Tuesday, June 30, 2009

President Eisenhower, Honorary NCS Member

From gag cartoonist Eli Stein's blog comes a story of National Cartoonist Society members meeting with President Eisenhower in 1954. They made Ike an honorary member and gave him a presentation book of 95 cartoons. A couple of years later, to help sell war bonds, the book was reproduced as a promotional item. Eli shares some gag cartoons from that book here.

I believe this was when Ike received the Silver T-Square from the NCS. The Silver T-Square, "awarded, by unanimous vote of the NCS Board of Directors, to persons who have demonstrated outstanding dedication or service to the Society or the profession" was also awarded to one other President: Harry S. Truman, in 1950. More infomration on the NCS Awards page.

Newfoundland Gallery Show Features Sandra Bell-Lundy's BETWEEN FRIENDS

One of the funny things about cartooning is that you sit in a room and come up with ideas -- and you never really know how people will react. Sandra Bell-Lundy writes in her BETWEEN FRIENDS blog:

"I've written strips without any malice in my heart and I've been ripped apart by readers who took offence. I written strips that I thought would evoke an emotional, political response . . . not a peep. I've written strips that I felt really weren't my best work but had to send them in anyway because of a crushing deadline and been inundated with mail from readers who loved them."

A couple of years ago, she wrote a storyline in her BETWEEN FRIENDS newspaper comic strip about her Newfoundland grandmother. She recently received a request to use some images from that series in an art show. Here's Sandra with more information:

"Recently, I received a request from Jackie Alcock, an artist who lives in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. She was creating a visual arts piece called 'The Buffet Table' representing arts and crafts and women's history. She asked if she could use frames from the grandmother storyline to make "doughboys". It's one of the more unusual requests I've had but I was very pleased that she thought of the story line."
Below is a video showing some of the process. The whole story is at the BETWEEN FRIENDS blog.

AAEC and NCS Merger?

Should the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists and the National Cartoonists Society merge?

AAEC President Ted Rall has put the idea forward for discussion, and Daryl Cagle, former NCS President (as well as an AAEC member), weighs in on his blog.

Above cartoon copyright 2009 by Ted Rall.

Complete Mars Attacks Trading Cards

Harry Lee Greene at his Hairy Green Eyeball blog gives us the compleat Topps bubblegum "Mars Attacks" series of 1962 trading cards. Oo la la!

Thank you, Harry!

London: Jeff Koons' 'Popeye Series' Opens

Artist Jeff Koons exhibits his "Popeye series" at London's Serpentine Gallery from July 2nd to September 13th. The Guardian has a preview today.

King of kitsch, Jeff Koons, comes to the Serpentine Gallery this summer with his first ever solo British show. Work by the American artist, who will be exhibiting his Popeye series at the Serpentine, 'creates a world beyond taste' according to the Guardian's Jonathan Jones. Preview highlights from the exhibition (which runs from 2 July until 13 September 2009), before it opens to the public.
Jonathan Jones, writing for The Guardian, comments that Koons "creates a world beyond taste."

Monday, June 29, 2009

This Happens Every Morning

These two are coming every morning between 7 and 8am; two turkeys, a girl and a boy turkey, waddle into the yard, getting quite close to the house. After some pecking and gobbling, they hurry along, into the woods. The female, I've noticed, always leads.

Photo taken by me this morning through the window screen.

Annual Bunny Hoest Bash June 25, 2009

Above: a LOCKHORNS bisque at the home of Bunny Hoest.

I left my house on the New Hampshire ridge for a quick overnight trip to New York. Object: drive to Bunny Hoest's home on the Long Island North Shore, arriving by noon for the annual Bunny Bash. Thanks to a wee hours start and the Bridgeport/Port Jefferson ferry, I made it.

The Bunny Bash is held every June at the home of Bunny Hoest. The Bash began because almost three decades ago, Bill Hoest wanted to show some some of his cartoonist colleagues the house he was building. About a dozen cartoonists from the local Long Island chapter of the National Cartoonists Society (the "Berndt Toast Gang") were invited over for sandwiches and a tour of the then-unfinished home

Today, the house on the Long Island sound is finished, and the event has grown. About 150 cartoonists, spouses, kids and friends got together for what turned out to be a partly cloudy afternoon of shop talk.

Mike Lynch, Mad Magazine's Sam Viviano and THE LOCKHORNS Bunny Hoest

King Features' MARY WORTH creative team of Joe Giella and Karen Moy.

It's BEETLE BAILEY assistant and freelance illustrator Bill Janocha with Mad Magazine's Mort Drucker

ARCHIE's Stan Goldberg with KIM POSSIBLE's Stephen Silver.

Heidi Silver and THE LOCKHORN's John Reiner

New Yorker cartoonists Robert Leighton and Felipe "Feggo" Galindo, with illustrator Martin Kozlowski. Thanks to Felipe for this photo!

NCS Chapter Chair Adrian Sinnott and National Rep Mike Lynch surprised Bunny Hoest with a National Cartoonists Society Tim Rosenthal Award for Volunteerism. Above is the award, gorgeously drawn by Guy Gilchrist.

Tim Rosenthal was Head of Syndicate Services at American Color. American Color is the place where many newspaper comics are colored and then sent to papers around the world. His impact, developed with Wiley Miller, on the way color is used in newspaper comics, set a new industry standard. He was also a big NCS supporter, and a good friend to many cartoonists.

I gave a short announcement to the people about Bunny and why she deserves the Award:

Everyone knows that Bunny works for King Features. Everyone knows that Bunny works for Parade Magazine. What everyone may now know is that she also works very hard for the Long Island chapter of the National Cartoonists Society, helping with the award voting, as well as hosting the annual Bash. She is, as Creig Flessel described her, the "Den Mother" of the Berndt Toast Gang. This was a small token of appreciation from her NCS family.

If anyone has a photo of Bunny with her Award, please share it with me. Thanks.

Mike Lynch, with my friend, The New Yorker's Robert Leighton.

Gerry Mooney, Bill Crouch and Elena Steier

Bunny Hoest, Suzan Haeni of the Art League of Long Island and graphic artist Julie Haring

A framed gag cartoon of Bill Hoest's. One of many decorating the "Hoest Castle" interior.

Dotti Sinnott, daughter of Berndt Toast Gang Chairman Adrian Sinnott, and the one and only Sam Gross.

I wound up staying very late, as did a few others. Bunny ordered pizza. I shared long conversations under an orange sliver of a moon with Adrian Sinnott and his family, Bunny, John Reiner, Mort & Barbara Drucker and Stan & Pauline Goldberg.

I had a memorable time. Exhausting, but memorable.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

See You Next Week

"I have no funny secret of life gag line for you because the cartoonist has gone out of town. Thank you. Come again."

Have a wonderful rest of the week. I'm off to hike the Appalachian Trail. Or Argentina.

See you soon.

Stephanie Piro: Bringing a Cartoon to Life

Stephanie Piro, on of my favorite cartoonists (and not just because she says nice things about my sketchbook), talks about Bringing Cartoons to Life at The Six Chix blog. I love learning about other cartoonists' processes.

"When I work… I have to practically use stick figures, and as you’ll see, these may be one step ahead.

"I have to prevent myself from drawing anything too good…because then it will intimidate me, and I will never be able to redraw it as a finished piece, because I’m too happy with the rough. Odd, I know, but we all have our quirks. And some might say 'Too good???' When I sketch I use a Bic pen or whatever is lying around and I write (and draw and everything else) on copy paper."

Gavin and Stacey ... and Nessa & Bryn & Sir Tom Jones

One of my favorite shows is the BBC TV series GAVIN AND STACEY, about 2 twenty-somethings who meet and fall in love. It's sweet, but grounded in real-people behavior. And the first series is out on DVD now. In the clip below, they are finally meeting in person after months of talking on the phone. They are nervous and have both brought their mates, Smithy and Nessa, to the first meeting.

And we all know a guy like Smithy.

A couple of the supporting characters, Nessa and Bryn (along with Sir Tom Jones and Robin Gibb), did a fun video for Comic Relief: Barry Islands in the Stream.

The series is worth a look. It's available on iTunes.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

200 Characters from Dick Tracy 1931-1977

"Dick Tracy The Art of Chester Gould" was an exhibition at the Museum of Cartoon Art from October 4 through November 30, 1978. Coordinated by Bill Crouch, Jr., the exhibit at the Museum in Port Chester, NY encompassed not just the newspaper comic strip, but the popular phenomenon, the artistic style of the strip, controversial violence, and Chester Gould himself.

Above: 3 of the 200 DICK TRACY characters.

It's the gallery of 200 characters from DICK TRACY 1931-1977, put together by Matt Masterson in the back of the exhibition catalog, that's a standout. Here is his introduction, followed by the scans of his amazing compilation:

"I completed this compilation of 200 DICK TRACY characters [in] October 1977 as a tribute to Chester Gould when he reached his 46th anniversary of drawing the strip. The original paste-up hangs in Chet's conference room at home and he tells me he refers to it quite often. His first reaction to it was that he had no idea he had created that many!

"To make this paste-up of 200 characters, I went through every strip in my TRACY collection from Oct. 1931 thru Oct. 1977, approximately 17,000 daily and Sunday strips, and picked out the one panel I thought best represented that character. A reduced stat was then made of each one, and then mounted on a large piece of gray matte board along with each character's name and year each appeared. It was a labor of love.

"Some of Chet's early characters from the 30's are easily recognized as popular movie stars of that era; James Cagney (Jimmy White), Claudette Colbert (Jean Penfield), Marlene Dietrich (Marro), Wallace Beery (Stud Bronzen). In the late 90's, some characters names were invented by spelling words backwards, such as Nuremoh, Kroywen, Natnus, Wolley, and Prof. Emirc.

"In the 1940's, characters were to spill from Gould's prolific imagination an an unparalleled rate. Characters such as the Mole, B-B Eyes, Pruneface, Flattop, Brow, Shaky, Gravel Gertie, B.O. Plenty, Vitamin Flintheart and Mumbles were to be household names and are remembered vividly by all who read DICK TRACY in those years. If a poll were taken, Flattop would probably garner the most votes as the most famous villain. At a time when most villains expired from the strip in 12 weeks, Flattop ran TRACY ragged for 5 months.

"... When I asked Chet Gould where he got the names for some of his characters, he told me he used to ride the train from his home in Woodstock, Illinois to his studio in Chicago and sketch various people he observed on the train. He would exaggerate upon certain features or characteristics. The name would follow, with he one exception being Flattop, whose name came from the popular aircraft carrier of World War II. Imagine an hour train ride with the likes of Itchy, Flyface or B.O. Plenty!

"In 1975, Max Allan Collins, current writer of the DICK TRACY strip, was to become the inspiration for the villain, Bulky, and in 1977, I popped up as Leyden Aigg. In answer to the question, 'Has Chet Gould ever put himself in the strip?' Yes! He IS DICK TRACY."

USA Today: First Look at Tim Burton's WONDERLAND Film

USA Today gives a series of "exlusive [sic] photos from director's Tim Burton's upcoming reimagining of Alice in Wonderland, in theaters March 5 [2010]."

"'We finished shooting in December after only 40 days,' [producer Richard] Zanuck says. Now the live action is being merged with CG animation and motion-capture creatures, and then transferred into 3-D."

Matt Jones: An Afternoon With the Searles

Animation artist Matt Jones blogs about his visit with Ronald Searle and his wife at their home on the French Riveria.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ed Piskor's graphic novel creates sensation among genre's fans

By Tony Norman, in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. A profile of Ed Piskor and the effect that a gushing review in Wired had on his self-published comic. Samples at the above link.

Hat tip to Dad for this! Thanks, Dad!


Sherm Cohen shines his Cartoon SNAP blog light on John Stanley's short-lived AROUND THE BLOCK WITH DUNC AND LOO comic book series.

This is great comics, you betcha. And, like Sherm, I'm reading the new MELVIN MONSTER book, reprinting the prolific Stanley's 1960s comic book of the same name.

Thank you, Sherm, for sharing this!

Comic Art of Jack Bradbury

1300 pages of scans of comic book pages by Jack Bradbury are at the Comic Art of Jack Bradbury site. Lovely, animated work, with a vibrant ink line from his 1940s and 50s comic book work -- and if you don't know Bradbury, now you have no excuse.

Hat tip to Journalista!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Literary Legend Fights for a Local Library

Above Times photo of Mr. Bradbury by Ethan Pines.

The NY Times' Jennifer Steinhauer profiles Ray Bradbury's fight for H. P. Wright Library in Ventura County.

"'I don’t believe in colleges and universities,' Ray Bradbury, 88, said. 'I believe in libraries.'"

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

Video: Tom Wilson, The Man Behind Ziggy

Ziggy Cartoonist Tom Wilson on the syndication and licensing of cartoons in the face of an economic downturn.

DOCTOR WHO "The Next Doctor" June 27 on BBC America

Above publicity shot from "The Next Doctor" grabbed from The Guardian's Media Monkey.

Good to see a line up of the final David Tennant episodes scheduled for airing here in the US on BBC America. The airdates, specific and then, increasingly vague, are as follows:

Premieres Saturday, June 27th

Coming in July

Coming later in 2009

Here's the 2 minute teaser to "The Next Doctor," one of the most fun teasers in the series:

The PRO Cartoonist & Gagwriter, April 1962

Above "This is an exclusive photo of TV comedienne Carol Burnett receiving the NCS ACE (Amateur Cartoonist Extraordinary) award from Albert Dorne, President of the Famous Artist Schools (left), and Bill "Smokey Stover" Holman, President of the NCS. Carol, now a home-study cartooning student of the Famous Artist Schools, has always wanted to become a cartoonist and do a cartoon strip."

Here is the late Arnold Wagner's prozine The PRO Cartoonist & Gagwriter, Vol. 2 No. 5, April 1962, scanned in its entirety.

The year after this, the ACE Award went to Hugh Hefner, another wannabe cartoonist! Other recipients include Jackie Gleason, Orson Bean, Robert Lansing, Rita Moreno, Ginger Rogers, Al Roker, Denis Leary and, most recently, in 1998, Morley Safer.

I especially enjoyed the Glenn Bernhardt interview (there's a sample of one of his gag cartoons on page 12), as well as the news items like this one on page five:

[Editor] SAM BIERMAN: Is going to run personality pieces similar to what the Satevepost used to run on their back page. One of the first to be used will be DON OREHEK. A talent with know-how because behind DON'S laughing eyes are born those humorous thoughts that will last like stainless steel for today and many tomorrows."