Wednesday, May 31, 2023

ALL IN A LINE Cartoons by Saul Steinberg

Before Sacco and Rall, there was Steinberg, drawing another war from another generation.

Below are some of his sketches from ALL IN A LINE, Copyright 1945 by Saul Steinberg; first Penguin edition 1947, reprinted by arrangement with Duell, Sloane & Pearce, Inc.

The first half of the book are (mostly) wordless cartoons and humorous drawings. The second half appears to be taken, with little or no redrawing, straight from his sketch book.

I love the POV drawing on the right hand side. Who knew you could have an open bottle of ink inside a military cargo plane? [EDIT: Orang Basikal comments, "'The drawing on the right' is not in a military cargo plane but in a sampan on a river. Clearly he intended to contrast this with the scene in the cargo plane, on the left. Several of the other pairings are in a similar vein" Thanks, Orang. I stand corrected!]

His line work always impressed me as a combination of Sempé and Van Gogh.

Some great drawings to linger over, and I wish there were more books like this today. The 2000 PBS documentary They Drew Fire was about the formal hiring of artists to cover the war, and why it was done. To my knowledge, Mr. Steinberg was not among these fellows, but moreso an ordinary Navy grunt, jotting down his impressions, which makes him just as valuable.

Perhaps best known for his 1976 "View of the World" cover to the New Yorker magazine, Mr. Steinberg was one of those guys whose cartoons were just a beginning of what would be a life of fine art.

The Saul Steinberg Foundation link here.

This is an edited version of an original blog link dated November 12, 2007.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Video: #VelshiBannedBookClub: 'Maus' by Art Spiegelman


"The first ever graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize, Art Spiegelman’s 'Maus' is a frank and visceral look at the Holocaust through his father’s eyes. When the schools board of the McMinn County School District in Tennessee banned the classic from the 8th grade curriculum, it was thrust back into the spotlight for a new generation of readers that badly needed it. Spiegelman famously depicts his characters in ‘Maus’ as animals – Jewish mice, Nazi cats, Polish pigs, French frogs, and American dogs -- subverting common Nazi propaganda portraying Jewish people as 'rats,' 'vermin,' and 'sub-human.' The black-and-white drawings masterfully illustrate anguish, love, fear, and brutality. The reader is not just hearing about the depravity of the Holocaust – they’re seeing it. At its core 'Maus' is a memoir –a story about the Holocaust–but it also explores intergenerational trauma, the complexities of family, mental health, and enduring love."


Friday, May 26, 2023

Sketchbook: Some Behind the Scenes Sketches for an Historical Comic Book

I think it's the first time in maybe 17 years since I took about ten days off from the blog here in the early part of this month. Sorry about that. Here's why.

It helped me to go full speed ahead in my studio and complete the final push for a new project.

The project, an historical comic book, is now ready to go to press. It's been a fascinating series of illustrations and I had just the greatest editor as well. My part is done now. I'll let you know more about it when it's printed.

I thought I'd show a fraction of the sketches I did. On some of them, you can see my thumb in the photo -- so you can see how small some of the drawings are. Again, these are all prelim sketches and not the finished art. I got to draw horses, prize shorthorn cattle, oxen, covered wagons, the Civil War, Gilbert Van Camp of Van Camp's Beans fame, Amsterdam, WW1, the Berlin Wall, the Vietnam War, newspaper vending machines, Abe Lincoln and Abe Lincoln's friend Will Cumback -- to name a few!


Thursday, May 25, 2023

The Ruling Clawss by Syd Hoff

The New York Review of Books has published a collection of political cartoons by Syd Hoff, best known now as the author/illustrator of the children's book Danny and the Dinosaur. The Ruling Clawss; The Socialist Cartoons of Syd Hoff shows his pre-children's book days as a political gag cartoonist. 



Philip Nel provides the background:

During his career as a New Yorker cartoonist, and before he wrote Danny and the Dinosaur, Syd Hoff wrote under a different name. He was A. Redfield, a cartoonist for the communist newspaper the Daily Worker, and a scourge of the rich and powerful.

Scorning what he saw as the complicity and stale jokes of cartooning peers, Hoff set his sights on the ruling class and revealed them for what they were: hilariously inept, deeply selfish, and incredibly dangerous. Hoff spared nothing from his pen, lampooning police brutality, thin-skinned industrialists, racists, and the looming threat of fascism at home and abroad.



The 184 page book, published this month, is now discounted at the NYRB site. And scroll down for more books on comics. 


Wednesday, May 24, 2023

2011 Video: Associated Press Interviews Robert Crumb and Aline Kominsky-Crumb at the Society of Illustrators

From the Associated Press archives, here's an interview with Robert Crumb and Aline Kominsky-Crumb that dates from 2011. Some of this looks like raw footage, perhaps unseen until now. 

Associated Press journalists Ted Shaffrey, Richard Drew and Matt Moore interviewed Robert Crumb and his wife and collaborator, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, at the Society of Illustrators in New York City on March 24, 2011. Crumb had an exhibit on display through April 30, 2011. 



Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Video: Cartoonists Celebrate Chris Browne's Life

From the Sioux Falls, SD TV station KELO comes this news piece remembering Hagar the Horrible's Chris Browne (1952 - 2023). Chris's sister, as well as cartoonists Jeff Keane, John Hambrook, Jeff Koterba and syndicate executive John Glynn share memories:

Monday, May 22, 2023

Todd DePastino on Bill Mauldin


Terence Dollard interviews Bill Mauldin biographer Todd DePastino.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Back Soon

  I’m away the rest of this week. I’m currently enroute to NYC for Sam Gross’ funeral. 

Be well and all the best. 

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

THE BEST OF TIMES by Ludwig Bemelmans

It was any cartoonist's dream assignment: fly to Europe, and draw and report on what your experience is like.

This happened to Ludwig Bemelemans (the guy who did the MADELINE books). The editor of HOLIDAY Magazine asked him to fly to Europe, to see how the people were doing. This is just after WWII. Certain cities were in rubble. The Marshall plan was rolling out.


"After the most casual arrangements and without writing anything down on a contract form or even the back of a menu, I left, virtually from the table of the restaurant at which Ted Patrick [his HOLIDAY Magazine editor] suggested the voyage. I traveled wherever I would have gone had I been on my own holiday. I stayed everywhere as long as I liked."

Here are a dozen of the fifty color illustrations and 100 black and white illustrations from his collection of essays, THE BEST OF TIMES, copyright 1948 by Simon and Schuster, Inc.

My copy fell apart (the back cover came off while scanning these). It's easy to find online at used book sites, but most copies are well read. You can see why.

-- Edited from July 24, 2014 blog entry.