Thursday, May 31, 2012

Happy Birthday, Fred Allen

Born this day in 1894.

"Within the hierarchy of the little men there is no man who can outlittle the minor executive in a large corporation who treats his authority as he treats a tight suit. In a tight suit, he is afraid to make a move. With his authority the minor executive takes the same precaution. There are thousands of these negative men in the places where minor executives conceal themselves in the labyrinths of the big corporations. They use the clam philosophy. If a clam never sticks its head out it is never overtaken by trouble. "


Illustration of Allen by Al Hirschfeld, as if you couldn't tell.

Hat tip to David Pomerantz! Thanks, David!

The Cartoonist Nominees from New England

Is New England a hotbed of cartoon talent or what?

From today's Rochester Times, here's a scan (since I couldn't find it online) of National Cartoonists Society nominees for Best Newspaper Panel: Mark Parisi (Massachusetts), Stephanie Piro (New Hampshire) and Wiley Miller (Maine). Judging by their attire, I would guess this was taken on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at the formal Reuben Awards dinner.

Congratulations to Mark Parisi upon his win.

Video: One night with Daniel Clowes in Los Angeles

A stylish short documentary about the man and his fans.

Here's the background info:
Daniel Clowes spent a very special night at Meltdown Comics on April 5th, 2012. Carlos, a collector of Clowes' work, and his fiance Timony were living the experience as a dream come true. Follow them through this short documentary about the master cartoonist.

Directed and Edited by: Rocío Mesa
AD: Andrew Rafner
Camera Operators: Adam Dorsey, Nicolas Montesinos and Andy Rosenberg
Sound: Ryan McCabe and Zac Mckeever
Post-Production Sound: Ryan McCabe
PA: Francisco Dominguez
Main Characters: Daniel Clowes, Carlos Ramos and Timony Siobhan
Music: Tannhäuser / (Used with permission)
Special Thanks: Alvin Buenaventura, Mark Frauenfelder, Meltcast 2.0 and The Nerdist Theater

Executive produced by: Jessica Gao and Gaston D-L. for Meltdown2.0, LLC.

Video: CTV Report: Remembering Jim Unger

Video: Art Spiegelman Outtake

From December 2006: an outtake from the documentary CARTOON COLLEGE. Art Spiegelman talks about the complexities of telling stories with comics.

Video: FUNKY WINKERBEAN Same-Sex Controversy

From CBS This Morning: Tom Batiuk shows reporter Seth Doane his Northeastern Ohio environs where he sets his FUNKY WINKERBEAN comic strip. They talk about the current storyline of a gay couple wanting to go to the high school prom, as well as older controversial stories like a pregnant teen and the Lisa's cancer story, for which Batiuk was shortlisted for a Pulitzer.

Related: new from Black Squirrel Press: THE COMPLETE FUNKY WINKEREAN.

From May 2012: Tom Batiuk is interviewed in this "My Ohio" segment by WEWS TV's Leon Bibb.

From 2007: a career-spanning interview with Mr. Batiuk.

Video: Mike Peters

Mike Peters on a TV station explaining how he does both a comic strip and editorial cartoons to an amused anchor.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Bus Critic

For those who missed it.

Cartoonists aren't the only ones who have critics. Here's a story I overheard my bus driver tell.

Jim Unger 1937-2012

Jim Unger, creator of the long running newspaper panel HERMAN, died in his sleep on May 29, 2012, after a long illness in Saanich, British Columbia. He was 75.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been made. In lieu of flowers and cards, Unger¹s family has asked for donations to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Cartoonist Adrian Raeside said of his friend:

"If, like me, you're feeling down about Jim Unger's passing, go pick up a Herman book. I guarantee you'll start giggling at the first cartoon. I think that's how Jim would want to be remembered."

Ottawa Citizen obituary by Clare Clancy here.

Bado has a remembrance at his blog.


Bill Finger (1914-1974) was one of those uncredited Golden Age comics writers. He worked anonymously on Batman with Bob Kane. He created the Batman we know today -- the costume, the Sherlock Homes-style detective, the Doc Savage-like scientist.

It was 1938 in the then-new post-Superman age. Action Comics #1 had created a sudden boom in superhero comics. Content was needed. New superheroes were welcome.

Bob Kane had sketched an idea for "The Batman" (in a red suit!) and called his friend Bill to brainstorm about it.

"I got Webster's Dictionary off the shelf and was hoping they had a drawing of a bat, and sure enough it did. I said, 'notice the ears, why don't we duplicate the ears?' I suggested he draw what looked like a cowl... I had suggested he bring the nosepiece down and make him mysterious and not show any eyes at all... I didn't like the wings, so I suggested he make a cape and scallop the edges so it would flow out behind him when he ran and would look like bat wings. He didn't have any gloves on. We gave him gloves because naturally he'd leave fingerprints." -- quote from Legions of Gotham

So, even though pretty much every Batman story had a "by Bob Kane" credit, that was not true.

Marc Tyler Nobleman corrects this. The prolific author has a new book out, with illustrations by Ty Templeton, titled BILL THE BOY WONDER: THE SECRET CO-CREATOR OF BATMAN. Like Marc's previous BOYS OF STEEL, BILL THE BOY WONDER sets out to give credit where credit's due. Bill Finger, decades after his death, is on the map.

Here's a fun video to promote the YA book, which will be out in July 2012:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

RACONTEUR #1 Preview

Above: John Klossner's grand wraparound cover for the first issue.

SNEAK PEEK: Here are a few panels from RACONTEUR, the new comic book I did with some other friends of mine. I'm selling it, via Paypal.

It's a terrific comic (yes, I am saying so myself), from "cartoonists who usually don't do this sort of thing."

Inside the 20 page comic book are autobiographical stories by cartoonist who usually draw those single panel gag cartoons like you see in The New Yorker, Down East Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, etc.

It all started like this:

And, of course, what an idea it was!

We all gave ourselves about a 2 week deadline to draw up our individual stories. The only criteria was that they had to be nonfiction stories from life.

David Jacobson, whose latest cartoon appears in The New Yorker, drew a tale about him and his brother and his Dad, and their shared love of baseball -- which led to a moment of horror.

John Klossner writes and draws a unique tale. To say any more would be taking away from it. Above is a small snippet from one of the panels. Amazing art. John also did the cover. His work is regularly seen in The New Yorker and The Wall Street Journal, and lots of other places.

Me, Mike Lynch: I told about the process of cartooning and "the petty indignities that run my life."

Jeff Pert reminiscences about all those great things that made up his childhood: comics, monster models, movies and more. You see Jeff's work on cards and t-shirts and in Down East Magazine. His first collection of cartoons came out last month.

So, that's a peek at RACONTEUR #1.

Please consider buying a copy. It's $5.99 for US delivery.$9.99 rest of the world.
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Mark Anderson: Superhero Coloring Books

Mark Anderson shares his toys! Here's an amazing collection of superhero coloring books from the past couple of decades, culled from many eBay auctions. And if you click on the cover image then you can get a complete PDF of the (uncolored) interior.

Monday, May 28, 2012


Bill Mauldin 1984:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Video: Chris Ware

Host of Fear No ART, Elysabeth Alfano, sits down with acclaimed graphic novelist, Chris Ware, in his home library for an understanding of this influential artist.

Video: Mike Peters Commencement Speech Washington University May 18, 2012

Video: Daily News Cartoonist Bill Gallo Memorialized at Gallagher's

Thursday, May 24, 2012

1947: Peter Arno in Pistol Charge

How many times has a cartoonist not only carried a gun, but had that weapon registered at the address of the magazine he sells his cartoons to?

Here's an incident from 1947 involving the one and only Peter Arno:

Above: NEW YORK, Nov. 1, 1947: CARTOONIST AND ACCUSER IN PISTOL CHARGE -- Peter Arno (left), cartoonist, was released in Felony Court here today for further hearing Nov. 3 on charges by Andre Lepeletteir (right) doorman of the Drake Hotel, that Arno pressed a pistol in his stomach, Oct. 22, and declared, "I don't like your laugh."

According to The Evening Independent, November 1, 1947, Lepeletteir offered to get Arno a cab and Arno was reportedly to have replied, "I don't like your face and you're not a good American either."

But this was my favorite bit:
Police said that Arno had a pistol permit and that the permit bears the address of the New Yorker magazine which publishes Arno's cartoons.

According to a New York Times headline the next spring:

2 March 1948, pg. 21, "Peter Arno Case Dropped; Cartoonist Freed as Doorman Fails to Press Pistol Charge"

One day we will get the full story, when Michael Maslin's Peter Arno bio ("Mad At Something – The Life & Times of The New Yorker’s Peter Arno") is published. In the meantime, he's posted an excerpt here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cartoonist Photos Part 4

Above: Bil Keane, 1991.

Here are some more photos of cartoonists in no particular order. Many of these were new to me.

This is part four of photos of cartoonists from over the years.

More Cartoonist Photos:
Part one
Part two
Part three

Here's Harry Hershfield in a 1931 Chevrolet Roadster:

Mr. and Mrs. Bob Barnes, 1961:

Mrs. Barnes, a closer angle:

Clifford Berryman, 1900:

Gary Larson, 1986:

Homer Davenport gives the photographer the stinkeye in this undated photo:

John Callahan, 1988:

Paul Conrad 1958:

Jules Feiffer, 1971:

Walt Frehm, of RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT, 1972:

Ernie Bushmiller, 1947:

Ernie Bushmiller, 1972:

Ernie Bushmiller at the board, 1972:

Peter Arno at the piano, 1933:

This is part four of photos of cartoonists from over the years.

More Cartoonist Photos:
Part one
Part two
Part three

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sherm Cohen: Battle of the Frozen Walt Dolls

A Walt Disney doll frozen in an ice cube?!?!

Sherm Cohen has details here.

Leigh Rubin: If My Wife Says My Cartoon Is "'Sick,' Then I Know I Have a Winner."

Cartoonist Leigh Rubin, who draws the RUBES newspaper cartoon panel, is interviewed in the Modesto Bee.

Who's your sounding board? And do most of the ideas you come up with end up in "Rubes," or do you toss away two for every one we see?

I do have a growing pile of random concepts that never quite jelled. To become an official "Rubes" cartoon, a drawing must pass a battery of strict tests.

In addition, my wife must give it the final approval. If she says it's "sick," then I know I have a winner.

Read more here:

Gene Deitch: The Animated WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

Detail from the storyboard.

Animator Gene Deitch talks about the long process of making the WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE animated film. 

The production was long and arduous, five years of on-&-off start & stop, with Maurice demanding change after change, often contradictory. I still have boxes of letters, memos, notes, sketches, scribbled ideas, rejections, arguments, changes, changes, changes.  Was it worth it?  Well, yes, it’s my all-time best-selling film, and the royalties soothe my memories of pain. I’m posting here a few random samples, which can only give you a rough idea of the ups and downs and general angst we endured.

There are several amazing bits Mr. Deitch shares:

  • the now-rare original soundtrack version of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE,
  • and an unseen 1984 film of Deitch and Maurice Sendak talking about their IN THE NIGHT KITCHEN film.

Go read the entire tale here.

Via wardomatic! Thanks, Ward!

Monday, May 21, 2012

New Comic: RACONTEUR #1

You want a copy? You got it!

Above: RACONTEUR #1 cover by John Klossner

A new 20 page comic by four cartoonists "who usually don't do this sort of thing." Cartoonists who are known for drawing single panel cartoons for The New Yorker, Down East Magazine, Reader's Digest and The Wall Street Journal, draw autobiographical comic stories.

This book debuted at the 2012 Maine Comics Arts Festival and features work by four professional Northern New England cartoonists:

Buy now and I'll mail it to you:

Ship To ...

Report: Maine Comics Arts Festival May 20, 2012

Some of the best cartoonists today (and great friends): John Klossner, Jeff Pert and the one and only Bill Woodman.

Just like comics nerds: a beautiful day outside, the kinda day Mom says to go out and play.

But noooo!

On Sunday, hundreds of people showed up to hang out inside the Ocean Gateway complex on Casco Bay -- with 100 creators displaying their wares, and hundreds more kids, parents, teens, cosplay fans, and curiosity seekers checking out the merchandise -- all sharing their love of comics at the fourth Maine Comics Arts Festival.

Here are a few photos from the event.

Jason Viola and Cara Bean.

The guy at the next table: Maine's Maddest Cartoonist: my pal Jeff Pert.

The media was there!

Fellas, could you stop drawing in your sketchbooks and say hello?

Corbett Features: Brian Codagnone and Barry Corbett.

My friend Alex Cox represented the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Alex is the Deputy Director of the CBLDF.

Comics power couple: Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb.

Love this WPMG logo dog!

Above: Bob Flynn, of Heeby Jeeby Comics, draws!

Ben Bishop promotes his new LOST TRAIL book.

Marek Bennett signs books with the Trees and Hills Group.

The line of people for Kate Beaton went out the door.

John Green, Dave Roman and Raina Telegemeier.

Tom Pappalardo and Matt Smith.

Rel and Megan Brennan

The guy at the next table: Maine's Maddest Cartoonist: my pal Jeff Pert.

Above: the way my table looked. I had some books and magnets from Isabella Bannerman to sell, as well as comics and minis of my own.

The view from my table.

It was great to get to see Brooke McEldowney walk in. I appreciate the time that David Kender spent telling me about the origins of the Boston Comics Roundtable

And, of course, a tip of the hat to Rick Lowell for producing this terrific event!