Friday, June 28, 2013

Akram Raslan Receives Cartoonists Rights Network International Award

Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan will receive the Cartoonist Rights Network International's 13th annual Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning in Salt Lake City, UT tomorrow.

But Mr. Raslan will be unable to attend because he is incarcerated in a Syrian prison.

As Mark Twain once said, "against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand." The tyrant might be able to call out an army to quell a rebellion in the streets, but against his own people laughing at him, there’s no defense. The power of the pen is nowhere more powerful than in the hands of a daring cartoonist. 
Akram Raslan knew the risks when he started drawing president Bashir al-Assad as a ruthless dictator. Two years ago, another Syrian cartoonist, Ali Ferzat, was kidnapped, driven to the outskirts of Damascus and brutally assaulted because of the growing popularity of his cartoons criticizing Assad. As the goons were finishing their work they broke his fingers, telling him that his broken hands would assure he never drew another cartoon embarrassing the big boss. 
When this attack became public, political cartoonists and journalists all over the world responded with an unprecedented flood of anti-Assad cartoons, editorials and newspaper articles. The regime paid a heavy public relations price for the attack on Ferzat. This time, instead of an extrajudicial beating during the dark of night, the regime chose to trump up charges of sedition against the cartoonist. The only evidence against him will be the cartoons he has drawn that embarrass Bashir al-Assad and his minions.

Related: June 13, 2013: Trial Delayed for Akram Raslan


October 7, 2013: Akram Raslan reported dead. executed on or about July 26, 2013. More at Cartoonists Rights Network.

Video: MR. AND MRS. NORTH: "Comic Strip Tease"

Here's a first season episode from the MR. AND MRS. NORTH TV series (1952-53 on CBS, and then in 1954 on NBC) titled "Comic Strip Tease," wherein

"Pam and Jerry try to help a cartoonist break-up a gang of street toughs running a protection racket in a nearby neighborhood."

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Gallery Nucleus: "Yesterday's Tomorrow" Gallery Show Reception June 29, 2013

Above: a cropped image from a piece in the show titled "Beautification Station" by Stephanie Buscema.

Alhambra, CA - The Gallery Nucleus "Yesterday's Tomorrows" gallery show celebrates the 1950s version of the future from June 29 to July 21, 2013. Judging by the look of just these two pieces, it looks to be a fun show.

Above by Sachin Teng.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Video: See Young Charles Schulz in ACADEMY FOR ARTISTS!

Here's a 2 minute promotional short for the Art Instruction Incorporated, in Minneapolis, MN, the school that Charles Schulz attended. His cameo, with a shot of him at his drawing board, creating a new PEANUTS strip is at the end.

You can tell by looking at the way Mr. Schulz draws the characters that this is in the early years of the strip. Of course, the B&W film and schmaltzy music plunks this film in the 1950s.

The comment at the end is at once a tribute to a successful graduate who has been solely spotlighted in the short, as well as a damning comment on the art form.

Oh -- also, a note to stupid 1950s filmmakers: the comic strip PEANUTS does NOT have a character by that name in the strip. Talk about sloppy research! Doofuses.

Here's the quote at the end of ACADEMY FOR ARTISTS!:

"One such graduate who has built a highly successful career is the cartoonist Charles Schulz, who created the comic strip character 'Peanuts.' It may not be art with a capital 'A,' but it provides an awful lot of pleasure and it pays."

The woman at the end of the film is reading a Sunday PEANUTS from February 7, 1954. (Page 173 of your COMPLETE PEANUTS 1953-1954.)

If anyone can cite the "this ball is in miserable shape" PEANUTS panel that Mr. Schulz is drawing at the beginning of his segment, I would be interested to know.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mr. Fish Documentary Trailer

This is NSFW.

This is a 4 minute trailer for an upcoming documentary on the cartoonist Mr. Fish, whose work appears in Harper's and

Want to know more? Visit the MR. FISH: CARTOONING FROM THE DEEP END Facebook page.

WILLIE LUMPKIN by Stan Lee and Dan DeCarlo

Over at my friend Ger Apeldoorn's invaluable Fabuleous Fifties blog, there is a terrific sampling of the short lived (1959-61) newspaper comic strip WILLIE LUMPKIN by Stan Lee and the one and only Dan DeCarlo.

Feast your eyes on this little gem of cartoony goodness -- which I had never heard of till now! I didn't know that Stan Lee ever HAD a syndicated strip! And Dan DeCarlo, of Archie fame -- who knew about this? Thanks, Ger!

Of course, all of us Marvel Comics nerds know that the name and profession of Willie Lumpkin was kept alive through occasional appearances in the FANTASTIC FOUR comic book.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Chicago According to Dan Clowes

Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art has a new mural titled "Looking At the City: Daniel Clowes."

Dan Clowes lived in Chicago for many years. The above is a representation of what the city looks like to him, and there's an extensive key to the elements of the drawing at

The mural is on display through October 13th.

Witness Looking at the City: Daniel Clowes, which inspired a new mural on display through October 13 at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Walt Kelly: "Copied Right"

Oh, sure, Walt Kelly drew POGO. But the above snippet of a panel is NOT by Walt Kelly.

It's a copy of Kelly's style from 1959 by a master cartoonist. Go to the terrific Thomas Haller Buchanan's Whirled of Kelly blog today to see the entire piece, and find out who this master forger was and where it appeared. Unless you're an uber nerd and already know.

Friday, June 21, 2013

James Whiting: Cartoonist Continues Life's Work

Photo of Jim Whiting by Jared Whitlock. Ten of Mr. Whiting's cartoons, representing gag cartoons of the 1950s, will be on display during Art Illustrated: Celebrating Comic Art at the Escondido (CA) Center for the Arts. The show opened yesterday and runs to July 28, 2013.

There's a saying the cartoonists never retire. I guess that's because when you do a job you love, you don't want it to end.

Jim Whiting, at age 87, still cartoons at his home studio in Encinitas, CA.

Jared Whitlock, writing for The Coast News, cites curator Andrew Farago:

“He’s a very talented gag cartoonist in the classic New Yorker mold,” Farago said.

Whiting cartoons with the pen that New Yorker cartoonist Sam Cobean gave him.

I showed him some drawings after a few months studying in Chicago,” Whiting said. 
“He told me ‘well, maybe you ought to try another art school,’” Whiting added with a laugh. “He was brash sometimes, but still always very helpful and instrumental to my development.”

The whole story is here.

Video: The Three Things That Scare James Gandolfini

Hat tip to John Klossner.

Video: Retro Cartoon Network: Meet the JOHNNY BRAVO/DEXTER'S LABORATORY Cartoonist

Here are a couple of short videos that Cartoon Network produced in the 1990s wherein viewers meet the creators of some of that Network's cartoons. They all run about a minute.

JOHNNY BRAVO creator Van Partible:

DEXTER'S LABORATORY creator Genndy Tartakovsky:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Molly Crabapple Draws the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Pretrial Hearing.

Go and look at Molly Crabapple's drawings from Gitmo of the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed pretrial hearing.

Kim Thompson 1956-2013

Kim Thompson, co-publisher of Fantagraphics Books and champion of comics as art, died on Wednesday morning, June 19, 2013. The cause was lung cancer. He was 56 years old.

Warren Bernard, founder of the Small Press Expo, tells The Washington Post:

Kim helped bring some of the greats in comics to the forefront, such as Chris Ware, Jacques Tardi and the Hernandez Brothers,” Bernard says of the Fantagraphic-published creators. “The comics world is a much better place because of Kim’s efforts over the last 35 years of the comics continuum.”

Bleeding Cool News has the press release from Fantagraphics:

Fantagraphics co-publisher Kim Thompson died at 6:30 this morning, June 19. “He was my partner and close friend for 36 years,” said Gary Groth.

Thompson was born in Denmark in 1956. He grew up in Europe, a lifelong comics fan, reading both European and American comics in Denmark, France, and Germany. He was an active fan in his teen years, writing to comics — his letters appeared in Marvel’s letter columns circa early 1970s — and contributing to fanzines from his various European perches. At the age of 21, he set foot, for the first time, on American soil, in late 1977. One “fanzine” he had not contributed to was The Comics Journal, which Groth and Michael Catron began publishing in July of 1976. That was soon to change.

“Within a few weeks of his arrival,” said Groth, “he came over to our ‘office,’ which was the spare bedroom of my apartment, and was introduced by a mutual friend — it was a fan visit. We were operating out of College Park, Maryland and Kim’s parents had moved to Fairfax, Virginia, both Washington DC suburbs. Kim loved the energy around the Journal and the whole idea of a magazine devoted to writing about comics, and asked if he could help. We needed all the help we could get, of course, so we gladly accepted his offer. He started to come over every day and was soon camping out on the floor. The three of us were living and breathing The Comics Journal 24 hours a day.”

Thompson became an owner when Catron took a job at DC Comics in 1978. As he became more familiar with the editorial process, Thompson became more and more integral to the magazine, assembling and writing news and conducting interviews with professionals. Thompson’s career in comics began here.

In 1981, Fantagraphics began publishing comics (such as Jack Jackson’s Los Tejanos,Don Rosa’s Comics and Stories, and, in 1982, Love and Rockets). Thompson was always evangelical about bandes dessinĂ©es and wanted to bring the best of European comics to America; in 1981, Thompson selected and translated the first of many European graphic novels for American publication — Herman Huppen’s The Survivors: Talons of Blood(followed by a 2nd volume in 1983). Thompson’s involvement in The Comics Journaldiminished in 1982 when he took over the editorship of Amazing Heroes, a bi-weekly magazine devoted to more mainstream comics (with occasional forays into alternative and even foreign comics). Thompson helmed Amazing Heroes through 204 issues until 1992.

Among Thompson’s signature achievements in comics were Critters, a funny-animal anthology that ran from 50 issues between 1985 to 1990 and is perhaps best known for introducing the world to Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo; and Zero Zero, an alternative comics anthology that also ran for 50 issues over five years — between 1995 and 2000 — and featured work by, among others, Kim Deitch, Dave Cooper, Al Columbia, Spain Rodriguez, Joe Sacco, David Mazzuchelli, and Joyce Farmer. His most recent enthusiasm was spearheading a line of European graphic novel translations, including two major series of volumes by two of the most significant living European artists — Jacques Tardi (It Was the War of the Trenches, Like a Sniper Lining up His Shot, The Astonishing Exploits of Lucien Brindavoine) and Jason (Hey, Wait…, I Killed Adolf Hitler, Low Moon, The Left Bank Gang) — and such respected work as Ulli Lust’s Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life, Lorenzo Mattotti’s The Crackle of the Frost, Gabriella Giandelli’s Interiorae, and what may be his crowning achievement as an editor/translator, Guy Peelaert’s The Adventures of Jodelle.

Throughout his career at Fantagraphics, Thompson was active in every aspect of the company, selecting books, working closely with authors, guiding books through the editorial and production process. “Kim leaves an enormous legacy behind him,” said Groth, “not just all the European graphic novels that would never have been published here if not or his devotion, knowledge, and skills, but for all the American cartoonists he edited, ranging from Stan Sakai to Joe Sacco to Chris Ware, and his too infrequent critical writing about the medium. His love and devotion to comics was unmatched. I can’t truly convey how crushing this is for all of us who’ve known and loved and worked with him over he years.”

Thompson was diagnosed with lung cancer in late February. He is survived by his wife, Lynn Emmert, his mother and father, Aase and John, and his brother Mark.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Video: Corey Wittig's PUBLIC NOTICES by Eric Lidji

Here's a 13 minute film made by Corey Wittig about Pittsburgh writer/cartoonist Eric Lidji, who draws a panel titled PUBLIC NOTICES for the City Paper.

Cartooning is such a singular thing to do. It's just the cartoonist and a piece of paper. The end result should be unique, and that's the takeaway with Mr. Lidjil's observational riffs on inconspicuous moments of every day life in Pittsburgh. I wish every cartoonist would have a short film made by Corey Wittig about them.

You can see it on YouTube (no embeddable link) here.

THE NEIGHBORS by George Clark

I have these are for sale this week.

Some close ups of George Clark's wonderful brush technique for his long running newspaper panel THE NEIGHBORS. These are some big scans!

Just look at that sweeping, confident brush line.

Consider buying one. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Video: STYX Cartoons

Here's a short video of cartoons by STYX, a British cartoonist. These are from the STYX BUMPER FUN BOOK. STYX was the pseudonym of Leslie Harding, a very popular cartoonist, during the 1940s and 50s. Harding worked for the Daily Mirror, and also produced cartoons under the name of Wimsey -- as well as his actual, real name. He was a prolific and busy professional.

Young Reg Smythe, who later created ANDY CAPP, idolized him. They were both selling cartoons through The Gilbert Agency, and Smythe made a point of figuring out when Mr. Harding dropped round with his batch of cartoons. Smythe made sure he was dropping off at the same time. Introductions were made, and before too long, Harding and Smythe were having a pint together in the local pub.

As Paul Slade writes in his extensive bio of Reg Smythe:
Harding saw something in Smythe and took the trouble to critique a batch of his cartoons, adding notes on the back with suggested improvements or a word of encouragement when he thought the drawing was particularly good. “It was very, very kind of him to take the time to do this when he was himself very busy,” Smythe says. “I was very grateful, took notice of his comments, and put the cartoons right as best I could.”
Here are some STYX cartoons from Youtube poster Mrbeerale:

Related: a STYXCartoons Flickr account.

Construction in Sullivant Hall is Nearly Complete!

BONE cartoonist Jeff Smith, who was visiting OSU, and Founding Curator Lucy Caswell.

Five months until the new cartoon library is open! Sullivant Hall, the entry hall into the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, located at Ohio State University in Columbus, OH is under construction. There will be a grand opening celebration in November.

More here.

Look at Lucy Caswell's cool hardhat!

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Garden As of Mid-June

Some photos of the perennials and the vegetable garden from this past weekend.

Here are the raised garden beds, all with new vegetables just starting to grow.

Below: some squash and spinach.

Roma and heirloom tomatoes:

Sweet potatoes and squash:

The final 2 boxes, with lettuce, more tomatoes and cucumbers:

And now, more pictures of flowers:

Video: HERBLOCK: THE BLACK AND WHITE Documentary Preview

Here's a preview of the new documentary on the editorial cartoonist Herblock. Titled HERBLOCK: THE BLACK AND WHITE, it features an incredible array of talking heads, from Jules Feiffer to Ted Koppel to Jon Stewart.

If you are in Salt Lake City on June 29, 2013, you catch the entire film at 2pm at The City Library.

Here's the preview for the new feature, produced by George Stevens, Jr. and directed by his son, Michael Stevens:

Related: Steve Heller, writing for The Atlantic, gives us many more details here.

June 17, 2013: TANK MCNAMARA Cameo

There's a cameo in today's TANK MCNAMARA. GoComics has the complete strip.

Hat tip to Bill Hinds!

Friday, June 14, 2013

JUDGE Magazine, June 18, 1921, Volume 80, Number 2068

Cover illustration by Clinton Pettee. The cover has really been battered by the elements, but the interior is clean and full of great work that pretty much no one has seen since Prohibition days. Until now.

From an attic in Maine: Here are most all of the cartoons from a 1921 JUDGE Magazine, courtesy of Stacey Camire! Thanks, Stacey!

JUDGE was a comic weekly from 1881 to 1947. It was started by a group of cartoonists who left their positions at rival PUCK Magazine.

You can see the painterly way that illustrators inked back then. And you can also witness the early gag cartoons, the ones with several lines of dialogue under the drawing. Harold Ross would edit JUDGE for a few months in the 1920s. He left to create The New Yorker magazine, where the modern one-line gag cartoon came to fruition.

Some of these cartoons still hold up. And all are so well drawn that I blew each one up real big to look at those inky lines.

There was a European cartoon section here, with most all of the cartoonists uncredited (but the overseas publications where they first appeared did get a nod).

Drawing below by Orson Lowell:

A.S. Foster:

W.G. Farr:

John Conacher:

R.B. Fuller:

Art Helfant:

Paul Reily:

James Hammon:

J. Norman Lynd:

A.B. Walker:

Uncredited cartoon from The London Mail:

Uncredited cartoon from Le Rire:

German illustrator Fliegende Blaetter:

Uncredited from Le Journal Amusant:

Uncredited from Kasper:

Uncredited from Passing Show:

Uncredited (at least I can't make out the signature) from The Tatler:

Uncredited from Kasper:

Cleansing the cartoon palate: The Shakespeare Pageant as Presented by Famous Players of the Actors' Equity Association:

Percy Crosby:

R.B. Fuller:

Don Herold:

Paul Reilly: