(With this last post of the year I am going to take a break to work on some other projects, but I will return...) Here is the short biography from the National Cartoonist Society on one of the most popular cartoonists around, the multi-talented Sergio Aragones. Born in Spain in 1937, my family left because of the civil war and settled in Mexico. I have always drawn and started selling to humor magazines in 1954. Went to architecture school but spent all of my time mostly drawing cartoons, doing theatre, pantomime, and being a clown in an aquatic ballet troupe. Decided to come to the States in 1962 with twenty dollars and my portfolio. It is really a long story but soon I was working for Mad magazine and freelancing (I am still doing both). In 1967 started doing comic books for DC (Plop, Bat Lash). In 1982 created "Groo the Wanderer", then "Buzz and Bell", and ""Smokehouse Five". Published over twenty books and animated numerous TV programs (Laugh-IN, TV Bloopers). Have won lots of awards. Traveled all over the world. Love building model ships, furniture. Have a lousy memory and drink too much coffee!
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Many times when you see an unpublished cover there are just some slight changes from the original published version. However on this great John Buscema Silver Surfer cover for issue #7, August, 1969, we see a real dramatic change for the better. Rather than having our sky-rider of the spaceways a victim of Baron Frankenstein on the unpublished version featured below, the Silver Surfer is appears victorious in his attack against the mad scientist. Other than Jack Kirby, John Buscema is the penciller most closely associated with the Silver Surfer and his work on this particular run is one of the most celebrated in the history of comics. Though the subject matter of the two covers is essentially the same with characters and caption, the second version's composition is much stronger showcasing a larger image of our stellar hero. Studying an unpublished cover as compared to the published one gives us great insights into the artist's creative process as well as the standpoint of Marvel's editors of the time. As you can see, the creators first chose to depict a scene within the story where the Silver Surfer is about to be replicated. Fortunately there was a change of heart by someone at the "House of Ideas" and they decided to run the printed version above, though both pieces are great, I think they made the right choice on this occasion.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Sunday, December 8, 2013
One of the most loved caertoonist of out times,Gary Larson was born and raise in Tacoma, Washington. He drew The Far Side for fourteen years, begining in 1980. and when it ceased publication in the United States on January 1, 1995, the featured appeared in more than 1900 daily and Sunday newspapers. It is still being syndicated internationally and runs in more than 150 newspapers across the world. Larson recieved the Ruben Award for outstanding Cartoonist of the Year from the National Cartoonist Society for 1990 and 1994, which also named The Far Side as best syndicated panel in 1985 and 1987. In 1995, the artist won the Grand Prix at the Annecy International Animation Festival for his animated special, "Gary Larson's Tales From The Far Side." He also has the unusual distinction of having the scientific community name a butter fly and a biting louse after him. Larson attributes much of his success to the cafeene in the numerous cups of coffee he drinks daily as well as the enlightening (endarkening?) time his older brother compelled him to spend in the basement as a child. He now lives above ground, in Seattle, Washington, USA.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Monday, November 25, 2013
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
If you read Short Ribs at all, you can see that a substantial amount of evolving has gone on in regard to the design of the characters. This is, I hope, the result of a desire for constant improvement of the product. Since an individual character doesn't appear more than once or twice a week, I have a little more freedom design-wise. Otherwise, the idea behind Short Ribs hasn't changed a great deal. My purpose is just a quick little spot of entertainment...perhaps with a little thought thrown in once in a while. Also, I make an attempt to make it visually interesting. I make a point of meeting deadlines, which I'm given to understand is something unique in the cartoonist. Really, there isn't any set pattern in the production of a week's work. I do, However, complete all the daily strips before starting on the Sunday page. Everything is done on clearprint tissue, in pencil, and then pasted behind a sheet of #2 ply board, and inked with a #2 brush. Once in a while I'll use a pen for fine detail. The lettering is done with a #14 relief pen. I have a studio here in Carmel Valley Village, since I find it difficult to work at home. Too, I have an assistant who comes in three days a week. He does just about all my, filing and house cleaning. I tried to work without an assistant for quite some time...largely because of financial reasons, but I found that the assistant helped remove much pressure, and that Short Ribs was the better for his help. If I have a gag that requires a little different atmosphere, we can spend more time experimenting with backgrounds and characters. In the gag department, I usually have something ahead in order to get the week started on Monday morning. However, there have been many times when I've had the "empty page blues." So far, I've managed to come up with a gag every time I've headed for the bathroom to cut my throat. Thank goodness. Normally, I arrive at the studio between 8:00 and 8:30. I leave any time between noon and 5:00...just depends on how things are going. Mostly however, I like to be able to see the end of a week before I start goofing-off. By that I mean that I like to have a really good idea of just what I'm going to wind up with when I mail my weekly package to the office in Cleveland on Friday.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
I never thought about the reprint market outside the United States, but within the last few years I discovered there were a lot of Turok, Son of Stone issues published in Latin America by one main publisher. England, Italy, and Germany attempted some minor reprints in the 1970s from the original Gold Key series, but only one or two issues ever saw print, with one company publishing nineteen books in their entire run. Editorial Novaro, based in Mexico City started their Turok, El Guerrero De Piedra series in 1969 and lasted a whopping 274 issues that I know of, over twice as long as the original Dell series! So what do you do when you run out of reprints? Start creating your own stories and covers adopting the customs and flavor of the publisher’s home country. Artist Francisco Betancourt did many of the colorful painted Turok covers in his bold style, often using direct or composite swipes from the Gold Key covers, while the interiors miserably failed to live up to the standards set by Alberto Giolitti. As well as the covers, art swipes from Frazetta, Boris, Kubert, Thorne, and many other American and European artists could be found inside these books. Columbia’s Epucol started their Turok series in 1976 lasting over 200+ issues, being a sister company with Novaro, they had the advantage of using many of the prior Mexican covers and stories, though they created wild new adventures too. Often a little bright at times when compared to American comics, these little digest gems were extremely popular and sold a great number of copies. Published as two issues a month or more at the height of their popularity before their demise, Novaro’s printing presses were destroyed in the devastating Federal District earthquake of 1985 which finally closed the company and Turok’s long run south of the border.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Like the portrait of Dorian Gray my photo keeps aging in each National Cartoonist Society album (but so does the real-life Bil Keane!) I'm making a living doing what others are jailed for: exploiting my family and peeping in windows. I was born at a very early age. The Stone Age (1922) in Philadelphia and grew up there physically if not mentally. Best idea I ever had: marrying Thel in Australia (1948). I penciled in five children, Thel did the reproductions. Sold gag cartoons to all the magazines that folded. I was a staff artist on Philadelphia Bulletin from 1946 to 1959. When I tired of drawing staffs and moved to Arizona where I'm still studying to become a saguaro cactus. Did "Channel Chuckles" from 54 to 77. Created "Family Circus" in 1960 and I've been going around in circles ever since. Little Jeffy is now my assistant. He's no longer two feet tall and a pest in the studio. He's six feet tall and a pest in the studio. Thel and I spend a lot of time these days counting our many blessings.
Friday, November 1, 2013
Born in New Holland, Pennsylvania, in 1902, Dorothy Hood early interest in art encouraged her to attend the New York School of Applied Design. Later while working for Macy's department store, she met art director Harry Rodman who took the artist with him when he landed a position with Lord & Taylor. Rodman capitalized on his new advertising "Lord & Taylor Look" in the 1930s using the talented illustrations of Hood which had there own unique style. Her black-and-white wash drawing technique done to size was ideal for newspaper reproduction and instantly recognizable as one of Lord & Taylor's. Working directly from life, Hood posed her models depecting real life activities women could identify with. Her extra additions of a slight background of a spray of flowers here or a chandelier there added more dimension to her scenes. Helping establish the "look" of the high-quality department store, her successful illustrations would appear in newspapers and magazines for decades providing the public with a sense of what the well-dressed American woman should be wearing. Short deadlines faced by fashion illustrators poised no threat for Hood, since her studio was located close to the store as models, merchandise, and her artwork could easily travel back and forth. While on vacation in the 1950s in Bermuda, a motor bike accident seriously injured her right arm, but taking it in stride, the artist taught herself to draw with her left hand. Only her most close friends were aware of the very difficult transition the artist overcame as she continued to illustrated for Lord & Taylor until her death in 1970.
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Sunday, October 13, 2013
Another science fiction effort that lasted three issues with Atlas Comics was Planet of Vampires, under the creative team of writer Larry Hama, artist Pat Broderick, and inker Frank McLaughlin. A manned mission to Mars return to Earth after its five-year journey only to find they can't reach Mission Control so they land outside a devastated New York City. The team is instantly attacked by a savage gang of bikers who kill one of their crew before being rescued by one of the "dome" people on his floating aircraft. Taken back to meet the Protector at their dome headquarters, the astronauts soon learn that a nuclear war has destroyed the planet and society is now split in two factions, the technological "domies" and the savage hordes who now live outside. Grateful for the offer of protection from the barbarians, Captain Galland and his crew let down their guard, only to find out something is terribly wrong. The savages outside have developed an immunity to a plague that ravaged the land, and the only way for the dome people to survive is to extract a serum from drinking the blood of these outsiders. Fortunately, before our team is processed for the mutated "vampires", a captured biker helps them escape to lead the war against these advanced ghouls. As Russ Heath's superior art was added to help with the series, Neal Adams also did a fantastic cover to the second issue. However, over the next three tales the astronauts and their wives are killed off until only Captain Galland is left to fight alone on this planet of vampires.
Monday, October 7, 2013
Who knows why this action-packed Don Heck cover was not used for The Avengers #37 for February of 1967, since he did a colossal job on the interiors for this fan favorite Marvel title. Heck's professional career began in 1949 when he started working in the production department of Harvey Comics and studying art by mail order correspondence courses and junior college classes. Soon he graduated to penciling, and after a stint freelancing with Quality Comics, Hillman Comics and Toby Press. Heck then started at Atlas (Marvel) Comics on the recommendation of fellow artist Pete Morisi, becoming a mainstay, illustrating superhero, mystery, western, romance science fiction, fantasy, and war stories. When the House of Ideas began its Silver Age revolution, the artist's first major success was the legendary Iron Man origin story in Tales of Suspense #39 for March of 1963. He then drew a handful of early stories featuring the Mighty Thor, Giant Man and other heroes, but for most comic fans, it's Don's long run on The Avengers for which he is most fondly remembered. For some reason Gil Kane's exciting cover was chosen instead to grace this colossal issue, but it doesn't really matter, its just as terrific as the unpublished version in my opinion.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Friday, September 20, 2013
I started on the New York Daily News, made the first map of the Pearl Harbor attack. Left in '46 for Herald Tribune to draw own comic strip about a New York City cab driver. Later staffed at The New York Times. Freelanced to Golden Age comic books on war, love, sports and also did syndicates and TV. Drew The Lone Ranger comic book for twenty years and his spin offs, Hi-Ho Silver and Tonto. Also children's books for Golden Press, Simon & Schuster. Most pleased that throughout my career I have been able to help others as initial faculty and administration at School of Visual Arts. For forty years I have taught over 1800 students, many now NCS members and leaders in advertising, TV and publishing fields. My new how to book will continue when I retire. Travelled with NCS Armed Forces shows worldwide. Still at it traveling to Greenland in 1987. Served National Cartoonist Society as Vice President twice, and Membership and Vet Affairs Chair three years each. Awarded Silver T Square in '64, Reuben comic book category in '70. Back on NCS Board in '87-'89. In "96, teaching at Nassau Westchester Community Colleges. Son, Tom a San Diego attorney. Daughter, Nancy, a speech therapist and business woman. Three grandchildren, ages eleven to thirty.