by ED McGEEAN
Chicago Comic Con
Members who have fond memories of the early days of the San Diego Comic
Con, might give some thought to attending a future Chicago Comic Con.
My first visit to this event, founded by Gary Colabuono
and recently sold to Wizard Magazine, was like a delightful breath of fresh
air when compared to the frenetic activity of San Diego. My guess is that
Chicago is about a third of the size with fewer dealers and about 15,000
attendees. I was told that Wizard hopes to increase this size.
Wizard has a large job facing them and I wish them well,
but fervently hope they don't grow so large that it loses its current friendliness,
as many people feel San Diego has. My own personal gripe is that San Diego
features too few cartoonists from comic strips and other fields, compared
to the number of comic book creators and you can wander around for days
without seeing people who are supposed to be there.
Not to forget the overly amplified music at con parties,
that has more muscle than most of today's so called super heroes. Loud and
deafening ain't beautiful!
On the other hand Chicago would be wise to emulate many
of the seminars and panels that San Diego does so very well. The Golden
Age Creators and Jack Kirby Tribute panels, emceed by CAPS co-founder Mark
Evanier, come immediately to mind. Both panels are huge crowd pleasers for
both fans and professionals alike.
I was surprised that Bud Plant, or other book sellers like
him, weren't represented in Chicago. Marvel Entertainment was also conspicuously
absent, while DC was well represented.
CAPS members were out in droves, including Sergio Aragones,
whose table in Artists Alley was always surrounded by fans, both young and
old; R.C. Harvey was hawking copies of his many books, Cartoonist PROfiles
and pin-ups; Jay Lynch was in the crowd, but we never met; the effervescent
Heidi MacDonald was promoting "Friends of Lulu;" Jerry Ordway
was working the DC booth; Randy Reynaldo worked his own booth hyping the
Adventures of Rob Hanes, with the help of his girl friend, Sedina, while
his proud parents looked on in awed amazement; David Seidman busily marketed
Claypool Comics and polished skits for his ever popular improv act and Jerry
Warshaw and me got to spend an afternoon reminiscing about old friends and
our days at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. Jeez, has it really been that
Meeting Jerry Ordway, whose art first attracted me to the
Adventures of Superman many years ago was a personal high. He also did the
graphic novel for the first Batman movie. Jerry currently writes the Power
of Shazam books for DC while contributing occasional pages of art and all
of the painted covers. Shazam, to me, is one of the best of the current
comic book crop. I also enjoy what I've seen of John Byrne's Wonder Woman
and the satirical Lobo.
Jerry asked me to say hello to all the CAPS members for
him. He enjoys reading the newsletter. He's a great guy and here's hoping
he can make it out here for a meeting one day.
CAPS winners at the recent San Diego Con Eisner Awards included, Sergio
Aragones and Mark Evanier who took the award for Best Humor Publication
for Sergio Aragones Destroys DC and Sergio Aragones Massacres Marvel, published
respectively by DC and Marvel.
Will Eisner won for Best Comics-Related Book, Graphic Storytelling,
published by Poorhouse Press.
CAPSer Charles M. Schulz was inducted into the Hall of
Fame, along with Gil Kane and the late Curt Swan.
A full list of Eisner Award winners was published in Comics
Buyer's Guide #1239.
Mike Ramirez's Move to Los Angeles
Thanks to CAPSer Steve Greenberg, editorial cartoonist for the Seattle Post
Intelligencer and Editor & Publisher magazine, I learned that the biggest
news generated by the cartooning community came from the recent Association
of American Editorial Cartoonists meeting at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
And I don't mean the Southern Baptists' boycott of all things Disney.
I'm referring to the Los Angeles Times hiring of conservative
Mike Ramirez of the Memphis Commer-cial Appeal as the successor to the liberal
Paul Conrad as their staff editorial cartoonist.
The Times is 4th largest daily circulation newspaper in
the U.S. (2nd on Sunday) and has been without a staff editorial cartoonist
since Conrad accepted a buyout offer in 1993. The Times has been running
Conrad's L.A. Times syndicated cartoons and other syndicated editorial cartoonists,
including Ramirez, on the op-ed page since.
Ramirez is expected to run in the same spot, which will
create a clear delineation his and the paper's policies. Oddly enough, Ramirez
is one of the few editorial cartoonists who never approached the Times for
Ramirez is the winner of the 1994 Pulitzer Prize and the
1995 H.L. Mencken Award. The 36-year-old cartoonists was born in Tokyo,
Japan and is a graduate of U.C. Irvine. When he comes to L.A. in September
he will be starting a one-year term as the AAEC president.
I first met Mike in 1986 at my first AAEC Convention on
Coronado island near San Diego. At that time he was living with his parents
in Mission Viejo, doing cartoons for the Newport Beach Ensign and the San
Clemente Daily Sun and Post and being syndicated by Copley News Service.
His big break came in 1990 when he replaced Scott Stantis in Memphis.
Ramirez is one of this country's most talented editorial
cartoonists. His loyalty is to be admired, having turned down other jobs
both before and after winning the Pulitzer. The Times proved to be the exception,
because it was a chance to return to his home state and be closer to his
Ramirez told Editor & Publisher's David Astor-"This
business is really about impact. The larger the audience the better."
He said he will do three cartoons a week for the Times and an additional
one or two cartoons a week, to make four or five available to his Copley
Commercial Appeal president and editor Angus McEachran
said that Ramirez comes to editorial board meetings better versed in the
news than anyone he knows and they will miss him. They plan to continue
running his Copley cartoons while hiring a new staff editorial cartoonist-which
is good news for cartoonists throughout the country scrambling for a dwindling
pool of jobs. Ramirez said he will miss the Memphis paper and McEachran,
who he called a "great teacher" and "cartoonist's dream."
When asked if he would be joining the L.A. Times Syndicate,
he told Astor that his Copley contract still had two years to run. "I
don't know what will happen after that," adding that he would be "reluctant
to leave Copley" because of all it has done for him.
Here's hoping that Michael will be able to make a future
CAPS meeting after he gets settled in.
Bill Schorr's Move to New York
Former L.A. Herald-Examiner editorial cartoonist, Bill Schorr has left the
Kansas City Star, where he had returned in 1987, for a staff job at the
N.Y. Daily News despite being on probation for an assault incident during
his martial breakup.
David Astor reported the incident occurred in September
1996, when Schorr, separated from his wife, went to her residence. According
to police reports he grabbed a handgun stored in a closet and began waving
it. When the police answered a call from his wife, Arlene, they said he
pointed the gun at them. The gun turned out to be unloaded.
Schorr was arrested, later pleading guilty to "misdemeanor
assault of an officer," according to an E&P report on July 26,
1997. The cartoonist was given two years probation on Jan. 2, 1997. His
wife had filed for an earlier protection order in September 1996, that was
approved for 180 days. A 180 day extension, that runs until at least Sept.
4, 1997 was given. A divorce is now pending.
Editor & Publisher noted that the Star, Schorr, his
attorney and the Daily News refused to comment on the case, or if Schorr
had been let go by the Star or had quit.
Daily News editorial page editor Michael Goodwin did say
that Schorr had fully disclosed the situation before he was hired, but they
feel that he is a great "cartoonist" and his work stood out after
a national search.
Schorr, 46, would only say that his Star departure was
"mutual" between him and the paper and he had moved to New York
City in April to pursue freelance illustration and other work, before the
Daily News job was offered. He will do five or six cartoons a week for the
Daily News. United Feature Syndicate will continue to distribute his editorial
cartoons, his "The Grizzwells" comic strip is distributed by their
NEA sister syndicate.
Lee Judge remains at the Star as editorial cartoonist.
While the Daily News, hiding behind the "we refuse to comment on personnel
matters" statement, refused to comment on Mickey Hackman, who had done
some editorial cartoons and op-ed illustrations prior to Schorr's hiring.
It would seem that this years AAEC convention was lightly attended with
less than the usual number of seminars (perhaps everyone was taking advantage
of the free passes to Disney World and Epcot? The hot muggy June weather
and No-see-'em bugs probably didn't add to their enjoyment either.)
Greenberg said that last year the focus was on job loss.
This year the focus was on computers and the Web-but still job-loss oriented,
such as how to have cartoons on the Web if you can't land a newspaper job
and trying to make a living from the Web if you lose your job.
"Some guys are very adept. Florida cartoonist Clay
Bennett has a great Web site, with color cartoons, clever animation, sound
effects, etc. (being out of work gave him the time to learn) and he was
the hit of the gathering. Mike Keefe has a good site also."
Steve Benson gave a talk about a controversial cartoon
he drew (Greenberg didn't say if it was the one about the Oklahoma City
bombing, the Southern Baptist's boycott of Disney or some other touchy subject.
Next to Garry Trudeau, Benson seems to take more fire than any other cartoonist
I can think of-usually just as unfairly).
There was a long-winded boring keynote speech by Sen. Orrin
Hatch of Utah, in town for reasons not explained (maybe he though it was
an election year and accidentally woke up, while putting everyone else to
Steve also said that he got over to visit the International
Museum of Cartoon Art. "It's a beautiful facility at the south end
of a ritzy outdoor shopping plaza that looks like it belongs in Beverly
Hills. Only half of the two story museum is open, but it's clean, attractive
and inviting. Mort Walker's influence is everywhere. There were some errors
on the labels of some drawings (Sorry Mort, Steve didn't say which ones).
Steve's comic strip, "Alter's Ego" was sent to
six major syndicates in June. One rejection from Washington Post Writers
Group, via an impersonal and badly photo copied form letter, as of mid-August
(Jeez, ya would think they could at least afford a decent print job.)
Steve notes that CAPS members, who have access to the Web
should check out the NCS "Wisenheimer Bulletin Board" Website
that is open to any professional. "I look at it daily and highly recommend
According to the NCS Cartoonist newsletter you don't have
to be a NCS member to sign on. CAPS computer maven, Daryl Cagle, says there
are more than 40 cartoonists on the NCS server.
Daryl can also be found at his own Web site, which I'm
told is great, at (http://www.cagle.com)
CAPSer Zeke and Anita Zekley returned from visiting Jiggs and Maggie and
his horses/money (I forget which) at Del Mar, where the surf meets the turf.
Zeke told me that the San Diego Union-Tribune had dropped fellow member
Mell Lazarus' "Momma" strip and had two pages of the worst comics
I hope Jim Whiting's Southern California Cartoonists Society
group is writing and phoning the U-T to express their dissatisfaction.
Meanwhile on the home front, it has been about 5 months
since the L.A. Times dropped CAPSer Mort Walker's "Beetle Bailey"
for "Rhymes With Orange," one of the dumbest strips ever created.
King Features told me that the Times dropped Beetle as
of Sept. 6, 1997. The good news is that we will be able to see this great
strip in the L.A. Daily News every Sunday beginning Sept. 7, the daily strips
will start later.
Other Southern California papers such as the Long Beach
Press Telegram and the Santa Ana paper (previously frozen out because of
the Times exclusivity) have also bought Beetle and will be starting it on
various dates. Watch you favorite daily and Sunday comics pages for Beetle
and his Camp Swampy buddies after Sept. 6.
CAPSer Roger Armstrong announced a limited 100 edition
release of Morro Bay Farm as a Giclee print. The high quality print duplicates
the look and feel of the original watercolor and has a UV protective coating.
$195. plus tax. The B&W reproduction shown here doesn't do justice to
Roger's fine artwork.
Order direct from Roger at: 5253 Duenas, Laguna Hills,
Ca. 92653, or firstname.lastname@example.org Be
the first kid in your nabe to own a piece of Roger, the man in the stovepipe
hat, who sure knows how to draw "Napoleon" and ruin a fifteen
year running gag.
CAPS Banquet/Dan Spiegel
About 70 CAPS members, wives and guests turned out on Aug. 2nd to honor
member Dan Spiegle at our annual banquet in the newly remodeled Friars Club
in Beverly Hills.
Dan recently finished almost a two year run on late CAPSer
Milton Caniff's "Terry and the Pirates," for Tribune Media Services,
his wife, Marie, daughter Carrie (who does his lettering) and her husband
glowed in the crowds well wishes.
Dan had really started to turn Terry around and bring it
back to the Caniff feel that his predecessors, Michael Uslan and the Hildebrant
Bros. had managed to flush down the toilet. Dan had just finished writing
his own new T&P adventure which would have helped more, when TMS pulled
the plug on his and Jim Clark's efforts due to its running in too few papers.
Had Dan been on the strip from the start, this story might have ended differently.
But TMS deserves an "E" for effort in my book anyway.
Dan supplied CAPS with a load of his original art, some
of which was seen in the last newsletter and a nifty banquet program that
was produced by Michael Vosburg. Dan graciously contributed this art to
CAPS to be used for future fund raising. I will be holding a few pieces
for our auction next year, but if you saw any pieces you liked, drop me
a line with your offer and I'll take it up with the board.
CAPS David Folkman did his usual tasteful job of preparing
banquet displays. He blew up a Comics Buyer's Guide page from Feb. 24, 1984,
with a story and photos of CAPS, we can use at future events.
Thanks also to CAPSer Gary Owens, our own George Jessel
and a dear friend, who once again sparkled as our emcee. Hard to believe
it's 30 years since Garish debuted on George Schlatter's "Laugh-In."
Suffering the after effects of a two-week-old cold and
remembering little about some other awards that the CAPS board passed out,
I was honored to receive one of them (which came as a complete surprise).
It is probably the nearest I'll ever come to winning anything, I recall
thanking Scott Shaw! for giving me his old computer, making this column
far easier to turn out and leaving me wishing that Disney would contribute
one of their more modern ones (HA!), so I could learn what this Internet
thing is all about. And the government thinks that tobacco is addictive.
Many other people that have made this job easier, both
at the different syndicates, inside and outside of CAPS and the many new
friends my scribbling has given me. You have all given me a purpose in life
that I thought had been lost. And this is more deeply appreciated than mere
words can ever say. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
As to the Friars Club. It is by far the best venue that
CAPS has ever had in both my opinion and the many people who attended. True,
it was slightly higher priced than where we have had our last several banquets
and I think that is worth the better time we had.
I certainly hope that we will return to the Friars Club
many times in the years to come (that is up to the approval of the board
and the $$$ in the treasury). The service and the food were impeccable and
David Folkman is to be thanked for finding this oases for us.
The member who traveled the furthest to be there was Charles
Filius of Maryland and the NCS, editor of the Crosshatch newsletter for
the local D.C. NCS Chapter.
If you have any ideas for the 1998 CAPS Banquet, it is
not to early to send me or the board a note. Some notable members we have
yet to honor include Roger Armstrong, Carl Barks, Jack Bender, Elliott Caplin,
Kelly Freas, Lynn Johnston, Mell Lazarus, Don Martin, Jerry Ordway, Henry
Scarpelli, Charles Schulz, Mort Walker and Zeke Zekley. We would have to
know if out of towners were coming this way some July or August (we can't
pay airfares, but may be able to spring for a night or two in a hotel-visit
beautiful downtown Burbank). Other local members deserve to be honored too
and they should not be forgotten. This work needs to be done far in advance
of the next banquet, so don't drag your feet, get your suggestion in now.
If you haven't yet seen a copy of CAPSer Sergio Aragones new Louder Than
Words comic book, run don't walk to your nearest comic book shoppe. The
lucky publisher this time is Mike Richardson of Dark Horse Comics.
This is Sergio at his most laughable and pantomime best,
It is part of a 6 part limited series. Look for the cover with Sergio doing
his imitation of the Silver Surfer on his trusty fountain pen. Cover color
is by CAPSer Tom Luth. One can only wonder why some top syndicate hasn't
signed this genius of the pen to a long-term contract?
Hogan's Alley subscribers will be happy to know
that issue #4 should have arrived by the time you read this. David Folkman
tells me that they hope to get at least two more issues published in the
near future and to get back to its intended quarterly schedule in the not
too distant future. Despite an erratic publishing schedule, this fine magazine
still deserves your support.
Jobs for Animators
CAPSer Spike Dolomite notes that the International Cartoons & Animation
Center, is looking for supervising animators, especially those who can work
in the Disney style. A number of other jobs are also open, including freelance,
interns, entry level and part time.
For further and more detailed information contact: Dr.
Wissam W. Ahmed or Mike Soo at 1823 E. 17th St. Suite 203, Santa Ana, Ca.
92705, phone: 714-953-5778. FAX: 714-560-0744 E-mail ICACINC@AOL.COM
Tribune Media Services has launched its Web-based
delivery service-FeatureServ. This service allows TMS customers to download
comics and features direct from the Internet, saving the expense of mail
delivery and hard copy processing. The site is accessible from the front
page of TMS' Web site (www.tms.tribune.com), this might make a neat way
to see some of your favorite comics that no longer appear in your local
NEW COMICS: TMS has introduced two new comics by editorial
cartoonist Bruce Hammond of the Boston Globe. Hammond may be better remembered
for two earlier well-drawn and enjoyable comic strips, "Duffy"
and "Orbit," that are no longer in syndication.
Both of Hammonds new comics are panels. The first, "Homespin,"
takes a humorous look at one of the basics of life-shelter. The 6-time-a-week
panel can be used on the comics pages or in other sections of the newspapers.
"The Lighter Side of Business," the second comic
is designed for the Financial section, but can also run on the op-ed pages.
This comic looks more like an editorial cartoon than a comic panel.
Creators Syndicate has introduced a new comic strip, "Liberty
Meadows" by Korean born cartoonist Frank Cho. Unfortunately, Cho was
born about 40-years too late and missed the days when comics as well-drawn
and written as this would be given a full or half page to display the talents
of its creator. But Cho doesn't let this daunt him, he uses the space he
has to produce some of the greatest art and one of the funniest comic strips
I've ever seen.
R.C. Harvey did a lengthy interview on Cho in the March
1997 Cartoonist PROfiles and introduced us at the Chicago Comics Con. Frank
turned out to be as nice a guy as his strip is great. He also had Jerry
Ordway telling everyone at DC about this great new artist.
Rick Newcombe told me that the L.A. Times had passed on
"Liberty Meadows" (so much for comic strip committees), but that
the Daily News hadn't decided yet. I hope their decision proves positive,
or we readers will be losing out on a fantastic new strip. "Liberty
Meadows" is reminiscent of Walt Kelly and other great cartoonists at
The strip is set in a wildlife preserve with humans and
animals interacting with each other in such a natural way it never dawns
on you that this would be impossible. Cho's comic timing is perfect and
many of his Sunday strips pay homage to the comics of yesteryear.
Cho began drawing this strip for his college newspaper,
The University of Maryland Diamond-back, developing a cult-like status with
students and teachers alike, culminating with The 1994 Charles M. Schulz
Award as Best College Cartoonist of the Year out of 157 entrants, from the
Scripps Howard Foundation.
Check your local book store or comics shop for a copy of
Frank's book University 2 The Angry Years, which reprints these college
strips and you'll see what I'm raving about. If you are unable to find a
copy of this book you can order direct from 12 Angry Monkeys, 7844 Saint
Thomas Dr., Baltimore, Md. 21236. Cost is $15, including postage.
If "Liberty Meadows" isn't in your local newspaper
by the time you read this, do yourself a favor and call the editor. You'll
be glad you did.
"Liberty Meadows" will be at the Sept. 9 meeting
for your examination.
Editor & Publisher's 72nd Annual Syndicate
Directory was published Aug. 2. If you are unable to find a copy contact
E&P at 11 W. 19th St., N.Y., N.Y. 10011, Phone: 212-675-4380 for price
and information on getting a copy. This issue gives the names, addresses
and phones of all major and minor syndicates. It is a must if you are interested
in getting your comics syndicated and carries a wealth of information.
Although I'm darned if I can figure why a beautiful ad
for TMS don't list or show their many features and leaves out the names
of people to contact and Creators omits samples of some of their comics,
like "Penmen," "Sherman's Lagoon" and "Wee Pals."
Tom Snyder Show
It would seem that Tom Snyder's Late Show on Channel
2 at 12:35 a.m. has become the champion of cartoonists. During the week
of August 18 Tom did interviews with both Cathy Guisewite, creator of "Cathy"
for Universal Press Syndicate and editorial cartoonist Mike Luckovich of
the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Creators Syndicate.
Wait until Snyder learns that the National Cartoonists
Society Reuben Awards will be out here next April and he'll have his pick
of over 200 great cartoonists to choose from. Get your VCRs ready. That
could be a hell of a week for cartoonists and get us some much needed exposure,
as the late Bill Hoest tried to do years ago.
Tom is one of the sharpest interviewers on the tube, well
read and versed on his subject. His hour on camera is an immense enjoyment
and I find him far more entertaining than either Leno or Letterman.
NCS 1998 Convention
National Cartoonist Society's The Cartoonist newsletter
arrived in the Aug. 22 post announcing that the 1998-52nd Annual Reuben
Awards weekend will be held at the Ritz Carlton-Huntington in Pasadena,
Calif. April 23-25.
Details will be announced later, but this will give NCS
and CAPS members time to get their tuxedos and party dresses ready for this
gala event, the "Oscars" of the funny papers world. You might
also start saving up your shekels, this event usually runs anywhere from
$150 to $250 per person, which includes the Reuben dinner, a couple of cocktail
parties and a breakfast or two. Transportation and hotel are extra, unless
you live in the area.
If 1998 weather is like this years, we should be in the
high 70s to low 80s and the eastern delegation can leave their long johns
and sweaters at home.
Then again, there is always Murphy's Law to screw things
CAPS members wishing to join NCS can write, call or see
me at the Sept. 9th meeting for an application.
The Jack Kirby Collector #16 features 52 more pages
of remembrances about the man called "King," our late fellow CAPSer.
This issue has stories about Jack's childhood, Simon and
Kirby's crime comics, Kid Gangs, CAPSer Will Eisner on Jack, an interview
with Jack and his Rock and Roll connections, an unpublished story and some
strips, western and war comics and much more, including lots of Kirby's
The JKC remains one of the finest comic art anthologies
being published. For subscription information write: TwoMorrows Ad-vertising,
1812 Park Dr., Raleigh, N.C. 27605. This is a new address.
Universal Press Syndicate
John P. McMeel, chairman and president of Andrews
McMeel Universal (New name for Universal Press Syndicate and their book
publishing arm) has received the Sorin Award from Notre Dame, given annually
to a graduate in honor of distinguished service to the university.
McMeel, a 1957 alumni and Kathleen Andrews, an alumna and
ND trustee and widow of McMeel's former partner Jim, established the Andrews
Scholars Program to assist students serving as volunteers in summer service
McMeel was also named chairman of the American Committee
of the International Press Institute. He has been with IPI since 1981 and
on the board for five years.
Founded in 1950, IPI is a global network in 85 nations
of newspaper editors, media executives and journalists from radio, TV and
news protecting journalists and promoting freedom of the press.
The August SCCS Slice of Wry newsletter mentioned
that old-time gag cartoonist Vic Herman has been ailing. Vic is probably
best remembered for creating "Winnie the WAC" in WW II and from
the Wednesday cartoon rounds in NYC. I've heard that Vic became an excellent
painter during his retirement, but don't recall seeing his work.
Cartoon Art Auction Prices
The Aug. 23 Howard Lowery Comic Art Auction broke into gales of laughter
and a buzz of amazement when a simple Gary Larson drawing of a cow's heard
with an e=mc? balloon started at $325 and the hammer dropped at $5,000.
After a gargle break, Lowery returned to say that Larson
had just called to say he was sending in a shipment of new cow headed cartoons,
breaking the audience up.
Some other pieces sold as follows-Caniff daily "Terry"'s
from 2/29/44-$230, 2/7/35-$700, 12/30/43-$550, 10/27/34-$1,800; Schulz daily
"Peanuts" from 3/26/80-$1,600, 5/26/75-$1,500, Sunday 8/28/77-$2,600,
Snoopy ice skating in blue ink on gray cardboard $550, Snoopy sketch on
typed letter $600; Two Groo inked sketches by Sergio Aragones $550; various
pieces of Mc-Manus went for varying prices from $180 to $1,900; Jack Davis'
first commercial art away from comics, a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World color
poster sold for $3,500 (al-most as much as Jack told a S.D. Con crowd he
was paid $5,000); A Gray "Orphan Annie" daily from 1925 autographed
to my old pal Vaughn Shoemaker sold for $3,500; A Chester Gould "Dick
Tracy" Sunday 2/6/38 sold for $2,200; three beautiful Hal Foster "Prince
Valiant" panels were outright steals at $225 to $600; a James Montgomery
Flagg illo went for $1,200, while a Winsor McCay illo from 1919 sold for
$3,400; a Carl Barks 4 panel "Silent Night" page brought $11,000
and an identical "Trick or Treat" gag sold for $7,250, a pencil
cover sketch for Uncle Scrooge #54 went for $2,800, other Disney artists
such as Floyd Gottfredson did equally as well with his "Mickey Mouse"
strips going from $1,900 to $6,200.
For many years I wanted a "Spirit" splash page
and one from 12/8/40 was here. The art looked more like Lou Fine than Will
Eisner, but ... this dream went back on hold when it sold for $4,600 ...
Sigh! On the other hand, I was finally able to get a Raeburn Van Buren "Abie
an' Slats" daily 8/16/63 for $70. This is only about the 5th piece
of art I ever bought, having been born early enough to have started collecting
before art sold like so much fruit in the market.
Rex Morgan's Bad Advice
JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR SHOULDN'T HAVE ORDERED! When
Rex Morgan. M.D. prescribed aspirin for an infant's cold July 26, the only
follow-up calls that came were those of outraged doctors and nurses from
coast to coast for possibly exposing the baby to the rare and sometimes
fatal Reyes Syndrome.
Reyes is a disease that mostly attacks young people who
have suffered viral illnesses like influenza and chickenpox.
Created by the late Dr. Nicholas Dallis in the 1940s, Morgan
is currently written by Woody Wilson, who prescribed himself a very red
face and apologized for his error.
Charles G. Werner, 88, former chief editorial cartoonist
for Marshall Field Jr,'s Chicago Sun in the 1940s and the Indianapolis Star
and a Pulitzer Prize winner at age 29, in 1939 while with the Daily Oklahoman,
when he became the youngest person to win a Pulitzer for editorial cartooning.
Werner's prize cartoon was inspired by the Munich Agreement,
signed by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and Germany's Adolph
Hitler. His drawing showed a grave labeled "Czechoslovakia" with
the Nobel Peace Prize atop it.
In those days the Sun rented space from John S. Knight's
Daily News and used his presses to publish their paper. I had been a faithful
Sun reader since the paper began on Dec. 1, 1941, first because of its newness
and comics, then because of the war dispatches from United Press' renowned
frontline correspondent Ernie Pyle. During that time I fell in love with
the clay sculpted editorial cartoons of Jack Lambert and the dynamic cartoons
I first met Charley about 1943 when, as a student at Austin
High School, I visited his office to show him my work and ask for advice
and see if he would appear at the school and talk about his work. He agreed
and at the end our or visit he gave me an original cartoon.
Other visits followed and became more frequent after I
went to work for the Daily News in 1946. He became a good friend and willing
counselor, teaching me an appreciation for the history of editorial cartooning.
He was generous with his gifts of original cartoons and books over the years.
It came as shock when Charley told me that the Sun had let him go because
they didn't feel people understood his work. Actually, it meant that the
editorial board lacked the understanding and appreciation of a great cartoonist.
We lost touch after Charley left Chicago. Later, I learned
that he was with the Indianapolis Star, but we never met again and I missed
both him and his work. Charley remained with the Star until he retired about
two years ago.
Of all the Werner original cartoons in my collection, one
of my favorites is one that got water damaged from a leaky roof over where
it hung in my home.
Crowquill paper was the choice of most political cartoonists
in those days, who shaded their artwork with a grease pencil. Due to a paper
strike, Werner's supply of Crowquill paper ran out and he was unable to
get more. The ever innovative Charley solved the problem by switching to
a toothy type of watercolor paper until the strike ended and achieved some
unique eye-pleasing results.
This particular cartoon shows the chiseled features of
United Mine Workers president John L. Lewis caricatured as a piece of coal
with a broken pick ax stuck in his head. Lewis had been given President
Harry S. Truman fits by pulling wildcat strikes. Declaring an emergency,
Truman threatened to send soldiers in and force the miners back to work.
I don't recall how the strike was resolved, but do think it helped in the
fall of Lewis and his powerful union.
Oh, yeah. Werner's caption for this cartoon was a simple
and moving..."Who Said Soft Coal?"
We who knew you will miss you Charley.
Raymond Jackson, a political cartoonist known as "Jak"
for more than 30 years of entertaining and outraging Londoners, died July
27 after surgery following a heart attack. He was 70.
Jackson joined the Evening Standard in 1952, where he remained
for 45 years, becoming the newspaper's principal cartoonist. London born
and bred with a wry sense of humor, he was an expert at puncturing the pomposity
of politicians and revealing the absurdities beneath the affairs of state.
When Barings Bank went bankrupt in 1995, Jackson depicted
the queen trying in vain to get money from a Baring's cash machine.
In 1982, his cartoon about Northern Ireland so enraged
the Greater London Council, the capital's then governing authority, that
it withdrew its advertising from the newspaper.
The cartoon, a mock movie ad showing ghoulish figures with
guns and explosives attacking the Irish Republican Army and other groups
from both sides of the province's sectarian divide. But the title--"The
Ultimate in Psychopathic Horror: The Irish"--enraged the council, which
said it was a slur on London's Irish community.
(Thanks to Andy Feighery of Spec Productions for this report
from the Denver Post.)
Ruth Atkinson Ford died of cancer June 1st. According to
Trina Robbins, Ford was one of the earliest female cartoonists to work in
Ford began working for Fiction House in 1943, at a time
when they had more women drawing for them than other comic book publisher.
She became the company's art director and roomed with Lily Renee, their
star woman artist.
Art directing left her too little time for actual drawing
and she left Fiction House to freelance. Her earliest work was for Timely's
(now Marvel)most famous and longest lasting girl comics characters. She
drew the first issue of Millie the Model in 1945 and most of the first two
years of Patsy Walker.
By the late '40s and through the early '50s, Ford was drawing
for the Lev Gleason romance comics. Gone were the perky teen-age comics
of earlier day, enjoyed by both girls and boys, for the heavier romance
themes that only girls seemed to be able to stomach.
REMEMBERING MANNY by Ken Greenwald
I first met Manny Stallman at a CAPS meeting in the early '80s. At mid-break
I joined a group of artists who introduced us. He was quiet, unassuming
and always attentive to what people said. He was a terrific who would take
in everything and at the right moment, ask a pertinent question that would
move the conversation forward. Good listeners are hard to find. I'm glad
I found Manny.
I later learned that Manny was teaching cartooning out
of his home in Pasadena and joined his class. There were about six students,
each doing their own comic book or strip. As we came up with ideas on how
we wanted our artwork to "look," Manny would pull out a fountain
pen, grab a pad of paper and sketch what he thought was an appropriate way
to move the story and drawing forward. He would leave the execution of each
drawing up to the originator.
With a suggestion here and there, it was amazing to see
each strip or page come alive. "You might want to add some shading
here," Manny would say, "then the foreground figure would stand
out more." As simple as that and the panel would come alive.
I was with Manny a year, until he took a vacation from
teaching. By that time, we were good friends, I got to know his wife Jane,
two dogs and an occasional stray cat that would pass through the house looking
for something or other.
In the years that followed, Manny and Jane would invite
me for Thanksgiving or a Christmas party. Always fun, especially with the
quiet Manny dropping a few jokes or making comments on art, film, politics
or the world.
We once drove to the San Diego Con together. Manny was
really excited because Will Eisner was going to be there and having worked
for Will many years ago, he wanted to see his old friend after all these
years. My camera recorded their meeting, chatting and catching up on what
each other had been doing, including a wonderful picture of them, arm in
arm, walking away from my camera.
Manny cared about people, he was working on a comic book
about racial prejudice that he hoped would be distributed in schools across
the country. It was a tough sell and no one bought the idea. That saddened
Manny and Jane moved to Sunnyvale in Northern California
when Jane's company transferred her there. Then, without warning, over a
years time, Manny suffered two mild strokes. It devastated him. He had to
learn to draw again. And draw he did, as shown by his delightful Christmas
cards and letters.
Then, one evening I received a phone call from Manny's
sister saying that he had passed away. I gasped out loud, because it was
too soon for Manny to go.
We had many talks by phone and Manny was always positive
about his life and work. He loved life and lived it to the fullest.
Now he is gone at too early an age. It'll take time to
overcome the loss of Manny, but I will never forget my friend, or what he
has done for all of us, as artists and human beings.
(Ken Greenwald, a former stand-up comedian, works for Pacific
Pioneer Broadcasters in Hollywood, writes screenplays, packages old radio
shows and is doing his own comic book. Hobbies include multiple law suits
against Simon and Shuster Publishing for non-payment of royalties (no joke).
FANDOM'S FINEST COMICS: A Treasury of the Best
Original Strips from the Classic Comics Fanzines 1958-1975; Edited and Annotated
by Bill Schelly, Hamster Press, P.O. Box 27471, Seattle, WA., 8.5 X 11 inch
squarebound paperback; 256 pages; $17.95 plus $3 shipping ($20.95); Canada
$24.95 plus $5 S&H ($29.95); Overseas $17.95 plus $5 S&H ($22.95
Once again Bill Schelly takes his readers back to those
wonderful days of yesteryear, when as children, we sat in awe as we read
the latest adventures of our favorite comic book characters.
Many of us with deeper aspirations wanted to draw or write
comic books and about 1953 creators formed into small groups around the
country, with some going so far as publishing their own books, called fanzines.
Schelly covered this history very well several years ago
in his previous book, "The Golden Age of Comics Fandom." Here
he takes much the same trip, but in a more graphic and equally entertaining
way. This time he wisely lets the art and writing of these fans speak for
Surprisingly, much of it is quite good and I found it most
interesting to look at the early efforts of those who wet on to become professionals.
CAPS members represented in this book include Jerry Ordway, Bill Spicer
and Marv Wolfman.
Other recognizable names whose work appears in these pages
are: Bill Black, John Byrne, Dave Cockrum. Robert Crumb, Grass Green, Wendy
Pini, Buddy Saunders, Bill Schelly, Jim Shooter, Jim Starlin, Roy Thomas,
Mark Wheatley and Biljo White. There are at least 16 other people in this
book whose names rang no bells of recognition, they may still be professionals
or familiar to you, it only means that I never heard of them.
If you enjoy nostalgia as much as me, it's an odds on bet
that you'll love this book.
FIDDLETOWN & COPPEROPOLIS by Carl Fallberg, Heimburger
House Publishing Co., 7236 W. Madison St., Forest Park, IL. 60130, Phone:
708-366-1973, 9 5/8 X 6 1/4 inch squarebound paperback; 144 pages; $14.95
plus $3.75 postage.
Phil Yeh alerted me to this book after seeing it at the
American Booksellers Association show in Chicago last June, feeling that
his fellow CAPS members might it enjoy it as much as he did and after reading
it I agree.
Carl Fallberg, a former assistant director and storyman
on Walt Disney feature-length animated movies. Like fellow Disney animator,
Ward Kimball (who supplied the forward to this book) and Walt himself, Fallberg
had a passionate love for railroads, especially the narrow gauge ones used
in the 1800s to service those largely inaccessible mountain mining camps.
That love clearly shows in this book of extremely well-drawn and humorous
cartoons celebrating the fictional Fiddletown & Copperopolis RR.
The cartoons in this book originally appeared sometime
after WW II in the Pages of Railroad magazine. One needn't be a railroad
buff to enjoy this book. In fact, the humor often calls to mind Los Angeles'
own inept attempts over the last six or so years to start a metrorail, subway
or whatever, which probably won't happen until after many of us are planted--if
The only complaint I had with this book is that I wished
the cartoons were printed larger and that the publisher has used a better
stock, like enamel, which would have made Fallberg's beautiful artwork look
If you appreciate good art, get this book. It's the best
railroad humor since the days of Fontaine Fox's classic "Toonerville
©Ed McGeehan. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.