History posts

Tales of the Founding of the National Cartoonists Society: Part II

Posted by on June 8th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
THEY MET ON THE FOURTH WEDNESDAY of each month, and the meetings were always dinners and mostly social. They met at the Barberry Room, Toots Shor’s, 21, Moriarity’s, “and a few other saloons” (as Goldberg put it) before finally settling in on a more-or-less regular basis at the Society of Illustrators Clubhouse on East 63rd St., where they found the bar convivial and the atmosphere homey (particularly for 40 of their number for whom the Illustrators Clubhouse was an alternative organizational home, because they were members of both groups). In the custom of such clubs, each monthly dinner featured a guest speaker, a notable in a career or profession of interest to the cartoonists.

Tales of the Founding of the National Cartoonists Society Part One of Three

Posted by on June 7th, 2010 at 12:01 AM

Part I

ON FRIDAY NIGHT, March 1, 1946, 26 cartoonists assembled at the Barberry Room on East 52nd Street in Manhattan. They met at 7 p.m. for drinks and dinner, and after dinner, they waved their inky-fingered hands and conjured into being the National Cartoonists Society. Then when the voting was over, they started a heated argument about how to define a cartoonist and retired to pour cooling emollients on the conflagration.

Dan DeCarlo’s Jetta

Posted by on June 1st, 2010 at 2:00 PM
***Reposted to include art that was missing the first time. Dan DeCarlo, superior limner of curves and cuties, is coming into his own, at last. Craig Yoe gives DeCarlo’s reputation its due with “the first book of our titillating new series, The Good Girl Art Library.”

Frazetta in Retrospect by Greg Cwiklik

Posted by on May 28th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
Frank Frazetta was one of those lucky individuals born with such a surfeit of natural talent, as to make those less gifted gnash their teeth at the cosmic unfairness of it all. Nor was he overly modest regarding his abilities. Frazetta was possessed of a virtuosic style of rendering: Be it with pen and ink or oil paint or watercolor, it was quite unlike anyone else’s.

Pictures of Dorian Gray, Images of Oscar Wilde; Part Nine: Oscar Wilde: Martyr, Saint, and Superhero

Posted by on May 27th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
“The Outcast of one age is the Hero of another.” – Edward Carpenter Martyrs necessarily begin as outlaws. Wilde's trials established him as a criminal, made him a prisoner and an exile — and produced a gay icon.

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight.

Pictures of Dorian Gray, Images of Oscar Wilde; Part Eight: The Tribute Mediocrity Pays to Genius

Posted by on May 26th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
"Caricature is the tribute which mediocrity pays to genius," Oscar Wilde said. But in fact, Wilde had the distinction of being ridiculed by the best. Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven.

Pictures of Dorian Gray, Images of Oscar Wilde; Part Seven: Victorian Cameos

Posted by on May 25th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
Dave Sim's Wilde is a sympathetic figure — intelligent, amusing, affectionate and pitiable. He is also physically gross in both senses of the word: he is very fat, and his body is producing symptoms that are undeniably disgusting. As Sim draws him, Wilde's face is so massive and slack that it seems almost to melt onto his shoulders. But the real masterpiece of this book is the haunting, yet strangely noble, portrait of Wilde on the cover. The image shows an open bottle of wine and a near-empty glass in the foreground, ornamental wallpaper in the background. Wilde is in between, almost entirely in shadow. Half of his face — the half away from us — looks tired and gaunt. In the other half we see the outline of a skull.

Melmoth (Cerebus, Volume 6)

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six.

Pictures of Dorian Gray, Images of Oscar Wilde; Part Six: Actor and Image

Posted by on May 24th, 2010 at 12:01 AM

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five.

Pictures of Dorian Gray, Images of Oscar Wilde; Part Five: Revealing Corruption

Posted by on May 21st, 2010 at 12:01 AM
Internal illustrations for The Picture of Dorian Gray face challenges similar to those of the cover designs, plus the added need to portray gradual corruption in the painted image.

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four.

My Life with Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz

Posted by on May 20th, 2010 at 9:00 AM
The latest addition to the ever-growing comics criticism library at the University Press of Mississippi (one of my publishers) is My Life with Charlie Brown, a collection of the major prose writings of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, edited and with an introduction by M. Thomas Inge, a popular-culture scholar (and a friend of mine) and author or editor of more than 60 tomes on such esoteric subjects as author William Faulkner and African-American cartoonist Oliver Harrington, as well as comics generally.

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