Friday, November 28, 2014


Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year Series ends its 42 Year Run

Posted by Steve Artley

Pelican Publishing Company, which produced the annual collection of editorial cartoons, Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year, announced on November 18 that it has ceased production of the series, ending with the 2014 edition released last spring. The series, originally edited by editorial cartoonist Charles Brooks began in the early seventies and for many years was the only publication of its kind that showcased the year's political cartoons from across America, featuring work from members of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. Following Brooks' death in 2011, editing duties fell to cartoonist Steve Kelley. 

At the time the publication began, nearly every American city had a morning and evening newspaper, and each paper had a full time editorial cartoonist. By the mid 1980's, with a greater number of newspapers being bought up by large news conglomerates that relied more on syndicated stories and art, the number began to dwindle. Now, there are less than 40 full time editorial cartoonists on staff at metropolitan newspapers in the United States. Public interest in traditional political cartooning has waned, as well. Within the past few years, online cartoon anthologies such as TIME and NPR, along with cartoon roundups once popular in the New York TimesNewsweek, and other print publications have been eliminated. 

While no details have been released from Pelican on its decision to cease publication, this action comes as no surprise to those of us in the editorial cartooning field.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Amy and Richard Thompson's first Thanksgiving, and a toe

A HIGH-STEPPING THANKSGIVING TALE or: How 'Cul de Sac's' Richard Thompson got a toehold in the world of humor-column writing
By Michael Cavna
Washington Post Comic Riffs blog November 27 2014

Apatoff on Thompson, day 4

Nov 29: Rashin Kheiriyeh, children’s book author, illustrator, and animator

5 p.m. - 7 p.m.   Rashin Kheiriyeh, children's book author, illustrator, and animator

Politics & Prose is excited to join the Small Business Saturday festivities again this year. A great way to support local businesses in our community right as the holiday season gets into full swing, we hope you can join us and "Shop Small" on Saturday, November 29. We have a great lineup of authors who've answered the Indies First challenge and will be moonlighting as booksellers—joining our own fantastic staff—in support of the day. Come by and have one of the following writers rummage the shelves to recommend the perfect book for you or a great gift for a loved one of any age.

Post blog on St Louis arches cartoons

Cartoonist says his divided-arch cartoon about Ferguson was 'very obvious,' 'almost too easy'

By Erik Wemple
Washington Post's 
Erik Wemple blog November 26 2014
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2014/11/26/st-louis-cartoonist-says-his-divided-arch-cartoon-about-ferguson-was-very-obvious-almost-too-easy/

Thankful: Recent additions to the ComicsDC bookshelf


I'm trying to slowly compile a bookshelf, or two, of books by local cartoonists.


Here's what came in through the late summer and early fall (Stossel and Sala aren't local, but their subject is).

Clockwise from top, ending in the center:

Benbow, Hannah.  2013.
Munch Munch Crunch Crunch: Healthy Words From A to Z.
Washington, DC: Hannamations

Churn, Todd and Hannah Benbow.  2014.
Zoey Goes To The Beach.
Washington, DC: Todd Churn and Hannah Benbow

Apatoff, David, Nick Galifianakis, Mike Rhode, Chris Sparks, and Bill Watterson. 2014.
The Art of Richard Thompson.
Kansas City: Andrews McMeel

The Third Annual Ameriprint The You-Gotta-Be-Kidding, Is-This-For-Real? Off-The-Wall 1994 Wall Calendar.
Vienna, VA: Ameriprint
Pages of made-up holidays by local Washington-DC area illustrators including Richard Thompson.

Weingarten, Gene and Eric Shansby (ill).  2014.
Me and Dog.
New York: Simon and Schuster

Nilsen, Anna, Richard Sala (ill) and Betsy France.  2008.
Gallery Ghost: Find the ghost who paints the most!
Palo Alto, CA: Birdcage Press
Works of art from the National Gallery of Art, Washington

Stossel, Sage.  2013.
On The Loose In Washington, D.C.: A Find-the-Animals Book.
Carlisle, MA: Commonwealth Editions

Mullins, Linda.  2002.
The Teddy Bear Men: Theodore Roosevelt & Clifford Berryman, 2nd Edition.
Grantsville, MD: Hobby House Press

Berryman, Florence Seville and Clifford Berryman (ill).  1925.
Early American Bookplates.
University Press of Sewanee Tennessee

Happy Thanksgiving from ComicsDC

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Dec 8: Animation Films about the Berlin Wall

Animation Films about the Berlin Wall

The Wall in Our Heads – Arts – Civil Society and Walls: Current Perspectives

Film
Monday, 8 December 2014, 6:30 pm
Goethe-Institut Washington, GoetheForum
$7/$4
+ 1 (202) 289-1200
info@washington.goethe.org
Sitis ©  DEFA Film Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst

A selection of films dealing with the topic of the Berlin Wall, curated by Annegret Richter, Head of Animation at DOK Leipzig.

All films either have English subtitles or no dialogue.

Sitis

East Germany, 1987, 11 min, Director: Rainer Schade
The cartoonist for this film, which depicts a character who runs his life into a wall, is still surprised that an East German state operated and controlled studio would produce a film with such a storyboard.
Rainer Schade is a German painter, graphic artist, cartoonist and university lecturer. He serves on appointment committees for universities in Halle, Dessau and Schneeberg, and has been chair of the art association Leipziger Jahresausstellung e.V. since 1995.

The Other Side (Die andere Seite)

UK/ Germany, 2007, 5 min, Director: Ellie Land
In this starkly animated documentary about the Berlin Wall, the subjects recall what they imagined was on the other side of the Wall.
Ellie Land is an award-winning filmmaker internationally, and works with documentary and animation. Her films have received awards and commendations from a variety of prestigious international film festivals. She lives in England, where she serves as senior lecturer in animation at Northumbria University, directs commercial animation and is developing a cross-media animated documentary project.

The Scent of the West (Der Duft des Westens)

Germany, 2013, 5 min, Directors: Mark Huff and Arne Breusing
A story of escape - between 1949 and 1989 about three million people left the GDR and the Soviet-occupied zone. Reinhold Huff, Mark Huff's father, escaped in September 1973 through the inner German border into Bavaria in western Germany.
Mark Huff is a motion graphic designer at Gravity Germany. Arne Breusing is a 3D and motion designer who works at Kochstrasse, a design studio in Hannover, Germany. He was a guest lecturer in 2010 at Hefei University in China. Their debut film, The Scent of the West, was their bachelor thesis at the University of Hannover.

Micki
Germany, 2014, 5 min, Director: Alexander Lahl
Micki recounts the story of Marienetta Jirkowsky, who tried to escape across the Berlin Wall for love. With only a few more meters remaining to climb, her story came to a tragic end.
Alexander Lahl was born 1979 in Berlin (GDR). He studied cultural sciences in Berlin, Wroclaw and Frankfurt (Oder). He works as a writer and filmmaker in Berlin. He is currently working on an ARTE documentary about the world's oceans.

Esterhazy
Germany/Poland, 2009, 23 min, Director: Izabela Plucińska
A small Esterhazy rabbit travels to Berlin in 1989. After months of looking for the mysterious wall, he finally finds it and meets Mimi. Right in that moment, the Berlin Wall falls.
Izabela Plucińska was born in 1974 in Koszalin/Poland. Following film studies in Lodz, she received a scholarship for the Konrad Wolf University of Film & Television in Potsdam- Babelsberg. Plucińska received a Silver Bear at the 2005 Berlin Film Festival for this film, which premiered internationally at the 2009 Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Hollow Land (Terre d'écueil)
France, 2013, 14 min, Directors: Uri and Michelle Kranot
A story about the eternal human search for home, Hollow Land begins with the dream of utopia. Solomon and Berta are two seekers who arrive in a land that promises respite from their many journeys. Hollow Land captures the state of being displaced—whether by circumstance or by choice.
Michelle and Uri Kranot are independent filmmakers, interdisciplinary artists and immigrants. Originally from Israel, they have been living away from their homeland for many years. Their films have appeared in numerous film festivals and won many international prizes.

Chronicle of Oldrich S. (Kronika Oldricha S.)
Czech Republic, 2011, 18 min, Director: Rudolf Smid
Mr. Sedlacek wrote one-sentence entries in his journal from 1981 to 2005, recording everyday stories of his family's life, the life of the village and its surroundings, and international events.
Rudolf Smid is a sociologist, photographer, and freelance writer. The animated film Chronicle of Oldřich S. is his directorial debut.


Annegret Richter, a member of the selection committee, is the Head of Animation at DOK Leipzig. She was formerly Festival Director of the International Short Film Festival – Filmfest Dresden, film editor for various radio stations and magazines, and the curator of the 2008 special animated documentary program at the International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animation Film.

Nov 29: Big Nate: The Musical in Bethesda

Big Nate: The Musical

Children's Theater
Nate, an active, rebellious sixth-grader, attempts to win over his crush by competing for first prize in his school's battle of the bands contest. The comic musical, performed by Adventure Theater Musical Theater Center, is based on Lincoln Peirce's popular comic strip. 
10:30 am, 12:30 pm Saturday, Nov. 29
$15, $12 students
240-330-4500

Hilary Price on visiting Richard Thompson

Visiting the Inner Sanctum of Richard Thompson (The Cartoonist, Not The Singer)

by Hilary Price

October 29, 2014

http://rhymeswithorange.com/2014/10/29/visiting-the-inner-sanctum-of-richard-thompson-the-cartoonist-not-the-singer/

Howard U prof Marc Singer reviews Pax Americana

Pax Americana

Marc Singer

I Am NOT The Beastmaster blog November 24, 2014

http://notthebeastmaster.typepad.com/weblog/2014/11/pax-americana.html

  Pax americana

A Thanksgiving for Richard Thompson, OR, Someday the true story will be told...

but for now, enjoy this first draft of history:

'THE ART OF RICHARD THOMPSON': How a team of friends brought strengths, passion to 'a long-overdue tribute'

By Michael Cavna
Washington Post Comic Riffs blog (November 26, 2014): http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2014/11/26/the-art-of-richard-thompson-how-a-team-of-friends-brought-strengths-to-a-long-overdue-tribute/

The Post reviews The Penguins of Madagascar cartoon

Quirky quartet draws plenty of laughs [online as 'Penguins of Madagascar' movie review: Delightfully silly star turn for the quartet]

By Michael O'Sullivan

Washington Post November 26 2014

http://www.washingtonpost.com/goingoutguide/movies/penguins-of-madagascar-movie-review-delightfully-silly-star-turn-for-the-quartet/2014/11/25/97dc2fe4-73ff-11e4-9c9f-a37e29e80cd5_story.html

Quirky quartet draws plenty of laughs [online as ‘Penguins of Madagascar’ movie review: Delightfully silly star turn for the quartet]

Quirky quartet draws plenty of laughs [online as 'Penguins of Madagascar' movie review: Delightfully silly star turn for the quartet]

The career trajectory of the four wisecracking cartoon penguins introduced as minor characters in "Madagascar" has been one of meteoric ascendancy, with return appear­ances in two sequels, a couple of stand-alone shorts and a television show. It's not an unusual path in animated Hollywood. We've seen it before with Scrat, the saber-toothed squirrel from "Ice Age," who parlayed a cameo in the first film into a cottage industry of increasingly annoying shorts and a camera-hogging turn in the second sequel, "Dawn of the Dinosaurs."

But unlike that acorn-obsessed, chipmunk-cheeked, paleo-rodent ham, the Flightless Four known as Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private are ready for their moment in the sun. "Penguins of Madagascar" is a delightfully silly star turn for this quartet of absurd little birds, who operate as a team of commandos.

There are several reasons why this works.

First is the voice talent. Although none of them is a marquee name, the actors who bring the penguins to life — Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Conrad Vernon and Christopher Knights — do so with verve. (Special credit goes to Vernon, who voices the almost nonverbal, but nevertheless vocally expressive Rico, who is often shown coughing up indigestible objects that he has swallowed.)

Other notably funny turns in "Penguins" include John Malkovich and Benedict Cumberbatch. Playing to type, the A-list actors provide the voices for, respectively, a villainous, emotionally unstable octopus named Dave and a heroic, cucumber-cool secret agent gray wolf whose name is classified. (That's right: The character's name is never given — "My name is classified" he tells us, in Cumberbatch's mellifluous British baritone — leading to some giddy "Who's on first?" confusion.)

Which brings me to the real reason for the movie's success: the writing of the story, which concerns Dave's plot to kidnap penguins from all of the world's zoos and turn them into monsters.

Fleshing out characters created by "Madagascar" directors and writers Eric Darnell and McGrath (whose voice propels Skipper's MacGyver-like can-do spirit), the screenplay by John Aboud, Michael Colton and Brandon Sawyer has a fizzy, pop-culture pizazz, tempered by a distinctly vaudeville sensibility. It's smart, but not brainy; dumb, but never inane.

Colton, who was an editor of the Harvard Lampoon in college, worked briefly at The Washington Post in the late 1990s before leaving to form the now-defunct online magazine Modern Humorist with Aboud. Their work with Sawyer, a children's TV writer whose credits include the "Penguins" series on Nickelodeon, is perfectly aimed at the target demographic of silly but savvy 10-year-olds. One recurring joke involves Dave barking orders to his tentacled henchmen, leading to a series of increasingly nutty puns name-checking famous movie stars: "Nicolas, cage them!" "Charlize, there on the death ray!" "Drew, barry, more!"

It's gloriously juvenile, but also very, very funny.

Other ingredients in this self-referential pop-culture puree include a cameo by the German director Werner Herzog, voicing the filmmaker-narrator of the penguin documentary that opens the film in Antarctica, where its prologue is set. Observing that our four heroes are "frozen with fear" on an icy precipice, Herzog orders his sound man to "give them a shove," in order to increase the drama.

And increase it he does. One of those early scenes features a leopard seal eating a seagull. It's an indication of the dark edge that will give the story its slightly grown-up astringency. "Penguins of Madagascar" is by no means inappropriate for kids, but there's a coolly self-aware smirk to it that makes it palatable to people with driver's licenses, too.

And, oh yes, the 3-D animation is a treat.

But the real charm of the film is its stars. As Skipper says, "A good plan is about more than effecty stuff and big words." That's equally true of a good movie.

Catching up with Zoey and The Roarbots

Frozen merchandising at Target

Disney's 'Frozen' juggernaut rolls into town for Christmas.


Art of Richard Thompson flyer at Columbia Pike library

David Apatoff's Illustration blog on The Art of Richard Thompson, day 2-3

Robin Ha interview online at City Paper

Rodriguez on NHPR's 'Word of Mouth'

Jason Rodriguez talks about his comics anthology Colonial Comics on New Hampshire Public Radio's 'Word of Mouth':

"Writer and editor Jason Rodrigueis re-examining the era with an unusual collection called Colonial Comics: New England, 1620 – 1750.  From Thomas Morton: Merrymount’s Lord of Misrule, to the story of Eunice Williams, a colonist captured and raised by Native Americans – this illustrated collection, opens up under appreciated stories from New England’s rich colonial history."

(To hear the interview, click here and scroll down on the page.)

Photo courtesy of Jason Rodriguez

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Flugennock's Latest'n'Greatest: "The Only Good Protester..." [editorial cartoon]

"The Only Good Protester..."
http://sinkers.org/stage/?p=1605

So, the Ferguson grand jury let that murdering pig walk. Disgusting, but not surprising.

Now the people's rage is spilling into the streets, and the corporate media -- and their Liberal flunkies -- are trying to divide the people's movements against each other with that tired old bullshit about "good protesters" and "bad protesters" -- with "bad protesters", in this case, being anyone who actually does something to disrupt the status quo to bring about real change instead of just standing around with a sign singing "We Shall Overcome".

Mike Flugennock, flugennock at sinkers dot org
Mike's Political Cartoons: dubya dubya dubya dot sinkers dot org

Art of Richard Thompson ad

On bulletin board in Shirlington library.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Art of Richard Thompson press release


Explore the creative and compelling work of beloved artist and Cul de Sac creator Richard Thompson in the collectible The Art of Richard Thompson
(Andrews McMeel Publishing, $35.00, November 25, 2014). Divided into six sections, each beginning with an introductory conversation with Thompson and
world-renowned cartoonists including Bill Watterson, Gene Weingarten, and Nick Galifianakis, the book showcases Thompson's exquisite illustrations, caricatures,
watercolor designs, and more, providing an intimate portrait of the depth of talent of this esteemed artist. The diversity of the work showcased in The Art
of Richard Thompson will delight established Cul de Sac fans and cast a wider net far beyond, with readers captivated by the sheer beauty of Thompson's work.
Renowned among cartoonists as an "artist's" cartoonist, Thompson is noted not only for his humor and intelligence, but also for his fun, imaginative artwork.
Thompson's illustrations, along with his pitch-perfect timing and gentle humor, have helped to establish many of Thompson's works as instant classics that
continue to inspire as well as entertain. Produced on fine artpaper to showcase Thompson's unique art, The Art of Richard Thompson will be a welcome addition to libraries and collections everywhere.

About Richard Thompson
Richard Thompson is the creator of Cul de Sac and winner of the 2011 Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year. His illustrations have appeared
in numerous publications, including U.S. News & World Report, National Geographic, and The New Yorker. In September 2012, Cul de Sac was one of the
most popular and respected comic strips in newspapers when Thompson retired, due to his battle with Parkinson's disease. Since Thompson's announcement of his diagnosis, his friends have successfully rallied other cartoonists and illustrators to contribute to the Team Cul de Sac project to benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

The Art of Richard Thompson by David Apatoff, Nick Galifianakis, Mike Rhode, Chris Sparks and Bill Watterson
Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC
ISBN: 978-1-4494-4795-3
Price: $35.00 U.S. ($40.00 Canada) • Hardcover: 9 x 11 ⅛, 224 pages

Comic Riffs talks to New Yorker's McCall about his Redskin cover

BENEATH THE COVERS: The real story behind The New Yorker's Thanksgiving/Redskins cover ['So arrogant and clueless' a mascot 'that it lends itself to some kind of exposure']

By Michael Cavna

Washington Post Comic Riffs blog November 24 2014

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2014/11/24/beneath-the-covers-the-real-story-behind-the-new-yorkers-thanksgivingredskins-cover-so-arrogant-and-clueless-a-mascot-that-it-lends-itself-to-some-kind-of-exposure/

Another Frozen story, this one starting at George Mason University

How Disney Turned 'Frozen' Into a Cash Cow

By BINYAMIN APPELBAUM

New York Times Magazine

A version of this article appears in print on November 23, 2014, on page MM18 of the Sunday Magazine with the headline: Cold, Hard Cash.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/23/magazine/how-disney-turned-frozen-into-a-cash-cow.html

Superhero Christmas ornaments in Target long before Thanksgiving

 These are in the Target at Skyline / Bailey's Crossroads, VA.








Comics Riffs on Mutts and 2014's superhero stories

MUTTS ADO ABOUT 'NOTHING': Patrick McDonnell gives the gift of warmth in wonderful 'Mutts' musical's Kennedy Center world premiere

By Michael Cavna
Washington Post Comic Riffs blog November 22
2014
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2014/11/22/mutts-ado-about-nothing-patrick-mcdonnell-gives-the-gift-of-warmth-in-wonderful-mutts-musicals-kennedy-center-world-premiere/

BEST OF 2014: Comic Riffs' Top 10 graphic novels and superhero comics

By Michael Cavna and David Betancourt
Washington Post Comic Riffs blog November 22 2014
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2014/11/22/best-of-2014-comic-riffs-top-10-graphic-novels-and-superhero-comics/

The Post on Frozen spinoffs - 3 stories in 3 days

Disney's global success with 'Frozen' took lots of translation, investment

By Cecilia Kang
Washington Post November 20 2014
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2014/11/20/disneys-global-success-with-frozen-took-lots-of-translation-investment/

'Frozen' might be everything that's wrong with the U.S. economy

By Jim Tankersley Washington Post November 21 2014
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/storyline/wp/2014/11/21/frozen-might-be-everything-thats-wrong-with-the-u-s-economy/


Hour of Code to feature 'Frozen' characters

By Lyndsey Layton
Washington Post November 19
(in print November 24)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/local/wp/2014/11/19/hour-of-code-to-feature-frozen-characters/

The Art of Richard Thompson table of contents

4 Introduction by Nick Galifianakis

8 Richard Thompson: A Brief Biography (With a Few Observations Mixed In) by David Apatoff
19 "Can he draw something during the operation?" by Richard Thompson
20 "Alice was looking underinflated ... " Parkinson's disease discussion with Nick Galifianakis

22 Illustration Interview by Peter de Seve
68 Bono Mitchell recalls Richard's early illustrations
74 My New Favorite Nib by Richard Thompson

82 Richard's Poor Almanac Interview by Gene Weingarten
89 Below the Beltway by Richard Thompson
99 "Slinky McBits" and one of my favorite Almanacs by Richard Thompson

134 Caricature Interview by John Kascht
153 Hopeful Monsters, or, Caricaturing Berlioz by Richard Thompson
164 Music, a dilettante's love story by Richard Thompson

182 Cul de Sac Interview by Bill Watterson
191 Historic Otterloop Artifact by Richard Thompson
193 Early Cul de Sac
197 The primeval Cul de Sac by Richard Thompson
215 A master of the art form ... by Lee Salem

222 Contributor Biographies

The Daily Cartoonist reviews The Art of Richard Thompson

My review: The Art of Richard Thompson

Posted by
November 24, 2014
http://dailycartoonist.com/index.php/2014/11/24/my-review-the-art-of-richard-thompson

David Apatoff on the Art of Richard Thompson, day 1

Co-editor Apatoff is writing about aspects of Richard Thompson's work each day this week - here's the first: http://illustrationart.blogspot.com/2014/11/new-book-on-art-of-richard-thompson.html

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Fairfax-based podcast talks war and comics with author Cord Scott

Military Monday with John D. Gresham and Author Cord Scott – Comics and Conflict
Writestream Radio Network

Military Monday with John D. Gresham and Author Cord Scott – Comics and Conflict

Though America cannot claim credit for the invention of cartoons and other storytelling graphics, there can be little question that the art form today has its home solidly within the borders and culture of the United States. The editorial cartoons of English newspapers and magazines were quickly adopted by the American colonies, and thanks to Benjamin Franklin and other publishers, took on a distinctly Continental flavor. And throughout the many wars fought during the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, cartoons grew in both sophistication and quality. But it was the development of comic books in the decade before World War II, that created a new medium of illustrated storytelling which became a distinctly American art form. Superheroes like Superman and Captain Marvel came into being, and the idea of visual storytelling became a mainstay in American media for young people. And when America went to war in 1941, comic books and their characters went to war too. In fact, comic books, their characters, and subsidiary media products (movies, etc.) provided an excellent medium to reach out to the very demographic that had to be recruited to fight World War II

 To learn more about the role of comic books, cartoons, and other visual storytelling media in wartime, join military historian, author and journalist John D. Gresham (@greshamj01) for Military Monday (#MilitaryMonday on @Writestream) at 1 p.m. Eastern.'s guest this week is U.S. Naval Institute Press (@USNIBooks) the author Cord Scott,  who has written COMICS AND CONFLICT, a history of comics and their use as wartime propaganda tools. And together they will explain the role of illustrated storytelling in politics and propaganda through the ages. Prepare for a entertaining and informative hour, talking about the nature of media messaging and power of visual storytelling.

The Gift of Nothing at The Kennedy Center (reviewed by Steve Loya)

Last Saturday, my wife and I went to see the world premier musical adaptation of Mutts creator Patrick McDonnell's The Gift of Nothing, at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.. Having been a long time Mutts fan and collector, it was hard to believe this was officially happening, practically in my own back yard! 


I first discovered Mutts comics not in the newspaper, but at a bookstore, when I first moved out to the DC/NOVA area about fourteen years ago. It was a crazy, stressful time for me back then, with a big move to another state, the start of a new career, and then the catastrophic 9/11 attacks on US soil only a couple of weeks later. I remember how much these books made me smile and put me at ease, and I've been following the adventures of Earl and Mooch ever since then. What I've always loved about Mutts is the subtle wisdom in both the artwork and the writing, as it is a comic strip that easily functions on both a children's as well as on an adult level. The same can be said for the stage production of The Gift of Nothing, directed by Aaron Posner. Much like the book itself, originally published in 2005, the visual presentation is sparse and minimal - simple yet beautiful. Much like the characters that populate McDonnell's books and comic strips, the cast brings this musical vividly to life. I've never considered myself much of a fan of musicals, but the songs (written by Andy Mitton), the sounds and the singing and acting were all paramount to the success of this production, along with some wonderfully choreographed lighting.  Consider me a convert. Here's a little more insight into the book and stage production: 



The book itself has been described as having a "zen-like" quality, and it's amazing to witness how incredibly well the stage version was able to flesh out the story, adding a whole new dimension to a  brief but brilliant little commentary about not losing sight of the simple and the good things we already have, but are so often distracted from during the madness of the holiday season. I have to say, my wife and I arrived at The Kennedy Center a bit frazzled, after missing an exit in DC, and after being so close, only to be thrown off course a few miles, almost causing us to be late and putting us both in a less-than-pleasant mood. Shortly into the start of the musical however, we were both swept up into the catchy and clever songs, the incredible acting, and the humorous tale of a dog named Earl and a Cat named Mooch. After this hour-long production had ended, we both couldn't stop talking about The Gift of Nothing driving home. I could write a lot more about this musical, but I wouldn't want to spoil it for ya.




*the line for Patrick McDonnell's book and program signing (above), at The Kennedy center

*me getting to meet Patrick for a book signing after the show (below)

You can still catch The Gift of Nothing at The Kennedy Center through December 28th! More information can be found HERE. Don't miss it!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Creator Signing - Nightmare the Rat - Rafer Roberts Saturday, Nov. 22nd


B&W Logo
Gaithersburg - Creator Signing!
Gaithersburg - Creator Signing!
Meet Critically Acclaimed Artist/Creator 
Rafer Roberts

For a LAUNCH Signing of his latest collection

Nightmare the Rat 

Also meet collaborator extraordinaire

 John Shine 

Saturday, November 22nd - 12:00noon to 4:00pm


          

   FREE AUTOGRAPHS!  

Beyond Comics
18749 B North Frederick Rd
Gaithersburg, MD 20879
301-216-0007

Let all your
friends know!




Beyond Comics | Gaithersburg Square | 18749 B N. Frederick Rd. | Gaithersburg | MD | 20879

NY Times on National Gallery of Art's new Zap comix

Perils, Platforms and a Prize
By
A version of this article appears in print on November 21, 2014, on page C24 of the New York edition with the headline: Perils, Platforms and a Prize
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/21/arts/design/perils-platforms-and-a-prize.html

The Post on DreamWorks Animation's non-sale

DreamWorks merger talks fail, raising new questions about the company's future

By Cecilia Kang
Washington Post November 21 2014
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2014/11/20/dreamworks-merger-talks-fail-raising-new-questions-about-the-companys-future/

The Post's Cavna's 10 ten of the year (with a month and a half left to go)

Underground comics donated to National Gallery of Art

Nov 23: Dean Haspiel in DC

NCTE: "Using Comics to Teach Visual Literacy & Storytelling" ~ Nov. 23, 2014

National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention
Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center
201 Waterfront Street
National Harbor, MD

Sunday, Nov 23, 2014 at 1:30PM-2:45PM, Session N

TOON panel presentation "Using Comics to Teach Visual Literacy & Storytelling"
Join a second-grade teacher, a literacy expert, an author, and a journalist to hear how comic
books are increasingly taking on deep subjects and being used to teach the Common Core
State Standards with an emphasis on both visual literacy and storytelling.

Featuring TOON author Dean Haspiel, journalist Michael Cavna, and Washington DC-area teacher Sallie Routh.

NCTE Program: http://www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/PD/Annual/2014/Program/Sessions-Exhibitors-Authors.pdf

Toon Books: http://www.toon-books.com/

Mike Jenkin's lunchbag art

Mike Jenkins has been drawing cartoons on his daughter's lunch bag for months now, and they're great. Sometime in the new year, ComicsDC will talk to him about this project.

See Lunch Bag Art (116 photos) on Facebook only



The Post mentions the Mutts play

Children's theater roundup: Magic, music and make-believe come to D.C. [in print as Make a theater list, kids]