Category Archives: cartoons

Wally Wood

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A self-portrait by Wallace Wood.

I am a bit of a cartoonist for a reason.  I started drawing cartoons at the age of five.  I read everything in the Sunday funny pages, not just for the jokes.  I poured over the drawings and copied some.  I drew Dagwood Bumstead and Blondie.  I drew Lil’ Abner and Charlie Brown and Pogo.  Cartoonists were heroes to me.

But my parents wanted to protect me from the evils of comic books.  Superheroes were off limits most of the time.  Things that are associated with evil were out of the question.  So Daredevil was beyond reach.  And Mad Magazine was full of socialist ideas and led kids down the dark path of satire.  So the truth is, I didn’t discover Wally Wood until I was in college.  His corrupting influence didn’t take hold of me until I was older and full of hormones.  Ah, youth and the propensity for sin!  Wally taught me that cartoons could be real.

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Wally Wood was one of the original artists working for EC comics who formed Mad Magazine with it’s spoofs and irreverent humor.  Wood worked together with the Great Will Eisner on the Spirit.  He went on to work for Marvel on the comic book Daredevil where he innovated the red suit and double-D logo, as well as doing the primary story-telling that brought that comic book from the bottom of the Marvel stack to almost the very top.  His work on Daredevil resonates even until today where there is now a big controversy that the popular show on Netflix does not list Wood among the creators of Daredevil in their credits.  I must remember to complain about that later.

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But the thing that drew me to Wood more than anything was the realistic style that he brought to the unreal realm of cartoons.  The man could draw!  He did marvelous detail work and was a leader in the development of dynamic composition in an artistic industry that tolerated and even often encouraged really poor-quality drawing.  He took the comic book from the age of the glorified stick figure to an age of cinematic scope and know-how.  Here it is revealed in his classic break-down of innovative comic-book panels;

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But it is also important to realize that the more power you put into art, the more it can blow up and hurt people.  Wood had a dark side that went a bit darker as he went along.  He had an issue with the kind of false front comics had to throw up in front after the anti-comics crusade of psychologist Fredric Wertham’s book Seduction of Innocents.  He is probably the artist behind the cartoon poster The Disneyland Memorial Orgy.  He started his own cartoon studio that produced increasingly erotic and pornographic comics like Sally Forth, Cannon, and Gangbang.  He became increasingly ill, lost the sight in one eye, suffered severe headaches, and eventually committed suicide in 1981.  With great power comes great responsibility, and we are not all superheroes in the end.  But I will always admire and emulate the work of this great artist… and selfishly wish he could’ve lived to create more of the wonderful art he gave us.

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Friday Funnies… um, Yeah?

I have been trying for a while to develop a weekly blog routine to make thinking up something new and creative for a daily post easier… even simple. Tuesday is novel-work where I share a freshly made chapter of a work in progress.

Saturday is art day where I am supposed to share artwork I have done in a new and interesting way.

Sunday is devotional day… which is weird for an atheist who believes in God. I have a tendency to share things I am devoted to, which is far more than just religion. I have included on this blog day such things I keep sacred as Disney movies, Dr. Seuss, and being a nudist.

And Friday is supposed to be the day to be funny. Cartoons and jokes and satire and things to make you laugh.

The thing is, though I am a cartoonist, I am not that kind of cartoonist. I don’t do gag cartoons. I am more of an ironic twister of tales and tails and puns. My cartoon shared at the start here is not funny at all. Sometimes my humor novels get downright maudlin and sad. I doubt I have ever yet busted someone’s gut with laughter. I would not want to be guilty of murder by cartoon. What do you legally call that? Gag-a-cide? I put in the hyphens to make sure you didn’t think I was talking about killing Lady Gaga.

I have pretty much mastered the art of drawing cartoons. I can do eyes like Walt Kelly (the creator of Pogo) and Harvey Comics‘ noses (like the one in the Hot Stuff Devil picture) and women with huge jugs… of moonshine like Al Capp (the creator of Lil’ Abner… and you knew I meant jugs of Kickapoo Joy Juice, right? Surely you did think…)

Ah, but telling funny jokes is not what I do. Still, I believe I can lay claim to being a humorist based on this blog. I make people smirk a lot when I talk, which I take as visual confirmation that I am funny. Unless people are smirking at me for other reasons? Do I have another daddy longlegs spider dancing on my head because at least two of his long legs are tangled in my hair? Really? For the third time already?

But, regardless, I have reason to believe this post and others like it on Friday qualify for the notion of Friday Funnies. I can make myself smirk, guffaw, and sometimes giggle without looking in a mirror to see the spider. But you are welcome to dispute my funniness in the comments if you prefer it to admitting that I can sometimes make you laugh. If you do, then you will be supporting the arguments of the book reviewer who reviewed my book Mickey’s Rememberries and said, “He could be a great writer if only he were more serious/” I took that as a compliment. Irony, don’t ya know.

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Why Cartoons, Mickey?

In today’s Art Day post I will tackle the answer to the one question that you probably most don’t need to have an answer to.

Looney Tunes, Merry Melodies, The Woody Woodpecker Show, a Mickey Mouse Cartoon…. why does this old American art form have such a hold over Mickey’s artist’s eye, his pen and ink and drawing hand, and Mickey’s cartoony heart?

Because a simple black line on white paper can become so many different and interesting things. And they can be funny, or they can be in color, or they can make you laugh and cry at the same time.

Cartoons make it possible to turn unicorns into magical jackasses for no other reason than it tickles your funnybone.

You know the funnybone, right? It’s the part of the skeleton that looks the most ridiculously unworkable when you are not wearing your skin.

Yes, no horse actually looks like that. Only in cartoons.

What is too ridiculous to be real, like a superhero whose super power is overwhelming body odor, is the only reality in the realm of the cartoon.

And I really can’t help it. I can no more help being a cartoonist than I can help being an old, retired white guy with gray hair that used to be a school teacher who told really bad jokes and drew cartoons on the chalkboard.

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Polly Ticks!!!

Yes, I am really, really tired of politics. The crappiest of crappy people always seem to win. And everything I learn about them in the news makes me more and more disgusted with them. They don’t tell the truth. But I can’t call them liars. I tell lies all the time because I write fiction. My lies are wrapped in creative ideas, perceived underlying truths, and jokes. (Okay, maybe not always good jokes, but I am not guilty of machinational prevarications like they are.) They use propaganda tactics to twist and tear people’s understanding of what is real and what is important. They are actively seeking to take power in order to enrich themselves and let us bear the consequences. They are cutting out and going to Cancun with their daughters and rich neighbors while the rest of Texans are freezing to death and going without electricity and water.

And now that the orange one is no longer Prexidense, I was looking forward to never having to say his name in this blog again.

But even though the monster himself is now exiled to Mar-a-Lago Goolf Courses, we still have to deal with the nuclear fallout from his four-year rampage, and all the other monsters the radioactive ideas have mutated 70-some million Americans into.

You see, the real problem is what the radioactivity has morphed the American experience into. Since the Prexidensity of Ronald Reagan, the shift has been from doing what is right for the nation as a whole into doing what most benefits the privileged and wealthy elite. This they do by convincing the unthinking that they need to fear the “other,” whether that be black people, Black Lives Matter, Antifa, Muslims, Jews, or retired school teachers… you know, all them communist badguys. And they dangle policies in front of stupid people’s eyes that say, “Through trickle-down economics you can one day be rich like us and all the people that we hate will be punished and America will be Great Again” And all of those run-on, mangled incentives are prevarications. Snake oil. A con game that leaves the listener broke and exploited.

And in a mean-spirited way, they try to deny us anything that will help everybody, to the point that we will no longer have any air to breathe and the planet will boil itself to death.

Is there a way out? Is there a chance that it will get better now that the orange one is, at least temporarily gone from the main stage? Probably not. But the dance of the rich folks on the radical right (The horse’s rear end in that last cartoon) will stop when they reach the point where they are forced to eat their own feet because all the people that work for them on less than a living wage will have starved to death.

But not everything in politics is bad all the time. Sometimes our better angels do make a difference. And there is hope. At least until the Republicans manage to vote it all down again… with electoral-type votes where somehow you don’t have to have more votes to win.

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When Cartoon Characters Take Selfies

I often wonder if there is only one picture of me in this self-portrait.

This is definitely a self-portrait, the character in the novel as well as this cartoon.

This is me in a mirror… at least, filtered through my own self-concept.

Grumpy, square-headed German-American me.
Pirate me when I cannot talk like a real human being and need a wooden-headed puppet to interpret for me.
The character Superchicken (on the left) is a self portrait of me at twelve (in the novel). Sherry Cobble (on the right) is NOT me.
Milt Morgan is also a me character. But this picture is based on a school photo of me at ten.
‘Nuff said.
High school Senior me.

Me as a Charlie Brown/Peanuts character. This was created on an APP, and then photo-shopped by me.

,,,

;;;

The self-portrait I use on the backs of paperback novels.

The science-y version of me from the novel The Bicycle Wheel Genius.

This post is probably evidence that cartoonists should probably not portray themselves.

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Another Saturday, Another Art Day

“The Island Girl”

The picture called “Dorothy Gale” is an example of today’s theme. “What Mickey thinks girls look like.”

“Leopard Girl and Dilsey Murphy”
“Grandma Gretel holding General Swift”

“Rihanna”

“Journalist of the Future”

“The Wolf Girl”

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Limping and Learning

We have not had an acceptable run the last four years. He won… the preening orange peacock. We were forced to live with the results, accepting the conclusions that the bad guys won the election and had a right to rule over us.

They took the economy that Obama had repaired after Bush crashed it and reached new heights, that benefitted only the richest among THEM. And then they crashed it again. Even worse, with more carnage and pain.

And they took the pandemic-survival playbook that Bush requested and Obama perfected enough to avert a horrible Ebola pandemic and tore it up, firing the the response team in Homeland Security because Obama put it together. That worked out well… for people who don’t like black people or Hispanics.

We impeached him, but couldn’t remove him. We investigated him, but let him get away with all the crimes, especially abuse of power, that we uncovered. How is that fair to those of us who never committed a crime, but suffered from his handling of taxation and immigration and national security?

So, what have we learned? I have learned that friends in Iowa who questioned Obama’s birth certificate and called Obama “Black Hitler” will claim I have never been respectful towards their president, and I should be ashamed of myself. And I have learned they can tell me what dramatic irony means… as a term from high school literature class with Mr. Sorum. But they don’t live it… or acknowledge that other people, me for example, are forced to.

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Pumpernickel Is More Than Just a Silly Word!

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We descendants of Germans  all understand something you all probably don’t know, and might have a hard time actually accepting.  Germans and German Americans like to simply call things what they are… but we do it with remarkably silly words so you don’t take things as seriously as you probably should.

Seriously…  Pumpernickel bread looks an awful lot like a cow pie.  Don’t know what a cow pie is?  That’s because you don’t speak Iowegian. Remember that post?  A cow eats grass, digests it for a while, bakes it in the secret methane chambers embedded secretly within every living cow, and then the old garbage shoot plops out the cow pie.  Flies love to eat it.  The grass grows fiercely after absorbing what the flies and maggots leave behind.  Yeah, that.

The bread originated in Germany where, as I have so graciously pointed out to you, they call things simply what it is.  Pumpern in German means to break wind. Nickel is a variant of Nicholas or Nick, which is the name der Teufel, err…the Devil often goes by.  So the bread is called, in its simplest translation, “Devil’s fart bread”.  Isn’t that rich?  And it tastes good too.

But what’s the point of praising pumpernickel?  Well, it brings to mind in Mickey’s mangled mish-mash of a mind an old Daffy Duck cartoon.

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Yes, the tale of the Scarlet Pumpernickel has been playing out in Monkey Town where the Great Orange Buffoon in charge of it all is busy making Nixon noises.

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“Yes, my lord, there is an investigation  into the Russian connection between your henchmen and Vladimir Putin,” said Director Comey.

“Hmmm…  Fake News!  Very Sad!” moaned the Buffoon.  “Comey, I appreciate you smearing Clinton and all you did to help the greatest most historic election ever… but you’re fired!

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“Aha!” says Comey, revealing himself to be the infamous hero, the Scarlet Pumpernickel “…now I have you, my lord! But, wait! Fired, you say?  Um, you do have the authority to fire me, don’t you.”

“Now, clear out your desk, loser!”

“Ah, but this action makes you look guilty, my lord.  Perhaps the sting of my sword of justice will prick you in the behind yet!”

“Sessions!  Defeat this loser for me!  Very sad, sick man!”

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“Me thinks you have not heard the last of the Scarlet Pumpernickel!” cried Comey as he leaped out the tower window into the chasm with a river at the bottom far below.

What happens in the next episode of the saga of the hero named after devil fart bread?  Only time will tell.

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Interesting way to introduce my latest Monkey President cartoon attempt to depict Trump… no?  You do realize he’s a German American too?

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The Autobiography of Mickey (and NOT Mickey Mouse)

Oh, yes. It is almost complete… but for the final edit. It will hopefully be published very soon. It is filled with essays written for my blog, Catch a Falling Star. And, hopefully, I have chosen only the good ones.

But the book is not a stand-alone. It is a sequel to Laughing Blue, published earlier this year. I actually hope to reach 20 books published by early in 2021. Of course, it still requires that I don’t die too soon from the pandemic, or from any of my other problems that the Covid problem could interfere with getting medical treatment for.

Laughing Blue has five Five-Star Reviews.

Both of these books are essay collections, but the majority of the stories and explanations and comedy in each are based on my thirty-one years of experience as a Texas public school teacher, my nearly forty year association with nudists (though I can’t honestly claim to be one). my silly attempts at writing seriously bad poetry, my belief in flying saucers, and nearly ten years of being a wacky wizard. How’s that for a sentence that violates every run-on-sentence rule I ever taught any young writer?

Book number 18 is still pretty new too.

Anyway, now that you know, I better get started on that final edit. A writer has to keep his promises to himself. And maybe to the rest of you too.

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Today in Rabbit-People News

Okay, big miscalculation here. My old eyes can’t read the rabbit-talk in this cartoon. So, let me do something about it.

Nope. I can read it now. But that’s the problem. Not only is it not funny, but it’s also sorta racist. But wolves do eat rabbits. Still…

News in the RabbitTown Gazette includes the fact that my son is nearing recovery from COVID 19, and nobody in the house has caught it from him. He gets tested on Saturday so he can return to work if the test is negative.

Of course, the nation-wide news is not so great. This is 2020 after all, even in RabbitTown. The price of carrots is still within reach. But rabbit people are continuing to get sick from the pandemic which will be with us well into 2021.

And the weasel in the really bad weasel-wig that somehow got elected Prexydon’t is still favoring wolf-people, even when they kill an unarmed rabbit. And he blames the rabbits for being mad about how the wolves seemed to get away with murder. He twists the facts to suggest that exercising your right to peaceful protest is the cause of the chaos.

Yes, I am basically a rabbit too.

According to the featured editorial in the RabbitTown Gazette, you should be able to say, “Rabbit lives matter!” without having wolves answer back, “You mean ALL lives matter!”

After all, if you can’t admit out loud that “Rabbit lives matter,” then you really mean the opposite when you are saying, “ALL lives matter.”

Rabbits, whether they are black, white, brown, or red, have unique rabbit qualities, and they all have a basic worth. And I don’t mean as food for wolves.

The paper seems to have only bad news about the economy when you look at it from a rabbit perspective. Sure, the wolves are doing great right now on Wall Street, but that doesn’t help those of us who are not invested in the stalk market. We regular rabbits, and especially poor rabbits, are struggling to keep carrots on the table.

So, it is time for all good rabbits to do whatever a rabbit can. And that’s the way it was today in Rabbit News.

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