Friday, November 30, 2012

Special Denizen

The Disney universe is an odd duck, so to speak. Much of it is loved, globally, and much of it is criticized for its white bread values. Under various bosses, its film library has wandered all over the map, and considering its immense success, it's hard to critique it in general. Known as the 'Disney version', classic fairy tales have been sanitized and sentimentalized, and has 'corrupted' generations of little minds to a princess mentality. Not a horrible thing, but disturbing if it becomes obsessive.

These days, efforts are made to correct some of the idealism, such as in "Brave" (though the little heroine is still a princess and somewhat ideal).  Where are the average but extraordinary little girls?

Ah, Lilo and Stitch, one of my favorite latter-day Disney creations, presents Lilo with her 'ordinary' modern day frustrations of family issues, compounded by the 'extraordinary' problems of a little extraterrestrial — Stitch — a characterization that I find very entertaining. Lilo is a very enjoyable characterization as well, but I think that Stitch, with his manic-depressive personality, is a special denizen of the Disney universe.

 The Disney Studio — "Stitch"

The Disney Studio — "Stitch"

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Time-Honored Tradition

Many a time an artist under deadline or other pressures finds the need to 'resource' an image, basically stealing it, for composition, poses, or 'authentic' details. Many of the great illustrators of the past had the financial resources to hire models, pose, light them, etc, as well as spend time at the museum or riffle through old National Geographics to steal images as well.

I confess that I've appropriated images more than once, and quite blatantly, as I faced a deadline and couldn't begin to think of using models. I do make efforts to transform the stolen images into something new (I especially recall painting a mural for a museum depicting an Aztec battle skirmish, showing men wounded and falling in action, where I used photographs from Sports Illustrated that showed tennis players flinging themselves around the court in agony, anguish and tantrums as they fought to win at Wimbledon). 

Anyway, it's a time-honored tradition for artists to steal from the best, which is demonstrated here, as pointed out by Ken in the previous post, wherein the bottom image of Wally Wood and Joe Orlando is appropriated from an earlier painting by Dean Cornwell of an ancient slave auction. The resemblance is unmistakable even as we see that little changes were installed as well.

Fascinating to see the source, and thank you Ken for recognizing the similarity to the painting so precisely that was displayed on Armand Cabrera's interesting blog (Art and Influence) which you can access here.

Dean Cornwell — Ancient Slave Auction —early 20th century

Wally Wood / Joe Orlando — Space Detective — 1951

Inside Front Covers

The late Joe Kubert had probably the record for the longest career in comic books, from the early days in the '40s to just recently. His art style was highly distinctive all that time, though it did evolve consistently. The quality of his style took a leap upward in the early '50s, seemingly quite suddenly. But the first item below seems to be a 'missing link' in his evolution. It has hints of years to come, while still showing youthful experimentation. Even his signature is experimental, rarely used elsewhere like that.

This was an inside front cover for Avon Periodicals, a publisher with a propensity for assigning the best artists to create pen and ink illustrations to 'draw' readers inside the comic, assuming the cover also did its job. As the samples further below showcase, many of those inside covers were by Everett Raymond Kinstler, an illustrator in the making, and Wally Wood with Joe Orlando—two of the most compelling comic book artists of the 1950s.

All of these gentlemen were helping to keep the Golden Age of comic books alive as long as possible, until smothered by the oppressive Comics Code Authority.

 Joe Kubert — Attack on Planet Mars — 1951

 Everett Raymond Kinstler — The Phantom Witch Doctor — 1952

Wally Wood/Joe Orlando — Space Detective — 1951

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Don't you want, sometimes, to escape to an island? I'd build a sanctuary somewhere in the high rocky quadrant. This particular island can turn into two islands at high tide.

Sigh. I guess this is another sign of depression.

Humor is Truth

Humor is truth in disguise. I love the gag in that first panel.

Braudis & Truxaw — Dr. Katz

Here's My Sign

I'm finding lately that my sleeping hours are more pleasurable than my waking hours. Isn't that a sign of depression?

Tullio Pericoli —self portrait —1980s

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Underground World

This is gorgeous art deco storyboard art for one of the animated Superman films of the '40s. If comics could be illustrated this way, I think comic books would make their way to more people. In fact, really, why not comic books that are more 'illustrated' than 'cartooned'?

I love that throne!

Animation story board art — The Underground World — 1943

Monday, November 26, 2012

With Trembling Pseudopods

Among many talented cartoonists over the years, Will Elder was one of the top, even though he specialized in satire, and much of it with his compatriot Harvey Kurtzman.

Originally published in Trump magazine in 1957, this illustration satirizes good girl pulp illustration from a decade before. Elder brings his usual 'chicken fat' (extra little sight gags) to the drawing and shows that he could have given Virgil Finlay a run for his money if he had seriously worked for the pulps.

Will Elder — Trump magazine — 1957

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Welcome to My Nightmare

No, no. Don't let the title of this post mislead you. My computer is still working. I'm pushing it really hard so that if it fails again, it might derail during the slightly extended warrantee on the recent repairs.

I love any art that Drew Struzan creates, and here he channels JC Leyendecker who also never failed to deliver enjoyment for the eyes.

Drew Struzan _ record album cover

Friday, November 23, 2012

Send in the Clowns

Don't Bother. They're here.

My apologies to anyone suffering from Coulrophobia.

Ringling Bros & Barnum & Bailey poster — 1928

Cresting the High Wave

Well, well, well, I appear to be back in ship shape order . . . I hope. 

I'm skimming the surface of various applications, apprehensive of hearing the theme from Jaws. But at this point, I'm cresting the high wave, and seeking calm on the far side. I've a lot of work to catch up on, but I wanted to say 'hey' and hope to see more of you sailing through here again. 

And yes, after taking the longest possible time, the geniuses from Apple called me in on Black Friday to pick up my machine. Aarrrghhh.

Hal Foster — Prince Valiant panel — 1940s

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pointing the Way

We had a great Thanksgiving get-together with our extended family of long time friends. Amazingly, I didn't over-eat, and I didn't over-stress that Apple still hasn't returned my computer, and has probably ruined my credibility with clients.

I'm thankful for a great many things, including all of you for being such nice cyber-folk.

I'm still having to rely on my iPad to supply me with "pictorials" to post. This is a sweet little guy hanging in the hallway, pointing the way to the studio water closet. I got him from a thrift store for a hard-earned 99 pennies.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Still no computer tonight. I am bewildered.

This is a shot of my constant studio companion, Rango by name, with his pet gerbil. These two accompanied me when I used to put on art demonstrations at elementary schools. Notice the hairspray on the shelf---it makes excellent fixative for charcoal drawings. You'll have to click on the image to see the whole picture, my iPad doesn't let me have any control over the size.

I'm trying to stay calm, but I am bewildered with Apple.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Apple of My Eye-yi-yi

I've been told that the part for my computer arrived today and that my repair is on the bench this evening. I inquired as to which part was so elusive that it took so long to obtain. The video card. I calmly informed the polite Apple person that I had a work order that showed that a video card was replaced by them on October 24 and I wondered why it took nearly a month more to determine by the geniuses that the video card was the culprit (again?) and to lay their hands on the part in time to install it on the very day that my deadline was due so that I would now have to work on Thanksgiving Day and the following week so that my client was late to their client and would lose a large portion of their fee, insuring that my @55 was gonna be grass.

Or words to that effect.

The polite employee politely stonewalled me. When I asked if I could expect my machine to be in my hands tomorrow in fine working order, he politely hemmed and hawed that barring other problems---"hopefully".

If I ultimately have to go in and pick it up on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday---the busiest shopping days of the year, I'm going to show up with my daughter's old red wagon to haul my VERY heavy machine the mile or more that I'll probably have to park from the mall that the Apple store is in the middle of.

And then I'll get busy on the letter that I'll be sending to Apple's CEO. I don't fault the various employees that I've dealt with over these past few weeks. I blame the company for the lack of professionalism, communication, and organization. They're busy bragging about their sales of gizmos, while my business is spiraling down the drain without my most essential production tool.

My posted image tonight is a photo I just snapped with the iPad that I'm writing this post with, hunting and pecking one letter at a time.

This is my favorite reading lamp, next to me now, in my 1940s style studio (especially now with the big empty space on the desk where my 21st century magic machine would otherwise be sitting if it wasn't for a very special video card that has taken nearly a month to hunt, capture and send by runner from somewhere in the far reaches of our planet.

Peace be with you through the Thanksgiving weekend.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mandala of Goodness

I STILL don't have my big magic machine (they are replacing every gd part to give me a new machine in the old shell). I--I don't understand the 21st century way of doing business.

In the meantime, I have my LITTLE magic machine and I'm breaking out my personal photos so that I have SOMEthing of an image to share with you.

Like a mandala of goodness, this is a fruit pizza our daughter made before going to London to study. It tasted as wonderful as it looks, made of peaches and plums and kiwis and other fruits and cream cheese and pie crust and oh I miss our daughter.

And I miss my computer.


At the rate that my computer repair is taking, I might as well take in my shingle, go out of business and go bankrupt. I'll be the guy you see pushing a grocery cart around town while using an iPad.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Glub Glug Glurgle

Hang on Sloopy. Sloopy hang on.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Well, here I am again, and barely. I am not finding closure with my computer woes. After handing over my beloved computer thrice to the Genius Bar, I have to go in for a fourth time, for the exact same problem as the three times before. I've only got a few days left on my extended warrantee and I fear that I'm being stalled until my time has expired, and then it's "whoops, too late sir, maybe it's time to buy a new computer". And perhaps it is time, as I am losing credibility with my clients and cannot afford the long terms of holding my machine and then not returning it in working order. 

I've been able to limp along between screen freezings by saving my work every 30 seconds or so and then, sure enough, sooner or later, wtf, it's done it again. And when I reboot, the screen jiggles and wiggles and gives me the razz.

Well, all this whining is to explain . . . once again . . . why my posts are rare-ish, and why there won't be many this coming week . . . no comPUter! I love my Mac, but the customer service has been lacking  and was even rude to me when I last picked up my machine.

I believe in the spirit of Apple and Steve Jobs. But sometimes I feel like demons are gnawing on my bones.

Sanjulian —Demons

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Loco and Looney

Ding bing, dog bonnet and shukaloo! This computer is still acting loco and looney. It's been in to the fix-it people 3 times in the last couple weeks and I've gotta take it in again tomorrow. My work schedule is like a pile up on a foggy mountain highway. 

A person can be loyal to someone or something that they love and yet still be ticked off at 'em. I love my Mac, but if it isn't fixed this time, I'm gonna be thinking about a quick divorce from it.

Judge magazine — 1931

Hope to be back with you soon!?!

Gothic Manner/Manor

The character of Batman has been drawn by a plethora of artists and interpreted in a multitude of ways. Yet it all started with Bob Kane, though quickly he became more of a publicity hound as other artist and writer ghosts toiled in his shadow. 

Still, among a number of brilliant Batman artists, it is this somewhat crudely drawn image by Kane that set the tone and manner for the best interpretations to come. Early on, Batman was of a gothic manner, here looming over a gothic manor, and ventured into mystery before turning his full attention to thugs and gangsters and the occasional alien or two.

Bob Kane — Batman to the Manor Borne 

Monday, November 5, 2012


Here's another mythological scenario, though not so bucolic as previous posts, in fact rather chaotic what with the all the floral foo-fah-rah. At first glance, with this image, I thought it was by Rubens — but it's not. I had a mild crush on Rubens' work back when I was attending the Art Institute of Chicago, especially the mythological richness and complexity he could imbue, but I haven't looked at his work for years now. I'll have to seek out his oeuvre to see how I feel about it all now. In the meantime, this is Andromeda and Perseus by Filippo Falciatore, the Italian artist of the 1700s, who painted a fair amount of mythological allegories himself. 

I have quite a few images of Andromeda and Perseus that I thought I would post all together, but I have them all filed by artist and not by subject, so I will end up just having them posted here and there. Most all of them have Andromeda as having been stripped naked in her plight, and yet when they made movies about this adventure Andromeda is pretty modestly dressed. Go figure.

Filippo Falciatore — Perseus Rescuing Andromeda

I love the name Andromeda. If I was to have another daughter (which I won't) I'd be tempted to name her 'Andromeda', not for this daughter of an Aethiopian King, but for the beautiful galaxy which we will one day merge with.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Voice of Pan

More pastoral tranquility and innocence . . .

Emile Aubry — La Voix de Pan

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Weakness

Mythological scenes are a weakness of mine, appreciating the magic and mystery of a pastoral life. But if I were truly there I might miss Coca Cola and Charmin . . . and my iPad. 

So maybe it's best that I gaze at these kinds of images from the armchair in my den . . . on my iPad.

Charles Natoire — Orpheus Charming the Nymphs & Animals

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Windy Nights

'Tis a windy night where I am, spooky and drear. I love it. Here be a fine illustration to accompany a bit of verse from Bobby Stevenson.

Eric Kincaid — Windy Nights