Fine Cartoon Art

exaggerated, in a good way

Archive for July, 2010

He Told It Like It Was. Comics Giant Harvey Pekar Dead at 70.

Posted by jtebeau on July 12, 2010

For decades he lifted the mundane nature of everyday life to the realm of art, getting some of comics’ heaviest hitters to help him capture the details of life in Cleveland. His blunt honesty offers comparison to great art. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s obit by Joanna Connors: “underneath his persona of aggravated, disaffected file clerk, he was an erudite book and jazz critic, and a writer of short stories that many observers compared to Chekhov, despite their comic-book form.” Chekhov. That’s pretty good company. That’s fine cartoon art, it is.

So long, Harvey. You’re being filed away now, but not forgotten.


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“A Short History of America” by Robert Crumb

Posted by jtebeau on July 12, 2010

One of my favorite classic Crumb pieces, summing up the story of modernization and “progress” in America. It’s terrifically rendered, poignant and personal. Truly fine cartoon art…

[from the film “Crumb” by Terry Zwigoff]

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Fine (Animated) Cartoon Art… for Free

Posted by jtebeau on July 6, 2010

A lot of times when I mention “fine cartoon art” or even just “cartoon art”, people immediately think of animation. “Cartoon” for many people = Disney or Bugs Bunny or Pixar. But that’s not only what it means. Often I mean comic art (comic strips, etc.) or painting inspired by comic art.

Now, Nina Paley‘s been right there at the nexus of cartoon art and fine art for years. Her pen and ink creations “Nina’s Adventures”, “Fluff” and “The Hots” are personal, smart and well executed, with tight writing and drawing (a rarity). Her animated opus “Sita Sings the Blues” is a splendor to behold and puts her solidly in the other world of cartooning… you know: the moving kind. Sita has already traveled to film festivals around the world, making a splash at the Tribeca Film Festival here in New York. It’s won praise, awards, and reverent fans. Why? Because it’s visionary, honest, and extraordinarily well-executed. It’s (animated!) cartoon art at its finest. And you can see it for free here. In fact, you can show it for free. And if you’re a theater, you just might want to do that. Check out this rave review from Ebert.

Ms. Paley is a Free Culture activist. Her “first concern is Art, and Art has no life if people can’t share it.”

Says Paley:

“I hereby give Sita Sings the Blues to you. Like all culture, it belongs to you already, but I am making it explicit with a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License. Please distribute, copy, share, archive, and show Sita Sings the Blues. From the shared culture it came, and back into the shared culture it goes.”

Nina in NYC's West Village last year

She’s putting her art into the public pool. Take a dip.

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