We love to see our cartoonists having fun! Check out this creative video starring Jean Schulz (wife of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz), The Doozies creator Tom Gammill and many other well-known cartoonists!
One of my first memories of television, circa 1952, is of the music and introductory sequence for Crusader Rabbit, a cartoon series created by Alex Anderson and Jay Ward (Ward later created The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show). On my first visit to the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco, I was stunned to see, on display in the lobby, the animation table on whch Crusader Rabbit was created.
While on a recent late-night "let's see what's out there on YouTube" adventure I was able to catch up with my old pals Crusader Rabbit and Rags the Tiger, and then pushed on, deep into the astonishing world of old animated cartoons. It made me appreciate how fortunate I was, growing up in the 50s in Sacramento, California, in that every afternoon there were hours of programming that mainly consisted of every variety of amazing already-then-old cartoons.
The first time I remember re-visiting these toons was in the late-70s-early-80s, when I was working in NY publishing and hanging out at the Museum of Cartoon Art in Port Chester, then housed in a truly eccentric castle-like house made of cement. They kept tapes of rare old cartoons running constantly in one of the main exhibit rooms. ThIs was not only before the net, but before CDs, cable TV, and the widespread release of old films, TV shows, and movies. Before VHS distribution, you could only see these things if you happened upon them on broadcast TV, or went to a screening in a college town or arranged by afficionados. You couldn't possess any of it, unless you had actual film copies, which were extremely rare.
Every time I go back to these cartoons I am amazed by the beauty and ingenuity and playfulness -- and struck by the importance of the music, which is completely wound up with the movement and storytelling. Immersion in this world of endless visual riffing and inventiveness had a profound effect on me, and I'm sure on millions of my peers -- including a generation of future cartoonists. And I think the fact that in many of the old cartoons everything -- instruments, voices, sound effects -- was part of the music meant that "watching" was as much an aural experience as a visual one. This may have contributed to the central role music played in our lives as we got older, by making us good listeners.
I am doubly fortunate in that my own kids grew up in another golden age of cartoons -- The Rugrats, Doug, The Angry Beavers, Spongebob, The Fairly Oddparents, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. For those who have not yet encountered the earlier work, I invite you to enjoy this simulation of a 1950s afternoon of in front of the television:
Today's the day! The first three episodes of Garry Trudeau's political sitcom ALPHA HOUSE are available for free viewing at Amazon Studios.
The next eight episodes will be released weekly, viewable by those who have signed up for Amazon Prime.
The show is about four senators who share a house in Washington, D.C. It stars (left to right, below) Mark Consuelos as Sen. Andy Guzman (R-FL), John Goodman as Sen. Gil John Biggs (R-NC), Clark Johnson as Sen. Robert Bettencourt (R-PA), and Matt Malloy as Sen. Louis Laffer (R-NV). Other players in the series include Cynthia Nixon, Wanda Sykes, Julie White, Haley Joel Osment, Amy Sedaris, and Yara Martinez.
And, as you'll see, the first episode features Bill Murray and Stephen Colbert. Enjoy!
Note: Speaking of days, Monday the 18th is when new Doonesbury dailies resume (the Sundays have been new since September 8th). After 150-some Flashback strips, there's a lot to catch up on -- and twins to get to know. Please do your catching up over at Doonesbury.slate.com, where you can read articles about ALPHA HOUSE in the Site News section, and enjoy our other fine features.
This comic has been growing on me and many others in recent months. Especially with the news of JJ Abrams directing Star Wars Episode 7, it's really timely. Plus, I love the idea of Maria getting back at her "frienemy".
Another dramatic and detailed Monty Sunday. Free Mister Whiskers!
One of the most popular editorial/political comic storylines this election season has been a woman's right to choose how to handle matters regarding her own body. This involves overall health, but also the choice to carry a child to full-term. 2012 Pulitzer Prize finalist Matt Bors, in a stroke of comic brilliance, took this literally. Women are fighting back, but they now have an advocate: The Avenging Uterus.
Bors' Avenging Uterus (yes...it was fun to type this and say it aloud) has made several appearances in his editorial cartoons over the past few months. From chiding Rush Limbaugh to educating Congressmen that storks do not deliver babies, she is on a mission: to keep the world safe for lady parts.
The series now has its first animated episode! Check it out here and let us know what you think.
Beginning April 1, Recycled Paper Greetings (RPG) introduces an exclusive collection of cards featuring the comic panel The Argyle Sweater that will be available through mass retailers, drug stores and specialty stores nationwide. Included in the April launch are 12 birthday and just-for-laughs card designs. The Argyle Sweater is syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate.
Here's a video featuring The Argyle Sweater creator Scott Hilburn talking about the new card line:
And in case you missed it, here's an animated The Argyle Sweater cartoon that was created to promote the new book:
What can we say about The Doozies that hasn't been said countless times in the strip's near-70 years of existence?
Everyone knows the strip follows the antics of Dean Doozie, a lovable boob, who has an understanding wife and an adorable daughter. Is there anyone on earth who isn't aware that the strip was created in 1939 by Flaude Gammill, and that it helped popularize the phrase, "a real doozy?" You would have to look under quite a few rocks to find someone who hadn't heard that The Doozies is now being drawn by Flaude's grandson, TV writer/producer Tom Gammill (The Simpsons, Seinfeld, SNL), who has recently added such innovations as characters playing video games and women wearing pantsuits.
Well, we'll tell you all of that stuff anyway, despite the fact that Tom Gammill made up all of those historical Doozie facts in a shameless attempt to drum up interest in this brand new, completely original and hilarious strip (but he really is a TV writer/producer for all of those shows, and really has a grandfather named Flaude). You can just pretend like you already knew, since you were about to do that anyway.
The Doozies is the latest addition to GoComics.com.
Here's Tom on YouTube, with Lesson One of his video series "Learn to Draw with Tom Gammill":
And for a few more Tom Gammill comics, visit Jack Handey's Deep Thoughts website and click on the "Don't Let This Happen to You" cartoon ad on the lower left. Then buy another copy of all of Handey's books, of course.