Monday, January 31, 2022

True Story: Thrift Store Confessional

True story: I overheard this fellow at a thrift store in Windham, Maine.  He was a quiet fellow, but took the opportunity of the checkout process to tell the story of his life to anyone within earshot.

Drawn with no pencil foundation -- just sketched off the top of my head. Pigma Micron 02 and 08. Colored in Photoshop.

-- Edited from a blog entry of August 15, 2014.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Tennessee School Board Bans Maus


Maus, Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer Prize winning graphic novel about the Holocaust, has been removed from the McMinn County, TN eighth grade language arts curriculum by the local school board due to concerns over profanity and nudity.

The Guardian:

"A Tennessee school board has banned a Pulitzer prize-winning novel from its classrooms over eight curse words and an illustration of a naked cartoon mouse.

"The graphic novel, Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by New Yorker Art Spiegelman, uses hand-drawn illustrations of mice and cats to depict how the author’s parents survived Auschwitz during the Holocaust.

"The graphic memoir elevated a pulp mass medium to high art when it nabbed a slew of literary awards in 1992 but appears not to have impressed educators in McMinn county.

"Ten board members unanimously agreed in favor of removing the novel from the eighth-grade curriculum, citing its use of the phrase “God Damn” and drawings of 'naked pictures' of women, according to minutes taken from a board of education meeting earlier this month."

 The writer Neil Gaiman tweeted:

"There's only one kind of people who would vote to ban Maus, whatever they are calling themselves these days."

"Spiegelman was born in 1948, and the book is framed as him interviewing his father about his parents' experience during World War II, with the Jews as mice and Germans as cats. The image of nudity is the character who represents Spiegelman's mother.

"The language cited by the school board is the use of 'God damn,' but there is no lack of harsh language in Maus, given the nature of it being a story about war and bigotry. Similar debates have erupted around books like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, which features vulgarities as well as racial slurs. It is periodically the subject of debates or bans as a result, but it is generally accepted that the book's literary value overcomes language concerns. It isn't uncommon for comics and graphic novels to be held to a different standard than prose novels."

Writer/artist Nick Abadzis:

"While Maus isn’t a kid’s book per se - aside from just being a brilliant work that redefined what the language of comics can and should do - it is an entry-level text for anyone, especially younger people, gaining a first understanding and exploration of the holocaust. It’s possible at eighth grade some kids might not be ready for it - but surely that is what a responsible and ethically aware gatekeeper will divine from a potentially interested child? Give them good information - a context for the story. Let them know what’s in the pages of that book and let them make the choice to read or to not read themselves. While Maus doesn’t shy away from describing acts of human darkness, it expertly handles very difficult subject matter sensitively and obliquely by way of visual metaphor and memoir. It’s visceral, but symbolically so via its incredibly deft use of visual grammar, which is why it’s so powerful."

Art Spiegleman was on MSNBC yesterday. "I just know the people that banned this are stupid," he said, adding that the decision was "Orwellian."

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Video: The Largest Collection of Comic Books in the World

Via Forbes:

"Bob Bretall has read every single one of his over 129,000 comic books. He currently has the largest collection of unique comic books in the world, and he continues to grow this collection every week. Bretall started collecting a child, and he doesn't just look for comic books. He had art, figurines and everything else to do with the comic world. In this episode of The Vault, Bretall explains where he got his passion for all things superhero and comic strip."


Wednesday, January 26, 2022

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. 

 More vintage wooden toys.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Ward Kimball's "Model Railroading Unlimited"

 Here's a 1978 short with the talents of Ward Kimball (one of Disney's Nine Old Men) and Hans Conried: "Model Railroading Unlimited." 


Thanks to Adrian Sinnott for this!

Monday, January 24, 2022

"The Three Marx Brothers" (1962) Stop-Motion Short

Here's a 1962 stop-motion short titled The Three Marx Brothers. I know little about it except that it looks like a pilot for a series of shorts. This is not for broadcast as there are no credits and no copyright. It's an interesting artifact and some of the voices work and some don't. I am guessing that Groucho, although alive at the time, did not provide his own voice. 

There had been multiple attempts at creating an animated Marx Brothers TV show during the 1960s and 70s. None successful. Read Jim Korkis' The Animated Marx Brothers That Never Were, which is packed with information. Even Batman co-creator Bob Kane got involved. This short may or may not be the Screen Gems pilot. Please comment if you're a better Googler than I am.




The Rankin/Bass Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy Show Pilot

Friday, January 21, 2022

Illustrations by Theodore Diedricksen, Jr. for There's Pippins and Cheese To Come by Charles S. Brooks

I saw this book,  There's Pippins and Cheese To Come by Charles S. Brooks, at a secondhand shop. I paged through it and made a note of the illustrator, Theodore Diedricksen, Jr. -- whose art I liked. 

I liked the noodling and the general looseness in this. There's an exciting combo of accuracy and sloppiness in the crosshatching. Diedricksen was very confident in these drawings. I had not heard of him. So ... I left the book on the shelf, and drove home to Google him.

That was a mistake.

If I had known that Google had so little on him, I would have bought the book then and there. There are a couple of paintings I saw, but no illustrations. I found out that Theodore Diedricksen, Jr. (1884/5 - 1967) was associated with Yale, and did a lot of drawings of the campus buildings. But I didn't see any of his drawings online, at least nothing to compare to these. Why I didn't just check my phone when I was there in the first place, I don't know. Anyway, I drove back to the secondhand shop in Freedom, NH and bought the book to share his work here. 

Theodore Diedricksen, Jr. was a professor of art at Yale. I found his great grandson online, Derek Diedricksen, who has a number of amazing blogs here

I have scanned in most of the drawings from There's Pippins and Cheese To Come by Charles S. Brooks, copyright 1917 the Yale University Press. This is a collection is Mr. Brooks' essays that originally appeared in The Yale Review of the New Republic. These are all spot illustrations and chapter headings by Diedricksen. You can see he was a proficient letterer as well.

Here's a typical header. Look at the interplay of shadow, light and the clutter of an early 20th century man cave.

The slight exaggeration of the frown and eyebrows makes this "The Aspirations of the Early British Reviewers" heading illustration fun. The lettering, going from white to black, is a unique touch. I believe that we are seeing Diedricksen's own lettering for the first words of these chapters as well. Wow. By right-clicking, and opening these in a new window, you can blow all of these up and really eyeball 's painterly crosshatching.

Here is Mr. Brooks ruminating on Pepys' diaries.

The play of light and shadow here is fun. The cat, while on-form, is still stylized (even a little cartoony looking) and, in a lovely touch, slightly swaying to the lute music.

Charles S. Brooks, another Yalie, is a writer who produced books (This is the fifth printing of There's Pippins and Cheese To Come), essays and plays during his life. But he is so obscure as to not have a Wikipedia page.