Hard to disagree with that last one!
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Sunday, December 01, 2013
(Click for bigger.)
Last year I posted scans of the rarest and earliest Tad Dorgan drawing in my collection, a cute Christmas-themed comic strip starring his "Bunk" character.
I lamented that I was unable to date the strip, or to even determine if it had ever been published at all. However, I was pretty sure it was produced between 1907 and 1909.
I'm very pleased to report that I just received a comment from talented cartoonist Eddie Campbell (he illustrated Alan Moore's From Hell), who located the Santa Bunk strip in the NY Journal Sports section from Christmas day, 1908. And now we also know its title: Bunk a Shine as Santa Claus.
Thank you very much, indeed, Mr. Campbell, for clearing up that mystery! Four sparkly hooves WAY up!
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
(Click for bigger.)
This is definitely one of the most off-the-wall items in my collection of original comic art drawings. It is pencil, pen, brush, and ink on mediocre single-ply paper, measures 11.25" x 14.75", and was drawn by Johnny Hart when he was about 22 years old, just a few years before he created "B.C." and struck it rich.
Johnny Hart served in the Air Force from 1950 until 1954. It was during this time that he had his first cartoons published in Stars and Stripes. Hart served briefly in Korea, but when you read later articles and interviews with the cartoonist, it seems that what he mostly did in the Air Force was sing, dance, and draw cartoons, so perhaps not your typical tour of duty:
When Hart was in the Air Force during the Korean War, he drew cartoons for the Pacific Stars and Stripes, but he also toured Korea with band [sic], Hart doing soft shoe and stand-up comedy and writing the comic songs. He briefly considered comedy and music as a career: after one performance, a member of the audience came up and, saying he had a nightclub in New York, gave Hart his card and insisted that Hart get in touch the instant he got out of the service. But Hart lost the card—and the entree to show business—and wound up at the drawing board instead.
Hart wasn't the only person singing, dancing, and doing stand-up in the Air Force during this period. Colonel Alvin Reilly (from whose estate this drawing comes), in 1953, founded a traveling USAF performing arts troupe called "Tops in Blue" which entertained their fellow soldiers worldwide. The group still exists today, and is now a venerated and prestigious part of Air Force tradition, currently celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Was Johnny Hart a member of Tops in Blue? [UPDATE: No, see below.] It seems likely, although the group isn't mentioned by name in any of the interviews with the artist. How many performing arts troupes could the USAF have during the Korean War? The existence of this drawing certainly implies a close familiarity with the show, and many of the figures look like caricatures. Since Hart left the service in 1954, and Tops in Blue was founded in 1953, it's easy to date this portrait to those years.
What I love about this drawing, besides its overall exuberance, is that it's always interesting to see the crude work of a young cartoonist who hasn't really found his own style yet. It's fascinating to me that Hart here is obviously inspired by commercial illustration, rather than by comic strips. This composition, with its angular figures, hard contours, goofy surrealism, and stylish dotted lines, looks like something you'd see on the back cover of an RCA jazz record from the period, or something from Esquire. Gone, Daddy, gone! All the same, you can spy little glimmers of Hart's style to come; the face in the upper-left corner looks very "B.C." to me.
Clumsy as it is, this fun drawing packs a bit of a historical punch as both the early work of a famous cartoonist and as a document of the first year of an Air Force tradition. Plus: drag performers!
UPDATE: I received this note from Jeri White, current production director for Tops in Blue:
Johnny Hart drew the picture after seeing a Tops In Blue show as his reflection of what he saw during the show. We actually have a signed copy of the art hanging in our Production Center at Lackland AFB.
Monday, November 25, 2013
(Image [cropped] via Gingrich Productions.)
Supreme Moon Goddess Callista has been here, there, everywhere lately, and luckily for us, she's had a photographer/staffer with an iPhone in tow. There's a wonderful new gallery of 62 fab Callistapics at her Gingrich Productions website, and it is a marvel; I don't know where to start! It shows Cally 'n' Newt at dull book signings at identical looking bookstores, and they are like two robots and I love them.
I really love the picture shown up top, because it gives such an instructive view from above of the marvelous construction of the Impenetrable Space Helmet. Now you have all the info you need to recreate it at home!
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Thursday, November 21, 2013
- "Which Creationist Website Is Right For MY Child?"
- Baffling post about white supremacists featuring picture of Yosemite Sam.
- Answers to stupid Livejournal survey.
- Post titled "Fan Mail" featuring picture of Elizabeth Crenshaw shown above. This triggers absolutely no memories whatsoever.
- Review of Rick Santorum campaign merchandise.
- Post bemoaning lack of fresh Condinews.
- Xmas themed post winningly titled "Toys For Twats."
- "Education Secretary Loses to Second-Rate, Washed-Up Sitcom Actor on Jeopardy"
- Positive review of Diana Rogerson album.
- Reminder that Alan Keyes thinks he's still running for president.
- Something about somebody other than Condi doing a "Matching Armchairs Photo-Op".
- Post about how much I hate Spencer Ackerman.
- "Hairdo Equilibrium Stabilized"
- "Hamid Karzai Reupholsters For Obama"
- Redundant post about stupidity of Sarah Palin.
- Post about strangeness of Texas Rep. Michael McCaul's daughters' wardrobes.
- Elaborate Megan McCain conspiracy theory joke I forgot the punchline to as I was writing it.
- "I'm Sorry, You Can't Come In. Your Boots Clearly Have Self-Esteem Issues"
- Candidates for "Worst Painting In The National Gallery of Art" presented.
- What if Michael Steele was accompanied by an interpretive mime?
- Post about strangeness of Libyan menswear.
- "Gay Minstrel Arrives In Riverdale"
- "Most Thankless Job In Journalism: Sarah Palin Speech Transcriber"
- Post about strangeness of official Donald Rumsfeld portrait.
- Condi: "In Good Times, It's Also Important To Fall To Your Knees"
- Post about strangeness of iTunes "Genius" song mixes, and how all roads, evidently, lead to Brian Eno..
- Post about Tropicana orange juice packaging debacle.
- Ugly Tour Bus photo too ugly to post.
- "Arizona Politics Enters 'Penthouse Forum' Phase"
- Positive review of recent albums by Wire and Gang of Four titled "Elderly Brits Make Good".
- "Richard Cohen Would Like To Bask In Andrew Cuomo's Reflected Glory, Please"
- Another interview with cartoonist Jim Woodring.
- Appreciation of fashion designer Paul Smith.
- Explanation of a gay-themed Tad Dorgan cartoon.
- Favorite albums, 1976 (Abba, Blue Oyster Cult, Cluster, etc.).
- Post about vandalism nostalgia titled "Statute Of Limitations, I Love You".
Take out the owl and it would work perfectly!
After all, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets more or less begins with a car crash, so why not?
- Year One: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Carotid Angioplasty
- Year Two: Harry Potter and the Drained Swimming Pool of Secrets
- Year Three: Harry Potter and the Psychosexual Implications of Quidditch
- Year Four: Harry Potter and the Sinister Blandness of Suburbia
- Year Five: Harry Potter and the Abandoned Casino
- Year Six: Harry Potter and the Slowly but Inexorably Encroaching Sands
- Year Seven: Harry Potter and the Deathly Buicks
I keep seeing Radel referred to as the "Cocaine Congressman," because nothing is zingier on the interwebs than an alliterative scandal. Just reflect upon it: if Radel had been busted buying marijuana, then the resulting "Pot-Smoking Official" headlines wouldn't carry nearly the same weight or LOLishness.
So what I'm saying is this: don't invite these things. If you are a librarian, for instance, don't get photographed breast feeding your infant on the floor in the middle of the shoe department at Neiman Marcus, because then you'll forever be the "Lactating Librarian." The EMT who exposes himself to passers by will become "The Flashing Fireman." If I went on a wild, angel dust-fueled rampage, I would have to endure "PCPPSP" jibes for the rest of my life.
The moral of this story is choose your vices carefully.
Oh, and by the way, while it is true that Radel has been making faces where he sucks in his lips, he has yet to make a truly FROWNY Sucked-In Lips Face.