Reed Crandall original comic art

hot-spell-600

Cartoonist Reed Crandall was one of EC Comics' many superstars in the 1950s, drawing stories for Crime SuspenStories, Shock SuspenStories, Tales from the Crypt, Two-Fisted Tales, The Vault of Horror, Extra!, Impact, Piracy, Weird Fantasy, and Weird Science-Fantasy. As a freelancer, he drew stories for various publishers. His splash page from “Hot Spell” in Warren's Creepy #7 (1966) shows why Crandall was one of the greats. (Full-size page)

Drew Friedman portrait of Daniel Clowes

Clowes

The great illustrator Drew Friedman drew a portrait of the great cartoonist Daniel Clowes. Amazing! 10 prints are available.

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Cartoonist Ed Piskor visits his decrepit childhood home

Ed Piskor says: "Pittsburgh magazine followed me around for a few weeks and put together a little piece on me and the Hip Hop comic. The highlight is going through my decrepit boyhood home for the first time in like 18 years and seeing artwork on the walls that survived."

I loved seeing Ed in this 8-minute film, which was produced by Dave Cole. Favorite quote: "There's not enough money in comics to listen to anybody. You should just do what the heck you wanna do."

What It Is – How to channel your inner cephalopod

David Letterman sometimes says, of certain eccentric (usually brilliant) people: “She (or he) ain’t hooked up right.” He means it as a compliment. Lynda Barry definitely ain’t hooked up right – and we’re all more enriched for the strange wiring.

So, it’s no surprise that when the well-known comic artist sat down to write a book about the craft of writing (based on her popular writing workshops), she’d end up with something utterly unlike any previous writing guide. Like all of Barry’s work, What It Is is disarmingly personal and brilliantly playful and chaotic.

This densely collaged book is utterly uncategorizable – so many modes of expression are at work here: a textbook/workbook on inspiring creative writing and cultivating creativity of all kinds, a comic-memoir of Barry’s personal struggles with creativity and self-expression as a child, a stunning and challenging piece of collage/altered book art, and a sort of extended fever dream on the nature of memory, imagination, play, and creativity.

Barry’s ultimate message is about waking up to yourself, to your potential as a creative being. It’s an extended pep talk on finding the inspiration between your ears and using your senses and memories of life experiences to express yourself in ways that can truly enrich your life. It’s hard not to open up this book, poke your head into its dream-like sea of memory-ticklers, imaginative ideas, creative inspiration, and surreal imagery, and not want to put it down immediately to go make something of your own. As if to drive home the beastly, manifold nature of our deepest reservoirs of creativity, Barry introduces the Magic Cephalopod (aka squid), a sort of creature from the Id, who swims through the murky depths of the text, its many appendages constantly in creative motion, gently encouraging us to swim off on some grand adventure inside of the Mariana Trench of our own imaginations.

What It Is
by Lynda Barry
Drawn & Quarterly
2008, 209 pages, 8.5 x 11 x 1 inches

Take a look at other beautiful paper books at Wink. And sign up for the Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

Absurd and brilliant comics designed to be read right-side-up as well as upside-down

From 1903-1905, a Japanese-born, Dutch artist named Gustave Verbeek turned America’s Sunday funny papers on their collective head.

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Drew Friedman's portraits of the pioneering legends of comic books

Drew Friedman is the great caricaturist of our age. His series of portrait books, Old Jewish Comedians, More Old Jewish Comedians, and Even More Old Jewish Comedians brought him well-deserved acclaim when they came out a few years ago. His latest book of meticulous watercolor portraits is called Heroes Of The Comics, and it includes short biographies of dozens of famous and not-famous-but-important cartoonists, editors, writers and publishers from the golden age of comics. I had no idea what many of the comic book artists I've admired for decades looked like, and it was a treat to finally see the faces of Steve Ditko (Spiderman), Dave Berg and Jack Davis (Mad), and John Stanley (Little Lulu), rendered in Friedman's detailed style, replete with liver spots, wrinkles, and rumpled clothes.

Friedman even included one villain amongst the heroes: Frederic Wertham, the psychiatrist who used flawed data to write Seduction of the Innocent, the infamous 1954 anti-comics scaremongering book that led to the end of the vibrant comic book industry and the careers of many of the heroes in the pages of Friedman's book.

Heroes Of The Comics, by Drew Friedman

Take a look at other beautiful paper books at Wink. And sign up for the Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

Mimi Pond: "MAD was our communist manifesto"

This episode of Gweek is brought to you by Bombfell, the glorious clothing service for men that sends handpicked outfits to your door. Go to bombfell.com/gweek to get $10 off your first purchase. And by Stamps.com — get a $110 sign-up bonus with the offer code GWEEK!

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Original art from the greatest private comic collection on earth

One evening several years ago my friend, the artist Coop, took me to the San Fernando Valley house of comic book art collector Glenn Bray. I was somewhat familiar with Bray, having read bits and pieces about his large collection. I knew that he was the first person to seek out and collect the work of the great Donald Duck comic book artist writer Carl Barks back in the 1960s, that he published some small books about grotesque-artist Basil Wolverton, and that he was the champion of forgotten genius Stanislav Szukalski (read my Wink review about Szukalski here). He was probably the first real comic book art collector, buying original work in an era when everyone else considered it to be worthless.

So I felt I was somewhat prepared for what was in store for me at Bray’s house. But when I stepped inside, I realized that I’d greatly underestimated the size and quality of his collection. Bray’s walls were covered with original art and paintings by the greatest comic book artists in history: Robert Crumb, Robert Williams, Jack Davis, Wally Wood, and dozens more. The second floor of his large house looked nothing like a home. It was a clean, organized library/museum dedicated to comic book art. I was stunned, not only by the amount of art Bray had amassed over the last 50 years of collecting, but by his aesthetic sensibility, which matched mine to a T. Like me, he was completely uninterested in superhero comics, concentrating mainly on old EC science fiction comics, MAD, and underground comics. That evening I studied the original art from many iconic comic book covers, but barely scratched the surface of his collection.

The Blighted Eye is a massive book containing samples from Bray’s collection. Arranged from A-Z by artist, it represents the tip of a comic art iceberg. The book also includes a long interview with Bray and many photographs of Bray with the artists he’s befriended over the decades.

The Blighted Eye, by Glenn Bray

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Peter Kuper, cartoonist

Download the podcast

In the latest episode of the RiYL podcast, Brian Heater interviews the author of multiple Kafka adaptations and a sketchbook diary chronicling his time in Mexico.

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New Disruptors 70: Puzzle Maker Chris Yates

Chris Yates is a polymath. A sculptor, artist, woodworker, cartoonist, entrepreneur, dog-kennel assembler, musician, and more. He's best known now for his handmade jigsaw puzzles. He's on the show to talk about his zigzag path to making a niche for himself.

The New Disruptors: RSS | iTunes | Download this episode | Listen on Stitcher

This episode is sponsored by:

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What do Lil Wayne, Black Girls CODE, and Humans of New York have in common? They've all raised funds on Indiegogo! Indiegogo has hosted over 100,000 campaigns since 2008 and distributes millions of dollars every week around the globe. There is no application process or waiting period associated with launching a campaign; individuals can start raising funds immediately. Listeners visit tnd.indiegogo.com to receive a 25% discount on fees.

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Documentary "Stripped" shows the past and future of comic strips

Glenn Fleishman on a crowdfunded journey into the history of comics in America

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Incredibly Interesting Authors 006: Encyclopedia of Early Earth author Isabel Greenberg

Isabel Greenberg is a writer and illustrator who lives and works in North London. In her graphic novel The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, Greenberg combines art, mythology, and humor to tell a story of star-crossed love. It takes readers back to a time before history began, when another—now forgotten—civilization thrived. The people who roamed Early Earth were much like us: curious, emotional, funny, ambitious, and vulnerable. In this series of illustrated and linked tales, Greenberg chronicles the explorations of a young man as he paddles from his home in the North Pole to the South Pole in search of a missing piece of his soul. There, he meets his true love, but their romance is ill-fated. Early Earth's unusual and finicky polarity means the lovers can never touch.

Buy a copy of The Encyclopedia of Early Earth on Amazon.

Read Cory's review of The Encyclopedia of Early Earth.

Incredibly Interesting Authors: RSS | iTunes | Download this episode

You can listen to Incredibly Interesting Authors and other Boing Boing podcasts on Swell, a cool streaming smartphone app. Visit swell.am to download the free app.

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Giveaway! The Art of Rube Goldberg

Earlier this week David reviewed and previewed the large-format book, The Art of Rube Goldberg: (A) Inventive (B) Cartoon (C) Genius by Jennifer George. The publisher, Abrams ComicArts, has kindly offered to give a copy to one lucky Boing Boing reader. To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is use the above form to "like" Boing Boing's Facebook page (and if you already have liked Boing Boing's Facebook page, you are in the running to win.) Good luck!

Note: if you aren't on Facebook, don't despair. We will hold more giveaways in the future that don't require Facebook membership.

UPDATE: The winner will also get a redeem code for the iOS app, Rube Works: The Official Rube Goldberg Invention Game

David Rees is getting bored sharpening pencils at $35 apiece

David Rees, author of How to Sharpen Pencils: A Practical & Theoretical Treatise on the Artisanal Craft of Pencil Sharpening, has a pencil sharpening service. He charges $35 to sharpen each pencil. To date he has sharpened 1,804 pencils. But he is growing weary of the work and is thinking about closing the business.

"The whole point of the business is to remind people to appreciate yellow, No. 2 pencils because they're really cool and interesting," he said. "And to make a ton of money."

But at this point, work feels like work.

"You do anything long enough for money, it just starts to become a job," he said.

So as he nears the nice round number of 2,000 sharpenings, Rees suggested that soon he'd like to clean out his sharpeners for good, leaving the world a much duller place.

New York man sharpens pencils for $35 a pop

Cartoonist Adrian Tomine - "everyone we know is moving" out of New York

Adrian Tomine's New Yorker cover is called "Crossroads." He was interviewed about it on the New Yorker's website.

When asked how being a father affects New York living, he says, “We live in a notoriously kid-centric neighborhood, so it’s not like I’m walking around, gritting my teeth, and thinking, Oh, the sacrifices I make for this kid! Most of the things that become difficult or impossible when you have kids, I was never really into anyway.” As for the teeth-gritting moments? “You can definitely drive yourself crazy thinking about the cost of living here, but I try to remind myself that the monthly check I send off is giving me access to a lot of great things beyond our apartment.

Adrian has a book of his New Yorker and other NY-themed illustrations, called New York Drawings. Here's an excerpt.

Adrian Tomine's Crossroads