Saturday, March 31, 2007

Ted Rall definitely dropped by City Paper

It's been three weeks, and Ted Rall hasn't been in the City Paper. It's time to start a letter-writing campaign. Their email is or . I'm sending a stiff note to both right now.

BTW, Louis Bayard gave Meet the Robinsons the best review I've seen so far in the March 30th issue.

Mister Ron greeted by Bud Grace

Mister Ron Evry, the Springfield comics historian and collector who's been mentioned here before, has posted a video greeting on his blog from Piranha Club cartoonist Bud Grace.

April 6: Saul Steinberg: Illuminations

The Washingtonian reports on Saul Steinberg: Illuminations
Date(s): 06. Apr 2007 - 24. Jun 2007
Cost: Free
Phone: (202) 633-1000

Saul Steinberg, born in Romania in 1914, began drawing cartoons while studying architecture in Milan. After moving to New York in 1942, he worked as an illustrator, muralist, and designer of fabrics, greeting cards, and stage scenery­—but it was his whimsical cartoons and covers for the New Yorker that brought him fame. Most memorable was his cover depicting a New Yorker’s view of the world—with not much beyond the Hudson River.

“Saul Steinberg: Illuminations,” an exhibit of drawings, collages, and sculpture, is on view April 6 to June 24. It was a hit earlier this year at New York’s Morgan Library, but that version did not include doodles the cartoonist made when he was artist in residence at the Smithsonian in 1967.

Curator Joel Smith will speak on “Steinberg’s Century: Art, Humor, and the Middlebrow Avant-Garde” on April 15 at 3 p.m.

3/31-4/1: Washington International Print Fair - Free

The Print Fair is at the Holiday Inn Rosslyn at 1900 N. Fort Myer Dr in Arlington, today from 10-6 and tomorrow from 11-5. It's free due to their silver anniversary. I'm sure there's comics material here, and I'll be there about 2.

Bits from the Post

Richard Thompson creates a few new cherry tree myths to try out on tourists in his "Poor Almanack" panel in Style.

In "The High and Low Of the Art Scene," Jessica Dawson reviews the exhibit "Tug of War" at Hemphill Fine Arts gallery on 14th street. This is the exhibit with Gary Baseman and Shag paintings in it as well as a few others who have been influenced by cartoons.

In the Metro section, but not online, is a photo of protesters 'Agitating for the First Amendment' whilst wearing V for Vendetta masks.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Gobbledygook appears in DC apparently

Shocking headline, I know.

Actually the story is "Rare Gobbledygook Issues Change Hands,"Scoop, Friday, March 30, 2007. If you haven't signed up for Diamond's Scoop email, go do it now - there's a lot of fun stuff in it.

Anyway Scoop reports, "Copies of the first and second issues of the rare fanzine Gobbledygook, featuring the first appearance of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, changed hands at February's New York Comic Con. The deal was brokered between Charles Costas, a collector from the Washington, DC area, and Brian Tatge, a long-time Turtles collector from Michigan..."

April 4: Herblock prize awarded

This isn't open to the public, but the Herblock prize will be awarded to political cartoonist Jim Morin at the Jefferson building of the Library of Congress at 7 pm. Perhaps one could stalk a cartoonist or two under the portico...

March 29-May 13: Finnish duck artist exhibit

Carl Barks or Don Rosa aren't the only duck artists around. I wasn't planning on posting much tonight, but I checked the Express and they posted this article from yesterday - "Still Life With Duck: Painter Kaj Stenvall's enigmatic artwork is definitely for the birds" by Express contributor Glenn Dixon, Express (March 29): E7. I am definitely going to see this show. More pictures and an interview are at too; click the English link on top. And click the link to see the Slaves of Sex painting mentioned in the Express.

April 21: Smithsonian Anime seminar

Y'know, some days I'm just embarrassed by this blog. Tom Spurgeon's Comic Reporter picked up on this story, even though he's on the other coast somewhere. I think this is a press release so I'm just going to reproduce it here, but I'd encourage anyone with interest in anime to visit the ActiveAnime site I lifted it from.

Note that like all Resident Associate Programs, this isn't free.

Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 01:03 PM
Manga to Anime: From Astro Boy to Spirited Away part of "Japan WOW!" Smithsonian event that will start on March 31 to June 9. Manga to Anime: From Astro Boy to Spirited Away seminar will be held on Saturday, April 21 at 10 AM

The Smithsonian Associates will feature the Japanese pop culture phenomena of manga (comics and printed cartoons) and anime in an all-day seminar on Saturday, April 21, 10 a.m. –5 p.m. as part of its cultural series “Japan WOW!” (March 31—June 9). The program “Manga to Anime: From Astro Boy to Spirited Away” will be held in the Meyer Auditorium at the Freer Gallery of Art (12th and Independence Avenue SW, DC, 20013). Tickets are $45 general admission, $30 for members, and $15 for students 18 years and under. For tickets and information, call (202) 357-3030 or visit

Manga and anime are now two of Japan’s biggest cultural exports—as evidenced by the popularity and record-breaking sales associated with the 2001 animated movie “Spirited Away.” In this seminar leading experts and industry veterans will explore the development of these interconnected art forms, commenting on the creative process, styles, characters and the effect these popcultural creations have on United States markets and trends.

Leading the discussion on manga is Michael Uslan, “Batman” series producerand creative chief officer and producer of Comic Book Movies LLC. He is joinedby artists/ directors Ryuhei Kitamura, Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, Kazuhiko Kato andLotus representative Hiroshi Koizumi. Presenters Osamu Tezuka (creator of“Astro Boy”), Leiji Matsumoto and Masashi Kishimoto (creator of “Naruto”), use the works of Shotaro Ishinomori, as they look into manga’s history, the interaction of manga and modern culture, as well as its impact onthe worlds of publishing, animation, and live action cinema with these talented artists of today’s manga creations.

In the afternoon, Dr. Susan Napier, professor of Japanese literature and culture at Tufts University, illuminates the world of anime. Considering it asa global cultural phenomenon, Napier expounds on the stories, characters and symbolism that define it.

The program “Manga to Anime: From Astro Boy to Spirited Away” is supported by the DC Anime Club. The Japan WOW! series is made possible by Amway Japan LTD, The Boeing Company, The Hay-Adams, Kikkoman, Mitsubishi International Corporation, Toyota and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (METRO); with additional support by All Nippon Airways (ANA), EYA, Embassy of Japan,Japan Information and Cultural Center, Japan Commerce Association of Washington, D.C., Japan Foundation New York, the Japan National Tourist Organization New York, Comic Book Movies, LLC, Lotus, Inc. and the Palomar Hotel.

Beat the Comics Pages

Probably just to continue our torment, Post comics page editor Suzanne Tobin moderated a chat with two of the puzzlemakers whose presence on the physical pages has caused the Post to shrink the size of the strips again. Read it here if you must.

Extensive review of Go, Diego, Go Live! in today's Post

In a move that I can only approve of, the Post devoted a lengthy column to reviewing The Great Jaguar Rescue, a life-action theatrical version of the Dora animation spin-off Go, Diego, Go. I'm absolutely serious about that approval too - comics have a long tradition of being adapted into theatrical versions - it's been happening since the very beginning. It happened with movies too - this year's bumper crop is by no means anything new. You should have seen the screens in 1905*

Coming tomorrow - a tour of Geppi's Entertainment Museum, and finally the Stagger Lee signing report.

*ok, I'm guessing at the biggest year, but these comics movies were big. Trust me. And there's really good articles about theater adaptations too. A guy named Mark Winchester did a lot of good research. Here's his citations from my Comics Research Bibliography:

Winchester, Mark D. 1990. George McManus, comic strip theatricals and vaudeville [thesis]. Ohio State University.

Winchester, Mark D. 1992. The Yellow Kid and the origins of comic book theatricals: 1895-1898. Theatre Studies 37:32-55.

Winchester, Mark D. 1993. Cartoon theatricals: A chronology. Theatre Studies 38:67-92.

Winchester, Mark D. 1993. Comic strip theatricals in public and private collections: A case study. Popular Culture in Libraries 1(1):67-76.

Winchester, Mark D. 1995. Hully Gee, It's a War!!! The Yellow Kid and the coining of 'yellow journalism.' Inks 2(3; Nov):22-37.

Winchester, Mark D. 1995. Litigation and early comic strips: The lawsuits of Outcault, Dirks and Fisher. Inks 2(2; May):16-25.

Winchester, Mark D. 1995. Cartoon Theatricals from 1896 to 1927: Gus Hill's Cartoon Shows for the American Road Theatre [dissertation]. Ohio State University.

American Association of Editorial Cartoonists to exhibit in DC

Dave Astor scooped this one out from under my nose - the AAEC will be exhibiting cartoons at their 50th-anniversary exhibit at American University's Katzen Arts Center. Unfortunately, as Dave (we've emailed enough to be on a first-name basis, so there) reports, they didn't get enough cartoons to do 50 years of presidential elections, so they're just focusing on the current administration. Sigh.

The Katzen's a brand-spankin-new arts space with some interesting shows. They did one cartoon show already. Let's see if I can find my International J. of Comic Art review...

...whoops this is a long one. From issue 8-1. If I get any requests, I'll post the pictures.

Comic Reality: Political Cartoons by Ibero-American Artists, Juan Carlos Vila, Washington, DC: Katzen Arts Center at American University, January 17-February 1, 2006.

Juan Carlos Vila of Guatemala, with his counterparts in the Association of Ibero-American Cultural Attachés (AACI), put together an excellent exhibit that sampled highlights of Spanish-speaking countries’ political cartoonists. The exhibit was located in American University’s brand-new arts center, which is a flowing concrete structure filled with light and oddly-shaped walls. The art, grouped by countries in alphabetical order, hung in a long oval third floor gallery, and included approximately 58 pieces beginning at Argentina and ending with Venezuela. More cartoons were apparently provided to the Center, as the press release lists 100 cartoons, and the show’s booklet includes cartoonists and works not on display. A rarely-seen disclaimer, stating that the cartoons did not represent the views of each country’s ambassadors, flanked either end of the show; unsurprisingly on reflection, since most of the caricatures were of the country’s ruling political powers, or, due to current events like the Iraq war, and world leaders such as President Bush and Prime Minister Blair.
While the show had a small booklet to accompany it, these will be hard to find as it was already out of stock. By country, the exhibit included:
Argentina - Carlos Nine, a very fine caricaturist whose work can infrequently be seen in the New Yorker. His watercolor and crayon drawing of Carlos Saúl Menem, a politician wearing a toupé or ‘el gato’ – a cat, was a highlight of the show.
Bolivia – represented by three cartoonists. Joaquin Cuevas had a digital political cartoon of Pope Benedict XVI chasing a condom. Alejandro Archondo, showing the range of American popular culture, represented Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator. Trond Scheen Korsjoen, formally of Norway, contributed a very odd piece in which he drew George Bush as Scarface, Batman’s evil puppet enemy, with Dick Cheney as the Ventriloquist.
Brazil – two pieces by Chico Caruso showing three leaders in each. His drawing of Bush overshadowed by Churchill, John Kennedy and Franklin Roosevelt would be easily understood by an American audience, although his style is somewhat different than an American would have drawn.
Chile – Jimmy Scott draws large-headed caricatures like David Levine. He does an excellent Condoleezza Rice.
Columbia – Vladimir ‘Vladdo’ Florez’s work has been seen in IJOCA before (6:1), and his three cartoons were excellent. In “Kid’s Game,” he depicted Bush, Blair and the Spanish president as trying to assemble a toy kit labeled ‘war.’ Vladdo’s superb parody of Mastercard ads, “No Negociable,” showed a soldier with various equipment labeled with prices, but his punch line “War crimes: priceless” indicated his support for the International Criminal Court.
Costa Rica – Oscar ‘Oki’ Sierra Quintero’s caricatures of big-headed celebrities are done in very bright colors, atypical of American caricatures.
Dominican Republic – Harold Priego was represented by a traditional-style cartoon about taxes and two big-head caricatures. He appears to work, or augment his cartoons with computer effects.
Ecuador – Roque Maldonado did a traditional cartoon of the president as the doctor treating his country. Francisco Cajas Lara is a caricaturist very much in the style of David Levine’s older pen and ink work and had a very nice drawing of Hugo Chávez in the show. His view is that Chávez is not as authoritarian as the United States government would suggest.
El Salvador – cartoonists Mario Enrique ‘KIKE’ Castañeda and Ricardo ‘Alecus’ Clement both displayed traditional-style editorial cartoons.
Guatemala – Elizandro de los Angeles showed three caricatures including a fine one of the former president as the palm of a hand.
Honduras – Allan McDonald’s three illustrations were all critical of corporations. “El Ché Company Inc.” reproduced the famous photograph in corporate names and trademarks. “Juan Pablo Marketing,” a cartoon of the Pope as a crucified UPC symbol and Marx Disney, a caricature of Karl Marx as a Mousketeer were both hard-hitting works.
Mexico – traditional political cartoons by Abel Quezada and ‘Feggo.’ Quezada’s “Inventos Politicos V,” or Political Invention 5 was an automatic flatterer robot for politicians to buy – and a very good cartoon. Feggo’s cartoon was of Mexicans climbing a work permit as a ladder to get over the walls surrounding the US.
Nicaragua – Manuel Guillen’s cartoons were typical of Oliphant-influenced American works, and with slightly-changed topics could appear in any American paper without looking at all foreign.
Panama – Julio Enrique ‘RAC’ Briceño had three very colorful caricatures in watercolor and gouache, in a style unfamiliar to American traditions.
Paraguay – self-taught Enzo Pertile was influenced by European cartoons. His “Politics and its Vices” showed a fat politician, wearing a mask and gloves, and eating grapes while reclining on a plinth. While a typical subject for editorial cartoonists, Pertile’s mastery of line made this a highlight of the show. His “Warm Mantle” of Tony Blair wrapped in the flag was technically fine, but less interesting.
Peru – Andres Edery’s “Reconciliation” was a traditional cartoon showing the head of the opposition party as a suicide bomber. Carlos Miquel ‘Carlín’ Tovar Samanez, whom the catalogue notes “is reputed to be the best Peruvian Cartoonist” is apparently strongly influenced by American movies as he drew the Peruvian president in scenes from The Matrix and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
Portugal – Seemingly stuck in an earlier day, ‘Vasco’ did an interesting drawing of Adolph Hitler, while ‘Antonio’ caricatured Charles de Gaulle. Rui Pimentel’s caricature portraying Bush and Blair as Siamese twins about to light a fuse to explode the earth, as Bush says, “After one year, the world is much safer!” was clear and well-done.
Spain – Andres ‘EL ROTO’ Rabago Garcia may have been the most graphically-interesting choice, except perhaps for Uruguay’s. EL ROTO’s deceptively simple watercolor and ink works were extraordinarily attractive. His “Submerged Economy’ of an underwater Chinese laborer pulling a ship, was painted in flat muted orange above the ocean and flat green below, and had a very simple line, but was perhaps the best image in the show.
Uruguay – Hanoch Piven may have been born in Uruguay, but he has really been a citizen of the world. Piven makes caricatures out of paper, paint and objects. His George Bush had Bazooka gum wrappers for eyebrows, blue marbles for eyes, a dart with American flag fletching for a nose, and a purple feather for a mouth. Boris Yeltsin was depicted using sliced lunch meats. His work can be seen in the book What Presidents Are Made Of.
Venezuala – Régulo Pérez’s “El Alba Sale para Todos” (The Alba Shines for Everyone) was a disappointing caricature of the sun with a face.
In the accompanying booklet, Murilo Gabrielli of Brazil noted the aims of the exhibit: The choice of political caricatures as the theme of the Art Salon fulfills three goals. First, it exhibits to the U.S. public a small but significant sample of the long tradition of political satire in the Ibero-American countries. Second, while doing so, it testifies to the vigor of democracy and freedom of expression in our countries. Last, but surely not least – for this is an Art Salon – it highlights the artistic aspect of caricatures, the presence of which is so routine and familiar in the pages of newspapers and magazines that we sometimes forget how esthetically (sic) striking each such cartoon can be.

The exhibit met these goals, and could easily have filled a larger space, or stayed up for a longer period. It was a fine overview of the wider world of editorial cartooning and caricature which seem under threat in the United States.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Win Tom Toles!

Actually, just a lunch with him, and $500 to pay for it (what does he eat anyway?) - oh, and a trip to Washington to be able to do so. Enter Science Idol: The Scientific Integrity Editorial Cartoon Contest for your chance.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


March 28, 2007

Public contact: Martha Kennedy (202) 707-9115


Swann Foundation Fellow Hope Saska will explore the connection between the popular graphic satire of William Hogarth, whose art presented amusing yet cautionary tales of human behavior, and the staging of theatrical productions in the 18th century, in a lecture at the Library of Congress on April 10.

Saska will present the lecture, titled “Of Attitude and Action: William Hogarth and the Art of Gesture,” at noon on Tuesday, April 10, in Dining Room A on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

Saska’s illustrated presentation is based on research conducted at the Library of Congress during her fellowship awarded by the Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon. The Library administers the Swann Foundation. The lecture, sponsored by the foundation and the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division, is free and open to the public; no reservations are required.

Hogarth (1697-1764), the versatile English painter and satirist often called “the father of English caricature,” became well known for his paintings of “modern moral subjects,” also published as print series. At a time when actors were urged to study the fine arts  particularly paintings of historical subjects and ancient sculpture  for samples of gesture and expression to enliven the characters they portrayed on stage, Hogarth turned to theatrical metaphor to describe his two-dimensional “performances” on canvas and the engraved page.

In her lecture, Saska will argue that the practices in staging a theatrical production are analogous to the artistic process of creating two-dimensional scenes in visual art. As such, the motions the artist makes with his hand and arm to draw on the page or to inscribe a copper plate are synonymous with the gestures a performer makes in front of an audience.

Investigating Hogarth’s analogy between theatrical performance and art making, Saska’s lecture will focus on key passages of Hogarth’s 1753 treatise, “The Analysis of Beauty,” and on his engravings, especially the second illustrative plate to the text, often referred to as “The Country Dance.” She will argue that Hogarth’s theatric metaphor allowed artists, especially those working with graphic media, to envision their processes of art-making as a new category of performance.

Saska is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Brown University, where she also completed her master’s degree in the field. Her dissertation, titled “Staging the Page: Graphic Satire in Eighteenth Century England,” examines shared aspects of theatrical performance and graphic satire and caricature in 18th century London.

In addition to being one of three Swann Fellows for 2006-2007, Saska is a curatorial assistant at the David Winton Bell Gallery in the List Art Center of Brown University.

This presentation is part of the Swann Foundation’s continuing activities to support the study, interpretation, preservation and appreciation of original works of humorous and satiric art by graphic artists from around the world. The foundation customarily awards one fellowship annually (with a stipend of $15,000) to assist scholarly research and writing projects in the field of caricature and cartoon. More information about the fellowship is available through the Swann Foundation’s Web site: or by e-mailing

# # #

ISSN: 0731-3527

Cruel Old Stagolee Gets Graphic

I enjoyed meeting the cartoonists behind the Stagger Lee comic book today - I'll put up some pictures and bits of information tomorrow, but for today here's an article by Scott Rosenberg - Cruel Old Stagolee Gets Graphic: The legendary tale of Stagger Lee gets a graphic treatment, [Washington Post] Express (March 27 2007).

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

March 28 - Stagger Lee signing at Big Planet REPOST

Derek McCulloch and Shepherd Hendrix, writer and artist of the new comic Stagger Lee will be at Big Planet Comics in Bethesda from 2-4 pm on Wednesday, March 28th. As the flyer says, wear a Stetson, get a gift. I have no idea what that means.

Big Planet is at 4908 Fairmont Ave, in the Woodmont Triangle, and the phone number is 301-654-6856.

On April 11th, Bryan Talbot will be there in the evening for his new book Alice in Sunderland. Anyone who's unfamiliar with Bryan's work should run out and buy Tale of One Bad Rat, his Beatrix Potter-influenced story, and then work up to the glorious new wave madness of Luther Arkwright.

Monday, March 26, 2007

March 24-April 14, Charlottesville, VA: Lynda Barry play

The Good Times Are Killing Me, a play by cartoonist Lynda Barry, is at Live Arts, 123 E. Water St, Charlottesville, VA. Call 434-977-4177 x108 or go to for more information.

On the site, they have this description of the play: The Good Times Are Killing Me directed by Larry Goldstein.

12-year-old Edna is growing up in the early 1960’s, and still believes that miracles like movie stardom and racial harmony are hers for the asking. Her wonder years unfold to a great soundtrack ranging from Motown to The Sound of Music and the energy of American Bandstand and Soul Train. Her “Record Player Nightclub” will be your favorite new stop.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Charlottesville Festival of the Book report

This weekend, we traveled to Charlottesville for the Virginia Festival of the Book. My wife's friend Mark Jenkins was reading from his Worlds To Explore, a selection of great adventure travel articles from National Geographic.

I was able to attend this panel - Graphic Nonfiction: Brave New Genre. Comics editor Sid Jacobson and artist Ernie Colon (creators of The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation) and comic biographer Andy Helfer (Ronald Reagan, Malcolm X) display and discuss their recent forays into nonfiction. Moderator: Beau Eichling.

Jacobson, Colon, Helfer and Eichling.

Among the points of interest:

Sid Jacobson said that Ernie Colon called and suggested the book. Jacobson thought about it and realized they could tell the story of the airplanes in 4 tiers for the 4 flights. Colon said that he had given up reading the report at about page 50 when he called Jacobson. They were greeted at Farrar Strauss Giroux by 5 publicity people and were surprised by the positive reaction. Usually it took months to pitch a book. It was their first meeting in fifteen years as Jacobson lives in California and Colon's on Long Island in NY. The book was about 1/2 done when they pitched it to publisher FSG. Jacobson broke the 9/11 report down by chapter and "as much as I could, I stuck to their verbiage." He did a full script with thumbnails and Colon did the layout. Colon said he modified the layout a lot as he was an early adaptor of the computer for his work. Jacobson said they're doing another work of "what we call graphic journalism or graphic history," Following the Different Banner about the 'war on terror.'

Helfer said that he wrote a full script which went to his artist in Switzerland, who emailed back pencils and then sent the inked pages back to the US for Helfer to scan because the artist's computer couldn't handle the high-resolution files. Helfer said that among the changes to be made was one altering a drawing of Malcolm X holding an automatic weapon. The original famous photograph is copyrighted, so the artist had to draw him from a different position. The next books will be on Ronald Reagan and J. Edgar Hoover. After a question from the audience, Helfer noted that these books were vetted by a historian, and also by FSG's non-fiction department, but weren't meant to be definitive biographies. They were abridgements, and while "a picture may not be worth a thousand words, but it's worth a few paragraphs of exposition."

At the end of the talk, I bought copies of the books (second time for the 9-11 one, but I couldn't find my copy before I left) and had them signed. I was able to tell Jacobson and Colon how much I appreciated their Harvey Comics' work on Casper the Friendly Ghost, Hot Stuff and Richie Rich which I loved as a kid. Dark Horse is releasing a large 'essentials' format Casper and I'll be buying two - one for me and one for my daughter.

I was able to get in some bookstore and antique shopping time and here's some of what I found. This beat-up children's book was from the Teenie Weenies - a comic strip that started in 1914 and ran until 1990 according to Don Markstein. A website devoted to them is here.

In the same antique mall, I found Whitman novels of Dick Tracy and Terry and the Pirates as well as this Gill Fox original drawing which I'm glad to have rescued. The mold is only on the matte fortunately.

At an antique store in town, I found these.

and this:

Anyone recognize them?

The top is a bank of Foxy Grandpa, a strip by Bunny Schultze that Don Markstein says ran from 1900 until the 1930s. The second is illustrated by British cartooning great Norman Thelwell.

Finally, on the drive home I stopped in another antique mall and picked this up. It's a coverless copy of Honeymoon Romance #1 - a rare comic apparently. One sold in near mint condition for $1440 last year - not this one obviously!

The Plympton report, not quite one week late

As previously noted here, animator Bill Plympton showed a selection of his movies at National Geographic on March 19th. He appeared somewhat uncomfortable introducing his films, but loosened up in the Q&A session.

The films shown were: Lucas the Ear of Corn (1977, 4 min) A young ear learns the meaning of life.
25 Ways to Quit Smoking (1989, 5 min) Smoking "cures" that can't fail.
Smell the Flowers (1996, 2 min) A busy executive gets a visit from a nature-loving bird.
The Exciting Life of a Tree (1998, 7 min) A tree's point of view on centuries of human and animal events.
Parking (2002, 6 min) A blade of grass duels with a parking lot attendant.
Guard Dog (2004, 5 min) Academy Award nominee. An afternoon stroll with an overprotective dog.
The Fan and the Flower (2005, 7 min) The charming tale of an ill-fated romance between a houseplant and a lonely ceiling fan.
Guide Dog (2006, 5 min) The twisted sequel to Guard Dog.

Among interesting points:

Each film costs about $1000 / minute including his studio and assistants. So most films cost him about $5000. He can usually recover that with a sale to a larger animated venue, like the current Animation Show 3.

He's opposed to YouTube because it directly takes money away from him.

Films have gotten much faster to make due to computer technology.

25 Ways to Quit Smoking was made when he did a book of 100 cartoons, but couldn't sell it. So he trimmed it down, animated it and had a big success with it.

The Fan and the Flower was written by a Hollywood sitcom writer who called him up and asked him to animate it, but in a simple line and silhouette style.

The Exciting Life of a Tree was conceived while driving through France and seeing the battlefields of World War I.

The goofyGuard Dog was another immediate hit, and he will be doing a third film, Hot Dog, about the dog as a firefighter. The dog is very easy to animate as it's basically a squared-off circle, and each bounce is only three drawings.

The parking attendant of a lot that his studio overlooked inspired Parking. However, he never saw the film as he was killed in a robbery. As Plympton noted, "It's tragic, but that's life."

The books shown here as well as the movies mentioned above are available at his website.And my friend Doug who went with me beat me to the blogging.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

May 5: Free Comic Book Day

Details are online at

Baltimore Comic-Con website up

Randy T. also reports that the Baltimore Comic-Con website is up. This is always a fun convention and I'm sorry that I missed the first few years of it.

Phoenix Comics in Herndon to move

Reader Randy T. passes along the following information from the store, which he typed in from their flyer (get with the idea of the web guys! And Phoenix is not alone with this issue).

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Our new location is at the Landsdowne Shopping Center at the Corner of Route 7 and Belmont Ridge Road, at 19340 Promenade Drive, Landsdowne, 20176.

To find our new location from our current location please follow these directions:

West on Eldon Street for .7 mi

Turn Right on VA-606 for 1.9 mi

Merge Right onto Sully Rd VA-28N for 46 mi

Exit Ramp onto Harry Byrd Hwy VA-7W for 4.6 mi

Turn Right at Belmot Ridge Rd .1 mi

Turn Right on Promenade Drive

We’re on the Left next to the Subway, across from Panera!

Subscribers will have their choice of moving their subscriptions to our new location, or you can move your subscription to our Fairfax store, located at University Mall, at 10647 Braddock Road, Fairfax, VA.

Please let us know when you visit our Herndon location beginning on Wednesday April 18, 2007 which location you would like your subscription moved to.

If you have any questions please call us at 703-437-9530, or email us at Make sure to keep your eye on our website at for updates!

Check out our Herndon store for an awesome inventory blow-out starting April 26, 2007!!!

Friday, March 23, 2007

April 10: LOC - "Of Attitude and Action: William Hogarth the Art of Gesture"

Quick post as I'm on the road.

Hope Saska presents talk "Of Attitude and Action: William Hogarth and the Art of Gesture"
Tuesday, April 10, 2007, at 12 noon
Dining Room A, James Madison Building, 6th floor, 101 Independence Avenue SE
Co-sponsored by the Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon and the Prints and Photographs Division

In an illustrated public lecture, Swann Fellow Hope Saska will focus on the relationship between the world of theater and the work of William Hogarth (1697-1764) and other British satirists. At a time when actors were urged to study the fine arts, particularly history painting and ancient sculpture, for examples of gesture and expression to enliven the characters they portrayed on stage, Hogarth turned to theatrical metaphor to describe his two-dimensional *performances* on canvas and the engraved page.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Big Planet Comics creator appearances

March 28, 2-4 PM
Derek McCulloch (writer) and Shepherd Hendrix (artist), will be signing copies of their graphic novel, Stagger Lee, inspired by the classic folk song, at Big Planet Comics, 4908 Fairmont Ave. Bethesda, MD, 301-654-6856.

April 11, 6-8 PM
Bryan Talbot will be signing copies of his new graphic novel, Alice In Sunderland, at Big Planet Comics, 4908 Fairmont Ave. Bethesda, MD, 301-654-6856.

April 28, 2-4 PM
Nick Bertozzi will be signing copies of his new graphic novel, The Salon, at Big Planet Comics, 4908 Fairmont Ave. Bethesda, MD, 301-654-6856.

Joel Pollack
4908 Fairmont Ave. Bethesda, MD 20814

Also affiliated with:
3145 Dumbarton St. NW
Washington, DC 20007

426 Maple Ave. East
Vienna, VA 22180

April 11: Bryan Talbot at Big Planet Comics in Bethesda

Bryan Talbot's new book, Alice in Sunderland came out today, but I put off buying it as he'll be appearing at Big Planet Comics in 3 weeks. In the meantime, you can read this interview with him by Swamp Thing artist Steve Bissette.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Post sacrifices ass't Style editor on comics altar!

Well, perhaps not, but yesterday Deb Heard, Assistant Managing Editor, Style took questions online. Lots of Mary Worth fans out there...

...including Wonkette's Comics Curmudgeon.

Coming soon - a report on Plympton's appearance.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Walter Reed political cartoons

By definition, many political cartoons tend to be about the place with the greatest (largest? most visible?) collection of politicians - DC. As such, I haven't been going out of my way to note cartoons about the city. However, regarding the ongoing Walter Reed hospital scandal, Daryl Cagle did so for us at his Professional Cartoonists Index which is a great resource. I'd encourage everyone to sign up for his newsletter.

March 19: An Animated Evening with Bill Plympton REPOST

An Animated Evening with Bill Plympton
at National Geographic at 7:30 pm on March 19th. Plympton will show eight of his short animated films - oddly enough this might not be appropriate for children. $14 for members, $17 for non-members. I'm still planning on going; Plympton's work is sickly amusing.

On March 24th at 11 am, an Animated Environmental Film Festival has six films for $8 for adults and $6 for kids. The films are Gopher Broke, The Girl Who Hated Books, Tree Officer, Badgered, Turtle World and First Flight.

April 14: Fifth Annual Cherry Blossom Anime Marathon

(March 18,2007)

CONTACT: or 202.633.4880

Fifth Annual Cherry Blossom Anime Marathon
In Person: Satoshi Kon!
Saturday, April 14
In celebration of this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival, the Freer presents a day-long festival of four Japanese Anime films. As a special treat, famous anime director Satoshi Kon will be on hand to discuss two of his films. The DC Anime Club will also present an interactive display of the evolution of anime fandom throughout the day. For more information please visit

Tickets for all films (two per person) will be available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 10:30 AM. Tickets for all films will be available throughout the day.

All films are in 35mm, in Japanese with English subtitles, unless otherwise indicated.

This event is made possible by the Japan Information and Culture Center of the Embassy of Japan, Otakorp, Inc., and Sony Pictures Classics.

11:00 AM
Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Movie
Fans of the wildly popular manga and card game will love this animated adventure, directed by Hatsuki Tsuji, in which a picked-on high school student unexpectedly becomes “the Game King,” and must battle the forces of evil. (2004, 90 min., English, video, rated PG)

1:30 PM
Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters
From anime visionary Mamoru Oshii, director of the classic Ghost in the Shell, comes this wildly experimental fusion of traditional Japanese storytelling, live action, and advanced animation techniques, which takes a humorous look at post-war Japan through the antics of some offbeat characters on the hunt for free grub. (2006, 104 min., appropriate for children 12 and older)

4:00 PM
Tokyo Godfathers
Join Satoshi Kon as he introduces and discusses his charming and visually arresting fable about three homeless people who discover an abandoned baby on Christmas and set off on a journey of wonder through Tokyo in search of its family. (2003, 91 min., rated PG-13)

7:00 PM
For the crowning event for this year’s marathon, Satoshi Kon will also introduce and discuss his latest film, a surreal sci-fi adventure about a machine that can record dreams that falls into nefarious hands. (2006, 90 min., rated R)

Christopher Wanamaker
DC Anime Club President
202 262 2083

We read the Post so you can find the good bits...

...Like this nice Douglas Wolk centerspread review in Book World - Apocalypse Then, Now and Always: Worlds destroyed, new ones made and superheroes run amok. Of the four books reviewed, I have an older edition of Gilbert's Heartbreak Soup and recommend it wholeheartedly. I've been meaning to pick up the DMZ compilations for a while, but haven't found the time yet, and the other two books sound good. In fact, I'll be calling Big Planet in a few minutes specifically for the De Crecy book.

The Source section has a review of The Care Bears, but this new book and record store, the Red Onion, sounds more interesting.

I've already mentioned Richard Thompson today, so have that weekly duty out of the way, but his cartoon yesterday about Irish bars was hilarious.

Finally, the Corcoran's Modernism show looks awesome. Blake Gopnik, one of the Post's best critics, has a piece on it today. The show is from London's Victoria and Albert museum, with American additions. Anyone who saw the excellent Art Nouveau show by the same team at the National Gallery of Art a few years back should keep this one in mind.

A Short Interview With John Cuneo

Off-topic, but Richard Thompson emailed me a link to Tom Spurgeon's interview, with his friend John Cuneo. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

AAEC Sunshine Week includes Washington cartoonists

Aside from local lads like Matt Wuerker and Tom Toles, Richmond's Jen Sorenson contributed her Slowpoke cartoons, and Herblock 2007 award winner Jim Morin sent in three cartoons. Sorenson usually appears at SPX, and I always buy her new book. Ted Rall's got a cartoon here too, which won't appear in DC any other way since the City Paper dropped him. Check them all out here.

Toles Strikes Back

Slightly over a year ago, the Joint Chiefs of Staff took the probably unprecedented, and certainly questionable step of sending a letter into the Post condemning a Tom Toles cartoon.

Reprehensible Cartoon, Washington Post Thursday, February 2, 2006; A20

We were extremely disappointed to see the Jan. 29 editorial cartoon by Tom Toles.

Using the likeness of a service member who has lost his arms and legs in war as the central theme of a cartoon was beyond tasteless. Editorial cartoons are often designed to exaggerate issues, and The Post is obviously free to address any topic, including the state of readiness of the armed forces. However, The Post and Mr. Toles have done a disservice to readers and to The Post's reputation by using such a callous depiction of those who volunteered to defend this nation and, as a result, suffered traumatic and life-altering wounds.

Those who visit wounded veterans in hospitals have found lives profoundly changed by pain and loss. They also have found brave men and women with a sense of purpose and selfless commitment that causes battle-hardened warriors to pause.

While The Post and some of its readers may not agree with the war or its conduct, these men and women and their families are owed the decency of not having a cartoon make light of their tremendous physical sacrifices.

As the joint chiefs, we rarely put our hand to one letter, but we cannot let this reprehensible cartoon go unanswered.

General, U.S. Marine Corps
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Admiral, U.S. Navy
Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

General, U.S. Marine Corps
Commandant of the Marine Corps

General, U.S. Army
Chief of Staff

Admiral, U.S. Navy
Chief of Naval Operations

General, U.S. Air Force
Chief of Staff

Today Toles struck back. Yee-hah! Toles' cartoon refers to the brewing controversy over General Pace's expressing an opinion about the morality of homosexuality and the military.

Since this blog didn't exist - here's a bit of the coverage at the time (which was also at the height of the Danish Islam cartoon controversy).

Joint Chiefs Fire At Toles Cartoon On Strained Army by Howard Kurtz, Washington Post Staff Writer, Thursday, February 2, 2006; C01.

PAULA ZAHN NOW - U.S. Military Up in Arms Over Political Cartoon
, Aired February 2, 2006 - 20:00 ET has a transcript of an interview with Toles.

Tom Toles's Cartoon: Offensive or Incisive? Washington Post Saturday, February 4, 2006; A16 printed reader's letters.

Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor of the Post said in "The Goal Of These Pages," Washington Post Sunday, February 5, 2006; B07

But that leads to an important distinction: The freedom to offend brings with it a responsibility not to offend gratuitously. That is the line that we at The Post were said to have crossed last week. The first alleged transgression was a cartoon by Tom Toles last Sunday. It took off on a comment by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who had denied that the Army was stretched thin and described it instead as "battle-hardened." The cartoon showed a quadruple amputee in a hospital bed, with "Dr. Rumsfeld" saying, "I'm listing your condition as 'battle hardened.' " The chart on the bed identified the patient as "U.S. Army."

On Thursday we published a letter describing the cartoon as "reprehensible," "beyond tasteless" and "a callous depiction" of wounded soldiers. The letter was signed by all six members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, something that doesn't happen often and that certainly got our attention.

Toles is on the staff of The Post and participates in our editorial board meetings, but he operates independently; I don't tell him what to draw. On the other hand, I am responsible for what appears on the editorial and op-ed pages; with Toles, as with independent columnists, it's my job to make sure the gratuitously offensive doesn't appear.

So why this cartoon? I respect the views of the chiefs, and of others who echoed their criticism, and I understand their reaction. But I don't agree with their reading of the cartoon. (Nor, by the way, did many other readers, who wrote to support Toles or take issue with the chiefs.) I think it's an indictment of Rumsfeld, who is portrayed as callous and inaccurate in his depiction of the Army and its soldiers. Whether that's fair to the defense secretary is a separate question. I don't believe Toles meant the cartoon to demean the soldiers themselves, and I don't think it did.

And Fox News weighed in with a moderate article: As Violence Continues, U.S. Cartoonists Refuse to Draw the Line, Fox News Tuesday, February 14, 2006, by Greg Simmons.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

March 15: Environmental Film Fest starts with animation

There's a couple of animated presentations tomorrow for the DC Environmental Film Fest.

MLK Library at Gallery Place at 10:30 AM -

Come On Rain! - note the comic book artist Jon J Muth did this
(USA, 2003, 7 min.)

Tess knows that the only thing that can fix the sagging vines, the cracking, dry path, the broiling alleyway and her listless mama is a good, soaking rainstorm. "Come on, rain!" she whispers into the endless summer heat. When it finally comes, there is shouting and dancing as everyone and everything spring to life. A joyful production with swinging music that is as cool as rain.

Narrated by Leila Ali with music by Jerry Dale McFadden, Weston Woods Scholastic Animations. Story by Karen Hesse, illustrated by Jon J. Muth. ALA Notable Video.

Pipsqueak Prince, The (Le trop petit prince)
(France, 2002, 7 min.)

A clean little boy decides the sun could use a bath when he notices all the dirty spots it has. After he wipes the sun clean, it sets behind the earth and all is right, until the little boy forgets where the sun goes at night! This film is about innocence and keeping the environment clean.

Directed by Zoia Trofimova. Winner, Certificate of Excellence, Animated Short Film or Video, 2003 Chicago International Children's Film Festival.

Japan Information & Cultural Center - 6:00 PM (reservations required - 202-238-6901)

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
(Japan, 1984, 116 min.)

One thousand years after the "Seven Days of Fire," an event that destroyed human civilization and most of the Earth's original ecosystem, scattered human settlements survive. They are isolated from one another by the "Sea of Corruption," a lethally toxic jungle of fungus swarming with giant insects that come together to wage war. Nausicaä is a charming young princess of the peaceful Valley of the Wind who is humane and peace-loving but also a skillful fighter noted for her empathy toward animals and humans. The Valley of the Wind becomes threatened when two rival states, Pejite and Tolmekia, battle to possess the "God Warrior," a lethal giant bio weapon that has landed in the Valley, and the fighting escalates out of control. The story holds a deeper meaning beyond war, however. Even the insects seem to be working toward some secret harmony and the lethal fungal forest seems to have a vital role in Earth's new dominant ecosystem. As she helps prisoners, villagers, enemies and mutant insects, Princess Nausicaä becomes a Joan of Arc figure–a warrior maiden inspired by a vision to defend all life against destruction.

Directed, written and illustrated by Hayao Miyazaki. Produced by Rick Dempsey and Isao Takahata.

TOONS THAT KILL draws response from Canadian cartoonist


Steve Mielczarek sent me the cartoon to the left, but without any note attached beyond a "Comics DC" subject. When I queried him as to why, as this seemed to be a cartoon about the Danish Islam cartoon controversy, he replied:

I'm not sure. I read William Woodward Jr.'s story on your site.
I thought my cartoon was up the same alley, different topic.
I just thought I'd maybe inject some food for thought.
Here in Toronto it's "multicultural" this, and "multicultural" that.
"Multicultural", "Multicultural" all over the place.
One race is pretty much as good as another race, I guess.
I mean, Winston Churchill said it best:
"We are all worms."
But let me offer up one caveat.
I say: "We are all more like dogs."
like dogs, display different temperaments.
Here's the rub:
Multiculturalism is like going to the Humane
Society to adopt a dog.
The pit bulls are best kept away from the poodles
and chihauhuas, lest they eat them up alive.
Different dogs are trained differently, and
act accordingly...

I don't know. Maybe I'm mental.
"Oh look! Over there! It's Ann Coulter!"

I dream of being a cartoonist...
Feral Insight.

Thanks for writing in and sending the cartoon, Steve. We're ranging a bit afield beyond Washington, DC, but I appreciate it.

Monday, March 12, 2007


"Tabloid Newspaper's Cartoon Incites Allegations of Racism", the story the Post ran about St. Mary's Today staff artist William Woodward Jr.'s cartoon of three young black men as bank robbers has legs as AP picked it up. The newspaper has posted ... let us call it a rebuttal... on their webpage. Ladies and gentlemen ... TOONS THAT KILL.

And let's not forget the cartoon itself.

Tempest in a teapot in my opinion, as no one would have blinked twice if this was a movie, but it's nice to see an editorial cartoon pissing off somebody. And I've got to appreciate such a spirit defense of the First Amendment.

Post changes comics without asking readers!

Shocked! I am shocked! The Post has unilaterally made a decision about its comics pages without polling its readership.

Washington Post
Monday, March 12, 2007; Page C10

Beginning Monday, March 19, you'll notice that the daily comics pages have a new look and three new comics.

Two new strips will join our lineup: "Agnes," by Tony Cochran, about a witty young girl who is poor but wise beyond her years, and Tim Rickard's "Brewster Rockit: Space Guy!," which features a captain and a crew of misfits in the space station R.U. Sirius.

One new panel, "Brevity," an irreverent take on almost anything, also joins the lineup, alternating with "Close to Home." And "Speed Bump" will now run seven days a week. (We're leaving the panels out this week to announce the changes, but they will return on Monday.)

The Scrabble Gram and Stickelers puzzles will become regular features six days a week.

To make room for these changes, we will say goodbye to three strips, "Mary Worth," "Cathy" and "Broom Hilda," and two panels, "The Flying McCoys" and "The Other Coast." Those comics will continue to be carried on our Web site at

Finally, on Sunday, March 25, we will debut "Lio" as a Sunday-only strip. Creator Mark Tutulli chronicles the adventures of Lio, a curious young boy with a vivid imagination.

We realize change is unsettling but trust that you will quickly adjust to the new lineup. We hope the new design will make your favorite features easier to find. As always, we welcome your comments. Call our comics hotline at 202-334-4775, e-mail us at or write Comics Feedback, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.

Actually, I'm not sorry to see any of those strips go, especially Cathy which I actively do not read. I don't just ignore it like I do Mary Worth - I make my eyes go around it. Unfortunately, I'm not sure Agnes is ready for primetime (so to speak). I've been disappointed by Watch Your Head which seemed promising during its test last year.

Also in today's Post, Wiley took a shot at this Albany Times Union blog which suggested that product placement might be raising its ugly head on the comic strip pages, not just in comic books and movies.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

March 23: Wonder Woman writer Jodi Picoult at Baileys Crossroads Borders

Jodi Picoult is signing her novel Nineteen Minutes at 7:30 pm on Friday March 23rd, but she's also the new writer on Wonder Woman and one could probably ask about that. The comic apparently won't be out until March 28th unfortunately.

5871 Crossroads Center Way (ie the intersection of Columbia Pike and Route 7), 703-998-0404.

Comics stuff in Saturday's Post (and Times)

There's a few interesting bits in the paper today - in St. Mary's County, MD, a cartoon reprinted from 2002 and described as "by St. Mary's Today staff artist William Woodward Jr., depicts three black men driving away from a strip of stores they have just robbed. One man is wearing a ski mask and holding a shotgun, while the driver -- whose hair is in cornrows -- remarks that the area is "so close to D.C." The characters have exaggerated wide noses and full lips. Off to the side, a small slug asks another, "What happened to law and order?" His friend responds, "Ask the liberals."" has generated controversy this time around. See "Tabloid Newspaper's Cartoon Incites Allegations of Racism" by Megan Greenwell, Washington Post Staff Writer, Saturday, March 10, 2007; Page B05.

A longtime reader of the strips corrects a mis-characterization of Daisy Mae from Li'l Abner:

Saturday, March 10, 2007; Page A17
Anna Was No Daisy Mae

I nearly spilled my coffee while reading Ruth Marcus's Feb. 28 column, "The Princess and the Playmate," asserting that Anna Nicole Smith was comparable to "L'il Abner's" Daisy Mae and thus an embodiment of America's "white trash." For shame. As "L'il Abner" readers recall, Daisy Mae was not only beautiful and scantily clad, but she was also virtuous, honest and smart enough to fend off the advances of the likes of Big Barnsmell, Earthquake McGoon and other unsavory suitors for her hand.

Her true and only love was L'il Abner, an all-American boy, whom eventually she wed.

-- Phil True

For the record, according to Allan Holtz's The Stripper's Guide index, "Li'l Abner" by Al Capp hasn't appeared since Capp's death in 1977, although there was an abortive reprint run from 1988-1989. A good example of a strip not surviving its creator, although by the end, I'm not sure how many readers Capp had for his bitter rightwing vitriol.

And of course, Richard's Poor Almanack appears in the Style section - today's panel is one of the constellation ones. And Elwood Smith has a good cartoon about noisy neighbors on the front of the real estate section.

In today's Times, "Ghost Rider just burning to prevent Armageddon" by Joseph Szadkowski, Washington Times March 10, 2007, reviews the videogames for 300 and the Ghost Rider movies. 300 comes out better than GR.

Catching up, in yesterday's paper "'300': A Losing Battle in More Ways Than 1" by Stephen Hunter, Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, March 9, 2007; C01 slapped the movie around with phrases like, "So the movie isn't set in history or in time but in some dank, feverish swamp of the imagination that betrays its comic book origins (it's based on the graphic novel by "Sin City's" Frank Miller)." The Times appears to have run a wire service review, " '300': Spartans at their Alamo, Washington Times March 9, 2007.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Thompson's Small finger puppet finally online!

Print it,
make it and wear it to the Smithsonian over the weekend! When they stop you at the x-ray machine, wave it in the guards' faces and ask them about endangered birds!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

March 10: Frank Cho signing

Frank Cho will be appearing March 10th at 1 pm to sign his Mighty Avengers #1 at Cards, Comics & Collectibles, 1000A Chartley Drive, Reisterstown, MD 21136, 410-526-7410.

Post weighs in on Captain America's putative death

"O Captain! Our Captain! Hero's Day Is Done; Killing Off a Patriotic Icon, Marvel Comics Turns the Page On a Fading American Era"
by Neely Tucker, Washington Post Staff Writer,
Thursday, March 8, 2007; Page C01 is our local take on the story that's on the wires.

My take is been there, done that. Bucky's back after being dead for 40 years, Superman didn't even last a year, Aunt May's been dead several times, and don't even start counting villains like Dr. Doom.

And Cap's been dead before, and better drawn by Jim Steranko, as you can see in the accompanying illustration. (And that's Rick Jones in Bucky's costume, not Bucky).

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

PR: DC Anime Club To Host Video Gaming Days UPDATED WITH NEW DATES

(March 6,2007)

CONTACT: Chris Wanamaker, (202) 262 2083

DC Anime Club To Host Video Gaming Days

The DC Anime Club, an non profit organization whose purpose is to educate the Washington, DC community about East Asian culture through the art form known as Anime (Japanese animation) will host Video Game Days in Room A5 and Room A9 of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G Street, N.W. on the following dates:

March 24 Room A5
Video Game Day

May 26 Room A9
Video Game Day

July 7 Room A9
Video Game Day

August 18 Room A9
Video Game Day

DC Anime Club will be adding more dates for Video Game Days for the rest of the year. Attendees of the DC Anime Club Video Game Days are encouraged to bring their own games and Game Systems. DC Anime Club will be providing several Television sets as well as an LCD Projector and Screen for the Video Game Days.

This program is free and open to the public. For more information please visit the DC Anime Club website at

About DC Anime Club:
DCAC was established in 2003 to introduce and educate people in the Washington, DC area about East Asian culture, through viewing and discussion of Japanese animation (also known as anime) and Japanese comics (manga). DCAC is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization, contributions to DC Anime Club are tax deductible to the extent allowable under the law.

The club also works to provide a positive, alternative activity to the youth in the area by exposing them to foreign culture, encouraging artistic expression and creativity, and providing opportunities for participation in community activities and leadership.

In addition to our weekly meetings, the club holds an Annual Art Show, an Annual Costume fundraising event, and visits local schools to do presentations on anime. The club also works with the Smithsonian Freer Gallery and DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival on their anime screenings, and has helped locally promote performances for Japanese bands such as Puffy Ami Yumi and Pine am.

DC Anime Club was founded by Chris Wanamaker (President), Jules Chang (Vice President) and Craig Vaughn (Sgt in Arms) on Saturday June 5, 2003. We have a strong membership that continues to grow -- most of which are teenagers.

# # #

Christopher Wanamaker
DC Anime Club President
202 262 2083

Politics and Prose to carry manga

Their newsletter sent out earlier today announces:

Politics and Prose
has officially ventured into the manga market. Manga, originally derived from the name given to a book of artist’s drawings in Edo period Japan, has become the name for entire genre of incredibly popular graphic serials from around the globe. We are beginning to stock a number of series that we love including Loveless, Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, Kami Kaze, 12 Days, To Terra, and Samurai Champloo. Don’t see your favorite on the shelf? Please let us know—we are continuing to add new series all the time.

This seems a bit late to me as everybody's carrying manga now, and in fact, I've noticed the amount carried dwindling in B. Daltons, and have been told that Big Planet is purposefully carrying much less.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Wish You Were There #2 - IS Art: The Art of Insight Studios

From the International Journal of Comic Art 3-2, we present another WISH YOU WERE THERE, starring Frank Cho, Mark Wheatly, Marc Hempel and a defunct comic store. Is Insight Studios still functioning I wonder?

IS Art: The Art of Insight Studios. Washington, DC: Illumination Arts Gallery of Georgetown / Beyond Comics II, May 12--June 30, 2001.

IS Art displayed original art of Insight Studios, founded in 1978 by Mark Wheatley, and artistically now consisting of him, Marc Hempel and Frank Cho. The exhibit is based on the book of the same title (by Allan Gross, Baltimore: Insight Studios Group, 2001. ISBN 1-89317-11-X; $29.95) which includes a history of Insight; the title of both is undoubtedly a play on words reflecting the general perception of comic art as a lowbrow form. There was a checklist for the show, but no explanatory exhibit text except for captions; presumably the book was intended to fulfill the viewer's possible desire for further information. Due to his syndicated comic strip, Liberty Meadows, and his penchant for drawing beautiful women, Cho is undoubtedly the main attraction of the Studio. In this show, held in an unused upper floor of a comic book store, very few of Cho's strips were displayed. However, instead he was mostly represented by his fanzine work on E.R. Burroughs' Tarzan and Mars series. Hempel included many of his early 1980s paintings of women, cover paintings from his 1990 DC Comics series Breathtaker, and cartoons from his self-published comic book Tug & Buster. His current work, of increasingly-stylized caricatures in ink and watercolor, harkened back to art of the 1920s and 1930s. The twenty-year span of Hempel's career exhibited here provided an interesting view of his artistic evolution. Wheatley has frequently worked on material derived from pulps and magazine illustration. His gouaches for IS's publication of Talbot Mundy's Jimgrim and the Devil at Ludd, clearly having evolved from his comic book work, displayed a strong sense of color and composition. The exhibit, although obviously not done by art gallery professionals (artwork not used in the show was still leaning in piles under a window), was an enjoyable look at a trio of local creators.

Undercover Brother: John Ridley

"Undercover Brother: John Ridley" is an interview by Scott Rosenberg in the online version of March 4th Express. Like the Molly Crabapple story of last week, it wasn't in the physical paper which just had a small pic of Ridley. Ridley's wrote a comic series for DC's Wildstorm imprint, The American Way, which is being collected now.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Wish You Were There #1 - Comics exhibit reviews 2000-2001

The following are reviews for DC exhibits from 2000-2001. They were originally published in the International Journal of Comic Art 3:1.

Blondie Gets Married! Comic Strip Drawings by Chic Young. Harry Katz and Sara Duke. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, June 22-September 16, 2000.

Herblock's History: Political Cartoons from the Crash to the Millennium. Harry Katz, Sara Duke, and Lucia Rather. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, October 17, 2000--February 17, 2001.

Al Hirschfeld, Beyond Broadway. David Leopold. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, November 9, 2000--March 31, 2001.

At the turn of the millennium, Harry Katz and Sara Duke continued to make the Library of Congress one of the premier spaces for the display of comic art. These three exhibits examined different aspects of comic art: comic strips, political cartoons, and caricature.

Blondie, beginning in 1930, has evolved with the comic strip. Early strips were large and had continuity, but by the 1972 strip in the show, the size had shrunk and Young made it a gag strip. The exhibit of 27 strips out of a donation of 150 had minimal labeling and was divided into typical tropes: naps, courtship, wedding, family, mailman, food, work, love, homemaking, and baths. Young used a delicate line in the 1930s, typical of some cartoonists of the era, that is a pleasure to see in the original. His 1931--1933 courtship and marriage strips were wildly popular during the Depression and Young's artwork conveys now a vivid sense of the time. In the 1938 Sunday dream strip, "We'll be back in a few hours," Young was playfully surrealistic while still drawing the pretty girls he was known for. While an exhibit devoted to original art, not commentary or history, needs few labels, an explanation of the blue penciling seen on many strips over the regular graphite pencil would be helpful; the blue was used to indicate where mechanical tones and shading needed to be added by the syndicate. "All quiet on the Bumstead's front!" from 1945 contained clear marginal instructions about the shading, and showed an interesting piece of comic history now that computers handle all such details. A good brochure was distributed at the show with articles by Duke and Young's daughter, and an electronic version of the exhibit can be seen at

Herbert "Herblock" Block has cartooned through nine decades, won three Pulitzer Prizes, and coined the word "McCarthyism." This exhibit was drawn from 119 cartoons that he gave to the Library. The show was mounted in a grand space on either side of the Jefferson Building's great hall on red, white, and blue panels. It was divided into roughly chronological sections except for overarching ones like "Herblock's Presidents." Herblock's masterly use of pencil, ink and crayon can be seen throughout the show, although correction overlays become more common and his latest work resembled collages. Seeing the evolution of Herblock's style and subjects over 70 years was fascinating. Although the exhibit was excellently done and displayed the breadth of his career, Block's work can be fairly easily seen in other media. He has published many collections of his work, and this exhibit has a short catalogue produced by the Library. One clever idea made this show especially interesting. The Library solicited caricatures of "Herblock by Other Cartoonists" and displayed them at the end of each panel. Fifteen colleagues like Mike Peters, Ann Telnaes, Jules Feiffer, Signe Wilkinson, and Mike Luckovich produced pointed, but obviously respectful, drawings of Block, frequently with his bete noire Richard Nixon. Katz, Duke, and Rather deserve credit for a truly fine exhibit.
The exhibit on Hirschfeld is somewhat problematic because it was designed to be. When faced with a career even longer than Herblock's, guest curator and Hirschfeld archivist David Leopold chose to focus not on Hirschfeld's well-known pen-and-ink entertainment caricatures, but rather on his other artistic pursuits. Exhibiting 24 pieces, many donated to the Library by the artist, Leopold produced a wide-ranging survey of works in all media, especially including some early art. The result was an interesting and ambitious show, but not a complete success since Hirschfeld's best work is his caricatures. Leopold included obscure material like drawings of North Africa from 1926 -- material that was reminiscent of magazine illustration of the time. Other early work like a 1923 gouache advertisement for Woman to Woman magazine recalled Szyk's work in miniatures, and his 1931 lithograph Art and Industry owed much to Daumier. Hirschfeld's color caricatures, usually for magazine covers like "Walter Lippman" for American Mercury in the 1940s, show that he could have continued doing similar work and had a full career. Recently, printing advances have made it possible for him to use color for caricatures and one from the New York Times in 2000 is in the show. The exhibit, accompanied by a well-done brochure, was an interesting example of Hirschfeld's lesser abilities, but not a major view of his career.

Politics in Black and White: Local, State, and National Cartoons and Caricatures. Dan Voss and Ellen Vartanoff. Rockville, MD: Montgomery College VCT Department Gallery, October 10--November 10, 2000.

This small exhibit was aimed at students in the College's graphic arts department. According to Voss, the "idea was to be topical and to bring in a little bit more local connection than you would expect." With eight artists (Joe Azar, Chip Beck, Steve Brodner, Chris Curtis, Kevin "Kal" Kallaugher, Marcia Klioze-Hughes, and Lucinda Levine) and 55 pieces in the exhibit, students and other visitors saw a wide range of comic art. The only label in the exhibit was a short introductory panel with brief biographical information. Azar (a conservative political cartoonist for the Legal Times and the Washington Times), Kal, and Curtis (cartoonist for the Gazette chain of local newspapers) all produce standard "modern" political cartoons; while competent, no cartoon displayed was particularly memorable. Caricaturists were well represented. Levine's work looked like that of unrelated David Levine. Klioze-Hughes' color work caricatured historical figures like George Washington. Beck's pieces were unfortunately reminiscent of the cartoonists working in chalk in shopping malls. Brodner works for national publications like the New Yorker, Time, and Newsweek and his distinctive style was well represented. "We hope to bring [the students] the real thing," Voss stated, and the exhibit succeeded in being an engaging look at the styles and ability of a small range of working professional cartoonists.

Cartoons and Campaigns. Arlington, VA: The Newseum, October 7--November 12, 2000.

Pens and Needles: The Editorial Cartoons of Joel Pett. Arlington, VA: The Newseum, November 10, 2000--January 7, 2001.

"Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus." Arlington, VA: The Newseum, December, 2000.

Cartoons and Campaigns added political cartoons to Every Four Years, an exhibit on press coverage of the Presidential campaign. The cartoons, a mixture of originals and reproductions, totaled approximately 40 pieces of art. Included in the show were originals by Luckovich (who still uses tone shading), Breen, Conrad, Wilkinson, Horsey, Borgman, Peters, and reproductions by Marlette, Toles, Handelsman, Chip Beck, Morin, Higgins, Kal, Pett, Gorrell, Gerner, Telnaes, Bok, Benson, Herblock, and Szep. The show presented a snapshot of election cartoons, and was enjoyable in a casual sense, but did not add anything significant to the study of comic art.

Pins and Needles was a significantly better exhibit in terms of learning. Ten original cartoons with commentary by Pett were displayed, unfortunately in a hallway leading to a movie theater. Seven reproductions from the twenty cartoons that Pett submitted to win the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning were also included. Pett's commentary on his process of cartooning included exhibiting three drafts and the final cartoon. This was a minor, but interesting show.

"Yes, Virginia..." is the Newseum's annual show of Thomas Nast's Harper's Weekly engravings of Santa Claus. The exhibit included artwork from 1863, 1865, 1866, 1871, 1879, 1884, and 1885 and showed how Nast's artwork and concept of Santa progressed through a twenty-year period. According to Nast, by 1884 Santa was answering telephone requests. Since Santa Claus is so deeply embedded in American culture, an annual show devoted to the cartoonist who created him helps keep Nast's work alive.

The Art of John Cederquist: Reality of Illusion. Washington, DC: National Museum of American Art's Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, March 31--August 20, 2000.

John Cederquist stretches the definition of comic art. He creates artistic wooden furniture. Cederquist is influenced by Popeye cartoons and he has copied two-dimensional furniture from the cartoons to produce three-dimensional pieces. Although this show, organized by the Oakland Museum of California, did not include any of his Popeye works among its thirteen pieces, the influence of cartoons could still be seen. "Tubular" (1990) appeared to be a bookcase made of shipping crates but had a Hokusai-style wave rolling out of the top. "Steamer Chest III" (1995) looked as though it was a coiled pipe, supported by stacked wood, with puffs of Crumb-like smoke emerging from each end of the pipe. Cederquist's titles were puns that helped define the piece -- words and pictures working together -- leading to the beginning of the definition of a cartoon. The exhibit provoked thought on what comic art really is.

Richard's Poor Almanack

It's still not online, but yesterday's Post cartoon by Richard Thompson was another finger puppet - this time of Smithsonian big-spending Secretary Lawrence Small. My collection grows by leaps and bounds!

Also, he did an awesome caricature of Stalin as a home-improvement contractor in today's Post Magazine, as well as the illo for Joel Achenbach's column where he declined to illustrate the phrase "A nightmare for your consideration: epidemics of genital shrinkage."

None of this is online, of course. I guess the Post doesn't pay for digital repro rights for illos.

Wrightson followup

Joel and I are a bit disappointed that nobody's commented on our posting of a 20-year old barely-seen interview - for those who didn't follow the wikipedia link in the first posting, here's another look at Wrightson's career.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Virgin Comics profile in today's Post

Haven't read it yet, but here's the story: "Deepak Chopra And a New Age Of Comic Books: Author Is in Venture to Create Made-for-Movies Superheroes" by David Segal, Washington Post Staff Writer, Saturday, March 3, 2007; Page C01.

Actually I haven't read any of these Virgin Comics yet either. Anybody? Are they any good?

Friday, March 02, 2007

March 5 - What's Opera, Doc? showing

This is one of Chuck Jones' absolute best Bugs Bunny shorts.

At the Goethe-Institut Washington, 812 Seventh St. NW, Washington, DC. Further information: 202-289-1200 or

Wagner in Hollywood Film Series

In conjunction with the Washington National Opera's performance of Die Walküre, part two of Wagner's Der Ring, we present Hollywood classics featuring his music.

Monday, March 5, 6:30 pm

Introduction by Michael Jeck, Programming Manager, Films, MhZ Networks; Programmer emeritus, American Film Institute

What’s Opera, Doc?
USA, 1957, 16mm, 7 min., color, Director: Chuck Jones

What's Opera, Doc? is a short animated cartoon directed by Chuck Jones in which Elmer Fudd chases Bugs Bunny through a seven-minute operatic parody of Wagner's operas, particularly The Ring of the Nibelung (Der Ring der Nibelungen).


The Scarlett Empress
USA, 1934, 35mm, 104 min., b/w, Director: Josef von Sternberg

Young Princess Sophia of Germany is taken to Russia to marry the half-wit Grand Duke Peter, son of the Empress. She dutifully produces a son of questionable fatherhood. After the old empress dies, Sophia engineers a coup d'etat, does away with Peter, and becomes Catherine the Great.

The Scarlett Empress’ soundtrack included part of Richard Wagner’s The Valkyrie (Die Walküre, 1856).