Friday, March 29, 2013

The Easter Egg Hunt


See you soon ...

Video: Shatner vs. Gorn: STAR TREK: The Video Game

Hat tip to my pal Brian Fies.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

"The Ogre of Merryville" by Marv Levy

Marv Levy did not play baseball after school. In the early 1940s, this high school kid, this golden age comics artist, was going to Manhattan, getting work at Centaur, Timely and Harvey. After a brief interruption to enlist in the infantry (he was part of the invasion of Normandy in 1944), he got formal training at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. By 1950, Marv had set up his own advertising studio.

I knew Marv and his wife Barbara from many Berndt Toast Gang get togethers. Marv was a soft spoken fellow and he would not talk about himself unless prodded. I remember a young man sought him out one time and showed Marv his portfolio. The young man was seriously frustrated: he had been to Marvel and DC and they did not hire him. Marv said his art was fine, and it was just a matter of timing and persistence. "Keep showing up," he told the fellow. Very, very, true.

But, back to young Marv: here's a story from Alfred Harvey Comics titled "The Ogre of Merryville." Art is by Marv Levy, no writer credited. It was reprinted in the comic book reprint THE ORIGINAL BLACK CAT #7, November 1991. Since Black Cat was only around for ten years (1941-51), it's fair to guess that this is a sample of very early Marv Levy artwork.

It's a sweet, offbeat fairy tale filler story. It's the kind of assignment a young comic artist might get. He wouldn't start with the Harvey flagship character! Some of the inking is terrific, some of it is a little dubious. But look at some of the angles here. The point of view, with high angles, looking up at the ogre. You can see some offbeat panel arrangement, perhaps inspired by his mentor, Bernard Baily.

I was reading this reprint for the first time last week. (The original printing date of the story is not cited, which unfortunately is the norm with this series of books.) I read the whole thing and did not know it was Marv's until I saw his name at the end. It was terrific to see this seminal work by a true gentleman of comics.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Okay, I would watch this.


Hey, DOCTOR WHO continuity freaks and nitpickers (and you know who you are)!

Here's the thing: How could Strax the Sontaran be in "The Snowmen" when we saw him killed previously in "A Good Man Goes To War?" Huh? Wha happen?

Well, here's a brand new minisode that, uh, explains that plot hole.

EDIT: Oops! It's now blocked in the US by the BBC -- but you can view it for free on iTunes.

Hat tip to Life, Doctor Who and Combom!

Video: THE OUTER LIMITS Behind the Scenes

From a marathon of the 1960s TV sci fi show THE OUTER LIMITS on TNT's "Monster Vision" in 1991: Here are three three-minute mini-documentaries about the show, featuring those DEMON WITH A GLASS HAND guys, writer Harlan Ellison and the lead actor Robert Culp.

1970s Logos: Billows and Curves

Above: the logo for Planned Parenthood Toronto, designed by Richard Janis, from the Graphis Annual 73/74.

The Aqua-Velvet Blog shows us a series of 1970s era Billows and Curves inspired logos.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Star Trek TOS Bridge Ambience

If you want to have the familiar ambient sound of The Original Series bridge, here is 14 minutes of it for your background listening pleasure.

BUNKY of "Parlor, Bedroom and Bath" by Billy DeBeck

If you know your classic comic strip artists, you know who Billy DeBeck is. DeBeck created BARNEY GOOGLE and SNUFFY SMITH. With a vibrant, sketchy cartoon line, DeBeck was one of the most popular cartoonists of his day.

And every Sunday, millions of newspaper readers would read the BARNEY GOOGLE comic -- and the topper strip was another DeBeck creation titled PARLOR, BEDROOM AND BATH or, later on, it was called by its main character, BUNKY.

An offbeat strip about a big nosed baby who gets into these melodramatic adventures.

Ron Goulart writes the story of BUNKY in the comics magazine NEMO, with scans of the strips provided by Mr. Goulart and Rick Marschall. Blogger Jeff Overturf has scans here.

Above and below are scans from my BUNKY book from 1935. It's precursor to those Big Little Books, with text on one page and a drawing on the other.

This is part of my eBay sale today.

Yeah, a baby with a big schnoz getting into scrapes. That was the format!

Below: Fagan! He was Bunky's nemesis. An "unrepentant bad guy,"similar to Segar's Bluto cites Mr. Goulart.

Bunky would reply to Fagan, "Youse a viper!" and Fagan would laugh derisively. The phrase caught on and there was for a time a Sunday side-feature with the same title.

Unseen John Romita FANTASTIC FOUR Art

If you were a kid in the 1970s, you may recall the Marvel medallions. There were a couple of them. Here's the Spider-Man one. It was a large coin, in a removable ring and chain. You could wear it or pop the medallion out and carry it in your pocket.

All Biglee has come across this rarely seen art for the Fantastic Four medallion by Marvel Art Director John Romita.

Related: Not to be outdone, nearly a decade later, DC Comics offered a series of Medallions in these 1988 in-house comic book ads upon the occasion of Superman's 50th birthday:

Monday, March 25, 2013

Video: Milton Caniff at Work

This 11 minute vintage film of Milton Caniff, in his studio, is from the Prelinger Archives. There is no sound -- but it's a fascinating look at Caniff, brush in hand, drawing.

Thanks to Jeff Quitney for putting this on YouTube,

Video: Lincoln Peirce: Drawing BIG NATE

Friday, March 22, 2013

We Want Your Cartoon -- But Let's Not Talk About Money, Okay?

It's always nice to sell a single panel cartoon -- but --

(Begin rant:)

Beware! A lot of these rights clearance people working for (usually) textbook companies are sending out paragraphs like the one below. 

As you may know, the writer(s) initially compiles the content, including photos, graphs, illustrations -- and the rights clearance person has to go through that draft, ensuring that the publisher has a contract with the all of the rights holders to publish the material. 

Thanks to the Web, and visual recognition software, it's pretty easy to find the person who drew the cartoon and contact them.

But, more and more, the publisher tells you they want your cartoon, in all forms forever and always -- with absolutely zero mention of compensation.

Here's the lovely boilerplate:
"My publisher asks me to request nonexclusive world distribution rights, in all languages. Please extend these rights to future editions of the book, translations, CD-ROM and other electronic media, and other derivative works. These rights will in no way restrict publication of your material in any form by you or by others authorized by you. If you do not control these rights in their entirety, please let me know who else I will need to contact for permission. Acknowledgement of the original source will be included"
You are entitled to get paid for a textbook sale. They are making money off of it and so should you.

You NEVER give them the right to have your work for all editions, etc. Invoice them for ONLY a single print run. Electronic and foreign rights are more $.

So .. my advice is to email them back and say, sure, you can have the cartoon, enclosed is my invoice; upon receipt of funds, I will send you a hi res version of the cartoon.


I shoulda gone into the drywall business.

A sincere non-ranty thanks to a cartoonist colleague who forwarded the above paragraph.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


A lot more than just efx and big boomy music, as was the case with the earlier trailers. Here we have a bit more of the cast and a better hint at the plot. Looks like high decibel summer movie watching fun.

1962 Video: ABC Game Show CAMOUFLAGE

Here's a 1962 episode of the short-lived ABC game show CAMOUFLAGE, where contestants look at a drawing and try to find the hidden object. It was like a "find-a-word" puzzle, but with pictures.

CAMOUFLAGE is new to me, despite it being over 50 years old. There was another version, also short-lived, in the 1980s.

I think this would make a good game today. So would winning that 1962 Pontiac Catalina Station Wagon. Just sayin'.

The artist who drew these pictures is uncredited


CAMOUFLAGE page at the Those Groovy Game Shows site

CAMOUFLAGE Wikipedia entry

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


A fellow named Adam Brown took it upon himself to do this short (28 seconds) animation of CALVIN AND HOBBES.

Copyright concerns aside: the work is very much on model. It's based on a Sunday strip here, and pretty much looks terrific. The time and effort that Mr. Brown took to do this is evidence of the enduring love for this newspaper comic strip by Bill Watterson.

EDIT: The video is now unavailable. But the good news is that YT1234 has reposted it -- and here it is (for now):

Below is the original linked video by Adam Brown, now listed as "Private:"

Hat tip to Drew Litton.

Cartoonist J M Staniforth: "I had smashed the hun with cartoons"

If you lived in Wales during the first part of the last century, you knew who JM Staniforth was. 

He was the Thomas Nast of the First World War.

Professor Chris Williams of Swansea University has received a grant to digitize 1,300 of Staniforth's editorial cartoons. This will be a small, but representational portion of the some 15,000 cartoons he created while cartooning for the Western Mail.

"He reflected society back to his audience in terms they'd identify with, and as such they're a little window on the culture at the time. If he is illustrating the prime minister as a music hall artist, he is making assumptions about what the audience can understand. 
"There are a lot of raw materials for social historians in the presumed knowledge of the time, and his World War One work in particular is revealing of how attitudes changed through the course of the conflict."

Wednesday AM Snow

My place. Here it is, pre-shovelling and pre-snowblowing. Yes, it's pretty. But it'll take an hour to clear. The rising temperatures are changing the powdery snow to heavy snow as I blog this morning. Better get out there!

Rufus, sleepy from napping on the bed, gives me moral support.


Video: A DOCTOR WHO/BACK TO THE FUTURE Mashup by James Farr

Video: Many Robots in ANZ Call Centre Commercial

Lost in Space meets Doctor Who!

An "all robot" commercial fro Australia's ANZ Call Centre.

Yes, yes, I know. Except that the "robots" from Doctor Who are NOT robots.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesday PM Snow

More snow today and through the night. Could be a foot or more by daybreak.

The living room: One cat (Fergus) watches the birds (and the camera). Another (Sam) snoozes.

Meanwhile, outside: Can hardly see the road.

Niculae Asciu 1942-2013

Photo of Mr. Asciu from

Cartoonist illustrator Niculae Asciu, a prolific commercial artist whose clients included the New York Times and The New Yorker, died on March 3, 2013 at his home in Queens, NY. The cause was cancer.  He was 70 years old.

Mr. Asciu (pronounced "ASK-you") had hundreds of his drawings published in the Times beginning in 1974.

From the New York Times obituary:

"'He would just whip these brilliant ideas from his head to his pen and they’d get published,' Tom Bodkin, a deputy managing editor and the design director at The Times, said."
Born in Cerna Voda, Romania, Mr. Asciu graduated from Bucharest University in 1964. Three years later, he married Elena Papuc.

In 1971, the young couple came to New York City. He was "part of a wave of East Europeans fleeing to the United States to work in creative fields."

Within three years, he got the first of many illustration gigs with The New York Times. 

The next year, he did his first New Yorker cover.

From the English translation of his obituary at

"Nicholas Asciu draw a fine line as a electrocardiograph. It was a delicate character, even his cartoons were no cynicism, no hitting the sledge, but relentlessly subtle fountain."

From the New York Times obituary:
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a brother, Mircea, and a son, Bogdan, a graphic artist.

Interview: Mike Edholm

Photo by Kristin Streff.

Cartoonist, educator and Chair of the North Central National Cartoonist Society Chapter Mike Edholm reflects on his work in In Retirement, It's Not Exactly Back to the Drawing Board by Peg Sheldrick, writing for the Lincoln Journal Star.

Mike is retiring from his post as publicity and public relations coordinator for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's School of Music. He'll be cartooning full-time.

Here are a few quotes:

On his second grade teacher's response:

By second grade, his artistic gifts had caught the attention of others beyond the family. When a citywide school art contest was announced, Edholm’s teacher suggested he "sit this one out to give the other kids a chance."
“At that point, I pretty much threw in the towel on art competitions,” Edholm said.

On Disney and sketchbooks:

In the 1980s, he interviewed with Disney studios. The executive told him they would love to hire him but could not, because Disney hires from sketchbooks, not portfolios.
“You what?!” Edholm remembers thinking. This was completely contrary to everything he’d ever been taught, he said. “At that point, I began to question education and started keeping sketchbooks.” 
To this day he encourages his art students to do likewise.

The entire story is here.

Tuesday Morning Snow

A few photos of the Big Storm so far. Light, fluffy snow over everything. Got about 4-5 inches overnight. Another 3-7" today; 4-8" tonight.

Time to put another log on the fire and hunker down.

Here's the long driveway, going out to the very white road:

I cleaned off about 4 inches of snow from the feeder on the right and put a nice pile of sunflower seeds. The juncos, chickadees and titmice are squawking at me to go away so they may gorge.

Part of the backyard. If there was no snow, you could see the cord of firewood. It's there ... somewhere.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sunday, March 17, 2013

New Trailer: DOCTOR WHO Series 7B

New episodes begin March 30th. This BBC America trailer has some different clips than the BBC one.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bullets and Bracelets