Rufus G. Pankow, Merchandising Director of Puck - The Comic Weekly says that the Sunday comics section is a powerful advertising tool, with Sunday comics drawing over 100 million readers. "Recalling Puck's many successful merchandising promotions, Pankow noted the sensational sales impact created by comic characters, immediately recognized in retail stores throughout the country."
This article about Harry Walsh and the pitch-boy he creates, "Freshie," reminded me that a lot of cartooning is plodding forward, sticking to it, before hitting it big. Even if "big" means drawing commercial cartoons, Harry Walsh seems happy.
Above: an old Holsum potato bread label with "Freshie," nicked from Dan Goodsell's Flickr stream. Thanks, Dan. Back to AMERICAN CARTOONIST ...
A short obit for the Boston Globe's sports cartoonist Gen Mack. Leo White's cartoon (see the last page), with its blank page on the drawing board, is well done.
Who knew that Al Capp was a quiz master, moderating the game show "Anyone Can Win" (alternate Tuesdays, KNXT, Channel 2, 9:00-9:30 P.M., PDT)? I also didn't know that Capp lived on a 65 acre North Hampton, New Hampshire farm, just about an hour away from me!
Above: Bill Cantrell riffs the life of a cartoonist.
Above: Gurney Williams, long-time Collier's magazine cartoon editor, looks so serious in all the photos I've sever seen of him. Maybe it's the fact he's always wearing that 2-sizes-too-big double breasted suit.
In other news: Billy Hon reduces his classes beginning the fall of 1953; Art-loving actor Van Johnson has won a free scholarship to the Famous Artists School in Westport, CT.
"The Marketplace" is my favorite section. I like Hugh Hefner's announcement of his new Stag Party mag: "Art requirements are extremely high." I like the fact that he states upfront what the pay will be, and promises to pay more when it gets off the ground. Contract Playboy cartoonists to this day are well paid. Hefner's a man of his word.
This may or may not be the same Clinton Harmon who draws a weekly strip titled "Next of Kin."
From gag cartoonist Eli Stein's blog comes a story of National Cartoonist Society members meeting with President Eisenhower in 1954. They made Ike an honorary member and gave him a presentation book of 95 cartoons. A couple of years later, to help sell war bonds, the book was reproduced as a promotional item. Eli shares some gag cartoons from that book here.
I believe this was when Ike received the Silver T-Square from the NCS. The Silver T-Square, "awarded, by unanimous vote of the NCS Board of Directors, to persons who have demonstrated outstanding dedication or service to the Society or the profession" was also awarded to one other President: Harry S. Truman, in 1950. More infomration on the NCS Awards page.
One of the funny things about cartooning is that you sit in a room and come up with ideas -- and you never really know how people will react. Sandra Bell-Lundy writes in her BETWEEN FRIENDS blog:
"I've written strips without any malice in my heart and I've been ripped apart by readers who took offence. I written strips that I thought would evoke an emotional, political response . . . not a peep. I've written strips that I felt really weren't my best work but had to send them in anyway because of a crushing deadline and been inundated with mail from readers who loved them."
A couple of years ago, she wrote a storyline in her BETWEEN FRIENDS newspaper comic strip about her Newfoundland grandmother. She recently received a request to use some images from that series in an art show. Here's Sandra with more information:
"Recently, I received a request from Jackie Alcock, an artist who lives in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. She was creating a visual arts piece called 'The Buffet Table' representing arts and crafts and women's history. She asked if she could use frames from the grandmother storyline to make "doughboys". It's one of the more unusual requests I've had but I was very pleased that she thought of the story line."Below is a video showing some of the process. The whole story is at the BETWEEN FRIENDS blog.
AAEC President Ted Rall has put the idea forward for discussion, and Daryl Cagle, former NCS President (as well as an AAEC member), weighs in on his blog.
Above cartoon copyright 2009 by Ted Rall.
Harry Lee Greene at his Hairy Green Eyeball blog gives us the compleat Topps bubblegum "Mars Attacks" series of 1962 trading cards. Oo la la!
Thank you, Harry!
Artist Jeff Koons exhibits his "Popeye series" at London's Serpentine Gallery from July 2nd to September 13th. The Guardian has a preview today.
King of kitsch, Jeff Koons, comes to the Serpentine Gallery this summer with his first ever solo British show. Work by the American artist, who will be exhibiting his Popeye series at the Serpentine, 'creates a world beyond taste' according to the Guardian's Jonathan Jones. Preview highlights from the exhibition (which runs from 2 July until 13 September 2009), before it opens to the public.Jonathan Jones, writing for The Guardian, comments that Koons "creates a world beyond taste."
These two are coming every morning between 7 and 8am; two turkeys, a girl and a boy turkey, waddle into the yard, getting quite close to the house. After some pecking and gobbling, they hurry along, into the woods. The female, I've noticed, always leads.
Photo taken by me this morning through the window screen.
I left my house on the New Hampshire ridge for a quick overnight trip to New York. Object: drive to Bunny Hoest's home on the Long Island North Shore, arriving by noon for the annual Bunny Bash. Thanks to a wee hours start and the Bridgeport/Port Jefferson ferry, I made it.
The Bunny Bash is held every June at the home of Bunny Hoest. The Bash began because almost three decades ago, Bill Hoest wanted to show some some of his cartoonist colleagues the house he was building. About a dozen cartoonists from the local Long Island chapter of the National Cartoonists Society (the "Berndt Toast Gang") were invited over for sandwiches and a tour of the then-unfinished home
Today, the house on the Long Island sound is finished, and the event has grown. About 150 cartoonists, spouses, kids and friends got together for what turned out to be a partly cloudy afternoon of shop talk.
Mike Lynch, Mad Magazine's Sam Viviano and THE LOCKHORNS Bunny Hoest
Heidi Silver and THE LOCKHORN's John Reiner
New Yorker cartoonists Robert Leighton and Felipe "Feggo" Galindo, with illustrator Martin Kozlowski. Thanks to Felipe for this photo!
NCS Chapter Chair Adrian Sinnott and National Rep Mike Lynch surprised Bunny Hoest with a National Cartoonists Society Tim Rosenthal Award for Volunteerism. Above is the award, gorgeously drawn by Guy Gilchrist.
Tim Rosenthal was Head of Syndicate Services at American Color. American Color is the place where many newspaper comics are colored and then sent to papers around the world. His impact, developed with Wiley Miller, on the way color is used in newspaper comics, set a new industry standard. He was also a big NCS supporter, and a good friend to many cartoonists.
I gave a short announcement to the people about Bunny and why she deserves the Award:
Everyone knows that Bunny works for King Features. Everyone knows that Bunny works for Parade Magazine. What everyone may now know is that she also works very hard for the Long Island chapter of the National Cartoonists Society, helping with the award voting, as well as hosting the annual Bash. She is, as Creig Flessel described her, the "Den Mother" of the Berndt Toast Gang. This was a small token of appreciation from her NCS family.
If anyone has a photo of Bunny with her Award, please share it with me. Thanks.
Mike Lynch, with my friend, The New Yorker's Robert Leighton.
Gerry Mooney, Bill Crouch and Elena Steier
Bunny Hoest, Suzan Haeni of the Art League of Long Island and graphic artist Julie Haring
A framed gag cartoon of Bill Hoest's. One of many decorating the "Hoest Castle" interior.
Dotti Sinnott, daughter of Berndt Toast Gang Chairman Adrian Sinnott, and the one and only Sam Gross.
I wound up staying very late, as did a few others. Bunny ordered pizza. I shared long conversations under an orange sliver of a moon with Adrian Sinnott and his family, Bunny, John Reiner, Mort & Barbara Drucker and Stan & Pauline Goldberg.
I had a memorable time. Exhausting, but memorable.
Stephanie Piro, on of my favorite cartoonists (and not just because she says nice things about my sketchbook), talks about Bringing Cartoons to Life at The Six Chix blog. I love learning about other cartoonists' processes.
"When I work… I have to practically use stick figures, and as you’ll see, these may be one step ahead.
"I have to prevent myself from drawing anything too good…because then it will intimidate me, and I will never be able to redraw it as a finished piece, because I’m too happy with the rough. Odd, I know, but we all have our quirks. And some might say 'Too good???' When I sketch I use a Bic pen or whatever is lying around and I write (and draw and everything else) on copy paper."
One of my favorite shows is the BBC TV series GAVIN AND STACEY, about 2 twenty-somethings who meet and fall in love. It's sweet, but grounded in real-people behavior. And the first series is out on DVD now. In the clip below, they are finally meeting in person after months of talking on the phone. They are nervous and have both brought their mates, Smithy and Nessa, to the first meeting.
And we all know a guy like Smithy.
A couple of the supporting characters, Nessa and Bryn (along with Sir Tom Jones and Robin Gibb), did a fun video for Comic Relief: Barry Islands in the Stream.
The series is worth a look. It's available on iTunes.
"Dick Tracy The Art of Chester Gould" was an exhibition at the Museum of Cartoon Art from October 4 through November 30, 1978. Coordinated by Bill Crouch, Jr., the exhibit at the Museum in Port Chester, NY encompassed not just the newspaper comic strip, but the popular phenomenon, the artistic style of the strip, controversial violence, and Chester Gould himself.
Above: 3 of the 200 DICK TRACY characters.
It's the gallery of 200 characters from DICK TRACY 1931-1977, put together by Matt Masterson in the back of the exhibition catalog, that's a standout. Here is his introduction, followed by the scans of his amazing compilation:
"I completed this compilation of 200 DICK TRACY characters [in] October 1977 as a tribute to Chester Gould when he reached his 46th anniversary of drawing the strip. The original paste-up hangs in Chet's conference room at home and he tells me he refers to it quite often. His first reaction to it was that he had no idea he had created that many!
"To make this paste-up of 200 characters, I went through every strip in my TRACY collection from Oct. 1931 thru Oct. 1977, approximately 17,000 daily and Sunday strips, and picked out the one panel I thought best represented that character. A reduced stat was then made of each one, and then mounted on a large piece of gray matte board along with each character's name and year each appeared. It was a labor of love.
"Some of Chet's early characters from the 30's are easily recognized as popular movie stars of that era; James Cagney (Jimmy White), Claudette Colbert (Jean Penfield), Marlene Dietrich (Marro), Wallace Beery (Stud Bronzen). In the late 90's, some characters names were invented by spelling words backwards, such as Nuremoh, Kroywen, Natnus, Wolley, and Prof. Emirc.
"In the 1940's, characters were to spill from Gould's prolific imagination an an unparalleled rate. Characters such as the Mole, B-B Eyes, Pruneface, Flattop, Brow, Shaky, Gravel Gertie, B.O. Plenty, Vitamin Flintheart and Mumbles were to be household names and are remembered vividly by all who read DICK TRACY in those years. If a poll were taken, Flattop would probably garner the most votes as the most famous villain. At a time when most villains expired from the strip in 12 weeks, Flattop ran TRACY ragged for 5 months.
"... When I asked Chet Gould where he got the names for some of his characters, he told me he used to ride the train from his home in Woodstock, Illinois to his studio in Chicago and sketch various people he observed on the train. He would exaggerate upon certain features or characteristics. The name would follow, with he one exception being Flattop, whose name came from the popular aircraft carrier of World War II. Imagine an hour train ride with the likes of Itchy, Flyface or B.O. Plenty!
"In 1975, Max Allan Collins, current writer of the DICK TRACY strip, was to become the inspiration for the villain, Bulky, and in 1977, I popped up as Leyden Aigg. In answer to the question, 'Has Chet Gould ever put himself in the strip?' Yes! He IS DICK TRACY."
USA Today gives a series of "exlusive [sic] photos from director's Tim Burton's upcoming reimagining of Alice in Wonderland, in theaters March 5 ."
"'We finished shooting in December after only 40 days,' [producer Richard] Zanuck says. Now the live action is being merged with CG animation and motion-capture creatures, and then transferred into 3-D."
Animation artist Matt Jones blogs about his visit with Ronald Searle and his wife at their home on the French Riveria.
By Tony Norman, in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. A profile of Ed Piskor and the effect that a gushing review in Wired had on his self-published comic. Samples at the above link.
Hat tip to Dad for this! Thanks, Dad!