Friday, February 27, 2009

Maira Kalman: In Love With A. Lincoln

Writer and illustrator Maira Kalman writes and draws about the Lincoln of then and the "Land of Lincoln" today in this wandering, beautiful mediationa from the New York Times blog.


Nina Paley's animated film SITA SINGS THE BLUES, which has been touring many, many festivals, can be streamed online now.

Hat tip to Matt Forsythe!

QUINCY by Ted Shearer Part 2

Here are some more of Ted Shearer's gorgeous QUINCY comic strips.

Above: a 4 panel gag sequence with an opening establishing angle of the interior of Quincy's home, a close up of angry granny, a medium close shot of Quincy's reaction with Granny in the background, and a final panel emphasizing Quincy's expression in a medium close up. Shearer gives you a real sense of place and character.

Quincy is one of the few comic strip characters to consistently address the reader directly. In the first 3 panels, we have the set up; and three different angles, as Quincy says his prayers. And, in the final panel, we are looking straight on at Quincy, and he meets our gaze, as he shares his realization with us.

Every character is in motion. Granny is moving a pot, and even Quincy, seated at the table, looks around while he complains. I like the painterly use of the grey tone, especially on the middle panel, as it's "splashed" haphazardly on Granny and the background.

Pragmatic Quincy may want to conspicuously consume, but he understands the bottom line better than his pals.

Above: another one of those kid conversations where lofty philosophising meets grounded economic concerns.

Above: a strip from 1971. Money, or the lack of it, makes these strips seem timely right now in 2009. Here is Quincy, working part-time in a store, chatting with his white friend Nickles. I like the bits of the store that Shearer draws in the background. Note that there is rarely an inanimate object that is horizontal. The counter, the cash register; all are at a slight angle to make the picture a touch more dynamic.

Above: a deceptively simple strip. Look at that first panel. The whole set up is there. Shearer juxtaposes the rickety, home made "Soul Express" with the bikes, seen behind the glass window. The kids have to lean a little bit up just to see these objects of desire, emphasizing visually how out of reach they are. Like in the previous strip with the car, the items are shiny and new; the antithesis of the dark, jaggedy lines of the slums.

There is a lot of life in Quincy. Even when he's talking or eating, his body is usually moving.

This is the second time that I've showcase Ted Shearer. More QUINCY strips by Ted Shearer are here, along with biographical information and more links.

The cartoons reproduced here are from the softcover collection QUINCY, copyright 1970, 1971 and 1972 by King Features.

Jules Feiffer Profile

Photo of Jules Feiffer and a few of his pets by Leslie Reingold.

Cartoonist Jules Feiffer is profiled by writer Tom Clavin for 27 East (The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press).

"'Most of them don’t know who I am,' said Jules Feiffer of his students at Stony Brook Southampton. 'They know I’m famous for something, but they’re not sure what.'"

Hat tip to Michael Maslin!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ernst & Saunders, Kelly, Lazarus, Schulz, Walker: "Comic Strips They'd Really Like To Do"

Above: Mort Walker writes and draws an adventure strip for Mad #89.

Found on eBay:

From left, counter clockwise (do you really need to know who these guys are?): Mell Lazarus, Mort Walker, Ken Ernst, Charles Schulz, Allen Saunders, and Walt Kelly.

In 1964, MAD Magazine asked top cartoonists to draw their "dream" comic strip.

Chaos, obviously, ensued, in the 4 page feature titled "Comic Strips They'd Really Like To Do:"

They are all funny and intriguing, with Mell Lazarus' contribution maybe the most visually arresting. Here's a scan of the original art:

And below is Ernst & Saunders' version PEANUTS, complete with a MARY WORTH cameo:

These three pieces of original art are offered for sale by the Lewis Wayne Gallery on eBay this week.

I'm not associated with the Gallery. I just thought theses were some unique and (to me) unknown pieces of American cartoon art.

Video: Mell Lazarus Cameo on MURDER SHE WROTE

Above: a screen capture from MURDER SHE WROTE with Patrick MacNee and Mell Lazarus.

Did you know there was an episode of that old war horse TV series MURDER SHE WROTE (1984-1996) about cartoonists? Did you know that MOMMA and MISS PEACH cartoonist Mell Lazarus had a cameo in it? The gang at the Blog Flume blog sure did and they share a short video here.

The episode "The Dead File" aired on November 15, 1992. Mell appears in a small scene at the beginning of the clip linked above. In addition to series star Angela Lansbury, the clip showcases its guest cast which includes, in addition to Patrick MacNee, Harvey Fierstein and Jon Polito.

A big hat tip to Comics Reporter!

Related video: Mell Lazarus speaks at the Charles M. Schulz Museum.

Pat Bagley's Herblock Award Winning Cartoons

Salt Lake Tribune editorial cartoonist Pat Bagley won the Herblock Prize this year. Daryl Cagle showcases the portfolio of cartoons that won.

Dead to Rights UPDATED

Starting my day reading 2 stories of rights going down the dumper. And, along with that, an artist's ability to be be compensated.

Amazon's new Kindle 2, which is that electronic tablet wherein one may download books -- many books -- may not pay an author for audio rights. Kindle DOES pay authors when a consumer downloads a book.

"But there’s another thing about Kindle 2 — its heavily marketed text-to-speech function. Kindle 2 can read books aloud. And Kindle 2 is not paying anyone for audio rights," writes Roy Blount in the NY Times.

Musician Richard Gibbs, profiled in the Christian Science Monitor, who has seen the trafficking of free, illegal downloads escalate in the past 10 years, suggests a day of sharing for all:
"Richard Gibbs argues that holding an international 'Day of Sharing' would be a radical gesture on behalf of the beleaguered music industry.

"How would it work? 'Order your favorite meal, eat it, and walk out,' he cites as an example. 'Test drive a car and simply keep driving. Fill your pockets with candy from the 7-Eleven.'"

In the future, you'll get your music and cartoons and movies for free, but it'll be created on the side, part-time; by people who have to work in another industry. And, to quote my pal Brian Fies, there won't be anything good left to steal.

Hat tip to Dad for the CSM link. Thanks, Dad!

UPDATE: a bright spot from today's NY Times: iPhone users are willing to spend money in ways that Web users are not by Saul Hansell.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Photoshop Disasters

Oh no! Go look!

Hat tip to Paul Söderholm!

New ZIM Book Forthcoming

Above: One of Zim's covers to Judge around the turn of the last century.

From the ASIFA Web site comes news what a collection of Eugene "Zim" Zimmerman's cartoons is coming along. Zim was a major name in cartooning way back in the days of Puck and Judge magazines. His work was gorgeous and meticulous. He also depicted racial stereotypes.

If you can place his content within the context of the times, and just look at the skillful drawings (some people can, some people cannot), his art deserves to be better showcased.

I was fortunate to visit the Zim house in Horseheads, NY in the early 1990s. It was a treasure trove. He designed it and his daughter, who never married, maintained the house as he had. Up in the attic were these little lead bits, and when I tuerned them over, I saw they were castings -- lead castings -- that were used to print his cartoon course.

Glad to hear that ASIFA is cleaning up his series, perhaps the first "how to cartoon" correspondence course.

Video: Harry Bliss

Do you want to sell a cartoon or a cover painting to The New Yorker? Cartoonist Harry Bliss has done both, and in this video, he shows us a challenge involved in selling to a magazine that has been publishing cartoons for 84 years. Content highlights: this video includes foul language directed at a fellow cartoonist, and a peek at Harry's bookshelf.

Maine Comic Arts Festival: Tables Sold Out

The Maine Comic Arts Festival
has sold out of exhibitor tables in less than 6 weeks. The good news is that convention organizer Rick Lowell has a waiting list.

The Festival is Sunday, May 17th, from 10am to 5pm at the Ocean Gateway (photo above, snagged from the MECAF blog) in downtown Portland, Maine.

The idea behind this event is to emulate such indy creator friendly festivals as MoCCA Fest and SPX. Rick Lowell, who is putting this together, has been working hard to make sure all goes smoothly for this, the first event of its kind in Northern New England.

The whole place is going to be full of people who make comics; comics of all kinds.

I'll be there. It should be a wonderful time.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

STAR TREK Retro Lunchbox

More retro TREK items to see at Trekmovie!

Gluyas Williams

Start your day with some of these masterful line cartoons by Gluyas Williams. Much more, and insightful commentary, at my friend Ger Apeldoorn's The Fabuleous Fifties blog.

"Stylistically Gluyas Williams was as modern as they get. His humor may not be as biting and sarcastic as the best of the 'new' post-war cartoonists, but his observational cartooning is up their with the best."

Gluyas Williams official site.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Andertoons: Cartoon Conversations

If you ever wonder what it's like to talk one on one with a professional gag cartoonist, then look take a look at this 90 second video of Mark Anderson talking about three of his cartoons.

NY Times Censors Political Cartoon

Above: the original cartoon by Michel Kichna.

When the Times buys your cartoon, that doesn't mean the editors get to stick their finger in your cartoon pie, destroying its message.

Michel Kichna, drawing a cartoon commenting on the vote removing term limits so that current Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez may run for reelection in 2012, had all of the meaning Photoshopped out of his editorial cartoon.

Below: the Photoshopped version that ran in the New York Times:

Hat tip to Journalista!

Blogless Monday?

Up to 18 inches of heavy, big flakes of snow clinging to trees & powerlines & bird feeders. I don't know if we'll have power on Monday. So, here are a few photos of the storm so far. Above: a bird feeder with an enormous cap of wet snow at about 11pm. The snow is so wet that it can sling to the side of the metal shepherd's hook.

Another bad photo taken with the flash as the snow continues to fall. I opened the door, stuck my hand, with the camera, out the side door and quickly took a shot. The blob in the bottom of the above photo is the car. You can barely make out the birches behind it, bent to the ground; weighed down by heavy snow.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Matt Forsythe: Ojingogo Book Cover Design

Cartoonist Matt Forsythe talks about designing the cover of his graphic novel OJINGOGO.

"I was also taking photos of book covers wherever I went. ... Ray and I did book launches together in Toronto. He told me he originally wanted to silkscreen white ink onto the cover - similar to Dash Shaw’s Bottomless Bellybutton cover."

Hat tip to Matt himself for his blog entry.

Want! The Gorn Bobblehead

The nice thing about a big, new STAR TREK theatrical movie hitting the screens on May 6th is that there are a lot people making a lot of toys -- and some of the toys from TOS (The Old Show, my favorite). Trekmovie has more.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Salute to TOONERVILLE TROLLEY's "Powerful Katrinks"

For Sale:

Hate that chimp cartoon? You can bid on the Web URL at eBay.

Buy it now price: $21,000,000.00.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Video: TORCHWOOD Interviews: Euros Lyn & Eve Myles

Above: the special five-part TORCHWOOD series preview "Children of Earth."

Below are three videos that were recorded when TORCHWOOD director Euros Lyn and series costar Eve Myles were attending this month's New York Comic Convention.

TORCHWOOD Director Euros Lyn:

TORCHWOOD costar Eve Myles Part 1

TORCHWOOD costar Eve Myles Part 2

A Day in the Life of J. Caleb Mozzocco

Columbus, Ohio-based freelance writer and "(extremely) amateur(-ish) artist" J. Caleb Mozzocco draws a day in his life.

Hat tip to Comics Reporter.

Jerry Dumas on the Lucca Festival

Comic strip cartoonist Jerry Dumas writes about bad comics (graphic novels) and good comics festivals (the Lucca Comics Festival) in an article in yesterday's Greenwich Time (yeah, it's singular; Greenwich Time not "Times") titled "When Cartoon Artists Had their Time In the Sun."

On THE BEST COMICS OF 2007 book:

"I glanced at was so abysmal that it made most cartoonists I know wince. It was all graphic novels, full of narcissistic meanderings and pathetic, amateurish artwork. The editor, in his introduction, acknowledged that most artists in the book were personal friends, and the title was, frankly, misleading. Thanks, and we knew that."

On the Lucca Comics & Games Festival (Google translated site link here):

"I was told that all I had to do was show some slides, give a speech, draw pictures at an easel and participate in a panel discussion. I gave the speech but did none of the rest. It turned out that there were too many participants and that many of them could do little or no participating. I heard about a bumpy meeting involving the American delegation and the Italian organizers.

"'You bring Americans over, pay their way, then you don't use them,' was the complaint.

"'Not enough time!" said the organizers. 'Let them just have fun in Italy -- meet, drink, laugh, talk.'

"The cartoonists were happy to oblige them."

Mr. Dumas, along with Mort Walker, produced the fan-favorite comic strip SAM'S STRIP. Fantagraphics has a wonderful preview of its forthcoming SAM'S STRIP collection here.

Hat tip to Comics Reporter.

Lichty, Steig & Thurber: Free and Spontaneous Drawings

Blogger David Apatoff really likes great pictures. It says so right in his profile. In Wednesday's edition of his Illustration Art blog he showcases 3 cartoonists (George Lichty, William Steig and James Thurber) whose loose, casual style he admires.

Hat tip to Journalista!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Video: Sean Delonas Cartoon Protest in NYC

Video Here.

The Daily News has video of the protest against Sean Delonas' cartoon in front of Rupert Murdoch's New York Post. (You can view the cartoon, which appeared in the Post's Wednesday edition, here.) Above: a screen capture of my pal, cartoonist Tony Murphy, from the video

Here's Tony with an announcement for any cartoonists who can make it to Manhattan tomorrow:


Tomorrow there's going to be another protest in front of the Post:

Friday, February 20 -- 5 PM
In front of Murdoch's News Corp building
Avenue of the Americas between 47th & 48th

I went to the one today: hundreds of people, really great -- tomorrow should be bigger.

I carried a sign saying "Cartoonists Against Racism." People definitely liked that, but it wasn't strictly true, since I was the only cartoonist there.

For more info, call or e-mail me

Tony Murphy
my strip


Video: Michael Maslin & Liza Donnelly CARTOON MARRIAGE

This past Sunday, February 15, 2009, CBS Sunday Morning broadcast a profile of New Yorker magazine cartoonist couple Michael Maslin and Liza Donnelly upon the occasion of the publication of their collection CARTOON MARRIAGE. Titled "Drawn Together," this 6 minute segment was produced by Judith Hole.

What's On Your Shelf?

A busy day here, full of about 1/2 cartooning-related stuff and 1/2 snowblowing.

I have a lot of shelves here in the studio. Here are four of them. They are woefully untidy, but I thought they may be of interest.

Above: the top shelf is for mostly older paperbacks containing single panel gag cartoons. I've scanned in some of these for blog purposes in the past.

On the second shelf: newspaper comic strips (MUTT & JEFF from NBM's "Forever Nuts" series, PEANUTS, WALT & SKEEZIX) and manga (of which NANA and YOTSUBA&! are standouts).

And here are 2 more shelves. The top shelf is a general pile that needs sorting. A cat walked on them, causing them to tilt at the same angle that all those bad buys were filmed in the old live-action BATMAN TV show. (It's called a "Dutch Tilt," by the way.) You can see all my interests: old comedy movies, graphic novels, comic books, even a cookbook (for the cool retro illustrations).

The bottom shelf is part oversize magazine gag cartoon collections and part learn to cartoon books. No New Yorker books here. They are in the living room, available to page through.

Unseen: at least 8 more shelves of books and ephemera.

A hat tip to Robot 6, where I got the idea to show my shelves.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mike Lynch Cartoon in March 2009 Reader's Digest

Like everyone, I've had bad jobs and crummy bosses.

On payday at one of my restaurant jobs, employees ran to the bank as soon as they were handed their paycheck. I mean this literally: they were sprinting. The company never had enough cash to cover payroll, so the sooner you deposit, the less likely your paycheck bounced.

I used to have a wisecracking boss. When asked, "May I have a raise?" the boss would smile and reply, "Well, you can always ask! Ha ha ha ha." He was not a well loved man.

I have a cartoon in the print edition of Reader's Digest and it's also on their Web page today. One of their 10 recession cartoons.

When the call went out just a couple of weeks ago for these cartoons, I really didn't think the above cartoon would appeal. It's rather mean. But, it's also truthful.

Bad jobs, crummy bosses -- when it's all said and done, my friends, I would rather work for a solvent company, ya know what I mean?

Now please excuse me while I call up some clients about some outstanding cartoon invoices. I hope their phone numbers are still working ....

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

HUMBUG is Here

The 2 volume hardcover slipcased collected HUMBUG is here from Fantagraphics.

It's Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Davis, Will Elder, Al Jaffee, & Arnold Roth. Look at the links below for much free cartoony greatness.

Between MAD and Annie Fanny, Kurtzman’s biographical summaries will note that he created and edited three other magazines, Trump, Humbug, and Help!, but, whereas his MAD and Annie Fanny are readily available in reprint form, his major satirical work in the interim period is virtually unknown. Humbug, which had poor distribution, may be the least known, but to those who treasure the rare original copies, it equals or even exceeds MAD in displaying Kurtzman’s creative genius. Humbug was unique in that it was actually published by the artists who created it: Kurtzman and his cohorts from MAD Will Elder, Jack Davis, and Al Jaffee, were joined by universally acclaimed cartoonist Arnold Roth. With no publisher above them to rein them in, this little band of creators produced some of the most trenchant and engaging satire of American culture ever to appear on American newsstands. At last, the entire run of 11 issues of Humbug is being reprinted in a deluxe format, much of it reproduced from the original art, allowing even owners of the original cheaply-printed issues to experience the full impact for the first time.

Complete slideshow/vid here.

32 page PDF free preview here.

My Organic Business Model of Cartooning

I was chatting with my pal Mark Anderson yesterday about the cartoon markets. Even though we compete for the same markets, he's a great friend.

Speaking for me: the big change that I am seeing is that either my sales are small (a cartoon sold to an individual for a presentation, a dollar from a t-shirt sale) or they are large (drawings for an ad campaign). I'm no longer selling a couple hundred dollars here, a couple hundred dollars there. I think this is because those sales, mostly to magazines, are rarer. Obviously, traditional print gag cartoon markets are not buying as many. Heck, last week's New Yorker had only eight cartoons in it!

But people still love cartoons.

When I quit my real job 10 years ago to cartoon, I thought I would have this model for business:


You draw those one-panel cartoons and mail them out.

But I found out that there is an organic process to all this. Here's what I mean: a cartoonist friend was editing a cartoon-a-day calendar for Barnes & Noble. Would I like to submit some cartoons? An editor called me; Reader's Digest was publishing a book. Would I like to be in it? So, now I had a


and it was all because my cartoons were getting seen. And then I got an email from a fellow in London who had seen my cartoon in a magazine during his lunch hour. He didn't buy the magazine, but remembering my name, he went back to his office, Googled me and found my site. His UK company was going to do a big ad campaign, and would I be willing to draw some cartoons for it? And so now the


was in full swing.

And the more revenue streams, the more places your work is seen, the better.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ban Comic Sans ... But Not Dogsledding!

Above: a Ban Comic Sans bumper sticker in the Comic Sans font.

The Ban Comic Sans Web site has been around for a while. If you know the Comic Sans font, then you know how dreadful it is.

From the site:
In 1995 Microsoft released the font Comic Sans originally designed for comic book style talk bubbles containing informational help text. Since that time the typeface has been used in countless contexts from restaurant signage to college exams to medical information. These widespread abuses of printed type threaten to erode the very foundations upon which centuries of typographic history are built.
I do not like the font, but I do see it here and there -- especially for kids friendly signage. So, I was surprised to see it on the sign at the State of New Hampshire Department of Corrections Lakes Region Facility:

Off topic time: We saw this while attending some dog sled races in Laconia.

The starting/ending line was right across from the Comic Sans font prison sign. It was a sunny day, with temps about 32 degrees F.

These are one-doggers.

One doggers are kids with, of course, one dog pulling the little sled.

I like how these people are leaning over on the right.

Some of the dogs did not want to stop and had to be grabbed at the finish. All the kids had serious padding and helmets.

And here's a Mom & a couple little ones, all being pulled by the family dog.

I don't have a dog or a dogsled, but it sure was fun watching this. The only dark cloud was that it was under the shadow of the poky sign with that dreadful font use!

A tip of the hat to my wife for spotting the Comic Sans sign!