Your Comics Page 5-20-2015

May 20th, 2015

felix-8-27-to-9-2-34.jpg Felix is from 8-27 to 9-2-1934 this time. In the dailies, Felix wins over the young lady (who mistakenly believes Felix is a present from her fiancee) with orchids he found lying in the street. Felix searches for a new home, and manages to land one with (who else) a professor who wants to turn the hapless cat into an experimental animal. In the Sunday, Felix hides in an artillery shell to escape the returning crew, only to be fired into space and land on a cannibal island. The cannibals think that the empty shell is a new-fangled cooking pot. I think Messmer used this gag several times. By the way, look at the cat in the “Laura” topper, I have a weak spot for Messmer’s alternate designs for cartoon cats and this is one of his best.

krazy-9-7-to-9-12-42.jpg Krazy is from 9-7 to 9-12-1942 this time and Garge’s inking is beautiful! The military gags go through all six strips and feature Ignatz as a private interacting with a lot of army dogs who closely resemble Offissa Pupp. I like the 9-8, in which Ignatz meets a canine spy: great inking in the second, third and fourth panels as the big spy tells Ignatz, “I AM”. The 9-9 is the runner-up for me, as four Ernie Pyle Pupps show up and tell Ignatz they are columnists. Noting that there are four of the dogs, Krazy asks “Where’s the Fiff one?” The “Fifth Column” refers not to journalism, but to military spies, such as Quisling in Poland in 1940.

myrtle-5-31-to-6-6-48.jpg Myrtle is from 5-31 to 6-6-1948, I love the 5-5 as Bingo gives Sampson a nudge which turns on Sampson’s libido. He grabs Myrtle and kisses her, leaving her puzzled. I’ve included the Sunday page which bestows a new power lawn mower on Myrtle. The new gasoline engine mower goes AWOL and smashes through a nearby neighbor’s yard.

buf-1-2-to-1-7-50.jpg Here is a new feature on the Catblog, George McManus’s BRINGING UP FATHER, from 1-2 to 1-7-1950. The reason Jiggs pops up here? I’m PO’d at the King Features comic website, Comics Kingdom. They have some nice proofs of BUF that they recently stopped running with the episode for 12-31-1949. I think they should have kept running Jiggs in chronological order so the readers could see the eventual abandonment of the dailies by George McManus. If I can run the post-1949 dailies here, why can’t King Features run them on their website? A syndicate that has distributed so many fine features for so many years should have a much more complete archive of their classic strips than they do. By the 1950s, George M. had been cartooning for over 43 years! He passed away in 1954 having logged in 41 years of Jiggs and Maggie, starting in 1913. His ink line was very delicate, and sometimes reminds me of Winsor McCay. McManus drew the whites of his characters’s eyes blank, once in a while with very tiny dots for irises, looking like Harold Grey’s Little Orphan Annie eyeballs. BUF will only be an occasional feature here, as the strips rarely feature continuity, except for the repeating gags of Jiggs being socked by endless crockery from his wife’s well-stocked china cabinets (which he paid for). I always enjoy McManus’s sense of staging, silhouette panels and sense of design. I love the 1-6 as Jiggs and Maggie visit their local movie theatre. McManus suggests the movie show with silhouettes of Jiggs and wife along with other movie goers in front of a totally white space above the line of theater seats. We don’t need to actually see what’s on the screen, the black figures and dialog fill us in on all the movie details. McManus is one of newspaper cartooning’s finest cartoonists, but he is easy to take for granted. Watch for more of his work coming soon.

Your Comics Page 4-28-2015

April 28th, 2015

cat-calendar-cat-after-mouse-1991.jpgI’ve saved a lot of crazy cat pictures over the years, here’s one of my favorites. Reminds me of a real life Tom and Jerry or Ignatz and Krazy on the flip side.

krazy-8-31-to-9-5-42.jpg Krazy from 8-31 to 9-5-42 displays the incursion of the second World War into Garge’s Coconino County. In the 8-31, Krazy is singing “There’s Something About A Soldier” as Ignatz goes into the infantry as a Colonel. Offissa Pupp is an M.P. In the 9-5, a Dog who says he’s a General marches into the strip and says to Ignatz: “Hi Private, What’s Cooking?” The General seems to be Irish, since he has the craves for potatoes, and Ignatz makes a hasty retreat, having no potatoes cooking, or otherwise.

myrtle-5-24-to-5-30-48.jpg In Myrtle, 5-24 to 5-30-1948, Myrtle and Sampson put out their own typewritten newspaper, with an “e” missing. Slug, in the 5-27, submits a comic strip to the fledgling paper, but Myrtle, Sampson and Bingo reject it. I love the panel with Slug keeping his job as a soda jerk, looking at his strip: “I still think it’s good!” The Sunday from 5-30 has the whole family painting the house, Slug defiantly walks under the ladder and look what Hyacinth the cat pushes over!

felix-8-20-to-8-26-34.jpg Felix, 8-20 to 8-26-1934 has Felix trying to find a new “owner” as the crook he was bound to is now in the clink. He finds himself being given away to Miss Daisy Pipp, who is expecting flowers and instead receives a “common cat”. In the Sunday, Felix manages to get the whole battleship to himself as he plays around in the hold with explosives and the whole crew take to the lifeboats. We’ll see whether Felix blows himself up or becomes an Admiral!

yogi-5-2-65.jpg

yogi-5-9-65.jpgyogi-5-16-65.jpg

yogi-5-23-65.jpgyogi-5-30-65.jpg Here are the Yogi Bear Sundays from May, 1965. Harvey Eisenberg is still represented by the comics he left behind, and he managed to create quite a backlog of Yogi pages while he lived. My favorites here are the 5-16 (click to enlarge the thumbnails) in which Yogi leads his own humming group of hummingbirds. Harvey was very good at drawing realistic birds, his “Bertie Bird” text illos in many of the Tom and Jerry comic books attest to that. The hummingbirds he designed for this strip are very appealing. The 5-30 episode is a little bit puzzling to me, who’s Henry? He’s a bit hard of hearing, and celebrating his 91st birthday. Does this Henry have anything to do with Henry Orbit, from “The Jetsons”? Henry Orbit was an old-timer, and as I remember, a little hard of hearing. Maybe the Henry in this Yogi Bear page is the great-great-great grandfather of Henry Orbit? I know nozzink. Maybe Yowp can help with this H-B puzzler. So long for now.

Easter Cats!

April 20th, 2015

easter-cats.jpg

easter-eggs.jpg My dear wife, Cathy, makes up a little Easter basket and decorates eggs with her wonderful drawings each year. She found a little egg-shaped wooden cat head at a local store and re-created it’s face on one of the eggs. The other egg is a small Japanese ceramic cat she found in the same store which she named “Sake Cat”; this one was an Anniversary gift. Now they are both featured on Easter eggs. If you go to Itza Cat’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/someothercat, you’ll see another one of Cathy’s Easter egg creations featuring Itza’s face.

easter-basket.jpg Here’s a cozy shot of our Easter basket, made up by Cathy. In it, you’ll see a dark chocolate bunny, a couple of Cadbury Caramel eggs (my favorite), a jar of apple butter and some cloth roses. We’re still sampling the delicacies, well into April. I gave Cathy a special card and about 10 pink roses, so it wasn’t an entirely one-sided Easter. It was a happy, peaceful and memorable one.

felix-8-13-to-8-19-34.jpg Felix, from 8-13 to 8-19-1934, at last foils the robber who has been in a black-face disguise to fool the police. The disguise works until a stray bullet punctures a water pipe and washes off the burnt cork. In the Sunday, Felix tightrope-walks over to an immense battle ship and locks the Admiral in his cabin with the whole crew standing at attention. The crafty cat then proceeds to eat his dinner in the Officer’s Mess. The “Funny Films” topper features a black artful dodger, if you put the toy together you can see him dodge the baseballs that Felix throws at his head. If you want to see Popeye throwing balls at another black dodger, just find the first Fleischer Popeye cartoon (actually a Betty Boop) called: “Popeye the Sailor”.

Here’s Myrtle from 5-17 to 5-23-1948. My favorites this week? The 5-18, one of those “makes you think” gags, where Myrtle is wearing her pajamas underneath her skirt as she writes on the blackboard, and the 5-21, a Fisher Fantasy touch as the vacuum cleaner sucks up a cookie crumb and burps, sending Myrtle to the corner. I also found the Sunday page called “Another New House” where the whole neighborhood has fun with a steam-shovel, including Hyacinth the cat!

myrtle-5-17-to-5-23-48.jpg

Here’s Krazy, from 8-24 to 8-29-1942. The first three strips feature the infrequently featured character, Mr. Bum Bill Bee. In the 8-27, Krazy seems to be suggesting the “heavy light” of Neutron Stars, or is he just being silly? The 8-29 strip doesn’t register with me, I can’t remember the “old watermelon gag” that Offissa Pupp is referring to. Does Ignatz usually hide inside a watermelon each year? Maybe one of my readers can help crack this Kat puzzler. UPDATE: The mighty Pat Ventura, cartoonist extraordinaire has shed light on this Kat puzzler. Here: krazy-sunday-7-11-27.jpg is the Sunday page from 7-11-1927 in which Ignatz not only hides in a watermelon, but goes over a waterfall in it. Look at the comments below to find out more about this page. If the Kats will stay out of the Korn field, I should be back before the end of the month with another post filled with comics, including the next batch of Yogi Bear Sundays. Remember to click on any image to enlarge it. krazy-8-24-to-8-29-42.jpg

Your Comics Page 3-26-2015

March 26th, 2015

krazy-8-17-to-8-22-42.jpg Gentle readers, here’s Krazy from 8-17 to 8-22-42. The sharp-eyed completists among you will notice that 8-20 is missing. King Features doesn’t have it, and I was unable to find it elsewhere, so if anyone can furnish the strip, you will get a free subscription to this website! (Our wonderful reader G. Heinlein has furnished the missing Krazy from 8-20-1942! Thanks, G.! You now have free access to the blog!) Herriman’s staging stands out to me in the 8-17 and 8-19 strips as the lower half (which was often cut-off when 1940s newspapers crowded 16 to 18 daily strips on a page) is adorned with rugs and dark spaces under the floor boards of the  Coconino desert stage where the action takes place. I especially like the last panel of the 8-22 as Garge shows us what Krazy looks like to a near-sighted worm, the inking is a perfect representation of how a near-sighted person without glasses would see the Kat.

felix-8-6-to-8-12-34.jpg Here’s Felix from 8-6 to 8-12-1934. He is still the reluctant pet of a house-burgling crook. Otto gets into a bit of 1930s style racial caricature in the 8-10 and 8-11 strips as the crook paints Felix white and blacks his face up to foil the police. In the Sunday, Felix is still pursued by the ravenous animals on board the deserted ship. He sets a captive bird free, and the grateful avian flies out to land with a rope so that Felix can tightrope walk his way to safety.

myrtle-5-10-to-5-16-48.jpg Myrtle is from 5-10 to 5-16-1948 this time, complete with the 3/4 downshot Sunday page. My favorite is the bunny joke from the 5-15 strip, in which a picky rabbit wants mayonnaise on his lettuce. Dudley Fisher had a way with cute animals and birds, his gentle comedy has no counterpart in today’s nonstop snark that’s taken over just about all comedy outlets, including comic strips.

yogi-4-4-65.jpgyogi-4-11-65.jpg

yogi-4-18-65.jpg These Yogi Bear pages from April, 1965 appeared in the last month of Harvey Eisenberg’s short life, he died four days before the 4-25 strip reproduced below. The 4-4 and 4-11 pages feature “Mugger”, a snickering pooch designed by Iwao Takamoto for the “Hey, There, It’s Yogi Bear!” animated feature. Harvey was just as adept at drawing Iwao’s designs as Ed Benedict’s or Dick Bickenbach’s, so he exaggerated Mugger’s teeth and streamlined his body for action in a very pleasing way. Harvey’s poses and his way of arranging figures and action on a page always remind me of the best of the Tom and Jerry cartoons. Just click to enlarge the 4-18 strip above and you’ll see a tennis gag that is carried entirely by the action poses.

dexter-_5-cover.jpg Here’s the cover of a “Dexter” comic book from 1947, that Harvey drew for the Dearfield comics company. Harvey was the co-owner of that company along with Joe Barbera, and they published many handsome looking comics with the characters “Red Rabbit” and “Foxy Fagan”. I had never heard of the “Dexter” series until I ran across them on the Internet. Harvey’s trying to tap the teenage comic market which was starting to catch fire post WW2. Archie comics, Mayzie comics, etc. were eating into the funny animal market, so Harvey and Joe tried to fill a niche. I don’t know how adept Harvey was at drawing teenage boys, but his girls are cute, and so is the steer. I’d like to see an issue or two of “Dexter” to see if Harvey drew the interiors. Anybody want to scan any pages for me to look at?

yogi-4-25-65.jpg This was not the last Yogi Bear Sunday that Harvey would contribute to, as you’ll see in future posts, he worked about 9 months ahead, so his art continued through just about the rest of 1965. He died of a heart attack. My guess is that he put in so many hours at the drawing board, that he never got any exercise, and like most folks of the “greatest generation”, he probably smoked as well. He left us a grand legacy of beautiful cartoon drawings, animation layouts, comic books and comic strips. Yowp is no longer posting these Yogis on his blog, so this is the only place where you’ll see them from now on. See you soon!

Your Comics Page 2-25-2015

February 26th, 2015

felix-7-30-to-8-5-34.jpg Here’s Felix, 7-30 to 8-5-1934. Felix is still the reluctant pet of the burglar. He tries to return every stolen item to it’s rightful owner after the crook “hooks” them. I like the 8-1, in which the little boy thinks that the grandfather clock has hatched three smaller clocks and the 8-4 demonstrating that it doesn’t pay to return a bomb to an anarchist. I love the final panel as Felix hurtles toward the sky; it’s an action-packed Messmer sketch. In the Sunday, Felix continues to elude the hungry animals on-board the abandoned ship. He protects himself inside an octopus’s legs in the last panel, similar to a scene in “Felix Braves the Briny” (1926).

 krazy-8-10-to-8-15-42.jpg Krazy is from 8-10 to 8-15-1942 this time. There is a particularly juicy bit of “Kat Langwitch” in the 8-12 as KK asks a question about a piece of furniture called a “High-Boy”: “Podzezzis a prodijjis yemplitude of high, dun’t it?” Translation: “Possesses a prodigious amplitude of high, don’t it?” I also admire the sly sight gag that Garge uses in the 8-14 as Offissa Pupp chases Ignatz around a very thick tree and clubs him off “camera” range. Krazy’s reaction to the unseen “korpse” of the Mice is a Kat Klassic.

myrtle-5-3-to-5-9-48.jpg Myrtle is from 5-3 to 5-9-1948. The storyline in the dailies is “Freddie’s Garden”, as Myrtle’s pop tries to plant his vegetables. I love the 5-7 as Myrtle and Sampson dig up everything in the garden when they are supposed to be weeding it; Myrtle: “Just pull up everything, the ones that come up again tomorrow are the weeds!” Freddie takes away the telephone receiver from Bingo in the 5-8, thinking the call is for him. In Dudley Fisher land, however, the call really IS for Bingo, and Freddie apologizes: “Excuse me, I didn’t know it was YOUR call!” The 5-9 Sunday page is beautifully composed as always. The robins are setting up housekeeping on Freddie’s ladder and Myrtle is charging one cent to look at the eggs. I love the sight gag of the giant bell tied around Hyacinth the cat’s neck to serve as a warning to the robins.

yogi-3-7-65.jpgyogi-3-14-65.jpg

yogi-3-21-65.jpg

yogi-3-28-65.jpg One of my favorite cartoonists, Harvey Eisenberg, is back with four more Yogi Bear Sunday pages from March, 1965. The first two are more or less “tab” format pages which incorporate the Yogi Bear logo normally missing from the third-page strips usually run here. The first one actually throws a prime-time H-B character, Top Cat into the afternoon cartoon bunch: Huck, Quick Draw, Augie Doggie, Boo-Boo and Baba Looey. The lonely little squirrel in the 3-21 is a typical cute “realistic” Eisenberg animal, along with the mother Blue Jay. In the 3-28, the hotel towels in the last panel are about 90% authentic. These pages all had great attention to comic detail, yet keep an open, friendly cartoon style. Remember to click on the thumbnails to display the images full screen. Watch for Yowp to post black and white scans of these Yogi pages soon on his blog: http://yowpyowp.blogspot.com. He will provide the missing panels and logos that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch didn’t run when I cut these out (gulp) 50 years ago. Can you tell that I wish I could have met Mr. Eisenberg while he was still around?

alice-davis-at-the-chouinard-brunch-2-8-2015.jpg Cathy and I attended the first Chouinard Alumni brunch on Feb. 8th out at the Cal Arts campus in Valencia. The Alumni Association provided a shuttle bus out there, so we got almost a free ride, in addition to a table groaning with omelettes, sausages, vegetables, eggs, coffee and champagne! I remarked to my friend Tim Walker who was there with Sue Crossley, that this was the first time being a member of the Chouinard Alumni Association ever paid off! Many distinguished Chouinardians were there, including my teacher, employer and friend, Bob Kurtz, and Alice Davis, great costume designer, artist, painter and widow of Disney legend, Marc Davis. Alice is hovering around 9-0, and walks quite slowly with a cane, but still remains a dynamic and appealing speaker once she gets wound up. (That’s a snapshot of her at the podium above this paragraph.) She was a friend of Nelbert Chouinard, the founder of the old Chouinard Art Institute, and told stories about her. She told us especially of Mrs. Chouinard’s philanthropy, especially when it came to giving scholarships. In fact, she gave away so many scholarships that her school was on the verge of insolvency several times since she founded it in the 1920s. At these critical junctures, Mrs. Chouinard mortgaged her house and car and kept her school afloat. (I was lucky enough to attend Chouinard in the fall of 1968 on a Bobe Cannon scholarship, which T. Hee arranged for me, and met many people there who I’ve been friends with ever since, like Tim Walker, Judith Morita, Robert Alvarez, Bob Kurtz, Gary Katona and many more.) Alice concluded her remarks by suggesting that we all emulate Mrs. Chouinard and use our great fortunes to set up scholarships for Cal Arts students! With the cost of higher education today, it takes a fortune the size of David Koch’s or Donald Trump’s to put a kid through college. I wonder if Ted Turner ever sponsors animation students, Lord knows he’s made a ton of dough out of old animated cartoons! It was a beautiful day, and a great brunch. So wonderful to hear Alice Davis talk to us! We’ll see you next time, faithful readers.