Friday, July 31, 2020

King Features "Six Chix" Dropped from Newspaper Due to "Inappropriate and Offensive" Cartoon

Bianca Xunise, who is one of King Features' "Six Chix" cartoonists, has gotten some criticisms of one of her cartoons resulting in a newspaper getting rid of the feature entirely.

She says on her Twitter account:

"So apparently the angry responses got my comic dropped from some newspapers and an apology that I did not approve of is running in its place. For the record I do not apologize for this comic and this is censorship."

Here's the comic and the newspaper funnies page apology (above) to its readers.

More at The Daily Cartoonist, which points out that the newspaper "can’t even be bothered to run the right credits: Bannerman, Xunise, Konar, Lawton, Patrinos & Piro."

Hat tip to Derf Backderf!


August 3, 2020, NBC News: 'I am being silenced over white feelings from a gag comic': Black comic artist on her work being pulled from newspapers

Hand-Lettering Samples from Barnacle Press

Here are some samples of hand-lettering from the turn of the last century. These all come from the fine fellows at Barnacle Press, which is a great place to see very early comics. Barnacle Press was just tweeting this week about hand-lettering. Kismet!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

How to Hand Letter Comics Using the Ames Guide

Above: a hand lettering guide by Bob McLeod.

Hand lettering is something that fewer and fewer cartoonists do, what with the ability to work 100% digitally. Personally, I like hand-drawn lettering just because it looks, well, "drawn." It's more part of the drawing when it's generated by hand instead of by pixel and app. And when you draw on paper, then you later have the actual original in your hands, to display in a gallery show or sell.

For those who are still interested in the old school, hand-drawn lettering aspect of cartooning, here's some links.

Salgood Sam has a great couple of videos that will tell you all about the dos and don't of hand lettering using an Ames Lettering Guide. It will help you keep your letters uniform and evenly spaced.

The Webcomics site has a primer on using the Ames Lettering Guide.

Drawing Words and Writing Pictures also has a great how-to guide to using the Ames Lettering Guide.

Art of the Comic Book has a technical step-by-step instruction.

The Alvin Ames Lettering Guide is easily available in stores and online.

Dick Blick

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Vintage Tool Lots

This is one of these oddball entries today (i.e., NOT cartoons or even cartoon-related). Allow me to indulge you with some photos of vintage tools. I like the look and shapes of these old tools. All of these are pictures from eBay, and none are actual tools that I own. I don't really want to own them. But I sure like their shapes and heft. Aren't they pretty?

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Comic-Con International YouTube Channel: Comics During Clampdown: Creativity In The Time of COVID

How do cartoonists deal with writer's block in the face of a global pandemic? How do you balance homeschooling with publishing deadlines? Panelists Brian Fies (A Fire Story), Keith Knight (The K Chronicles), MariNaomi (Life on Earth trilogy), Ajuan Mance (1001 Black Men), Thien Pham (Sumo), Jason Shiga (Demon), Gene Luen Yang (Dragon Hoops), and moderator Andrew Farago (Cartoon Art Museum) discuss work-life balance, sanity, and survival in the midst of our brave new world.

Comic-Con International YouTube Channel: Comics Satire and The New Political Cartoon

The San Diego Comic Convention, maybe the biggest convention of the year, is canceled. To make up for it, there is a Comic-Con International Youtube channel. Here's one of their videos on satire and political cartoons.

"There's no shortage of fodder for political and social satire these days, yet some say political cartooning is a dying art! Join five very different cartoonists, Ben Passmore (BTTM FDRS, Sports is Hell), Ezra Claytan Daniels (BTTM FDRS, Upgrade Soul), Mr. Fish (Nobody Left), Ann Telnaes (Trump's ABC) and R. Sikoryak (Constitution Illustrated) as they discuss their approaches to making relevant, critical comics in the age of... whatever it is that's going on right now! Moderated by Jacob Brogan (assistant opinions editor at The Washington Post)."

Monday, July 27, 2020

Happy 80th Birthday, Bugs Bunny

Bugs Bunny - What's Up Doc? from milton diogo on Vimeo.

Dan Nakrosis 1963 - 2020

Daniel A. “Dano” Nakrosis passed away on July 21st. The cause was ongoing heart issues. He was 57 years old.

Dan was a veteran comic book artist. He had done it all: writer, artist, colorist, letterer and editor.

From The Daily Cartoonist:

"Born in Bayonne, Dan’s coloring, lettering and artwork graced the pages of all the major comics publishers across a wide genre of books. His work history included stints at DC, Marvel, Wildstorm, Walt Disney and Archie, among many others; on titles including 'Aquaman,' manga versions of 'Spider-man,' 'The X-Men' and the 'Conservation Corps,' also known as the 'Eco Crew.' He also worked as a writer, editor and publisher for over 30 years with most of the major names in the U.S. comic book industry. For many years, Dan ran a studio which specialized in producing translations of Japanese manga comics for Western audiences.

"Dan was also a graphic artist who’s advertising and promotional work was used by many companies, including Trader Joe’s.
"A graduate of Queen of Peace High School in North Arlington and the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon Art in Dover, NJ, Dan was also very active as a member of the National Cartoonist Society, serving as the New Jersey Chapter President and in other officer positions over several decades. He was a regular attendee of the NCS’ Reuben Awards ceremony, and often worked as a member of the group’s election committee, helping to collect and compile votes for the award which honors the Cartoonist of the Year.

"He was a collector of sports and comic-related art and memorabilia and was always ready with a comic quip or bad pun. Dolphins and the English Premier League, and the music of bands including Kansas, Marillion, Prefab Sprout, and The Magnetic Fields.

"He was a collector of sports and comic related art and memorabilia and was always ready with a comic quip or bad pun.

"Dan was the dear son of the late John Nakrosis. He is survived by his loving mother Elena, brothers John and Stephen, and his wife Sarah, sisters Catherine and Elizabeth Mortimer and her husband Robert, nephews Thomas and Laurance, nieces Athena and Mary, and numerous cousins and friends."

Dan's Facebook page

Friday, July 24, 2020

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Fleischer Studios 'Superman' Upscaled to 4k Using Neural Networks

Well, by "upscaled to 4k using neural networks" I mean that the old Superman shorts got cleaned up real good!

Via Geekologie:

"YouTuber Jose Argumedo took the 1941 Fleischer Studios Superman cartoon 'The Bulleteers' and upscaled it using Waifu2x, an image upscaler that uses deep convolutional neural networks. Waifu2x is trained on anime (as evidenced by the name) and it works remarkably well for any animation and even pixel art. Just look at the results. It looks better than any remastering I've ever seen and was done completely with machine learning. It's like looking at those botched art restorations but with the before and after images reversed."

Old version:

New 4K version:

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Video: Library of Congress Interview with Lynn Johnston 2019

From the Library of Congress, here's a September 19, 2019 conversation with For Better or For Worse cartoonist Lynn Johnston:

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Video: Garry Trudeau: Creativity in Isolation

From the Beinecke Library at Yale:

"In response to the Beinecke Library's invitation to describe the work he is currently pursuing, Garry Trudeau—cartoonist, writer, and creator of 'Doonesbury'—described the challenges of creating a 'Complete Digital Doonesbury' featuring some 15,000 comic strips in honor of the 50th anniversary of the beloved strip. In the process, Garry’s editor David Stanford identified what he called a “perfect strip” published in 2009. Here, Garry 'deconstructs' this piece, walking us through its creation, frame by frame. Garry shares details of his broader creative practice, thoughts about writing comedy, and the development of his unique and groundbreaking approach to the comic strip format."

Monday, July 20, 2020

Video: Ton Smits House Museum

Let's go visit the Ton Smits House in Eindhoven, one of the smallest museums in the Brabant region of the Netherlands. Here is a video tour of the place.

Even though the Dutch born artist/cartoonist passed away in 1981, the contents of his home-cum-museum are still being cataloged and preserved. I don't speak the language of this 1:43 piece, but I sure would like to visit the place one day.

Mr. Smits' cartoons were bought widely in major US markets, including The New Yorker and The Saturday Evening Post. He visited the United States once. His bio page picks up the story:
"After the first cartoon in 1949 hundreds followed and were published in The New Yorker, The Saturday Evening Post, Collier's, Look, and This Week Magazine.
"Invited by The New Yorker Ton Smits visited The States for some months in 1955 and 1956. At that time he was the first cartoonist of the European Continent to have his cartoons printed in The New Yorker. With the money he earned in the first few years, he had a magnificent house and studio built at Eindhoven for his elderly mother and himself. For a long time he was a confirmed bachelor. Three years after his mother's death in 1970 - she lived to be 88 - he made up his mind to get married."
Klein museum gewijd aan cartoonist Ton Smits:

Who is Ton Smits? Related: some Ton Smits cartoons in the BEST CARTOONS OF 1964 book.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC): "Retrofocus" Vintage TV Clips

A few man-on-the-street questions of Australians from years gone past via the Australian Broadcasting Company. These are just a few of the 193 features titled Retrofocus.

From August 31, 1962, Ray Taylor asks an eclectic mix of Sydneysiders, “Is there life on other planets?”

From 1961: "Do housewives lead dull or exciting lives?" Includes this exchange:

"Have you ever considered going to work?"
"God heavens no!"

The ABC took to the streets to ask women what they looked for in a man in 1967. This episode of This Day Tonight aired on 18 May 1967.


In this ABC interview from 1974, science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke makes the bold claim that one day computers will allow people to work from home and access their banking records. 

Just a few more to sample:

1960: I'm a Girl Watcher 

1965: What Did Kids Want for Christmas?

1973: Computer Predicts the End of Civilization. 

1976: People Struggle with Opening Milk Cartons 


Thames TV television archives 

Television Academy Foundation Interviews

UCLA Film and TV Archive



Thursday, July 16, 2020

Captain Billy's Whiz Bang

Here's something from great grandad's attic: a copy of Captain Billy's Whiz Bang. A "naughty" magazine in its day. This is Volume IX No. 188, June 1934 and was published monthly by Popular Magazines Inc. in Minneapolis, MN.

Captain Billy's Whiz Bang was a pocket-size bawdy joke magazine that was published by Captain Wilford Hamilton Fawcett AKA "Captain Billy" (1885 - 1940). I had heard of it, but never actually seen a copy until I saw a few copies at the Two Brothers used bookstore in Freeport, ME this past Sunday. Without this popular racy humor digest that had its heyday 100 years ago, there would be no Captain Marvel or Popular Mechanix magazines. 
Here's the story:

Fawcett lied about his age when he was 16 to go fight in the Spanish-American War. After that, he came home and then worked as a police reporter for the Minneapolis Journal until World War 1. He went off to fight again. Fawcett achieved the rank of captain and worked at Stars and Stripes. It was while he was there that he got the idea for Captain Billy's Whiz Bang. The title was a combination of his nickname, and the name of a WW1 bomb. After the war, he began publishing the risque digest. In 1921, he was quoted as saying that the racy humor mag was closing in on a circulation of a million. (Records show that circulation was actually more like nearly half that, at 425,000 copies a month at its peak.)

From Captain Billy's Whiz Bang, Fawcett and his sons created other magazines: detective magazines, movie gossip magazines, and others, like the long-running Family Circle and Woman's Day mags. Perhaps its crown jewel was Mechanix Illustrated.

After their father's death in 1940, Fawcett's sons began a line of comic books modeled on the popular Superman character at DC Comics. Fawcett Comics published a line of comics including Captain Marvel. (Captain Marvel debuted in Whiz Comics, which I think was a nod to the magazine and the dad who started it all.) DC sued Fawcett for copyright infringement, saying Marvel was way too much like Superman. The case dragged on for years. In the 1940s, the Captain Marvel family of comic books outsold Superman's. Pushing the lawsuit ahead was affordable while sales were brisk, I suppose. (Captain Marvel Jr. had such an impact on Elvis Presley that he borrowed the character's poses, hairstyle and lightning flash chest insignia, as described in Elaine Dundy's biography, Elvis and Gladys.)

After WW2, sales began to decline and Fawcett Publications folded its line of comics. The company had already ventured into the profitable world of paperbacks with the Gold Medal line. 

About the magazine:

Captain Billy's Whiz Bang, which had its heyday in the 1920s, was around for a number of decades, along with sister publications Smokehouse Monthly and Uncle Charley's Joke Book. It laid the foundation for the Fawcett magazine, comic and book empire.

It's also cheesy, dated, male chauvinistic. It's a collection of gossip and funny stories and Captain Billy's own stories of his travels and the famous people he hob-nobbed with. There are a series of departments for stories, all with funny titles like "Drippings from the Faucet," "Button Busters," "Howls from Harlem," "Smokehouse Poetry," and so on. There's a kinda nod to the gay culture with a page of "Queeries and Nancers" with faux editor "Percy McNance" and associate editor "Algy Devere." And there's even a reference to a woman's "time of the month" in one of the gag cartoons.

Bill Holman, just a year before his long-running newspaper strip Smokey Stover debuted, is in the mix in this particular issue with one gag cartoon (opposite "Queeries and Nancers"). A fair number of the single panel cartoons are unsigned. Most all are more than competently executed. (The "tramp" cartoon and the "Major's operation" cartoon are particularly skilled.) Some of the signed contributors include Jimmy Caborn (1909-1955), who would go on to work for the Plain Dealer (interrupted for three years when he enlisted into the army in 1943) and create a couple of syndicated features, while doing a lot of freelance work for The Saturday Evening Post, Collier's and other major magazines; Bob Gesteland, who freelanced for magazines and was part of the Disney stable for at least the 1930s and 40s (pretty much no information on him online); there's even a "Campus Rumpus" section with a couple of cartoons from college publications; and there are other cartoonists, with some terrific skills, who either don't sign or there is a signature or mark that I cannot make out. For some, Captain Billy's may have been beneath their status.

Via Wikipedia: The book Humor Magazines and Comic Periodicals notes:
Few periodicals reflect the post-WW I cultural change in American life as well as Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang. To some people [it] represented the decline of morality and the flaunting of sexual immodesty; to others it signified an increase in openness. For much of the 1920s, Captain Billy’s was the most prominent comic magazine in America with its mix of racy poetry and naughty jokes and puns, aimed at a small-town audience with pretensions of "sophistication."
But despite its shameful humor, it was a money maker and, most importantly to a freelancer, the checks cleared.