Showing posts with label Peanuts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Peanuts. Show all posts

Friday, June 07, 2019

Meet a Local Cartoonist: A Chat with Sarah Boxer

Boxer and Powder Wash
by Mike Rhode

Earlier this year, Sarah Boxer interviewed Jaime Hernandez at Politics and Prose bookstore. Until that evening, I had no idea that she lived in Washington (as she's a regular writer for New York-based publications), let alone that she was a cartoonist. We chatted briefly, and she's answered our usual questions -- extremely well as you'd expect from a professional essayist.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

I do long-form comics (books). Since I don't like drawing human beings, all my comics have animals rather than humans in them. And most of them play as much with language and ideas as with line. In fact some of my comics, particularly my psycho-comics, Mother May I? and In the Floyd Archives, both have footnotes. And I've recently finished Hamlet: Prince of Pigs, a comic-books version of Hamlet; it's full of visual puns, beginning with the fact that Ham-let is a little ham, a pig!

Tomorrow, June 8, is the publication date for Mother May I?: A Post-Floydian Folly and the date for the republication of In the Floyd Archives: A Psycho-Bestiary. I'll be at Politics and Prose on July 13 at 1 pm.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

I've worked mostly in pen or pencil in smallish (8x5) Strathmore notebooks. But recently the difficulty and expense of transferring paper to a publishable digital form makes me think I need to give up pen and paper. This upsets my son, who is also a cartoonist and insists that paper and pencil are best. But I find drawing on a tablet relaxing. It's easy to erase and fix small details and work on nuances of facial expression. The only snag was once losing all of my saved drawings on a Samsung Tablet. I have since switched tablets.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

I was raised in the 1960s and 1970s in Colorado and published my first comic (a single panel of an elf in a snowstorm) at age 11 in my local newspaper.

Why are you in Washington now?  What neighborhood or area do you live in?

I moved from New York to Washington eleven years ago with my husband and son, because my husband, Harry Cooper, got a job as the curator of Modern Art at the National Gallery. We now live in Cleveland Park, not far from the zoo, so I have lots of live models.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

I was raised on Peanuts and went to college in Krazy Kat. Seriously, though, I don't have a lot of formal training in cartooning. I remember taking only one cartooning class, at Parsons. (R.O. Blechman came to speak to us.) But I've done a lot of life drawing (at the Art Students League, Parsons, the New York Academy of Art).  By far, the most absorbing drawing instruction I ever had was the Drawing Marathon at the Studio School. (I wrote up my experience in The New York Times.) I remember that one of the huge drawings I made over a week's time had a little cartoonish figure up on a ladder and Graham Nickson, the teacher who led the crits, asked, pointedly, "What happened here?"

Mother May I? page
Who are your influences?

I wouldn't call them influences, but the cartoonists I admired most as a kid were Charles Schulz, William Steig, Saul Steinberg, R.O. Blechman, JJ Sempé, and George Herriman. Ach, I see they're all men! I wish I could change history, but I can't.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

I guess I'd be born a boy. 

What work are you best-known for?

If anyone knows me for my comics, it's got to be for my first psycho-comic, In the Floyd Archives: A Psycho-Bestiary, based on Freud's case histories, which Pantheon published in 2001. (It's now being republished.) But it's likelier that people know me for my writing. I was at The New York Times for 16 years. There I was a photography critic, book review editor, and arts reporter. And since all my editors at the Times knew I especially loved comics, I got to write the obituaries for Saul Steinberg and Charles Schulz. I also got to interview Art Spiegelman when the second volume of Maus came out. And I got to sit in William Steig's orgone box

As a freelance writer, I still often write about comics. Last year I wrote an essay for The Atlantic about why it's so hard for cartoonists to lampoon Trump, and this October my Atlantic essay "The Exemplary Narcissism of Snoopy" will appear in the book The Peanuts Papers. I have also written quite a lot about comics for The New York Review of Books. My first essay there was on Krazy Kat and my most recent piece there was a review of Jason Lutes's epic, Berlin.

What work are you most proud of?

I'm most proud of my new psycho-comic Mother May I? I like that it's loose and rigorous at the same time. And I am tickled beyond belief that both Alison Bechdel and Jonathan Lethem are fans of it! I'm also proud that some selections from my first tragic-comic Hamlet: Prince of Pigs were published by the NYR Daily.

What would you like to do or work on in the future?

I'm looking forward to diving into drawing my next Shakespearean tragic-comic Anchovius Caesar: The Decomposition of a Romaine Salad, in which Julius Caesar is an anchovy and all the action takes place underwater.

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

I write when I have drawer's block; and I draw when I have writer's block.

What do you think will be the future of your field? 
Mother May I? page

I think the future of comics is online. The experience of trying to get a nice clean copy of Mother May I? set for publication made me realize that I need a very good tablet with a pen, so I don't ever have to go through the copy process again. That's how I composed Hamlet: Prince of Pigs. I find using a tablet very liberating. It's easier to change little expressions on the faces of my characters. It's nice not to have a lap full of eraser dust. And in the end, it's much easier to get my comic to a publisher or printer!

What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, or others? Any comments about attending them?

I go every year to the Small Press Expo with my (now 15-year-old) son, Julius Boxer-Cooper, who's also a cartoonist, and this year I am sharing an exhibitor's table (or rather a half-table) with him. In school he hands out zines -- or, as he calls them, cackets (short for comics-packets) to his classmates. Here are his words of wisdom for would-be cartoonists:  "If you're going to be a 'zine cartoonist, then you're going to have to get used to seeing your comics torn, crumpled, thrown on the ground, thrown in the recycling, or thrown in the trash with strawberry or raspberry Gogurt that's a few weeks old dumped over them." I admire his toughness! And his comics! 

For our debut at SPX, Julius and I are working on our first collaboration -- a comic called Corgi Morgue, which is about a corgi (that's a dog) and his wife (also a dog) who run a morgue for animals and also serve Indian food, particularly coorgi murgh, to their grieving clients.

Boxer & Jaime Herandez
What's your favorite thing about DC?

I love that the museums, the zoos, and many of the musical performances are free. I'm proud of the protests against our horrible president. I also love the racial openness and relative harmony of DC. They are rarities in this country.

Least favorite?

I despise our very orange very nasty President in the very very white White House.

What monument or museum do you like to take visitors to?

I love taking people to the East Wing of the National Gallery, especially the rooms devoted to Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko.

How about a favorite local restaurant?

I'd rather eat in New York. 

Do you have a website or blog?

I wrote a book about blogging and how I'd never do it, Ultimate Blogs: Masterworks from the Wild Web. So now I feel I have an obligation never to blog. But I do have a website. It's . 

(updated 6/8/19 with Mr. Cooper's name and correcting the SPX quote)

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

More cartoon murals in Navy Hospitals

Here's 3 more pictures from the Navy's Bureau of Medicine & Surgery's files...


Where Else? - The Pediatric Waiting Room. US Navy Hospital Subic Bay, Republic of Philippines. Dedicated June 5, 1973. [Note Peanuts comic strip mural on wall].Published in Navy Medicine, October 1973.

Navy Medicine Historical Files Collection - Facilities - Subic Bay, Philippines 12-0232-025


Light and Airy - Pediatric waiting room and clinical spaces. US Navy Hospital Subic Bay, Republic of Philippines. Dedicated June 5, 1973. [Note Disney cartoon mural on wall].Published in Navy Medicine, October 1973.

Navy Medicine Historical Files Collection - Facilities - Subic Bay, Philippines 12-0232-026


Pediatric Waiting Room - CDR G.W. Baldauf, MSC, USN, AO, at US Navy Hospital Subic Bay, communes with an articulate art critic. US Navy Hospital Subic Bay, Republic of Philippines. Dedicated June 5, 1973. [Note Disney cartoon mural on wall].

Published in Navy Medicine, October 1973.Navy Medicine Historical Files Collection - Facilities - Subic Bay, Philippines 12-0232-027

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Snoopy in Navy Medicine


Naval Hospital, Port Hueneme, 1973. Of All Things--Snoopy is a permanent resident in the Pediatric playroom. [Peanuts, comic strip].

published in Navy Medicine, September 1973.

BUMED Navy Medicine Historical Files Collection - Facilities - Port Hueneme #12-0186-015

Thursday, January 19, 2012

OT: Dave Astor on four cartoonists he's known

Long-time Editor and Publisher super cartoonist columnist Dave Astor (who was let go in their last layoffs) has a post on four cartoonists he knew that were all born in the same year. There's a glancing mention of DC, but you should read this because Dave wrote about syndicated comics for 20 years and knows a lot. He's also apparently got a book out - I'm getting more details on it from him. (followup: David reports he's looking for a publisher)

The Complexity of a Fantastic Four


Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Monday, October 11, 2010

CBS Overtime rerunning 1999 Charles Schulz interview

We don't normally pay much attention to things beyond our Washington, DC scope, but in honor of the Peanuts 60th anniversary and Mrs. Schulz's recent donation to the National Gallery, here's a link to 60 Minutes Overtime site -

Charlie Brown Turns 60: A look back at "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Schulz photo at National Portrait Gallery

Bruce Guthrie photo of Snoopy, Mrs Karsh and Mrs Schulz

Bruce Guthrie has his photos of the ceremony in which a Karsh portrait of Charles Schulz was donated to the National Portrait Gallery.

Schulz's hometown paper covered the event - Portrait Gallery presents 'Peanuts' creator Schulz, by CHRIS SMITH, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT October 1, 2010

as did the Associated Press - Smithsonian Portrait Gallery presents ‘Peanuts’ creator, By Associated Press Saturday, October 2, 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Oct 2: Peanuts at National Portrait Gallery

On October 2, the National Portrait Gallery will host a family-and-friends day with events for all ages: cartooning workshops; a screening of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown; and guest appearances from Snoopy and Schulz friend Lee Mendelson, executive producer of all the classic PEANUTS specials.

Thru Oct 17: Peanuts play in town

Tickets are $25 from No Rules Theater at the H Street Playhouse -

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown
Book, Music & Lyrics by Clark Gesner
Additional Dialogue by Micael Mayer
Additional Music & Lyrics by Andrew Lippa

Directed by Matt Cowart
Choreographed by Pauline Grossman
Musically Directed by Taylor Williams

Lucy - Carolyn Cole
Snoopy - Chris French
Sally - Kristen Garaffo
Schroeder - Sean Maurice Lynch
Linus - Joshua Morgan
Charlie Brown - Augie Praley

H Street Playhouse - Washington, DC
Theatre Mania Box Office: 866-811-4111
9/30 - 8pm | 10/1 - 8pm | 10/2 - 2pm & 8pm | 10/3 - 2pm
10/7 - 8pm | 10/8 - 8pm | 10/9 - 2pm & 8pm | 10/10 - 2pm
10/14 - 8pm | 10/15 - 8pm | 10/16 - 2pm & 8pm | 10/17 - 2pm

Monday, September 13, 2010

Cavna on Peanuts and with Ted Rall

Cavna's Comic Riffs blog post turned into an article over the weekend -

'Peanuts' comics strip will leave syndicate in February for Universal Uclick
By Michael Cavna
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 11, 2010; C02

and then he ran an interview with Ted Rall today -

The 'Riffs Interview: TED RALL returns from Afghanistan, ready to draw upon his up-close encounters
By Michael Cavna
Washington Post Comic Riffs blog September 13, 2010

ComicsDC (ie me) helped fund Ted's trip through Kickstarter, so I'm glad it worked out well. I don't need any guilt about prematurely dead cartoonists.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Schulz at NPG

Because a prophet is without honor in his own land, go to Alan Gardner's Daily Cartoonist to see the details on a photograph of Charles Schulz that's being donated to the National Portrait Gallery. One may also read their press release.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

A little bit of Peanuts history

This ad for "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" is from the July 8th, 1969 Chicago Tribune - or 8 days before Apollo 11 took off and 12 days before it landed on the moon - thus explaining World War 1 ace Snoopy's spacesuit helmet.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Dog Sees God, not a (wink, wink) Peanuts play in Alexandria

The Little Theatre of Alexandria is running this. If anyone wants to go, slap a note in the comments. I've never seen it. It's also positively reviewed in the Post.

Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead
November 27 – December, 19, 2009

Directed by: William D. Parker
Produced by: Jennifer Lyman

When CB's dog dies, CB begins to question the existence of an afterlife. A chance meeting sets in motion a friendship that will push teen angst to the very limits. Drugs, suicide, eating disorders, teen violence, and sexual identity collide and careen toward an ending that's both haunting and hopeful.

Please note this is a 10:30PM performance. This show contains references to drug use, sex, and other sensitive topics. It is not recommended for children.