Archive for the ‘Comic Strips’ Category

Christmas Presence

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

lil-bub-and-grumpy-cat-christmas.jpg It’s hard to believe that the Catblog hasn’t had a new post since October! So I’m present, front and center for the Holidays. This is a Christmas card rough featuring Lil Bub and Grumpy Cat, the famous Internet video felines. What? You’ve never heard of them? Well get over to You Tube and do a search! They are the cartooniest live action cats you’ve ever seen. Cathy and I love Lil Bub, look at the August post to see her Birthday drawing of Lil Bub. She’s funny looking, with huge eyes and short, stubby legs but she seems a very agreeable puss. I love the video of her sleeping in front of a fireplace, purring as she sleeps.

felix-3-5-to-3-11-1933.jpg Here’s Felix from 3-5 to 3-11-1933. In the Sunday, Felix knocks himself out trying to impress his haughty girlfriend, who finally thaws out when the Wonderful Cat finds a treasure map! I love that pose in the last panel as the couple stroll down the primrose path and Felix says “Stick to Me and you’ll wear diamonds”. In the Dailies, Felix and Danny find Col. Snooper’s plane as they continue their Arctic exploration. I like Danny’s sentimental attachment to Doris, his home girl, as he sculpts her out of snow in the 3-6.

myrtle-12-6-to-12-12-48.jpg Myrtle is with us, originally from 12-6 to 12-12-1948. I love the timing in the 12-7 as Bingo is banished from a comfortable chair to the floor, when Myrtle describes the dog’s current mischief, including chewing the leg off a kitchen chair! The 12-8 is very funny too, as Sampson hurries Myrtle off to a party without checking to see who is throwing it or where it is. Sampson’s hair becomes a question mark as Myrtle asks him “Whose party are we going to?” The Sunday involves the whole neighborhood as Susie tries to balance the checkbook.

krazy-kat-3-15-to-3-20-43.jpg Krazy does a whole week of strips submerged from 3-15 to 3-20-1943 as World War Two creeps into Coconino. The animals are deeply concerned about Uboats and Japanese submarines, although most of the boats turn out to be watermelons and squashes with periscopes stuck into them. I especially like the 3-20 as Offissa Pupp pulls an extra-long periscope out of the water with his crook.

barker-bill-1-2-55.jpg Here’s your Christmas Present! It’s the Barker Bill Sunday page from 1-2-1955, signed by Paul Terry but drawn by Bob Kuwahara. It was featured in the New York Daily Mirror concurrently with the Barker Bill TV show which featured a lot of the early black and white Paul Terry-Toons. You may remember the theme song: “Who’s the man in the big black hat, and who’s the man who is round and fat, He’s the man you are looking at, his name is Barker Bill!” You’ll notice that Puddy the Pup from the mid-30s Terry-Toons is Bill’s confidant and smarter sidekick in these pages. In this one, Ali K. Zam, the circus magician, gets beaten up by the strong woman; Phyllis Fezeek. As we continue this neglected old blog, you will see some earlier Barker Bill Sunday pages, from 1954. The best of the Holidays to all you readers. As Walt Kelly used to say, “let nothing you dismay”.

Latest Installments

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

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Hello again readers! 

The comics this week are the last page of “The Legend of Mangy” from MAD RACCOONS by Cathy Hill. The punch line resonates better if you read the entire issue of MAD RACCOONS, as the racoons are against any CATS appearing in their stories. Remember to visit MU PRESS’S website to order the MAD RACCOONS COLLECTION: www.mupress.com/catalogpg08.html. If you just want the original issue “The Legend of Mangy” appeared in, it’s MAD RACCOONS #2.

An old friend came back in out of the cold, Krazy Kat! He’s back with the first dailies of 1939: 1/2 through 1/7/39. Ignatz and Krazy spend the whole week declenching the words “Coat of Arms”. Marvelous Mike this week concludes the “Kitty Delight” cat food story. Cliff gets all the credit for Mike’s deft touch with a candid photo and a funny caption. All the little kittens get loving homes into the bargain, I love this strip! The Jim Tyer Felix department has a rare non-Felix story from Felix #4, “Rock and Rollo in ‘A Moving Story'”. Rock (no relation to Rock Bottom, evidently) is so dumb that he calls Rollo the Fox “Rock” on page one! Or is it a continuity error? The drawings of Rollo sticking Rock with a safety pin on page two are the essence of Tyer. I have no idea who created these two characters, their sole excuse for being seems to be the obvious pun in their first names. I still haven’t heard from any of you comics historians on whether Gaylord DuBois or some other scripter wrote these stories. I’d love to hear from you if you know anything about them at molasses@earthlink.net.  Not much else to report on this week, see you soon!

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.

Back to the “Old Stuff”

Friday, June 13th, 2008

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Whelp, I didn’t receive any comments on my wife’s “Mangy and the Worm” page. Those who wish to continue to see new or unpublished comics continue, please let me know at molasses@earthlink.net. Last Tuesday night, Jerry Beck did a show of “Pre-Code” (actually pre-code ENFORCEMENT) cartoons at the old Silent Movie Theater on Fairfax in West Hollywood.  I hadn’t been in this picture palace for over 30 years! The current management, “Cinefamily” has re-done her inside and out, with a new marquee (see photos above), new Simplex and Elmo projectors in the booth (including a (gulp) digital projector), new photos on the wall, new popcorn machine, in summary, a nice place to watch old movies in. The theater seats about 100, in brand-new seats with cushions (!) and a couple of soft huge leather couches in front. A Hammond organ and a baby grand piano are on either side of the screen for the real silent movie evenings. The Silent Movie is now a rep house, that’s why we could run sound cartoons last Tues. We ran THE BEER PARADE, SOUTHERN EXPOSURE and BETTY BOOP’S PENTHOUSE in 35mm and several early 1930s cartoons in 16mm as well, such as ROOM RUNNERS, I’LL BE GLAD WHEN YOU’RE DEAD YOU RASCAL YOU, BOOP OOP A DOOP, PLANE DUMB, BIMBO’S INITIATION, SINKIN’ IN THE BATHTUB, YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOIN’ and finishing up with SWING WEDDING in color. There were so many people that they had to do a second show to accommodate the overflow crowd. The “overflows” had to wait more than two hours to see their show. The presentation was good, with good lumens and good sound. The audience reactions were very good, they laughed a lot,  applauded some of their favorite cartoons and didn’t gasp and cry at some of the racial sterotypes and comedy, like some contemporary audiences will do. Maybe the Silent Movie will host another cartoon program sometime featuring (maybe) SILENT CARTOONS! I think a good program could be created showing the influence of silent comedy on the animated cartoon, both silent and sound. Think about that, Jerry! (By the way, that’s J. Beck himself in the photo up there with the projectionist cutting 16mm reels together.) The Silent has come a long way since the hard wooden bleachers and the one old 16mm projector (under-lit) that I remember. It’s wonderful that the Cinefamily people have chosen to renovate the Silent Movie, rather than sell it for Condos. Come out and support them if you’re local!

This week’s comics are L’il Abner from 4/16/1973 to 4/21. Barney Oldgoat dies from too much partying, but reveals to Bullmoose that Pappy Yokum owns a copy of “Corporal Crock” number one! Wait ’til you see the General’s reaction to that! In MARVELOUS MIKE, from 7/23/1956 to 7/28, Mike and Merrie foil the “Adoption Racketeers”. I wonder if there really were such operators in the mid-1950s, anybody know? To finish up, we have the next two pages of “There Auto Be A Law” from Felix #4 by Jim Tyer. The jokes about women drivers seem lifted from Cap. Billy’s Whiz Bang, but the drawings are very funny. I love the splash panel with Kitty’s car chasing dogs, funny chickens and running pedestrians up a telephone pole. This story reminds me of the Popeye cartoon, “Women Hadn’t Oughta Drive”, which I believe Tyer DIDN’T work on. I’m posting early because Cathy and I will be plein air painting a lot next week in San Clemente and I won’t have time to blog. She has a “quick draw” (actually a quick PAINT) to do on Saturday the 14th, for which she is already keyed up. I love the ocean and am looking forward to being with her in the lovely town of San Clemente, near San Juan Capistrano. I’ll be bringing you more material both old and new (?) soon!