Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Robert McCloskey Mural Discovered in Westchester Elementary School

(Photo by Rocco Staino.)

This is a mural that children's book author/illustrator Robert McCloskey did. It's thought he created this in 1972 for a Westchester County (NY) dentist, in exchange for some dental work. The mural, after the dentist retired, was moved to a couple of different places, finally arriving at the Pequenakonck Elementary School in North Salem. But by that time, the story of who created it was lost.

Due to extraordinary detective work by the school’s librarian Noel MacCarry, the backstory of this one-of-a-kind mural was unraveled And on April 24, 2014, in honor of School Library Month, there was a ceremony and the mural, now framed and under glass, was revealed.

Video by Rocco Staino:

Sam Cobean's Untimely Death

Ger Apeldoorn shows us some little-seen Sam Cobean advertising work today.

Cobean was an up and coming cartoonist who died all too early in a car crash in 1951. He was 37 years old.

From Carol A. Terry's biography of Sam Cobean:

On the afternoon of Monday, July 2, 1951, Sam Cobean drove his red Jaguar into town to mail some cartoons to The New Yorker for the art meeting the next day. It was a beautiful, clear summer afternoon. After mailing the cartoons, Sam stopped at Smalley's Garage for gas. There he found Cameron Argetsinger on the telephone talking to his father. Argetsinger's Cadillac-Allard had a broken rear axle; he was calling for a ride home. Cobean offered to take him. Before leaving, Sam called Anne to tell her he would be delayed about a half hour. Traveling at a reasonable speed, Cobean started to pass a car driven by local farmer, John D. Viglione, who was taking his helper home. Viglione made a sudden left turn in front of Cobean. Sam had two alternatives, hit the car and seriously injure its passengers, or make a sharp turn to the right in an attempt to miss the car. Cobean tried to avoid hitting the car, but nicked the back end of the other car anyway. Sam then lost of control of the car. The Jaguar spun into a ditch, hit a solid imbankment, and crashed into a tree. Cobean drove close to the steering wheel which had a large prominent button in the center. Without seatbelts, the impact threw him violently forward against the steering wheel. A broken rib penetrated his heart and he died almost instantly. His passenger, Cameron Argetsinger, was thrown against the windshield, suffering a concussion and multiple lacerations. The occupants of the other car were unhurt. 
Remembering that dark day, Anne said, "Ironically, just about thirty minutes before Cameron Argetsinger's wife and parents come up to tell me Sam was dead, he had called me to say he had run into Cameron downtown and that something was the matter with Cameron's car and he was going to drive him to their summer home on the lake. It would not have occurred to me to be worried, but I recall that I had to smile about it because I thought my child husband was finally growing up."

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

All the Cartoons from Look Magazine July 14, 1964

Here's the post-Kennedy assassination political convention issue of Look Magazine. This is the July 14, 1964 issue and is copyright that year by Cowles Magazines and Broadcasting, Inc.

The cover has a preview of the "new Kennedy painting" by Norman Rockwell, who the year previously had ended his longstanding association with The Saturday Evening Post after 321 cover paintings. He would continue with Look for ten years.

The cartoons here are all by the top fellows in the gag cartoon field, since Look was one of the top markets. (Natch!)

Jack Tippit:

Mischa Richter:

Phil Interlandi:

Harry Mace:

Brother Sebastian by Chon Day:

Butch by Larry Reynolds:

Leonard Dove:

Ton Smits, with a grand gag:

All the Cartoons from LOOK Magazine June 7, 1960
All the Cartoons from THE SATURDAY EVENING POST Dec.28, 1968 - Jan. 11 1969 Video: MAGAZINE MAGIC with Norman Rockwell and Ted Key (1945)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Video: "Life Drawing" - 48 Hour Film Slam 2014

White River Junction, VT (The Center for Cartoon Studies) is the location for "Life Drawing." It's an 8 minute short film about a down-on-his-luck cartoonist who finds a magic bottle of ink.

Matt Young directs, with a good score by cellist Jennifer Elton Turbes.

It's the "48 Hour Film Slam 2014 winner (college and adult category)." Via Art School Fraud:

Video: The Art of Political Cartoons with Mike Luckovitch, Mike Peters and Dan Wasserman

I believe this is from several years ago, but it's new to me and at 90 minutes, yields some fun stories.

Cartoonists Mike Peters of The Dayton Daily News, Mike Luckovitch of The Atlanta Journal Constitution, and Dan Wasserman of The Boston Globe, present a show-and-tell about their craft. Scott Simon, host of NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday, moderates. Via The Forum Network.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Mike's Cartooning Life

Some drawings and a photo through the years of my cartooning life ...

Above and below sketches are from 2006.

There I am, going thru the F train turnstyle. I reason that I carried a tire gauge with me in Brooklyn, NY is lost to history.

Above: an old photo (with an old bulky monitor) of my "workstation." This is an old teacher's desk we found on the streets of Brooklyn and carried home. The "Just our of view" should read "Just out of view," natch! The coffee cup is a C-SPAN "Washington Journal" mug. Rufus the cat is still alive and well.

 My favorite sketch of "Mike at work" is this excellent 2010 drawing of me by my inky pal Mark Anderson. This was for an interview in "Stay Tooned" magazine and Mark really captured the clutter and the cats that are my life! Thanks, Mark!

-- A crummy rerun from my blog due to me being away today. Sorry about that. This originally appeared January 10, 2013.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


"Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn."

Advice is great. You can ask anyone -- a relative, a friend, a complete stranger -- and usually they will have some on hand to give to you.

Since I draw cartoons full-time, sometimes people ask how they, too, can become cartoonists.

"How can I succeed?"

I have some advice, but first, below is a video. That's not me in the video. No, no, no. It's not me. I found it on YouTube. That's an illustrator named Dan Page. I don't know Dan.

What's YOUR definition of success? I am going to assume that you want to succeed commercially, OK? You want to be paid for drawing.

You want to make a living from being a cartoonist.

Now, Dan is right that you need a portfolio. But the people at ExpertVillage, who, I assume, spent good money to get this fellow propped up in front of the camera, did not get the right guy for their How to Succeed as an Artist video. Here is his sum up:
  • build up portfolio,
  • submit your work to the "different groups or companies,"
  • you will receive "an opportunity,"
  • and from there, it's all what you do with it.

Above: Diane Franklin as Monique Junot from BETTER OFF DEAD.

I couldn't help but think of BETTER OFF DEAD's lead character Lane Meyer (John Cusack) who, when asking for guidance on skiing the difficult K-12 slope in the movie, was told advice so general (see that opening quote from Charles DuMar and Monique Junot above) that it was useless.

You have to seize the opportunity, like Dan says, but -- like one of the commenters on YouTube wrote -- "Isn't that how to become a successful anything? This is so general that it doesn't help anyone."

And that's why I'm here.

First off, talent is cheap. I can walk into any art school and see lots of people better than me. Most of those art students will not succeed. This is because talent has little to do with success.

How do you get that opportunity? You know, the one where Dan makes a fist and "seize that opportunity" right at 1:28?

Your talent may help, but persistence is key.

If you want to draw single panel magazine gag cartoons, draw 20 every week, throw away the weak ones and mail the rest of them out. Do this every week.

When I started I knew NOBODY. No editors, no other cartoonists. And I didn't know what I was doing. I got addresses from the magazines I looked at in the library and the bookstore. I took the addresses from the masthead of the magazine. It took me 6 months, but I began selling.

Do you want to draw comic books? Graphic novels? Comic book conventions always have an "artists alley," where you can meet professionals.

Meeting professionals at conventions is the best. I was just in Portsmouth for a comics convention last month and met a good number of pros and soon-to-be pros who were there. Very friendly get together.

Advice from a friend or teacher can be helpful-- but to meet and talk with a professional is sooo much better. Especially if you are looking to be come like them; to make a living from drawing and writing.

That said, I'll be starting up cartoon classes locally in Southern New Hampshire next month. And if there are snow days and no classes, well then -- we'll all ski the dang K-12 together, OK? Not successfully right off the bat, but maybe by July … ?

-- Originally from ye olde Mike Lynch Cartoons Blog 12/29/08.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

TEE VEE HUMPHREY A Weekly Reader Book

When I was a kid, The Weekly Reader was newsprinty little newsletter we got in our class at Roosevelt Elementary School in Iowa City, IA. This was, as our teacher Mrs. Panje would command, our "silent reading" time; our give-Mrs.-Panje-a-break-time. We would read about world events, do a puzzle, etc. Weekly Reader was dry, but a welcome respite from the routine of second grade.

The Weekly Reader was more than the name of some newsletter. The WR people also pushed books. TEE VEE HUMPHREY, a hardcover children's book that sold for $2.75 in 1957, was one of them.

The cover opens up into a nice gatefold of Tee Vee.

A crummy commercial!

Here is the page that lets you know that there were hundreds of bad books that were rejected before those Weekly Reader Board people (bless 'em!) deemed this tome, TEE VEE HUMPHREY, as the best one to put their seal on -- oh, and by the way, why not tell your friends they should join the Weekly Reader Children's Book Club. Why don't they? Do they hate America? This will not look good on their transcript!

I bought this book last year at the Community Bookstore here in Brooklyn. This divey, dark used bookstore has a lot of junk and, like those Weekly Reader folks, sometimes you have to go through a lot of garbage before your find a treasure there.

Illustrator Kurt Werth has an inky, casual style that I found appealing. It's almost like I'm looking at his sketchbook. Here is Tee Vee asking for a job at the TV station.


Tee Vee gets a job at the local TV Station, show running a program about pets. This is back in the day when a kid could just walk into a TV studio and get a job without a union giving him a thumping.


The sketchiness of the art cloaks Mr. Werth's layout skill. Your eyes are easily drawn to the man at the mike in this one.

Kurt Werth, whose work outside TEE VEE was unknown to me, studied at the State Academy for the Graphic Arts in Leipzig.

"The First World War brought an abrupt end to Werth's studies at the academy when he was drafted into the army in 1915. With sketchbooks in his knapsack, Werth continued drawing throughout the war. Unfortunately, Werth sent his wartime sketchbooks to a girlfriend whom he never saw again, and so the pictorial record of his war years was lost forever." -- from an online bio created by the University of Oregon Libraries
Ugh. I hate it when the girlfriend absconds with a dude's sketchbooks! That's so uncool! Well, Kurt later married an actress, and they stuck together. They moved to the United States in 1939. During WWII, he became a cartoonist for publications like Common SenseThe New Republic, and Harper's.
I hope to find more of his work.

And, in the back flyleaf of the cover, is your own, official Weekly Reader bookmark with silhouettes of horses, a viking ship, 2 musketeers kissing (well, that's what it looks like to me), Charlie Chaplin with a balloon holding his pants up, a witch and a spaceship, all suspended on a clown's nose. You also are being asked to take an oath to tell your teacher and friends about this book, you little corporate schill, you! I think this kind of mentality is what made Mr. Werth move from Germany.

-- This originally appeared on my blog on June 7, 2007.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

TV Space Riders Coloring Book (1952)

Little kids and even puppies get to go to space and drive spaceship and space helicopters (!) in the 1952 TV Space Riders Coloring Book via the Dreams of Space blog today.

FACE TO FACE Portraits by Feliks Topolski

FACE TO FACE is a coffee table book of interviews with 35 people "some likable, some not, each famous in America or England, each revealed in such a way as to make them better known to us in a few minutes than people we've known all our lives."

Hugh Burnett edits, with outstandingly loose and gripping portraits by Feliks Topolski. It's copyright 1964 by both men.

Pretty much every person in this book gets a gatefold with a portrait and maybe another, smaller drawing. John Huston's crew and its boom mike overlap with the text. Each piece is only takes a few minutes to read.

These kind of books are not produced now. And if they were, it would be actors and pop stars -- people who have fans who would buy. And there would be no Topolski drawings.

John Huston:

The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.:

Otto Klemperer:

Video: Doug Reina Paints LIVE While The Hidden City Orchestra Plays

My friend Doug Reina, who's is a wonderful artist, walks a tightrope. Not for real --  figuratively speaking. In this video he creates a painting, live on stage.

The Hidden City Orchestra plays along too. If you like to see people draw and create right in front of you in real time, then this is a treat.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Easter Egg Hunt by Stacy Lynch

A bit late on this. A true story!


See you soon ...

Friday, April 18, 2014

Mike Lynch is "Mr. Comics Smarty-Pants" by Brian Fies

I talked about how there's a Walt Kelly quote on the wall of a grocery store, and how none of the employees know who on earth he is. So, I have been lecturing them, there in the checkout line, about Mr. Kelly; that he's a famous cartoonist, the creator of POGO, etc.

My pal, the award winning graphic novelist and writer Brian Fies, in the comments section (see link above), imagined the employees' reaction when I am around.

So, I drew it up.

Here ya go:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

William Hanna on TO TELL THE TRUTH Game Show (1975)

Garry Moore hosts, with Bill Cullen, Peggy Cass, Nipsey Russell, and Kitty Carlisle on the panel.

Hat tip to garrison skunk:

Watch for the Dick DeBartolo cameo.

"Little Orphan Annie" Cartoonist Tex Blaisdell on TO TELL THE TRUTH Game Show

Bill Cullen hosts, with Tom Posten, Kitty Carlisle, Gene Rayburn and Peggy Cass on the panel.

Hat tip to garrisonskunk:

World's Fastest Cartoonist Nino Falanga on TO TELL THE TRUTH Game Show (1971)

Bill Cullen hosts, with Kitty Carlisle, Durwood Kirby, Gene Rayburn and Peggy Cass on the panel.

Vid posted by garrisonskunk:

More on Mr. Falanga here.

Perry, IA: The V.T. Hamlin Room at the Hotel Pattee

One of the pleasures of this year so far was being in Perry, Iowa, where I got to teach cartooning classes at the elementary school and then give a keynote address to the annual Chamber of Commerce dinner.

It was a celebration of cartoonists from Iowa, and seeing as I was born in Iowa City, I qualified! Also joining me was my friend, fellow cartoonist Dave Carpenter, who lives and works in Iowa.

I stayed at the Hotel Pattee in the V.T. "Snick" Hamlin room. Hamlin (1900-1993) was the creator of the Alley Oop comic strip and was born there in Perry. The room, appropriately, has Oop's dinosaur "Dinny" on the wall and the name of Alley Oop's residence, the "Land of Moo." As you can see, above Dinny is a row of comic book pages from some Alley Oop comics. These were made into a wallpaper mural that lines the top of the walls of the bedroom/living area.

The walls are decorated with Alley Oop memorabilia and articles.

I read from my Library of American Comics Essential ALLEY OOP book while there.

ALLEY OOP by Jack and Carole Bender on GoComics
R.C. Harvey: "A Stretch in the Bone Age: The Life and Cartooning Genius of V.T. Hamlin"
University of Missouri V.T. Hamlin Collection one and two

Build Bob Staake's Bookmobile Model

Build Bob Staake's paper bookmobile: print, cut and fold!

As Bob says:

"Fun for schools, librarians, kids, adults, and bibliophiles -- because you CAN'T make a 3-D paper bookmobile on an iPad or a Kindle!"

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Walt Kelly Lives

"Food for thought is no substitute for the real thing." Walt Kelly

You can see this quote on the wall from any checkout line at the North Conway, NH Hannaford's grocery store. I've been in there a couple of times. Every time I ask the checkout person about it:

Me: Who's Walt Kelly? 
Checkout Person: Who? 
Me (pointing to quote on the wall): Walt Kelly.  
Checkout Person: Oh. I don't know who that is. (Smiling.) They don't tell us anything here. 
Me: Oh. (Pause.) I know who it is. 
Checkout Person: You know?  
Me: He was a cartoonist. He did POGO. He died in 1973. 

And then they hand me my change and I go away.

Yeah, it's too bad that the publicly held Hannaford's store, which probably had many meetings about what appropriate quotes to put up on their wall, did not bother to let any of its workers know who the heck this Walt Kelly guy was. This should have been a chance to keep POGO alive, guys! Then I wouldn't have to be Mr. comics-smarty-pants at the checkout!


We have met the enemy and he is us.

Dramatic Movie Score

Because there are certain dramatic moments in life when you absolutely need this sort of thing.

I think I am going to assign this as a ring tone to all my major clients!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

TONIGHT: "The Art of Cartooning" With Mike Lynch and Stephanie Piro Tuesday April 15th

Portsmouth, NH: I'm presenting a talk about cartooning TONIGHT April 15, 2014 with my friend Stephanie Piro.

TUES 4/15 DRAWN AND QUARTERED: THE ART OF CARTOONING 6 to 9 p.m.; $15 or free from members of the New Hampshire Creative Club; at The Pearl, 45 Pearl St., Portsmouth; call (603) 382-5530 or register online at

There's going to be a meet and greet for the first hour, and, around 7pm,  Stephanie will talk about what she does. You know her work for King Features' SIX CHIX and her National Cartoonists Society Division Award nominated FAIR GAME cartoon panel. Then me, Mike Lynch, will talk cartooning. The NHCC has the venue until 9pm, so there should be some time for a QandA if people want, and some more one-on-one shop talk before we break for the evening.

If you are in the Boston/Portsmouth/Manchester/Concord/Portland area, please consider coming.

Video: Mickey Rooney as "Mickey 'Himself' McGuire" in MICKEY'S LUCK (1930)

A salute to the late Mickey Rooney, who audaciously tried taking a comic strip character's name for his own, but did not get away with it.

Below is one of the TOONERVILLE FOLKS comedy shorts, based on the newspaper comic panel by Fontaine Fox. It stars a wee Mickey Rooney. He's the tough ne'er do well tyke "Mickey 'Himself' McGuire" in MICKEY'S LUCK (1930).

Sure. it's similar to the Our Gang shorts, and you don't need me to tell you who Mickey is. He's the bossy one in the big black hat (see above drawing), the one moving the plot along.

There were 55 live-action two-reelers made, straddling the silent and sound eras, from 1926 to 1936.

Mickey's real name was Joe Yule, Jr. In the early silent shorts, he was billed as Mickey McBan and then Mickey Yule before settling on the same name as the bully from the feature, Mickey "Himself" Maguire. And that was okay for a decade, while filming these movies.

By the 1930s, at the same time he was shooting the TOONERVILLE series, he was in another series based on a cartoonist's creation. He was the voice of OSWALD, THE LUCKY RABBIT for Disney,

With parts in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM and MANHATTAN MELODRAMA, it was time to move on. Besides, he was getting a little big to play Maguire.

In 1936, he left these shorts to do other roles. The first Andy Hardy movie, YOU'RE ONLY YOUNG ONCE,  was a year away, and after that, in 1938, his scene-stealing role as Whitey Marsh with Spencer Tracy in BOY'S TOWN.

But the syndicate threatened him with a legal suit. The name of "Mickey 'Himself' McGuire" was one of the characters in the Toonerville Folks comic strip before he had it, of course, and he could nor formally appropriate it. And so he changed his name for good this time, from Mickey McGuire to Mickey Rooney.

On an odd note, the popular panel was known by a couple of names too. In some papers it was Toonerville Folks, and in others Toonerville Trolley. The panel (it was always a panel, not a strip.) ran in up to 300 newspapers from 1913 through to 1955.

The Mickey Rooney live-action shorts were the "middle" movie series. The live-action series was bracketed by animated films. The first time that the Toonerville panel was brought to life in the movies was in a series of silent animated shorts from the Betzwood Motion Picture Studio between 1920 and 1921. The final time that the series was in the movies was Van Beuren Studio's production of "Toonerville Trolley" in 1936.

One of the featured players in these live-action pictures was Billy Barty, who played Mickey's brother Billy McGuire. He was three years old when he appeared in his first one. He's six here in MICKEY'S LUCK. Mickey Rooney is ten years old:


Child Star Delia Bogard Interview (1989)

Via Barry Conrad. Delia Bogard starred, along with Rooney and Barty, in the Mickey McGuire series: