Tag Archives: cartoons

Happy Birthday, Carl Barks

Carl Barks was born on March 27th, 1901. So, today is his 118th birthday. If you have no idea who I’m even talking about, then you were never a kid and a comic book fan in the 1960s. Carl Barks is both Uncle Scrooge’s father and Donald Duck’s stepfather.

Carl is a personal art hero of mine. I grew to adulthood on the adventures of his plucky ducks doing duck adventures in Duckburg. I have written about my devotion to Carl in this blog before. In fact, here is the link; https://catchafallingstarbook.net/2014/09/27/carl-barks-master-of-the-duck-comic/

That’s essentially true. A large part of my character as a junior high school English teacher was based on what I learned about mentoring from Scrooge McDuck and about teaching important facts from Gyro Gearloose.

Carl was not immune to criticism. Cartoonists get blow-back, a fact of life. But he overcame it with a wry sense of humor and interesting views of how you pursue goals in life. He had a firm sense of fair-play and justice. You could get actual morals to the stories in a Carl Barks’ duck cartoon.

The characters were not perfect. They all had glaring flaws, the heroes right along with the villains. Of course, the villains never learned to change their ways, while the heroes often learned to improve themselves by working on the weaknesses, and it wasn’t all about becoming a gazillionaire (a term I think Barks may have invented).

I even learned a good deal about adventure story-telling from Carl Barks’ comic books about Duck people doing ducky stuff that was really about people doing people-y stuff in the real world. Yes, people in the world around me are very Carl Barks’ ducky.

So, happy birthday, Carl. 118 years young. And he’s only been gone from our world since August of 2000. He still talks to me and teaches me through his Duck comics.

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Filed under artists I admire, autobiography, comic book heroes, goofy thoughts, humor

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.

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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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Filed under artists I admire, autobiography, cartoons, feeling sorry for myself, humor, imagination, strange and wonderful ideas about life

The Art of Being Stupid

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My title today may prompt you to think, “Apparently, when Mickey does art it is stupid art.”  If my title didn’t make you think that, then my first sentence certainly did.  I am literally putting stupid ideas into your head.  And this is a problem because the people currently at the top of the people pile that is our modern society are  shoveling great smelly heaps of stupidity directly into our brains.

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I know stupid.  I was a public school teacher for thirty-one years.  No one survives the mine-field of stupid bombs in the classroom without being able to recognize the incoming booby-head missiles.  Years worth of lame homework excuses have made stupidity easily recognizable.  Being stupid is easy.  Countering it is hard.

So how does one be stupid?  I nearly found out yesterday as I was driving on an access road for I-35.  I was going the 40-mile-per-hour speed limit and got a phone call on my cell phone.  All I did was look at my phone to see who was calling in case another school child was calling because  pollen season was killing them again and they wanted to come home from school… again.  My son shouted a warning of imminent death and I looked back at the road in time to see the car dealer had left a car-carrier trailer in the road with the ramp down.  Wow!  That was almost an epic Evel Knievel stunt.

But being epically stupid is simply a matter of not paying attention well enough.  It is easy to achieve.  Note how often President Cheeto-head achieves it.

I have also found it to be a remarkably easy thing to be stupid on Facebook and Twitter.  All you have to do is post and repost stuff, or tweet and retweet stuff, that speaks to your own prejudices and ignores what is factual and what is not.  I have seen very elaborate anti-climate change graphs that seem to show a correlation between sun activity and periods of warming and cooling climate.  The biggest problem with this frequently debunked “take-that-and-stuff-it!” evidence is that it was created by a pair of propagandists with oil-company ties who were only masquerading as climate scientists.

When you vet that source and introduce evidence to your conservative Facebook friend you will get back a horrified speculation about the depths of your own stupidity for believing that Snopes.com is not also propaganda and you can’t believe everything NASA says because their funding is at stake.  And I end up having to admit I do say similar things about their cherished sources like Infowars, Breitbart, and Fox News.  Truth is apparently more the product of faith than it is the province of science.

Besides not knowing what facts are, it is fairly easy to be monumentally stupid by having no empathy at all.  Iowegians who would bend over backwards and feed their own liver to a hungry Iowan, will routinely cry about the dangers of Sharia law and talk about wall building at the sight of Syrian widows and orphans.   And don’t even get me started about shoot-first Texans.  Not after they just shot and killed another unarmed black teenager in Balch Springs.

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So how do you make an Art out of Stupid?

Well, the CBS Morning News has started running down the key events in the news with snippets quoted from late-night TV hosts and comedians like Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Trevor Noah, and James Corden.  You defeat stupidity by aping it, imitating it, and making people laugh at it.  It is really defeated when you make someone laugh about their own stupidity, like the story about me and the I-35 launch ramp.  Comedians seem to be the only ones effectively reporting on the current Presidential situation, and even CNN and MSNBC news anchors have begun making jokes in their reporting.  I have become a lover of political cartoons like never before.

downloadYou may not be able to rescue other people’s minds from being stupid.  But what you can do and be artful about is… make them laugh.

 

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Filed under angry rant, education, humor, memes, politics, red States, satire

Because Rabbits Are People Too

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Today’s Paffooney paffoon cartoon is a puzzler.  I have this Rabbit People cartoon scene in my head with no punch line, no dialogue, and basically no idea.  It just popped into my head doodle fashion, and then flowed down through my pencil and pen onto paper.

What is boy bunny Benjamin asking or saying to young buck about town Bernhopper Bunny?  And what is Bernhopper’s answer?

Maybe like this;

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But that’s bathroom humor.  We all know the Easter Bunny lays chocolate eggs for Easter, so bunny bathroom humor gets you wondering about about chocolate chip cookies from the Easter Bunny.  And that’s just gross.

Maybe it should be more like this;

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Now that’s downright bad citizenship advice.  Surely we can do better.  And does the story have to be about the fireplug?

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Okay, gotta squelch the sexual innuendo.  When it comes to rabbits, that kind of humor leads to lots more rabbits.  I’m not really sure how this comes out.  Maybe the story should involve fat Barry Bunny who secretly prefers bananas to carrots.  Or maybe it is about beautiful Bingolette Bunny who plays the bongos and writes monumentally horrible love songs in her spare time.  I just can’t figure out rabbit humor!  It is so frustrating!  Maybe you have suggestions in the comments.  (Is that a challenge to your creativity?  Just a test to see if you really read this junk?  Or am I just too lazy to write my own cartoons?  I’ll never tell.)

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Filed under cartoons, characters, comic strips, doodle, foolishness, humor, Paffooney cartoony, rabbit people, strange and wonderful ideas about life

The Ultra-Mad Madness of Don Martin

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Born in 1931 and lasting in this crazy, mixed-up world until the year 2000, Don Martin was a mixy, crazed-up cartoonist for Mad Magazine who would come to be billed as “Mad Magazine’s Maddest Artist.”    His greatest work was done during his Mad years, from 1956 (the year I was born… not a coincidence, I firmly believe) until his retirement in 1988.  And I learned a lot from him by reading his trippy toons in Mad from my childhood until my early teacher-hood.

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His style is uniquely recognizable and easily identifiable.  Nobody cartoons a Foon-man like Don Martin.

The googly eyes are always popped in surprise.  The tongue is often out and twirling.  Knees and elbows always have amazingly knobbly knobs.  Feet have an extra hinge in them that God never thought of when he had Adam on the drawing board.

And then there is the way that Martin uses sound effects.  Yes, cartoons in print don’t make literal sounds, but the incredible series of squeedonks and doinks that Martin uses create a cacophony of craziness in the mind’s ear.

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And there is a certain musicality in the rhyming of the character names he uses.  Fester Bestertester was a common foil for slapstick mayhem, and Fonebone would later stand revealed by his full name, Freenbeen I. Fonebone.

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And, of course, one of his most amazingly adventurous ne’er-do-well slapstick characters was the immeasurable Captain Klutz!

Here, there, and everywhere… on the outside he wears his underwear… it’s the incredible, insteadable, and completely not edible… Captain Klutz!

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If you cannot tell it from this tribute, I deeply love the comic genius who was Don Martin, Mad Magazine’s Maddest Artist.  Like me he was obsessed with nudists and drawing anatomy.  Like me he was not above making up words with ridiculous-sounding syllables.  And like me he was also a purple-furred gorilla in a human suit… wait!  No, he wasn’t, but he did invent Gorilla-Suit Day, where people in gorilla suits might randomly attack you as you go about your daily life, or gorillas in people suits, or… keep your eye on the banana in the following cartoon.

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So, even though I told you about Bruce Timm and Wally Wood and other toon artists long before I got around to telling you about Don Martin, that doesn’t mean I love them more.  Don Martin is wacky after my own heart, and the reason I spent so much time immersed in Mad Magazine back in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.

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Filed under artists I admire, artwork, cartoon review, cartoons, comic book heroes, goofiness, humor, illustrations

The Bitter Black Hearts of the GOP

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Yes, this is another pitiful attempt by Mickey to be a political cartoonist fighting the good fight by slaying the bad guys with really weak and awful satire.  But I can’t help it.  Just as Popeye had a powerful urge to sock goons in the puss with his spinach-fueled twister-sock,  I have to throw some derfy toonage at the vile and heartless members of the GOP (Greedy Old Perpetrators).

After all, they are easy to make fun of.  Republican job applications all start with the question, “Which cartoon Dick Tracy villain or comic book Batman villain are you most like?”

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They do things like organizing an Oversight Committee for the sole purpose of spending millions of dollars to point fingers at Hillary and shout the name of a North-African town where diplomats died basically because of budget cuts to security ( a Republican budget) and shout it loudly until people begin to think Hillary must have had something to do with it because men with heads shaped like sports equipment are shouting it so much.

And Republicans are able to do this stuff because they know how to win elections and control the government.

Basically what I am saying is that Republicans cheat.  They get to rule even though they generate fewer votes in the country.

And what do they do with that power once they have it in their tiny, tiny hands?  They use it to make more money.  The rise of the billionaire class in the last thirty years is evidence that they are insanely good at it.  Do they use that money and power to help their neighbors and better the lives of everyone?  Of course not!  Why would you think that?

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Republican priorities are obvious when you look at the first things on their agenda.  They want to roll back environmental protections and pour more pollutants into rivers and into the air.  They want to do away with Obamacare to eliminate the extra taxes that wealthy people have to pay.  They want to prevent people from immigrating from lands where people don’t have white skin, because the only part of a Republican that can be black with the full approval of their party, is the heart.  Yes, that part can be jet black and rancid.

Take that, evil Republicans!  Wait, why are you laughing?  Didn’t my satire slay you?

Oh, well, another day, another cartoon.

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Oopsie!  Wasn’t that heart supposed to be black?

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Filed under angry rant, cartoons, commentary, humor, pessimism, politics, satire

My Post for Today

My computer is wearing out.  It blew up the WordPress posting sight on my screen to where the letters in the title are once again an inch tall.  The chances that it will suddenly wipe out everything I have typed and save a blank post over the whole thing almost instantly is making me tired.  To combat the problem, I must constantly keep a back-up copy on Microsoft Word which may also grow or shrink for no apparent reason.  It gets frustrating, and I am old, ill, and quite tired.  But I am also only a month away from two entire years of posting every single day, a feat I am not ready to fail at this close to the end.  So let me show something from my cartoon collections stolen from the internet at large.

From the Lola Bunny file;

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From Movie Art;

From Hanna-Barbera Toons;

And these are all things I could’ve written a 500-word post about with unique and possibly yawn-inducing Mickian insights, but today I would rather not.  Today I take the “picture is worth a thousand words” thing and give you 17,000 thousand words worth of not having to listen to me.

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Filed under blog posting, cartoons, collage, feeling sorry for myself, grumpiness