Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween: Charles Addams Movie Titles

From 1976, here are the opening titles from MURDER BY DEATH, a so-so movie with a great cast and an opening drawn by the one and only Charles Addams. It runs almost 2 1/2 minutes.

A bit hat tip to Michael Maslin for posting this first on his blog!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Comic Boom in Keene, NH

Good ol' Stephen Bissette and other creators will be at Comic Boom in Keene, NH until 4pm today. All info here. Wish I could drop in ...

Hat tip to Comics Reporter!

Mike's Continuing eBay Sale

I have some cartoon items for sale. Please consider taking a look.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Potential Career Day Questions About Cartooning

I'm participating in a local high school career day today. John Klossner and I will have a table where we talk about being a cartoonist. I'm trying to anticipate questions ....

Thursday, October 28, 2010

University of Missouri Celebrates Mort Walker

Cartoonist Mort Walker Friday steps inside Mort’s, an eatery modeled after The Shack, with his granddaughter Isobel Walker at the new MU Student Center. Photo by Don Shrubshell.

The University of Missouri unveiled its new student center last week, with some help from illustrious alum Mort Walker. The new eatery was named in honor of the cartoonist.

The corner lounge features a backdrop of Beetle Bailey cartoons, a life-size statue of Bailey and a trophy case with mementos from the comic strip character and The Shack he made famous.

The Columbia Daily Tribune has an article here by Janese Silvey.

I love that big mural of early BEETLE BAILEY strips.

Interview: Editorial Cartoonist Cam Cardow

Canadian editorial cartoonist Cam Cardow talks about his life in this interview in the Abbotsford News by Neil Corbett.

I especially liked this exchange, " a conversation Cam Cardow has replayed many times in his life."

“What do you do for a living?”

“I’m an editorial cartoonist.”

“Wow, that’s cool! I’ve never met one before!”

“That’s because there are only about 20 of us in the country.”

“And that’s a real job? They pay you enough to make a living? How much do you make?”

“So far, so good.”

The rest is here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gag Cartooning Questions

Some questions I've gotten recently ....

When you're drawing a new character or something you haven't drawn before -- is it difficult?

Yes. I'll draw it the wrong way a couple of times before I can get something that's good. Cows, for instance, are a problem, despite my having lived on a farm when I was little. Obviously, there are a lot of good Web search engines to use for reference, so it's easy now to draw, for instance, a WW1 infantry soldier or a specific car or something.

What is the format for magazine gag cartoons?

I draw on a piece of typing paper. I place it horizontally in front of me, so most of my cartoons are kinda horizontal. I use good quality typing paper. Right now, I'm using a 24 lb., 92 bright, 30% recycled paper. It's cheap and easy to store. Don Orehek turned me on to Micron pens, which will take a wash immediately. No smearing!

Back to the format. Most magazines just don't care. They can shrink the cartoons and make them fit, no problem. A couple of magazines may ask for a change. Playboy will tell you how many columns wide they want the cartoon. The editor will help you translate picas (the measurement for magazine columns) to inches. As mentioned before, Wall Street Journal publishes cartoons in a teeny weeny petite square, so the cartoons must fit that format.

Above: my approved rough for the Wall Street Journal, along with an editor's note asking for a redraw.

Do you draw all your cartoons in black and white? Do the publications color the cartoons or does the cartoonist? If the cartoonist colors them, then how? By hand? Computer?

I draw my submissions in B&W. I don't mail penciled roughs, which was the habit a generation ago. Now I tend to mail out finished cartoons, with wash tones. A big reason for this is that some magazines tend to change cartoon editors and I'd rather have something that looks like the finished art in front of them.

When an editor buys a cartoon, then he or she may ask for it to be colored. In general, magazines pay more for color.

The cartoonist does the coloring. I use PhotoShop, but that's not the rule.

I was talking with a cartoonist -- a cartoonist whose been in the industry since the 1950s -- and he was bemoaning that he didn't have ANY computer knowledge and how everything is all done on computers now. I told him that I thought he was mistaken. I still draw on paper and scan it in to the computer. So he counters with, "Yeah, but all the coloring -- it's all being done on computer." I happened to have a copy of Reader's Digest with me. Paging thru it, I found one cartoon that was colored on the computer (mine). The rest of them -- 5 cartoons -- sure looked like they were colored by hand. I know Dan Reynolds does all his coloring by hand.


This has been a rerun of a July, 2007 Mike Lynch Cartoons blog entry.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cartoonist Dedication

I just got an email from a young, just-starting-out cartoonist who lives in the UK, and is having a hard time finding markets. He asks for advice. I thought I'd respond here.

(Above: a cartoon of mine from the Harvard Business Review. Yes, a cat cartoon in a business mag! A refreshing change of pace from the "people in meetings" cartoons and the "boss at his/her desk" cartoons.)

The great thing about cartoons is that EVERYONE loves cartoons. Whether it's cartoons on TV or Mad Magazine or Marvel or gag cartoons -- people love their cartoons. And every time you see a cartoon, there's a real person, somewhere, who drew the cartoon, designed the character, designed the toy, wrote the story, etc.

You all ready know it's a lot of dedicated work to get to be a pro. That's good! Only the most persistent and dedicated cartoonists make it. The real pros out there have seen a lot of rejection. It's normal.

When Joe Kubert is asked what does he look for in a new student for his Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art (which is in its 34th year in 2010), he replies, "Dedication."

Not someone who is in it for the money, the "the most talented," not the one with all the art credentials, not the one from the city, not the rich one, not the one with the connections.

I draw magazine cartoons. I did not go to school to learn to cartoon. When I was a kid, growing up in the Midwest, there were no schools for cartoonists. I just was dedicated and persistent.

At a 2006 Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art exhibit of the very successful comic artist Todd MacFarlane, there was a case full of Todd's rejection slips; hundreds of them!

Every successful person I know (a) worked at their craft and (b) got rejected. There are no secrets. The good stuff floats to the top and gets noticed.

This is an edited version of a June 27, 2008 blog entry.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Leo Cullum Dies at 68

Leo Cullum, a gag cartoonist for The New Yorker, has died at the age of 68. The cause was cancer.

Although I never met Mr. Cullum, I always admired his grand cartoons. He was one of the most consistently funny cartoonists I'd read.

I had no idea that he had been battling cancer and this comes as a shock.

NY Times obit here.

Mike Lynch: 2010 Festival of Cartoon Art

Some selected moments that I experienced at the recent 2010 Festival of Cartoon Art.


Steve Breen made the comment in the first panel. He was making a joke. Billy Ireland was an important cartoonist in Columbus's history and among the cartoonists he mentored were Caniff and Sickles. If you go and Google his work, you'll see that Ireland's cartoons, most having to with the history of Columbus, were amazing.

Shop talk, like the comment in the second panel by a friend, is common. It's not just what pen do you use -- it's are you REAL or VIRTUAL?

Jan STONE SOUP Eliot made the "Without deadlines, cartoonists would never finish anything" remark and she's spot on.

Dave SHELDON Kellett, in the 4th panel, is one of the most enthusiastic speakers for the medium of comics. I want to apologize to Dave and everyone else --I'm no Tom Richmond when it comes to caricatures. In Dave's presentation, he showcases the simple economic model of giving your cartoons away for free on the Web and then people will buy your ancillary products. As an aside, my criticism of this accepted business model is that it assumes the cartoonist produces a good product and that the cartoonist can produce cartoons for a couple of years before their Web traffic grows and they can begin to eke out an income. These are big assumptions.

The weekend's highlight was an onstage interview of Matt Groening by Tom Gammill (next to last panel). Two microphones were placed in the aisles of the sold out Wexner Auditorium and dozens of people lined in front of them to ask Mr. Groening, mostly, for autographs. Yes, the fellow who wanted a lock of Mr. Gorening's hair was completely serious. The best people who asked questions (and rarely asked for autographs) were the kids 12 and under. They always informed him that they grew up THE SIMPSONS, and usually asked very astute and specific questions.

Lucy Caswell, Jenny Robb, Susan Liberator and the entire library staff did a tremendous job and deserve much thanks. The event was friendly and not too big. It was great meeting so many cartoonists, and hanging out with my inky pal Mark Anderson. I hope I can go next time.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ben Katchor: Window-Shopping on Remission Avenue

From Metropolis Magazine: Ben Katchor writes and draws a one-pager about those heavy clear plastic partitions that act as shields between the patron and business owner. In my old neighborhood in Brooklyn, we had them in the subway, the liquor store, the OTB and the bank.

"The design implies that each customer is capable of having violent intentions toward the clerk."

Video: Ken Krimstein

Here is my friend Ken Krimstein, signing his new book KVETCH AS KVETCH CAN. And then he reads from the book. Each part runs about 4 minutes.

Part 2:

Thanks to Gregory Kogan for the heads up about part 2!

Video: Swiss Editiorial Cartoonist Patrick Chappatte

Thursday, October 21, 2010

75 Years Ago Today: Sidney Smith Dies in Automobile Crash

Sidney Smith, is perhaps better remembered today for his big time syndicate contract rather than his comic strip.

Above graphic via Michael Sporn's Splog.

Mr. Smith signed the biggest syndicate contract to date -- a one million dollar deal for his then popular comic strip THE GUMPS --making him the richest syndicated cartoonist in the country.

THE GUMPS was, like LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE, MOON MULLINS and GASOLINE ALLEY, a soap opera comic strip. Publisher of The Chicago Tribune, Captain Joseph M. Patterson, had a big hand in the strip's genesis (as he had for many newspaper strips, like the ones above), handing the concept of this domestic family humor strip to OLD DOC YAK cartoonist Sidney Smith for development. The term "gumps" is slang for a fool; a name revisited year later, in an ironic statement, for the FORREST GUMP movie.

The strip inspired a popular radio series, movies and merchandising.

As Don Markstein writes in his Toonpedia entry on THE GUMPS:

In 1922, Smith signed a highly publicized million-dollar contract — $100,000 per year for ten years, a vast sum in those days and a pretty good hunk of change even today. And it only went up from there — in '35, he signed a new contract, giving him $150,000 a year. It was on the way home from signing the latter that he wrecked his brand-new Rolls-Royce, killing himself in the process.
He died 75 years ago today* in an automobile accident near Harvard, Illinois. He was driving to his farm at Shirland. He was 58 years old.

His assistant, Gus Edson, took over the strip, continuing it another 24 years, until 1959. (Factoid: one of Edson's assistants was then-cartoonist (now actor) Martin Landau.)

Some of these images are from THE GUMPS Wikipedia page.

Related: Michael Sporn has some dailies, so you can really get the flavor of the storytelling:

*Hmm. In writing this, I'm seeing conflicting reports; without access to actual obituary, the date of Mr. Smith's death may be October 21st, 20th or 29th, depending on the source.

Video: Tom Gammill "Learn to Draw" #25

This one has special guest star Matt Groening.

This video premiered at the Festival of Cartoon Art, this past Saturday night, October 16, 2010, at OSU's Wexner Auditorium. It was part of "An Evening with Matt Groening," hosted by Tom Gammill. The place was packed; a sell out crowd. Matt and Tom showed some cartoon and comic-related clips from THE SIMPSONS and FUTURAMA. Matt also premiered a brand new "Treehouse of Horror" segment from THE SIMPSONS. He asked that no one record it because if they do, then Fox won' allow him to occasionally give fans sneak peeks like this.

Like Matt said, you won't REALLY learn to draw when watching one of Tom's videos, but they are great fun.

A big hat tip to Tom Gammill for letting me know that LTD25 was on the olde YouTube.

Video: Liza Donnelly

WHEN DO THEY SERVE THE WINE? is the newest collection of New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly's work (with an intro by Roz Chast). In this video, produced by Chronicle Books, she talks about how she began cartooning and what her work habits are.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review: THE LOONEY TUNES TREASURY by Andrew Farago

THE LOONEY TUNES TREASURY, an oversized, slick, thick hardcover volume, full of much Looney Tunes goodness. It's an immersive experience.

Author Andrew Farago is a friend and colleague. He sent me a review copy of the book. I was nervous about reading it since I felt I already knew a lot about Looney Tunes and, well, I thought this was a kids' book. I was wrong on both counts.

Above: the title page gatefold.

Above: an Acme Company faux catalog insert.

What makes the book stand out is the depth of Andrew Farago's knowledge and the many, many special features: behind the scenes sketches, background paintings, comic books, scripts, etc. Over 200 pieces of concept art, memorabilia, and photos.

Above: at left, a Dell Comics Porky Pig insert.

Andrew Farago tells you the stories of the stars (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Road Runner, Elmer Fudd, Pepe Le Pew, The Tasmanian Devil and others). This is all written in first person. Perfect for one to read out loud to kids. As it was, since I was reading silently, I could hear Mel Blanc in my head.

Above: some of the great behind the scenes sketches in the book.

Second, the production sketches and the terrific inserts (Bugs Bunny's Rabbit Hood shooting script, reproductions of Dell Comics, a Yosemite Sam "wanted" poster, etc.) make this large glossy color hardcover lots of seductive fun.

Yes, that's a Tasmanian Devil mask!

THE LOONEY TUNES TREASURY has the depth of subject matter that'll capture the attention of the older fan (like me, the person who grew up with Looney Tunes). The production sketches for What's Opera, Doc alone kept me staring at the page for a couple of minutes. It introduces the younger ones to things like Dell Comics adaptations and fascinating factoids like Porky Pig being the initial Looney Tunes star before Bugs' big star breakout. The book also showcases some lesser known and one-off characters like Michigan J. Frog, Ralph Wolf & Sam Sheepdog and Witch Hazel. Andrew is very good about crediting the directors and artists behind the scenes.

This is a slick book, that, along with the sizzle of the cool Pepe Le Pew Valentine's Day cards and the Speedy Gonzalez postcards -- there is also the steak of the proficient knowledge of the cartoons and their creation. Bullseye.

THE LOONEY TUNES TREASURY by Andrew Farago, with a foreward by Ruth Clampett. Running Press, Philadelphia, 2010. It's in stores today.


2010 Festival of Cartoon Art

Some photos from this past weekend's 2010 Festival of Cartoon Art. It was, as you can see, also the 100th birthday of KRAZY KAT.

The Festival happens every 3 years and has been ongoing for about 30 years in all. The event sold out, and there were many cartoonists from Web to comic strips to graphic novels to comic books -- all giving presentations. And, I almost forgot that there were a couple of days of serious academic papers being presented all about comics.

Craig Boldman of ARCHIE and Ed Black (with a cool Siegel & Shuster Society t-shirt).

John Lotshaw of Moonbase Studios, Bill Holbrook, Michael Jantze.

Mike Lynch, Tom Stemmle, Richard Thompson, Mark Anderson.

Stephen Johnson and Susan Kirtley, Ph.D. Dr. Kirtley delivered a paper at the event titled "Girlhood and the Gaze: Focalization in Ernie Pook's Comeek."

Photo of Paul Levitz hugging his giant new book 75 YEAR OF DC COMICS. Yes he's normal size and yes, the book is BIG.

Richard Thompson, Tom Gammill, Michael Jantze, John Hambrock.

THE FUNNY TIMES' co-editor Ray Lesser and Mike Lynch.

Benita Epstein, Mike Lynch, Stephanie Piro in front of a James Thurber cartoon reproduction.

Detail of the cartoon room in the OSU Student Union.

Doug Bratton, Mark Parisi, James Sturm.

Mark Anderson, Richard Thompson.

Stacy Curtis, looking quite serious while touching the art. Yea, those ribbons (all in the color of hi-lighter markers) were part of the art at the Wexner Center. And there were security guards who would shoo one if one touched them. Stacy lives on the edge.

Curator and Cartoon Festival volunteer Susan Liberator cuts the cake.

Aww. Cake all gone. Time to go.

A few more links and photos from this past weekend's 2010 Festival of Cartoon Art:

John Glynn

Daily Cartoonist

Ryan Zlomek

Mark Anderson

Tek Lado

Isaac Cates Satisfactory Comics

Dave Kellett

John Steventon Happy Glyphs

Stacy Curtis

David Allan Duncan

Jen Sorensen

Rina Piccolo

John Hambrock

Dan Piraro

The Comics Reporter has some more and Tom Spurgeon, your Comics Reporter captain, is very good about updating all of these.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

eBay Sale

Selling a few cartoony things on eBay. Please consider taking a look.

Jen Sorenson: 2010 Festival of Cartoon Art

Editorial cartoonist Jen Sorenson posts about some of the cartoonists she met at the 2010 Festival of Cartoon Art that was held this past weekend at OSU.

Monday, October 18, 2010

GJDRKZLXCBWG Comics by Basil Wolverton

Comicrazys showcases many grand Basil Wolverton cartoons from “GJDRKZLXCBWG” Comics, a 1973 collection.

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K-9 Blueprints

Via Life, Doctor Who & Combom -- here are some 1980 blueprints for building your own K-9!

ARCHIE'S MAD HOUSE No. 25 Apr 1963

It's October and here is Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, in a story from ARCHIE'S MAD HOUSE No. 25, April 1963. This is copyright Archie Comic Publications.

First, we have a one pager: Les 'n' Ches with Bess 'n' Tess presenting the Teen-Age Section:

And now, Sabrina, in "Sister Sorceress."

And here's a house ad with Betty and Veronica: