Friday, February 23, 2024

Pan Cooke on Non-binary Teen's Death

Pan Cooke draws and writes the true story of Nex Benedict, a non-binary 16 year old who, died after being attacked in their school.

The Guardian:

"The death of a non-binary 16-year-old in Oklahoma has left LGBTQ+ Americans overwhelmed by anger and grief this week.

"Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old non-binary student, died on 8 February after a “physical altercation” with classmates in their high school bathroom, according to a statement by local law enforcement on 21 February.

"In a statement on the school’s website, school officials said: “Students were in the restroom for less than two minutes and the physical altercation was broken up by other students who were present in the restroom at the time, along with a staff member who was supervising outside of the restroom."


The police claim the death was not the result of the altercation. Toxicology results are still pending.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Gannett Censors Doonesbury Comic Strip: "Gannett doesn't want comic strip fans learning about how almost 100,000 white southerners chose loyalty to their country over preserving slavery as they fought for the Union during the Civil War."

The Gannett News Service, which owns nearly 400 newspapers in the United States, did not print the Sunday Doonesbury comic strip. Here it is, above, in case you were not able to see it. Judge for yourself that it was unfit to print. (It was not.)

From MSN's "Conservative Newspaper Conglomerate Proved Their Opponents’ Point When They Banned This ‘Doonesbury’ Comic Strip" article by Keagan Kelly:

"You’d better not joke about Florida censoring speech that goes against their preferred narrative, or else Florida newspapers will censor your joke.

"For 53 years, Garry Trudeau’s comic strip Doonesbury has graced the funny pages of local and national newspapers, bringing dry, informed political satire to readers across the country six-to-eight panels at a time. Since starting the strip, the Yale graduate and Pulitzer Prize-winner has ruffled the feathers of the rich and powerful on many occasions, earning the ire of politicians like President George H.W. Bush and House Speaker Tip O'Neill over their portrayal in the political parody cartoon. With Doonesbury, Trudeau takes aim at the reckless and influential regardless of their party affiliation, making few friends in the process besides the papers that carry his comic strip – well, some of them, anyways.

"This past Sunday, many readers whose regional newspapers are owned by the multi-billion dollar, conservative-leaning mass media holding company Gannett flipped to the funny pages to find that Doonesbury was conspicuously missing from its usual position in the printing. Former Iowa State Representative and president of the Veterans National Recovery Center Bob Krause noticed that absence and made sure to show Twitter what Gannett hid from them.

"Gannett owns almost 400 newspapers in the United States, including the national publication USA Today and local papers in 44 states, among which is Krause's Iowa, where the Des Moines Register followed company protocol and cut out the above strip from circulation. Apparently, Gannett didn't want its readers knowing that seven of the states in the U.S. Confederacy explicitly cited the issue of slavery in their declarations of secession. Gannett also doesn't want comic strip fans learning about how almost 100,000 white southerners chose loyalty to their country over preserving slavery as they fought for the Union during the Civil War.

" ... The cognitive dissonance required to strike such a strip from publication proves the importance of the information Trudeau was trying to communicate as the hypocrisy of the conservative media continues to demonstrate that there is no greater enemy to their agenda than an informed populace."



DailyCartoonist: The Great Gannett Comics Conspiracy to Rid the Nation of G. B. Trudeau’s Doonesbury

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Download "How to Create Cartoons" book by Frank Tashlin


Cartoonist, film writer and director Frank Tashlin's (1913 - 1972) How to Create Cartoons book has been scanned and put online in its entirety. 

Tashlin started off in life in animation, working for Schlesinger, Disney and Warner Brothers. He then worked as a gag writer for the Marx Brothers and Bob Hope. He wrote screenplays and became the go-to comedy director. His first film was Bob Hope's The Lemon Drop Kid. Tashlin also directed six of the Jerry Lewis solo pictures, as well as two 1960s movies starring Jayne Mansfield (The Girl Can't Help It and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?

His How to Create Cartoons book was self-published in 1952 and it's about cartoon drawing, not animation.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024


Here are just a few cartoons from THE BEST CARTOONS OF THE YEAR 1958 edited by Lawrence Lariar and copyright that same year by him.

Below: Al Kaufman's line is precise and to the point. It took me a few seconds, but by his use of blackspotting, I figured out the gag. I always like these "the moment before chaos" sort of gags.


The one and only Orlando Busino's take on those ubiquitous "Think" signs. The look on the guys face, his hand casually in his pocket as he effortlessly tosses the sign makes this one a bullseye.


I believe this is the work of cartoonist Ken Montone. Look at how he handles time. Specifically, in the second panel, the recognition of what's happened vis the girl's bikini really has not set in on the boys' faces. That's how quickly this has occurred.


Monroe Leung gives us a shocking moment when an innocent boy scout has his traditional values sullied by a member of The Greatest Generation.



Jack Markow, who reminds us that back in 1958 the important thing to a woman was that her hat was one of a kind.


George Wolfe has a gag that relies on you, the reader, knowing about clotheslines of this era. I wonder if, in a few years, when more people realize their dryer is the most energy-sucking home appliance, that hanging up wash will be more status quo -- and this gag will again become cutting edge.



Al Ross gives us a creepy, almost Addams-ish, psychiatry gag. I love how sketchy the cartoon is.


Virgil VIP Partch always delivered a good punch line.


Ton Smits is a cartoonist who deserves to be better known in the USA. There is always a philosophic layer to his work.



Ned Hilton -- another cartoonist with a clear precise line that easily denotes mass and form -- shows us a good gag, and an idea that might really come in handy.



Bob Tupper with a gag that took me a couple of seconds, with my eyes roaming around the drawing, to get the gag.

And, last, another great multi-panel Partch cartoon. Somehow, Partch's characters can be dreadful and horrible, but they are still very, very funny.



All of these cartoons have one thing in common: no gag line. All are visual jokes, and most are technically wordless. Wordless gags are, I believe, the toughest to create, if you are a cartoonist. So, I appreciate all of these more than the ones with words, you bet.


A hat tip to my pal, cartoonist John Klossner, who loaned me his copy of the BEST CARTOONS OF 1958. Thanks, John!

- This has been an edited version of an April 24, 2009 blog entry.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Cartoons from "The Popular Book of Cartoons" (1946) Part 3: Lawrence Lariar

This is a series of looks at some postwar gag cartoonists from The Popular Book of Cartoons.


Links to previous parts:

Part one.

Part two.

Today, we're looking at Lawrence Lariar (1908 - 1981) who worked in gag cartoons, comic books, writing mystery novels as well as a well known comics editor for two major national magazines, as well as the long-running annual series of books, The Best Cartoons of the Year. His affair with the mother of cartoonist Bill Griffith (Zippy the Pinhead) was the subject of a graphic memoir by Girffith in 2015.


From the New York Times, October 15, 1981:

"Lawrence Lariar, a cartoonist, editor and author of mystery novels, died Monday in Waterbury, Conn.

"He was 72 years old and lived in Southbury, Conn.

"For more than 20 years Mr. Lariar was cartoon editor of Parade magazine and before that he held a similar post at Liberty magazine. He edited a number of anthologies, including the annual Best Cartoons of the Year since 1942. He wrote mysteries under the pseudonyms of Adam Knight and Michael Lawrence.

"He is survived by his wife, Susan; a daughter, Linda Webb, and a son, Stephen P. Lariar, both of Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y."



Lambiek adds:

"Lawrence Lariar was an American cartoonist, writer and editor. He was a cartoonist for Collier's, making mystery stories in which cartoons and illustrations appeared as clues. In the 1930s he drew the comic strip 'Barry O'Neill', also published in early National/DC titles. In the 1940s and 1950s he scripted syndicated features like 'Ben Friday' (later 'Bantam Prince', with John Spranger) and 'The Thropp Family' (with Lou Fine and Don Komarisow). He created 'Inspector Keene' for Young American Magazine.

"Lariar wrote mystery novels under the names Michael Lawrence, Adam Knight and Michael Stark. For more than 20 years he was cartoon editor of Parade magazine. He has also worked for Liberty magazine, and edited anthologies like 'Best Cartoon of the Year' since 1942.

"His instruction manual, 'Cartooning For Everybody' (Crown Publishing, 1941), has been praised by cartoonist Don Orehek. 


I believe the Don Orehek quote is because that's what Don told me when he passed along Lariar's Cartooning for Everybody. I mentioned this in my August 22, 2011 blog entry about the book.

As Bill Griffith described him in The New Yorker:

"He was a gag cartoonist, primarily, but he dabbled in almost every field of comics, from the nineteen-twenties to the nineteen-sixties."

Lawrence Lariar's affair with Bill Griffith's mother was the subject of Griffith's Eisner Award winning nonfiction graphic novel Invisible Ink: My Mother’s Love Affair with a Famous Cartoonist (2015). The New Yorker interviewed him in its October 16, 2015 issue:


"To act as a detective to try to find the man that your mother is sleeping with—that sounds like the plot of a piece of pulp fiction. What gave you the inspiration for this?

"Well, the book was inspired by a visit I made to my uncle, who is the only family member of that generation still alive. He’s ninety-one years old, and he lives in Winston Salem, North Carolina, and on a visit to him three years ago or so, the subject of my mother’s possible affairs came up. My mother had several affairs, and my aunt asked me if I knew if my mother had an affair with my next-door neighbor, growing up in Levittown, and I said no, I think that was probably too dangerous. But then, of course, there was Lariar, and they asked me who that was—they had no idea. When I thought about it later that night, it just kept spinning around in my head; I started Googling Lariar. I hadn’t really given him any thought since my mother actually first confessed the affair to me very briefly, in 1972, after my father’s death (which did not prompt me to ask any questions about it whatsoever, much to my regret now). But, anyway, here I am, three years ago: I’m Googling Lariar, and hundreds of images come up. The guy was an incredibly prolific cartoonist and, within an hour or so of that, I realized I had a graphic novel. I had a graphic memoir in my head—something I’d been waiting to happen for twenty or thirty years. I always thought, Someday I’ll do a graphic novel; what will it be? And here it was. It was handed to me."



Here's an excerpt from Invisible Ink: My Mother’s Love Affair with a Famous Cartoonist:



Lawrence Lariar's cartoons from The Popular Book of Cartoons (1946), published and copyright 1946 by Popular Library, Inc. Some of these cartoons date back to 1935 and originally appeared in College Humor magazine.

A few more Lariar links:

"Yankee Yiddish" Cocktail Napkin Cartoons by Lawrence Lariar

Marriage Cartoons from YOU'VE GOT ME -- AND HOW! Edited by Lawrence Lariar Part One


Friday, February 16, 2024

Some Dorothy McKay Cartoons and Illustrations 1936 - 1956

I was curious to see more of Dorothy McKay's illustration and cartoon work after yesterday's post. Here are a few examples that I came across. The cartoons are from Esquire, with publications dates from 1936 to 1956.


"What did I do wrong this time?"

"Com' on, Matilda -- one more -- or you can't go back on us now!"

"How long we bin away, Bill? -- I got twins!"

"They're all over at Major Bowes!"

"Pardon me, is this seat taken?"

"Don't you ever want to go to a big city?"

"Of course, you could turn off the air conditioner!"

"Of course, the bank will be furious when they find out about this."

"Is this where the old bags get renovated?"

"What would you recommend for a beginner?"


Here's the cover and some some interior illustration for Raising a Riot (1949) by Alfred Toombs.