Friday, April 29, 2016

2016 Elsinore Graphic Shakespeare Competition: MACBETH for the Twitter Age

Here is Macbeth Act 1 Sc 1 revised for the social media age.

This short comic was created for the 2016 Elsinore Graphic Shakespeare Competition held in Kronborg Castle, Helsingør, Denmark, Apr 22-24, 2016. The idea was to interpret a specific scene from a Shakespeare play. I think we had four or five scenes to pick from. We picked the tragedy Macbeth. I was thinking that the problem with Shakespeare (at least my problem with his plays when in school.) is that he is too long-winded and needs to be updated. I drew the pictures and my wife, the wonderful, talented Stacy Lynch, came up with all of the hilarious Twitter-speak. 


Congratulations to Kathryn Briggs upon her winning first place!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

1000 Jokes No. 79 Sept.-Nov. 1956 Part One

Here is 1000 Jokes, a Dell magazine that sold for 20 cents 60 years ago. Since we got a large, bulbous-headed naked Bob Hope coming out of a voting booth, I thought this appropriate fodder for the presidential nomination season.

Here are the first 2 pages. Ads, of course. Click on any of these pages to super-size the live long day outta them:

And, then, below, finally, the beginning of cartoony goodness -- and what a beginning! A full page Chon Day cartoon.

"It's all tied up at seven-seven, folks, with a half a pint to go."

"Don't argue with him. Let's plug him."

Above: a cartoon by Gallagher. In a perfect world, there would be a hardcover collection of Gallagher's animal cartoons.

Above: cartoonists Pete Wyma and Bob Schwartz Schroeter with two good ones. Schwartz' Schroeter's cartoon is especially risque. OK, so far this has nothing to do with the looming election this fall, but isn't it fun? Hang on. Hope is coming ....

Above: cartoons by Vahan Shirvanian and Stan Hunt. Like I said, you can click to get a huge size. I have not read any of the jokes on these pages, just the cartoons.

And below is a our man, Mr. Hope, quipping politically:

Below: Virgil Partch contributes the visuals to some amusing stories by Avery Weeks. Mr. Partch's work has aged better than Mr. Weeks':

And, closing out today's peek at 1000 Jokes, is a full pager by the one and only Jerry Marcus:

Related: Cartoonist Eli Stein on 1000 Jokes:

Payment was very small, but it always left me with a feeling of satisfaction to be accepted by fellow cartoonists.

Related: Cartoonist and former New Yorker magazine Cartoon Editor Lee Lorenz talks about doing the magazine rounds in NYC back in the day in the February, 14 2000 NY Times:

After the New Yorker stop, they moved on: Collier's, The Saturday Evening Post, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Ladies' Home Journal, American Legion, True, Cavalier, Playboy. ''At the end of the day,'' Mr. Lorenz said, ''you'd go to '1,000 Jokes,' published by Dell, and the editor would sop up whatever was left.''

UPDATE: I've corrected lady boxers cartoon credit to Bob Schroeter (see above). My thanks to Orlando Busino for correcting my error. Orlando adds:

Bob Schroeter did the two lady boxers (wrestlers?) gag. Unfortunately he did not have a clear signature and may be doomed to forever be referred to as Bob Schwartz. Bob was a good cartoonist and a very nice guy who worked as cartoon editor for King Feature's LAFF-A-DAY.

Thanks, Orlando!!!

-- Edited from a blog entry that originally appeared January 8, 2008.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Lee Lorenz Original Cartoon "Any of you know about locomotives?"

"Any of you know about locomotives?" 

I was fortunate to find this original framed cartoon at a second-hand store in Arundel, Maine on Saturday. Lee Lorenz drew it.

On Monday, I took it to my local framers, Lee and Fran of Timeless Framing. Lee carefully took the backing off and we were able to take the original out of its frame. I saw "The New Yorker" stamp on the back.

Now, OK, I knew it was by Lee Lorenz, but the style was not his later all-brush technique. This was an early cartoon of his, and maybe it was from the Saturday Evening Post or Collier's or another top market of the 1950s or 60s.

Lee Lorenz sold his first cartoon to the major market Collier's in 1956. He had become a contract cartoonist at The New Yorker just two years later. The magazine would publish over 1,600 cartoons of his. He was the Cartoon Editor from 1973 to 1993. As of this date, he is still working and still contributing his cartoons -- so it's really at 1,600 cartoons sold and counting.

So I knew who drew it and where it appeared, but I couldn't figure out the "when" part.

OK, I posted this on Facebook on Monday:

"Any of you know about locomotives?"  
This cartoon is by Lee Lorenz and appeared in the New Yorker mag. Can anyone tell me what issue/year it saw print? 
If you have The Complete New Yorker on CD-ROM then maybe you have a way to find it. My web searches turn up nothing.

My friend and New Yorker cartoonist Michael Maslin to the rescue! He wrote back within minutes, telling me the cartoon appeared in the January 16, 1960 issue. Thanks, Michael!

Here are some photos of the original, taken at close angles so you can see the paste-up of the conductor and the white paint and other wonderful details. Is that charcoal over the ink wash? Take a look/ The text is meticulously hand-drawn lettering. 

This cartoon is copyright The New Yorker.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

GREETINGS, DEARIE! Paul Coker, Jr. and Greeting Cards

Here's an odd 1962 paperback titled GREETINGS, DEARIE! (A CONNOISSEUR'S COLLECTION OF HUMOR FROM HALLMARK CONTEMPORARY CARDS). It's a paperback collection Hallmark cards, produced and edited by Hallmark, and copyright that same year by Hallmark.

The juxtaposition of the red cover and black ink makes it look crummy so far as my Canon scanner is concerned. In real life, the cover is very readable. The drawing in the upper right is of a nebbishy fellow in a top hat in a bubble bath perusing what looks like a greeting card. The column of text reads:

"This being an [sic] truly timeless eternal utterly unforgettable (yes) collection of more that 100 and fifty of the absolutely funniest Hallmark Contemporary Cards, many of which have never been seen before (or since)" 

and, then, in small print in the bottom, right-hand corner is the word "Yes!"

Dean Norman, in his book STUDIO CARDS: FUNNY GREETING CARDS AND PEOPLE WHO CREATED THEM, is the only reference book I know of about this subject.

Me? All I knew about Hallmark's Contemporary Card line is that Paul Coker, Jr. was the Art Director. Mr. Norman's book concurs.

Above: a card by Paul Coker, Jr. 

I knew Coker's work from MAD Magazine, and I was always fascinated by his distinctive clean yet jerky coffee-nerves pen line.

Greeting cards that were funny was a new idea back then. Before these post-war funny cards, Hallmark's all-time best selling card was this:

"Pansies always stand for thoughts
At least that's what folks say,
So this just comes to show my thoughts
Are there with you today" 

Uh ... yeah. Squaresville, daddio.

Here's a snippet from a 2006 interview with Dean Norman by Pamela Zoslov from the Cleveland Free Times (and that's also where I snagged the pansies poem above):

"I never dreamed of doing greeting cards," says Norman, now 70 and retired from a 30-year career working for the two greeting-card giants, Hallmark and American Greetings. By the time he graduated from the University of Iowa in 1956, general-interest magazines like The Saturday Evening Post, Look and Collier's were folding, and the once-lucrative market for freelance cartoons was drying up. Fortunately, executives at Hallmark spotted a cartoon series Norman drew for his college newspaper, and offered him a job. "I kept thinking someday I'd break into newspapers. I never did," he says, laughing. 

Norman came into the industry at an interesting time. Greeting cards, once limited to sentiments like "Pansies always stand for thoughts/At least that's what folks say,/So this just comes to show my thoughts/Are there with you today" (one of Hallmark's all-time best-sellers) were beginning to reflect the subversive Cold War humor of the 1950s. Comedians like Mort Sahl, Bob Newhart, Ernie Kovacs and Lenny Bruce, and publications like Mad Magazine, were lampooning the uptight post-Sputnik culture with irreverent, sardonic humor. Hallmark, the very traditional Kansas City company that practically invented the greeting card, created its Studio department to tap into the emerging zeitgeist. They hired creative, offbeat artists and writers to produce funny cards with a modern twist.

These silly, raucous cards may have reflected a bit of the non-mainstream, pointed humor of Mort Sahl or Lenny Bruce, but the fact is that they were being offered to the great Wonderbread heartland of America. And the heartland voted with its wallet.

Here's Mr. Norman from the introduction to his STUDIO CARDS book:

There were few funny greeting cards before 1946. OK, if you were born after 1946, that's ancient history. But, consider this -- in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, there were lots of funny radio shows, funny movies, funny books and funny cartoons in magazines and newspapers. So why was there so little good cartooning in greeting cards? 

A drawing by Mr. Coker, again, with another reminder of the time is how funny drinking was! Would these would sell today?!

Coker and Norman were both Midwestern boys. Maybe they knew, somewhere deep down, that middle class America was grown up and ready for antisocial, hostile and shocking humor in its greeting cards.

From the GREETINGS, DEARIE! introduction:

Sentimentality is absent in these cards and in this humor. But sentiment is always present. Strong feelings about certain things -- including the right way to express one's feelings in greeting cards -- have made this style of humor almost as popular in some quarters as the funnies and cartoons are in others. 

The introduction to GREETINGS, DEARIE! is credited to "The Editors of Hallmark Cards." Unfortunately, the editors do not give page by page credits to the writer(s) and artists(s) of the contents.

Above: another by Paul Coker, Jr. I love that pile of beer cans, all at different angles.

Coker graduated from the University of Kansas in 1951. He drew advertising cartoons for the paper, but never drew cartoons or comic strips for them. He didn't believe in doing free work. Advertisers paid, the student paper did not.

Above: Coker again, with a groaner. But I like this groaner. And it's funny if you never heard it.

I like the little puff of a zoom cloud below right as the patron zips away from the barstool, and the teary expression and waving of the dainty dish rag from the bartender just makes this one a terrific, characterful drawing!

There are a lot of cards reproduced in GREETINGS, DEARIE! and this is a small sample from one section that dealt with drinking as a funny topic, as if you didn't know by this point in the blog entry.

There's so much material in the book, and so much information that I didn't know, that I think I'll revisit the topic in future. I never considered the history of greeting cards.

Mr. Norman's book, without which I would have no context for these scans, is self-published. From the Amazon page:

Unable to find a publisher willing to even look at his manuscript, Norman decided to go the self-publishing route, investing his own money to have the book printed. "I figured even if I didn't sell any books, I can afford it; I'm retired now. I may lose [money], but no one else is going to write this book. And the people I write about are so pleased to have the stories told."

And there is a book titled COLLEGE CARTOONS that has more great self published cartoons by Dean Norman, Frank Interlandi and Richard A. Watson -- BUT that book seems to have disappeared from its publisher's site.

-- Edited from a blog entry dated July 8, 2008.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Paul Coker, Jr. 1967 Travelodge Art

One of the Facebook groups I belong to is Leif Peng's Today's Inspiration Group. Jerry Gonzalez posted this grand scan of Paul Coker, Jr.'s art for a 1967 Travelodge magazine ad.

This is the value of being able to letter your own work. Coker's distinctive cartoon style is also present in his great lettering. This is one piece of art to linger over for sure! Thanks, Leif and Jerry. This made my day.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Video: Mike Lynch and Stephanie Piro Cartoon for New Hampshire Chronicle TV Show

(Mike Lynch and New Hampshire Chronicle Host/Producer Erin Fehlau. Photo by Chris Shepherd.)

I was on TV last night. It was a rerun of 2014 news magazine show. Yes, a crummy rerun! But, hey if you didn't see it then -- it's new to you!

I was on the New Hampshire Chronicle program, along with fellow cartoonist Stephanie Piro, in a state-wide TV magazine show. That's all fair enough -- but, heck, if you lived anywhere else in the world, you didn't get a chance to see it.

It's online now.

So, here is the link to the complete New Hampshire Chronicle TV show segment "NH Cartoonists" from May 28, 2014. It's © 2014 Manchester Hearst Properties Inc. on behalf of WMUR-TV.

My thanks to host and producer Erin Fehlau, and videographer and editor Chris Shepherd. My thanks also to the New Durham Public Library and the kids at the New Durham Elementary School.

Erin and Chris spent about two hours with me. Interviewing me one on one, taking video of the cartoons, and then Chris was on his feet for about 45 minutes, taping the cartoon class I taught.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

#NetflixFAIL Contest: They Want Your Art for Free and All Rights

Netflix has an art competition. There is no prize for winning. They get all rights to anything you send them, win or lose.

I wrote about this on social media yesterday. My friend Jim Keefe also picked up the ball and did the same. We both tweeted about it too. Jim got an answer:

This wretched practice is reprehensible. Netflix is a profit-making company that spends millions on creatives to make new content. Did Kevin Spacey get paid for HOUSE OF CARDS? Of course.

A contest offers prizes. There is no money prize in Netflix's competition, not even a large plush toy like you would win in a carnival, just "bragging rights." 

And since it's only for amateurs ("We're not looking for professional work."), then it's okay? No. Creative people deserve compensation. 

The funny thing about this (and it's both funny-ha-ha and funny-weird) is that the same day I got an email from the Netflix about the "contest," I had, just hours earlier, canceled my DVD rental plan. I have no idea if they are connected. 


The Value of Your Creativity

Post #5417: "I'll work for exposure if i want to, and you guys can keep sitting around waiting for your cheque."

"I Am a Famous Writer and I Want You to Draw my Graphic Novel for Free"

The Netflix contest copy on its blog as of this morning:

Your Chance to Design Our Fall Mailers!

Over the past few months, we’ve been blown away by the mailer drawings coming our way. In fact, it’s inspired us to offer you – our talented subscribers – a chance to have your art featured on the fall envelopes!

Here are the guidelines:

  1. We’ll be sending these mailers nationwide during September and October. Themes like back-to-school, fall, and Halloween are all fair game.
  2. The outside of our mailers has three colors (a red background with black and white artwork), so keep in mind that colors will be reproduced in greyscale.
  3. We respect copyrights, so please keep images generic and avoid licensed/specific characters.
  4. To spare you from digging out a ruler, the approximate amount of space you have to work with is 7.75” x 5.635" – and keep in mind that there’s a barcode and a cutout to work around.
  5. Be whimsical. Be scary. Be sentimental. Show us what you’ve got!
  6. Electronic submissions should be either vector format or high-resolution (300dpi) images to allow for best reproduction.
  7. If your submission is not electronic, please do your drawings on a white background.
  8. We will accept submissions via paper or email. Each submission must be accompanied by this signed form, which you can email to Physical submissions should be mailed here:Marketing at, P. O. Box 49021, San Jose, CA 95161-9021 and the print version of the form may be downloaded here.
  9. To meet our printer deadlines, we need to receive your art by midnight on May 16, 2016. Artists will be notified by May 31, 2016.


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