Archive for January, 2009

Comics Enriched Their Lives! #11


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Friday, January 30, 2009


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Two more, by request:

CUT THE UNFUNNY COMICS, NOT ‘SPIDERMAN’

I can’t believe that you’re cutting “Spiderman” — the only comic strip in the Globe, except for “Doonesbury” half the time, worth reading. Do think again in making way for what sounds like one more jejune set of unfunny panels pitched at the nonexistent (or at least nonreading) X-generation.

And what ever happened to “Mac Divot” — the most helpful set of golf tips I ever read?

JOHN UPDIKE
Beverly Farms

—From a 1994 letter to the editor of the Boston Globe.

And:

The encounter, when all was said and done, had been no stranger than those in ‘Krazy Kat,’ which had given me my first idea of the American desert.

—John Updike, in “A Desert Encounter,”
from the October 20, 2008 issue of The New Yorker.

I remember really enjoying reading the Spider-Man comic strip in the early ’90s, but mostly in a kind of stupefied amazement at the lengths it took to stretch out a single plot point from Monday to Saturday (presumably so Sunday-only readers wouldn’t get lost). I wonder what Updike saw in it, assuming his letter wasn’t a put-on. I was just a stupid kid at the time, so maybe I was missing something…

[Thanks, Jeet.]

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Comics Enriched Their Lives! #10


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Friday, January 30, 2009


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In the imaginary interviews I sometimes have with The Paris Review I have happily envisioned myself making long heterogeneous lists of predecessors in answer to that inevitable question: I’d say, “My lasting literary influences? Um—The Tailor of Gloucester, Harold Nicolson, Richard Pryor, Seuss‘s If I Ran the Circus, Edmund Burke, Nabokov, Boswell, Tintin, Iris Murdoch, Hopkins, Michael Polanyi, Henry and William James, John Candy, you know, the usual crowd.”

—Nicholson Baker, U and I

That Nicholson Baker likes comics is no shock, I know, and I promised I wouldn’t post any more of these things unless they were interesting, but I like this quote enough that I don’t mind being a hypocrite.

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Herbert Crowley : He Liked to Sing?


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Tuesday, January 27, 2009


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A received an email this morning from a nice fellow named Max Mose, who discovered this tidbit about Herbert Crowley (“famous” for The Wigglemuch, as featured in Art Out of Time) in
Popular Prints of the Americas (A. Hyatt Mayor, Crown Publishers, 1973), which reads: “Crowley was born near London in 1873. Though he studied singing in Paris, he could never bring himself to face an audience. Then, while working in a mine, he discovered that he could draw. His late-found career took him eventually to the New York Herald, where he drew the Wigglemuch from about 1910 to 1914. In his solitary imagination, this creature with no legs on its far side became more actual than anybody he met on the street. Crowley could tell you exactly when it slept, what it did and did not eat, how it laughed, and that it whistled like you or me.” Well, this is all news to me! The actual dates of the run are off, but the rest of it… who knows? Sounds like the kind of thing an artist might write about himself. I know that he had some shows of his artwork on 57th St. in NYC in the 20s… and that the Met has some works on paper of his in storage that I have, to my shame, not gone to request, but beyond that, well, I cast wide nets, but don’t tend to dig deep holes. But in this case I should. Thanks, Max!

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Moving Drawings


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Monday, January 26, 2009


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A few odds and ends here. I’m sure I’m the last person to know this, but wow, Dark Horse is releasing the first volume of the Jesse Marsh Tarzan series now! His work has an incredible arc to it, from early drawings that look carved from stone to mid-period, more fluid pen lines, to his last scratchy, near-abstract images that Russ Manning claimed was due to his declining eyesight. He was a great artist, and the Tarzan work is among my favorite work of his. There’s a great Jesse Marsh web site here from which I stole the gorgeous image above. Marsh will be in the second Art Out of Time, which I should be working on instead of doing this.

Also, been thinking about Victor Moscoso lately for another project, and friend Norman pointed out an amazing series of animated shorts Moscoso made sometime in the late 60s or early 70s. What I love about these is how it takes him out of psychedelia and suddenly he seems wonderfully in line with drawers like Milton Glaser and Heinz Edelmann. He had the same transformative impulses and shared with Edelmann a pen line of such urgency and clarity that it’s impossible to look away. It’s a sharpness — a tiny bit of grumpiness. Moscoso was certainly the best colorist and overall designer of his S.F. (and perhaps North America in general) contemporaries, but people sometime forget about that wicked penline. The thing that stood out for me the most in the recent Crumb show in Philadelphia was, in fact, the original jam pages Moscoso worked on. Where everyone else looks like they’re carefully cartooning a gag, Moscoso’s marks come on like brush-fire — just decimating the very formidable competition. Just brutal and immediate and delineating modern-psych design forms. Anyhow, enjoy these little films. I don’t know much about them but maybe someone can fill us in in the comments.

EDIT: Someone just did.

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sunday sunday


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Sunday, January 25, 2009


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Do Atlas Comics have the best logos, or what?

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I miss Watterson


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Saturday, January 17, 2009


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Saturday, January 17, 2009


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Your PShaw! for the day.

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