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.
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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.
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.
New Relic helps everyone's software work better, and if you’re in any business today, you’re in the software business. Software powers our apps, runs our databases, manages our accounts, and runs ecommerce sites and email programs. New Relic monitors every move your application makes, across the entire stack, and shows you what's happening right now. Visit newrelic.com/disruptors to find out more.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here's our own cartoonist Ed Piskor being interviewed at Columbus Museum of Art by Jared Gardner on March 24, 2013. It's great to hear him talk about his influences and interests in this hour long conversation.
Ed Piskor is the recipient of the Columbus Museum of Art and Thurber House 2013 Graphic Novelist Residency. He has drawn stories for underground comics legend Harvey Pekar, and published the book Wizzywig about the history of hacking. His current comic, Hip Hop Family Tree, is serialized at Boingboing.net. The first volume of Hip Hop Family Tree will be published this year by Fantagraphics.
It was fun to see the faces behind some of my favorite web comics in this brief PBS documentary.
The internet has given birth to yet another new medium: web comics. Moving beyond the restrictions of print, web comic artists interact directly with audiences who share their own unique worldview, and create stories that are often embedded in innovative formats only possible online. Sometimes funny, sometimes personal, and almost always weird, web comic creators have taken the comic strip form to new, mature, and artistic heights.
More than thirty years have passed since Al Capp's death, and he may no longer be a household name. But at the height of his career, his groundbreaking comic strip, Li'l Abner, reached ninety million readers. The strip ran for forty-three years, spawned two movies and a Broadway musical, and originated such expressions as "hogwash" and "double-whammy." Capp himself was a familiar personality on TV and radio; as a satirist, he was frequently compared to Mark Twain.
Though Li'l Abner brought millions joy, the man behind the strip was a complicated and often unpleasant person. A childhood accident cost him a leg -- leading him to art as a means of distinguishing himself. His apprenticeship with Ham Fisher, creator of Joe Palooka, started a twenty-year feud that ended in Fisher's suicide. Capp enjoyed outsized publicity for a cartoonist, but his status abetted sexual misconduct and protected him from the severest repercussions. Late in life, his politics became extremely conservative; he counted Richard Nixon as a friend, and his gift for satire was redirected at targets like John Lennon, Joan Baez, and anti-war protesters on campuses across the country.
With unprecedented access to Capp's archives and a wealth of new material, Michael Schumacher and Denis Kitchen have written a probing biography. Capp's story is one of incredible highs and lows, of popularity and villainy, of success and failure-told here with authority and heart.
This piece by Wally Wood, which I don't think was for EC [the comic book company that published MAD, Weird Science, and Tales from the Crypt], is genius for its organized complexity—seemingly effortless in its execution. Zoom in on the figures and see how fully realized they are! I cannot overuse the word when it comes to EC guys—they were geniuses!
A gaggle of devastatingly handsome cartoonists pose for a group portrait in a Toronto restaurant. Left to right: Chris Ware, Charles Burns, Seth, Chester Brown, Anouk Ricard, Peter Birkemoe, Adrian Tomine. (photo: Nathalie Atkinson)