Saturday, April 12, 2008
Herriman continues to pummel the LA Gas situation with editorial cartoons on January 27, 29, 30 and February 1 above. His only other cartoon is a second on the 27th featuring caricatures of the local automobile dealers at the car show. Not much explanation needed, but I will comment that you should take a good look at that cartoon from the 30th -- it's a beauty!
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, April 11, 2008
Stripper's Guide Bookshelf: Stay Tooned Magazine
Read is following the Cartoonist Profiles model very closely, and where he strays he usually improves. The layouts in CP often resembled a pasted up scrapbook, whereas Stay Tooned has a slicker, more professional look. The samples of cartoonists' work, which in CP were sometimes limited to clippings from a cartoonist's standard portfolio or syndicate sales book, are more thoughtfully chosen here. Stay Tooned is what I believe Jud Hurd would be publishing today if he were technologically adept and full of youthful exuberance .
Just like a typical issue of CP, the selection of subjects for this first issue make for a nice grab-bag -- something for every interest. Some familiar names are interviewees, like Marcus Hamilton (Dennis the Menace), Scott Stantis (Prickly City) and Steve Kelley (New Orleans Times-Picayune editorial cartoonist). But then we also get John Deaton, a cartoonist and graphic designer who runs a sign shop in a small town, and Rob Corley, an animator who started his own business when Disney shut down the animation unit where he worked. Both these gents have some very interesting insights to share. Jud Hurd 's magazine was squarely aimed at aspiring cartoonists, and he recognized that not everyone is going to be the next Charles Schulz -- articles about the less glitzy cartooning disciplines were an important part of his magazine and Read evidently shares his philosophy. Aspiring cartoonists take note that there is more to cartooning than sending off submissions to King, United and Universal.
Each article is adorned with lots of examples of the artists' work -- especially welcome are the many roughs and pencil sketches, something we didn't see nearly enough of in CP. The interview questions, while by necessity somewhat formulaic (how did you get your start, what are your materials and methods), are knowledgeable -- I enjoyed the variety of answers Read gets to one of his standard questions, "who was the first pro cartoonist you met?" Of course there's a column by the great R.C. Harvey, who must be juicing to keep those typing fingers clattering away at such a pace. There's also some fun quickie items including a rant about beginner cartoonists from Daryl Cagle and a hilarious e-mail exchange submitted by Brad Fitzpatrick.
The magazine does have a few minor bugs that need to be worked out. The margins are so tight that many pages seems like a balloon ready to burst, and an occasional lettering SNAFU has a habitofturningwholesentencesintoonebiglongword. My copy of the first issue had about a half-dozen pages duplicated and out of order. And I blanched to see one of my biggest pet peeves, totally unexpected in a cartooning magazine -- it's Winsor McCay, not McKay!
A pretty big mistake, in my opinion, is the very name of the magazine. When I heard that there was a new magazine coming out called Stay Tooned I paid no attention assuming it was a fanzine about anime or Saturday morning animation. I had no inkling that a magazine with that title might be of interest until I was actually handed a copy and paged through it. I think a more descriptive title could only help sales. And speaking of sales, there's no subscription form in the magazine and no indication of the intended publishing frequency.
If I had my druthers I'd like to see an article in each issue focusing on the history of cartooning. Jud Hurd was pretty good about throwing us a bone in that regard, and it certainly doesn't hurt the aspiring cartoonist for whom the magazine is intended to see some work by great cartoonists of the past. Articles and interviews with syndicate personnel, newspaper editors and such (let's call it the loyal opposition) would also be instructive.
Congratulations John Read on what I hope will be a long-lived and prosperous magazine. You've got one in the can, so only 145 more issues to catch up with ol' Jud -- get cracking!
Subscriptions are available at the Stay Tooned website.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Obscurity of the Day: Handy Andy
Goewey apparently couldn't find a better gig than World Color. His cartooning work appeared there from 1904-1909, and he never produced a series (that I've found, anyway) for any other concern. Or maybe Ed just loved working for World Color as much as I love reading their loopy, primitive comics sections. Hey, it could happen...
You got it right, Sooicides of Sam is most definitely by Marriner. I had never seen the strip before you mentioned it here, but a search turned up one installment (#24) in the Winnipeg Free Press on 12/17/09. This strip would presumably be from McClure. Their early dailies are much, much rarer than their Sunday sections, so I'm not all that surprised I hadn't seen it. Which paper are you finding it in?
The first comic strips start to appear in 1905 (spotchecked), but only in 1909-1910 is there is a serious amount of comic strips. By 1911, most comic strips they publish are well-known classics, but before and between those, there are some more obscure things. I'm slowly going through them...
I'd be mighty pleased if you'd keep me posted on what you find there. IMHO the Google news archive interface is ridiculously cumbersome and limiting, so I've been sticking with newspaperarchive which, despite its faults, is by comparison a pleasure to use.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
News of Yore: Autry Enters the Comic Strip Cowboy Ranks
New Autry Strip Has Cowboys, Spies, Space
By Erwin Knoll, 7/26/52
Anyone who says Western comic strips are fading out—and some syndicate people have been saying just that in recent months —will find folks who strongly disagree with him up in the New York offices of general Features Corp. for General has just announced with much ballyhoo a new "Gene Autry" strip to be offered to newspapers this Fall, and executives at the syndicate confidently speak of building the strip into one of the nation's top comic features.
But "Gene Autry" won't rely on a Western story line alone for its audience appeal. In fact, the strip is something of an "all things to all men" proposition. It will feature, besides the cowboy angle, conventional airplanes, jets, rockets, guided missiles and such. The first sequence starts right off with a foreign agent's episode complete with "beautiful mystery girl." Gimlet, a bearded sidekick to the hero, provides comic relief. All sections of the comic strip audience seem to be provided for.
The strip has the magic of the Autry name, of course, and General Features expects to benefit from scads of tie-in promotion. Since Autry came to New York with his guitar and a ten-dollar bill 17 years ago, he has made more than 450 phonograph recordings with sales of 37,000,000 records; a network radio show has been on the air for 12 years; 32 television stations carry Gene Autry shows, and six full-length motion pictures have been produced this year. The aviation aspect of the strip will be promoted on the cowboy star's personal appearance tours, for Autry, a World War II veteran of the Air Corps, pilots his own private plane. In addition, the Gene Autry label has about 60 product tie-ins.
The new strip is being produced for General Features by the Whitman Publishing Co., a division of Western Printing and Lithographing. Artist is Tom Cooke, a veteran of comic magazines, commercial art and the Marine Corps. A native New Yorker, Cooke now lives in Big Bear, Calif., where many of the Autry television productions are shot on location. Like Autry, Cooke is a qualified aviator. The strip will be written by Phil Evans, whose background includes free-lance writing, movie scripts, comic magazines and other strips.
"Gene Autry" is scheduled for Sept. 8 release as a six-a-week feature in four and five-column size. A Sunday color page is planned.
Labels: New of Yore
I recall that Gene Autry, and most of the other strips trading on actors' names, were copyrighted to the stars. Whitman, General Features and so on were just being granted distribution licenses, while the stars retained copyrights. As I understand it Autry was a pretty shrewd businessman, so his estate probably still owns all the copyrights.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Obscurity of the Day: Carrier-Toons
Ah, the good old days. When newspapers were delivered by kids on bikes, not scruffy looking middle age guys in beat up Ford Granadas.
I was a newspaper carrier when I was a kid. Carried the Rive Sud La Presse, a freebie French language paper. That put me at the lowest rung on the carrier ladder of success. The luckier kids had Montreal Star routes. They got to tote cool yellow canvas bags emblazoned with the paper's logo and they made collections that sometimes included tips! On the other hand the Sunday Star was such a monster those kids walked around like little Quasimodos at school on Monday.
My route was only once a week, Thursday afternoons. But it was 250 papers and it took hours and hours of lugging papers to complete my route. I finally subcontracted half the route to another neighborhood kid. After a few weeks of that the circulation manager started getting a lot of complaints from people on my route and I got fired. Turned out the kid I subcontracted to was picking up his half of the papers and then just dumping them all in a field. I don't think the little fink delivered one single paper.
That's as close as I ever got to being in the newspaper biz.
But I digress ... Carrier-Toons was syndicated from the last Sunday of 1978 until May 27 1984, and it was really just a comic strip advertisement promising kids lifestyles of the rich and famous if they became newspaper carriers. The strip was a fixture on the back page of many Sunday funnies sections.
Carrier-Toons was by Chick Evans, an editorial cartoonist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The Times-Dispatch syndicated the strip themselves for about 8 months, after which distribution was taken over by United Feature Syndicate.
The samples above are kind of amusing. I forget now which paper I scanned them from, but of course I'd be able to tell if the paper had bothered to put their address on the little cut-out coupons kids were supposed to mail in. Swift work there guys! I can just see the circulation people at that paper sitting around wondering why no kids are applying for carrier duty. "Geez, these kids today are lazy. We go to the expense of printing a fancy comic strip ad every week and we get no response -- none at all!"
Monday, April 07, 2008
News of Yore: Comic Strip Reporter Outclasses Today's 4th Estate
An effective example of how a feature syndicate can cement relations with editors along the circuit and, incidentally, deal a blow for freedom of information is offered these days by the Register and Tribune Syndicate. And the medium for this good fight is not the political pundit's column but the lowly comic strip.
A story sequence launched June 30 in the "Jane Arden" strip and now fully under way describes the efforts of the comics' perennial girl reporter to obtain access to the public records of a corrupt municipal administration.
Miss Arden sounds for all the world like a censorship-beleaguered editor. When Parks Commissioner Otto Grabbe tells her that "we can't open up our records just to satisfy somebody's curiosity—the details of our payroll are our business," the comic strip heroine replies: "But I'm not just somebody! I'm a reporter! And those are public records . . . They involve tax money! The people have a right to know . . ."
Comments James S. Pope, executive editor of the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal and Times and chairman of the American Society of Newspaper Editors' freedom of information committee: "I'm delighted to see Jane Arden working for my committee."
Labels: News of Yore
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics
Order Jim Ivey's new book Cartoons I Liked at Lulu.com or order direct from Ivey and get the book autographed with a free original sketch.
Labels: Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics
The absolute deadliest illustration of Jim's point I've seen is an amazing drawing by Homer Davenport of Mark Hanna, the Ohio industrialist and U.S. Senator. He does a "normal" Hanna and then places right by it his standard gross caricature of Hanna, surrounded by examples of how he exaggerates Hanna's neck, eyebrows, hands, &c. The illustration is in "The Ungentlemanly Art," and I'm sure it's on the web somewhere.
Scroll down this page:
Is it redundant to reiterate that I really enjoy Ivey's work here.