Archive for the ‘Al Capp’ Category

Right Around Home!

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

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Do you recognize this wonderful layout style? It’s the 3/4 downshot, one of the most difficult angles to stage action from, done to perfection every week in a Sunday page called “Right Around Home with Myrtle”. This episode was probably drawn by Bob Vittur, but the feature was originated by a cartoonist named Dudley Fisher. Starting this post, the Cat and I will start reprinting some of the daily episodes of the strip, starting Jan. 13, 1947:

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I love the character of Little Myrtle, and you’ll get to know her better through these dailies, scanned from newspaper clippings. I’m starting out just posting a few at a time, as the first few weeks of the strip in this collection skip quite a few dates. There IS a little bit of continuity, but it’s mainly the adventures of Myrtle, Freddie and Susie (her parents), Sampson (her lisping boy friend), Slug (her brother), Alice and Archie (the birds in the 1-25 above) and the funny canine characters Bingo and Junior. The Sunday pages mostly “star” the 3/4 staging in one large panel, but the dailies are more intimate, and Myrtle’s tomboy, energetic personality comes to the fore. I like the way Fisher uses Myrtle’s hat as a “bubble” around her face, you can’t tell it’s much of a hat until she turns profile, but that’s part of the abstraction in Fisher’s cartooning. Like Patrick from 1967, Myrtle is a disruptive force in her parents’ and neighborhood’s lives. UNlike Patrick, she is never mean or mean-spirited, just a lot of fun. The characters in “Right Around Home” know they are in a comic strip, and comment occasionally to the reader about that. A lot of people seem to enjoy this comic, hope you will too. The cat character in the strip is named “Hyacinth”, by the way.

Recent finds in the L.A. Jr. Times!

bob-clampett-12-6-25.jpg Bob Clampett draws Aunt Dolly, 12-6-25

fred-moore-1-17-26.jpg fred-moore-2-7-26.jpgThe first two Fred Moore comics from the Junior Times, 1-17 and 2-7-1926. The last panel in the 1-27 is illegible.

larry-buster-martin-11-15-25.jpg larry-martin-11-15-25.jpgThe earliest Larry Martin comics, from 11-15-25, he called himself “Buster” in the first one.

alex-perez-2-7-26.jpg Cartoonist Alex Perez makes Chase Craig into one of his characters, 2-7-26.

george-manuell-12-13-25.jpg George Manuell 12-13-25, ray-patin-12-20-25.jpg Ray Patin 12-20-25,tipper-11-8-25.jpg Frank Tipper (?) 11-8-25manuel-moreno-12-27-25.jpg Manuel Moreno doing a parody of the 1925 hit: “Doodle Doo Doo” as a salute to the Times Junior Club, 12-27-25. It just gets better as it goes along folks! Too many interesting comics to post!

barker-bill-4-4-55.jpgbarker-bill-4-5-55.jpgbarker-bill-4-6-55.jpgbarker-bill-4-7-55.jpgbarker-bill-4-8-55.jpgbarker-bill-4-9-55.jpgbarker-bill-sunday-4-10-55.jpgbarker-bill-4-11-55.jpgbarker-bill-4-12-55.jpgbarker-bill-4-13-55.jpgbarker-bill-4-14-55.jpgbarker-bill-4-15-55.jpgbarker-bill-4-16-55.jpgbarker-bill-sunday-4-17-55.jpg In Barker Bill this time, from 4-4 to 4-17-1955, the Cold War moves in on the story. Russian Spies Dripsky and Bugovitch want to cop Col. Whetwhistle’s Boo-Boo Tonic to disguise themselves as plants to be placed in Washington D.C. hotel lobbies. That way, they can overhear state secrets! Barker Bill and Puddy are on the job, though, and foil the spie’s plot. Puddy is made an honorary member of the K-9 Corps for his service. The supply of Barker Bill Sundays just about dries up this time, in the 4-10, Puddy is scratched up by a lot of alley cats, and in the 4-17, Puddy tries to eat a dinosaur skeleton.

felix-7-8-35.jpgfelix-7-9-35.jpgfelix-7-10-35.jpgfelix-7-11-35.jpgfelix-7-12-35.jpgfelix-7-13-35.jpgfelix-7-14-35-sunday.jpg In Felix, from 7-8 to 7-14-1935, the serpent vine story continues as Danny escapes and saves Felix. Felix is given credit for the discovery of the vine by the Professor, but in the 7-11, Felix could care less about his discovery, he just cares about his recovery. A sailor who is an expert wrestler tackles the vine next. In the Sunday, Felix again plays God from Dreamland heaven as he changes the life of Tommy, the little lier by giving him a fantastic nightmare. I like the panel where the God-Devil Felix lies in wait for Tommy with a Candy Box containing a vicious leopard!

krazy_vintage5-19-41.gifkrazy_vintage5-20-41.gifkrazy_vintage5-21-41.gifkrazy_vintage5-22-41.gifkrazy_vintage5-23-41.gifkrazy_vintage5-24-41.gif Krazy from 5-19 to 5-24-1941, features the brick, both rubber and clay types. I love the gag in the 5-24 where Mrs. Kwakk-Wakk asks Krazy if he ever gets headaches from all the brick punishment that his cranium takes. Krazy responds by using a barrel to protect his body! What a mahogany head!

Speaking of cats, my cartoon cat, who now has named himself “Itza”, rebelled against me and escaped to Facebook. I don’t feel comfortable on Facebook, I don’t like to be that easily available on the ‘net, it scares me! But Itza is fearless where the Internet is concerned. He’ll still visit here from time to time, but if you want to see him all the time and maybe write to him, go to www.facebook.com/someothercat and you’ll see what the great webmeister Charles Brubaker and Itza cooked up! There are some drawings and cel set-ups from TMBSOC there as well. I really didn’t want to post any links to Facebook, but Itza threatened me with a loaded cactus.

Cartoon Brew Films, R.I.P.

Monday, July 7th, 2008

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Hi Readers, sorry for the long absence. Cathy and I have been doing some more location painting, two weeks ago we sketched and drew an alligator, many dogs and a cackle of hens and roosters at the Pasadena Humane Society. We would have drawn and painted some cats, but they had a lovely air-conditioned enclosure all to themselves and didn’t have enough space around them to house painters. The Humane Society has had the alligator for almost 10 years. She has her own generous space, complete with bamboo wall, a waterfall and her own splash pond. No wonder she’s always smiling! Two weeks ago, we visited Ports O’Call in San Pedro, near Long Beach. Cathy did a nice oil of an old boat house with a sail boat anchored nearby. I did a WC of an old kid’s merry-go-round. I concentrated on two goofy-looking pink and magenta rabbits with saddles on them. Our crit-master Walter laughed at my painting and remarked that I could do a merry-go-round anyplace, why didn’t I do a marine subject, since I was in San Pedro harbor? I replied that I suggested a cabin cruiser in the background, but I don’t think that satisfied Mr. McNall. On July 5th, Cathy was invited to be an “artist-in-residence” for an afternoon at the Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. She set up her easel right near the tea room and did a study of water lillies in oil. She based it on a beautiful smaller painting she did some time ago. She also displayed several of her recent paintings, a Flamenco dancer, the wildflowers in Borrego Springs. The hotel helped her get set-up, and I put down the tarp on the floor. It was a delightful afternoon, like being in an elegant salon with live piano music in the background, and brides, grooms and wedding guests filing past (there were about three weddings going on that day). No paintings sold, but Cathy wants to go back soon and paint in the Huntington again. The Huntington loves oil paintings, many old canvases adorn its walls. We loved being there.

A few weeks ago, I got the sad news that the Cartoon Brew Films website is being discontinued. I found out when I tried to log on, I was just directed back to the Cartoon Brew website. Brew Films was certainly a noble experiment in the marketing of new animated short subjects, Bert Klein and I were among the first to be on it. It seemed to get a lot of hits initially, but then interest tapered off. I was surprised that so few cartoon makers were using the site. Here was a chance to have new cartoon shorts on view to the public for only two dollars a download, how could it miss? The answer, You Tube and its many cousins offering loads of new “animated” shorts for free! I was hoping that “It’s ‘The Cat'” would have a chance to earn back some of its negative cost on Brew Films, but it wound up paying very little. The failure of Cartoon Brew Films means that the Internet has not yet found a way to market new short films in a way that returns any significant income to the creators. It is my fervent hope that some day there WILL be a way to bypass theaters and television and create an Internet cartoon theater that will be healthy both creatively and FINANCIALLY. Brew Films just wasn’t it. Right now, “It’s ‘The Cat'” does not have a home on the ‘net. Eventually, I would like to see it embedded in the www.itsthecat.com website, bracketed with ads for our merchandise. Maybe that time will be not too far away. For the present, however, the concept of the paying customer for new short cartoons on the Internet has proven a dead end. It was fun, and an honor to have “It’s ‘The Cat'” be part of the experiment. Thanks to Jerry and Amid for trying it. Thanks to all of you viewers who paid to see my little labor of love. Anybody want to invest in my next cartoon? I want to continue to make them and I could really use the help. Write me at molasses@earthlink.net.

Comics this week include page two of Cathy Hill’s “The Legend of Mangy”. I love the panel with Mangy’s BIG EYES and running off with an entire Thanksgiving dinner in her tiny mouth. This story means a lot to Cathy and me, we loved Mangy and enjoyed having her with us. The “Corporal Crock” story in L’IL ABNER concludes this week, it originally ran from April 30th through May 3rd, 1973. Bullmoose thaws out, and the FBI confiscates all the comic books! Abner won’t be back on the Catblog for awhile, look for a new feature starting soon! MARVELOUS MIKE continues the cat food campaign storyline, from August 6th through 11th, with August 8th missing. The Post-Dispatch failed to print the strip on that date, anybody got it? Felix the Cat by Jim Tyer ends the comics this week with the last two pages of “There Auto Be A Law”, from FELIX THE CAT #4. Next week, there will be the start of a “Rock and Rollo” story by Tyer, don’t miss it friends!

Mangy’s Origin Story

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

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Hi Evvabody! Cathy and I are back from the San Clemente Plein Air Painting Event. It was very pleasant there, both for the weather and the many beautiful subjects for painting. We spent a couple of sessions at the Casa Romantica, which was the founder of San Clemente’s home in the 1920s. His name was Ole Hanson, a Swede who loved Spanish architecture. When he founded the town he created a city ordinance that restricted the style of building to Spanish. When he went broke in 1934, the city council changed that rule, but still the best and most beautiful buildings in town are all Spanish style. We actually got to paint INSIDE the Casa Romantica! Of course we had to put down tarps and make sure we stayed on them, but the view of the harbor and pier were nonpareil and the light in the spacious living room with its sunken tile fountain and arched doorways was gentle and lustrous. We enjoyed painting the reflections in the hardwood floor. On our last day, we came back and painted the front of the Casa from the parking lot. The entrance has a unique “keyhole” shaped doorway, and a lush rose garden on either side of the front door. You must come and visit, Ole would want it that way. On July 4th, they are having a gala celebration with the best view of fireworks in San Clemente.

The prizewinners in the Plein Air Competition were all very competent, but we liked our friend Ray Harris’s “Casa Romantica Interior” as well or better than any of them. He did a charming study of a museum lover examining some artifacts in the Casa’s anteroom. Ray made up the figure of a professorial type looking over some framed documents with indirect lighting. He got an honorable mention for his painting. Many fine painters were there, including Jason and Micheal Situ, Greg La Rock, Albert Tse and many others. It was a good way to escape the “triple digit” temperatures of the L.A. basin for awhile. Motels have gentrified quite a bit in San Clemente, it used to be 40 to 60 dollars for a room just a few years ago, now it’s 70 on the weekdays and close to 100 dollars on the weekends. A lot of artists just camp in their vans in the public parking lots all week, a practical approach to the high cost of motels. I’ve posted one of Cathy’s beautiful oils of the old Beachcomber Motel, a series of Spanish style bungalows overlooking the Pacific, with the Amtrak and Metrolink trains running between the motel and the sea. It’s a dream of ours to stay there some day, but at $200.00 plus a night, only a dream.

The comics this week are “The Legend of Mangy” from Cathy’s MAD RACCOONS comic book. She thought the readers might like to see how the character got started. This is not strictly new work, but it deserves reprinting. The story closely parallels the real Mangy’s life story, when we found her wandering through Cathy’s front yard in Sierra Madre and won her over with food. General Bullmoose tries cryogenics as a tactic in snagging Pappy Yokum’s copy of “Corporal Crock” #1 in this week’s strips from 4-23 to 4-28-1973. I wonder if Al Capp was thinking of all the rumors about how Walt Disney was supposed to have frozen himself, when he wrote this story? In MARVELOUS MIKE this week from 7-30 to 8-4-1956, Honeybear the cat eats like a horse and has some fillies, uh, kittens, much to Cliff Crump’s disgust. The charm of a bunch of cute kittens is lost on him. Also in the cat department, this is the Catblog after all, we have the next two pages of “There Auto Be A Law” from Felix #4. Tyer has a ball with the cop on page two, I love the cop’s enraged tantrum poses and his total collapse against the wall when Kitty double parks. I love being able to reprint these old comics, I hope you all enjoy them.

I got some response to the original Mangy comic I published a few weeks ago, this first is from my friend Milt Gray, who proposed I publish some new comics in the first place:

Congratulations to Cathy for her whimsical and stylish and observational comic strip, Mangy. I didn’t realize that you had already posted it, as I am often so focused on drawing my own cartoons that I sometimes procrastinate in surfing the Internet. I’m sorry that you haven’t gotten any comments yet, although people usually write only when they want to disagree about something. For the record, I wouldn’t describe myself as someone who is tired of the old classic comic strips — I love those strips, and I’m glad that you are making some of them accessible again. But I admit that I do advocate to my cartoonist friends that they should post their own work more, especially work that has never been publicly seen before. Hopefully that will attract an audience and we can begin to make at least modest livings (or better) from what we love. We should be promoting new talent — ourselves — at least as much as other people’s work from the past.

Best regards, Milt

Here are some words from Bill Warren on Cathy’s comic and other things:

Cathy drew a cartoon for me of our black cat Isadora (who tends to look a lot like Cathy’s drawings of Mangy) sort of haunted by images from 1950s science fiction movies.  That led me to ask Cathy to do the covers for the initial two volumes of my huge survey of those movies, KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES.  This was published in 1982 (vol 1) and 1984 (vol II), and were the first books from that company to have cover illustrations.  I insisted on it, however, and included a frontispiece in one volume similar to the covers.  Vol I covered 1950-1955; the front showed a little boy from behind watching a movie screen (or maybe the clouds of his imagination) illustrated with iconic images from that part of the 50s SF movies.  Vol II covered 1950-1962 (they didn’t stop making 1950s-type SF movies when the calendar changed), so the boy (now taller) is seen watching images from that chronological period.  Only time I’ve seen an illustration including a high of the Id Monster from FORBIDDEN PLANET and a goofy low of The Brain from Planet Arous.  The first volume also had a similar frontispiece by Cathy, only the boy is seen from the front–and it’s me.

     I am just finishing a rewrite of the entire thing; it’s now about a quarter of a million words in length.  And that’s before I do the index.  Someone else is doing the covers–the publisher wants color this time–but I’ll be including all of Cathy’s illustrations as interiors.  Along with some great semi-caricatures by Frank Dietz and a whole lot of photos.

    That Mangy and the Worm story reminded me of all this–no, this wasn’t just a blatant plug for myself–and that not long ago, someone discovered a black-and-white octopus in the waters just north of Australia that actually is an animal mimic.  There were photos of it looking like an upright fish, like a flatfish (a skate or flounder or something) and other sea critters too.  The world is full of wonders yet to be discovered.

Here’s another comment by Bill about Al Capp’s comics:

I still find 1950s Al Capp to be very funny, but the comic strip from that period that can still make me laugh about as much as I did when I first saw it is POGO.

    Of course, looking at it another way, PRISCILLA’S POP can still make me laugh about as much as it did originally–which was not at all.

Uh, oh! Now Al Vermeer’s fans are going to scream! Priscilla originally ran in newspapers from 1947 to 1983 outlasting Vermeer by a few months. The crictic Maurice Horn called “Prisilla’s Pop”, “impossibly sophomoric” and “trite”. Maybe I should reprint some of it!

My friend Larry Loc also wrote in: I did comment on Cathy’s page, (which I loved – more please) I just didn`t do so to you. I made my comment in the form of a blog posting telling people they really need to get over to you page and check out the cool stuff. I am very excited about your new animation. When can I see the pencil test work print? Here are my comments: http://www.agni-animation.com/blog/2008/06/mark-and-cathy-show.html Thanks Larry, to date, still no complete pencil test. I think we have one scene (#22) that is still unaccounted for. Maybe in a couple of weeks?

Remember, comments can be sent to molasses@earthlink.net.

Joanie! You Back Again!?

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

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A little lesson in comparative panelology this week, dear readers. Cole Johnson, cartoonist and cartoon scholar has sent some interesting “Phoanie” strips, which we may compare with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch versions I have posted in weeks past. For the episode of 2/1/67, the color version is from the St. Louis paper, and the b/w is from the Washington Post. Note how the Washington Post chose to re-letter and re-center the dialog balloons in the first panel, and permitted the first line to remain. Cole sent the missing episode from 2/3/67, in two different versions, the first from the Los Angeles Times, the second from the Washington Post. The Times edited Joanie’s second panel speech quite a bit, and the Post let the two words “I’m paying..” seep back into the border-less balloon. Perhaps Joanie was saying:”I’m paying them $2.00 an hour..” or something to make her look like an exploiter of the poor. The episode of 2/9/67 which the Post-Dispatch edited with a ham-fist: “..14 songs of scorn…a hymn of hate…”, has been re-arranged by the Washington Post to read: “14 songs of scorn, and a hymn of hate!” I think the Post-Dispatch’s edits are a bit more honest, at least it’s obvious something’s been taken out. In the 2/11/67 strip, the Post-Dispatch let the ghost of a dialog balloon hover above Joanie’s head; meanwhile, the Washington Post took the offending dialog out, balloon and all! It seems that the liberal press was moved by the “Joanie” continuity to alter Capp’s dialog on a market by market basis. Maybe someday we’ll see these strips re-printed from the syndicate proofs. By the way, just look at that beautifully hand-decorated envelope in which Cole sent me the strips. The Spanish couple he drew remind me of an old George Herriman Philadelphia Sunday Press page from Dec. 8th, 1901 called: “A Yankee Romance in Old Madrid”: the first panel.

This week we also have the L’il Abner strips from 4/1/73 to 4/7/73. Capp satirizes fanatical comic book collectors in this story by introducing General Bullmoose’s ideel, Corporal Crock, an embryonic Neocon of the “Great War” period. What Crock does to those “tax the rich” liberals and the “votes for women” crowd makes him dear to the crusty old capitalist’s heart. MARVELOUS MIKE for 7/9/57 to 7/14/57 starts to heat up as Mike’s “real” parents show up to claim him! Mike is very cool under fire and refuses to get upset. Cole Johnson did some research and found that the Washington Post also started to run MARVELOUS MIKE from the beginning, but dropped the strip before May, so the Washington Post won’t be a good source of missing episodes. I’m proud of my home town paper, once they picked up a strip, they stuck with it!

From Felix #4, we have the next two pages from “A Sample Assignment” drawn and written (?) by that master of sweat drops, Jim Tyer. Look at Felix falling down the chute on page two, Tyer stages the fall as an x-ray cross section of the chute. He used the same x-ray staging in the Tom Terrific cartoon: “The Pill of Smartness” as Tom makes himself smaller and smaller to squeeze himself through the tubes in Queen Cleofatra’s tomb. Enjoy all the comics this week, and thanks to readers like Cole Johnson for contributing to my blog and the “science” of panelology!

General Bullmoose, Comic Book Fan?

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

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Happy Decoration Day readers! This week, as promised, are the first two chapters of the L’IL ABNER story, “Corporal Crock” which started March 30, 1973. I have scanned the first two strips from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch full page comic section, so I couldn’t close the lid all the way down on top of it, and the scan is a bit light because of that. Next week, we’ll find out more about General Bullmoose’s “ideel”, Corporal Crock.

I have received a few more comments on the “Joanie Phoanie” strips that ran over the past several weeks. Here’s one from Mike Fontanelli, cartoonist and Al Capp Collector:

Thanks again for printing the Joanie Phoanie strips.   I never knew what all the fuss was about, and now that I’ve finally seen them – I still don’t know what all the fuss was about!  
It seems to me the most offensive aspect was the fact that some of the dialog – and at least one whole daily strip – was censored!  As a free speech advocate, that’s a lot more troubling than anything actually in the strips.
It’s my professional opinion that Capp’s vivid portrayal of student protesters and “hippies” were really no more of a caricature than the hillbillies that regularly populated Dogpatch, anyway.  (I also think it’s ironic that Capp called them “wildly indignant” – and they’ve been reacting with wild indignation ever since!)

Speaking of censored strips, Mike, here are some enlightening words from eminent cartoon authority, Cole Johnson:

The missing dialogue in the 2-1-67 strip, as it appeared in the Washington Post : Joannie’s assistant says: “Why not keep the kid, Joannie baby? You’re supposed to love little people!” Joannie’s word balloon, much larger in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, is shrunk down around “Oh, well, I’ll send him to school!!” in the WP. The missing 2-3-67 episode has fly-encircled Joannie with Honest Abe in her mansion, declaring what a wonderful, warm-hearted mother she’ll be to…what’s your name again, kid? Then she tells Abe how you can tell the servants to do anything you want, and a delighted Abe joyously jumps in the air at the prospect.In addition, the 2-9-67 strip ran in the Washington Post with the same “remaining” words as in the chiseled-up first balloon, only this time, they have been rearranged into a smaller and tighter balloon you’d never imagine to have been tampered with. The 2-11-67 strip also had no balloon at all from Joannie Phoanie. Since the WP ran their strips in the conventional B/W, there is nothing to imagine there would be a comment by her, but the Post-Dispatch had a color background which clearly shows the “ghost” of a balloon. I’ll try to get some copies of these for you! The Washington Post could certainly match the Post-Dispatch for left-wing aspects, and raise it. I wonder if this delightful sequence ran differently in a conservative paper, like the fondly remembered Philadelphia Bulletin?

(Mark here) It seems the Washington Post and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch were sister papers in their attitude towards editing (censoring) L’IL ABNER. They even re-lettered and re-arranged the balloons to suit their individual editors’s tastes. Cole may send the missing strip, 2-3-67, along soon. When he does, I will post it here. Maybe Cole has some of the missing MARVELOUS MIKE strips as well; MIKE also ran in the Washington Post.Also this week, MARVELOUS MIKE winds up the “Baby Baker” storyline (from 7/2/56 to 7/7/56 with July 4th missing) and starts the Crumps off on a cruise with the money they’ve won. The Jim Tyer Felix Dell pages this week are from “A Sample Assignment” continuing Felix’s search for Kitty’s fabric sample at the department store. All the comics I reprint here generally fall into the “humouous (or ‘hoomerous’) continuity” type of strip. They are not necessarily telling a joke every day, but amuse because they LOOK funny. They tell a story that may actually be serious underneath the clown make-up. MARVELOUS MIKE is certainly an example of that “sad clown” syndrome, sometimes Mike is very emotionally moved at his adopted parents’s problems. He is very serious and efficient at almost everything he does, the humor mostly comes from Cliff Crump’s Dagwood-like clumsiness. Cathy and I painted a flower garden in Sierra Madre, CA. last week with our painting group and ran into our friend William Wray on the main street, Sierra Madre Blvd. Bill is an imaginative plein air oil painter and lives in Sierra Madre, his comment to us: “What are you guys doing in my town?” Go to his website www.williamwray.com and look at his book “Dirty Beauty”, it’s full of Bill’s contemporary “ashcan school” oil paintings of the Los Angeles urban landscape. Thanks for all the great comments on the “Joanie” stories, see you next time with more Bullmoose, Mike and Felix.