DOCTOR WHO Mini Episode

From BBC RED NOSE DAY 2011/COMIC RELIEF NIGHT, here's parts one and two of a new DOCTOR WHO mini-episode. I was surprised at how fun this was, and the whole cast is here.

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Who Was Edna Mode in Based On?

The Ask SAM feature of the Winston-Salem Journal answers a question about the inspiration for Edna Mode, that costume designer character from brad Bird's THE INCREDIBLES. Here it is, for the record:

Q: Was the little fashion designer character in the Disney movie "The Incredibles" based on the lady who plays Hetty on "NCIS: Los Angeles"?


A: Brad Bird, the cartoonist who created "The Incredibles" — and who provides the voice of Edna Mode, the bombastic, diminutive scene-stealing character — has been cagey about her origins. Linda Hunt, the actress you are referring to, is one possibility who has been frequently mentioned.

But the character seems more directly inspired by Edith Head, a famous Hollywood fashion designer who won eight Oscar awards for best costume design and was nominated 35 times. Other possible inspirations include Lotte Lenya, who played a Bond villain in the movie "From Russia With Love," and fashion designers Anna Wintour and Mary Quant. In a 2004 article in Entertainment Weekly, Bird commented, "I've heard, like, 15 different people she reminds people of."

Oh, that cagey Brad Bird!

I had always thought it was Oscar-winning Hollywood movie costume designer Edith Head (below):


Above: photos from the musical. Photographer uncredited.

Kuala Lampur: The musical based on the graphic novel KAMPUNG BOY has a review by Bissme S. at the Malaysian Sun2Surf site.

"Entertaining it may be but certainly not memorable.

" ... I was hoping to get into the psyche of this talented cartoonist – like what makes him tick, the secret of his success, etc. I wanted to know something new about Lat but that did not happen."

The entire article is here.

LAT KAMPUNG BOY: THE MUSICAL runs till April 6 at Istana Budaya.

XKCD's Randall Munroe Visually Explains Radiation Risks

Above: a small portion of Randall Munroe's radiation dose chart. Did you know you can recive radiation by dleeping next to someone else? Eating a banadan? Did you know that you, yourself, emanate radiation?

Randall Munroe attempts to decipher all this here talk about safe radiation levels in the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant troubles in Japan. He's put together a radiation dose chart.

There’s a lot of discussion of radiation from the Fukushima plants, along with comparisons to Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Radiation levels are often described as “ times the normal level” or “% over the legal limit,” which can be pretty confusing.

Adam Ragusea, a reporter and associate producer for the Boston-based NPR station WBUR, has made a sound version of the graph.

Hat tip to P.J. Skerrett!

The Science Fiction Pop Culture Growth Chart

Are you as tall as a Dalek? Are you Spock-sized? Try out this growth chart. Yes, there's a real life-sized PDF at the links below if you really really want one of your very own.

Hat tip to Life, Doctor Who & Combom via io9.

SKIPPY VS. THE MOB by Percy Crosby

Rosebud Archives publishes some unseen Percy Crosby art in its new softcover book SKIPPY VS. THE MOB.

From the description:

This important new book collects, for the first time, the only continuity Percy Crosby ever drew in his widely-syndicated Skippy comics, and features a comprehensive essay by the artist’s courageous daughter, chronicling an astonishing history of fraud, persecution, and betrayal. Here, for the first time, is a story ripped from the headlines – a spiraling saga that grew far too large for one man to handle.

At the height of fame, fortune, and creativity, Percy Crosby was emboldened to wage war on injustice. His idealistic vision of America, nurtured since childhood, took on an enemy all too real: Al Capone, mobster. His war on racketeering, organized crime, and corruption in high places were worth the fight, in Crosby’s eyes.

But his crusade to redeem the Land of the Free in fact proved to be the beginning of the end for this talented artist and outspoken critic of social ills. Percy Crosby eventually was to learn how deep the rot went: corporate ties to organized crime; political protection; corruption… and those who profited from a rigged system could easily have him silenced.

Illustrated throughout with Crosby’s artwork, political cartoons, Skippy comic strips, and photographs, the book also presents his continuity in both the way it appeared in newspapers nationwide as well as the original art.

Don't forget to visit Joan Crosby Tibbetts' site, so you can see some grand examples of his cartoon art.

DOCTOR WHO Series Six HD Trailer

Here's the brand new 60 second HD trailer for DOCTOR WHO series six, premiering in the UK and the US on April 23, 2011

A bit hat tip to Life, Doctor Who and Combom blog -- which, by the way, has a link to 300 hi res frame grabs from the trailer for your parsing pleasure.

Chester Gould's Early Years of Struggle

Above: a sports feature by Chester Gould. The feature was rejected the same year that TRACY was accepted.

Chester Gould created DICK TRACY. Yeah, yeah, everyone knows that.

But, before that -- before TRACY -- Mr. Gould persisted, enduring rejection after rejection, for a decade, before he hit on what was then called PLAINCLOTHES TRACY.

Mr. Gould took a cartoon correspondence course when he was a teenager. He began submitting cartoons for possible syndication beginning in 1931, while in college.

He did get a job at Hearst's Chicago Tribune a year after graduating from North Western, in 1924, and he cranked out some early efforts, syndicated by Hearst's King Features. The efforts were "uninspired" (to quote Gould himself) with titles like FILUM FABLES (a spoof on the movies) and RADIO CATS. They did not last long.

Why is it some people are driven? Gould was working at the paper, making $100 a week by 1928. He had been married for two years by then. Not a bad living at all! But he was constantly putting new comic strip ideas in front of Hearst: strips with kids, strips with girls, sports strips, even a science strip.

Here are some of his 1920s rejected comic strips.

Above: like most of these strips, this domestic drama featuring a young girl names Sal, has no name. The debt to fellow-Chicago cartoonist Harold Gray is apparent in its layout and subject matter.

The above strip, drawn in a bigfoot style and starring a boastful fellow named Buzzy is static and wordy.

There's a lot o action in this rejected submission which stars a Mister Larkin and his man servant and glaring racial stereotype Halitosis.

Above is a non-fiction strip titled "The World's Notebook."

Why Gould persisted, he only knows. He was comfortable, but he wanted more.

Talent is cheap. Persistence is everything. Gould had talent -- talent enough to be making $100 a week. His persistence for a breakthrough concept paid off.

Mr. Gould would go on to win awards, including the coveted Reuben Award (twice!). The strip, under a new creative team of Mike Curtis and Joe Staton, will see its 70th anniversary this October 4th.

These early strips have, so far as I know, only been reproduced once: in the program book for the 1978 "Dick Tracy: The Art of Chester Gould" exhibit, curated by Bill Crouch, Jr., at the old Museum of Cartoon Art in Port Chester, NY.

My thanks to Charles Green for his "Biographical Sketch" of Gould from that book, from which these samples are scanned.

200 Characters from Dick Tracy 1931-1977
CIGARETTE SADIE by Chester Gould

Hugo Pratt Exhibit

Oscar Grillo shares photos from the Hugo Pratt exhibit at the Pinacothèque de Paris: part one and part two. Some spectacular images that makes me wish I could fly there right now and see it myself. Thanks very much for these, Oscar!

Related: Art Daily's description of this exhibit, which has over 300 works by Mr. Pratt. The gallery show runs through August 21, 2011.

Tom Tomorrow Leaves Salon

Tom Tomorrow is leaving after 16 years.

From Tom Tomorrow's This Modern World Web site announcement:

"I’ve had an extraordinary run at Salon, and it has been a fantastic platform, which I have been privileged to share with many talented contributors over the years. But as Blinky notes in this week’s farewell cartoon, I’ve been there for about a million years in internet time."

He will go on cartooning at the Daily Kos. And, not only that, he's been asked to be the site's new Comics Editor.

"It’s an experiment for both of us, I think, but an exciting one. My cartoon will start running there next Monday. Over the next few months we’ll be adding others, and, I hope, building up a go-to destination for progressive cartoon commentary."

THE COMICS by Brian Walker

brings together the previously released two volume set (THE COMICS BEFORE 1945 and THE COMICS AFTER 1945) under one cover for $40.

Author Brian Walker writes the history of newspaper comics, with copious samples. If you know Brian and his work, you know this is an excellent book to add to your shelf. I have a number of his books, including his BARNEY GOOGLE and NANCY books.

Some fascinating quotes in this Denver Post interview with Brian, "a man born with cartoon ink in his veins," written by Dick Kreck:

Walker doesn't love all comics. "I did a book on 'Nancy.' I said, 'I hate this strip. It's the same every day.' But I went on an intellectual journey. I just realized it taught me an important lesson: You can be simple and be brilliant at what you do. Ernie Bushmiller (who created the round-faced girl with the spiky hair in 1948) was a very erudite guy. He said, 'My strip is for the gum chewers of the world.' A lot of modern cartoonists think it's the Zen of comics. The ultimate realization after finishing these two books on comics history is that it is so rich and rewarding, even to someone like myself who's been in it my whole life."

Read the rest here.

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