Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year Greetings!

Let's not just wish each other a good new year . . .

To all our cyber-friends in the blogging community!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Impressionable Imagination

Bittersweet memories are so easily triggered by evocative images.

This image speaks deeply to my childhood subconscious memories of similar absorption in spooky fantasy while home alone in a dimly lit room, surrounded by phantasms awakened by my impressionable imagination. And actually it is not so far from what I experience even now and then these days in my cozy little library.

Adelaide Claxton — Wonderland — ca 1870

She's reading Grimm's Goblins, with Arabian Nights and Lancashire Witches in her stack.

Wop! Umm Zop!

Woosh. I-am-SOAKed. For those who couldn't join our snowball fight, here's an image to show you pretty much the way it looked:

Winsor McCay — Little Nemo panel — 1907

Snowball Fight!

Anybody up for a friendly snowball fight? These guys are on my side.

E. Froment — The Snowball — 1884

Thursday, December 29, 2011


I'll buy whatever Fiberloid is selling . . .

Coles Phillips — Fiberloid ad — 1922

Very Cool

This is the very cool gift bag that held a very cool gift that I received for Christmas. Ya just never know what the next post will be, do ya?

Dr. Seuss — The Grinch (gift bag) — 2011

Springing Up to Everlasting Life

Rick Griffin was a preeminent artistic force in the underground comix and psychedelic poster era of the circa 70s, with excellent graphics and not making a lot of sense to the reader (at least not while the reader was soberish).

Griffin died in a tragic motorcycle accident, but up to that point he had a number of years where he had found his personal Christianity, and during that time created scores and scores of graphics with the Gospel of John as his theme. This is one of those graphics:

Rick Griffin — The Gospel of John/Like a Well of Water — 1980


This cover painting by Kinuko Craft for Elfland by Freda Warrington is chock full of intriguing elements and has done its job to make me want to read the book. Craft is a modern master.

Kinuko Craft — Mists of the Dusklands — 2010

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Triumph of Art

Another flying horse (allegorical), in a slightly similar pose to the last post, though I doubt it was a reference for the comic book cover (there was 89 years between them)—still, fun to compare.

Léon Bonnat — Triumph of Art — 1894


My little category of Paneltopia is a close-up examination of stand-alone comic art panels. I'm including covers in Paneltopia, because they are indeed splash panels that just happen to be on the outside of a comic.

Amethyst-Princess of Gemworld was a comic that I believe was intended for a young female audience, seeing as the protagonist was a young female that, upon entering a transdimensional world, became a grown woman who just happened to be a princess. Some of the art was quite nice, as this cover demonstrates:

George Perez/Ernie Colon
Amethyst-Princess of Gemworld
October 1983

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Passion Isle

What a lot of fun the 'naughty pulps' were back in their day . . .

Jack Greiner — Gayety — August 1933

Monday, December 26, 2011

Colorful & Crafty

Toucans are just ripe for rendering — colorful and crafty.

Harry Rountree — early 20th century
(Hi Pat Ann!)

Maurice Detmold —early 20th century

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Morning

For a kid no time is better than Saturday mornings and Christmas mornings . . .

Maginel Wright Enright — Christmas Morning — 1905

Below, just to show some more of Enright's later work, a pleasant style.

Maginel Wright Enright — Woman's World — 1921

Maginel Wright Enright —Woman's World — 1920

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Gloria in Excelsis Deo

J.C. Leyendecker — ca 1906

FYI, From the Catholic Encyclopedia:


A monogram of the name of Jesus Christ. From the third century the names of our Saviour are sometimes shortened, particularly in Christian inscriptions (IH and XP, for Jesus and Christus). In the next century the "sigla" (chi-rho) occurs not only as an abbreviation but also as a symbol. From the beginning, however, inChristian inscriptions the nomina sacra, or names of Jesus Christ, were shortened by contraction, thus IC and XC or IHS and XPS for Iesous Christos. These Greek monograms continued to be used in Latin during theMiddle Ages. Eventually the right meaning was lost, and erroneous interpretation of IHS led to the faulty orthography "Jhesus". In Latin the learned abbreviation IHC rarely occurs after the Carlovingian era. The monogram became more popular after the twelfth century when St. Bernard insisted much on devotion to theHoly Name of Jesus, and the fourteenth, when the founder of the Jesuati, Blessed John Colombini (d. 1367), usually wore it on his breast. Towards the close of the Middle Ages IHS became a symbol, quite like the chi-rho in the Constantinian period. Sometimes above the H appears a cross and underneath three nails, while the whole figure is surrounded by rays. IHS became the accepted iconographical characteristic of St. VincentFerrer (d. 1419) and of St. Bernardine of Siena (d. 1444). The latter holy missionary, at the end of hissermons, was wont to exhibit this monogram devoutly to his audience, for which some blamed him; he was even called before Martin V. St. Ignatius of Loyola adopted the monogram in his seal as general of theSociety of Jesus (1541), and thus it became the emblem of his institute. IHS was sometimes wrongly understood as "Jesus Hominum (or Hierosolymae) Salvator", i.e. Jesus, the Saviour of men (or ofJerusalem=Hierosolyma).

A Creative Life

I'm not through posting Christmas images, but I thought I better deliver this card now, as it is our YuleTide greeting to all of our internet and blogging friends, near and far. I wish I could name all of you, but there are so many and I would be afraid that I might leave someone out.

There are a lot of you folks that I may never meet, yet I feel a kinship, not just through our mutual love of images, but for our mutual love of a creative life.

This card is a project my wife made when she was but 10 years old. She made it from little scraps of this and that. She had it in a box of keepsakes until she felt the need to lighten the load of possessions and was going to put it in a pile to go out the door. I tackled her full on and wrestled it from her so that I could archive it. It is with sincere affection for you all that I share it now (with her blessings)!

I don't mean to make her feel old, 'cause she's not, but my wife made this when John F. Kennedy was President-Elect. Those were optimistic days, my friends.

Just Because I Forgot

I would be remiss to not include this image, just because I forgot to yesterday, where the timing would have coincided with the title. Still, for most households getting ready, this scenario is apt for today as well.

Carl Larsson — The Day Before Christmas Eve — 1892
pen & ink—watercolor

Christmas Eve Feast

Carl Larsson, the man and his work, was a Swedish national treasure. I have come to treasure his work as well, and in the coming year will feature a number of his beautiful images. Much of his work involved and revolved around family and community, featuring an idyllic simplicity that many of us long for in these complex and overwhelming times. His compositions were 'photographic' in the sense that many of his scenes look like snapshots, casual captures of family and friends involved in simple pleasures of well-lived lives.

Larsson had recorded that all he wanted was to make people happy with his work, and for the most part he did, though he went through some troubling times himself. So until the weeks ahead where I will feature a spectrum of warmth and charm imbued in his work, here is some warmth and charm of his depiction of a Christmas Eve feast, not in some nostalgic distant time (as indeed we view it), but from his time and home in Sundborn, Sweden.

Carl Larsson — Christmas Eve — ca 1904

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Christmas Dream Come True

The first commercial electric Christmas tree lights weren't available until around 1900, so public displays must have been an amazing sight for people who were barely out of the gas lamp era.

It would have been like competing with the stars in the heavens.

Christmas in the Square — St Nicholas magazine — 1916

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Streets are Swarming

A little story about a swell tree . . .

Carl Barks — 1948

Potent Totem

A Christmas tree can be a pretty potent totem for magic . . .

Sarah Stillwell Weber — The Fairy of the Christmas Tree — 1918

Swedish Yuletide

The next few posts are going to be themed around Christmas trees, that venerable old pagan tradition that breathes warmth into our lives, becoming a focal point for our spiritual longings.

Below is the right panel of a triptych by Carl Larsson, demonstrating the glow of a Swedish Yuletide from over a hundred years ago.

Carl Larsson — Now It's Christmas Again (detail) — 1907


Good Winter Solstice to you. To those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, may your daylight grow longer and warmer.

This painting, by Carl Larsson, showing a Winter Solstice sacrifice, was intended for the Stockholm National Museum. It was meant to present a winter motif from heathen times, and was named Midvinterblot — 'blot' being an ancient term for a sacrificial ceremony.

Carl Larsson — Midvinterblot — 1915

The artist explained: "Here a king is being sacrificed for the weal of the people (to ensure a good harvest year). He was drowned in the sacred well at the root of the tree . . ."

The idea of the sacrifice appealed to Larsson—showing a king who tosses his furs aside and in nakedness stands ready to die voluntarily for the good of his people.

The problem was that no such event was to be found recorded in any historical resource, causing the painting to be a source of negative controversy.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


A season's greeting from some 75 years ago by Billy DeBeck, he of Google fame—Barney Google, that is, the one with the goo-goo googly eyes.

Billy DeBeck —Barny Google — 1930s

The Barks Treatment

It's interesting to compare the 1988 cover below by Daan Jippes with the bottom cover from 1949. With the exact same pose and everything, Jippes' rendering gave the characters spirit and liveliness that the original cover lacked. He gave it the 'Barks treatment'.

Daan Jippes — Mickey & Donald #1 — 1988

Donald & Mickey _ Firestone Giveaway — 1949

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bright and Cheery

Here is a bright and cheery duck cover by Daan Jippes — the only (in my opinion) artist to draw the ducks (slightly) better than the good duck artist himself, Carl Barks. It's sort of a scene from Christmas on Bear Mountain, but not quite (in the original story, none of the boys knew a bear cub was in the tree until later that night).

Does anyone know if Jippes' Disney art has ever been collected in one place? I'd pay real money for an album like that.

Daan Jippes — Gladstone's Christmas Parade #2 — 1989

That Silly Season

Ah, the first ever appearance of Uncle Scrooge McDuck, from Christmas on Bear Mountain, already iconic in his first panel. Zoom in on the iconic beauty of Carl Barks' art.

Carl Barks — Christmas on Bear Mountain — December 1947

Bright Spot

A panel from today's 'Pickles', by Brian Crane—one of the bright spots of the comic pages of the current newspaper offerings.

© 2011 Brian Crane


I see a lot of 'bell-ringers' out this season, and they represent an awful lot of people who deserve to benefit from any generosity that we can afford to give. We're all in this together!

Russell Patterson — 1930s

This Ain't No Season to be Sad!

Cliff Sterrett was a cartoonist's cartoonist, full of wit and whimsy in his art and 'plotting'. This Christmas package is from 1939, a very good year for pop creativity.

Above, detail from below.

Cliff Sterrett — Polly and Her Pals — December 17, 1939

Monday, December 19, 2011

Revealing Other Realms

You can always count on Kinuko Craft to reveal other realms by opening an enchanted connection to the golden age . . .

Kinuko Craft — Song for the Basilisk — 1997


There's magic in the air . . .

Luis Royo — Heavy Metal magazine

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Design Zeitgeist

In my opinion, our society made a HUGE mistake in 'progressing' beyond the design of the times of the '20s and '30s.

Oh I'm so glad we made progress in civil rights, and I'm happy with digital technology, but really, the design zeitgeist did not need a lot of improvement . . . in my opinion.

1929 Studebaker Roadster, 5 wire wheels standard
with roomy rumble seat

Crowded Corner

Empty air is as important as a crowded corner of the universe . . .

Kwason Suzuki — Blue Finches —1911

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Here Be Suitors

What a tasty little panel from a bygone era . . .

Mary S. Reeve — decorative panel — 1916

Friday, December 16, 2011

Last Atlantean

Of course you've seen this magnificent print by Barry Smith, and probably have it in your collection, but I'm posting it here, just 'cause I want to. Zoom in on the beautiful rendering detail.

Barry Windsor-Smith — The Last Atlantean — 1981

Luxury and Indolence

Hal Foster really 'illustrated' the Prince Valiant comic strip, rather than 'cartooned' it, composing more detail into one panel than most Sunday strips had in their entirety. It's almost ludicrous to turn over one of the published Valiant full pages to see Yogi Bear, ViP, and Wizard of Id with their simplistic, repetitive graphics.

For the ongoing Paneltopia category, here is another isolated panel that deserves to be examined in closer detail.

Hal Foster — Prince Valiant

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Classic Christmas Peanuts

I'm so into images of all sorts that I even scan wrapping paper . . .

Charles Schulz —Classic Christmas Peanuts
—covered a present I received years ago—

Skate Date

What a sweetheart. If I was her age in 1929, I would SO ask her out for a skate date, catch snowflakes on our tongues, drink hot chocolate together.

Honey, I SAID if I was her age, meaning I wouldn't have met you yet.

Rolf Armstrong — College Humor — December 1929

Meanwhile . . .

Maurice Greiffenhagen
ca 1900

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I don't know the date of this painting by John Hamberger, but it was used as the cover for a nice book for young readers, Sea Monsters of Long Ago, which I think is available as a modern reprint. This painting certainly has a spooky, if not romantic, atmosphere that makes you glad that you live here and now. It has a bit of Frazetta-esque quality to it.

John Hamberger — Sea Monsters of Long Ago

Color Kid

Did you know that today was Color Kid's birthday? Or is his birthday, or um, will be his sometime in the...far future?

This calendar was officially sanctioned by DC, so it's sorta official about these other birthdays and stuff. Oh, and this calendar doesn't match this year's alignment, so don't be setting appointments by it, you'd be a day late... or early...or something.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I'm thinking I might be of the same religion as the Davidsons.

Eldon Dedini — Playboy cartoon — watercolor

Simplest of Materials

The simplest of materials can create a wonderful work of art — with a good hand and mind controlling them, of course!

James McNeill Whistler — The Japanese Dress — ca 1878

pencil, chalk and pastel on brown paper

Monday, December 12, 2011


Oh, and here's a sequence that gives you a visual hint as to the process of illustration rendering for Richard Corben.

Richard Corben

Portals of the Imagination

Let's post up a couple more panels for Paneltopia, these from a colorful graphic novel adaptation of New Tales of the Arabian Nights by Richard Corben.

Telling tales well is a magical art, as Shahrazad (and Corben) demonstrate here. These kinds of panels make you want to step into them, as portals of the imagination they are.

Richard Corben — New Tales of the Arabian Nights

Richard Corben — New Tales of the Arabian Nights