Thursday, March 31, 2016

Cartoonists: Still Jobless?

(Detail from STONE SOUP, copyright 1999 by Jan Eliot.)

Today's an anniversary. On March 31, 2009 I wrote about Dave Astor's column in the Huffington Post,  "Jobless But Not Jokeless." It was about the challenges facing editorial cartoonists.

"What about jobs for laid-off editorial cartoonists? Given that there might be more former staff cartoonists (still living) than current staff cartoonists (presumably still living), there are enough ex-staffers to draw a huge cartoon time machine for trekking back to B.C. (Before Cutbacks)."

Comic strip cartoonist Jan Eliot, from the (now since removed) comments section of Dave's HuffPo piece, talked about the upcoming National Cartoonists Society Reubens weekend:

"Will the members of the National Cartoonists Society actually discuss the industry that's falling down around them, or just drink the weekend away? And really, which would be more productive?"

Good points. She is a featured speaker at the 2016 Reubens. It would be a good topic to check in on, seven years later.

Does the now-proven success of fan-funded platforms like Kickstarter, Patreon, Indiegogo and Gofundme replace the syndicate model? Do professional organizations, like the NCS, the Society of Illustrators and the Graphic Artists Guild, matter?

Link to the original post from 2009: "Dave Astor: Jobless But Not Jokeless"

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


New York City: My friend, the New Yorker magazine cartoonist Michael Maslin, talks about his new biography of Peter Arno at Columbia this next Monday, April 18th, at 6pm. Plus: you get to meet illustrator Edward Sorel.

Here's the press release:

Join author Michael Maslin and artist Edward Sorel as they discuss the life and career of New Yorker cartoonist Peter Arno, subject of Maslin's new biography PETER ARNO: THE MAD, MAD WORLD OF THE NEW YORKER'S GREATEST CARTOONIST. Columbia's Rare Book & Manuscript Library is already home to the archives of New Yorker cartoonists Charles Saxon and Mort Gerberg, so what better place to talk about one of the magazine's most legendary artists? 
The event is FREE and open to the public, although seating is limited. 
Monday, April 18, 6 PM
Butler Library, room 523 
Book sales and signings will follow.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Larry Katzman, Creator of "Nellie the Nurse," Dies at 93 Years Old

Larry Katzman, who signed his gag cartoons "Kaz" and was best known for his "Nellie the Nurse" series, died on March 26th. He was 93 years old.

Larry was a successful businessman, a world traveler -- but the thing he loved best was cartooning.

His support of the National Cartoonists Society is legendary. Suffice to say that without Larry's guidance, there may not be an NCS today.

I would talk with Larry at the Reuben Awards and at Bunny Hoest's annual bash in Long Island. He was always very excited about cartooning and interested in what was going on. In 2010 he gave a stunning chat about the history of the National Cartoonists Society. I say "stunning" because he included many photos that I had never seen before of cartoonists cartooning at various NCS events thru the decades. I told him how much I appreciated the talk and the amazing images. He smiled and said it was a lot of fun.

Here are some of his cartoons to remember him, and a few links.

New York Times obituary
National Cartoonists Society obituary

Monday, March 28, 2016

Mike Lynch Cartoon in April 2016 FUNNY TIMES

The funny thing about THE FUNNY TIMES, the Cleveland-based mag of cartoons and humor, is that they have achieved a record without knowing it. It's not a big, flashy record, but my own personal one: this is the oldest cartoon that I have had published.

I got the news a couple days ago. I knew I had the cartoon in this April 2016 issue because I got the check before I received my copy of FUNNY TIMES in the mail. (Thanks for that, FT Editor Ray Lesser!) In the notes portion of that check there was typed the word "April." The only thing I didn't know was what cartoon they had bought.

Well, a couple of days later, I look in to the mailbox and there is the April issue. So, I page through it and I don't see it. So I page through it again. Still don't see it. Maybe they made a mistake? Maybe they accidentally sent me a check and I will have to return their money? No. That doesn't happen with them. So, I paged S L O W E R and BAM! I suddenly saw it. Third time's the charm. It's a cartoon of mine that I originally submitted in 2000, and it's finally seeing the light of print sixteen years later.

Here's my cartoon from 2000 that was published in 2016:

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Easter Egg Hunt by Stacy Lynch

A holiday tradition. A true story!


See you soon ...

Friday, March 25, 2016

6 Drawing Lessons That ‘Inside Out’ Story Artist Matt Jones Learned From Ronald Searle

Matt Jones shares some great unseen art by Ronald Searle in this must-read CartoonBrew article. 

Consider buying Matt,s great new book: RONALD SEARLE'S AMERICA.

Jean-Jacques Sempé Drawings

He is one of the greatest living cartoonists. Jean-Jacques Sempé has been producing cartoons and illustrations since the 1950s. I have many of his books. Phaidon released a series of books some years ago. These are wonderfully produced and well worth seeking out. Here's a small sample of his work to inspire your day.


Le Petit Nicolas from Submarine Channel on Vimeo.

LE PETIT NICOLAS Pop Up Book Movie Titles

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Staten Island, NY: Aaron Bacall Original Magazine Gag Cartoon Gallery Show

From the Staten Island Live site: Linda Bacal, at right, talks with College of Staten Island Archivist James Kaser and his colleague Amy Stempler about the work of her late husband, cartoonist Aaron Bacall. currently on display at the Berman Gallery in the Joan & Alan Bernikow Jewish Community Center in Sea View Thursday, March 17, 2016. Bacall's cartoons are going to be housed at College of Staten Island. (Staten Island Advance/ Bill Lyons)

Aaron Bacall (1939-2015) was a prolific magazine cartoonist whose work spanned decades. In this video, his wife, Linda, talks about a gallery show which includes ninety of his original cartoons on display at the Berman Gallery in the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC in Sea View. There was a reception on March 17, 2016 and the exhibit will be on view through April.

WABC 7 Video: Helping a Cartoonist's Widow Waiting for Royalties

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

1972 Video: "The Most Important Person" TV Animated Shorts

Certain people think that the 1970s were cool. These people are ones that were actually around in the 1970s. The 70s were a weird time and I could not wait to get out of that decade. Of course, I was a disgruntled teen back then.

Case in point: "The Most Important Person" cartoons. These little (3 and a half minutes apiece) cartoons were moralistic and educational. They were distributed by Encyclopedia Brittannica. Local stations would air them from time to time. I think I saw them on Saturday morning.

Each short had a story and a lesson for kids. This one is called "I'm the Only Me!" Yes, you can make some jokes about the me-decade, but it was a real idea that kids should understand about their own uniqueness. Nowadays, it's a given. Actually, it's worse than that! Not only are the little ones now all told they are brilliant, they are all in the upper 1% of future humankind; all baby Einsteins or Marie Curies.

These were approved by The Office of Child Development, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, which funded the series of shorts.

Produced by Sutherland Learning Associates, Dan and Elaine Weisburd - Producers. It's copyright 1972 by the Sutherland Learning Associates, Inc. You can make out a number of familiar 70s era voice talent from Saturday morning cartoons.

Dropcloth Yawns

Dropcloth the cat in mid-yawn and post-yawn. Isn't he scruffy and cute?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Mario Russo Apologizes for Stealing, Changing and Presenting Elena Espina's Cartoons As His Own: "I really didn't know this was really wrong."

Arifur Rhaman held a Women's Rights Cartoon Exhibit. He's the publisher of tOOns Magazine, which is sponsoring the Exhibit. One of the entries was a plagiarized cartoon that was originally drawn by Elena Ospina. The cartoon that was submitted, without her knowledge or approval, now had her name wiped out and another name, "Mario Russo," written in.

I asked Arifur, whi is also known as "Cartoonist Arif," if he knew about this, and he quickly removed the cartoon from the exhibit and the catalog. He responded via Facebook:

"As you know, 567 cartoonists from 79 countries have submitted 1625 cartoons, and it was not possible for us to investigate individuals. 
"And I like to mention that, It was not our fault. Please don't misunderstand us.  
"Because, we're not responsible for participants fault. Which Mario did, he did very bad. 
"I just removed Mario's name form participants list and from the catalog. This drawing no longer part of the exhibition. Mario apologizes to Elena Ospina and to tOOns MaG
"Let us know if is there anything more we can do."

He also posted an apology from Mr. Russo to tOOns Magazine:

And there was also one from Mr. Russo to Ms. Espina:

My thanks to all of you out there, especially Wayno and Anne Hambrock, who shined a light on this theft and got it righted. 

And thanks to Cartoonist Arif, who immediately reacted and, I believe, was instrumental in getting Mario to understand what he had done and apologize. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Why Are More Cartoon Illustration Exhibition Entries Being Stolen?

On Friday, I wrote about Elena Ospina and her art being stolen and repurposed by a man for, of all things, as a cartoon entry for the Women's Rights Cartoon Exhibit. This was done without her knowledge or permission. The stolen art was signed "Mario Russo."

My thanks to Jamie Smith, who found a couple more examples. Here's Jamie:

"Cursory browse reveals a couple entries from Mario Russo to the 2015 International Aylan Cartoon Illustration Exhibition: a Google Image search on one panel reveals it to have been ripped off from a Deviant Art portfolio by artist "asprin0" (note blatant signature + copyright removal)."
Link to entry:

Link to original creator portfolio:

"... Aaand the other one too:"

Mike Cstod Peterson talks about all this at his Comic Strip of the Day blog: Perseverance, Perserveration and Not-So-Great Expectations.

Friday, March 18, 2016

UPDATED: Elena Ospina: Plagiarized for the Women's Rights International Cartoon Exhibition?

Elena Ospina's art is on the left, the plagiarized copy on the right. She posted this on her Facebook page.

Elena Ospina is an artist and illustrator. She published that work on the left side some time ago. It has recently appeared, without her knowledge or permission, with her name scrubbed out, and "Mario Russo's" name typed in, as a cartoon entry for the Women's Rights Cartoon Exhibit.

This is flagrant theft and needs to have the spotlight on it.

Here is my friend Juana Medina who put it so well on her Facebook page:

"This, my friends, is NOT RIGHT. Nor fair.

"Elena Ospina is a fabulous cartoonist and illustrator who works hard and has made her name by making original art for a very long time. This is also one of Elena's best known pieces, she published it a couple years ago. 
"Being creative is hard. Actions like plagiarism and appropriation, only make things harder. 
"To add insult to injury, this appears to be a male artist appropriating a woman's work... for the Women's Rights Cartoon Exhibit. Oh, the irony. 
"Commission artists, celebrate their (our!) work! Just don't butcher it and claim it as yours.
I'll always remember a really cool looking poster that was hung at school, knowing someone would probably snatch it, the author (a printmaking or illustration student) made a footnote that said 'whoever steals this poster, will be destined to a lifetime of bad sex.' Needless to say, poster remained on the wall.

"We might have to start thinking of similar footnotes for our work."

We have to ask the Women's Rights Cartoon Exhibit to respond. 

Does Arifur Rahman ("Cartoonist Arif") know about this? He arranged the Exhibition.

Thursday, March 17, 2016


From the guy that gave you "Trump Meets The Honeymooners:"

HUCKLEBERRY FINN Illustrations by Creig Flessel

One of the nicest things that could happen to me was meeting and chatting with Creig Flessel (1912 - 2008) a number of times. He was in comic books before the Golden Age, as you know. He was also a prolific cartoonist, whose work could be seen in comic books, newspaper comic strips, advertisements, and, well, of course, books.

Here is a sample of some of his many (over a hundred) drawings for the "Illustrated Classic Editions" of THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN by Mark Twain, adapted by Deidre S. Laiken for Moby Books and is copyright 1979. Waldman and Son, Inc.

The book is in a square format, similar in many ways to the Big Little Books series. Each gatefold has a page of text on one side and a full page illustration on the other.

Creig was a master of composition and black-spotting. His breezy illustrations are impressive. And, if you'll notice, he knows just what to put in and just what to leave out. Look at the the dock in "The King and the Duke Go ko Pieces" or the railing of the steamboat: simple, clean lines. The details tend to be in the people and in nature here. I have to wonder how long it took for him to research and draw all of this. It looks so deceptively easy, it seems like he just did these with little effort. I suspect the opposite is true.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

MAD Magazine Contributor's WWII POW Caricatures Discovered

The Museum of Jewish Heritage has a series of original sketches of WW2 P.O.W.s drawn by fellow prisoner (and future MAD Magazine contributor) Max Brandel on display in the main lobby thru March 31, 2016.

The New York Times in its article "Poignant Sketches By P.O.W.s in Germany" by Eve M. Kahn describes the situation in which the caricatures were created:

During World War II, the Nazis imprisoned African-American athletes and jazz musicians and European Jews with passports from the United States and Latin America at Tittmoning Castle in Bavaria. The black detainees had been working overseas, partly to escape racism at home, and some had European wives and children who were also taken to interment centers.
The little-known wartime deprivations of foreign nationals imprisoned by the Nazis come to life in a collection of caricatures that were drawn at Tittmoning and are on view through March 31 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York. 
Max Brandel, a Jewish artist from Poland, made the sketches in 1943 for a fellow inmate, Jerome Mahrer, a Manhattan-born Jewish schoolboy. Mr. Mahrer, now a retired guidance counselor living in Manhattan, described life at Tittmoning as “mildly civilized.” 
He and his wife, Carolyn, donated the album to the museum in 1999, and information is still being gleaned about its contents. Its cover was made from a Red Cross box, stamped “package for prisoner of war,” by another inmate, Peter Rosenbaum, a German Jewish teenager whose family had acquired Salvadoran passports. (Mr. Mahrer’s son-in-law, Gregory Hiestand, is writing a book about the family’s wartime experiences.) 
... After the war, Mr. Brandel moved to New York with his wife, Lottie, who had been interned in France, and became a contributor to Mad magazine. Their daughter, Eve Brandel, a retired librarian, discovered the existence of the Tittmoning sketches in 2014 when she saw them on the museum’s website. 
Her father, who died in 1975 at 64, “never talked about the past — zero,” Ms. Brandel said. Maybe, she said, the sketching “helped him cope.” Some of the works show African-Americans playing piano or guitar, and guards baring their teeth. 
Sitters for some of the images inscribed the pages. The wrestler Kemal Abdul Rahman Berry, whose professional name was Reginald Siki, wrote, “Let’s keep going!” The pianist Freddy Johnson noted the title of a song, “September in the Rain,” that the young Jerome was trying to master on the accordion. “Squeeze Box Man” was the guitarist and banjoist John Mitchell’s nickname for the boy.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

TWIN EARTHS Comic Strip by Oskar Lebeck and Alden McWilliams

The Hairy Green Eyeball blog gives us many TWIN EARTHS comic strips. Go and look!

TWIN EARTHS is a comic strip that appeared in newspapers from 1952 to 1963. It was created by Oskar Lebeck (1903-1966) and Alden McWilliams (1916-1993). 

Monday, March 14, 2016

THE LITTLE KING by Otto Soglow and John Stanley

Here's a rather well-loved Dell comic book of THE LITTLE KING. It's actually DELL FOUR COLOR #597, and is copyright 1954.

Although you can see Otto Soglow's signature on the cover, the comic book work was farmed out to Dell's great comic book writer/illustrator John Stanley. Having specialized comic book pros to adapt comic strips and movies was a standard practice. They also did it in secret. I don't think there's any comic book story that Stanley did that bears a "by John Stanley" credit.

John Stanley was best known for adapting Marge's LITTLE LULU for comic books. Stanley also adapted other properties during these years, including HENRY ALDRICH and HOWDY DOODY.

Frank M. Young, of the Stanley Stories blog (see links below) calls The Little King "basically Tubby in a royal robe." Tubby, as you know, is Little Lulu's friend. Full of bravado and a bit pompous, the King character is self-obsessed and mostly concerned with eating strawberry tarts or catching a big fish.

THE LITTLE KING was a mostly pantomime strip. Unlike Soglow's creation, in the Stanley/Dell comic book, the Little King actually spoke, and he liked to talk.

From THE LITTLE KING (Dell Fout Color) #597, here is one of the three stories in that issue, "The Statue." I think it's one of the best stories that Stanley has done. So much fun!


Stanley Stories: Is This Stanley's Work? The Little King, from Four Color 494, 1953

Stanley Stories: "The Little King" Pt. III: Stanley's 1950s Man-Child