Monday, September 30, 2013

"Mollies Dream" by Jenia Miller

"Mollie's Dream" by Jenia Miller was a continuing feature in Jack and Jill Magazine. It was a full page, wordless story of a little girl, Mollie, who would fall asleep within the first couple of panels and have an adventurous dream.

Most dreams involve anthropomorphic animal friends who either assist her or bungle things up and need rescuing. Each page had fifteen panels, so the stories/dreams could get quite involved.

At the end, she would wake up, a bit perplexed, with this Jack-O-Lantern smile in the final panel:

There is scant information on Jania Miller. One site claims she is a fashion illustrator and designer. Regardless, her feature is not represented on the web, until now. Here are some of the Mollie's Dream pages, from 1944 to 1948. It's copyright Curtis Publishing.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Francesco Francavilla: BREAKING BAD Posters

Artist Francesco Francavilla has produced some graphically arresting posters for some BREAKING BAD episodes.

Hat tip to Mark Anderson!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Joe Sacco's Work

Documentary graphic novelist Joe Sacco talks about his life with The Telegraph reporter Jessica Salter in an article titled The World of Cartoonist and Journalist Joe Sacco.

Photo by Andrea Bakacs for The Telegraph.

He talks about drawing comics when he was little:

My mum used to draw and I would watch her, fascinated. My sister and I would draw comics. These are mine [above]. I was always a bit jealous because hers were better and funnier than mine and she drew more consistently. But then she gave it up and I didn’t.

The rest is here.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

CARE FOR A MERGER? Cartoons from WSJ

This 1958 hardcover collection of Wall Street Journal cartoons, CARE FOR A MERGER, was found in the used book section of a huge Barnes and Noble in Paramus, NJ. I bought it for the Interlandi drawing on the cover. Love that guy's lines!

Copyrights retained by the copyright holder.

Above: The sad selling price history of this secondhand book, from the inside page, unsold until it got down to $1. The original 1958 cover price was $2.75.

Here's a cartoon by Joseph Farris, who is still drawing cartoons today. I occasionally see him at the New Yorker offices. Love that iconic see-gar in the boss's mouth. Whatta nasty boss! I like the juxtaposition of the vertical and horizontal lines in the background to suggest the curtains and blinds. Snappily done.

Lee Lorenz! And the drawing looks like it was done in scratchy pen style. He uses a brush now -- or rather, has for many decades! This is the only time I've seen a cartoon of his outside of the New Yorker. He became a contract cartoonist to the NYer this same year, and was the mag's cartoon editor from 1973-1997

The cartoon above shows Al Kaufman's mastery of depth and layout. It wasn't until I'd looked at this drawing, scanned it, and then looked at it again that I noticed that the chairs were too darn big. I still like the drawing, but I wonder why I didn't notice that right away.

Cartoonist Doris Matthews is the only female cartoonist in this WSJ collection. You can find more of her work in Funny Ladies: The New Yorker's Greatest Women Cartoonists and Their Cartoons, edited by Liza Donnelly. I like her sketchy style, but know nothing about her.

Chon Day, the master of line, has a couple of cartoons in the collection. The lines, the placement of blacks, all done so deftly and frugally. A prolific cartoonist who, like so many of the pros, kept producing until the end. He created cartoons for many major mags and was a featured regular at The Saturday Evening Post from 1948 until Mr. Day's passing in 2000. He's another cartoonist that deserves a large "Best of" collection.

Mort Temes gives us this very inappropriate (for 2013) cartoon that tells us all that anatomy is destiny! I do admire how Mr. Temes is able to squeeze in the boss's face in the interior office. Of course, you notice how all the angles lead to that office. Nicely done. Another archaic touch: the pedestal ash tray. There was one in the shoe store cartoon above as well. You can see a photo of Mr. Temes and other cartoonists from around this time in a previous entry about Look Day.

Bernard Wiseman chimes in with this IRS joke. I liked it because of the brush work. How just the suggestion of a few people and desks in the background gives us the feel of a busy office. I like how the guy who is speaking is leaning in to the old guy while speaking.

Dan Danglo, who I am glad to say is a friend and fellow Berndt Toast Gang member, brings us this beautifully drawn cartoon. Looks like an animation kinda style of the 1950s, huh? Well, Dan was working in animation in the 1950s. He still cartoons today, and you can see more at his site.

-- This is an edited version of a blog entry from May 17, 2007.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"Twinkle The Star That Came Down From Heaven" by Jay Williams and Mazin

"Twinkle The Star That Came Down From Heaven" by Jay Williams (and always with the name "Mazin" on the art), from Humpty Dumpty's Magazine for Little Children, November, 1957. Copyright its respective copyright holders.

My grandmother would bring up to a dozen of these magazines when she visited during Christmas in the 1960s. She worked for my great uncle, a doctor, in California. I believe these were pulled from the waiting room. 

Anyway, I had not seen them before or since -- until I ran into a copy at a thrift shop a few weeks ago. There were a couple of different magazines: Humpty Dumpty's and Children's Digest. The Digest had Tintin reprints. That I remember. 

Everyone knows about Tintin.

But Twinkle -- Twinkle has been forgotten. A six page Twinkle story was in most issues of HD, back in the day. Here's my earliest copy, from 1957, that I got from eBay this week. The feature alternately intrigued me and terrified me when I was a tot. I mean, look at those trees: leafless, bare of most branches. The woodcut approach was none too cuddly in my little kid eyes. 

And the star of the strip was literally an anthropomorphic fallen star. So weird. 

There is little on the web about this feature, which ran from the 1950s to the 1960s I believe. The table of contents would sometimes (sometimes not) credit Twinkle as by Jay Williams, a prolific children's book illustrator. I don't know if Mazin and Mr. Williams were one and the same. 

Now that I'm older, I like the style ... but I still think it's weird that a star is friends with forest animals.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cool Graphics I Saw At Antique Shops

Some great graphics seen at antique shops in North Woodstock, NH, Bridgton, ME, Freedom, NH and Cornish, ME. I didn't buy these -- just took some pics while in the store. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Video: "Things You'd Better Not Mix Up" by Joost Lieuwma

Things You'd Better Not Mix Up from Jiek Weishut on Vimeo.

Virgil "VIP" Partch: 1961 BIG GEORGE Tour Part 2

Here's the second 1961 Seattle Times news story on Virgil "VIP" Partch's Northwest tour promoting his syndicated panel "Big George." Phil Interlandi, as well as their spouses, came along for the trip.

 Part one is here.

Left to right: Mrs. Phil Interlandi, Mrs. Virgil E, Partch, and Mrs. George Mucey. Visiting wives look over schedule for Toastmasters International Convention.

July 27, 1961 -- from a Seattle Times news story written by Walli Zimmerman:

Are the men who draw cartoons just as amusing in everyday life? "We think they're pretty funny," two loveley Seattle visitors chimed in unison. And they should know.

They are the women "behind the drawing boards" of Mr. Virgil F, Partch and Mr. Phil Interlandi, noted freelance cartoonists. (In addition to doing freelance work, Mr. Partch is the originator of the syndicated  "Big George" cartoon series which appear in in The Times.)

The wives, as quick-witted as their cartooning husbands, arrived in Seattle yesterday, accompanying their spouses to the 30th annual convention of Toastmasters International, at the Olympic Hotel today through Saturday. The Interlandis are from Laguna Beach, Calif. He is art director of the Toastmasters. Mr. Partch will be a guest speaker at tomorrow's session.

Mrs. Partch, tall and stately, broke into a smile describing "packing problems" for the trip to Seattle from their home in Capistrano Beach, Calif. "It was no problem for Virgil," she said. "He just puts his paper and pencils in a suitcase and announces, 'Well, I'm packed!'"

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Clever, funny. Its set pieces and songs make this miles ahead of anything else you've seen.  Just take a gander at the RV. The songs are great. Hard to say too many good things about this tremendous effort.

From the dynamic video duo of Rhett and Link.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Video: Harlan Ellison on the DEMON WITH A GLASS HAND Graphic Novel

Years ago, I was looking forward to the graphic novel DEMON WITH A GLASS HAND. After all, it was my favorite OUTER LIMITS episode. Heck, it pretty much was EVERYBODY's favorite. Anyway, I never bought it because I did not like the art.

I wasn't the only one.

Mr. Ellison talks about picking Marshall Rogers specifically as the artist on his adaptation of DEMON WITH A GLASS HAND. (DC editor Julius Schwartz let him pick who he wanted!) And the results were not at all what Ellison had in mind. He gets very specific in this fascinating video from 1996 Sydney, Australia convention.

OKMNX: Barney Google and The Two Ronnies

Barney Google is a comic strip character (Duh. I know most of you know that.) and a member (and one-time president) of The Brotherhood of Billy Goats. I didn't know that until I looked into the official  history of Barney Google. That's all in Brian Walker's terrific book "Barney Google & Snuffy Smith: 75 Years of an American Legend."

If you are a member of The Brotherhood of Billy Goats, how do you identify a fellow member? Well, all you need to know is the password.

"OKMNX" is the secret password of the Brotherhood.

What does OKMNX mean?

In the October 9, 1927 Sunday strip, we found out what ONMNX means.

Say it out loud:" OKMNX."

Phonetically, it sounds out,"Okay, ham and eggs."

The whole Sunday strip was devoted to speaking like this.

"Hef you any eggs?" becomes "FUNX?"

"'S ve hef eggs." is "SVFX."

And so on.

Brian writes that this is an old joke, and I agree. But when I saw the British comedy team The Two Ronnies doing it, I immediately thought, "they're ripping off Barney Google!"

Here's a screen shot:

THE TWO RONNIES was a long-running British TV series with comedians Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett.

So, here they are, in the 1970s, wittingly or unwittingly, pulling this material from Billy DeBeck's BARNEY GOOGLE some fifty years later:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Editorial Cartoonist Eldon Pletcher 1922-2013

Sad news. From The Times-Pacayune:

Eldon Pletcher, The Times-Pacayune's editorial cartoonist from 1966 to 1984, died Sunday of emphysema and congestive heart failure at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, Calif. He was 91.

Eldon Pletcher started sending me emails some years back. And then we began to exchange Christmas cards. He chatted to me like an old friend -- some shop talk, some talk of cats or a nice comment about the garden, which he saw on the blog. He was one of those fellows who, if I ever got to the New Orleans area, I should stop by and shake his hand. He treated me like an old friend, even though we never met in person.

Before he was at The Times Pacayune, he was at the Sioux City Journal from 1949 to 1966. And before that, he was in the army (Eldon was in the Battle of the Bulge), and a contributor to Yank magazine.

He was a traveler -- studying in Chicago, and, after the war, at the University of Scotland in Aberdeen, as well as the John Heron Art School in Indianapolis.

The funny thing about Eldon, ot "Pletch," as he signed all of his emails and notes, was that he kept in the "now." He never mentioned his editorial cartoonist career to me at all. He sent me a long personal note of comfort when our beloved kitty died in 2012. He had been there too, losing his sweet cat Callie -- but now he had a new cat named Blitzen.

He thanked me for a blog entry I wrote about coloring.

He wrote, "I appreciate your tips on using color. I'm sure in my case it would be big help if I wasn't color blind."

Pletch would only email about his past life when it was relevant. Like this email I received in 2010, which was in response to my email to him about some great gag cartoonists I admire -- specifically: Don Orehek and George Booth. Here's Pletch, talking about his days at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts:

"Don Orehek and George Booth are certainly cartoon greats, all right. I also like and admire their work.

"Martin Garrrity, now deceased, who drew gag cartoons in the better period of magazine cartooning, the 50s and 60s, also taught gag cartooning at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and [George] Booth was a student of his. Marty was a good friend whom I knew well from my Chicago days. At an earlier time, when I studied at the Chicago Academy for awhile, I had Don Ulsh, for gag cartooning and Vaughn Shoemaker, for editorial cartooning. After Marty and his wife moved to Fair Oaks, California, he stopped doing magazine cartoons and did editorial cartoons for a paper in that area. He belonged to the AAEC and when the convention was in Orlando Florida, in 1985, he arranged for me to sit in a seat with George Booth on a bus trip. We had an interesting conversation, about Missouri, where he was from and my wife being, from Kansas City etc....and about our military life. I believe his first work was printed in Leatherneck magazine, the Marine publication. Booth gave a humorous talk at the convention."

A memorial service will be held on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at the Yoder-Culp Funeral Home, 1911 S. Main St., in his home town of Goshen, Indiana. Burial will be in Rock Run Cemetery in Goshen.

I'm thankful Pletch took the time to send emails and chat. I will miss seeing his name in my in-box. What a kind and talented soul.

But I would be remiss if I didn't pass along some samples of his work through the decades.

Here's some of his cartoon work, and more details about his life. The below is from a 2007 blog entry titled "The Three Cartoon Worlds of Eldon Pletcher." It's a terrific overview of his career.

I got a note in last month from Eldon Pletcher:

"My friend Dave Carpenter has told me of your conversation, in which you expressed an interest in possibly doing a blog on me ... going from editorial cartooning to 'gag' cartooning. While I haven't felt there was anything special in doing both types, if you would like to do a blog on the subject, it's OK with me."
So it is written, so shall it be blogged!
Cartoonist Eldon Pletcher was born in Goshen, Indiana on September 10, 1922. After his first year at the Chicago Academy of Art, he went overseas, to serve in World War 2.

Like a lot of cartoonists, he started by drawing some gag cartoons, which are reproduced here. But he didn't have to buy his art supplies. Art supplies found him. Here's Pletch:

"I was in Germany when World War 2 ended. At that time I found some art materials at a bombed out artists supply store and started sending some cartoons to the Continental edition of Yank magazine, published in Paris. It was some early efforts in 'gag' cartooning. 

"I've enclosed a few of those they used while I was in Germany and while at the University of Aberdeen, in Scotland, while waiting for the number of 'points' I had (the Army had a point system in determining the order of when troops came home) to be enough to get me home."

When he got back to the States, Pletch attended the John Herron Art School in Indianapolis. He married Barbara Jeanne Jones in 1948. By the next year, he was the editorial cartoonist for the Sioux City Journal, a position he held for seventeen years.

The family moved to New Orleans in 1966, where he drew the editorial cartoons for the New Orleans Times Picayune for the next 19 years. Here is a selection of his editorial cartoons that he passed along for me to share:

There's Kennedy ...

The more things change, the more they stay the same. There's Romney, Sr. in the line up!

The pendulum swings back and forth.

Remember Billy Beer?

Dick Nixon piloting the capsule? Now that's a NASA disaster waitin' to happen!

So, from gag cartoonist to editorial cartoonist and now ... back to gag cartoonist. Award winning cartoonist Eldon Pletcher continues to cartoon. Here are a few recent ones.

Thanks for sending these along, Eldon. I loved the story of finding those art supplies in the rubble of post-war Germany. Keep toonin'!

Hat tip to the Wichita State University Library for the biographical info.