Strips posts

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.

Beetle Bailey at the Cartoon Art Museum

Posted by on May 26th, 2010 at 3:05 PM

Just up at the Cartoon Art Museum: Sixty Years of Beetle Bailey, a massive retrospective covering everything from the earliest strips featuring Beetle as a layabout college student to…well, you know, the ones where he’s in the Army. I’d


Posted by on May 24th, 2010 at 5:42 PM
What comic-strip character drove '80s ladies wild?

Peter O’Donnell, Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin

Posted by on May 11th, 2010 at 12:01 AM

Some Further Adieu

Peter O’Donnell, writer of novels and plays and comic strips, died on May 3 at the age of 90. Of all the characters he created, O’Donnell was most celebrated — even, by some (me, for instance), revered — for Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin. O’Donnell concocted Modesty and Willie as characters in a comic strip of stylish cloak-and-dagger intrigue for a London newspaper. The strip follows the clandestine adventures of the voluptuous and superbly athletic Modesty, a retired and fabulously wealthy erstwhile leader of an international crime network who now devotes her considerable talents for lethal undercover work to helping the British secret service, which she did with the able assistance of her comrade in arms, Willie Garvin.

The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade: The 11 1/2 Anniversary Edition

Posted by on May 3rd, 2010 at 12:01 AM
The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade: The 11 1/2 Anniversary Edition Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins; Del Rey; 176 pp., $24; Color, Hardcover; ISBN: 978-0345512260

The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade Penny Arcade has grown on me over the years, I admit it. At first I found Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins’ thrice-weekly Web-comic devoted to all things videogamish to be sporadically funny at best, amateurish and insular at worst.

Time has improved my outlook. A large part of that is due to the fact that Holkins and Krahulik have stepped up their game considerably since they first began the strip 11-odd years ago. Krahulik’s art in particular has become a lot looser, wilder and more expressive. His initially stiff, awkward line has given way to a rounder, much more expressive one. In addition, Holkins’ writing and gags have become wittier, sharper and a lot less reliant on the sort of sophomoric, over- the-top violence that used to be their stock in trade.

Regardless of your opinion of the strip’s quality level, however, it’s hard not to be impressed by its success. Few comics in general — let alone Webcomics — can boast the sort of devoted readership and financial reward that Penny Arcade can.

The Bitter and the Sweet: The Complete Peanuts: 1975-1976

Posted by on April 28th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
Clough reviews the 13th volume in Charles Schulz' The Complete Peanuts series, covering 1975 and 1976.

Black, White, and Red All Over: The Active Four-Year Life of Will Gould’s Big Red Barry

Posted by on April 16th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
A freely flowing course of lusty fantasy, with just sufficient tongue in its cheek to lighten both sentimentality and terror: sufficient for any comic-strip devotee to murmur hasta la vista to an endearing borderline-camp labor of nostalgic love.

The Moose and the Mirror: Or, Oliphant’s Palin

Posted by on March 22nd, 2010 at 5:37 AM
Sarah Palin shacking up with a moose. Why would anybody draw this?

The Family Circus Library Vol. 1 by Bil Keane

Posted by on March 17th, 2010 at 9:00 AM
On Feb. 29, Bil Keane’s The Family Circus reached and passed the 50-year mark, and Jeff Keane, the founder’s son and heir, celebrated the anniversary the day before (a Sunday) with a reprise of his father’s 20th birthday cartoon, adding a taboret next to the drawing board on which he placed a photograph depicting members of the original cast — i.e., the Keane family.

Drinky Crow’s Maakies Treasury by Tony Millionaire

Posted by on February 22nd, 2010 at 9:00 AM
As a whole this book is deeply satisfying in a fundamentally philosophical way. It readily concedes — and advances! — our basal, venal (and OK, perverse) traits.

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