Friday, November 29, 2013

Fred Gwynne Draws

There were a lot of actors who drew. Martin Landau worked at the New York Daily News before deciding he would abandon dreams of being a cartoonist to pursue an acting career. Jonathan Winters drew gag cartoons. And now this: Fred Gwynne drew cartoonists at the Harvard Lampoon when he was a student there. Here's a link to a great Nat Hiken's Car 54: Where Are You? site that has a number of cartoons drawn by Fred Gwynne.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Video: Dan Wasserman

Boston Globe editorial cartoonist Dan Wasserman talks about his early days (and a mistake he made with simultaneous submissions), as well as his process.

The video was produced by Corinne Holroyd.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Jewish Museum Art Spiegelman Reception 11-07-13 Photos by Matthew Carasella

Photo copyright Matthew Carasella.

Who was at the reception for the Jewish Museum's Art Spiegelman retrospective? Here are 181 photos from photographer Matthew Carasella. 

Hat tip to Jay Lynch. Thanks, Jay!

Illustrator Jimmy Gownley draws Amelia from the AMELIA RULES! series

Monday, November 25, 2013

BATMAN: HOARDER by Kerry Callan

Kerry Callan posits the theory that Batman really, truly is a hoarder. 

Video: Brian Walker at the Opening of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Brian Walker talks about cartooning and his Dad, Mort Walker, in what looks like an impromptu presentation at the opening of Ohio State University's Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum:

And here are some samples of art from the Museum:

My thanks to Lost Art Student for this!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Video: GoldieBlox Toys Ad Empowers Girls with a Rube Goldberg Invention

Here's a fun commercial for a line of GoldieBlox "Toys for Future Inventors" in which three girls seek to scuttle the popular media notion that they want just to be pretty princesses.

How do they do this?

By building a honking big Rube Goldberg contraption.

It's a lot of fun. Look:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Chester Gould's Early Years of Struggle

Above: a sports feature by Chester Gould. The feature was rejected the same year that TRACY was accepted.

Chester Gould created DICK TRACY. Yeah, yeah, everyone knows that.

But, before that -- before TRACY -- Mr. Gould persisted, enduring rejection after rejection, for a decade, before he hit on what was then called PLAINCLOTHES TRACY.

Mr. Gould took a cartoon correspondence course when he was a teenager. He began submitting cartoons for possible syndication beginning in 1931, while in college.

He did get a job at Hearst's Chicago Tribune a year after graduating from Northwestern, in 1924, and he cranked out some early efforts, syndicated by Hearst's King Features. The efforts were "uninspired" (to quote Gould himself) with titles like FILUM FABLES (a spoof on the movies) and RADIO CATS. They did not last long.

Why is it some people are driven? Gould was working at the paper, making $100 a week by 1928. He had been married for two years by then. Not a bad living at all! But he was constantly putting new comic strip ideas in front of Hearst: strips with kids, strips with girls, sports strips, even a science strip.

Here are some of his 1920s rejected comic strips.

Above: like most of these strips, this domestic drama featuring a young girl names Sal, has no name. The debt to fellow-Chicago cartoonist Harold Gray is apparent in its layout and subject matter.

The above strip, drawn in a bigfoot style and starring a boastful fellow named Buzzy is static and wordy.

There's a lot o action in this rejected submission which stars a Mister Larkin and his man servant and glaring racial stereotype Halitosis.

Above is a non-fiction strip titled "The World's Notebook."

Why Gould persisted, he only knows. He was comfortable, but he wanted more.

Talent is cheap. Persistence is everything. Gould had talent -- talent enough to be making $100 a week. His persistence for a breakthrough concept paid off.

Mr. Gould would go on to win awards, including the coveted Reuben Award (twice!). The strip, under the creative team of Mike Curtis and Joe Staton, will had its 72nd anniversary this past October 4th.

These early strips have, so far as I know, only been reproduced once: in the program book for the 1978 "Dick Tracy: The Art of Chester Gould" exhibit, curated by Bill Crouch, Jr., at the old Museum of Cartoon Art in Port Chester, NY.

My thanks to Charles Green for his "Biographical Sketch" of Gould from that book, from which these samples are scanned.

200 Characters from Dick Tracy 1931-1977
CIGARETTE SADIE by Chester Gould

-- The above is an edited version of a blog entry from March 30, 2011. Happy belated birthday to Mr. Gould,  who would have been 113 years old on November 20th.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Adrian Tomine Interview

GQ Magazine scribe Andy Morris interviews illustrator/cartoonist Adrian Tomine. A lot of the interview is asking him what he thinks about other illustrators, magazines, etc. Here's Adrian on New York City for tourists:

Question: What's the one thing anyone visiting New York should do that's not on the tourist trail? 
Adrian Tomine: Come to Brooklyn. I know a lot of tourists are intimidated by the idea of leaving Manhattan, but I think it's a really incomplete New York experience if you just stay around your midtown hotel. Even if you only have an afternoon to spare, come check out Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Heights promenade, the flea markets. Grab a meal at Frankies 457, Prime Meats, El Almacen, Nicky's Vietnamese Sandwiches, or any random pizza place. If nothing else, go to Bagel Hole and buy a dozen of the best bagels in the world.

Signe Wilkinson Mugged

What happens when a cartoonist is mugged? The cartoonist draws a cartoon about it.

Signe Wilkinson, editorial cartoonist for the Philadelphia Inquirer and a syndicated comic strip creator, was mugged in her Philly neighborhood on Sunday night. She was unharmed.

She writes:

Held up at gunpoint on Sunday evening AT 7 PM in my nice, safe neighborhood, the little perp made off with my 'purse' which was a canvas bag filled with pens, paper, and sketches for my comic strip, "Family Tree". It put my schedule back but warmed my heart that I've given him the tools that could change his life. Of course, learning to use the pens takes longer than learning to shoot a gun.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mark Anderson: 2013 OSU Festival of Cartoon Art

Run, do not walk, to Mark Anderson's blog for a rundown of the OSU 2013 Festival of Cartoon Art.

Mark gives on-the-scene reactions to the presentations and who he met and what went on during this tri-yearly event. (The next one is in 2016.)

This Festival was historic since it was not only a bunch of great seminars and events about cartooning -- but also the grand opening of Sullivant Hall, The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum.

Related: The OSU Cartoon Library has a new YouTube channel. First up: 44 seconds of raw video, just "minutes before the Billy Ireland a Cartoon Library & Museum grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony."

TINTIN Book Resonates Today's Politics

Dhaka Tribune writer Muhammed Eusha reviews THE BROKEN EAR, a Tintin book from 1937 -- and notes how
this fascinating comic is extraordinarily gripping, and it progresses with such celerity that it is clearly not a book meant only for children.
His point is how powerfully the plot resonates today with Iraq and, now, with Iran.
This extraordinary comic book, written and drawn over 70 years ago, reveals that the vile games of war played to decide who wins the rights over the oil fields are nothing new. The trend unfortunately continues today and the last casualty was Iraq. 
Alan Greenspan, in his memoir, has acknowledged solemnly that even though it is “politically inconvenient,” it is an open secret that the sanguinary war was fought for oil. General John Abizaid, an Iraq war veteran, showed a nonchalant audacity by saying that it was “of course for oil.”
A fascinating review -- and one that will make you scurry to go and read (or reread) THE BROKEN EAR.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Video: GOLGO 13 Marks 45th Anniversary

The action manga GOLGO 13, created by Takao Salto, is named after its lead character: an assassin.

The series was created in 1968, sold over 200 million copies, and has been adapted into four feature films (two live-action and two animated), a TV series, and five video games. It is the longest running continuously published manga series.

From Kyodo News, here is a celebration of GOLGO 13 with, I think, Mr. Salto and others. It's in Japanese, so I have to guess at some of this.

And just look at the wall of GOLGO 13 albums. Wow!

GOLGO 13 Wikipedia page here.

Video: Editorial Cartoonist "Hugh Haynie: The Art of Opinion" Gallery Show

Louisville, KY: The editorial cartoonist Hugh Haynie is honored with a gallery show at the Frazier History Museum. Here's WLKY News with a report:

BBC News Video: British Editorial Cartoon History, Aberdeen Gallery Show and Steve Bell Interview

Friday, November 15, 2013

Mike Lynch Cartoon in December 2013 Reader's Digest

I have a cartoon in this month's Reader's Digest.

They say: be careful what you hate.

Because, you know, you will become that very thing.

Back in September, just as the kids were getting into school, the local grocery store put up their Halloween displays. Ridiculous! Way too early and annoying.

Now, here it is not Thanksgiving yet, and I am putting up a Christmas cartoon.

Ah well.

Happy weekend.

 --- Mike "Too Early and Annoying" Lynch

The original sketch. I like this cartoon better in black and white line.

"An Adventure in Space and Time" Trailer

Along with the 50th anniversary DOCTOR WHO TV show episode "The Day of the Doctor," there is also a one-shot TV movie dramatization of the early days of the series titled "An Adventure in Space and Time."

Thursday, November 14, 2013

DOCTOR WHO: The Night of the Doctor Mini Episode

Just released by the BBC and Moffat: NIGHT OF THE DOCTOR -- A Mini Episode.

Umm … if you know DOCTOR WHO then this is terrific and amazing and makes sense. Do not tell anyone who is in this since it spoils the surprise!

Big tip of the fez to Life, Doctor Who and Combom.

Winter Is Coming

Winter is coming.

At least it is up in the White Mountains, an hour or two from where I live.

I'll be on the road for a time today and, since this is a one-person operation, I'll be away from my computer and unable to blog for now.

See you soon!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It's November 13th!

"On November 13, Felix Unger was asked to remove himself from his place of residence. That request came from his wife.

"Deep down, he knew she was right, but he also knew that some day he would return to her.

 "With nowhere else to go, he appeared at the home of his friend, Oscar Madison. Several years earlier, Madison's wife had thrown HIM out, requesting that HE never return.

 "Can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy?"


Video: "Cowboy Henk's" Herr Seele Paints Self-Portrait

The Flemish cartoonist Herr Seele, AKA Peter Van Heirseele, best known for his Cowboy Henk feature, paints a self-portrait in this time-lapse video from

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

No Heat

Furnace is out today and it's below freezing. Not good. Of course, I have to think of George Takei in "The Enemy Within." Now … where's my phaser so I can zap up some hot rocks?

CHEF'S HOLIDAY by Idwal Jones with Illustrations by Roger Duvoisin

I picked up CHEF'S HOLIDAY (published by Longmans, Green and Co., 1952) in Otter Brook Books, a tiny used bookstore by the Maine/New Hampshire border. It's not on the Web and its free bookmark advises "call for exact location."

CHEF'S HOLIDAY by Idwal Jones is about Mr. Jones, a chef, going on a holiday. Well, duh.

On the cover, the color painting is of Mr. Jones and wine-bearing friend who are fishing for eels. This leads to eel cooking, of course. The cover and interior ink drawings are by Roger Duvoisin (1904-1980), who may be best known for his children's books. He had won his first Caldecott Medal 4 years earlier for his illustrations for WHITE SNOW BRIGHT SNOW, which was written by Alvin Tresselt. (Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves has more about WHITE SNOW BRIGHT SNOW here.) I knew Mr. Duvoisin's work from his children's book PETUNIA.

Florian, the friend and guide for the book. As you can see, he loves food.

I love Duvoisin' thick and thin lines. Even non-living things have character, you know?

Above: some of the supporting cast.

A small, half page illustration. Again: simple, almost cartoony -- but the precise, spare drawing evokes a place and a mood succinctly.

Above is the picture that made me buy the book. Those little eels, poking their heads out to check Mssrs. DuPart and Jones were great to see (and, according to Mr. Jones, they really did poke their heads out, looking "like walking sticks"). Why the cover painting excludes the curious eels, I don't know.

These are just a few of the drawings.

This first edition was autographed by Mr. Jones, in French, to Mlle. Dorothy Friedman (sp?), on September 6, 1956.

-- This is an edited version of a blog entry that originally appeared June 9, 2011.

BBC News: Amiir and Family: Somalis in Norway

BBC News has a feature story titled "Amiir and Family: Somalis in Norway" which was written by Benjamin Dix and illustrated by Lindsay Pollock. They have previously collaborated on the ambitious online graphic novel THE VANNI, about the conflict in Sri Lanka.

Amiir is told in first person graphic documentary narrative (like a lot of Joe Sacco's work). It's a fish out of water story about Amiir and his wife, Cawo. They are Somali refugees raising a family in Norway. Are they Somali or Norwegian? Well, the test comes when we see how their kids react when they take a rare family trip back home to Somali after many years.

Alternately sweet and sad, "Amiir and his Family" is a very human story about a family.

Hat tip to John Klossner for letting me know about this. Thanks, John!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Patricia J. Williams: Writing As Women's Work

Here's a link to Patricia J. Williams"Diary of a Mad Law Professor" column for The Nation. She's talking about the devaluation of "content;" i.e., people not wanting to pay for your work.

Take a look at this exchange between zoologist Dr. Danielle Lee, a blogger for Scientific American, and a blog editor named "Ofek" who wanted her to provide content at

"What are your payment rates for guest bloggers?” 
"We don't pay." 
“Thank you very much, but I will have to decline your offer. Have a great day." 
“Because we don’t pay for blog entries? Are you an urban scientist or an urban whore?”


These kind of nasty, bullying people will always be with us and it's not news to anyone in the creative arts.

The whole story is here.


Getting Paid for Your Creative Work.

Harlan Ellison: Pay the Writer

Scottsdale, AZ: FAMILY CIRCUS Creator Bil Keane Statue Unveiled

More here.

BBC America: DOCTOR WHO 50th Anniversary "Day of the Doctor" Trailer

Here's the new trailer for the November 23rd "Day of the Doctor" DOCTOR WHO special:

Hat tip to Life, Doctor Who and Combom.

And there are three more trailers from the UK here.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Mike Lynch Cartoons Random Comic Book Grab Bag!

I have some fun comics that I've drawn.

For the bargain price of $3.99 I will mail you a signed copy of ONE of these (my pick). I've put them all out on the table for a photo shoot here:

The comic you receive will be one of these, and I'll just be picking one at random. If you click the button twice, then I'll, of course, mail you two different comics.

Video: Burlington Book Festival 2013: James Sturm

Eisner Award-winning cartoonist and educator James Sturm gives a multimedia presentation entitled "James Sturm: A Cartoonist's Course- Thoughts about creating and teaching comics from the co-founder of The Center for Cartoon Studies and author of Market Day and Adventures in Cartooning."

BBC News Video: Pen vs. Sword: Syrian Cartoonist Ali Ferzat on Challenging the Assad Regime

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Brian Moore Interview "Make work that you wish already existed in the world."

Setting the mood: the first three panels from Brian Moore's comic: "Evening Stroll."

Brian Moore is a comics omnivore. I can talk to him about graphic novels or old gag cartoonists. He knows the medium! His cartoon work covers all aspects of graphic narrative (to use a big fancy word for "comics").

You will see that as soon as you go to his site BrianMooreDraws. It's all there: illustrations, comic pages, literary adaptations, illustration, gag cartoons, animation (for which he has received two Massachusetts LCC Grants; see his work on "Teddy and Anna"), web comics ("Smithson," which was written by Shaenon Garrity) and I'm sure there are one or two other things I'm forgetting. Brian lives in Massachusetts with his wife and son. 

We conducted this interview via email on November 5th and 6th, 2013. All art is copyright Brian Moore. 

Brian Moore in his studio, November 6, 2013. Photo by Meghan Moore.

Mike Lynch: When you were little, were you one of those "kids who drew all the time?" Did your family encourage you? Did you have any formal education?

Brian Moore: I drew a lot as a kid and tried out different things as I got older -- superhero comics, political cartoons, gag panels, and ayBloom County-esque comic strip. My parents bought me books and supplies and chuckled at my comic strips. I got a few things published in local papers. I also wrote to a nearby city paper to ask if they'd consider letting school kids draw the comics section for a week. Ahem.

I had a very encouraging art teacher in junior high and high school, Craig Tubb, who was also kind enough to tell me when I was phoning it in, and that I could do better.

After high school I got a BFA in Painting from Boston University. BU didn't teach cartooning, but they had a rock-solid traditional art curriculum with lots of figure drawing and mixing your own paints. That filled in a lot of gaps in my skills. Around junior year I started getting back into cartooning in a big way, discovering Daniel Clowes' EIGHTBALL and Chris Ware's ACME NOVELTY comics among other things.

Above: the Smithson splash page for Chapter 4. Art by Brian Moore, written by Shaenon Garrity.

Mike Lynch: If we were to walk into your studio, what graphic novels and comics would we find on your shelves?

Brian Moore: A mixed bag. A lot of Eddie Campbell books. European creators published by Fantagraphics -- Jacques Tardi, Jason, Munoz and Sampayo. Ben Katchor's books. Carla Speed McNeill's FINDER books. A complete run of DEATH NOTE -- the only comic I've ever read where I HAD to read the whole thing. And a smaller supply of newspaper and gag cartoons -- Pogo, Richard Thompson's great CUL DE SAC and POOR ALMANACK, Peter Arno, William Steig.

Mike Lynch: Your color work is stunning. Do you have inspirations for your color palette?

Brian Moore: I've tried to absorb color lessons from a ton of watercolor painters over the years -- Emil Nolde, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent etc. But it's only recently that I realized that working with a more limited approach -- using color more abstractly than descriptively, working with fewer colors -- can really work well for comics and illustration. Key books for this research were Joann Sfar's VAMPIRE LOVES and Christophe Blain's GUS AND HIS GANG, both published in the US by First Second.

When I want to get inspired to paint I look at Eldon Dedini, Jack Cole, Kiraz, Kerascoet, Eleanor Davis or Steig's work. Although after looking at Steig I sometimes just put the book back and sit there for awhile.

Above: a panel cartoon that originally appeared on a unified communications-focused website.

Mike Lynch: Looking at your comics (like your run on "Smithson," your recent "Little Pointy Teeth," and the "Farewell, My Lovely" and "Bertie Wooster Sees It Through" pages -- not to mention your IT gag cartoons), you are a man for every cartoon season; drawing so many different kinds of comics. Do you have a favorite kind of cartoon you would rather draw? Does drawing different forms make you a better, fresher artist?

Brian Moore: Trying out different forms is good exercise, because they each prioritize some element of cartooning over everything else. Panel cartoons distill time and require careful composition, strips call for a sense of rhythm and timing, etc. It's challenging to try to clear the bar for each type.

There's also an economic angle. People will pay for panel cartoons, but longer works are harder to place. I'd most like to do multi-page stories, collected in books, but that's probably the hardest thing to sell.

Above: a panel from "Pointy Little Teeth," Brian Moore's Halloween comic.

Mike Lynch: Let's talk tools. What did you use to produce "Little Pointy Teeth?" It looks hand-drawn and hand-colored on paper. The text looks hand-written too. Where did you learn your old school techniques? Why not go 100% digital like so many others?

Brian Moore: "Little Pointy Teeth" was painted with watercolor, gouache and ink on 140lb Fabriano soft press paper. The lettering was done on sheets of tracing paper with a Rapidograph pen. I scanned everything in and put it together digitally.

I'm pretty comfortable with painting, but lettering is still a struggle. Both the handwriting part and the page design part -- apparently you're supposed to place the text on the page first, THEN do the artwork. I screwed this up on other projects, so with such a text-heavy story I tried to do it right this time.

After the lettering was inked I did all the pencil art around it, on the tracing paper. The tracing paper then went on the lightbox and I transfered some of the lines to the watercolor paper -- enough to orient me, but not so much that I would be re-drawing everything. When I painted the final art I looked over at the tracing paper version for reference.

I started drawing cartoons in the pre-digital era, so a lot of my technique dates back to that. I have a shelf of "how to cartoon" books that are all pre-1990.

I've done all-digital workflows in the past. It can save time, but I get no visceral satisfaction from drawing on a plastic sheet, while staring at a glowing window. It feels like art by remote control.

I like the all-or-nothing quality of working with paper and brushes etc. With digital I found myself drawing, Undo-ing, and redrawing. With real materials I make a decision and then build on it (or toss the page), rather than instantly negating every bad move. It's more spontaneous.

Digital is great for the last 10% of work - compositing, correcting, etc. (Even with all that tracing paper and lightboxing, I still had to tweak some bits of "Little Pointy Teeth.")

Mike Lynch: There's a theme in some of your works of big and scary monsters or ghosts or supernatural forces. In "Evening Stroll" this force goes from scary to caring. In "Pointy Little Teeth" the monsters are banished to wander the stars and are, in the end, rendered ordinary. Why are scary forces a theme in some of your work?

Brian Moore: Cartoon monsters are fun to draw. I don't think I'd enjoy detailing an operatically gross, H. P. Lovecraft-style creature, but dropping a somewhat out-sized monster into a mundane scene is a lot of fun.

The fun part about the "Little Pointy Teeth" guys is how blasé they were about everything, except the title subject.

Mike Lynch: What advice would you give a cartoonist who is just starting out?

Brian Moore: Make work that you wish already existed in the world. Don't panic about how long it takes you to make something, or if no one seems to be looking at it -- both making art and getting anybody to pay attention takes awhile. Once you have some momentum, try to avoid working for free. Find at least one cartoonist friend.

Mike Lynch: Can you talk about what other future projects are in your pipeline?

Brian Moore: I'm working on a graphic novel about a city of monsters and their crimes. It's a comedy.

Video: Rare Tintin Memorabilia to be Auctioned

Via Reuters: Raw footage here via Eva Caushi:

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Joe Sacco: “The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme”

Joe Sacco is interviewed in the San Francisco Chronicle upon the occasion of his new book “The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme.”

The book is a unique slipcased 24 foot long panorama of the Battle of the Somme. There's an additional 16 pages of annotations and an essay by Adam Hochschild, author of “To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-18.”

There are no words in the work. It's a visual depiction of a battle that claimed 30,000 lives in its first hour. The death toll would end up being a million, back in November 1916.

One of the unforgettable details from Hochschild’s piece: the artillery barrage on the first day of the Battle of the Somme was so tremendous — 224,221 shells were fired in one 65-minute period — that “the rumble could be heard as far away as Hampstead Heath in London.” Some gunners, he adds, “bled from the ears after seven days of nonstop firing.”
Here's an excerpt from the interview:

Q: How long did it take you to make the drawing? 
A: Not counting the research, eight months. I thought it would take four 
Q: This project can’t have been a strictly nine-to-five affair; the astonishing amount of detail must have made for a lot of all-nighters. Is that so 
A: It was a lot of work. I was working with magnifying glasses to get the figures in the background right. I tried not to work too many night hours, because I prefer natural light, and by around 7 o’clock my eyes would be quite strained. The trick is to concentrate and work methodically.

Preview of the book, and a video interview with Mr. Sacco is here.

Young Cartoonist Exhibition - National Library of New Zealand

This is such a lovely little news piece from Whitireia, New Zealand. Host Rosalind Hagai seems genuinely excited about the prospect of seeing cartoons in the National Library. We meet cartoonists, old and new. There was a contest to attract young cartoonists to show at this exhibit. And people talk about what cartoons they liked. All in all, just a fun and informative visit. All towns should have one of these shows!


Tuesday, November 05, 2013

1956 Whitman Coloring Book Covers

Three from a series of small staple-bound coloring books from Whitman Publishing Co., Racine Wisconsin. Copyright 1956 by same.

I do not collect coloring books, but these caught my eye because the of the arresting graphic covers. Cheaply produced, these sixteen page newsprint coloring books, with the slightly heavier one-color covers, must have been point of sale items in drug stores and five and dime stores. Since there is no price, these books may have been giveaways for businesses to hand to the little tykes.

The interior art is pretty lackluster. I'll post that at the end.

But first, these coloring book covers.

The covers are so pleasing, they would make a terrific framed triptych, huh?

Below are a few of the interior pages: