Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Chas Kuhn....In His Own Words

I was born March 20, 1892 in Prairie City, Illinois. I later attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. But long before that, I quit high school in my second year so that I could take a job in the local tank works. Then came jobs in a plow factory, and of all things the Canadian harvest fields. I was in the First World War and spent two years on a battleship as a fireman. After my discharge, I went to work in the art department of the Rocky Mountain News in Denver. At the end of three years I was offered the job of editorial cartoonist  on the Indianapolis News. I stayed there for twenty-six years. About that time I thought up the idea for Grandma. I quit the News and worked full time on my comic strip. King Features Syndicate has been syndicating the strip for the past sixteen years. Grandma now appears in some 300 papers around the world. I married the former Lois Stevens, of Denver, 'way back in 1922. We have lived on the same five acres of briers and weeds for the past twenty-seven years, and I don't mind telling you that I'm getting tired of cutting grass. My assistant and I both carry our lunch to work, and during our lunch hour we sit around and "brainstorm." The Grandma  ideas as so easy to think up we once came up with fifty during one lunch period. We toss ideas around, and then I block out the four panels on a rough sheet of paper. Once the wording is okay, we go directly to work and put the strip on cardboard.

Friday, September 20, 2013

National Cartoonist Society Profile: Tom Gill

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.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

My Greatest Adventure: The Balloon Buster

Created by writer Robert Kanigher and artist Russ Heath in December 1965, America's WWI Ace made his first appearance in All-American Men of War #112. Steven Henry Savage Jr. was not your average lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Born and raised in the wilds of Mustang River, Wyoming, Savage was trained by his father to be the consummate marksman, which came in handy when he joined the U.S. Air Corps in WWI. Not one to follow orders, Savage repeatedly broke formation with his biplane to attack German combat balloons, earning him the name "Balloon Buster" by his squadron. Though his superior officer, Major Michaels, constantly sought to have the rebel court-martialed for not following orders, General Talbot applauded his action and saw Steven remained in the conflict. One of the only pilots to have challenged Germany's "Enemy Ace", Hans von Hammer, Savage's twin Vickers machine guns spoke death for many warriors from his canary-yellow Spad. Though the high-flying character only lasted around twenty issues in various war titles, he is well remembered and occasionally make appearances in the DC Universe. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Make Mine Marvel: Sons of the Tiger

With there first appearance in Marvels black-and-white magazine The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #1 from April of 1974 the Sons of the Tigers rode the martial arts craze that was sweeping the nation. Created by writer Gerry Conway and artist Dick Giordano they had a short but memorable run for Marvel Comics. Their origin opens as Lin Sun is returning from a martial arts tournament after winning first place when he is suddenly attacked by ninjas in front of his school in San Francisco. After defeating the villains, he goes into the "Tiger Dojo", which has been ransacked. He finds his dying adopted father Master Kee, who tells him that there are forces in this world which would destroy them and then points to a box on a shelf with his last breath. In the box the student finds three jade amulets of a tiger's head and two claws: the symbol of the school. The inscription on the box reads, "When three are called and stand as one, as one they'll fight, their will be done...For each is born anew, The Tiger's Son." Lin tells the story of the "Amulets of Power" and divides them between his two friends, Abe Brown from Harlem and Bob Diamond a Hollywood actor, who have also been attacked by ninjas. The trio soon discover that when they join hands and chant the inscription from the container they become mystically connected. Their martial arts skills combine to become one force and their physical abilities are tripled when they wear the mysterious amulets. Later in the series as the group breaks up, Lin Sun throws all three amulets in a trashcan located in an alley where Hector Ayala finds the tokens and wears them to become the White Tiger who continues in his own martial art series.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Society of Illustrators Profile: Mead Schaeffer

Born in Freedom Plains, New York in 1898, Mead Schaeffer knew at the early age of seven he wanted to be an artist. He attended Pratt Institute and then continued his studies under the care of artists Dean Cornwell and Harvey Dunn. Their influences can be seen in his moody pieces with their strong compositions. Wanting to have the brush strokes clearly visible in his bold approach of applying paint to canvass was important to give it a more painterly quality. Starting a career in his early twenties, the first works focused on numerous swashbuckling and romantic subjects, as well as drawings pieces for the major magazines. Schaeffer also drew sixteen classics novels which he is well known for including Moby Dick, Les Miserables, and The Count of Monte Cristo. Growing tired of drawing costumed stories, he worked with The Saturday Evening Post travelling the country doing features on contemporary factual Americana. As the next door neighbor to Norman Rockwell in Vermont, the two artists often traveled together to the West resulting in many a fine Saturday Evening Post covers. During World War II, Schaeffer created a pictorial chronicle of the fourteen branches of the Armed Services for the Post which travelled the country in over ninety museums. Even though Schaeffer had a stroke in 1980, he wanted to attend the Society of Illustrators luncheon to see old friends, where the artist collapsed and died among his fellow artists.