Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Video: First Time Hearing Dolly Parton's "Jolene"

These young twin teens encounter old music for the first time and react to it live on their YouTube channel.

They are a lot of fun! This time they react to Dolly Parton's "Jolene."

Also in that vein: these two kids have exactly four minutes to make a phone call on a rotary dial phone. Can they figure it out?

Hat tip to my sister-in-law Jenny for the above. There are, if you care to peruse, a whole series of videos of teens grappling with dial phone on YouTube.

Monday, June 29, 2020

The Fantastic Four #61 (Apr 1967): Joe Sinnott Inks Jack Kirby's Pencils

Courtesy of TCJ, here's an analysis of "what an inker does." In this case, it's inker Joe Sinnott who is finishing a Fantastic Four comic's pencils by Jack Kirby.

Sam the Cat from 2008

Here is good old Sam the cat on top of my good old BIG monitor way back in 2008. I guess this was maybe 6 months after moving from urban Brooklyn to the foothills of the White Mountains in New Hampshire.

Those big fat monitors made cats happy!  It was all warm and there was usually a person within the vicinity to lavish praise and pats. One time I drew a cartoon of a cat like Sam on the monitor, with a pissed off look, reaching out to scratch someone who was browsing an online shopping site. The cat had the line: "You better not be shopping for any of those flat screens!"

Friday, June 26, 2020

Joe Sinnott 1926 - 2020

Comic book inker Joe Sinnott, best known for his iconic work with Jack Kirby on Marvel's flagship title The Fantastic Four from 1965 to 1981 (as well as a brief run in the late '80s), passed away yesterday morning at the age of 93.

"He went peacefully with the knowledge that his family, friends, and fans adored him. He enjoyed life and was drawing up until the end. He always loved hearing from all of you and having your comments read to him. Each and every one of you were special to him," his family wrote on his Facebook page. 

During his 60-year career, first as a freelancer, then as a salaried artist, Joe Sinnott inked most Marvel titles, defining "Marvel’s visual aesthetic for decades to come" according to The Hollywood Reporter. The titles included The Avengers, The Defenders and Thor.

"[P]encilers used to hurl all sorts of dire threats at me if I didn't make certain that Joe, and only Joe, inked their pages. I knew I couldn't satisfy everyone and I had to save the very most important strips for [him]. To most pencilers, having Joe Sinnott ink their artwork was tantamount to grabbing the brass ring." -- Stan Lee from Brush Strokes with Greatness: The Life & Art of Joe Sinnott by Tim Lasiuta (2007)
He served in the Seabees in Okinawa during World War II. Returning home, he worked three year in his father's cement works until he was accepted into the Artists and Illustrators School (now know as the School of Visual Arts) in the GI Bill.

Via Wikipedia:

"Cartoonists and Illustrators School instructor Tom Gill asked Sinnott to be his assistant on Gill's freelance comics work. With classmate Norman Steinberg, Sinnott spent nine months drawing backgrounds and incidentals on, initially, Gill's Western-movie tie-in comics for Dell Comics. Sinnott recalled in 1992 'taking the LIRR every weekend and working all day Saturday and Sunday.' He said in 2003, 'Tom was paying us very well. I was still attending school and worked for Tom at nights and [on] weekends,' with night work added after he tired of commuting to Long Island and 'began working [in] my room on 75th Street for $7 a week.'

"Sinnott in 1992 recalled his earliest work for Gill being the Western comic Red Warrior and later including Kent Blake of the Secret Service, both for Atlas Comics, a predecessor of Marvel Comics. 'Tom would do all of the heads. We'd do everything else. We'd do the backgrounds and the figures, but since they were Tom's accounts, he'd do the heads so it looked like his work. I did this for about nine months. It was great learning,' he said, adding, 'I can never have enough good to say about Tom Gill. He gave me my start.'"

He began freelancing in the 1950s, most drawing horror, monster, romance and western comics for Stan Lee at Atlas Comics. in 1957, due to a backlog of stories, freelancers were not needed at Atlas. He branched out to other projects so that by the early 60s, he was drawing for Treasure Chest, Classics Illustrated, a series of dictionaries for kids and others. Then one day, Stan Lee contacted him.

From Brush Strokes with Greatness: The Life & Art of Joe Sinnott by Tim Lasiuta (2007):

"Before Stan called me to ink Jack on Fantastic Four #5, I never knew the Fantastic Four existed. I lived up here in ... the Catskill Mountains, and I never went down to the city at that time. ... Everything was done by mail and I didn't know what books were coming out, even. ... Stan called me up and said, 'Joe, I've got a book here by Jack Kirby and I'd like you to ink it, if you could. I can't find anybody to ink it. ... [When the pencil art arrived,] I was dumbfounded by the great art and the characters. ... I had a ball inking it. I remember when I mailed it back, Stan called me. He said, 'Joe, we liked it so much, I'm going to send you #6.' So he [did], but I had committed myself [to] another account at [publisher George A. Pflaum's Catholic comic book] Treasure Chest ... and this was a 65-page story I was going to have to do on one of the Popes ["The Story Of Pope John XXIII, Who Won Our Hearts", in vol. 18, #1–9 (Sept. 13, 1962 – Jan. 3, 1963)]. I had committed myself to it, so when I had started #6, I think I just did a panel or two. I had to send it back to Stan."

Sinnott continued to ink for Charlton Comics at this time, but finally moved on to doing Marvel's Fantastic Four beginning in 1965. He would ink the title for sixteen years, defining a Marvel style that a generation grew up with. He also inked some Captain America Kirby stories, as well as The Inhumans and The Silver Surfer. He would go on to work on other major Marvel titles.

Retiring from comic books in 1992, Sinnott inked The Amazing Spider-Man comic strip until just last year. In addition, he was a regular comic convention guest and did many commissions for fans.

I did not know until reading up on Joe's life that he credits Tom Gill (now best known for his very long run on The Lone Ranger comic book) with giving him his start. Tom was a particular friend and knew many, many cartoonists. We were co-chairs of the Berndt Toast Gang. Many times we ate and drank wine together -- or chatted on the phone. Seeing that Tom was there at the beginning really hit home. Great to see his name -- and it was a reminder of just how small -- and how friendly -- cartoonworld really is.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Cartoonists Laughing On the Radio

The cover of LOBSTER THERAPY AND MOOSE PICK-UP LINES by the late, great Jeff Pert. (Down East Publishing, 2018)

Two years ago this Sunday, myself, and fellow cartoonists John Klossner and (the one and only) Bill Woodman were crammed into an NPR Portland, Maine radio studio (David Jacobson joined us by phone) to chat about cartooning and the then-new cartoon collection LOBSTER THERAPY. The time, as "Maine Calling" producer/host Cindy Han had told us, zoomed by.

And the day zoomed by too. By that evening, I was back in New Hampshire. I remember I drove to the grocery store in the evening (probably to buy a celebratory bot), and switching on the radio, I heard laughter and a voice I knew. It was familiar, but it took a couple seconds to place it. It was Bill Woodman's. The station was rerunning the show; it airs live at 1pm and repeats at 8pm. I had forgotten this, so for a few seconds I was wondering who these people were, that were all laughing together and what were they laughing about?

Cindy Han sent on a note the next day:

"Thank you so much for being on Maine Calling and for putting together such a fun and interesting panel to talk about cartooning. I kept hearing from people that it was nice to hear a show where everyone kept laughing! Please send my thanks to John, Bill and David as well. They were great! (Bill left some doodles on the notepad in the studio--I'm hanging onto those treasures!)"

Here's a link to the broadcast. I'll listen to it today as well. Fond memories!

Oh, I have a few autographed copies. If interested, drop me a note at mike at mikelynchcartoons dot com. I'll draw in it as well.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Denis Kitchen Interview

Graphic novelist Noah Van Sciver interviews underground comics artist and publisher Denis Kitchen. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Joe Giella Interview: "Legendary Artist Stays Busy During Pandemic"

Comics legend Joe Giella is interviewed by Tom Ward in the June 19-25th Sports Page Weekly. I couldn't find this online, but Bunny Hoest has supplied this scan (thanks to an email from Adrian Sinnott). Thanks, Bunny! And see you at the virtual Berndt Toast lunch this week!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Download Denny O'Neil/Neal Adams Green Lantern Story For Free

Via the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library Instagram:

During the Civil Rights era, the creators of superhero comics responded to the movement by adding more diverse superheroes to their universes and by tackling the issue of racism in their stories, most notably in this Green Lantern Co-starring Green Arrow issue.

In this story, Green Lantern saves an old white man from being harassed by someone he assumes is a street thug, only to find out that the old man is a slumlord about to turn poor people out onto the street, including the grandmother of the young man he just arrested. In these pivotal pages, a black man who lives in the building asks Green Lantern why he has never once used his powers to fight the racism and discrimination faced by people of color in America.

In tribute to the recent passing of writer Denny O’Neil, DC announced that Green Lantern #76 co-starring Green Arrow is now available to download and read for free through Tuesday, June 23, 2020.

Writer Denny O’Neil and artist Neal Adams, Green Lantern Co-starring Green Arrow No. 76, pages 5 and 6, April 1970, DC Comics
From the International Museum of Cartoon Art collection

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Vintage Summer Cartoons 1948 - 1966

In honor of the Summer Solstice, our friend Dick Buchanan has braved the massive, towering Cartoon Clip Files in his Greenwich Village apartment, searched around and snagged some great single panel hot-weather themed cartoons from the years gone by. Thanks, and take it away, Dick!


(1948 - 1966)

1. AL KAUFMAN. American Legion Magazine July 1955.

2. JOHN GALLAGHER. The Saturday Evening Post March 23, 1957.

3. TED KEY. The Saturday Evening Post June 5, 1954.

4. JOHN DEMPSEY. 1000 Jokes Magazine June – August, 1958.

5. JEFF KEATE. Collier’s September 2, 1950.

6. STAN and JAN BERENSTAIN. Collier’s August 21, 1948.

7. FRANK BEAVEN. Bluebook August, 1955.

8. DICK CAVALLI. American Legion Magazine August, 1953.

9. JOSEPH KIERNAN. Cracked June, 1966.

10. ED SULLIVAN. American Magazine June, 1951.

11. BORIS DRUCKER. The Saturday Evening Post July 10, 1948.

12. ALBERT KINZER. American Magazine July, 1953.

13. PHIL INTERLANDI. 1000 Jokes Magazine August – October, 1954.

14. CHON DAY. True Magazine September, 1952.

15. HARRY LYONS. Collier’s August 5, 1955.

16. BARNEY TOBEY. The Saturday Evening Post June 22, 1957.

Friday, June 19, 2020

When Did Cartoon Contests Begin?

You know how in TV and movies when they interview a suspect and they catch him in a lie? You know how they say, Never ask a question that you don't know the answer to?

Well, that's the opposite here. This is a good question, but I do not know the answer. I'll let Michael Maslin pick up the story with an email he wrote to me this week:

"Michael Gerber, who publishes The American Bystander asked me this morning if I knew where/when the first cartoon caption contest appeared.  So far he has one that appeared in The Yale Record in 1918, shown below.  Would you mind asking your readership if anyone knows of earlier contests, or better yet:  when contests like this began."

Here's a copy of that 1918 Yale Record cartoon contest.

Another mystery (as Michael Maslin points out) is that the W. Rice Brewster, who drew this, dates it as "1921."

So, when did cartoon contests begin? I don't know for sure, but if you can find something before 1918, then you know a better answer than Michael and Michael have.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Hogan's Alley Nominated for an Eisner Award

Hi everyone! You can read the latest issue of Hogan's Alley magazine #22 for free through the 18th (that's today)! 

See my interview with George Booth! Many photos and rare cartoons!

Hi comics pros: one more day to vote for the Eisner Awards! And that mag is up for a nomination too! Hint, hint!

Go vote today! 

Midcentury Soviet-era Control Room Photos

Loving these Soviet control room pics from the Present and Correct blog.

They really remind me of some retro future cartoons.

Like this: this is a still from Grantray Lawrence’s lost pilot Planet Patrol. You can get it on the Mid Century Modern Animation DVD. More about that here.

Or Hanna Barbera's The Jetsons.

Hat tip to BoingBoing!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Certified Vintage Gag Cartoons 1946 - 1965

There was a time when pretty much every major magazine had gag cartoons, and hundreds were being published every month. That was called the Golden Age of Gag Cartooning. The height of the Age was post-WWII, and it began to decline in the 1950s as TV became more popular than reading that Saturday Evening Post on Saturday evening.

There were still cartoons in magazines, but not as many. And soon, a lot of those general interest national magazines weren't as many too. Collier's stopped publishing in 1957. This Week, a Sunday supplement to the newspapers, hung on until 1969. Look magazine eked it out until 1971. But here, on this blog, courtesy of cartoon clipper extraordinaire Dick Buchanan, we can visit that Golden Age. Thank you, and take it away, Dick.


(1946 – 1965)

Here are a few of the mid-century gag cartoons which have achieved Certified Vintage status . . .

1. TOM HENDERSON. This Week Magazine March 3, 1946.

2. GARDNER REA. Collier’s February 25, 1951.

3. GLENN BERNHARDT. The Saturday Evening Post October 16, 1954.

4. PHIL INTERLANDI. The Saturday Evening Post October 3, 1953.

5. DAVE LETTICK. Lettick drew the comic strip Little Orphan Annie for 3 months in 1974 after which the strip began running Harold Gray reprints. True Magazine December, 1969.

6. BOB WEBER. American Legion Magazine October, 1963.

7. CLYDE LAMB. 1000 Jokes Magazine Winter, 1954.

8. GEORGE SMITH. The Saturday Evening Post May 15, 1948.

9. SYDNEY HOFF. Collier’s November 24, 1951.

10. ORLANDO BUSINO. American Legion Magazine April, 1959.

11. SLIM. Cartoonist Robert Johnson signed his work Slim. Argosy Magazine September, 1965.

12. JEFFREY MONAHAN. 1000 Jokes Magazine September – November, 1961.

13. IRWIN CAPLAN. This Week Magazine March 17, 1946.

14. FRANK BAGINSKI. Baginski drew the comic strip Splitsville. American Legion Magazine May, 1965.

15. SAM GROSS. Argosy Magazine July, 1965.