Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Mell Lazarus 1927 - 2016

Cartoonist and writer Mell Lazarus died on the morning of May 24, 2016 at his home in Woodland Hills, CA. He was 89 years old.

Born in Brooklyn, Mell, as he put it, "never really graduated high school."

My art teacher flunked me. I have since, however, attended many classes of one kind or another. I frequently lecture at colleges and to other groups around the country. I sold my first cartoon when I was 16. I did commercial art and edited children’s magazines prior to February 4, 1957 when my comic, Miss Peach, was launched. The characters in Miss Peach are not actually modeled on real persons, with the possible exception of Lester, the skinny kid in the strip. Possibly the most loved character is Arthur, the dopey little kid. I make notes all week based on thoughts, conversational fragments, etc. I sift through all these notes on Monday mornings and select several to develop. I then write gags for them. I do six daily strips and Sunday page. -- from THESE TOP CARTOONISTS TELL HOW THEY CREATED AMERICA'S FAVORITE COMICS by Allen Willette. Allied Publications, 1964.

"'He was a high school dropout who later joined Mensa,' writer/cartoonist Tom Gammill told the NCS, confirming that Mr. Lazarus was literally a comic 'genius.'" -- "RIP, Mell Lazarus: Colleagues salute the warm wit of the ‘Momma’ and ‘Miss Peach’ comics creator" by Michael Cavna for the Washington Post's Comic Riffs

His early years were spent as an assistant to the Caplin brothers, Eliot Caplin and Al Capp. Mell assisted on their publishing enterprise, Toby Press. He wrote a novel, THE BOSS IS CRAZY TOO (1963), a fictionalized account of those times

MISS PEACH was syndicated beginning February 4, 1957, and would run until 2002. MOMMA began in 1970 and is still in newspapers today. He also worked on a comic strip with Jack Rickard PAULINE McPERIL, which ran for three years from 1966.

Mell was a National Cartoonists Society mainstay, winning multiple awards -- the Humor Comic Strip Division Award twice (1973 and 1979), and the Reuben Award (1982) as well as the Silver T-Square (2000). He was also a two-term president (1989-1993).

Michael Cavna has collected some quotes from fellow cartoonists who knew Mell well. Go see.

Here's Wiley Miller, the NON SEQUITOR cartoonist, on Mell Lazarus which I nicked from that page:

“My lasting memory of Mell was our first meeting. … The Northern California Spelling Bee competition [had] roped Mell into being the lunch speaker. … We had time to kill, so Mell asked me if there was a bar in the hotel. Like bees to nectar, that’s where cartoonists also are drawn, so to speak. As we sat down, continuing talking about cartooning and the business, Mell paused, then asked me, ‘So what should I talk about at this thing?’ I did a spit-take, laughed and said, “Mell, I’m here to learn fromyou!” That was Mell. No big-timing a young a cartoonist. He dearly loved the art form and cartoonists, never treating one better than the other, no matter how long or short they’ve been in the business. Mell and I became very close friends since that day over 30 years ago. 
“My last memory of Mell was two years ago at the Reubens Weekend when he was the presenter for the Reuben Award, which went to me. Having Mell hand the award to me meant more — far more — to me than the award itself. I’ll cherish those bookend memories the rest of my life. As I said in my acceptance speech about Mell, his influence on me didn’t make me a better cartoonist — it made me a better person.”
In person, he took you quietly into his confidence and there was, for a moment, just you and Mell. And he treated you like a contemporary!!! Mell told great stories and was a genuine gentleman. A huge loss for us all.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Early 1950s PEANUTS Promo Package

Rosebud Archives presents a series of 1950s newspaper promotional ads for the then-new comics strip PEANUTS by Charles Schulz.

Everyone's in a hurry to see
our new Sunday page
. . . and the more you see, the more you'll
want! You'll chuckle over the charm of these
kids . . . you'll be delighted by their doin's!
Every Sunday in the (name of paper)
Beginning (date)

-- Edited from a blog entry of July 6, 2010.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Cartoonist Photos Part 13

Above: A 1945 photo of George McManus at a luncheon. Who is that man on the right? What luncheon? Where? What did they eat? What's in that big long pipe? All that is left to history.

This is part of a continuing series of photos of cartoonists from the 20th century in actual photos. Most of these are from newspaper archives. More links to even more photos are at the bottom of this entry.

Below: A 1966 photo of Ted Geisel/"Dr. Seuss" with what appear to be HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS storyboards pinned on the wall behind him.

Chip Sansom, who continues his Dad's BORN LOSER comic strip. Unsure of the date on this.

A 1936 original NBC publicity photo of cartoonist Robert Ripley for the radio show "Bakers Broadcast."

Digression: A little bit more about Ripley and his BELIEVE IT OR NOT radio series, which was on NBC, and then CBS and Mutual. This is from YouTuber A Room With a Past:

In April 1930, Ripley brought "Believe It or Not" to radio, the first of several series heard on NBC, CBS and the Mutual Broadcasting System. As noted by Ripley On Radio, Ripley's broadcasts varied in length from 1 -15 minutes to 30 minutes and aired in numerous different formats. When Ripley's 1930 debut on The Collier Hour brought a strong listener reaction, he was given a Monday night NBC series beginning April 14, 1930, followed by a 1931–32 series airing twice a week. After his strange stories were dramatized on NBC's Saturday Party, Ripley was the host of The Baker's Broadcast from 1935 to 1937. He was scheduled in several different 1937–38 NBC timeslots and then took to the road with popular remote broadcasts. See America First with Bob Ripley (1939–40) on CBS expanded geographically into See All the Americas, a 1942 program with Latin music. In 1944, he was heard five nights a week on Mutual in shows with an emphasis on WWII. Romance, Rhythm and Ripley aired on CBS in 1945, followed by Pages from Robert L. Ripley's Radio Scrapbook (1947–48). Robert Ripley is known for several radio firsts. He was the first to broadcast nationwide on a radio network from mid-ocean, and he also participated in the first broadcast from Buenos Aires to New York. Assisted by a corps of translators, he was the first to broadcast to every nation in the world simultaneously.

OK, below is the one and only Al Capp from 1965. That's Joe Payton, who was retiring as CPA president. Joe seems to be enjoying Al's remarks.

Garry Trudeau from 1972:

Charles Schulz, 1963:

Art Spiegelman, 2002:

George Du Maurier circa 1890. Photo by Walery:

1952: The comedy team of Olsen and Johnson,  American mezzo-soprano opera singer/actress Gladys Swarthout, cartoonist George McManus, and humor columnist Bugs Baer:

The back of the photo:

More Cartoonist Photos:
Part one
Part two
Part three
Part four
Part five
Part six
Part seven
Part eight
Part nine
Part ten
Part eleven
Part twelve

Friday, May 20, 2016

From My Sketchbook: Random Weird Doodles

I think I realized a while ago that I didn't doodle very much any more. I used to do it all the time, but since I've become a working cartoonist, I just don't draw as much just for fun. So, I thought I would do some stream of consciousness drawings. These are just silly, weird things. Not cartoons, just oddball, random drawings.

OK, Dropcloth the cat is going to make me pay the "kitty toll" by rubbing his head before he stops standing on my sketchbook. I better go tend to that.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Beatrice the Biologist: "Do Not Share Uncredited Artwork. Ever."

Katie McKissick writes and draws. As a cartoonist, she draws under the pen name "Beatrice the Biologist."

A prominent Instagram account, "Sciencetagram," posted one of her cartoons. That was nice, but the image had her name scrubbed out. And the only way she heard was from her sister, who had seen it on Sciencetagram and recognized the cartoon. So ... no credit, no web site mentioned, nothing.

She writes about what she did on the Scientific American blog in an article titled "Do Not Share Uncredited Artwork. Ever." with the added subtitle "If you contribute to a culture that keeps sharing stolen works, someday there won't be enough art to go around."

So, what to do? She she complained on social media.

The nice thing is that everyone agreed and the image was replaced with one where you can see the credit clearly.

A nicer thing would be that Sciencetagram asked permission and paid for content.

She ends with several warnings. Go read all of them here.

If you are going to share something, it is your duty (duty, I say!) to credit the person who made it. You know why? Because if you contribute to a culture that keeps sharing stolen work for your selfish, lazy reasons, someday there isn't going to be enough artwork to go around. 
And you know why that is? Because those artists whose work you stole will be too busy working day jobs to pay their rent, leaving less time to create more stuff for you to steal. See, they can't exactly support themselves by being creators because so many people stole readership and money from them.

Sciencetagram does not care. If it did, then it would have NOT scrubbed her name off of the comic. If it did, it would ask permission. If it did, it would offer compensation. 

Good to see that the shamers won, but Sciencetagram's behavior is wretched. And it seems more and more standard. 

Thanks to Betsy Streeter for letting me know about this.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Artist Strikes Back Against Store Looking for "Unpaid Artist" Job

Sainsbury's, one of the leading food retailers in the UK, wants a “creative and ambitious artist” to refurbish its staff break room for free. They put out the above ad recently.

They will not pay.

Artists are not happy with the non-compensation. Katie Marie Andrews for instance:

If you follow the #payartists hashtag, you can see a lot more. 

Someone -- no one on the Internet knows for sure -- posted this response on the right:

Here's a reaction from Sainsbury's, according to The Telegraph:

A spokesperson for Sainsbury's has responded to the online backlash, saying they are discussing the issue with the store in Camden. 
They said: "We’re discussing this with our store in Camden. The advert was placed in the local paper following a colleague discussion around ways to improve the canteen and offer an opportunity to the local community.

"It is not our policy to hire volunteers and we are sorry for this error of judgement."

Hat tip to Jim Nolan for this! Thanks, Jim!

Jim's links:

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Video: John Reiner Interviews Mort Drucker

Today's Rant: You Don't Get to Call Him "Sparky"

Today's rant:

I really liked how when the late Golden Age comic book artist Emilio Squeglio would talk about his days at True Magazine with Virgil Partch or working on Captain Marvel at Fawcett with C.C. Beck. Emilio never called them by their first names. He would always refer to them as "Mr. Partch" and "Mr. Beck." Always!

Nowadays, I routinely hear young cartoonists who never knew him, refer to Mr. Charles Schulz as "Sparky."