Friday, May 17, 2019

Lee Ames Illustrations for CIRCUS PARADE (1954)

Lee Ames (1921- 2011) was a prolific illustrator of many books, including over two dozen of his Draw 50 book series. Lee was also a member of the Long Island National Cartoonists Society chapter, the "Berndt Toast Gang." He retired to California, and although we never met, we chatted on the phone from time to time. Lee was always very friendly and knowledgeable. He was also the guy who coined the phrase "Berndt Toast Gang."

Here is the background on the Berndt Toast Gang, which I originally wrote and is now part of a Wikipedia entry:

"The Berndt Toast Gang, named in honor of Walter Berndt, is a group of Long Island cartoonists who meet on the last Thursday of each month. As explained by cartoonist Lee Ames:

"When the Long Island group, Creig Flessel, Bill Lignante, Frank Springer, Al Micale and I got together to work for Hanna Barbera in the 1960s, we decided to have a Finnegan's Bar lunch every last Thursday of the month. During that period, Creig brought Walter Berndt to join us. We fell in love with the cigar-smoking old-timer (look who's talking!), as he did with us. After a couple of years he passed away and left us grieving. Thereafter, whenever we convened on Thursdays, we'd raise a toast to Walter's memory. On one such, my big mouth opened and uttered, 'Fellas, it's time for the Berndt toast!' I wasn't trying to be cute at the time, but I'm not displeased that it stuck and we became the Berndt Toast Gang, one of the largest branches of the National Cartoonists Society." 

Here's a peek at just one of the books he did the illustrations for.  You can see why, at the age of eighteen, he was all ready working for Walt Disney. The man had an amazing mastery of the pen. CIRCUS PARADE is a collection of short storied selected by Phyllis R. Fenner. It was published in 1954 by Knopf and is copyright that year by them.


The Comics Reporter obituary

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Jim Davis Ball State University College of Business Commencement Address, May 24, 1986

From 1986, here is Garfield cartoonist Jim Davis, giving a commencement address at his alma mater Ball State University. This is the same year that he won an Emmy for his Garfield's Halloween Special CBS TV special and "Best Comic Strip" Division Award from the National Cartoonists Society. He tells them that his one message is to pursue happiness. (Despite this being on YouTube, this is audio-only. Ball State University Libraries has just uploaded this, along with other historic BSU audio events here. Take a listen to a 1968 address by Arthur C. Clarke talking about what life will be like in 2001.)

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Video: Mort Drucker and John Reiner - The NCS Masters Collection

From 2015, here is an interview with Mad Magazine's Mort Drucker by his friend John Reiner. Mort needs little introduction here. He had just been awarded the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Cartoonists Society, and this video commemorates that. John is, of course, the artist on The Lockhorns newspaper comic panel. John was also, before The Lockhorns, an assistant to Mr. Drucker. This was shot and edited by The Family Circus artist Jeff Keane.

Monday, May 13, 2019

TED Talk: New Yorker Cartoonist Amy Hwang

In 2018, New Yorker cartoonist Amy Hwang decided to leave her architecture job to pursue freelance cartooning full-time. Using her own cartoons and drawings, she explains the thought processes she used to help her reach this decision. Amy Hwang’s cartoons have appeared in The New Yorker since 2010. Born and raised in Texas, Amy moved to New York to study architecture at Barnard College where she started drawing cartoons for the Columbia Daily Spectator. She concurrently worked in architecture jobs and worked as a cartoonist until 2018 when she made the decision to focus on cartoons full-time. She lives in Scarsdale with her daughter. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Nurit Karlin 1938 - 2019

New Yorker cartoonist and children's book author Nurit Karlin died April 30 at a hospital in Tel Aviv, Israel. She was 80 years old. No cause of death was given.

From Michael Maslin's Inkspill:

"Ms. Karlin’s first New Yorker cartoon ran in the issue of March 18, 1974. At the time she was the only female cartoonist whose work was appearing in the magazine (the last before her was Mary Petty, who passed away in 1976, but whose final contribution to the magazine was in the issue of March 19, 1966). Ms. Karlin was the only female cartoonist in the pages of The New Yorker from April of 1966 through July of 1978 when Roz Chast’s first cartoon was published. Ms. Karlin went on to draw 77 cartoons for the magazine. Her last was published October 24, 1988. "

From "Nurit Karlin, Israeli-born cartoonist who broke into a men’s club at The New Yorker, dies at 80" in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency:

"Before coming to the United States to study animation at the School of Visual Arts in New York, she served in the Israeli army and studied at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem.  
"Fellow cartoonist Liza Donnelly recalled that when she asked Karlin where she got her ideas, she replied, 'If I knew where they came from, I would be the first in line! I used to doodle. Then something would be there.'

"Karlin published a collection of her work, 'No Comment,' in 1978. She also wrote and illustrated children’s books, including 'The Tooth Witch' (1985), 'The Dream Factory' (1988) and 'I See, You Saw' (1997).

"Karlin, who never married, is survived by her sister, Dina Wardi, and two nieces.  
"After retiring about 13 years ago, she returned to live in Israel, according to The New York Times. She was active in Yesh Din, a group that aims to protect the human rights of Palestinians living under Israeli military control."

Monday, May 06, 2019

This Week on the Blog

MacBook screen broken. Suspect: one of the cats. But I didn’t see it happen, or hear it, and the primary suspect (fattest cat who likes to jump) is sooooo cute I can’t blame him.

When I get a new monitor, the blog will return to normal.

Please stand by.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Kazuo Koike, creator of ‘Lone Wolf and Cub,’ ‘Lady Snowblood’ manga, dies at 82

Kazuo Koike, writer of seminal manga such as "Lone Wolf and Cub," "Lady Snowbird" and "Crying Freeman," died on April 17, 2019. He had been hospitalized for pneumonia. He was 82.

His work influenced many creators in comics and movies.

From the AV Club:

"Born in 1936 in Japan’s Akita prefecture, Koike was as much an educator as a writer, having helped establish the Koike Gekiga Sonjuku training school for manga creators. He was the perfect teacher, after all, his innovations in the realm of samurai manga being some of the very first to be published in North America. His work was also adapted into numerous films that helped launch the career of Tomisaburo Wakayama and inspire the likes of Frank Miller and Quentin Tarantino, who drew heavily upon the Lady Snowblood adaptation while making Kill Bill. There’s been recent talk of a stateside adaptation of Lone Wolf And Cub, with Ghost In The Shell producer Steven Paul having bought the rights.

"A prolific creator, Koike also produced manga like Samurai Executioner, Crying Freeman, Mad Bull 34, and Mad Bull 2000, as well as Hulk: The Manga for Marvel. In 2004, he was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame."

From the Washington Post:

"Mr. Koike’s manga featured stylized graphic violence that benefited from the black-and-white color scheme of manga. He regarded most samurai films and manga as insufficiently violent and overly ritualized in their swordplay.
"'Black and white gave him the ability to render blood graphically without the intensity that you would have in color,' said Andrew Farago, curator of the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco. 'If you tried that in American comics, you wouldn’t get away with that and have mainstream distribution. It was a very cinematic approach, but it wasn’t gratuitous.' Mr. Koike and his artists, he added, 'were very aware of the audience and the boundaries and limitations of what the publisher would allow.'

"Although the series did not appear in a U.S. edition until 1987, Farago noted that its hyperkinetic style influenced American comic book artists such as Frank Miller ('Batman: The Dark Knight Returns'), Larry Hama ('G.I. Joe') and Walt Simonson ('Manhunter').

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Mort Walker on Lichtenstein

The time Lichtenstein was invited to a National Cartoonists Society meeting by Mort Walker. This is via Craig Yoe:


Russ Heath on Lichtenstein

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Video: Cartoonist George Booth Drawing At a Crown Heights Block Party

Video by Sarah Booth.

I think this was last year. Anyway, if I am able to get down and draw on the pavement when I'm in my 90s, like spry George does, I would be a happy man.


My Interview with George Booth in Hogan's Alley #22

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Cartoonist Musa Kart has been put back into prison for a fake crime he did not commit

From the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists:

Cartoonist Musa Kart has been put back into prison for a fake crime he did not commit. Cartoonists around the world are revisiting their cartoons drawn in support—and Musa Kart's public statements—from the time of his 2017 trial in Turkey.

From Cartoonists Rights Network International:

CRNI categorically condemns the unjust criminal prosecution of . His imprisonment is the climax of a 15 year campaign of intimidation & persecution by President Recep Erdoğan who has long harboured enmity toward critical press & media.

Musa Kart April 25, 2019:

“I believe people will see the injustice that is being done here. Several brave reporters have recently summarised what’s happening in Turkey: people who punch the leader of a major political party are permitted to go free while those who draw cartoons or report the news are put in prison. We look forward to the day when journalists need not make proclamations such as these in front of prison gates.”

More here

Related: Musa Kart's friend, the columnist Yılmaz Özdil, has written an appreciation and places the event of imprisonment for editorial cartoons in historic context.

Monday, April 29, 2019


Bad in 1980, bad in 2019!

This actually happened to me in line to see The Empire Strikes Back, way back in 1980. Time Magazine had published a plot synopsis that week and this kid behind me was breathlessly telling his friend everything. Some people don't mind spoilers, but I sure do.

Today I am dodging plot spoilers from Game of Thrones and the new Avengers: Endgame movie. So, no more social media for me.

Friday, April 26, 2019