Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Wally Wood: 22 Panels That Always Work

Here's a decent, hi-res version of Wally Wood's legendary "22 Panels That Always Work ... or some interesting ways to get some variety into those boring panels where some dumb writer has a bunch of lame characters sitting around and talking for page after page!"

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

1955 TV Show: Confidential File: Horror Comic Books

Here is "Confidential File," a 1955 news program. This episode talks about lurid comic books that were believed to be the root of juvenile delinquency.

A report by Paul Coates. Produced by Jim Peck. Directed by Irvin Kershner (the guy who would go on to direct "the Empire Strikes Back"). Aired October 9, 1955. A KTTV Production, Los Angeles, for Times-Mirror.

In 1954 the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency conducted an investigation into how the comic book industry was supposedly contributing to the moral decay of a nation's youth. The investigations were spurred on by a number of articles that blamed comics for the rise in juvenile delinquency in post-war America. Chief among the critics was Doctor Frederic Wertham, whose book, "Seduction of The Innocent" has been blamed for nearly single-handedly crippling the entire comics industry.

In 1955, the comic book publishers formed the self-regulating organization, The Comics Code Authority, which great impacted on how comic books were perceived by the public and what kind of stories were told in the comics for decades. The effects of the virtual witch-hunt from this period in American history still has effect on the comic book industry to this day.

"Confidential File" was aired in 1955, after the senate hearings and the formation of the Comics Code, but it serves as a good example of how the media reacted to the comic book industry, and sought a scapegoat by blaming the comic book publications for society's own lack of responsibility in raising its children. This was a "whipping boy" blame game that would continue on, blaming TV cartoons, rock and roll music, Dungeons & Dragons, videogames, and so on.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Chuck Jones Animated Short: "90 Day Wondering" (1956)

Via 8thManDVD: Here is "90 Day Wondering" (1956), a jointly produced Warner Brothers/United States Army animated short, directed by Chuck Jones. It's aimed at encouraging discharged soldiers to re-enlist. It is neither a Looney Tune nor a Merrie Melody.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

CBS News Live "As It Happened:" Apollo 11 Moon Landing

From the CBS archives, here is five hours of the July 20, 1969 live broadcast of the Eagle descending and landing (about 43 minutes in).

1965 Documentary Short: MIT Science Reporter—"Computer for Apollo"

This 1965 MIT Science Reporter television program features the Apollo guidance computer and navigation equipment, which involve less than 60 lbs of microcircuits and memory cores.

Scientists and engineers Eldon Hall, Ramon Alonzo and Albert Hopkins (of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory) and Jack Poundstone (Raytheon Space Division in Waltham MA) explain and demonstrate key features of the instruments, and detail project challenges such as controlling the trajectory of the spacecraft, the operation of the onboard telescope, and the computer construction and its memory.

The program was presented by MIT in association with WGBH-TV Boston, and hosted by MIT reporter John Fitch. It was produced for NASA and is from the MIT Museum Collections.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Trailer: Mister Rogers Movie Starring Tom Hanks "A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood"

Umm ... I was not looking forward to this. When I first heard that Hanks was going to play Fred Rogers, I thought it was a horrible idea. So many ways to screw this up. Leave Mister Rogers alone.

Actually, for a minute I thought it was a joke. But, NO JOKE. This is a real movie and it's out this fall and it looks good (too good) and the timing couldn't be better.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Video: San Diego Comicon: Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner and Cast of New "Star Trek: Picard" Series

From the recent San Diego Comicon: Here's Patrick Stewart and the cast of the new "Star Trek: Picard" show talking about the new CBS All Access channel series. It debuts Fall 2019.

And, in case you missed it, here's the official trailer for the new series which picks up the character of Captain Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation:

Video: Bill Sienkiewicz Interview

From HeroesCon 2019:

Cartoonist Kayfabe Spotlight: Bill Sienkiewicz

Ed Pisko and Jim Rugg talk to the legendary and influential creator about Elektra: Assassin, Big Numbers, New Mutants, Frank Miller, Alan Moore, NYC in the 80s, multimedia, commercial art, indie comics, and more! Sienkiewicz expanded the comics landscape with his experimental and unique approach to the form. We discuss his experiences, inspiration, and how comics have evolved!

Monday, July 22, 2019

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Virgil Partch Part Four: VIP 1943-1944

When you think of the top gag cartoonists of the 20th century, one name that keeps coming up is VIP or Virgil Partch. Dick Buchanan has been profiling VIP for a while. This is the fourth part. Links to the first three are here:

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Virgil Parch Part One; VIP in the 1940s

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Virgil Parch Part Two; VIP in the 1950s

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Virgil Partch Part Three: VIP 1943 - 1959

Here are some rare Partch gag cartoons courtesy of Dick Buchanan's great collection of vintage magazine cartoons. Take it away, Dick -- and thanks:


Part Four (1943-1944)

In these days of superlatives there are many comic geniuses but Virgil Partch was the genuine article.
His first published gag cartoon appeared in Collier’s January 30, 1942 and he quickly became a national sensation. His cartoons, zany, maniacal and sometimes surreal, were unlike anything seen before and the public couldn’t get enough. Collier’s published one of his cartoons every week—often two, sometimes three. His work began appearing in Liberty Magazine, PM Newspaper, This Week, The Saturday Evening Post and even The New Yorker. Time and Newsweek magazines reported on his meteoric rise to national prominence. Madison Avenue took notice and Partch signed on to create cartoons for a host of products. Wheaties cereal, Smith Brother’s Cough Drops, Squirt and Gem razor blades were but a few advertisements featuring his drawings. It’s Hot in Here, first collection of cartoons was published in 1944. In the coming years he would produce 18 more books and illustrated many others.

Here is a small sampling of his earliest and best work . . .

1. VIRGIL PARTCH. November 27, 1943.

2. VIRGIL PARTCH. Collier’s December 25, 1943.

3. VIRGIL PARTCH. Liberty Magazine January 8, 1944.

4. VIRGIL PARTCH. Collier’s January 15, 1944.

\5. VIRGIL PARTCH. Collier’s February 19, 1944.

6. VIRGIL PARTCH. Collier’s February 19, 1944.

7. VIRGIL PARTCH. Collier’s February 26, 1944.
 8. VIRGIL PARTCH. Collier’s February 26, 1944.

9. VIRGIL PARTCH. Liberty Magazine March 4, 1944.

10. VIRGIL PARTCH. Collier’s March 18, 1944.

11. VIRGIL PARTCH. Collier’s March 18, 1944.

 12. VIRGIL PARTCH. Collier’s March 25, 1944.

 13. VIRGIL PARTCH. Liberty Magazine April 15, 1944.

 14. VIRGIL PARTCH. Liberty September 2, 1944.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Miroslav Šašek: This is the Way to the Moon and This is Cape Kennedy

Miroslav Šašek (1916 - 1980) was a Czech emigre author and illustrator, best known for his series of children's titled "This Is...," which he signed "M. Sasek." Since I think of him as the quintessential mid-century illustrator, here are a few of his works to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing on July 20th.

UPDATE 33 killed in arson attack at Japan anime studio

Horrible, sad news. An animation studio was attacked in Kyoto, Japan resulting in the deaths of 33 people. A man came into the building on Thursday, and yelled, "You die!" According to survivors, the suspect

"... doused it with a flammable liquid, and set it on fire on Thursday, killing 33 people in an attack that shocked anime fans across Japan and beyond.

"Thirty-six others were injured, some critically.

"The suspect was hurt and taken to a hospital. Police identified him only a 41-year-old man who was not a company employee. They gave no immediate details on the motive."

This is a developing story

More here.

There is a GoFundMe page for the survivors here.


Kotaku: Kyoto Animation Became More Than Just Anime

CNN: Kyoto animation arson suspect told police his work had been plagiarized

NY Times: At Kyoto Animation, Women Were Central. When It Burned, They Paid the Price.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Ryan Flanders: "An Unusual Gang of Idiots: The Joy of Working at MAD Magazine Past Its Heyday"

 There were 550 issues of Mad Magazine produced in NYC, and Ryan Flanders was there for the last 150 of them. Ryan was my contact at Mad, where I was able to sell a couple of cartoons. So, I am one of the "Usual Gang of Idiots," though a much lesser idiot.

Here's Ryan talking about his time at Mad Magazine and what it was like to put the magazine together for The Comics Journal in a piece titled "An Unusual Gang of Idiots: The Joy of Working at MAD Magazine Past Its Heyday."

"To truly succeed at MAD was to put it above your own ego. The staffers and freelancers who flourished are those who understood that the reader community and MAD ethos were the priority — and who knew that few opportunities in life would make them feel as good as working on MAD Magazine, and all that came with it. Making each other laugh in editorial meetings, getting called a clod over stupid misunderstandings, oohing and aahing as we’d crowd around a piece of freshly delivered artwork. Lunch visits from freelancers — some of the greatest minds, and kindest people, the world has even known. The thrill of coming up with a funny cover idea, the shock when a cover you didn’t think was anything special goes viral and sells extra copies. The smile on your face when the Bart Simpsons of the world show up for an office tour, eyes bulged and mouth agape. Sharing the pride of a new staff member holding the first issue they worked on. Veteran artists you’ve long admired saying that appearing in MAD was a career highlight, and young cartoonists telling you being published in MAD validated their career choice to their parents."


Mad Magazine is Dead. Long Live Mad Magazine.

1977 Video: Bill Gaines on the History of Mad Magazine's Alfred E. Neuman

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Nick Meglin Cameo in 1997 "Friends" Episode

Whaaat??? OK, so I was watching "Friends" last night ("The One With Joey's New Girlfriend," season 4 episode 5) and I saw RIGHT THERE ON THE LEFT -- it's -- NICK MEGLIN!!! Mad Magazine's NICK MEGLIN!!!

He gets shoved to one side by Matthew Perry, who is running to Paget Brewster in the episode. It really was a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo.

Couldn't be anyone else. How did he get to be an extra on "Friends" in 1997. I dunno. The man got around. I miss that guy.

Update: Ryan Flanders, a fellow editor at Mad, confirms.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Ron Morgan 1939 - 2019

Magazine cartoonist Ron Morgan passed away on May 17, 2019. He was 79 years old. 

His nephew Chuck Morgan, who is a cartoonist as well, sent this to Van Scott, who passed it along to me. Here's Chuck:

"The cartooning community lost one of its own. Ronald unexpectedly passed away in Bristol, Tennessee."

"James Ronald Morgan was born in Middlesboro Kentucky on November 11,1939. He grew up the eldest of 6 children spending many days in the mountains of southeastern Kentucky. In June of 1958 he enlisted in the United States Navy, rising to the rank of First Class Petty Officer. Upon receiving his Honorable Discharge he moved to Michigan for work. This was when he met his future wife Betty Lou Richardson.

"In the late 1970s, he and Betty moved to Tennessee with their four children. This was when he began cartooning. James sold cartoons to many publishers, including the Reader's Digest and multiple newspapers. His cartoons were sold early on under the pseudonym "Lobo." He specialized in political satire but was capable of drawing for any publications that requested his services. Once he retired from his job as managing editor of the Claiborne Progress newspaper he began cartooning again, but this time under his actual name Ron Morgan.

"He sold his cartoons all over the world. His cartoons will be missed as well as his wit by all who knew him. Ron had cartoons in Harvard Business Review, National Enquirer, Saturday Evening Post, Smithsonian Institute, Field and Stream, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Woman's World, Leadership Journal, Country Living, The Star, Medical Economics, Clinical Advisor, Cortlandt Forum, The Oldie, and many more."


Ron Morgan's Hire an Artist site

Monday, July 15, 2019

The Garden As of Mid-July

It's been busy here, and sometimes I get too tense. Nice that I have this outside to relieve the pressure.

Friday, July 12, 2019

University of New England Art Gallery "The Art of the Comic” Gallery Show Reception

That's me and Roll Call editorial cartoonist RJ Matson. He used to run the NYC NCS chapter. I haven't seen him in years! 

Portland, Maine: University of New England Art Gallery "The Art of the Comic” gallery show official reception. Here are a few pics from the opening last night. Very well attended, and I saw many people.

The gallery is free, and it's three floors of a couple hundred comics, cartoons and illustrations by professionals and people on their way to become a pro.

UNE's Amanda Skinner put "The Art of the Comic" together. It runs through October 6th.

The first thing you see when you walk through the doors is art by the late, great Jeff Pert.

One of my cartoons.

From The New Yorker: the legendary Bill Woodman, the amazing John Klossner. From Marvel Comics/Beevis and Butthead: the one and only Rick Parker.

A lot of variety of work here, and it's worth a stop to see. 

Eda French

Fulton Beal 

George Danby

Ian Richardson

Mary Anne Lloyd

Joe Rosshirt

Rowan Elliott

David Jacobson

Michael Sloan

Michael Connor

Rick Parker

Some swag for sale. There is also a free reading library of comics.