Friday, January 27, 2012

Walter Gibson talks about pulp magazines and writing The Shadow.

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  Topps #15
Art Spiegelman and Wacky Packages at Angouleme 2012.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012
  Wood Chips #41: Urban vertical vegetation

Bosco Verticale (vertical forest) is a project of planned residential towers in Milan. Wally Wood visualized the same concept six decades ago in Weird Science #19 (May-June 1953). Of course, if Martin Dakan has a few more drinks, he might fall through that big hole in his floor.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Paul Kirchner tells the story behind his Dope Rider which ran in High Times. Dope Rider first appeared for three episodes in Harpoon/Apple Pie (November 1974 - May 1975), followed by seven occasional episodes in High Times (August/September 1975 - May 1986). All images here are © Paul Kirchner.

Kirchner's The Bus was serialized in Heavy Metal in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with a Ballantine Books collection in 1987. Now the French publisher Editions Tanibis revs up the surreal vehicle for another Bus tour. For slide show, go here. Tanibis says, "Our new edition will include some previously unpublished strips and illustrations, a postscript by Paul Kirchner and a new cover." Both French and English editions arrive next month.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Pull my daisy
Tip my cup
All my doors are open
Cut my thoughts for coconuts
All my eggs are broken

Pull My Daisy
Pull My Daisy

Jack my Arden
Gate my shades
Woe my road is spoken
Silk my garden rose my days
Now my prayers awaken

In the shade love your made
In the shade pluck the day
Like a daisy

Bone my shadow
Dove my dream
Start my halo bleeding
Milk my mind and make me cream
Drink me when you`re ready

Dove my dream make me cream
Dove my dream

Hop my heart on
Harp my height
Seraphs hold me steady
Hip my angel
Hype my light
Lay it on the needy.

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Gene Deitch's The Hobbit (1966). For the "making of" story, go here.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012
  Jack Kerouac's comic strip and paintings
Jack Kerouac drew "Doctor Sax and the Deception of the Sea Shroud" in 1952 or 1953 to amuse Carolyn Cassady's children. Note "JK" initials in the first panel. "Brooklyn waterfront... Midnight!" There's a somewhat similar passage in the Dr. Sax novel.

Kerouac also did religious themed paintings, including Buddhas and Popes. Below is his 1966 collaboration with the Italian painter Franco Angeli depicting Jesus being taken from the cross. Douglas Brinkley, editor of Jack Kerouac: Road Novels, 1957-1960, said that when Kerouac "rediscovered his Catholic heritage, he embraced the iconography, drawing crucifixes and rosaries in his notebooks... Kerouac embraced the pageantry of Catholicism... There is no blasphemy in Kerouac.”

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Illustrations by Frederick Richardson and other lost art is found at Lost Art Books.

Mike Rhode's Washington City Paper interview with Joe Procopio, publisher of Lost Art Books.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Jack Kerouac writing to Marlon Brando in 1957.

Scheduled for May 2012 release, On the Road reunites writer José Rivera and director Walter Salles, who previously teamed for the award-winning The Motorcycle Diaries (2004). Sam Riley (Sal Paradise) and Garrett Hedlund (Dean Moriarty) head the cast that features Kristen Stewart (Mary Lou) and Kirsten Dunst (Camille). Tom Sturridge plays Carlo Marx, the character Kerouac based on Allen Ginsberg. Viggo Mortensen portrays Old Bull Lee, based on William Burroughs. Amy Adams is Jane, based on Joan Vollmer Burroughs (who was killed by Burroughs in a drunken 1951 gun accident). Also in the cast: Steve Buscemi, Terrence Howard and Elisabeth Moss. Coati Mundi plays Slim Gaillard.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Above: Jean Giraud (Moebius) draws Blueberry.

Below: Giraud, Joe Kubert and Neal Adams jam in 1972 on the French television series Tac au Tac. Click labels at bottom for more art by all three.

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Monday, January 02, 2012

Al Capp's L'il Abner came to an end on November 13, 1977, and Capp died two years later. Syndicated reprints of Li'l Abner in 1988-89 were followed by a 1989 revival of Walt Kelly's Pogo.

These are sample strips for a planned 1990 revival of Li'l Abner that never happened. The artwork is by Steve Stiles, and as evident here, he did a stellar job in capturing Capp (with a few Bill Elder flourishes), faithful in all aspects from layouts to inking.

The writer was Norm Hochberg, who launched the project. His father was the lawyer of the Al Capp estate, and through him, Hochberg was able to get permission from Capp's widow and brother, Elliot Caplin, to resuscitate the strip. Hochberg asked Dennis Kitchen for suggestions on a suitable cartoonist.

Steve Stiles recalls: "I wasn't the only one contacted, but I don't know who the others were. I was given a script for a four-panel sequence involving Joe Btfsplk. There was a 'bake off' that was judged by five or six cartoonists, one of whom was Scott Shaw. After I was selected, I was supplied with a big stack of b/w Xeroxes of Li'l Abner for reference, and Dennis was kind enough to send me some of his reprint volumes gratis. The strip would have been distributed through the Southern United States, plus Latin and South American papers."

Steve continues: "As for the demise of the project, all this I got secondhand through Hochberg, so I don't know how true it is. Supposedly, with ten days before the contract was due to be signed, Capp's daughter, Julie, got wind of the project (I don't know where she was during all this) and talked her mother and uncle into withdrawing permission for the revival."

"I was 13 when I first decided to become a cartoonist. My father came to an undeniable conclusion: I had lost my mind. He stuck to that idea with barnacle-like tenacity, ignoring whatever project I was working on, regardless of subject matter. The only response I would invariably get was. 'If you have to do this kind of stuff, why don't you do something like Li'l Abner?' So you can imagine my feelings when, in 1990, I was offered the chance to draw a proposed revival of Li'l Abner."

"Dad had passed on by that time, but, whoa, what an opportunity for closure! On the other hand, Al Capp had shuffled off this mortal coil, too; if there is an afterlife, what sort of reception could I expect from Mr. Capp when it was my turn to trot through them Pearly Gates (or wherever)? Does The Afterlife have health insurance? I needn't have worried; after working up three weeks worth of daily Dogpatch continuity, the project went belly up for reasons beyond my control."

"Aside from the (pant, pant!) thrill of getting to draw Daisy Mae for three weeks, a major perk on that job was the ten years worth of Li'l Abner strips I was given for reference, providing me with many months of chortles, grins and guffaws. When it comes to comic strip laughs, Al Capp is *The Man*, bar none."

                                                                                         --Steve Stiles

For more by Steve (cartoons, illustrations, CD cover, comics), go here.

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Masquerade of the albino axolotls

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is the editor of Against the Grain: Mad Artist Wallace Wood (2003), reviewed by Paul Gravett.

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