Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Racc-it Ship, si, Space-X, no!

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018


The Catblog presents an unpublished comic adventure of my wife Cathy Hill’s “Mad Raccoons”. It’s called “Raccoons On The Moon” and runs twenty pages. We’re running them four at a time off the pen and ink originals. Cathy liked to do these sitting on the floor bending over the large pages of Strathmore paper. I love the beautiful ink lines she did and her rascally and adventurous Raccoon characters. She pencilled the stories lightly, in graphite or blue pencil, then inked over right over them. The “Mad Raccoons” comic book ran seven regular issues, plus a trade paperback collection of the first four. Mu Press put them out originally. If you search on Ebay, or better yet, at your local comics emporium, you will find them. Who needs Elon Musk when you’ve got Virgil Raccoon and his friends to take you to the moon and beyond!

In the Felix strips from 6-12 to 6-18-1933, Felix saves Pop’s pants, but confidentially, they shrink! Danny thinks he has total freedom when school is out for the summer, until Mom needs help cleaning house, and Felix poisons himself with bug spray. In the Sunday, Felix is homeless again, until an errant baseball strikes a big bully in the head. The little boy playing baseball runs home to Dad, but the big bully pursues him and bangs on Dad’s door until his hands are a bloody pulp. Dad, who is a Doctor, fixes the bully up and Felix has a new home!

Here’s Myrtle from 3-14 to 3-20-1949. A character with an unlikely name is off stage in the first two dailies. His handle? Lemme Kissue. Susie, Myrtle’s mom, soon puts a stop to the antics of this errant kid. The 3-18 is funny, as Myrtle’s doll receives a flea-ectomy from Sampson. The Sunday page is the usual delectable Dudley Fisher layout, as Freddie is drafted into the presidency of the Garden Club. Hyacinth is no where in sight this time.

Food gags abound in Krazy Kat from 7-26 to 7-31-1943. Krazy’s Kat Lang-witch is truly delicious, just read these aloud to get the true feeling in the dialog. I love them all, but the 7-28 is really charming as a cottage cheese gets “uppiddy all from a suddin” and becomes a “castle” cheese.

Again, most of the gags in Krazy Kat from 8-2 to 8-7, 1943 are food related. I love Krazy’s words, “Neg-tureen”, “Werra Jootzy” and “Potta Tib”. Is Krazy from Brooklyn or the Bronx? Tell me, New York readers! Sorry it’s been so long since the last post, maybe we’ll be more regular now that we have real, unpublished Raccoon comics to see.

Chovie Clipper Hoists Anchor

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

Gosh, it’s been a long time since the Catblog was updated. Here’s a watercolor I did down in San Pedro at the old Ports O’ Call center. It was a charming place in those days, many quaint buildings, seafood restaurants and views of cargo and pleasure craft waiting at the docks. Several times, Cathy and I would start sketches of ships only to have them take off from the moorings half-way through the painting! The old Chovie Clipper didn’t disappoint me, she stuck around for her portrait and I had a good time painting her. The colors in the scan aren’t as pretty as the original. It’s 10″ by 14″, a little bit larger than I usually paint. If anybody wants it, just Paypal me fifty bucks with your address and I’ll send it to you. UPDATE: One of my wonderful readers has bought the “Chovie Clipper”! Thanks, Jenny!


Felix is from 6-5 to 6-11-1933. Felix gave Danny’s father’s pants to a hobo last time, containing the old man’s paycheck in the pocket. With the aid of a bulldog and a dinosaur bone, the intrepid little cat retrieves the dough and gets a big feast in the 6-10. Felix gets kicked, socked and pummeled as he bounces in and out of the house on an old bed spring in the Sunday page. This really feels animated to me, could have been a storyboard!

Myrtle is back! Originally appearing 3-7 to 3-13-1949, I love the Sunday page as the family gets their first television set. I remember our old black and white set from my childhood so well, in fact I can’t remember a time when we didn’t have a set of some kind. Yes, there were a lot of fights on the air, but also some great old cartoons and comedies, and puppet shows! Mrs. Smaltz’s cat figures in the first three dailies, teasing poor Bingo. She looks a lot like Hyacinth, who appears in the Sunday, but is not the same cat. I like the feeling of sadness in the 3-12 daily, as Samson discovers the body of a dead rabbit in the bushes and they have a funeral for it. I’ve buried a couple of beloved cats and a poor dead bird or two, so this one has meaning for me.


A double helping of Kat, from 7-12 to 7-24-1943! Offissa Pupp standing behind one of Garge’s fat tree trunks has a pleasing design to it in the 7-15 to 7-17. The little touches of wood planks and potted plants  in the foreground of the 7-16 once again reveal that Garge considered the Coconino characters performers on a stage. The “Bam” and “Boo” talking tree gags of 7-22 and 7-23 are very silly, yet somehow still resonate in that offhand Herriman way. Who else could put over such jokes? 

We’ve been struggling a bit since the last post, with cast iron drain pipes from the upstairs bath tub developing a leak which stained the downstairs drywall with dirty wash water. The odor was not pleasant. I got tricked into paying more than 500 bucks for a company to do an evaluation of the water stained walls for asbestos content! What a rip, the guy who did the asbestos checking was here only a half an hour. He found no asbestos. A retaining wall near the patio outside collapsed (it was unreinforced), and we had to put up a new wall. Our wonderful handyman, Jaime Toscano did the work, he’s so good. The septic tank filled up with water, which turned out to be from a leaky galvanized pipe that was stuck in the middle of the tank. This pipe feeds a hose bib out back; what a lot of wasted water. My wife’s art gallery, the Tirage in Pasadena, is closing down after more than 35 years and we will soon be getting many of her paintings returned to us. The Tirage was a very good gallery, well run by hard-working folks, but there is a declining interest in fine art for purchase by the public. I’ll be posting a few images of Cathy’s paintings in future Catblog posts. Thanks for reading, don’t forget about us!

An Easter Drawing by Cathy Hill

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

My wife Cathy drew this somewhat grisly Easter gag featuring “Simon’s Cat” bursting with pride at his “catch”. If you haven’t seen the “Simon’s Cat” internet cartoons, head over to You Tube and search for them. They are all created in England by a chap named Simon. He writes them and does all the voices. They are animated on tablets by a small crew of young English ladies and gents. Cathy loves to see Simon’s cat and the kitten wreck the house in every episode. The latest one has Simon’s Cat scooting over a freshly waxed dining room table. It’s rare to see such split-second timing in computer assisted animation, and all the comedy comes from the visuals. They use a system called TV paint.


Krazy is from 6-28 to 7-3-1943 in this group. I’m not sure if this is the first appearance of Dr. Y. Zowl in the 6-28 or not, but Garge milks the name for all it’s worth. The Coconino stage is in clear evidence in the 7-2 as Krazy goes through a series of alphabet puns, only to be pelted by vegetables, bricks and bottles from the audience, while Offissa Pupp (?) cringes in the orchestra pit.

In the Krazy dailies from 7-5 to 7-10-43, Offissa Pupp breaks the fourth wall in the 7-5 as he chases Ignatz clean out of the “picture”. The Coconino stage makes an encore showing as Ignatz falls through a trap door in the 7-10. The drawings of Krazy continue to devolve, in the 7-10, note how strangely eerie the Kat’s eyes look in panels two and three. It puts the Kat into an angry and almost haunted mood leading into the play on words in the fourth panel. I also admire how Herriman works Krazy’s right leg into the shadow behind him in the second panel of the 7-9, as he anticipates hitting the vending machine.

This is a “bonus” post, courtesy of Cathy’s drawing, so we will continue Myrtle and Felix next time.

We cats thank you for reading.

Your Comics Page 3-29-2018

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

Hi all you readers of the Catblog! Happy Easter! It’s been a long time between posts, I know, but my weekly Sunday Comics posts which are shared through Yahoo Groups really keeps me busy. I’m leading off with a 9  X 12 inch watercolor study I did of the Pasadena City Hall a few years ago.  It was a hazy, partly cloudy day, so my colors are just as they appeared to me that day, a bit muted. I used reds as shading in the trees, playing compliments against each other. The Pasadena City Hall finished construction in December, 1927, and was influenced by the 16th Century Italian architect, Andrea Palladio. The Lantern on top of the dome, is 206 feet from the ground. In this painting I don’t think I managed to represent the true scale of the building, but I condensed it slightly to fit the page.

In Felix, from 5-29 to 6-4-1933, Felix tries to ransom Danny’s clothes from a Tramp by plying him with grub stolen from Danny’s ice box, fished from a stream and waylaid from a restaurant delivery man. The Tramp is finally placated with a pair of Danny’s Dad’s trousers, which unfortunately contain the week’s salary. The Sunday has Felix back in 1933 again, helping out a little bicyclist by siccing an angry goat on to the neighborhood boys who puncture bicycle tires. Check out the Felix jigsaw puzzle and the play money given to the readers as a bonus next to the “Laura” topper!

Myrtle is from 2-28 to 3-6-1949 this time. I like the 3-4 daily as Bingo is shooed away from Susie’s bed, Freddie’s chair and his own doghouse. Winding up back on Susie’s bed, Bingo exclaims: “Now we’re ready to start all over!” Also funny is the 3-2, as Freddie strips a stuck sweater over Myrtle’s head and she irons out her mussed-up, ruffled hat. The Sunday page from 3-6-49 is beautifully laid out as Myrtle’s braids are once again clipped off. Dudley Fisher liked to “masculinize” Myrtle every so often, and she looks very much like a boy without her braids. Myrtle figures out how to instantly switch between boy and girl in the second panel.

Here’s two weeks of Krazy Dailies, from 6-14 to 6-26-1943. The first week is devoted to “heat” and “hot spots”. Ignatz pulls a Kat style pun in the 6-18 (Roam-Ants) and Krazy extends the pun a bit further by saying: “From Rome, Eh?” In the 6-16 and 6-19 strips, Garge shows the floorboards of the Coconino “stage”, along with Krazy heating a tea kettle over a “hot spot” in the 6-16. The second week is devoted to the 1940s dancing “Jive” craze. I like the “Jive Wire” joke in the 6-25 more than the other “Jive Jokes”. Garge draws one of his strangest Krazies in the 6-24. He attempts an all fours pose on the Kat as a couple of fleas do some “KooDoo Foodlin” on her back. She almost looks like a Scotty dog.  (Garge loved Scotch Terriers, and owned a pair of them.) The approach to the anatomy of the Kat’s front legs radically evolves as she grows shoulders in the change from the first to the second panel. There is good foreshortening in the third panel of the Kat’s front legs, so perhaps Garge was troubled with his arthritis when he drew the first panel.

    May you all have a wonderful and blessed Easter. Remember, Rabbits can’t lay eggs.

    Rest in Peace, Fred Crippen, veteran animator and director. And one heck of a drunken golfer!

Your Comics Page, 1-31-2018

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

Welcome back! Here’s a watercolor sketch I made in Bishop, Ca. a few years ago. I love the mountains and the horse property around there, the ranges are called the “Whitney Portal”, because the range includes Mount Whitney, which is the highest summit in the continental U.S., at 14, 505 feet. Bishop is just a little bit East of Lone Pine, Ca., home of the Lone Pine Western Film Museum and the Alabama Hills, where Hopalong Cassidy, Death Valley Days, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and so many old time Western features and TV series were shot. I want to go on a horseback tour of the Alabama Hills some day.

Felix helps Danny Dooit play hooky in the strips from 5-22 to 5-28-1933.  Danny feels guilty and Felix has a hard time getting him into the spirit of a day of fishing and swimming, then they meet a hobo who wants a “feed”. In the jungle, Felix runs afoul of an elephant, an exotic bird with long legs and an ape, before he wakes up from his dream with the help of the barnyard animals and a pail of water.

Here’s Myrtle from 2-21 to 2-27-1949. In the dailies, Sampson sets up a wired telephone network in Myrtle’s house with painful results for Freddie. I like the fantasy in the 2-24, as Bingo the dog “wakes up” Myrtle’s sleeping look-alike doll. The Sunday is a dream fantasy, as the Sun runs a relay race in a Technicolor landscape of Freddie’s imagination. This is one of Dudley Fisher’s best panoramic pages!

In answer to reader Daryl Boman’s request, I’m presenting a double dose of Krazy, from 5-21 to 6-12-1943. My favorite daily in the first batch is the 6-5, as Krazy tries to figure out where he came from, and Ignatz produces an ink bottle and pen, saying: “Figure It Out Yourself”. Garge does a bit of wartime satire in the 6-7 to 6-12 strips. Especially striking is the 6-9, contributed to the Catblog by Gerd Heinlein, as Krazy loses 8.25 of his lives in a fight with a “Super-Patriot”. Evidently, there were Patriots and Super-Patriots in WW2. If you watch “The Best Years of Our Lives”, directed by William Wyler in 1946, you’ll see a sequence in the drug store where Dana Andrews punches Ray Teal’s character “Mr. Mollett”, so hard that he crashes into a glass display case. The cause of the argument is that Mr. Mollett is skeptical of the reasons that the United States is in the war and it makes Dana Andrews (ex-Navy pilot), mad. This is a little known aspect of the WW2 years that Garge is alluding to here: Ill-will between “Patriots”, who were a bit critical of the politics of the war, and the “Super-Patriots” who were for the war, no matter what. The popular image of WW2, is that after Pearl Harbor, there was little or no criticism of the War’s raison d’etre, but there was a wider range of opinion than that. The whole “One life to give for my country” quotation comes from Nathan Hale, a Revolutionary War soldier and spy. In the 6-11, “Esne” is old English for “Laborer among the lower classes”. I hope this will keep Daryl Boman happy.

A milestone has passed, which seems to be little noted in comics fandom, Yoe Books and IDW publishing have just put out Popeye #65, the last in their series reprinting ALL of Dell’s regularly numbered Popeye comics from the 1940s to 1962. After that, Gold Key started publishing Popeye in Giant editions. I happen to like Bud Sagendorf’s cartooning and his approach to Popeye, Olive, Wimpy, Swee’pea and cast is second-best to the Elzie Segar strips of the 1920s and 1930s. The adventure in the almost book-length stories of the first 10 52 page issues are especially exciting and funny. Yoe Books is also issuing the series in hard-cover book collections. It’s kind of sobering that I was the only person still buying the series at my local comic book store here in Glendale toward the end. My store, Legacy Comics, kept ordering the issues for me, since subscriptions were not available. Yoe Books should really be commended for this accomplishment, as they carried on with Popeye, despite low sales. Comic Books have swung over to a “traced from photographs” look in the artwork. There is very little good cartooning left in “funny books”. So again, a tip of the sailor hat to Yoe Books for hitting 65 issues of “Popeye”. Maybe another publisher will take a chance on the earlier “Four Color” Popeye books some of these evenings. Now let’s all stroll over to the gym and watch the fat men play handball!