Friday, April 30, 2010

Video: French Cartoonist Plantu

Plantu, cartoonist for Le Monde, talks about the Cartooning for Peace initiative (English Google site translation here) which began in 2006, and draws a dove (what else?).

Video: Gerald Scarfe

Video: 'Draw Muhammad Day' Canceled

Did you hear about this "Draw Muhammad Day?" Monday, I heard about it.

The idea went viral this week when Molly Norris, who draws for Seattle's CITY ARTS Magazine, suggested it.

The idea was that people voluntarily draw the prophet Muhammad on May 20 and post it online on their site, their Facebook page, etc. to support free speech. This was in reaction to the censorship of a Muhammad-based episode of SOUTH PARK.

Now, now it's Friday and Fox News was crowing about how she called it all off:

I hadn't heard about this, but Michael Cavna of COMIC RIFFS had.

Molly, surprised by the reaction, has changed her mind. "... [This campaign] isn't really my thing," she told Comic Riffs.

From her site:

Let's call off "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day"
by changing it to "Everybody Draw Al Gore Day" instead.
Enough Mohammed drawings have already been made to get the point across.
At this juncture, such drawings are only hurtful to more liberal and moderate
Muslims who have not done anything to endanger our first amendment rights

Do something positive with that energy, like...Draw Al Gore!

Above is her apology.

I feel bad for her. Molly has ceased to be a person. Fox is telling her to "grow a pair" and a commenter on COMIC RIFFS calls this a "surrender to hate and extremism." Molly is now a symbol, being kicked around for some lofty cause.

Don Martin

Like a lot of people, I learned to draw from copying other cartoonists. One of the cartoonists I loved was Don Martin. He was part of the Mount Olympus of cartoonists (and still is). When I was a kid, I copied his work at home and I learned how to draw the Don Martin guys with their big ears and tongues wagging outta their mouths in my school notebooks when I should have been taking notes. It helped cement my burgeoning rep as "the guy who can draw" in school.

It seemed like every class had one or more people who could draw a passable "Joe Fonebone" or a "Captain Klutz." Martin was a seminal influence.

Hairy Green Eyeball II gives us some scans from Mr. Martin's post-MAD work: the short lived DON MARTIN MAGAZINE. He also reminds us that the big, 2 volume set THE COMPLETELY MAD DON MARTIN, originally priced at $150 is now remaindered at something cuckoo like $25.00.


Oh, and don't forget about the one and only Don Martin Dictionary with entries like these:

  • 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!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Video: Jules Feiffer

Here is Jules Feiffer on April 27, 2010 Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC. You can hear the entire interview here. WNYX has a slideshow of Mr. Feiffer's work.

Award-winning cartoonist, playwright, and author Jules Feiffer, talks about his life and his rise from a fearful kid with learning problems and a controlling mother, to working under the legendary Will Eisner and creating his subversive graphic novella Munro. His memoir is Backing into Forward.

He also talks about the beginning of his career, getting into The Village Voice in 1955, the influence of Steig, Terry Southern, Mort Sahl, Joseph Heller and Lenny Bruce; as well as other comic strip parodies (LI'L ABNER, POGO and BARNABY), writing his strip for the Voice, and his pursuit of fame.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Business of Cartooning: Your Signature

One of the nice traditions of cartooning is that usually, somewhere discretely, there is the signature of the cartoonist. You don't get that, for instance, on the Tony the Tiger drawing on your box of frosted flakes, do you? (But you should. That would be nice.)

Above: How I used to sign my cartoons.

I started looking at some signatures of gag cartoonists through the years. Here are some scans from a few cartoon books. You probably know the names:

Most of the signatures are bold, and some use just a last name, or a nick name (like TAD or VIP). Some sign using their full name.

I thought that I should change my signature to the latter -- from just "Lynch:"

... to "Mike Lynch:"

I made the letters more angular. Sometimes the "L" in "Lynch" looked like a "C."

OK, this may solicit a shoulder shrug. Who cares? It's not a big deal kind of change. But, look: writing my first and last name on each cartoon I draw makes me an easier guy to find.

Case in point:

I got an email from a fellow in London. He had been on his lunch hour, and seen my cartoon in a magazine at the newsstand. This fellow didn't buy the magazine, but remembering my name, he walked 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?

Like I said, we have a custom of signing our name. This is not just a nice custom, but a way to generate revenue.

Video: Steve Bell Draws Nick Clegg

Via The Guardian: "Cartoonist Steve Bell on why he is finding it difficult to capture Nick Clegg: 'As a character he's not defined yet.'" More at the link.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Syd Hoff and Roland Coe

My friend Ger Apeldoorn has some wonderful samples of Roland Coe's work. Coe may be forgotten today, but he was a prolific cartoonist at the New York Post and an influence on a young Syd Hoff.

Above: "I have it on good authority, Peebles, that your blood pressure is down and your ulcer is inactive. Am I to conclude that you no longer care about moving up in the firm?" A cartoon by Syd Hoff from the book CARTOON CLASSICS FROM MEDICAL ECONOMICS, copyright 1963 by Medical Economics Book Division, Oradell, New Jersey.

Cartoonist and children's book illustrator Syd Hoff (1912-2004) may no longer be with us, but his niece, inspirational speaker Carol Edmonston, has put together a Web page about him (with more to come) here.

Syd dropped in on the Berndt Toast Gang from time to time; enough for him to be considered a member of the Long Island Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society. Unfortunately, I didn't meet him. But Bill Seay, the Berndt Toast Chairman, was a friend of Syd's. Bill told me a story about Syd's very early cartooning career, back when he was a teenager. Like a lot of cartoonists, Syd was determined to be one and, like so many cartoonists, Syd's mother was dismayed at his prospects. Heck, the woman just wanted her son to have a normal life! But if he had done what his mother wanted, there would be no DANNY AND THE DINOSAUR, no 571 Hoff cartoons sold to The New Yorker!

The September 1930 College Humor Magazine cover from a page of College Humor covers from the Ellis Butler Parker site.

Here's the story I was told about Syd and his mother's three little words that signaled her acceptance of his career:

Bronx-born Syd sold his first cartoon at the age of 17 and didn’t waste any time joining The Cartoonists Guild. The Guild, run by then NY Post cartoonist extraordinaire Roland Coe, was founded as a union for its members. (This is before the existence of/no relation to the current animators' union, also referred to as The Cartoonists Guild.)

When Syd joined in 1930, the prevailing New York City-based magazine gag cartoon rate was between $3 to $5. The Guild had mailed a letter to all of its cartoon markets. The letter asked magazine editors to sign it, pledging a uniform pay rate of $15 per cartoon. Most of the magazine editors acquiesced.

However, College Humor magazine refused to sign. College Humor was an important, major cartoon market. So Coe, Ned Hilton, Colin Allen and other Guild members picketed in front of the College Humor offices. College Humor called the police. The cartoonists were hauled away.

That night, Syd’s mother was at home, oblivious to all this, cooking dinner. The radio, as usual, was tuned to the six o’clock news. She hear the announcer's voice: “There was a demonstration this afternoon. Among the demonstrators arrested was Sydney Hoff.”

And Syd’s mother fainted.

As Syd told it to Bill, it was many hours later; late that night, when Syd was released from the Manhattan holding cell. Syd took the long subway ride back home, and walked back to their dark apartment building. Upon entering, his mother, who had recovered and was waiting up, calmly announced to her son, “Your dinner’s cold!”

Bill would always laugh out loud at this moment of motherly resignation. Syd was, for better or worse, a cartoonist from that point on.

I regret not meeting Syd, but I'm so glad to hear that his niece has taken it upon herself to set up a site honoring him. Syd lives on in the Cyber world!

"You don't take 'em; you count 'em!"

From that same MEDICAL ECONOMICS book. Wow! Nice use of the seldom seen semi colon in a cartoon caption!

-- The above entry is a rerun from the Mike Lynch Cartoons blog of November 5, 2007

Monday, April 26, 2010

Video: David Horsey: Escape Into America

Engaging short video from the Seattle PI of Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist David Horsey's visit to Venice Beach where he visited the Pacific Jewish Center, a one of a kind synagogue.

This is but one of a series of "Photofilms," in conjunction with Hearst and MSNBC titled Escape Into America. Assisting Mr. Horsey are Nancy LeVine (photography and photofilm editing), Kristian Marson (sound mixing and post production) and, with original music, Roger Palmer. All performing at the top of their game.

These short pieces (3-4 minutes each) strike a casual tone with some beautiful photography and understated wit and wonder. Hard to pull of in this age. Yes, and there are some great drawings by Horsey. Take a look at the one drawing of Horsey himself, alone in a cheap motel room in the segment below. It's only onscreen a few seconds, but its layout, shadows and colors all linger.

The rest of the Escape Into America pieces so far are:

Escape Into America: The Imperative of the Road

Escape Into America: Living at the Edge

Escape Into America: The Pooch Posse of Kanab

It's not often that corporations will hand some money to someone and tell them to send in stories from the road. It's not often that such stories are so well told. These are worth rewatching and maybe passing along to someone.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mike Lynch Cartoon in May 2010 Reader's Digest

"A show of hands: Either we go with Mr. Kelly's restructuring plan
or this little fellow and his 'pot o' gold.'"

Above is the cartoon of mine that's in the new issue of Reader's Digest (look for Michael J. Fox on the cover). You can see the cartoon at the RD site here.

Below is the rough; the version I sent to the magazine that was approved. I redrew it to help make the leprechaun more ... uh ... "leprechaunish." Of course, coloring his suit green helped!

I like how the 2 people sitting around the table do not look impressed by either Mr. Kelly or the little fellow.

In the final redraw, for those who care, I eliminated one of the pieces of paper on the table and drew one extra cup.

I was asked yesterday if clients tell me what to draw. In the case of the the Digest, the editor will just remind the contributors what he is looking for. Usually, it's related to holidays, family events and trends. Cartoons are usually drawn 60-90 days in advance of publication.


Starting my day off with an October 20, 1968 POGO Sunday strip via the Whirled of Kelly blog.

A lot to admire here, as usual. Walt Kelly packs in a lot of conversation and jokes and wordplay (not to mention his gorgeous character design and inking). I always think of Watterson's description of POGO as the last of the "enjoy the ride" strips -- and this Sunday is a grand example of a wonderful ride.

A ride to where? Well, the destination's not the point, tad!

My thanks to blog creator Thom Buchanan for posting these and keeping Mr. Kelly in the blogoverse.

Video: The Uncanny Adventures of Okie Cartoonists

Opening June 12, 2010 in Oklahoma City, OK: The Uncanny Adventures of Okie Cartoonists.

From the press release:

Did you know that Chester Gould, creator of the classic Dick Tracy comic strip, grew up in Pawnee, Oklahoma? Discover this and more in The Uncanny Adventures of Okie Cartoonists, an interactive, kid-friendly exhibit at the Oklahoma History Center! Oklahomans have played a major role in the evolution of comic books, comic strips, and editorial cartoons. You will discover how industry pioneers such as Chester Gould, award-winning editorial cartoonist Jim Lange of The Oklahoman, and current Supergirl and Superman writer Sterling Gates have created, drawn, or written some of the most recognizable characters in American popular culture.

This exhibit opens in June 2010 at the Oklahoma History Center.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Video: Cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot On the Impact of Islam on Free Speech in Dutch Society

This is a 3 minute video from Dutch Danish television of Cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot and researcher Ajiedj Bakas talking about the impact of Islam on free speech in Dutch society. There is a short intro in Dutch Danish, and then most of the piece is in English.

Translation of Danish introduction:

Not only in Denmark do we have an on going discussion about the limits of free speech.

In Holland many artists censor them selves, simply because of fear of the muslims.

But here you can meet an artist who found a solution to that problem; he works under cover using a pseudonym.

But that doesn't stop Gregorius Nekschot

The artist has received death treats just like Jyllands Posten's Kurt Westergaard, which is why he works anonymously.

But he continues, unlike many others.

Translation and more information here.

Video: Mark Fiore Thanks You

Background on this here.

Video: Klingon Chancellor Gowron Shouting

From io9:

"Apparently, there was a Star Trek interactive board game that had Klingon Chancellor Gowron shouting at you to make your next move. But if you looped all of his shoutings together..."

YOU! LOOK AT ME! from Everything Is Terrible! on Vimeo.

Klingon Chancellor Gowron is played by actor Robert O'Reilly .

Big hat tip to my inky pal Mark Anderson!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Useless Flyers

They're all here.

A big hat tip to ______. (I'm sorry, I forgot. I know, I know! I'm useless!)

Video: British Cartoonist Sam Smith

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Guy wins Pulitzer, finally has iPhone app accepted by Apple

Matthew Shaer's headline says it all.

Apple should be embarrassed. Mark Fiore, who got his cartoon app approved by Apple only after his Pulitzer win last week, says he holds no grudge.

Loved this quote:

Earlier this year, tech guru Tim Bray, who recently signed on at Google, called the iPhone a "Disney-fied walled garden surrounded by sharp-toothed lawyers. The people who create the apps serve at the landlord’s pleasure and fear his anger. I hate it."

Hat tip to dear old Dad and my friend Adrian Sinnott.

Henry Martin Interview

Gag cartoonist Henry Martin, who was one of the mainstays of The New Yorker, may now be better known as Ann M. Martin's Dad.

Upon the occasion of donating 700 originals to his alma mater, Princeton, Grace Kim, writing for The Daily Princetonian profiles Henry Martin's career.

"'In all my years there, I don’t think I ever sold more than 35 cartoons a year,' he explained. 'But you have to remember that The New Yorker received about 2,000 cartoons a week and would buy about 20–22 cartoons a week,' Martin said. Martin would then try to sell the remaining cartoons to other publications, such as Punch and The Saturday Evening Post."

Henry Martin is one of those cartoonists I have always wanted to meet. I admire his style and I have been told that he drew every day, like clockwork, producing five good finished cartoons per day. His daughter, Ann, was inspired by his relentless drive, and used it as a template to overcome rejection back when she was launching her BABYSITTER'S CLUB books.

Hat tip to Comics Reporter!

CRAWFORD by Chuck Jones

Did you know that Chuck Jones had a short lived (under a year) newspaper comic strip titled CRAWFORD? I didn't!

Kurtis Findlay DOES know about CRAWFORD. Please go to the Stripper's Guide to cast your vote for a real-book collection of this unseen Jones work of cartoon art. CRAWFORD is about two boys who examine the life of being a kid.

Mr. Findlay adds:
I am seeking a publisher that would share my vision of collecting the entire run of the strip in a hardcover format, like many of the reprint anthologies that have come out recently.

In order to gain the publisher's interest, I am attempting to gauge the interest of the general public. Would you be interested in a complete collection of Chuck Jones' Crawford?

... Also, if any of you comic strip researchers have any material that I can use in my book, please send me an email at

Video: Al Hirschfeld Draws

When Al Hirschfeld was 99 years old, Susan Dryfoos filmed him drawing Paul Newman, who was then appearing in a revival of "Our Town."

The drawing took 8 hours.

This near-silent short film shows us the process of one drawing; going from lose pencils to the final inking with a crowquill dip pen. The camera gets in close, and you can hear the scratch of his pen. I noticed that there was no TV, no radio. No distractions from the concentration of the late Mr. Hirschfeld.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Video: Loni Anderson and POGO

From May 15, 1980: here is a 90 second clip of Loni Anderson, hosting CBS Television THE FANTASTIC FUNNIES special, giving all of America its first look at the then-new I GO POGO feature film. The one and only Jonathan Winters voices Porky Pine.

Lee Mendelson Productions made the TV special, which showcased many comic strips. I GO POGO would be a direct-to-VHS release in the fall of 1980. My thanks to Twonky1701 for posting this clip.

From Twonky1701:

This was the first look at the I GO POGO (1980) stop motion animated feature length film. Introduced by actress Loni Anderson, The 1:11 movie clip (featuring the voice of Jonathan Winters as Porky Pine) aired as part of a one hour TV special THE FANTASTIC FUNNIES on the night of Thursday May 15th 1980 at 8pm eastern standard time on the CBS Television Network.

The movie itself was based on characters created by syndicated newspaper cartoonist Walt Kelly, that ran in comic books starting in 1943, and then transitioned to the newspaper comics pages from 1948 until 1975.

The show was produced by Lee Mendelson Productions (famous for the animated PEANUTS TV Specials) and featured appearances by a variety of famous comic strip characters. This scene appeared in a slightly edited form in the final film which was initially released direct-to-video in September of 1980 by Fotomat. It was never released to theaters as planned (though there is a movie poster that survives from the aborted theatrical attempt). It has never been officially released on DVD, only on VHS and Beta home video, in 1980, 1984 and 1989 (respectively).

Did you work on I GO POGO in 1979/1980? Or are you just a fan? Join us I Go Pogo alumni on Facebook.

Video: Dick Locher Dedicates the Dick Tracy Statue

Video: Marty Murphy Interview

Here is an extensive interview with Playboy gag cartoonist Marty Murphy from February 16, 2002 by Karl Toerge and Gary Conrad of ConTor Productions. Karl and/or Gary ask him about his life, influences and work in this great video, chopped up into the requisite five YouTube parts of about 10 minutes each. This is a wonderful way to start a Monday: an irreplaceable record of a working cartoonist, in his own words.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Jean Schulz: Buyer Beware

Here's a letter from Jean Schulz from today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Buyer beware, especially in the world of art

Sally Kalson's April 11 article ("From Peanuts to Picasso: Art Collection Is Vast, But Is It the Real Deal?") is a cautionary tale to those who may think a "deal" is too good to be true. It is!

Tony Greco says he gets few returns, but I know he has had more than a few. I know of work that has been returned to Mr. Greco because our studio was able to explain to the purchaser that it was not the work of my husband, "Peanuts" creator Charles M. Schulz.

Since my husband's death in February 2000, I have been sent innumerable images which people who are familiar with his work are questioning. In 98 percent of the cases they are not my husband's original drawings.

I see artwork on the websites of galleries and auctions, as well as individual work on eBay, that I have had to tell the sellers is not authentic. Of course they feel cheated.

So all of us who represent my husband's legacy are saying, again, as loudly as we can, "Buyer beware." Buy only with a 100 percent, good forever, guarantee of authenticity! And remember that even then a certificate of authenticity may not be worth the paper it is printed on.

Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates
Santa Rosa, Calif.

A big hat tip to my dad, Dr. Lynch, for this. Thanks, Dad!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

An Adventure by Garrett Perkins

Above: "This is not good." A panel from "An Adventure" by Garrett Perkins.

I'm interrupting our usual Mike Lynch Cartoons blog to bring you Garrett Perkins Cartoons.

Above: the lead characters gather for the cover drawing.

Garrett, who is ten years old, and his older brother Nathan participated in my recently completed cartoon class in New Durham, NH. They both drew a lot in the class and were enthusiastic students.

What I didn't know -- and his family didn't know -- was that Garrett was secretly drawing a ten page comic book epic story. Well, OK, one family member knew: his brother (they share a room).

Above: the four protagonists.

One day, after two weeks of making time to draw and write the story, Garrett presented it to his Mom and Dad. He then brought the complete story the last cartoon class, and, when I asked him, he agreed to let me share it here, for everyone to see.

Above: Garrett Perkins draws an epic battle from the climax of his comic book.

This is all Garrett's work. He made it up, panel by panel. He used crayon for color. He had some extra time due to being laid up in bed for a short time with a mild concussion from ice skating. It took about two weeks, he told me, to write and draw and color.

Above: look at those zoom lines and puffs of smoke! A sample of one of the action-packed panels.

He had to deal with telling a good story, drawing and redrawing the same characters, and coming up with some good twists and turns in the ten page tale.

Here is "An Adventure" by Garrett Perkins.