Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Vintage Wooden Toys

Just photos of wooden toys I like. All of these were pulled from the internet. I don't own them. Very cartoony and very fun.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Bunny Hoest Gives 50 Years of 'Lockhorns' to Adelphi

There was a wonderful article about Bunny Hoest and John Reiner who, together, create The Lockhorns syndicated comic strip. My thanks to Adrian Sinnott who sent the following note and link on Sunday:

There’s an article in today’s Newsday about Bunny donating her entire collection of “Lockhorns," "Agatha Crumm," "What a Guy,” "Bumper Snickers,” "Laugh Parade,” and "Howard Huge" cartoons to Adelphi University:

Although it shouldn’t be in the “Retirement” section seeing that she has 4 years left on the contract with an option for 10 more!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Alfred vs. The Joker

In an alternate universe, Alfred is a superhero.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A Short Graphic Novel by Stacy Innerst "Jared's Narrowed World"

The above page is from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's series "Growing Up Through the Cracks," about the violence in the Hawkins Village public housing community. Stacy Innerst draws the story of Jared Todd, 16 years old, who leads " a largely indoor existence" due to a 2016 killing near his house. The project is supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.

Thanks to dear old Dad for this!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Barbara Shermund Burial Fund

Here's a note from Caitlin McGurk, Associate Curator Assistant Professor at Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Please consider giving what you can to the Barbara Shermund Burial Fund. Thanks.

Hi everyone -- 

I need your help to bury the remains of one of my favorite artists. Please read and share:

As many of you know, I have been researching Barbara Shermund, one of the first female cartoonists to be published by The New Yorker, for many years. Her life and career is the subject of a new exhibit I curated entitled "Tell Me A Story Where The Bad Girl Wins: The Life and Art of Barbara Shermund" for The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. In the course of my research of this long-forgotten and unheralded early feminist cartoonist, I learned something that completely broke my heart: after Barbara died and was cremated in New Jersey in 1978, no one ever claimed her remains. At the time of her death, The New York Times was on strike, and no obituary was ever published. This amazing woman, who created both cover art and hundreds upon hundreds of gorgeous and hilarious cartoons for The New Yorker, Esquire, Life, Colliers, etc., was forgotten in death by both family and the art world.

I have been working with Barbara's half-niece, Amanda, who was able to claim the cremains in 2013. We now have a plan for laying her to rest, which you can read more about on our GoFundMe page

When I think about why this whole thing matters so much to me, I keep coming back to the thought that this art Barbara put into the world is such a tremendous gift. It has touched me and made me laugh so many times. And it's rare that we ever get to thank an artist for the gift of their art in way that feels truly profound. Laying Barbara to rest feels, for me, like the least I can do as a fan and appreciator to say thank you. In my career, if there is one small mark I can leave, it would be bringing her work back to life.

I know everyone is strapped for cash around the holidays, but if you have some to spare now or in the new year, I hope you will consider donating. This means a whole lot to me. Thank you

The Barbara Shermund Burial Fund

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Nate Powell: Making a Living as a Graphic Novelist

Nate Powell has posted about the money he gets for creating a graphic novel.

Background: If you know graphic novels, then you know that Nate Powell has been doing them for a while and he is a well known, award-winning graphic novelist.

My friend Brian Fies, also an award winning graphic novelist and writer, first showed me the graphic below.

Brian is a pal (buy his book A FIRE STORY, coming out from Abrams in March). I know Nate Powell by reputation. That's Nate's handwriting there, below, breaking down for us that he has to live on $6,375.00 for over a year while working on his latest graphic novel. He doesn't get the rest until afterward.

Brian Fies breaks this down. Here's Brian:

Graphic novelist Nate Powell posted this sobering breakdown about the finances of being published. As I just commented to a friend, these aren't entry-level numbers; these are "Nate Powell who is in the top 5% of successful working graphic novelists" numbers. Beginners wouldn't have it even this good.

A quick primer: an "advance" is money a publisher pays an author up-front, meant to cover some expenses while the book is being written. It is an "advance against royalties," which means you don't start receiving royalties (a percentage of sales) until your advance has been earned back--e.g., in Nate's $30,000 example, the author wouldn't get paid again until the royalties they were due hit $30,001. Some books never earn back their advances, so that's all the money their authors ever receive.

In my understanding, a $30K advance is very generous in the graphic novel world. Much more common is no advance at all.

Without getting too specific, Nate's analysis looks right to me. My numbers would be different, and I don't have an agent, but the bottom line is that creating a graphic novel is a long, difficult thing to do, and on a dollar-per-hour basis 97% of graphic novelists earn waaaay less than minimum wage.

I don't think you do it for the money (unless you're naive or stupid). You do it because you have a story to tell that nobody else in the world can. You do it because it's fun and fulfilling. You do it because you have to. You hope your story connects with enough readers that maybe you earn a few bucks and get a chance to tell more stories. Hoping that your story will find enough readers to make you rich (or even middle-classish) is just a lottery player's fantasy. It also happens from time to time.


Comicsbeat: Graphic novelist quits making graphic novels after trying to live on $10k/year for three years

Faith Erin Hicks on the Economics of Graphic Novels

Friday, January 18, 2019

Gene Deitch on the First NBC Peacock Animated Logo in 1957

Gene Deitch, the American illustrator, animator and film director, had a long and amazing career. Based in Prague since 1959, Deitch is known for creating animated cartoons such as Munro, Tom Terrific, and Nudnik, as well as his work on the Popeye and Tom and Jerry series.

And I just saw this, that he posted on his Facebook page. 

Here's Gene, who, at 94 years of age, is going through some old boxes of stuff from his years in show business. He writes:

"Here’s another photo from the boxes full of my past. One of the most fascinating projects I was handed at UPA New York, about 1953, was to devise a peacock logo for NBC, about to launch color television. We tried all kinds of things in the hopeless attempt get really brilliant colors on 35mm Eastmancolor film. One idea I had was to use the colored gels that Broadway theaters used over their stage lights. I went myself to a stage supply company in downtown Manhattan, and picked out a set of the most intensely colored gels. My idea was to shoot the animating peacock with its tail segments animating open, and then, on separate color runs, frame-by-frame projecting the brilliant gels from below up from the bottom, glued to matching cut out animating peacock tail segments. Difficult to explain quickly, but professionals will get the idea. It was typical of the makeshift workarounds we resorted to, in the days long before 'digits' referred to more than just your fingers! Well in the end, the multiple exposures diminished any special brilliance. The example here, the only one I managed to save, was done with normal top lighting. Anyway, you all know that they ended up with a much simplified and better design; the peacock logo is still in use in the CNBC financial offshoot that we see in Europe"


The New Yorker: In Praise of Gene Deitch

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Thursday Complaint

True story:

Dude I don't know emails me. He's got some new app and wants me to publicize it so … you know … the dude can make some money.

Because, you know, he's hungry for some money. Aren't we all?

Not me and my blog, according to him:

"The reason I am writing is, because bigger blogs are money hungry and won't feature us unless we pay, so I thought I should try my luck with a more personal approach to smaller blogs, like yours."

Smaller, stupider blogs who do not know about money or its many uses need to just buckle down and write a glowing promo for free so this dude can, you know, make money.


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Video: Unseen STAR TREK Photos

The late Toronto Star photographer Reg Innell just happened to be on vacation in Los Angeles in July 1966. He liked to peruse the used bookstores there. He was a world traveler, and his tastes ran toward the film, ballet, and the ballet. He didn't watch much television. When he

stepped into a Los Angeles studio 53 years ago to photograph a bunch of unknown Canadians on a TV set, he likely didn’t think much of the assignment he was doing on a lark.

-- from ‘The Man Trap’ was the first Star Trek episode to air — but the Star was there first

Recently, these 53 year old photos from a couple of TV shows resurfaced. And a couple of those unknown Canadians were William Shatner and James Doohan. Innell was there as they shot their sixth episode of the first season. These 35mm slides were mostly unseen, filed away in the Toronto Star archives.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Video: Cartoonist John Callahan Park

YouTube couple Almost Exactly visits a Portland, OR park dedicated to cartoonist John Callahan, who died in 2010.

John Callahan had been paralyzed since the age of 21 due to a car accident. He turned to alcohol, and then, cartooning. His cartoons were called "sick" and "offensive." It didn't bother him at all. To quote his description from his very own Web site:
"There's absolutely nothing funny about a quadriplegic in a wheelchair. Unless, of course, that person is John Callahan. For nearly a decade, this irreverent cartoonist has been shocking America with his own special brand of wicked humor. In the world of Callahan, nothing is sacred, nothing is taboo and nothing is funnier!"
This is the first time I've seen the park, with the benches and foliage and the controversial cartoons so casually displayed. Every city should have a park like this, with some thought-provoking cartoons here and there.

The Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center dedicated the John Callahan Garden in October 2017. Nestled within Legacy Good Samaritan Park on Northwest Marshall St., between 21st and 22nd Avenues, the garden was designed in honor of the late cartoonist and patient of Legacy Rehabilitation Institute of Oregon (RIO)

More here.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Andre Franquin's "Die Laughing"

Wow. This looks very interesting and the drawings are great. Fantagraphics has a collection of Andre Franquin's editorial cartoon work. Amazing comic art, and this is a very good video preview of the new hardcover.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

From 2006: Golden Age of Comics Panel Discussion: Irwin Hasen, Jerry Robinson, Jules Feiffer and Gerard Jones

I was fortunate to attend this panel discussion with these three seminal comics creators some 13 years ago. They talked about the golden age of comics, and the state of that industry. I think about cartoonists like them, all these years later, as the movie business makes billions from their work-for-hire creations.

I remember Irwin Hasen telling everyone in the audience that he was, as a teenager drawing DC Comics covers, looking to "make it big" in syndication. Comic books were trash. A stepping stone to a lucrative syndicated comic strip deal. He never dreamed anyone ever would interested in his recollections of his early years working in the the throwaway comic book industry.

Here's my short blog piece from 2006:


A short comment about a lovely event. My thanks to Stan Goldberg, a guy who started out at Timely Comics (now Marvel) as a teenage assistant to Carl Burgos, for inviting me along.

Last night, The Jewish Museum held a 90 minute panel discussion about the Golden Age of comic books (1938-50). This is in conjunction with its Masters of Comic Art show. (NY Times review here.) Author Gerard Jones (MEN OF TOMORROW) hosted the evening, and gave some historical background about the time.

He introduced the participants in order of age. First was Irwin Hasen, born in 1918. Irwin read from a hand lettered script; a statement of his early life. Irwin wanted to be a sports cartoonist, like his idol Willard Mullin (more about Mullin's work here). He wound up working for a couple of newspapers in NYC, and became, in the Golden Age, one of DC Comics' most prominent cover artists. He is best remembered for Dondi, co-created by Gus Edson.

Jerry Robinson worked as an assistant to Batman creator Bob Kane. Jerry created The Joker, and contributed to the character of Robin. Jerry's had an extensive career. He's President of the Cartoonists and Writers Syndicate, and is the author of a seminal book THE COMICS, a history of the comic strip. THE COMICS had a big impact on me, and has been reprinted in a revised paperback from Dark Horse Publishing. And there's a lot more, if you peek at his NCS autobio above.

Jules Feiffer, whose first pro job was working for his idol Will Eisner on "The Spirit," is best known as a political and social cartoonist, as well as a playwright, screenwriter and author. The day of the panel discussion, he had a cartoon in the NY Times. His 1965 book THE GREAT COMIC BOOK HEROES "was the beginning of serious scholarship of the comic book," said Mr. Jones.

Irwin Hasen talked about his first sale, to a socialist paper, in the 1930s. "This was before those kind of organizations had a bad connotation." When he finished his drawing and asked the editor for payment, the editor sent him to the publisher. When Irwin asked the publisher to be paid, the guy eyed him, and asked, "PAYMENT?! Don't you believe in the cause, Comrade?" Irwin got a nickel subway fare out of the guy. But, he confessed, he didn't care. He was published!

Jerry talked about fighting for Siegel and Shuster, the creators of Superman, who were destitute in the early 1970s. (Jerry Robinson and Joe Shuster worked at side by side drawing boards at DC Comics, and were friends. They would go on double dates, said Robinson, and tried their best to impress girls with their superhero connections.)

It was great to hear the story directly from Jerry Robinson, the guy who, with some help from Neal Adams, got some justice for the creators of one of the most lucrative properties of the 20th century. Jones' book MEN OF TOMORROW tells the story in detail. Mark Evanier has a short review here.

Jules Feiffer was asked if there was any idea that what they were creating would one day have lasting value and be considered art. And Feiffer said, no. Eisner felt the work was throwaway and not meant to last. And Hasen added that comic books were a stepping stone to better things, like getting syndicated.

This is just a fraction of what was said on a chilly evening in The Jewish Museum auditorium that night.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Happy Birthday, Chic Young

The original "Blondie" cartoonist was born in 1901 on this day. He was born in Chicago, and went to William McKinley High in St. Louis where he got the nickname "Chicken Young." The nickname stuck. His older brother Lyman drew the King Features comic strip "Tim Tyler's Luck." He encouraged Chic to draw.

Here is an old magazine ad for US Savings Bonds showing Chic Young's drawing process for a BLONDIE daily comic strip. My pal Leif Peng came across this while scanning magazines for his terrific Today's Inspiration blog. Here's Leif:
Found this while scanning something for Today's Inspiration. Thought you might like it for your blog...

Supposedly a Chic Young 'step-by-step'... but if it really is, then Young must have been a frigging Zen Master Cartoonist, because there's no sign of any real construction, its just a sort of "coming into focus" process, unlike anything I've ever seen!

More likely, he did the strip the usual way, then, for the sake of this ad concept, did a two stage "deconstruction" to reverse the process down to something that looked like a rough sketch but less messy than the real rough sketch. What do you think?
I agree with Leif. It all looks pretty slicked up and doesn't have the necessary construction lines. It appears like dear ol' Blondie just pops into focus out Mr. Young's amazing cartoonist brain!

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Happy Birthday, Peter Arno

It would be his 115th birthday today.

Michael Maslin, who wrote the great bio of Arno (Peter Arno: The Mad, Mad World of The New Yorker's Greatest Cartoonist), weighs in and quotes many New Yorker cartoonists on the man.

Here's one of my favorite stories about Arno:

Some cartoonists like the beginning bit (the coming up with the idea, honing the gag bit I mean) and some like the process (the sketching and layout) and some like the end (the sale). My favorite part is coming up with the gag and drawing the doodle in my sketchbook. Not so with Peter Arno.

Arno would draw and redraw his cartoons sometimes dozens of times. There is a story that cartoonist Mel Casson would tell, about visiting Mr. Arno in his penthouse apartment. I'll do my best to relate it here, from memory of him telling it some 15 or 16 years ago as part of a National Cartoonists Society Connecticut Chapter speech he gave.

So, Mel Casson and a friend went to visit the one and only famous New Yorker cartoonist Peter Arno. He had invited them to his apartment. And it really was a penthouse apartment. The lobby elevator went up, and the doors opened onto the interior Arno landing, from which one could see the Arno living room and, there he was, Peter Arno himself, mixing drinks.

After sitting down, having a drink and talking shop, Arno asked, "Do you want to see my studio?" Well, of course?! Who wouldn't want to see Arno's studio!

So, Arno walked over to a door, and opened it. They walked in. Arno switched on a light. The room had curtains all around, from floor to ceiling, covering the wall, the windows. "I can't have any distractions," explained Arno. The only furniture: a large drawing board, lamp and chair. And on the drawing board, laid out in two rows, were twenty original drawings.

These were 20 originals of the same cartoon, drawn over and over. But, coming closer, the cartoons were not exactly the same. Each one was had a slight difference: an arm bent a different way, a head turned, one character was upstage of the other, to the right in another, etc. Each one was a fully inked Arno original, ready for publication.

I remember Casson telling Arno how surprised he was that he (Arno) did all of this work, painstakingly laboring over the cartoon, drawing and redrawing it in so many different, subtle ways -- all in finished ink and wash. Casson suggested drawing a series of thumbnails or pencil sketches instead of going to all this time and effort.

Arno explained that this was always the way he worked: drawing many different variations of the cartoon until he was satisfied. Casson repeated that it was so much work, drawing a large size finished piece over and over and over again.

"But you don't understand," explained Arno, motioning to the 20 cartoons, "This is my favorite part."


Harry Lee Green brings a lovely sampler of Peter Arno's amazing layout and masterful wash style from the collections SIZZLING PLATTER and HELL OF A WAY TO RUN A RAILROAD.

Monday, January 07, 2019

The Charlie Hebdo Attack Anniversary

Four years ago today, twelve people in the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were murdered by two brothers, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, who had forced their way in. Eleven others were injured. The gunmen identified themselves as members of the Yemen branch of Isalmist terrorist group Al-Queda, which took responsibility for the attack.

1971 Video: Tomorrow's World: Cassette Navigation

What if there was a Siri or a Waze or Google Maps in 1971 that could guide you as you drove? There was, of a sort, and it worked -- mostly. Take a look. This is fascinating.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Video: Inside DC Comics 1978

Go inside the DC Comics Offices of 1978 in this rare video featuring actor Christopher Reeve,  DC comics editor Julius Schwartz, writer Cary Bates, artist Curt Swan, colorist Anthony Tollin and DC comics President Sol Harrison! For more info, visit and go to Dial B for BLOG issue #418 -- "Inside the DC Comics Offices 1978!"

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Documentary: "Funny Business: An Inside Look at the Art of Cartooning" (2010)

Here is the complete "Funny Business -- An Inside Look at the Art of Cartooning" documentary.

This award-winning film which debuted in 2010 travels into the studios and lives of 11 celebrated New Yorker magazine cartoonists to help answer the time-honored question, “How do they do that?” And maybe more importantly, “WHY do they do that day after day when rejection is the norm?”

FUNNY BUSINESS is the first feature-length film to reveal the artists behind our favorite cartoons. Its been broadcast nationally on local PBS stations including WNET (Channel 13). Initially fueled by the filmmaker’s personal relationship with cartooning legend Charles Addams and her mother’s desire to be just like Addams, this film is a delightfully candid and intimate journey that shows the heart beneath the gags.

Video: Editorial Cartoonist Scott Stantis: An Editorial Cartoon Drawn in Two Minutes

In this time-lapse video, we see Chicago Tribune editorial cartoonist Scott Stantis draw a political cartoon, from the initial pencil sketches to the finished product.