Category Archives: cartoons

Transportation by Imagination

How does one use the mind to move from one place to another?  Is teleportation by mental ability possible?  Can we find new ways to travel using only the mind?  New worlds to travel to?  Of course!  Anything is possible once you realize there are no barriers to human imagination.  It is possible to traverse even the beginning and the end of the universe itself.

My Art 2 of Davalon

Case in point, I have as a cartoonist tried to come up with novel ways to travel.  In Catch a Falling Star I imagined that an engineering prodigy and a scientific genius used recovered alien technology to turn an 1889 steam locomotive with a pair of Pullman passenger cars into a space vehicle using an old hot air balloon and Yankee ingenuity.  They used it to fly to Mars.

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A friend who read that book, Stuart R. West, who writes teenage horror story mysteries  (Here’s a link to Stuart’s stuff!) suggested an idea for an illustrated children’s book about three kids that feed bubble gum to a goldfish.  The goldfish urps up a bubble that ends up carrying them off on an adventure through the sky.  I drew a possible illustration for that book and killed the idea completely dead.  I have a secret super power for taking cute and funny ideas and turning them into things that are totally unmarketable.  I wonder if that makes me a super villain instead of a hero.  So, the cartoonist in me had to develop other ways to travel that are even more ridiculous.

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In Clowntown, a part of my Atlas of Fantastica cartoon, you travel the downtown Clowntown skyway by being flipped and flung along the Clowntown Trapeze-way.  It makes for a harrowing ride and it’s really heck to use for trips to the grocery store or coming home again with packages to carry.

Travelling in the part of Fantastica dominated by pirates is even worse.  Traveling by the science of Boomology means getting shot out of a cannon naked to get wherever you need to go.  It is not something I would want to try in real life, but the cartoon me seems to not enjoy it with only minor bumps and bruises.

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So, travelling by means of the mind alone, through imagination, is quite possible… and probably infinitely unwise.

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I Go Pogo!

I gave you fair warning.  Pogo has been coming to Mickey’s Catch a Falling Star Blog for a while now.  So, if you intended to avoid it, TOO BAD!  You are here now in Okefenokee Swamp with Pogo and the gang, and subject to Mickey’s blog post about Walt Kelly and his creations.

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Walt Kelly began his cartoon hall-of-fame career in 1936 at Walt Disney Studios.  If you watch the credits in Pinocchio, Fantasia, and Dumbo, you will see Walt listed as an animator and Disney artist.  In fact, he had almost as much influence on the Disney graphic style as Disney had on him.  He resigned in 1941 to work at Dell Comics where he did projects like the Our Gang comics that you see Mickey smirking at here, the Uncle Wiggly comics, Raggedy Ann and Andy comics, and his very own creations like Pogo, which would go on to a life of its own in syndicated comics.  He did not return to work at Disney, but always credited Disney with giving him the cartoon education he would need to reach the stratosphere.

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Walt Kelly's Earth Day comic

Walt Kelly’s Earth Day comic

Pogo is an alternate universe that is uniquely Walt Kelly’s own.  It expresses a wry philosophy and satirical overview of our society that is desperately needed in this time of destructive conservative politics and deniers of science and good sense.

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Pogo himself is an every-man character that we are supposed to identify with the most.  He is not the driver of plots and doings in the swamp, rather the victim and unfortunate experiencer of those unexpectable things. Life in Okefenokee is a long series of random events to make life mostly miserable but always interesting if approached with the right amount of Pogo-ism.

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And Pogo was always filled with cute and cuddly as well as ridiculous.

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As a boy, I depended on the comic section of the Sunday paper to make sense of the world for me.  If I turned out slightly skewed and warped in certain ways, it is owing to the education I myself was given by Pogo, Lil Abner, Dagwood Bumstead, and all the other wizards from the Sunday funnies.  There was, of course, probably no bigger influence on my art than the influence of Walt Kelly.

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So what more can I say about Walt Kelly?  I haven’t yet reached the daily goal of 500 words.  And yet, the best way to conclude is to let Walt speak for himself through the beautiful art of Pogo.

Pogo and Mamzelle

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Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

It is, of course, one of the most powerful, masterful, and best-known pieces of music ever written.

Mozart completed the “little serenade” in Vienna in 1787, but it wasn’t published until 1827, long after Mozart’s untimely death.

The Serenade is incorrectly translated into English as “A Little Night Music”. But this is and always has been the way I prefer to think of it. A creation of Mozart written shortly before he hopped aboard the ferryman’s boat and rode off into the eternal night. It is the artifact that proves the art of the master who even has the word “art” as a part of his name. A little music to play on after the master is gone to prove his universal connection to the great silent symphony that is everything in the universe singing silently together.

It is basically what I myself am laboring now to do. I have been dancing along the edge of the abyss of poverty, suffering, and death since I left my teaching job in 2014. I will soon be taking my own trip into night aboard the ferryman’s dreaded boat. And I feel the need to put my own art out there in novel and cartoon form before that happens.

I am not saying that I am a master on the level of a Mozart. My name is not Mickart. But I do have a “key’ in the name Mickey. And it will hopefully unlock something worthwhile for my family and all those I loved and leave behind me. And hopefully, it will provide a little night music to help soothe the next in line behind me at the ferryman’s dock.

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Filed under Paffooney, artwork, cartoons, magic, classical music, feeling sorry for myself, Hidden Kingdom, commentary, metaphor, music

Cartoonish Behavior

What is the use of Kartoon Kops? I mean, why do we possibly need cartoon policemen with rubber whack-bats, squirting ink guns, and face pies? Why, to control cartoon misbehavior, of course.

If I work on the roof of the house because the shingles are weather-damaged, and then I walk off the end of the roof, and I just stand there in the air because I know better than to look down, I am breaking the law of gravity. I deserve a strawberry pie to the face for that crime. (Not blueberry pie, though. I’m allergic to blueberries.)

If I run in place and my legs go faster and faster until they look like blurred leg-colored circles, and then I take off, faster than a speeding bullet, leaving only poofy clouds behind, I am breaking the law of acceleration and inertia. I deserve a blast of black ink in my face for that.

And if I put an extremely hot towel on my face, and Bugs Bunny is my barber, my face will come off in the towel and leave the space on the front of my head blank. I will be breaking the law of… of… well, keeping my face on in public. Rubber whack-bat bruises are in my future for that.

“But, Mickey!” you say to me, “The real world doesn’t work that way!”

“Well, duh! Didn’t I tell you this was about cartoons from the start?”

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Mickey Makes Manga Art

I always loved this song.  When I was a boy, it was the song I would sing when I was alone in the darkness.  It made me feel better, able to march toward home in spite of potential spooks and brain-eating zombies.  The weight of the invisible future world could not drag me down if this tune was in my head, filling it with helium and good spirit; it allowed me to fly.

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And when I listened to it playing on the radio…  I always paused and listened to at least a couple of verses no matter what I was doing… I never once thought of Johnny Nash as a black man.  I didn’t know he was black until I first saw a picture of him.  But even then I didn’t think, “Oh, he’s a black man.”  I thought, “Oh, he’s a man like me.”  But, I, of course, am not black.  I’m not really white either.  I am a kind of pale pink to mauve mottled color with dark pink psoriasis spots in random places all over me. It is the man on the inside that is like Johnny Nash, full of uplifting things, and goofy grins, and… hopefully, hope.

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But when I was young it wasn’t only singing “I Can See Clearly Now…” in my goofy farmboy voice that filled my head with air and allowed me to float away from the troubles of the world.  I also learned to draw Manga style, in the tradition of Osamu Tezuka’s Astroboy , filtered through hours of practice copying Walt Kelly’s Pogo characters and various Disney cartoons.

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I copied the over-large eyes and big-headed cutsieness that informed the Japanese idea of the world after the atom bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  I tried to capture innocence and wonder and adventure in drawings that took my mind off the terrible things of my childhood, being sexually assaulted, the assassinations of JFK and his brother RFK, and Martin Luther King Jr, the Viet Nam War, and Nixon with Watergate.  You can reclaim innocence and peace of mind, if you get the lines just right, and the proportions are good, and the character has just the right expression on their sweet little faces.

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Okay, maybe not always so sweet and innocent.  This is not the Dorothy I would want to mess with.  This girl is cocky, sure of herself, and more than a little impish.  A destroyer of wicked witches, that one.

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But that’s what Manga Art is all about.  You whistle away the darkness one drawing at a time.  And there’s plenty of darkness to whistle away anymore, isn’t there?  What with Tronald Dump taking on the NFL over the American Flag and National Anthem, Tronald Dump taking on Jim Kong Oon in an insult war backed up by ICBMs, and Congress busily trying to take away all our access to health care.  (I know I misspelled some names there, but I am tired of talking about that guy that Dorothy told me I should call the “orange-faced poop sack.”  No, Dorothy, I can’t call him that.  Using language like that robs my head of its helium.)  So, what do I do now about the state of the world?  Well, here is the Manga Art I drew last night.

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Catgirl and White-haired Snow White with a ping pong ball in her mouth.

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Making-‘Em-Look-Funny Art Day

MAGA Man

The cartoon portrait exaggerates and calls attention to things that are not ordinarily something to be proud of. MAGA Man’s defiance, Doofy Fuddbugg’s toothless grin, or Dorothy’s threatening presence can all make us laugh and enjoy the funny thing that no one else can give us.

Evil Eddy
This portrait has two faces. Which one is the girl’s real persona?
And which of the two faces is really the persona of the boy?
I can do me funny too.
Some people are just naturally part Mr. Bean.
He is so bald for a smart man.

Crazy Catnip is here to put an end to this.

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Lazy Sunday Silliness

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Imagination is always the place I go in times of trouble.  I have a part of my silly old brain devoted to dancing the cartoon dance of the dundering doofus.  It has to be there that I flee to and hide because problems and mistakes and guilt and pessimism are constantly building un-funny tiger-traps of gloom for me to rot at the bottom of.  You combat the darkness with bright light.  You combat hatred with love.  You combat unhappiness with silly cartoonish imaginings.  Well… maybe you don’t.  But I do.

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When reading the Sunday funnies in the newspaper on lazy Sunday afternoons, I spent years admiring Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes for its artistry and imaginative humor, believing it was about a kid who actually had a pet talking tiger.  I didn’t get the notion that Hobbes was actually a toy tiger for the longest time.  That’s because it was basically the story of my own boyhood.  I had a stuffed tiger when I was small. He talked.  He went on adventures with me.  And he talked me into breaking stuff and getting into trouble with Mom and Dad. It was absolutely realistic to me.

Dinosaurs

I have always lived in my imagination.  Few people see the world the way I view it.  I have at least four imaginary children to go along with the three that everybody insists are real.  There’s Radasha, the boy faun, my novel characters Tim Kellogg and Valerie Clarke, and the ghost dog that lurks around the house, especially at night.  That plus Dorin, Henry, and the Princess (the three fake names that I use in this blog for my three real children).

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Have you noticed how Watterson’s water-color backgrounds fade into white nothingness the way daydreams do?  Calvin and Hobbes were always a cartoon about turning the unreal into the real, turning ideas upside down and looking at them through the filter-glasses of Spaceman Spiff.

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Unique and wonderful solutions to life’s problems can come about that way.  I mean, I can’t actually use a bloggular raygun to vaporize city pool inspectors, but I can put ideas together in unusual ways to overcome challenges.  I almost got the pool running again by problem-solving and repairing cracks myself.

 

So, I am now facing the tasks of working out a chapter 13 bankruptcy and having a swimming pool removed.  The Princess will need to be driven to and from school each day.  I will need to help Henry find another after-school job.  And the cool thing is, my imaginary friends will all be along for the ride.  Thank you, Calvin.  Thank you, Hobbes.  You made it all possible.  So, please, keep dancing the dance of the dundering doofus.

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Quackatoonity (Religion Where Ducks are Always Watching)

Yes, the universe was not formed in a big bang. It hatched from an egg. And God is the Ultimate Mallard.

Anatidaephobia (pronounced anna-tidy-phobia) is a pervasive and irrational fear that you are being watched by a duck. A person with this rare phobia fears that somehow, somewhere a duck is watching their every move.

This phobia about being watched by a duck may seem like a strange basis for forming a new religion. But I may have had an epiphany as a child when a goose at Deer Farm Zoo stuck his neck, head, and beak of retribution out through a hole in his chicken-wire cage and nearly nipped me in my five-year-old neck. That epiphany led to recurring nightmares about being chased by a duck with large white teeth that looked like he had bad human dentures in his bill.

This I tended to interpret as a sign that I was facing a big decision about what I would attempt to do with my young life, and would do it wrong.

Ducks in the farmyard, you see, are temperamental, often impulsive, and randomly violent. They will punish you for sins you did not know you were committing.

So, in this Quackatoon faith in judgmental ducks who are constantly watching our every move, thought, and deed, we should be taking Saint Donald Duck as our role-model and guide. When we see sin and wrongness in the world we are watching, we must dissolve in incoherent rage. Point your finger. Shout things that no one understands. Get the world’s attention. Confuse them completely. And get them to wonder what they did to make you so rage-filled and dangerously aggravated.

Then, hopefully, they will realize their sin and immediately mend their ways. Or at least, rearrange their feathers.

Or we can rely on the incompetent vengeful wrath of Saint Daffy Duck to see the unrighteousness in the rabbits of the world around us, posting Rabbit Season signs everywhere, and getting his duckbill blown off via the shotgun of a nearby Elmer who has been tricked into thinking ducks are rabbits.

Well, that might not be the most efficient prosecution of God’s will on Earth. But at least it will leave us laughing. And who can sin who is laughing that hard?

At this point in trying to establish this new religion, I should probably be talking about financial matters. Where you can send donations to the Church of Perpetual Quackers? Will there be t-shirts with religious slogans like, “You’re Driving Me Quackers!?” Do we still bring deviled eggs to church socials?

But I can’t talk about that right now… a duck is probably watching.

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If You are the Villain

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A New Day Art Day

So, how do you follow up a thing like starting a new religion like Quackatoonity? Should you follow it up?

I mean, this is Art Day. And I need a theme for Art Day. How about, “Art with no ducks in it?” Well, Ducks are always watching from somewhere. So, I guess that’s a no-go.

Of course, I could always try to prove the “toon” part is real. I am a cartoonist. I do do cartoons. (Haha! He said, “doodoo!” Shows you the level of humor he will sink to.)

This cartoon is a bit creepy and definitely surreal. This was done more than a decade before I even met my wife. But the two boys seem to be four years apart in age, just like my real-life sons. They do not, however, have visible horns on their heads. This is supposed to be surreal, not photographic.

So, there’s a weird cartoon story for today’s Art Day post on a New Day. And nowhere in sight will you find a duck in it… OH, NO! THERE’S A DUCK IN IT!!! How does Donald do that?

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