Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Maine Comics Arts Festival 2010

Above: CCS Student Jen Vaughn draws a caricature of a little girl at the 2010 Maine Comics Arts Festival.

A grand time was had at the second annual Maine Comics Arts Festival, which was held this past weekend. Hundreds of families walked through the Ocean Gateway in Portland, ME. The above ins NOT the Gateway, but a view from the building toward some tugs. Fog sat on the Portland bay for most of the day. About mid-day, it began to lift.

I shared a table with my inky pal Mark Anderson, who flew in from Chicago. (EDIT: Mark has posted some photos at his Andertoons blog here.) We each sold some of our cartoon books and chatted with the people who came to see the cartoonists. There were a lot of families, and a lot of people who were just curious to see what this was all about!

David Jacobson and Jeff Pert shared the table next to us. David, the only professional glassblower/cartoonist I have ever met (or am likely to) has a series of these glass word balloons with different words on them. Each one was hand-created and they are tough and durable and easy to mount on a wall. Everyone in NE knows Jeff Pert's iconic cartoons about lobsters and moose! He was doing brisk business with cartoon postcards, magnets and posters.

Local graphic novelist Ben Bishop with a big, Hollywood smile!

One of the sponsors of the show: Cap'n Eli's Soda! Locally made and smilingly poured by the above team. All day long there were free samples of their root beer and other flavors.

While I was talking to Jennifer and Matt, we all found out we live within 20 minutes of each other! Small frakkin' cartoony world! Jennifer draws Squarecat Comics. Matt works for a design firm in the Seacoast area.

Above: the one and only Chris Mills, a writer extraordinaire, I love his Space 1970 blog, which focuses on Sc Fi TV of the 1970s. Chris has a number of other blogs as well!

You get a good feel for the room in the above shot. There are a large bank of windows looking out onto the bay, so you feel connected to the sea and sky.

Henniker, NH cartoonist Marek Bennett strikes a thoughtful pose. Whatever he's thinking about, you can bet it's something having to do with comics! I own one of those shirts behind Marek!

And, coming in from Queens, New Yawk, is the dynamic duo of Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman, making their first appearance at MECAF.

Brian Codagnone and Barry Corbett with their books. They came up from the Boston area. They were at the table next to us.

Oh, and as for me and Mark Anderson ...

I had a table there, with my pal Mark Anderson. Here he is during an afternoon lull, checking his voicemail or something with his iPhone. Mark also had his iPad with him and showed me some cartoons he had drawn on it. Yes, the iPad is cool. Even cooler when he showed me some Batman cartoons on it.

We had a great time and while I can't speak for anyone else, I did many times the business I did the year before. It was great to meet so many kids and adults who love cartooning. It was terrific to meet a couple of people who make read this and make this here cartoon blog a regular stop. Very kind of you to say hello. And it was great to see Colin Tedford (thanks for your mini!) , Jeff Lok, John Platt (ditto), Lenny Boudreau, and other people -- I am sorry there were a lot and I know I'm forgetting names!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cat on the Keyboard

Warm Rufus, bathed in the morning sun coming through my studio's venetian blinds.

Normal blogging to proceed once the cat moves ....

Friday, May 21, 2010

Come See Us at the Maine Comics Arts Festival on Sunday!

Mike Lynch and Mark Anderson will be at the Maine Comics Arts Festival all day on Sunday, May 23, 2010! Come on over and say hi and buy our comics, OK??? OK!!!

Apologies to Mssrs. Lemire and Wood for messing around with their poster above!

Walt Kelly: PETER WHEAT's Publishing History

Artist, Photographer amd fellow Kellyphile, Thom Buchanan, brings in his friend OtherEric of the Digital Comic Museum to sort out the publishing history of PETER WHEAT by Walt Kelly.

PETER WHEAT was a promotional character created and drawn by Kelly beginning in 1948. He was part of an ad campaign for Peter Wheat Bread. The giveaway comic book THE ADVENTURES OF PETER WHEAT ran for 66 issues, with Kelly doing the art chores for more than half of the series, through 1951. It's a very rare book and Thom promises he will be reprinting some of Kelly's largely unseen early WHEAT stories soon.

Go and read the history at Thom's Whirled of Kelly blog. And bookmark it.

Love Bacon?

Available for purchase as a magnet via Design Dude on Etsy.

I have seen these signs, like millions of us have, and never thought, Yes, those wavy lines do look like the rivulets of meat and fat in BACON!

Rifle Shooting for Boys and Girls

From 1957, here's a full PDF of the informational booklet SHOOTING'S FUN FOR EVERYONE, in which boys and girls learn that "America grew up with a gun in its hand" and opines the kiddies to "organize shooting fun in your school."

The 2-color book was issued by and copyright 1957 by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute, 50 West 43rd Street, New York, NY.

Thanks to Mike at the Everyday, No Days Off Gun Blog for this.

Now, 1957 was a wild year. Not only were kids packin' heat in school (with SAMMI's cheerleading), but it was also the first year the BBC documented the Swiss spaghetti tree harvest, which was especially good that year.

Ed Koren Profile and Gallery Shows

New Yorker cartoonist Ed Koren is profiled in the New York Times. He has a gallery show at alma mater Columbia.

Ken Johnson, writing for the Times, notes that it's
" ... worth visiting this show just to see the full-scale ink drawings on fine, heavyweight paper that are reduced to gray, postcard-size images in The New Yorker, in which his work has appeared since 1962."
Koren, who lives in Vermont now, draws his originals really, really big. I remember seeing these rather large boxes, a couple of feet wide on either side, postmaked from Vermont, in The New Yorker offices. The return address was Ed Koren. Inside: his HUGE originals.

The “Edward Koren: The Capricious Line” show is through June 12 at the Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University

He also has another show in Chelsea titled “Edward Koren: Parallel Play, Drawings 1979-2010” through June 2 at the Luise Ross Gallery.

Cartoon Grammar

Did you know that there are rules and regulations when it comes to comic book grammar? I didn't! When I was a kid, EVERY comic book word balloon ended in an exclamation point! Really! Dialogue would go like this:

Pass the salt!

Here is the salt!

Thank you!

You're welcome!

No problemo!
And on and on. I was fine with it. And then, at some point in the 1970s, Marvel began experimenting with periods at the end of its sentences.



Ho hum.

Hulk smash.

It's clobberin' time.


Pretty dull, huh?!?!?

I had no idea you could do this! Really! There are RULES! Like McEnroe says a million times a day in those commercials, You CANNOT be serious!!!!!!!!

Well, yes, fanboy, there ARE rules.

Blambot has a page of rules of comic book grammar to guide all of us who are still smarting over the exclamation point to period transition. And if you have any questions regarding balloon tails, captions -- well, Blambot has it covered.

Hat tip to Sean Kelly!

Related: Mort Walker's LEXICON OF COMICANA. Wikipedia page here. The LEXICON is a self-described parody, with made-up words describing cartoon conventions. For instance:
Wiggly lines around an object that is shaking

Blurgits, swalloops
Curved lines preceding or trailing after a character's moving limbs

Clouds of dust that hang in the spot where a swiftly departing character or object was previously standing.
Hat tip to Marc Tyler Nobleman for serendipitously reminding me about the LEXICON this week. Seriously.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Via IO9: Marina Sirtis and Jonathan Frakes pitch a new sitcom for Counselor Troi and William Riker. Yes, a sitcom about them being married, and Geordi could be on it, and Worf ... but not "old baldy." It'll be "STAR TREK meets GALAXY QUEST," says Sirtis. They go on to talk about the show, their friendship and life on the set.

I think they are half serious and I would watch it. Well, at least I would watch the pilot.

Suggested show title: "The targ ate my homework."

Big hat tip to Mark Anderson!! Thanks, pal!

It'll be 23 years since THE NEXT GENERATION aired this September.

FRITZI RITZ by Ernie Bushmiller

Sam Henderson graciously scans in some very old Sunday NANCY strips. Actually, they aren't NANCY comics. These are titled FRITZI RITZ and are a bit racy, being all about Fritzi's obsession with men, many of whom ARE NOT her rather doughy, suffering boyfriend Phil Fumble.

NANCY would arrive January 2, 1933; Sluggo wandered in five years later. NANCY would, effortlessly, hijack the spotlight and name of the feature from her own aunt Fritzi!

NANCY is currently dawn by Guy and Brad Gilchrist.

Michael Maslin on Bernie Schoenbaum

New Yorker cartoonist Michael Maslin writes a remembrance of fellow cartoonist Bernie Schoenbaum
"There was a like-ability to Bernie's work. His soft lines and washes were easy on the eyes. He had his absurd moments as well. There was a memorable drawing of a man idly sitting in a book-lined room, startled by a book that's hopped off a shelf. The book says to the man, 'Read me.'"

The Bernie Schoenbaum cartoon sketch and finish are nicked from Robert Greenberg's site.


Comicrazys presents some scans from the book WHAT WAS BUGGING THE OL' PHARAOH? by Charles M. Schulz, a 1964 collection of religious-themed cartoons. As Comicrazys points out, the book SCHULZ'S YOUTH collects many of his early cartoons.

Cell Phones Cause Cancer?

"I heard those things can kill you."

The NY Times has the results from a long-delayed study.

The above cartoon of mine ran in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Blowing it up, you can see that the cell is a hard-boiled egg slicer. I saw them in the grocery store one day and thought that, opened up like in the above drawing, they do look like cell phones. Making the businessmen all big, white Humpty Dumpty types cinches the gag.

The darn report says that people who use cells a lot are 40% more likely to get a type of brain tumor. But, hey, "overall there is no link between cellphone use and brain tumors." Uh ... okay then.

Time to invest in string and Dixie cups!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Video: Robb Armstrong

Cartoonist Robb Armstrong makes the kids laugh and talks about believing in yourself in this video.

Bernard Schoenbaum NY Times Obituary

The New York Times has an obituary for New Yorker cartoonist Bernie Schoenbaum. He died May 7, 2010 at the age of 89 in his home in Whitestone, Queens. The cause was cancer. Bruce Weber, writing for the Times, "adds significantly to what was publicly known about Bernie's life," to quote fellow New Yorker cartoonist Michael Maslin.

Mr. Schoenbaum was born in Manhattan on Aug. 8, 1920, to Jewish immigrant parents from Eastern Europe, and grew up in Manhattan and the Bronx, where his father, Abraham, started a number of small businesses. He attended James Monroe High School in the Bronx and the Parsons School of Design. In addition to The New Yorker, his work appeared in a number of publications, including Barron’s and The Wall Street Journal. For years, Mr. Schoenbaum also worked as a portraitist on cruise ships.
Hat tip to Michael Maslin.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

These Little Golden Books Are Not for Children

Illustrator Josh Cooley draws pages in the Little Golden Books style from some not for children kinda movies. Great style and very funny.

Big hat tip to Sherm Cohen!

Mengxin Li Wins 2010 Jay Kennedy Memorial Scholarship

Congratulations to Mengxin Li upon winning the 2010 Jay Kennedy Memorial Scholarship, according to Sandra Bell Lundy.

She is a Film and Animation major at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. Li was born in China and grew-up in Japan. She received the third place prize at the Beijing International Student Animation Festival and her comic “Wind Chevalier” has been featured in the Japanese manga publication, Shoujo Jump.

The annual Jay Kennedy Scholarship, in memory of the late King Features editor, was funded by an initial $100,000 grant from the Hearst Foundation/King Features Syndicate and additional generous donations from Jerry Scott, Jim Borgman, Patrick McDonnell and many other prominent cartoonists. Submissions are adjudicated by a panel of top cartoonists and an award is given to the best college cartoonist. The recipient is feted at the annual NCS Reuben Awards Convention attended by many of the world’s leading cartoonists.

Rina Piccolo: How To Get Your Cartoons Into The New Yorker

Here is the first part of Rina Piccolo's experience of going to The New Yorker offices:

Let me say something about editors here — the good ones don’t say things to be nice. At this level of the game there’s no space for that. I know cartoonists who have sat in Bob’s office and listened to him say things about their work that could be considered unkind. Later on, I myself was told things about my drawing style that I didn’t agree with. But this is the editorial process, and if you’re a professional, you just don’t go home and cry about it. Well, you can, just don’t tell anyone about it.

This is the first part of a multi-part series of how to submit to the magazine.

Al Capp Revival

Jon Mooers works on a giant LI'L ABNER mural, which was installed in Amesbury, MA on May 16, 2010. Photo by Wendy Maeda, Boston Globe Staff.

Al Capp, who passed away three decades ago, is due for a revival.

First, LI'L ABNER is getting its hardcover treatment from the Library of American Comics with last month's release of Volume One of THE COMPLETE LI'L ABNER.

Second, his adopted town of Amesbury, MA held its "First Festival," wherein a giant LI'L ABNER comic strip was unveiled, according to James Sullivan in Sunday's Boston Globe.

" ... [A]rtist Jon Mooers will unveil a four-piece painting celebrating the lives of Capp and his fictional creations — the brawny rube Li’l Abner, voluptuous Daisy Mae, and the ferocious, pipe-smoking matriarch Mammy Yokum. The paintings — each measuring 4 feet by 8 feet — will be installed in a prominent public space downtown, where they will look like a giant comic strip."

Third, Filmmaker Caitlin Manning, one of Capp's granddaughters has produced a 90 minute documentary about her "Gumpy," to be shown on the PBS series America Masters later this year.

And there is also a push for an Al Capp museum.

Big hat tip to Brian Codagnone!

New Sergio Aragones MAD Cartoon Collection

Ooh! Tom Richmond has all the information here.

While this isn't ALL of his great cartoons for MAD, it's a good beginning in a 272 page hardcover format. Tom says that if they were to reprint all of Mr. Aragones' drawings, there would be over 15,000 for Running Press to contend with. How many slipcased volumes would that be?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Scam Email

There is a scam email going around. I just got it now.

The email states it's from cartoonist Roy Delgado. It's NOT. The email goes on to say he (Roy) was held up at gunpoint in London and needs money to get home -- BUT IT'S A SCAM. ROY IS FINE.

Here is the SCAM EMAIL:

To: Undisclosed-recipients:;
Date: Mon, 17 May 2010 18:19:34 +0100
Subject: HELP!!!
I'm writing this with tears in my eyes, I'm sorry for this odd request because it might get to you too urgent but it's because of the situation of things right now, I'm stuck in London United Kingdom right now, i came down here on vacation, i was robbed, worse of it was that bags, cash, cards and my cell phone were stolen off me at GUN POINT, so i only have access to my emails, it was such a crazy and brutal experience for me and i was hurt on my right hand, but i'm glad i still have my life. I need help flying back home, the authorities are not being 100% supportive, i have been to the embassy and the Police here in London, but they're not helping issues at all, but the good thing is that i still have my passport but don't have enough money to sort the bills and get my flight ticket back home, please i need you to loan me some money, i promise to refund it as soon as I'm back home, you can get it to me through western union.

The above is a SCAM.

Roy's fine. He's at home. The email is a scam. His phone is ringing off the hook because all of his friends are calling to see what's going on. He got a computer virus, he suspects.

Seven Birds a Week

In addition to the many birds that come around every day (wrens, finches, titmice, sparrows, chickadees, jays, mourning doves, etc.), the Lynch feeders welcomed a bunch of new birds this past week. Here is the new bird roll call, with bird drawings by yours truly:

The Baltimore oriole came to the feeder within an hour after I put out some sliced orange.

This young turkey has been wandering around the yard in the early hours. They really do look like velociraptors!

The grosbeak is one of my favorite birds. Love the bold red chest stripe.

The flycatcher appeared last week and hunts the backyard for bugs.

The evening grosbeak looks like a goldfinch on steroids. Our New Hampshire hills are a temporary stop for this Canadian-bound bird.

And, flying over the house, from stream to lake, every day, a great blue heron in the sky.

Drawn freehand with a thick stinky sharpie on typing paper, with color added with brush and watercolor.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Video: The Lobster and The Liver: The Unique World of Jim Woodring

This is a trailer for on upcoming documentary on comics creator Jim Woodring.

Shaenon Garrity: Thoughts While Drawing

Shaenon Garrity opines that drawing is hard, while subtitling her introspective comic "Because I'm the easiest thing to draw," over at her "Narbonic Director's Cut" daily.

Video: STAR TREK Parodies

By no means exhaustive, but there are some I had not come across here.

It's about a half a minute long, but THE SIMPSON nails this promo for "Star Trek XII: So Very Tired" so very well.

From THE MAVIS BRAMSTON SHOW, a 1960s Australian comedy series. This is new to me and the only clip from a show parodying STAR TREK during its initial network run!

"Star Schtick" from an early 1970s WAYNE & SCHUSTER CBC comedy show. This is mini-epic in length, standard schtick (natch!) in cleverness.

Carol Burnett (with the wonderful Andrea Martin) from a 1991 one-shot (and probable pilot for a new Burnett variety show) titled, uh, THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW according to IMDB. More than likely, it may be from a short lived series titled CAROL & COMPANY:

THE WONDER YEARS parodies the "Spock's Brain" episode.

The one and only Kevin Pollak from a stand up routine in the months before the release of STAR TREK V. Pollak is the gold standard of Shatner impersonators.

"Star Truck" from the ANIMANIACS show:

"Steam Trek:" STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE as a silent movie, complete with tinkly piano music. This has been on YouTube for a couple of years.

Jim Carrey as Kirk in "The Wrath of Farrakhan" spoof from the Fox TV series IN LIVING COLOR.

The best: Belushi as Kirk for SNL, written by Trekker Michael O'Donoghue.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Video: James Sturm "Giving Up the Web"

Above a screen capture from the video, which can be found here.

From ABC News, Diane Sawyer talks to graphic novelist and head of the Center for Cartoon Studies James Sturm about his recent decision to unplug himself from the Internet.

Related: His article for Slate.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Warren Miller Interview

Warren Miller is one of those fellows who is soft spoke. He says the funniest things under his breath. When I was making my weekly trips to the Tuesday cartoon "look day" at the New Yorker, I would go out to lunch with the cartoonists and try to sit near Warren Miller. He cracked me up. I would giggle my way through lunch. And, in the tradition of pro cartoonists, he's a helluva nice guy. He's interviewed today at a New Yorker blog.

Question: What advice would you give to an aspiring cartoonist?

Warren Miller: Persevere. If drawing is what makes you happy, you just have to find a way to do it.

It's all here.

Hat tip to Michael Maslin!

Video: The Making of "Trials and Tribble-ations"

"Trials and Tribble-ations," a fifth season episode of the STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE TV series, aired on November 4, 1996. Using technology pioneered by Robert Zemeckis' FORREST GUMP movie two years earlier, the DS9 special effects technicians were called on to plunk the cast of the show in an original series 1960s episode of STAR TREK. Not just any episode, mind. It was that "Trouble with Tribbles" one -- the one that everyone and their Mom has seen at least a couple of times.

Here is a Sci Fi Channel documentary about the behind the scenes work.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE Cancelled After 85 Years

Phil Rosenthal, in today's Chicago Tribune, writes that Annie will end her run on June 13, 2010.

"Through more than 85 years of hardships and challenges — spanning the Great Depression, a world war, foreign cabals, corruption at home, several kidnappings and, well, being an orphan — she somehow always found a way to triumph.

"In the changing media landscape, however, Little Orphan Annie has run into adversity not even she could overcome. The sun will come out tomorrow, but the tomorrow after June 13 will be the first in generations to dawn without 'Annie' appearing in a daily newspaper.

"The final Sunday panel of the strip, once seen in hundreds of papers but now run by fewer than 20, will end with Daddy Warbucks uncertain over what happened to Annie in her latest run-in with the Butcher of the Balkans. And, leaping lizards, what about her dog, Sandy? Arf."

Sad news, of course. And ending on a cliffhanger seems, well, ill-planned. Let Annie have an ending other than "Daddy" worrying about her. Let her be home safe, and Sandy too.

Related: IDW's great Library of American Comics ANNIE reprint books.

LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE is written by Jay Maeder, and drawn by Ted Slampyak.

"I Will Be Stopping Calvin and Hobbes"

From 1995, here is the letter Bill Watterson sent to newspaper editors when he quit CALVIN AND HOBBES after ten years.

"... I believe I've done what I can do within the constraints of daily deadlines and small panels. I am eager to work at a more thoughtful pace, with fewer artistic compromises."

Read the whole transcript at the Letters of Note blog.

Hat tip to Comics Reporter!

Cartoons That Came Close

Here are some cartoons that have come close to selling. All of these cartoons were held by an editor for purchase for a major publication, but were later returned, unsold, after the final buying meeting.

The Sisterhood of the Elastic Top Pants. I liked the conceit that if those traveling pants movies get successful, and there is sequel after sequel, then this would be the Golden Girl-style eventuality. Apparently, I was alone in that conceit. *Sniff!*

"The minutes of Monday's meeting:
'It needs more R&D," said Mr. Jackson testily.
'We have the budget line,' Ms. Jones said richly.
"Don't blame me if this fails,' said Mr. Simpson unaccountably.'"

This cartoon is based on Tom Swifties, "a phrase in which a quoted sentence is linked by a pun to the manner in which it is attributed."

"Survival is the first order of business -- that is, after we assign blame for the ship sinking."

I've had bosses that thought like the above.

"Here comes Anderson, back from the future with the stock market reports!"

There is an old cartoon by Don Rosa of Captain Kirk bursting out of the Guardian of Forever time travel vortex with an armful of Action #1 comics and a gleeful look on his face. It appeared in the 1970s fanzine Rocket's Blast Comic Collector and the gag came to mind when I came up with the above.

An above wordless cartoon that maybe is too 1970s in its outlook.

"These are the chains I outsourced in life!"

I like a good CHRISTMAS CAROL gag.

"I love the excited look on the board member's faces when they get their quarterly airing out."

Note the one guy beelining toward the hydrant.

"I'm okay. Just picking up the pieces after a traumatic investment."

"A show of hands -- all those in favor of stocking the break room with performance-enhancing drugs?"

Mentioning drugs in the workplace: always dicey.

There are a couple of meeting oriented cartoons here. Maybe meetings aren't funny anymore.

"All those in favor of working lots of overtime til the kids are back in school?"

So, there you have it -- a couple of "close but no sale" cartoons.