in 1977. Here are some of his memorable quotes from
  • "Stunningly bad!"
  • "Monumentally ill-advised!"
  • "Perfectly awful!"
  • "Couldn't be worse!"
  • "Exquisitely awful!"
  • "Astonishingly ill-chosen!"
  • "Really bit the big one!"
  • "Unrelentingly bad!"
  • "There... That wasn't so good now, was it?"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Monday night was the launch party for THE REJECTION COLLECTION 2 edited by Matt Diffee, and Neel Shah of Radar was there to blog about it.

"The guys who contributed to this book probably send Mankoff around 500 cartoons a week. He takes about 20. The odds aren't great," laments Diffee. "The good thing is, by the time you realize yours didn't make the cut, you're already working on next week's submissions."
H/t to Journalista!


Above: the back cover to CARTOONS THE FRENCH WAY with a wordless Sempé gag.

Yesterday, I blogged about CARTOONS THE FRENCH WAY and showcased some single panel cartoons by J.M. Bosc.

Today: scans from one of the cartoon masters, Jean-Jacques Sempé, from that same 1955 paperback book.

Sempé was in his early 20s when he drew these cartoons.

Best known today for his New Yorker covers, his depictions of Paris life are seminal. The New York Times, in its interview with him last year, called his work quintessentially French:

"His precise, elegant drawings are often set in a Paris that even Parisians dream of: a city of mansard roofs, high windows and wrought-iron balconies, where all the cars still look like Deux-Chevaux or 1950s Citroëns. Dwarfed by their surroundings, his figures - smallish men, balding, a little portly, with big noses and tidy little mustaches, their double-chinned, nicely coiffed wives in polka-dot frocks - are French Everymen, dignified and put upon at the same time. They nevertheless speak to the international human plight: the Thurberian power struggle between men and women, the daily need to keep up appearances, the unending cycle of tiny victories and middle-size defeats."

The composition, the rain, the look on the peoples' faces: all so well done, so seemingly effortless.

I like the look on her face.

Yeah, nude models really do get bored. And cold.

In the above gatefold, you can see his attention to a real sense of place.

"I showed her! I didn't touch a dish for two months!"

Above: clicking to enlarge will show you how good the composition is on this. At first glance, the squiggly, curly-cue line was, I thought, part of the store window -- but within a second, I discovered the gag.

A typical gag: a city scene with complex, busy ink work with a clear layout of who to watch to understand the gag.

Phaidon Press published a number of Sempé's works last year. Phaidon maintains a blog, The Nicholas Club, named for the title character in a series of children's books by Goscinny and Sempé.

Tom Spurgeon, he of the grand Comics Reporter site, posted a sumptuous preview of Phaidon's Sempé cartoon books here.

Again, the reason that so many cartoons are wordless is because you don't have to know French to "get" them. Selling cartoons is Europe is easier when no words are used. And that's pretty hard to do!

Above a lovely, dry gag line. At first, I didn't see him amongst the dancing natives!

More links:

Christopher Wheeler shares photos of Sempé memorabilia (which is where I took the above image).

Read Yourself Raw profile.

Mike Lynch Cartoons blog (Yes, you're soaking in it now!) has more on French cartoon books here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Happy Birthday, Walter Berndt

Above: cool SMITTY sheet music from the Hogan's Alley site.

Happy Birthday to Walter Berndt -- the man who drew SMITTY for 50 years!

And don't forget about the Berndt Toast Gang -- the Long Island Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society!

"Berndt Toast?" What kinda name is that?!

Recently, Tim Lasiuta interviewed the one and only Lee Ames about the Berndt Toast Gang. Lee said:

When the Long Island group, Creig Flessel, Bill Ligante, Frank Springer, Al Micale, and I got together to work for Hanna Barbera [in the 1960s], we decided to have a Finnegan's (Bar) lunch every last Thursday of the month. During that period, Creig brought Walter Berndt to join us.

We fell in love with the cigar smoking old timer (look who's talking!), as he did with us. After a couple of years he passed away and left us grieving. Thereafter, whenever we convened on Thursdays, we'd raise a toast to Walter's memory. On one such, my big mouth opened and uttered, "Fellas, it's time for the Berndt toast!" I wasn't trying to be cute at the time but I'm not displeased that it stuck and we became the Berndt Toast Gang, one of the largest branches of the National Cartoonists Society.

More on the history of the Berndt Toast Gang here.

Big tip of the chapeau to Craig Yoe!!!!!


No, not my review. It's Tom Spurgeon's, over at Comics Reporter, reviews Sunday's edition of the newspaper comic strip CUL DE SAC. Link to Sunday's strip here.

I can't add to Tom's excellent analysis -- he's one of the most articulate guys writing about comics today -- except to shine the Mike Lynch Cartoons Blog kleig light on his insightful writing. CUL DE SAC is the one to watch.

I would have run across this review, since I read Comics Reporter every day (as should one and all), but a big hat tip to Dirk Deppey's ever exhaustive Journalista! where I saw mention of it first.

Related linky: Richard Thompson's Cul de Sac Blog.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Here are some J.M. Bosc (1924-1973) single panel cartoons from CARTOONS THE FRENCH WAY ("Roguish - Raucous - Ribald") edited by Rene Goscinny, Lion Literary Edition, published September 1955. Copyright 1955 by Manvis Publications, Inc.

Cover art by John Sidrone. Some pretty women in the cartoons, yes, but it's not too ribald at all.

All of Bosc's cartoons are wordless in this collection. Wordless sells internationally, you see.

Bosc's drawings are both specific, when they need to be, and spare.

What I like about Bosc is the element of surprise. Above: a violin as defense against critics.

Again, struggling against the odds is the above motif. Jean Bosc struggled with what we call shell shock for many years.

His sister Renée had the above cartoon rendered into marble in memory of her brother.

The cartoons dealing with death have another level to them after knowing that the cartoonist committed suicide.

Above: a good metaphor for cartooning!

There's a site all about cartoonist J.M. Bosc that I wrote about here. It's designed by his nephew, Alain Damman. You may gorge yourself on Bosc's cartoons there.

Alain, for some reason your email is not working for me -- otherwise I would have posted you a note about me posting some more Bosc on the Web.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Aunt Fritzi in My Sharona

This made me smile and reminded me that NANCY's Aunt Fritzi was, is, and always will be a hottie.

I got this bit of fun from Guy Gilchrist. You know Guy; he's the fellow who draws the NANCY comic strip with his brother Greg. Two of Guy's teaching assistants at his Guy Gilchrist's Cartoonist's Academy put together this music vid of Aunt Fritzi.

Oh, and don't forget that the Guy Gilchrist's Cartoonist's Academy store is now open for your holiday needs!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Diversify Your Newspaper Comics Like a Portfolio

... so writes Joanne Kaufman in today's Wall Street Journal (quoting Janet Grimley, assistant managing editor at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer). This is a thoughtful piece with a lot of quotes from editors, syndicate people and cartoonists young and old.

And the article goes on to cover the fact that it's so difficult for a new cartoonist to break through all the old "legacy strips."

"For their part, long-established cartoonists suggest a little perspective is in order. 'My father always points out in defense of his strip that when he started it he was competing for space with 'Little Orphan Annie,' 'Dick Tracy' and 'Pogo,' ' said Brian Walker, a cartoonist and comics historian who was referring to 'Beetle Bailey' creator Mort Walker. Other cartoonists see it purely as a marketplace issue. 'My feeling is if you can do what I'm doing and it knocks me out of the paper, do it. Do it,' challenged Lynn Johnston. 'I'll applaud you. But as long as the editors and readers want my strip, I'll keep working.'"
The only thing that doesn't get mentioned is a Web-based business model for making money out of comic strips -- something I think is pretty important, especially if Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos can get people to buy Kindle. My friend Mark Anderson has more on Kindle here.

The article is accompanied by a too-small-reproduced illustration by Martin Kozlowski that I really liked. I wish it was reproduced larger! Heck, why are there space considerations on the Internets, WSJ?

Best Cartoons of the Year 1957 UPDATE

Time to visit Lawrence Lariar's BEST CARTOONS OF THE YEAR 1957!

There is a lot of knowledge in this book. A lot of cartoon knowledge.

Here's what I mean. Here is an example of great composition and skilled use of wash. You get drawn in to the clunker of a foreign car due to the black spotting. I don't know who Keith was, but he's a pro.

Here's one by Huffine. Oh those darn office signs that people had in the 50s and 60s: THINK, SMILE, GENIUS AT WORK! They were a lot better than the once we have now with mountain climbers (ACHIEVE!) or eagles (SOAR!) . I like Huffine's style, and I wish (like so many gag cartoonists) there was more about him on the Web.

The expression on the kid's face in this cartoon by the one and only Orlando Busino just grabbed me. Here's the whole format for that FAMILY TIES TV series wrapped up in one cartoon.
Al Piane draws beautifully correct plumage and I'll be darned but that suit looks like it could work.
John Albano shows us that what's old is new again with this gag that is still applicable today.

Bob Weber gives us the hardest working bank robbers ever. Bob, along with Orlando and other cartoonists, meet every week in Westport and talk cartoons. It was my pleasure to bump into this book, with samples of cartoons by two guys I admire!

I'm including Serrano's gag. I think I've seen this gag many times before. I don't know who was first, but the theme was popular with editors.

The one and only Don Orehek with a fantastic desert island gag. Not only is our man upset (he's literally tearing his hair out!), that bunny does not look pleased either!

Another from Busino. A great gag on an old topic. I love his lines; always great, cartoony, fun line work.

Huffine (I'm not sure of the first name; I think it's Dave -- but there's a Ray Huffine who worked for Disney), whose scribbly style I admire, has a great gag -- but there's a famous Addams cartoon that's similar. No, I don't know which one was first since I can't find the Addams one on Cartoonbank. If anyone wants to do the research on this, please do! I'd like to know myself!

The "I hate my mother-in-law" gag, along with the "boss chasing secretary around the desk" gag has been consigned to the great gag cartoon out box in the sky. Still, I admire Hageman's ability to sketch this out so concisely.
Albano scores a hilarious (and mean) gag in the above cartoon. The look on the kid's face, and him holding onto his hat as he races away from the scene of the accident made me smile. This would not be politically correct today, so I could see that editors would not OK it. The times are a changin'. Heck, even 1970s era Sesame Street shows may not be appropriate for children!

Mr. Bernhardt will have the last word. Have a great Thanksgiving! And if you're drinking and driving, then please drive a dogsled!

UPDATE December 4, 2007: Orlando Busino was kind enough to email me and laboriously type in Dave Huffine's bio from THE BEST CARTOONS OF 1943:

"David Broome Huffine was born in Knoxville Tennessee in 1911. He left the University of Tennessee after his second year to become a surveyor and guide in the Great Smoky Mts. He left the Smokies to come to New York to attend the Art Students League which he left to become an apprentice to Dennis Wortman* whom he left after two years to become a free lance cartoonist...a field which he has not left as yet. He and his wife, Ruth Huffine. who is a painter have one nine month old son ( adopted). They hope he will share their hobbies of angling and hill-billy music. The Huffines live the year around in the Catskill Mountains. "

* I think he is referring to Denys Wortman who did a panel for United Features called EVERYDAY MOVIES.

I wanted to share his reaction to the similarity of Huffhine's cartoon with a famous/similar one by Addams. Here's Orlando once more:

By now you must have gotten a number of answers to the question as to when Charles Addams did his cartoon ("George! George! Drop the keys!") but on the chance that you haven't. I have found it in a collection of Addams' work, MONSTER RALLY, published in 1950. The gags in Lariar's book are cartoons published in1957. Huffine's gag has a similar caption but a different situation and I assume can be considered a legitimate switch.
I agree with you, Orlando! (Who am I to disagree?!)