Friday, February 23, 2018

More Sketching with Bill Woodman and John Klossner

Went to the mall again this week, to draw people at the food court. The same terrific cartoonists as last week, John Klossner and Bill Woodman, came along as well.

The place was very busy, what with all Maine school kids on spring break this week. And, fortunately, we did not get discovered while we were there, sketching in plain sight. 

Here are a few of my sketches:

Here are a couple by Bill Woodman. He adds the non-sequitur word balloons later. I love these.

Just one page of the many the John Klossner was creating.

My thanks to John and Bill for letting me share their work. You can see my sketches from last week here.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Here's THE DENNIS THE MENACE STORYBOOK, which sports some wonderful work by longtime Hank Ketcham assistant Lee Holley. Here's just one of the endpapers:

The name of the book is THE DENNIS THE MENACE STORYBOOK, Based on the character created by Hank Ketcham and adapted by Carl Memling from the television scripts written by William Cowley, Peggy Chantler, George Tibbles, and Phil Leslie. It was published by Random House in 1960 and is copyright that year by the Hall Syndicate, Inc.

Jay North was the child actor who portrayed the mischievous Dennis. CBS had let its LEAVE IT TO BEAVER show go from its network to ABC. They wanted a new "kid show" and DENNIS was greenlit in 1959. It was scheduled in between LASSIE and ED SULLIVAN on Sunday nights. The half-hour comedy show would run until 1963, airing 146 episodes.

I found this book at a second-hand store in Portsmouth, NH. The spine was gone, but it was otherwise in good shape. A lovely bookplate here. Looks like it was illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen.

Lee Holley began working as an assistant to Hank Ketcham in 1957, drawing the Sunday strips.  By 1960, he had sold his own comic strip PONYTAIL and focused on that primarily. PONYTAIL would run until 1989.

Holley's hand-colored art is still vibrant after all these years, with two-tone and full color illustrations alternating throughout the book. Here are a few of his illustrations.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Video: Cartoonist Robb Armstrong on "Peanuts" Creator Charles Schulz

Cartoonist Robb Armstrong discusses the influence of "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz on his work during a question and answer session following his presentation at Fall Fest 2017. Fall Fest is an annual event presented by The Indianapolis Public Library's African-American History Committee in support of the Center for Black Literature & Culture.

Robb created the comic strip JUMP START, which has been in syndication since 1989. 

Art Works Podcast: Roz Chast

A podcast interview with Roz Chast from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Pittsburgh: Toonseum to Pursue New Mission, New Location

Toonseum board members, pictured from left to right: Deesha Philyaw, Marcel Walker, Brenna Painter and Yona Harvey

February 16, 2018

For Immediate Release

For more information:
Marcel Walker, Board President
Deesha Philyaw, Board Vice-President, Communications Committee Chair


Museum will leave Downtown, enter ‘Curtains Drawn’ period to champion comics as a force for social good

(PITTSBURGH) – Pop-up exhibits and lectures are among the events planned across the Pittsburgh region when ToonSeum, the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art, moves from its Downtown location in search of a new home for its new mission: championing comics as a force for social good through education while cultivating more inclusive audiences.

With the closing of its doors at 945 Liberty Avenue, the museum will enter a year-long “Curtains Drawn” period of programming, fundraising, outreach and building partnerships.
WONDER WOMAN: VISIONS will be the final exhibition at the Downtown location. The public is invited to a party on the last day of the exhibition, Saturday, February 24 at 6 pm, to celebrate the fun past and bold future of The ToonSeum.

“Just as comics characters must be allowed to age, change or otherwise adapt to the world around them in order to remain relevant, so must the Toonseum,” said Board President Marcel Walker. “During Curtains Drawn, we will develop programming that reflects and includes more members of our community. More people of color, more women, more members of our LGBTQ communities, more families from neighborhoods across Pittsburgh, more students of all ages from more of our schools.”

Walker, voted 2017’s Best Cartoonist in Pittsburgh (CityPaper), said the ToonSeum’s board will continue to be very hands-on and collaborative. “We’ll be hiring an executive director and vetting additional board members; choosing a new location to align with our renewed commitment to the community; and finalizing details with funders who share our vision of a bold future for the ToonSeum. Working together with our dedicated ToonSeum staff, comics fans and the Pittsburgh community as a whole, we will tap into the power of this artform to make Pittsburgh the place where comics entertain, educate, and evolve.”

City of Asylum, the University of Pittsburgh and the Women and Girls Foundation are among the community partners Toonseum will work with in pursuit of its goals during the Curtains Drawn phase and beyond. These goals include:

- Cultivating a larger comics readership in Pittsburgh.
- Using comics-based educational initiatives to help develop higher literacy and critical-thinking skills for students in the region.
- Nurturing writers and artists, enabling them to develop and sustain professional careers in the comics arts.
-Enhancing the city’s growing national reputation as a haven and incubator for comics creators.

Yona Harvey, an assistant professor in the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh, believes the evolution of the Toonseum could not have happened at a better time. “I’m fired up about this historic moment in which big events like the release of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther run and the subsequent Black Panther film have received so much attention,” she said.

Harvey, who co-wrote with Coates two Black Panther spin-off series and is one of Marvel Comics’ first African-American female writers, said she’s excited to serve as secretary on the ToonSeum’s board as the organization embraces a new mission and direction.

“ToonSeum will educate the public and promote creative work that shows rich, complicated images of the full spectrum comics readers,” she said. “We have a unique opportunity to connect with comics aficionados, people who haven’t read comics since they were kids and people who are simply curious about what’s happening now. The events we have planned aim to make everyone feel welcome—to ask questions and to foster their curiosities.”

2018 ToonSeum pop-exhibitions and other programming scheduled to date:

WONDER WOMAN: VISIONS Closing Party - Feb. 24, 6 pm, at the ToonSeum

Conversation with Evan Narcisse, Rise of the Black Panther comic book author and blogger - Presented in partnership with and sponsored by City of Asylum, May 7, 2018, at City of Asylum
3 Rivers Comicon - May 19 - 20, 2018

Ka-Blam! Friendraiser - May 2018

24-Hour Comics Day, an international celebration of comics creation - October 2018

Local Comic Shop Day - November 2018

Drawn to Home, a comic book featuring true stories of homeless youth, women and veterans - Funded by The Staunton Farm Foundation, Fall 2018

In addition to Walker and Harvey, the ToonSeum’s board includes two vice presidents: Brenna Painter, who works in guest services for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust; and Deesha Philyaw, a freelance writer and editor. The Board works closely with ToonSeum staff and with some former board members who remain involved in an advisory capacity.

About the Toonseum

Founded in 2007, ToonSeum, the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art, is one of only three museums in the United States dedicated to exhibitions and educational programming focused on the history and cultural impact of the comic and cartoon arts. ToonSeum offers exhibitions covering the expanse of comics history, and workshops and presentations designed to educate the public about the artform. ToonSeum seeks to build a diverse audience for the comic and cartoon arts through intentionally inclusive programming and outreach. For general information and to learn more about exhibits and events, call 412.983.9255, email or visit

Joe Wos: "My Statement On the Closing of the ToonSeum"

The ToonSeum, a cartoon museum in Pittsburgh, departs its physical location on February 24th. It will continue to exist, creating events throughout the region over the next year.

Joe Wos began the ToonSeum and ran it for its first seven years. Here's his statement, which he shared on his Facebook page. I asked and received permission to share it here:

"My statement on the closing of the ToonSeum: I am the founder and former executive director of the ToonSeum. I ran the museum for more than seven years and watched it grow and evolve into one of the nation’s finest cartoon art museums. However, since departing over four years ago, I have had little contact with the museum and am no longer affiliated with it in any way. My personal feeling on the closing of the ToonSeum's Downtown location is one of sadness and regret. For over a decade, the ToonSeum was a unique hub for geek culture and fans. I am saddened to see that chapter come to an end. I do not know what the organization’s plans are for the future, but I do wish them luck in whatever direction they take. While I do have strong feelings about what the ToonSeum's mission is and what it should be, it is no longer my position or place to try and guide that mission. I am hopeful that the foundations that helped fund the ToonSeum can provide oversight and advice to them in what will likely be a difficult transition. Pittsburgh, with or without the ToonSeum, will always be a center of geek culture and fandom. A building is just a bunch of bricks. The ToonSeum was built by and for its fans, and that spirit will live on no matter what shape or form the ToonSeum takes. As Stan the Man would say ... 'Excelsior!'"

Sketching with Bill Woodman and John Klossner

I had a good day yesterday, sketching people at the Maine Mall with fellow cartoonists John Klossner and Bill Woodman. We spent a couple of hours there, at the food court, sitting together at a table. No one noticed us (which is what I want). We drew people walking by, people eating, the men and women behind the counter, the maintenance workers. So many people.

I have to thank John and Bill because, honestly, I was the only one who NEEDED to be there. I was had to be at the mall to get my phone battery changed out at the Apple store. It was a process that took over two hours. A few days before, I proposed that we all hang out, and they very kindly agreed. So, yesterday, we talked shop and drew. John drew in pencil and pen in his large spiral-bound sketchbook. I drew with a Micron Pigma ink pen 005 on a small pad of cheap newsprint. Bill had brought some folded sheets of copy paper and drew with a ball point. We ate some lunch, I got the phone. A good day! Bill, a man of few words, said as we parted, "We should do this again."

If we do it again, I'll ask John and Bill if I can add their sketches to the blog here as well. In the meantime, here are a few of my sketches.

Thursday, February 15, 2018


What with BLACK PANTHER opening tonight and this coming in the spring, it looks like a terrific superhero year, huh?