Monday, December 31, 2007


Here's a lot of 1950s-60s nostalgic swag for a single panel cartoon about a nutso kid with ADD!

Johnny C.'s A Hole in the Head blog (one of my favorite blogs) highlights Dennis the Menace Songs, a 75rpm record from Golden Records that sold for 29 cents back in the day. You got 2 songs to listen to: the DTM theme, as well as an ode to his firearms: a song titled simply "Ka-Pow! Ka-Pow! Ka-Pow!"

Related: the Children's Records and More blog has a Dennis the Menace "original TV soundtrack stories" available for download.

Another odd DTM item: "Dennis Takes a Poke at Poison" comic book from the Comics With Problems site There's also scans from "Dennis the Menace returns for Child Abuse and Neglect." The comic was drawn by Al Wiseman, long-time assistant to Hank Ketcham. Illustrator Bill Alger (and a friend that I don't see near often enough) notes this on his Al Wiseman blog.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Storytelling 101 with ZIP & LI'L BIT's Trade Loeffler

When I first saw the Webcomic series ZIP & LI'L BIT "The Upside Down Me," I was really impressed. "Who is this Trade Loeffler guy who drew all this amazing stuff???" I thought to myself. I fired off a fan e-mail to Trade. And Trade answered back!

Within a couple of emails, we found out we both lived in Brooklyn, and we were just a couple blocks away from each other! So, we started hanging out, having some beers, stopping by Rocketship to say hey to Alex. I miss seeing Trade around the neighborhood since moving away (and Rocketship, and all those pubs), but I can always check out Trade's great work online.

Beginning this fall, he's been doing writing some behind the scenes, informative "how I draw what I draw" background. Trade is a meticulous guy. He was showing me roughs of the current adventure, The Sky Kayak, last winter. Here are some of his insights into the process:

Storytelling 101a

Storytelling 101b

Storytelling 101c

Storytelling 101d

Thanks for this, Trade! Fascinating reading! And here's hoping it's a matter of time before a major publishing house picks up Zip & Li'l Bit! Sign me up for a limited edition hardcover!

Related: From Pappy's Golden Age Blogzine comes the same sequence of events from the TARZAN origin, three times over; each time, as drawn by a different master comic book artist.

Snow Snow Snow

Another couple of inches fell last night, which makes it near 2 feet of snow so far this winter. Above is my snow blower eye view of our place in the woods, around 9am this morning, with our long, long driveway half-way blowed. It take about 3-4 passes of the snowblower to clear the driveway; about 10-15 minutes at most.

2008 TREK Merchandise

Save some money for some of these STAR TREK items coming in Spring 2008! Above: the CAPTAIN KIRK"S GUIDE TO WOMEN book, creepy looking "mini-mate" dolls, and an art book of THE SHATNER SHOW, a Calgary gallery art show relating to "The Shat."

Friday, December 21, 2007

Galactus: Cute or Not?

When I was a kid, I read what's called "The Galactus Trilogy" in a giant size reprint book of the FANTASTIC FOUR. Galactus was a super-bad guy. A name to be feared. The Voldemort of the Marvel Universe!

And now some dang toy company has made a bonehead item: Cute Galactus. It's just wrong wrong wrong.

Outrage and more at Mike Sterling's Progressive Ruin blog.

Caldecott/Newbery Award Winner Videos

The New Hampshire Public TV Web site has a video on demand of classic children's picture books for online viewing.

Some of these are short films, mostly produced by the Weston Woods company, of classic children's books like LENTIL or WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE. When I was a kid, these are the kinda movies that we watched in class, or maybe saw on Captain Kangaroo. The camera pans over the illustrations, with a narrator reading the text. Nothing fancy. These are charming and I'm enjoying the camera languishing over some beautiful watercolors on TIME OF WONDER by Robert McCloskey, a book I haven't even thought about in a couple of decades.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Jeannie Schulz on SCHULZ AND PEANUTS book

Jeannie Schulz talks to Jeet Heer about her reaction to the SCHULZ AND PEANUTS book by David Michaelis.

"David Michaelis said in an interview that he couldn’t decide if Sparky had been happy his last 25 years. All he had to do was ask. The last two years of Sparky’s life were measurably different from the years leading up to them, as Sparky didn’t always feel well those last two years and the pressures on him from fans and business were a tremendous stress. But the 25 years I knew him he loved to laugh and tease, and did a lot of both."
There are links to more family members' reactions as well.

Michaelis's book, and the PBS American Masters special, for which Michaelis acted as consultant, follow the template that Schulz was a cold man, who felt empty/bitter because he could not show his love. The family has disputed this, as well as many of the factual details in the book, a major Holiday release from Harper Books.

To paraphrase a vice presidential debate: Well, Mr. Michaelis, these people KNEW Schulz. I agree with Mark Evanier, who also picked this up today, when he commented that the author is on thin ice.

Hot Women of Star Trek TOS

Posted on Flickr by a fellow named Poletti comes The Galactically Hot Women of Star Trek TOS!

Sure, there's no Seven of Nine here, but you do get a sample of some of The Old Show's great line up of ladies of the Federation:

Above: Droxine, Number One, Lt. Helen Noel, Lt. Mira Romaine.

And there's many more at The Galactically Hot Women of Star Trek TOS site. And there's a voting session for you to vote on the hottest.

But -- uh -- Spock's Mom in one of the hotties? Eew. Dude, she deserves a little respect, huh?

But you overlooked my favorite:

Unless I missed it, Zarabeth from ALL OUR YESTERDAYS, needs to be part of this! A crime, Polettti! Please deem fit to add Mariette Hartley's character to the roster. And, if I may be so nerdy hardcore ("nerdcore"), The Companion from METAMORPHOSIS should, technically, be on the list.

Related: Seven & Uhura are 1/25th of AOL's 50 Sexiest Women on TV.

Related: The Women of TOS by Laura Goodwin.

H/t to The BEAT.

Shatner Not Playing Kirk in New STAR TREK Movie

And here's his reaction:

Rat own, rat own, Jim baby.

Meanwhile, reports it ain't over til it's over and maybe he'll be in it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Darth Vader's Christmas List

The Bully Says: Comics Oughta Be Fun Blog is always a regular read for me. Recently, Bully gave us Darth Vader's Christmas Wish List. Funny stuff, Bully!

"I feel the Holiday shopping is strong with this one!"

And keep reading for the wishlists for Superman, Popeye, Batman and The Incredible Hulk!

Related: speaking of sci fi icons: Bully has a preview of the new Dr. Who Christmas Special "Voyage of the Damned."

The Naked Campaign by Steve Brodner & Gail Levin

The New Yorker Web site showcases a bunch of videos with Steve Brodner, drawing the presidential candidates and talks politics. Emmy winner Gail Levin directed the streaming vids.

New Syd Hoff Web Site

Gag cartoonist, illustrator and children's book auteur Syd Hoff has a shiny new Web site devoted to the man and his many, many works. The site is the result of a lot of hard work by Syd's niece, Carol Edmonston. I've barely had enough time to look at all the terrific, preciously unseen material at this site. Thanks, Carol!

Oh, and she says there will be more to come.

Bookmark now, and visit and revisit during those long winter evenings!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

SCTV - Count Floyd's Scary Little Christmas Promo

Over at Sandra Bell-Lundy's Between Friends Blog, she reviews the new scary movie I AM LEGEND.

I read I AM LEGEND by Richard Matheson and it scared me a lot. And that's just ink on newsprint. Cheap paperback newsprint at that!

I believe in what the host of Monster Chiller Horror Theatre Count Floyd says about scary movies. I can still remember his lame Transylvania accent, "Ooh. We gotta scary movie tonight, kids! Really scaaary -- but too scary."

I've never seen any of the movie versions of I AM LEGEND because I avoid most scary movies (exceptions: THE HAUNTING (1961 version), 28 DAYS LATER (I had to keep stopping the movie to calm down), and SHAWN OF THE DEAD). I'd rather watch something not too scary, thank you very much!

So, here is Count Floyd, and his Christmas Special promo.

I miss SCTV!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bill Watterson Documentary

Above: a screen capture from the Dear Mr. Watterson site.

A film is in the works dedicated to Calving & Hobbes cartoonist Bill Watterson. While Mr. Watterson is not scheduled to participate in this documentary, the movie will be dedicated to him and his influence.

From what I was able to understand, the director will talk with other people (primarily cartoonists?) about C&H. Worth keeping an eye on, but anything could happen at this early stage.

H/t to The Weekly Geek and Editor & Publisher.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Matthew Diffee Interviewed

New Yorker cartoonist, and editor of not just one, but two REJECTION COLLECTION books, Matthew Diffee is interviewed for Print Magazine by Emily Gordon.

Do most New Yorker cartoonists also try to sell elsewhere as well--Playboy, Reader's Digest? Who else buys single-panel cartoons? And what are the advantages and disadvantages of each? What would a Playboy Rejection Collection look like?

There is Playboy, which is, I understand, the next place to go with your stuff if it happens to be Playboy-type stuff…but they don’t pay as much as The New Yorker and I think they buy all rights while The New Yorker only buys first printing rights, and the copyright goes back to the cartoonist after 90 days. That is, if I understand the legalese of my contract properly. Also, cartoons in The New Yorker have a prominent standing, and respect whereas Playboy cartoons are not what you first think of when you think of the magazine. I’m told they have pictures of naked ladies in there.

As far as other mags, I’m not really sure, there may be people who send their rejects other places and some have probably found comfortable places in second-tier markets. Personally, I’m not organized enough for all that and also I never really wanted to be a cartoonist in the general sense, I just wanted to be a New Yorker cartoonist. Before I die though, it might be nice to get a cartoon or two in Cat Fancy.
H/t Comics Reporter.

Friday, December 14, 2007

David Gantz 1922-2007

Above: Dave Gantz's National Cartoonists Society page.

Cartoonist David Gantz, a veteran comic book artist andwriter, newspaper strip cartoonist and graphic novelist, who had worked with many greats including Al Jaffee of Mad and Charles Schulz, passed away this morning. There is no further information at this time.

Dave attended the High School of Music & Art, the National Academy of Design and the University of Iowa.

Dave was a golden age comic book artist. His first job, back around 1940, was with Magazine Management, a company that later changed its name to Marvel. Dave drew "Mighty Mouse and "Patsy Walker," among other titles.

He continued as a comic book artist for the next couple of decades, producing mystery, horror and romance comics for Lev Gleason, St. John and Ziff Davis. He's also been credited with drawing the Classic Illustrated version of Huckleberry Finn.

Dave was a syndicated comic strip artist. He had a number of his own strips, notedly "Dudley D," which ran from 1961 to 1964 with the Herald Tribune Syndicate, and "Don Q," a strip that ran from 1975-80, syndicated by the New York Times Features Syndicate. Below is an interview from the JewishPub Web site:

Q: And you had a political cartoon strip for The New York Times.

Dave Gantz: My strip “Don Q” was syndicated by the New York Times Special Features Syndicate and ran from 1975 -1981. In its time, Don Q appeared in over 100 newspapers throughout the world, daily and on Sundays, but it never appeared actually appeared in The New York Times.

Q: Why not?

Dave Gantz: I was told that because The New York Times was distributed nationally, if the strip appeared in the Times it would hamper sales of other papers throughout the country. I remain skeptical about this explanation because I know that The New York Times published a comic strip in 1906 to compete with Pulitzer’s “World.” It was called “Roosevelt’s Bears” and it flopped after 6 months. The publisher, Adolf Ochs, vowed that the Times would never again publish a comic strip. Not even “Don Q.”
David Gantz also created freelance cartoons and illustrations for major publications including Boy's Life and Mad Magazine.

Above: JEWS AND THE GRAPHIC NOVEL by David Gantz; an online illustrated essay on the impact of Jewish creators. Thanks to Steve Bergson's Jewish Comics blog for the link.

David Gantz wrote and illustrated over 75 children's books for Scholastic, Random House, Simon & Schuster and others. In addition to his commercial work, he was a fine artist, working in print making and sculpture. He exhibited in the US and Canada.

He won a 1997 National Cartoonists Society Newspaper Panel Division Award for "Gantz Glances."

He worked with Chaim Potok on his (Dave's) most recent book, JEWS IN AMERICA.

Dave was a member of the National Cartoonists Society Long Island Chapter (the "Berndt Toast Gang"). Berndt Toast Chairman Adrian Sinnott adds:

"David was one of the kindest, intelligent, and creative people I've ever met. An artist, writer, and sculptor. His work included scores of books and whenever you spoke to him he was working on another project. He was a great inspiration to me and countless others. Another great loss."

Above: one of the many terrific samples of his comic strip work from Allan Holtz' Strippers Guide blog here (scroll down a bit).

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Harvey Pekar Talks About Coventry

Harvey Pekar talks about the Coventry neighborhood in Cleveland Heights, OH, where he lived during the 1970s and 80s in this interview from September 8, 2007.

I lived near there -- in the next suburb over -- in the late 1970s and 80s. I went to school at Shaker Hts. High, where I (of course) drew cartoons for the school paper. When I was 19, I ran the small theatre one summer at Cain Park for its summer festival. I used to watch old movies at the New Mayfield Repertory Theatre in Coventry (where I first saw Chaplin's THE CIRCUS & Hepburn & Tracy in BRINGING UP BABY), managed one of the Arabica coffee shops; not the AraFREAKa one in Coventry, but the AraSHEIKah one in Shaker Square. Yeah, that's what we called them. I met a girl, a very pretty redhead, that I would later marry, on my morning shift at Arabica.

Anyway, on to the video: this is sort of a video slide show, with Harvey off camera. The visuals pan and linger over photos of the area, ala a Ken Burns documentary. Listening to his reminiscences reminded me how much the world has changed since that time. Why go to the used record store -- Record Revolution -- if you can get your stuff off the Web. And usually for free! At one point, some photos from the 1930s are shown over Harvey talking about the 1970s. I don't know why this was done, but it kinda does seem like it was that long ago ... sometimes.

At the very end of the first part linked above (there's a total of 6 parts), he speaks about wanting to do something creative, even though he wasn't an actor and couldn't dance, etc. I admire him for deciding to go into comics and to keep working at it. Who knew that it would be successful?

Keep watching, even thru the end credits that pop up in these segments, since there's more talking and photos. Interesting, if you're a fan of his work -- even more interesting if you're a Clevelander.

Harvey Pekar Talks About Coventry part one

Harvey Pekar Talks About Coventry part two

Harvey Pekar Talks About Coventry part three

Harvey Pekar Talks About Coventry part four

Harvey Pekar Talks About Coventry part five

Harvey Pekar Talks About Coventry part six

Oh, and Tommy's restaurant did have great food!

Manga to Help Find Real-Life Killer

Above: Kyoto Seika University manga students in a photo from the KSU Web site.

Kyoto Seika University has a Manga Department, where students learn how to create manga.

KSU had a tragedy in January: one of its students, Daisaku Chiba, was knifed. The Tokyo police have not caught the suspect.

The faculty and students have gotten together and created a 20 page manga book about the boy, his life, and what happened on January 15, 2007, in the hopes of finding the person or persons who stabbed Daisaku Chiba ten times.

Above: the 20 page pamphlet. A thousand copies will be distributed around railway stations in Kyoto and other places.

Some interior detail.

“Chiba-kun met us through manga. Wouldn’t it give us some comfort if we could help arrest the killer with the power of manga?”
Anime News Network has the story.

A big hat tip to Dirk Deppey at Journalista! for the heads up on this.

Know Your Cow

The week of June 11, 2007, I had the above cartoon in The Chronicle Review. I blogged about it here, and just found out that art -- or, rather, a cartoon -- imitated life. Here's a letter to the editor from the September 7, 2007 Chronicle Review:


Know Your Cow

Mike Lynch thought he was inventing something funny when he drew a cartoon showing a cow's picture on the side of a milk carton, with the caption "Artisanal Milk" (Letters to the Editor, The Chronicle Review, June 15). But 15 years ago, taking up a restaurant reviewer's recommendation, a colleague and I dined at a restaurant in Edinburgh in which each cheese on the cheese cart came with a photograph, discussed with us by the waiter, of the cow from which the cheese's milk had come.

Who knew? And would the photo of a cud chewing heifer really be helpful in choosing the suitable cheese? Those crazy Scotsman!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Chuck Jones' A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1971)

OK, it's the Holiday season. Let's go watch an Oscar-award-winning adaptation of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, executive produced by Chuck Jones with the voice of Alastair Sim as Scrooge! For now, there's only one -- just one place -- to see this: YouTube.

It's not on DVD. Ands that's crummy. This show has some serious pedigree; the guy who brought us THE GRINCH (the cartoon, not the Jim Carrey monster) is the executive producer and it's directed by the animation director of WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT. I remember seeing it in 1971, and once or twice since then -- but only by chance. It's not a holiday TV tradition ala CHARLIE BROWN or those Rankin Bass puppet specials or the MISTER MAGOO special. Go figure!

YouTube's rules means a 28 minute vid has to be sliced up into smaller segments. Here are the links if you have the time to watch.





Thanks to Grant Miehm for reminding me of this special, which I had forgotten about until now!

Warren Miller Cartoons

"Good morning, Harry Chadwick. This is your id."

Some terrific Warren Miller cartoons here from his 1970 collection PRINCE AND MRS. CHARMING.

Miller was a New Yorker mag mainstay in the 60s and 70s. although he is still around and still producing work, the NYer mag is not buying much these days. These cartoons are a reminder of how good he is.

H/t to Journalista! for the heads up.

EDIT: Oops! I meant to thank Comics Reporter for the heads up. But, hey, Journalista!'s a great site anyhoo.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Caricatures of Cartoonists

The Entrecomics site presents Cartoonists' Self-Caricatures.

Tip of the hat to Dirk Deppey at Journalista!

Valé Paul Rigby | The Godfather of Editorial Cartooning

Via Jason Chatfield comes this tribute video to Paul Rigby as shown at the 23rd Annual Australian Cartoonists' Association Stanley Awards.

Thanks so much, Jason, for making this available to all of us!

Mike Lynch Cartoon in December 10, 2007 Wall Street Journal

"Remember to ask about Santa's needs."

Above is the finished cartoon of mine as it appears in today's Wall Street Journal. This is a redraw of a cartoon that I submitted to the Journal a few months ago. I had to redraw it for them because my original was horizontal, whereas their space is square. They asked me to do the redraw. I hate redrawing. Hate it. Just am not interested in redrawing at all and hard to pep myself up to do it. Bored silly, I am. I guess that's why I had to put in the one kid sticking out his tongue (bottom left), which was not in the original version. I wanted to put something fresh in it.

Above is the original; the one I first mailed to them. I drew this in 2003, and I submitted it a couple of times a year to various markets. I don't know what made me draw those really big candy canes on Santa's chair!

I like the sentiment of the mother. Poor Santa! One of the occupational hazards of being him is having to listen to all these dang kids tell him their selfish wants all the time! What about him?!

Related: Richard Thompson talks about redraws at his Cul de Sac blog. You would be a fool not to bookmark Richard's blog! A fool!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Al Scaduto Links

Photo of Al at his drawing board by Whitney Kidder-Alvarez for the Connecticut Post.

Al Scaduto passed away on Friday due to complications from a medical procedure. He was 79.

Chris Mautner at Newsarama has a good rundown of links to remembrances, including the Comics Curmudgeon meta-post, that has .

Editor & Publisher announcement

Al Scaduto's National Cartoonists Society page

King Features bio

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Al Scaduto 1928-2007 (Updated)

Just got word that Al Scaduto passed away yesterday. He was 79. I have no more details at this time.

Al Scaduto was one of the nicest guys ever and I am glad to say he was a friend. He brought his love of singing to every get together of the Berndt Toast Gang, giving us all a chance to hear his lovely voice sing a couple minutes of opera.

He was generous with his time and stories of cartooning. He had been with King Features for over 60 years, soon after graduating from high school. He went from being an assistant, to actively taking over Jimmy Hatlo's feature THEY'LL DO IT EVERY TIME.

Al went to high school with Joe Giella, Sy Barry and Emilio Squeglio -- fellow cartoonists and fellow Berndt Toasters -- and they shared their friendship with all of us.

I will miss him very much, and this is all damn hard to take in.

UPDATED December 9, 2007:

Photo: Al Scaduto sings at a recent Berndt Toast meeting while girlfriend Claire kvells. ("Kvells" being a Yiddish word meaning to rejoice and be prideful.)
"'What I like most about being a cartoonist is starting with a fresh piece of paper and ending up with an idea,' he said. 'You're the writer, the actor and the director. I never thought about retiring. I enjoy what I do.'"

- Al Scaduto, from a February 11, 2007 Connecticut Post interview
written by Dirk Perrefort.
A few more notes about Al Scaduto, perhaps the last, great "bigfoot" style cartoonist. A guy who knew Milt Gross, for heaven's sake!

These are all notes I made from the Berndt Toast Gang meetings. The BTG is the nickname for the National Cartoonists Society Long Island chapter. I was chapter chair for about five years.

+ + +

Back in 2005, Al told the Gang about The School of Industrial Arts reunion. SIA was founded by four young art teachers in 1936, who built desks from old orange crates and plywood. Even though it’s changed its name to the High School of Art and Design and moved from its former Civil War hospital building to a modern building on Second Avenue, it’s still referred to as SIA by those who graduated.

After the graduation ceremony from the High School of Industrial Arts in 1946, Al's father told him he would starve. That same year, Al started at King Features. By 1948, he became a full time assistant for Ben Dunn, but still found time for lots of other work. A multiple winner of the NCS Newspaper Panel Cartoon Award for the strip, he’s been soloing on They’ll Do It Every Time since 1989. Not bad for a boy from the Bronx!

+ + +

OK, we have a number of BT Gang traditions. The group has been meeting in one shape or from since 1966. For instance, every month we ask someone to bring in some samples of their work. Al Scaduto brought in dozens of originals from his years on They’ll Do It Every Time, Sick magazine, Little Iodine and so many, many illustrations. A Certain Major Syndicate surprised Al with a beautiful cake that was inscribed ”Congratulations Al from your Friends at King Features.” Al told us a little about his career. After the graduation ceremony from the High School of Industrial Arts in 1946, his dad told him he would starve. That same year, Al started at King. By 1948, he became a full time assistant for Ben Dunn, but still found time for lots of other work. A multiple winner of the NCS Newspaper Panel Cartoon Award for the strip, he’s been soloing on They’ll Do It Every Time since 1989. Not bad for a boy from the Bronx!

Photo: Children's book illustrator and current Chair Adrian Sinnott, Al Scaduto, Mike Lynch from a May 2007 get together.

And another Berndt toast tradition (actually, more of a running gag): Al Scaduto announces that he has brought a guest. This happens every time, and every time, he introduces the fellow sitting at the same table: “Jumpin'” Joe Giella. Then Al tells a disparaging joke at Joe’s expense. This is all forgivable since we all love Joe and the joke is an old joke. On those rare occasions when Al can’t make it, we all worry that there will be no one to introduce Joe.

+ + +

On April 24, 2006, legendary cartoonist Creig Flessel wrote a letter to me (on real paper, since Creig's not an Internet-kinda guy) about what he's up to

I keep busy doing watercolors and cartoons for local residents and our grandchildren. Tell Al Scaduto (my mentor) that I'm concentrating on my cartooning and he is my god.
+ + +

Al had this to say in the days after Jay Kennedy's death:

"Many years ago, when I was still working at Bob Dunn's office up at King Features on the 17th floor, Jay Kennedy was assigned the job of Comic Editor. He was always very 'low key' and a true gentlemen, with a tremendous knowledge of comics. I met him several times, either at cartoon conventions or at King Features affairs, as well as at NCS meetings and, of course, at Bunny Hoest's Annual Bash. Talking to him on the phone one day, he praised me by saying, 'Al, you do a handsome feature.' I'll truly miss this gentle man."

+ + +

Photo: a display of some of Al's originals on a display table at our January 25, 2007 get together

Al was just a very sweet guy. He would call me from time to time, to let me know how much he enjoyed the monthly BT meetings. He would drive from his home in Connecticut, pick up his girlfriend in Tarrytown and then drive out to Huntington, Long Island. When new or wannabe cartoonists would drop in, he would always spend time with them and ask them more questions than they would ask him.

He was an integral part of the Berndt Toast heart, and he will be missed.

Al, we were all kvelling when you were around. We'll miss the cartoons and the music and the man so dearly.


Mark Evanier on Al

King Features bio

Comics Curmudgeon, with a comment from one of Al's daughters.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Holiday Cards and Shopping

Correspondent Martha White writes that "year-end photocopied brag sheets and e-cards can never replace the original handwritten holiday note" in this article from the Christian Science Monitor, which includes the above card.
"My grandfather, a prolific letter writer – his updated "Letters of E.B. White" goes into paperback this month – managed a personalized, printed card in 1950 with his own verse and a drawing of his dachshund puppy descending steep stairs – a feat that occasionally resulted in a nose dive."
And good ol' Alan Gardner The Daily Cartoonist purveys cartoonist-related sites that have holiday card themes.

Tom Spurgeon serves up a mega-list of cartoon related items that are on the market in his Comics Reporter Holiday Shopping Guide. Not for the weak of wallet! And it's so big that, even after a minute or two with my high-speed cable connection, it's still loading the page.

Big hat tip to dear ol' Dad for the E.B. White link. Thanks Dad!

Related: E.B. White Quotes.

Bikini Audacity

BETWEEN FRIENDS creator Sandra Bell-Lundy writes about good comic strip writing, a bikini, and its relation to human rights.

In this entry, she honestly talks about the value of writing to please yourself, and what she learned from the late Jay Kennedy. Here's Sandra:
If there's one thing a cartoonist has to learn, it's that you have to write for yourself and that your work is not going to appeal to everyone. When I was working with my editor, Jay Kennedy during the development stage of my cartoon strip, I would fax my ideas to him and he would call me back with a critique of my work. He'd tell me why this strip worked and that one didn't and if he thought a particular strip was very funny. Every so often, I would catch myself writing my strips according to what I thought Jay would find funny. And you know what? ...not once did he tell me that the strip I wrote trying to appeal to his funny bone "was very funny". After a few times, it dawned on me that I should just write what I thought was funny. If someone else found it funny, well...consider it gravy.

It's so hard to be a cartoonist because, despite the fact that there is a skill set that you can learn (learn to draw, learn to write), there is NOT a standard operating procedure to apply. A cartoonist has to offer something unique -- and, harder still, a cartoonist has to self-generate all this.

Related: No Ta-tas or Pee-pees in Children’s Publishing, But Most of All, No Balls? from the Chronicle Books blog by Melissa Manlove. It's about a terrific series of children's books, all ready best sellers in Europe, that were not printed in the US (until Chronicle Books picked them up) due to "American prudishness."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Don Martin Sound Effects

Darren Garnick, of the Nashua Telegraph, writes about the life of "MAD's Maddest Cartoonist" Don Martin.

He talks about the new big 2 volume slipcased Don Martin collection of cartoons. I agree with him that it's a trip down memory lane -- and I also agree that a lot of cartoonists love Martin. So many of were MAD readers. I remember copying his characters when I was a wee lad.

Below is a sidebar from the article, which mentions a site I visit all too little. So here, via Mr. Garnick, are a few of the fantastic Don Martin sound effects as documented in Ed Norris and John Hett’s Don Martin Dictionary:
  • Ack gak gark! Man having a heart attack.
  • Blorf breedeet: Gagged man trying to talk.
  • Clink cloink bzzt: Putting money in Vend-O-Hair machine.
  • Grunch grunch gashlikt! Sculptor pressing thumbs into man’s head
  • Snap ploobadoof: Wonder Woman releasing her Amazon brassiere.
  • Spa-zunch: Superman swatting a fly on Lois’ back.
  • Spaloosh: Mafia informant dumped in river wearing cement shoes.
  • Stroinggoink: Olive Oyl falling down a sidewalk grating and being saved by her nose.
  • Thwak: Tooth being knocked out of mouth with a hockey puck.
  • Tip-tippity tap: Tadpole tap dancing.
  • Unklik: Man being released from dungeon wall.
More at the Don Martin Dictionary!

And it should be noted that Don Martin's original Signet paperback books (CAPTAIN KLUTZ, DON MARTIN FALLS 13 STORIES, etc.) are not included, despite the book being touted as a complete collection. I have heard that the book is all ready sold out, so I hope that this other material will be reprinted in 2008!

Little Lulu Exhibit

The sons of LITTLE LULU Creator Marjorie Henderson Buell donated her papers to Harvard last year. LULU paper ephemera will be on display at the Schlesinger Library thru March 29, 2008. More information, including the hours of the exhibit, is here. And, if you go there today, there's a reception this afternoon, between 4 and 6pm.

Here's a detailed list of what the Library has from the press release:
  • Cartoons and comic strips including eighteen of Buell’s earliest cartoons, among them the very first cartoon she drew before age seven; original “Little Lulu” and “The Boy Friend” sketches; and the entire collection of “Little Lulu” comic strips published from 1935 to 1969, appearing first in the Saturday Evening Post and then in national newspapers.
  • Personal correspondence with publishers, agents, fans and colleagues. Also included are fan magazines and Buell’s personal notebooks.
  • Official business documents including original contracts with Rand McNally, Milton Bradley and Paramount Pictures. Also included are royalty statements, licensing agreements and copyrights.
  • Lulu merchandise and memorabilia including toys, sheet music, children’s books, comic books published in multiple languages and Kleenex advertisements.
What's missing is the name of John Stanley, who, along with Irving Tripp, wrote and drew the bulk of the LULU comic book stories. I don't mean to diminish Ms. Buell's work, but it was Stanley who created the whole world of Lulu. I hope that there's an acknowledgment to his work in the exhibit.

Dark Horse Comics is reprinting the LITTLE LULU comic book series. Their 17th volume is below, with #18 (previewed at their site, click "Next Page >>" at the top right of the cover) coming out next month.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Snow Snow Snow

Can't blog. Busy snowblowin'!

Glad to report that there has been -- so far -- no loss of life nor limb, as so graphically pictured on the snowblower warning label.

Best Thanksgiving Cartoons

We were around the Thanksgiving table, talking cartoons. The one and only Stephanie Piro invited us over for Thanksgiving dinner with her friends and family. So, if there's more than one cartoonist at the table, then, of course, there is going to be cartoon talk.

"Here are the 4 best Thanksgiving cartoons," I announce, loudly and boorishly, letting everyone know that two of them are mine. "There's the one of the Mayflower sailing toward America with a big sign, 'Contents May Settle' on the back." I drew this up (see above) and then took it out of circulation when I saw that the cartoon had been done all ready! I saw it in an old collection of cartoons later, and I just did not know it had been done before. These things happen!

"And then there's the one of all these turkeys at a party, all wearing those little nametags that say 'Hi, I'm Tom,' 'Hi, I'm Tom,''Hi, I'm Tom.' This is by my pal Mark Anderson.

"And then there's one where a turkey is being X-rayed at the doctor's office and the doctor turkey is pointing to the patient turkey's solar plexus and saying, 'Well, Bob, here's you problem: your internal organs have been shrinkwrapped!'" I drew that one a couple of years ago, and it appeared in, of all things, a higher education journal. And I can't find a copy of the cartoon just now.

"But the best one I've seen," I continued loudly, for tryptophan has zero effect when I'm hepped up on Cartoon Talk,"is Roy Delgado's cartoon from the November 21, 2007 Wall Street Journal."

Roy is, as I've mentioned before, on a one-man mission to sell a cartoon to The New Yorker.

This makes over 19,500 cartoons REJECTED by The New Yorker in my lifetime. If they ever DID buy one, I'd probably have a heart-attack! I can't win either way!

I read his Roy Delgado Blog to check his progress!

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Great Ham Caper

My wife wrote a poem for Christmas 2006. It's about us and the cats. I thought it was fun, and maybe a bit indulgent. To my delight, Stacy's poem got a lot of kind emails. Hard to believe that since then we've moved and gotten another cat.

For auld lang syne, here it is again:

The Great Ham Caper

Words by Stacy Lynch
Pictures by Mike Lynch

’Twas the week before Christmas
When Rufus and Sam
Hatched a devious scheme
To make off with the ham!

The ham that would grace
The holiday table!
Roo was the brains.
Sam, wiry and able.

They devised a plan
Of Goldbergian proportions
With pulleys and weights
And kitty contortions.

And on Christmas day
They’d eat until stuffed
(The very idea
Made their tails slightly puffed!)

’Til then, they’d lay low,
Little angels to see.
But that made us suspicious –
Wouldn’t you be?

So we snooped and we sleuthed
And uncovered their caper -
“The Ham-Stealing Plan”
Diagrammed on a paper!

“No silly cat’s gonna
Steal my roast beast,”
Exclaimed Mike. “Just watch,
I’ll ruin their feast!”So he countered their scheming
With mad plans all his own
And all I could do
Was inwardly groan!

Who’d win this contest
Of wits they were planning?
Would Mike, Roo or Sam -
Be last man or cat standing?

As Christmas day dawned
The four of us waited
For the ham to be served
With breaths that were bated.

But before the main course
Could even be plated
Their plans took a turn.
Some say it was fated...

What happened to stop them
So cold in their tracks?
Why, cat-nip and husb-nip
(in big canvas sacks)Was all that it took
To stop their foul warring.
And they rolled and purred
And drooled on the flooring.And as long as I kept
My fingers and toes
Away from a hubby and two cats
In nip’s throes -
My own Christmas day
Turned out merry and calm;
The ham moist and succulent,
The champagne, a balm.

When they “awoke”,
hostilities abated,
We all ate some ham
And went to bed sated.

And such peace we wish
To you and to yours:
An end to fighting;
An end to wars.

Happy Holidays!

Mike and Stacy and Rufus and Sam