Saturday 6 October 2007

the SnOOTeR

I had to come up with some new drawings of The Snooter (see After the Snooter, Top Shelf.) last week for a speculative project I can't say anything about as yet. You will remember that it was a big insect, an oversized moth probably, that flew in our kitchen window way back in 1994. Later in the story an unnamed character that happens to look exactly like Bob Kane's Bruce Wayne is sitting staring purposefully into the dark night, contemplating "The annoying complacency of people. I need a symbolic form by which to strike fear into their hearts," when it fluttered in his window too. "That's it! I shall become a hideous insect of the sleepless humid night. I shall remind them of their childhood terrors, of snakes under the bed and beast droolings in the dark that make you afraid to put your bare foot on the floor."
And thus he stitched a costume together and became The Snooter! Everybody said the pink rubber kitchen gloves were the piece de resistance.
I found that my concept of the character had drifted considerably since I last drew him, and It took several attempts at it before I arrived at something presentable.


My pal Mia Wolff, painter and veteran of the flying trapeze, has started a blog.

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Friday 5 October 2007

covers-Comics Journal 273

The idea was my pal White's. We argued about the way I'd worded the opening phrase, and I fixed it before Fantagrothics sent it off to the printer.
WALLACE AND GROMIT are to star in a new short TV film - the first since their Oscar-winning show A Close Shave over a decade ago.
Nick added: "It's nice to be out of that feature film pressure now. I don't feel like I'm making a film for a kid in some suburb of America - and being told they're not going to understand a joke or a northern saying. I'm making this for myself again and the people who love Wallace and Gromit."


Thursday 4 October 2007

polka dots or not.

O n Tuesday I showed a cd cover that, unbeknownst to me at the time, has been attracting some controversy. See here and here as to how and why the image is racist. I would not presume to interfere with anyone's right to take offence, but while modern caricatures are unusual on classical era music, they are not completely unknown. I showed a cd cover by cartoonist Bill Leak back in June, depicting Mozart seated upon the toilet, and while I didn't think it relevant to say so at the time, I'm not too keen on that one either. Perhaps there is something of a Victorian streak in me. I am more attracted to a cartoonist of the calibre of Jerry Robinson, whom I quoted here yesterday on an unrelated topic:

Robinson often draws in an angular humorous style as in the 1992 cartoon above. Then in this attractive illustration of the young Mozart which I scanned from the Robinson interview in the Comics Journal #271, the artist has taken the trouble, unlike the fellow in the controversial cartoon, to know how a violin is held by its owner, and gives us a nicely observed drawing of a young lad in 18th century period costume. My dislike of the other images mentioned above is due entirely to a problem we find with many cartoonists. They have only one way of doing things.


Wednesday 3 October 2007


A bhay Khosla writes a Short Historical Piece about the cartoonist Percy Crosby and his creation, Skippy.- Monday, October 01, 2007. he gives links to online samples of Crosby's artwork, and he finishes: You can find out more about Skippy at the Skippy website. You can also read about the never-ending legal battle between Crosby and the owners of Skippy peanut butter at that website; Crosby's daughter has fought it for more than three decades. You might also enjoy the Filboid Studge blog entry on the topic as it includes examples of Crosby's work (which I would say is quite nice). Of course, Don Markstein's Toonopedia is an invaluable resource. And there's a book out there supposedly-- Jerry Robinson's Skippy and Percy Crosby.
I immediately take down from the shelf my copy of the Robinson book, published by Holt, Rhinehart and Winston in 1978, which I found only recently through excellent book trader Stuart Ng, and find this passage that left me stunned when I first read it:

"I was all alone here on Christmas Eve in 1949-- my first Christmas of confinement, and the hideous aspect of it all is too terrible to relate." Crosby wrote in a memoir. His sudden and stunning ruin left him bewildered and almost smothered his spirit. "I began to take myself apart wondering how everything had gone wrong." But within months he was writing Carolyn of plans for the future. He was eager to resume his career, and most of all to finish several novels. He clearly anticipated a complete recovery and an early release. Soon he found to his dismay that a mental institution was much like communism: "It was easy to get into the place, but getting out was similar to running a race through a briared garden maze." This time the maze had no exit.
Percy Crosby was diagnosed "paranoid schizophrenic." A later report described him as being forever litigious and expressing delusional trends involving high government officials. Crosby's litany of persecutors included President Franklin D Roosevelt, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and J Edgar Hoover, The Internal Revenue Service, Al Capone and other racketeers, and Skippy peanut butter, among others. ("The steal of Skippy peanut butter," as Crosby termed it, became one of his most obsessive complaints. For years he had been in litigation with the manufacturer, claiming infringement of the Skippy trademark, registered by Crosby on march 15, 1923.) Such seemingly wild and bizarre postulations, coupled with his suicide attempt, led to the diagnosis.
Tragic questions remain unanswered about Crosby's years at King's Park. There is reason to believe that today Crosby would either not be committed, or at least would not be confined for sixteen years. In retrospect, there is a question about the correctness of his diagnosis. This involves, in part, a judgment as to the extent that his 'delusions' correspond to reality. An investigation would have established that some of his fears-- surveillance by the FBI, the IRS campaign, Skippy peanut butter, had some substance. In the light of what is known in the 1970s about actions taken by J Edgar Hoover and the FBI in the surveillance, ilegal wiretapping, violation of postal laws, and other measures directed toward what they percieved as 'enemies of the state,' it is not unreasonable to speculate that Crosby's "threats" in the Washington papers might have earned such attention from Hoover. certainly, Crosby's fears would not now be so readily described as paranoia as they were then.

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Tuesday 2 October 2007

Picked up a cd today. Another for my pile by the eightheenth century composer, Le Chevalier Saint-George. (1739-99). He gets a three line entry in a 1944 encyclopedia of music on my shelf. However, in the last seven years we have had Alan Guede's 2003 biography of the chap, and a group of enthusiasts campaigning to have the reputation of the black composer, son of a slave mother and an aristocrat come to Guadeloupe to seek his fortune, thoroughly revived. The result is that a street in the historic center of Paris between Concorde and Madeleine is now named after him. Getting a a comic strip artist to draw the cover of the Cd booklet strikes me as an odd move.
Following my mention of Guy Davenport yesterday, I'm ashamed to say that I find that I missed an excellent essay on hs work by my fellow enthusiast Jeet Heer in the Comics journal #278. He was kind enough to send me a copy of it. If he gets it up online I'll link later, but in the meantime here are a few lines:

Like "Tatlin!" all of Davenport's illustrated stories are inventions. The pictures never serve simply to replicate what is in the words but rather add new information or a fresh perspective. These illustrated stories paralleled and anticipated some of the experiments of writers like Donald Barthelme and W.G. Sebald (kissing cousins in Davenport's literary universe.) "It was my intention, when I began writing fiction several years ago, to construct texts that were both written and drawn," Davenport noted in the introduction to his 1996 book Fifty Drawings, a gathering of his fugitive pen-and-ink work. "In my first work of fiction, "Tatlin" (1974) I drew careful replicas of works by Vladimir Tatlin that exist only as poor reproductions. These were meant to be as much a part of the story as my narrative and required more time to do than the writing. No critic has commented on them, as seeing and reading are now alienated."
'as seeing and reading are now alienated'. Let's think about that.


Monday 1 October 2007

brisk report anthologies

Some evil bastard just sent this link. (no , in fact I see the page has now been removed. no, it's back.):
A graphic novel is a capture of comic book, usually with a lengthy and hardheaded of buildings storyline like to those of novels, and often expected at mature audiences. The idiom also encompasses comic brisk report anthologies, and in some luggage mechanism collections of beforehand in print comic-book series.
There's yer thought for the day, Dirk Deppey.

F rom 2000, sketch for Bacchus T-shirt I drew for Grafitti designs, with finished image. I always liked this sketch and sent it along as an illustration with just about every interview I did since then, but nobody ever used it. looks like it's drawn with a broad point calligraphy pen, plus my favourite flexible nib, finished with liquid paper dashed on in a painterly manner (i used to dilute it with the thinners till it was very fluid).


Tha always perceptive Colman G. in comments the other day was talking about the late Guy Davenport and sent me to the Wikipedia entry for the writer, from where I cut and paste this:
He was rare among American artists in that he was not obsessed with his own image in the world. He could therefore live in perfect privacy in a rotting Kentucky town. Davenport bought Oscar Mayer bologna, fried it, and ate it with Campbell's soup. He died of lung cancer on January 4, 2005.

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Sunday 30 September 2007

covers-Bacchus no. 53

Solicitation drawing and finished painted cover. June 2000: This was the year before the movie came out.

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