Thursday, April 30, 2015

All of the Cartoons from The Saturday Evening Post, January 3, 1959

The first Saturday Evening Post of 1959 gives us an ice skating gag. "Artist Alajalov, who depicts the Wollman Rink in New York's Central Park (give or take a few details), could never make ice skates behave, but he was a whiz on roller skates," reveals an interior blurb.

So nice to see an actual gag on the cover; especially a racy Moms-I'd-Like-to-Double-Lutz sorta gag. Let's take a look at the interior gag cartoons.

Ted Key gives us a great gag. Bounce! Bounce! Bounce! Big Brother Boss is watching you!

Vahan Shirvanian still sells to top markets like Reader's Digest. This same year, he won the National Cartoonists Society Gag Cartoon Division Award.

It's New Year's and it's 1959. Drunks were fodder for humor back then. This was, after all, the era of Thirsty Thurston!

Al Johns gives us an Inuit (they used to be called "Eskimo") gag that is becoming less funny what with the ol' globe warming up and all.

Above: some things change, some don't.

Above: a wordless cartoon that still reads. Although in-line skates are the way most go today, the design of the sleigh is unchanged.

Barney Tobey is a master of the inky wash. Look at those breezy lines!

Dahl shows, without using any words, that the only thing that you should not resist is temptation.

Are there still hurdy gurdy monkeys?

Around here, in the frozen Northern New England area, a lot of the pasty white teenagers go to tanning booths so as to look a Hollywoody, trendy toasty brown. I found the above cartoon by Gene Carr pretty relevant. Oh -- and the oil trucks STILL look like that!

Chon Day gives us a great gag expertly depicted in simple line and wash.

And, of course, Ted Key's Hazel panel ends this issue.

-- Edited from a blog entry originally published January 6, 2008.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

North Dakota: Honoré Daumier Gallery Show

The University of North Dakota Art Collections Exhibition present a gallery show titled "Honoré Daumier: Encore! The Quest for Freedom of Expression through Political and Social Commentary" at the Empire Arts Center through July 14, 2015.

Video: Flemming Rose "Free Speech in a Globalized World" @ ESFLC Berlin 2015

Alison Bechdel’s "Fun Home" on Broadway

The "Stuck in Vermont" TV show is "not stuck in Vermont any more" when host Eva Sollberger follows Vermont resident and cartoonist Alison Bechdel to Broadway for the debut of the FUN HOME musical, based on her graphic novel memoir.

Video: Richard Comely Promotes the New CAPTAIN CANUCK

Video: Garry Trudeau Responds to Critics of his CHARLIE HEBDO Speech

From NBC's MEET THE PRESS: Cartoonist Garry Trudeau responds to critics of a speech he gave earlier this month who alleged he blamed the victims - his fellow cartoonists - for the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Just a silly, fun 2 minute cartoon that I wish could go on for much longer. Go watch. It's only two minutes!

JOHNNY SPACE CAT! from michael robot on Vimeo.

Big hat tip to Nancy Beiman!

1949 Abner Dean Insurance Ad

I love this drawing by cartoonist Abner Dean of himself and his drawing table … and his forgetful ways of smoking. Look at that mushed-up old cushion on the chair, and the brushes and the "tester" area for his color hues to the right of the "Smoke Nokauff Cigarettes" ad.

Hmm. Looks like it was painted in nicotine yellow, doesn't it?

Hey, You Got Your STAR WARS in My STAR TREK!

Alec over at the Starship Axanar blog contends that the image from the new STAR WARS trailer above and the below still, from the fan-production STAR SHIP EXETER episode "The Tressaurian Intersection" are deja vu-ing all over the place. EXETER first showed the image of a wrecked starship eight years ago. (Actually, the episode itself, took about seven years and was released piecemeal. It's now finished and available to view for free at the link.)

Anyway, something to chew on. Wrecked spaceships are nothing new, but the images together are strikingly similar.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Retrospace: The Groovy Age of Travel

Not cartoons, but fun:

The Retrospace blog shows us how the groovy men and women of the 70s traveled by air in this series of airplane interior photos. Even if the plane is stuck on the tarmac for three hours, these people are smoking and drinking and getting it on so much they wouldn't notice.

New Richard Thompson Book COMPLEATING CUL DE SAC

COMPLEATING CUL DE SAC, a new book of Richard Thompson's art has "all the art that was left out of Eisner-award-nominated THE COMPLETE CUL DE SAC, it's 150 pages of strips, interviews and sketches." The book will be a fund raiser for Team Cul De Sac charity. More info. at Richard Thompson's blog here.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Cartoon Class: Can You Draw 160 Cartoons?

A comic book artist friend of mine, when looking at comic book art by Wally Wood (Wally Wood being the best artist ever, in his opinion), would point to Mr. Wood's art and always say, "Look at the knowledge!"

And that's what drawing is all about; acquiring the knowledge of how to draw. How do you draw a fish? A bird? a cool car? a poodle?

Sure, when you read those words you get a visual in your mind -- but how to train your hand to draw what you imagine?

Answer: by drawing a lot.

How do you get to be a better cartoonist?

There is the old piece of advice: take a stack of paper the same height that you are. Draw on every sheet. When you get to the bottom, you've gotten a lot of the bad drawings out of your system and you're a better artist.

I teach cartoon classes in New England and New York. One of the things we do is the "cartoon grid," a series of empty boxes on a page with a word under each panel. As you can see above, there is one of the cartoon grids, all filled out by a recent cartoon class of elementary school kids.

There are 10 kids in the class, all of them in the upper grades at the local elementary school. All of them are fearless drawing machines!

Here are some details:

Above: 4 of one page's 16 panels. The sleepy monster is one of my favorites.

The chef is crying! The student cartoonist added the emotion herself. What's the story? Cutting onions? Did the souffle fall? Did Gordon Ramsey yell?

This is the most devilly devil have ever seen!

I like the addition of "Yo! Yo!!"

Yes, that IS a big nose!

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Captain Underpants!

Look at that breathy exhaust! Great!

This does not look like a nice robot.

I couldn't draw a pencil better myself.

The class of ten kids drew 160 images in about 25 minutes. How it works: you would get the cartoon grid and read all 16 of the boxes. Pick your favorite to draw, draw one image, and then, when finished drawing, pass it to the left, to the next student cartoonist. The 10 pieces of paper went around the circle of hardworking cartoonists until all of the grids were filled in.

Here are the results (click on them to supersize):

Just look at all that knowledge! And look at all of the personal, artistic touches: those steam lines coming out of that hot cup of coffee, the girl dancing with the "TAP TAP" sound effect, the mountain climber with all of his gear. I could go on and on, but pictures are worth a thousand words. And there are 160 pictures to look at, so take a moment to look above, and see this next generation of talent.

It worked out to be about 6.4 drawings per minute.

A lot of pages! It's not a pile of paper as high as I am, but it's a darn good bit of drawing by a classful of talent for sure!

WANT TO HIRE MIKE TO TEACH CARTOONING? Contact: mike@mikelynchcartoons dot com

The New PEANUTS Movie Posters

Cartoon Brew has a story about the new series of PEANUTS movie posters that Fox just released, and why the characters look so hyper-detailed in them. The series of nine posters for the theatrical CGI movie, scheduled for release on November 6, 2015, showcases

Charlie Brown,
Snoopy and Woodstock,
Pig Pen (not "Pigpen"),
Woodstock (a solo poster),
Peppermint Patty,
and Marcie.

Cartoon Brew has all of the posters for your perusal. I agree that they look way too textured, but Blue Sky Studios is doing a 3D CGI big screen version of the classic comic strip, and the decision was made a long time ago to go "off model;" away from the flat, inky world they started living in in 1950.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Jonathan Winters, Cartoonist

I didn't know that Jonathan Winters had a book of cartoons.

Sure enough, he attended the Dayton Art Institute for two and a half years. And he drew his whole life. But this book, MOUSE BREATH, CONFORMITY AND OTHER SOCIAL ILLS, is the only published record of Mr. Winters' artistic chops.

My thanks to my pal John Klossner for letting me borrow his copy. As of now, you can find inexpensive copies of the 1965 hardcover published by Bobbs Merrill and copyright that same year by Wintergood Inc.

-- This is an edited version of a blog entry dated May 15, 2013.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


In its entirety: THE CARTOONIST!, the in-house publication of the National Cartoonists Society. This is the Annual Photo Issue Fall 1953.

The Cartoonist: a quarterly published by the National Cartoonists Society, 140 West 57th Street, New York 19, N. Y.

If you Google Map this address, you get:

.. a bus zooming in front to the frikkin' Google camera!

Oh well, back to the mag:

Mort Walker edited THE CARTOONIST, with Bill Yates as Assistant Editor.

The 1953 NCS Board:

BOARD OF GOVERNORS: Rube Goldberg, Honorary President; Otto Soglow, President; Bob Dunn, First Vice President; Willard Mullin, Second Vice President; John Pierotti, Treasurer; McGowan Miller, Secretary; Carl Rose, General Membership Representative; EXECUTIVE COUNCIL: Martin Banner, Ernie Bushmiller, E. Simms Campbell, Milton Caniff, Past Pres., Fred Cooper, Walt Disney, Albert Dorne, Ham Fisher, Hal Foster, Harold Gray, Jimmy Hatlo, Harry Hershfeld, Bill Holman, Walt Kelly, Frank King, Bill Mauldin, George MacManus, Willard Mullin, Russell Patterson, Past Pres., Alex Raymond, Past Pres., Mischa Richter, C.D. Russell, Frank Willard, George Wunder, Chic Young.

Fred Waring was a great fan and friend of cartoonists.

Above: Fred Waring reads the Sunday funnies in a photo nicked from the Fred Waring's America site.
He had a huge place in Pennsylvania and he would send a bus to Times Square for all the NCSers to get aboard. The bus would then drive thru NJ to PA, and all the cartoonists would hang out at his place -- usually for a couple of days. Mel Casson helped start the annual visit to Waring's Shawnee Golf Resort. More here, at the Penn State Fred Waring's America site.

Back to the magazine:

Evert cartoonist should wear a hat and smoke a pipe ala Ed Dodd and Walt Kelly!

-- This has been an edited version of a blog entry that originally appeared May 26, 2009.