Fine Cartoon Art

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Archive for the ‘cartooning’ Category

Fine Cartoonist-Artist Dan Clowes and Another Movie Deal….

Posted by jtebeau on November 24, 2010

He hit yon big screen a few years ago with Ghost World, and Daniel Clowes might do again with his latest book “Wilson.”

As reported by the blog Graphic Policy, it was “announced yesterday on, WILSON, Daniel Clowes’ critically acclaimed and New York Times bestselling original graphic novel, has secured a film deal at Fox Searchlight with Alexander Payne attached.” (full story is here)

Wilson, by Daniel Clowes

This is good news if you dig Clowes, and perhaps a chance at redemption after the ambitious but somewhat disjointed  Art School Confidential, the last effort to translate his work to the screen. At any rate, Clowes has been doing outstanding cartoon work for decades now, his stories often laid out like Hollywood story boards. It’s good to see him succeed, and I’m still surprised “Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron” hasn’t been adapted. David Lynch should be all over that one.



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In New York, It Heats Up in the Fall

Posted by jtebeau on October 5, 2010

... and a tip o' the hat to Bruegel the Elder

Something about the energy of fall…. Why is it that when nature starts shutting down, we humans start revving up? Maybe it’s a leftover, Pavlovian reaction to the bounty of the harvest or some inherent understanding that we only have a handful of perfect days left before The Big Sleep of winter nails us indoors for a few months. We make the most of it, like the peasants in those Bruegel paintings going bananas at their rowdy little peasant parties. Bruegel – now there’s a fine cartoon artist, but not now, not now….

That autumn buzz goes back to childhood. School would start up, Halloween was just around the corner, and of course (perhaps most importantly), THE NEW TV SEASON STARTED. I believe it was Albert Brooks who said television was like heroin when you were a kid. Seemed that way to me, I guess, though I wouldn’t know for sure. I think I literally did convulse if the cable went out, having conniption fits if I missed an episode of “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” or “Dusty’s Trail.” You can understand. I was a visual kid. Who didn’t play football.

And in New York, fall is When Everything Starts Happening Again, after, it’s implied, three months of Nothing Important Going On. Actually, except for the vomit-sauna effect of certain special streets and a forced reliance on wicked, wicked air conditioning, I sort of dig summer in NYC, provided I know that I have the option to split. It’s not so crowded and there’s actually plenty to do. It’s just really, really farging hot und shticky while you’re doing it. But there’s stuff to do. In the fall though…. Ahh, that’s when the real action goes down. Like art openings.

Which brings me to the point: this week at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, three-count-em-three shows open, with a great big reception tonight from 7:30 to 9:00 tonight: Tuesday the 5th. MoCCA is celebrating the work of three excellent artists, who have all contributed admirably to the great American art form that is cartooning: Al Jaffee, father of the Mad Fold-In and “snappy answers to stupid questions,” Liza Donnelly of New Yorker fame and underground comix kahuna Denis Kitchen, a pioneer of the scene (daddy-o) and founder of the venerable Kitchen Sink Press.




All three exhibits run through January 30 of 2011, so there’s plenty of time to check them out. I recommend stopping by the opening tonight, though. It’s autumn. It’s on. And nothing happens after the holidays. You know that.

And for your nostalgic, boob-tube enjoyment:

Darren McGavin: The Man.

And if you remember this one, you get a Coke….

Posted in art shows, artists, cartooning, exhibitions | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A Mighty Fine Cartoon Art Show… and How You Can Sponsor It

Posted by jtebeau on September 9, 2010

If you’re not already familiar with, you ought to be, and here’s a good way to get your feet wet.

Al Jaffee, the genius behind Mad magazine’s fold-ins, snappy answers to stupid questions and magnificent what-if inventions is getting a show at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in New York. MoCCA is looking for help funding the exhibition and using Kickstarter to get it. You can donate as little as $1, but a little more gets you a little something.

  • Donate $10 and you’re listed as a “backer” on the MoCCA website and at the exhibition
  • $25 will get you a limited-edition poster signed by Al
  • $50, and they’ll also throw in a copy of Al’s new autobiography and a limited edition T-shirt
  • $100 and you’ll get the exhibition VIP tour with Al and the curators
  • $500 ups the ante with a VIP dinner with Al and the curators
  • $1000 and you get into heaven, no questions asked. Oh, and a MoCCA lifetime membership

Writer(s) Wil Forbis said Al will “go down in history as our greatest American.” Screw Franklin, Washington, Shatner and those other pikers. Support Al Jaffe today. Riiiight HERE.

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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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When an Artist Curates a Show, Good Things Happen.

Posted by jtebeau on March 10, 2010

“Artists make great exhibition curators. They have expert eyes, a personal stake in the game and contacts with all kinds of other artists, including those who ride under the establishment radar. Museum surveys of contemporary art rarely produce surprises. Artist-organized gallery shows almost always do.”

So wrote the art critic Holland Cotter a couple years ago in the New York Times, upon reviewing the excellent “NeoIntegrity” show at Derek Eller Gallery, curated by artist Keith Mayerson. Mayerson’s at it again, and this time it’s comics.

The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) kicks off “NeoIntegrity: Comics Edition” in their SoHo digs on Friday March 12. Curated by Mr. Mayerson, the exhibit features the work of over 200 cartoonists, including R. Crumb, Peter Bagge, Lynda Barry, Charles Addams, Julie Doucet (yummy website, Julie!), Daniel Clowes, Charles Burns, Roz Chast, Al Jaffee, Harvey Kurtzman, Isabella Bannerman, Jules Feiffer, Art Spiegelman…. [catching breath!] It’s a veritable cornucopia, my friends. A CAVALCADE of TALENT. (though I’m bummed Nina Paley’s not on the list) Still, the mind is, how you say, boggled by the breadth and depth of the line-up: a Murderers Row of the ink set. Do yourself a favor and go see it.

“NeoIntegrity: Comics Edition” runs from March 12 to May 30 at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, 594 Broadway (between Houston and Prince), fourth floor.

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Is the Web the Future of Comics?

Posted by jtebeau on March 5, 2010

The sainted Matt Groening‘s long-running strip Life In Hell was recently dropped from the L.A. Weekly, where it ran for 22 years. “I feel like the floodwaters are rising. The alternative newsweeklies are really struggling,” Groening said


“Are you ready to embrace family values yet?”

Profits for all newspapers are falling, and they’re making cuts. Damn shame to cut the comics, especially the good, alternative ones. They were always (along with Dan Savage and Rob Brezny) the main reason I would pick up weeklies like the Chicago Reader, the San Francisco Bay Guardian and the Detroit Metro Times. Demi-gods like Groening and Lynda Barry got their start in these kinds of papers. And Nina Paley. AND Tom Tomorrow. AND Chris Ware. The multi-talented Dave Eggers developed his voice while working on the cartoon Smart Feller in the SF Weekly before going on to write A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and starting McSweeney’s, among other noble and notable pursuits. It bums out my heart to see this loamy garden of talent filled in… paved over to eke out a little more damn profit. Feh. Alternative weekly comics are to contemporary American humor what the Harvard Lampoon, The Second City and The Onion have been. Like Texas high school football is to the NFL. Like the Dominican Republic is to professional baseball. It’s where the talent grows.

But Jason Ankeny on posits a hopeful new way for comics: mobile. He writes:

“The digital future of comics, books, magazines and newspapers took a significant turn this week when online retail giant announced it will introduce a free Kindle e-book application for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch devices, offering consumers full access to more than 240,000 premium titles. Amazon’s new mobile effort would seem to threaten sales of its $359 Kindle e-reader device, but the company contends mobile distribution will in fact complement the Kindle business model, offering users the opportunity to consume content in abbreviated, snack-size periods.

Few forms of creative expression are better suited to that kind of brief consumer engagement than comic strips. Life in Hell–a crudely illustrated but consistently sharp and insightful black-and-white strip–would seem like a natural on a Kindle or on an iPhone, as would any number of classic daily efforts including Calvin & Hobbes, The Far Side, Krazy Kat or Doonesbury.”

Could it work? I hope so. If not, we will miss out on talent yet undreamed of. Without Life In Hell, we may never have had The Simpsons. And think of what that show alone did for the viability of adult animated humor, not to mention the reinvigoration of American humor in general. Family Guy, South Park, Cartoon Network… who knows what we’d have missed out on if Groening hadn’t found a place for his fledgling talent to take root back in the 1980’s.

Posted in cartooning | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Three Reasons to Like John K

Posted by jtebeau on March 3, 2010

ren_and_stimpy02_10241. Ren

2. Stimpy

3. His blog

(Okay, there are more reasons, but why clutter this posting?)

John K, besides being a talented artist, is also a highly principled guy. He reveres good design and drawing, deplores much of the cluttered new “design” and lousy cartoons we see these days, and he tells us why on his blog, John K Stuff. He has a fine appreciation for quality vintage cartooning and layout, and carefully explains its merits, to both the professional and the layman.

And the man has a soft spot for the cereals (and their vintage packaging!), too.

Good design. Right here.

Good design. Right here.

Check out his blog, John K Stuff. I find it enjoyable and informative every time I visit and I hope you do, too.

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