Cartoon and Illustration

The first thing you need to know about Leukemia…

…is that a wide range of illnesses fall under that umbrella description.  Basically it’s a blood illness–and after 16 months of trying to nail down what I’ve been suffering from, the doctors have finally decided to put me into the “Leukemia” category.

Not to panic.  Apparently mine is a mild form, non-agressive, and can be treated with an oral chemo normally prescribed for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or acute psoriasis.  This form of Leukemia often goes into remission for decades at a time, and so the doctors are encouraging me to be of good cheer.

You see almost anything can be deadly if untreated.  Puppies for example.  Sure they’re cute when they’re little tykes, but leave them to their own devices for a couple of years and you’re going to get bitten.

So it’s a good thing that I realized that something was off back before Christmas when my head began to hurt and I became fatigued in a manner similar to what I had back in late 2015.  There was that trip to the ER on New Year’s Eve that was mistaken for a viral infection (and it could have been one on top of the Leukemia) but I’m getting improved treatment due to early detection.

Took my first batch of chemo pills this morning.  The doctors also assure me that they don’t cause hair loss or nausea like so many of these meds can.  The real trick is for me to stay very hydrated, because the medication is metabolized through my kidneys (and liver to a lesser extent) and dehydration can lead to all manner of awful side-effects.

So, lots and lots of water.  If you see me at a show in the future and I’m headed toward the restrooms for the fourth time, you’ll know why–just taking care of my health!

Now, I’m not saying that I haven’t been scared by this change in diagnosis.  When we spoke to the doctor from Duke last week and the word “leukemia” was mentioned I have to admit my mind froze.  It was a good thing that Karin was there to hear all the rest of what he had to say because I got none of it!  Just mumbled some things like, “Well, alright.   That sounds prudent…”

Yesterday the official diagnosis came down after the Duke folks talked to my local Hematologist and he had me in for an office visit.  So in a moment it seems I’m seeing an Oncologist rather than a Hematologist–good thing my doctor is both.

The overall levels are actually pretty good.  My white blood cells are where they would like them, as are my blood platelets, and my blood oxygenation is at 100%–but my hemoglobin levels are off.  That’s apparently what clued them in that this was more than the previously diagnosed “Idiopathic Aplastic Anemia”.  They did another bone marrow biopsy and confirmed their suspicions–and here I am.

Today I’m going to have my blood “typed and crossed” for a transfusion to be done on Friday morning.  Probably no biggie.  I’ve had several of those already back in the last two years.  While I had hoped never to have to have another, it’s gotten to the point that I actually requested this one.  It begins to stress the various organs when hemoglobin levels are off in any form of anemia–and my ability to exercise has been significantly impaired over the last few weeks.

Whereas I normally try to walk two miles several times a week, it’s been difficult for me to do more than a mile at a slow pace more than once or twice a week.  As for doing any sort of gym workout–few exercises can be done before my head pounds.

So, actually looking forward to another transfusion.  Hopefully it goes off without any complications.  There’s always that risk in this sort of thing, but as I’ve got a class scheduled for 3:30 on Friday I’m hoping all goes well.  (Last time I had a transfusion I immediately went out and walked around Lake Junaluska–so good results are not uncommon either).

All the prayers folks have been offering on my behalf–greatly appreciated!  Thank you all.   The power is not in our prayers, but in the power of God to heal.  Keep on praying for me.  Keep praying for Karin–she’s obviously upset by having to deal with all of this, but doing well all things considered.

Standard
Cartoon and Illustration

Days of T.h.u.n.d.e.r. (Part 3)

thunderinsidecover
THUNDER NO.1 inside cover artwork. Copyright © Works Associates (Michael Sawyer and James E. Lyle). T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents are copyright and trademark of John C. Productions.

Above you should be able to see the inside cover artwork that was used in the first (and only) issue of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. published by Solson Publications way back in 1987.  I’m assuming that you folks can read all the copy that Michael Sawyer wrote to fill these pages–if it looks too small I’ll see what can be done about that later on.

Right now I’d like to talk about the actual process of producing these particular pages–if I can recall.

By the time that Michael and I were ready to do T.H.U.N.D.E.R.  for Solson, we’d been around the block a time or two with printing comics.  When Phil Hwang had run short on funds for Escape to the Stars #3 I had picked up the ball and published that book using part of a small inheritance I’d received from my great-aunt’s estate.  I’d gone completely overboard with the production quality on that book, using white paper, film negatives, blue line proof, offset printing, process color for the cover, and all manner of bells and whistles that cost an arm and a leg without improving a great deal on the final product’s biggest error, my poor lettering.  I will admit that Mountaineer Graphics did a bang-up job with the printing–but still, it was a learning process.

With ETTS #4 Philip had figured out how to come up with some money to produce it, but I had taken over the production end of things, figuring out how to bring in the printing on that particular issue for less than $1000.  That low-budget production was achieved by making our reductions on a photocopy machine and using only two colors on the cover.  I think we may have actually made a small profit on that one–but the artwork suffered for being reproduced in such a slip-shod manner.

ETTS #5 was a bit more ambitious, with a three-color (black, cyan, and a Pantone orange-yellow) cover and photostat reductions (having learned from the mistakes of #4) .  We may have broken even on #5.  But the pressures of trying to make this happen along with keeping up with penciling the book were getting to me.

That pressure contributed to the parting of ways between Phil and myself even though #6 was penciled and in the process of being inked.

Michael had been involved in the production of every issue of ETTS from almost the beginning.  Helping fill in blacks when I got behind, writing inner cover notes, editing letters pages, etc.

So, like I said, we’d been around the block a couple of times with self-publishing.  We knew what our local printer was capable of doing and so when we signed the deal with Solson we had the entire look of the book figured out ahead of time–or so we thought.

I’m pretty sure that must have turned over the production of this inner cover stuff to the folks at Solson, though.  I don’t recall taking the copy to be typeset at Mountaineer Graphics.  I do recall us taking the self-promo shots of one another late one night in the back of the studio we used to share on Montgomery Street in Waynesville (under the dry cleaning / carpet warehouse / tax preparation place we rented from).

We wanted that “contact sheet” look to our self-promo (vanity) shots, and knew that such photos would have to be half-toned to reproduce.  So, as I recall, we took the negatives down to Rudy Bachs at the Mountaineer (except by then it had become GP Graphics) to make half-tone contact sheets with the sprocket holes, frame numbers, and all other such indicia visible.  We mailed those off to Solson for them to do the paste-up.

I figured by this point I was past paste-up.  Let them do it, I was now a big-shot sequential artist. (Ha! Howls of self-derisive laughter.)

Back in those days all of layout was done photo-chemically and manually.  So these are literally the paste-ups, on “galley” sheets.  Once all was pasted onto the sheets they were photographed for printing.  Nobody bothered to wash the photo paper that comprised the items being pasted, because it was all considered disposable.  Which is why the images of Mike are beginning to fade, and the second page of type is beginning to turn brown.

The more astute among you may also notice that the crop marks are not in the same positions on the two pages and it appears that the second page had to be reduced slightly (95%) in order to accommodate the column of type.  Of course, when one considers the empty space in the second column on the inside back cover, it seems kind of confusing why they’d do this.  But as I said, I wasn’t involved with the production beyond sending the vanity shots.

Re-reading Mike’s notes, I realize now that we had spent much of the year, 1986, transitioning from my work on ETTS, to doing T.H.U.N.D.E.R.  He had come up with the idea in February 1986, and wrote the notes reproduced here in November of that year.  The book would not be published until summer of 1987, when a mysterious box of books arrived on our studio doorstep seemingly moments after we had received the word that Solson had gone out of business!  (But more on that later…)

Standard
Cartoon and Illustration, Cartoon and Illustration by James E. Lyle

Days of T.h.u.n.d.e.r. (part 2)

thndrpitchartclr

Artwork copyright © James E. Lyle.  T.h.u.n.d.e.r. Agents property copyright and trademark John C. Productions.

So my last posting was such a big hit (Wow!  Six views in one day) that I have decided to follow up with more postings on what it was like working on T.h.u.n.d.e.r. back in the 80s.

Let me give you some history.  I had been drawing a book for Phil Hwang called “Escape to the Stars” (or ETTS as the fans called it, all 5 of them).  We collaborated on that book from early spring of 1983 until sometime in 1986.

We went through several publishing entities with that series, all of which were created in an effort to make our efforts look more legitimate.  What we didn’t know at that time was that there really isn’t such a thing as a “legitimate comics publisher”.  Even the big guns are basically working on a shoestring most of the time, and so we were just as competent as practically any company out there in the “alternate comics” business.

That’s probably worth mentioning.  Back in the 80s anything that wasn’t DC, Marvel, or Archie was called “alternate press”.  That was done to distinguish us from “underground comix”–a name which had the taint of drugs and pornography all over it.  So we were the “alternative comics” crowd in those days.  But there’s alternate and then there’s Alternate.  The term “small press” had not caught on in those days, and we didn’t really want to be called “small” because it seemed demeaning.

Moving on.  Phil and I had a pretty good run on ETTS.  We’d turned out 5 issues by the spring of 1985.  In the process of doing that book I’d moved into a studio, downtown Waynesville, NC, and begun looking slightly more professional in the process.

Phil and I, however, had our creative differences, and ETTS number 6 never went to print.  We broke up our creative partnership, Phil went his way and I went mine.  QED, because he was going to school in College Station, Texas and I was still living at home in the mountains of NC.

Thing is, Michael Sawyer and I had originally intended to build our careers in comics as a partnership, and Mike had been lurking in the background all along.  So about the time that ETTS came to a halt (limping onto the shoulder of a proverbial comic book highway) he had a concept or two waiting in the wings.

I’ll leave the telling of that to when we get to Mike’s inside cover introduction, which I’ll be reproducing and annotating in a later post.

Today I’m posting the pitch artwork for T.h.u.n.d.e.r. The image above was actually used to pitch the artwork to SOLSON Publications.  If you think it looks like a bad photocopy of some pencils filled in with Dr. Martin’s dyes and color pencil, then I’d say you’re a pretty perceptive person with an eye for art.   But along with the single page type-written pitch (which I’ll be showing soon as well) we managed to convince Gary Brodsky and Rich Buckler that they should do T.h.u.n.d.e.r. as a series.

But it wasn’t as cut-and-dried as all that.  We actually pitched the book to Will Shetterly at SteelDragon Press first.  They were the publishers of the series “Captain Confederacy”, which had something of a following back in that day.  Will passed on it due to the notoriety of the lawsuit that was then raging between John Carbonaro and David Singer over whether the title T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents was in public domain or not.

Long story short, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents was NOT in public domain.  But at the time we began work on our version we assumed it WAS.  As did a lot of other folks.  Will passed on the book with the suggestion that we “change it some” and then resubmit it.  But we were too dogged in our determination to get it done as a T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents spin-off to give that more than a moment’s consideration.

Somewhere in all of this Chuck Wojtkiewicz suggested that we might want to pitch it to SOLSON.  Which we did.  Chuck did warn us that SOLSON seemed “kind of fly-by-night” (perceptive guy that he was and is), but we saw it as a step up from paying to publish our own work, so we submitted.

The providential thing was that Rich Buckler had been working with John Carbonaro just months earlier while they were working in tandem at Red Circle and JC Comics respectively (both imprints of Archie Comics).  So Rich was easily able to reach John, and hammer out a deal for us to do the book.

This is where things get a bit tricky.  Yes, there was a lawsuit going on between John Carbonaro and David Singer’s Deluxe Comics due to the title “Wally Wood’s T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents”. Because of this situation John wanted to better secure his claim to the copyright of the characters.  Characters he had legally purchased from Tower Publications (at considerable cost to himself) back in the 1970s.

John Carbonaro’s legal council apparently told him that by getting SOLSON to pay a licensing fee for the T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents characters and subsequently getting such a book published would help convince the court of the legitimacy of his claims.  Those basic claims being:  A. that the characters were his to license, and B. the property was worth all this fuss in copyright court.

So John cut a sweet deal with Michael and I (through Rich) for our use of the characters for the next four years.  SOLSON paid the licensing fee.  (Keep that “right of use clause” in mind.  It will come up again later).  We (Mike and me) got to keep the rights to our variation of the characters IN PERPETUITY.  So long as we were willing to pay John the licensing fee we could renegotiate in the future.

This is one reason why you have never seen our book reprinted.  We never had the money to pay the licensing fee after that.

Keep in mind that this all went down in winter 1986. I was 21 at the time, and Michael just 23.   At that time 1990 seemed a long way off…

Standard
Cartoon and Illustration

Days of T.h.u.n.d.e.r. (part 1)

thundersynccover

Artwork © James E. Lyle.  T.h.u.n.d.e.r. Agents is a registered trademark of John C. Productions.

First off, sorry, but this blog has nothing to do with NASCAR or any movies inspired by auto racing.  It’s about a book called T.h.u.n.d.e.r. done written by Michael Sawyer and drawn by me in the 1980s, and based on the 1960s series T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS.

Yesterday (8/18/16) I finally scanned this artwork and combined it into (more or less) what it was supposed to look like if it had ever been published by a company called Syncroncity Comics.

If one looks closely at the signature you’ll notice an ’88 as the date.  This is where the tale gets a little complicated.  This is not the original cover for T.h.u.n.d.e.r. #1.  That book WAS published in 1986 by the defunct SOLSON Productions.  This is the replacement cover I did for the book after SOLSON had gone out of business and we’d supposedly been picked up by Syncronicity.

In ’88 Solson was two years past.  I was living in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and looking forward to marrying Karin Guldbeck.  I won’t go into all the details of my housing here and now, but by that time I was living in the attic space above the garage at my fiancées’ family home.

Karin’s dad, Ernie Guldbeck, was a commercial artist and comic and cartoon fan as well, so we were beginning to bond (though he was somewhat resistant to that at the time).  All summer long I had been dying to see his studio upstairs in the house proper.  But Ernie had refused.  That is, until Karin’s step-mother, Eunice, stepped in and told Ernie he couldn’t keep hiding the place from me.  I was, after all, going to be marrying his baby daughter!  (I’m thinking that “baby daughter” thing was what kept Ernie somewhat aloof during that summer.)

So after a couple of weeks of Karin helping her Dad clean up the studio, I was finally allowed in to that sanctum of sanctums.  Not only that, but I was encouraged to do some artwork there!  I had just gotten through attending my first ever Chicago Comic-Con (back before it became Wizard World Chicago) and seeing all sorts of exciting new artwork displayed there (as well as receiving the profuse encouragement of fellow artists and moderate discouragement of many publishers).

In something approaching a fit of creativity I made this artwork.  It’s a combination of pen and ink art on Craftint board (which I’ll explain later in this series), painted with Dr. Martin’s Dyes, and some acrylic paint for highlights.  That design was then attached to a canvas covered board that I had painted with the corresponding purple and magenta streaks.  Then I created the type overlay on a sheet of frosted acetate, with photocopied logo and vinyl rub-down type (Chartpac, I believe).

Now if one ignores that fact that I placed the logo funny (I corrected this in Photoshop), and that the letter spacing on the rub-down type is goofy, AND one ignores that the yellow acrylic paint was not very opaque, AND that the Craftint chemicals have continued to react over the past 28 years with all the other materials–it’s not a bad piece of work.

Obviously, the mixed-media approach was inspired by the work of Bill Sienkewicz.  The light streaked background was copped from Steve Rude’s cover paintings for Nexus.  And it all has a vaguely early Vertigo feel to it, akin to the Black Orchid trade paperback that was among the first books released by that DC imprint.

(The reason for all this borrowing of style being that I wanted to distance the art from the original release.  That cover was a none to subtle homage to Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns.  Being 23 by this time I had “matured” beyond simply swiping from two popular books and now was going for “subtle” homage–swiping from at least three sources!  What was I thinking back when I was 21?)

That day of creativity was almost exactly 28 years ago.  I know this because Karin and I celebrate our 28th Anniversary tomorrow!  (This is how comic artists track time, by means of projects completed and other significant events.)

Next to getting married to Karin, I think that day in Ernie’s studio stands out in my mind as one of the watermark events of 1988.  Ernie was working on something over at his drawing table, and would come by from time to time with words of encouragement.  It was great being accepted as a fellow artist by the man I came to call “Pop”.

Karin decided she wanted to be involved as well, and so stayed in the studio with us all that afternoon, doing a truly amazing color pencil drawing–of Cher.  She’s really no slouch when it comes to artwork–though she devotes most of her time to music now.  But she proved that day she had the ability to do almost photo-realistic work when she wanted to.

I knew I was in deep.

Next time, I’ll bring you up to speed on what the original collaboration was like.  I’m planning to post artwork from the original pitch and probably the whole first story (I still have a lot of the pages).  I also have pencils from issues 2 and 3, as well as some pages inked, toned and lettered.  Right up to the point where Syncronicity pulled the plug.  I will annotate those with thoughts about the process.

I’ll also tell you my opinion on why I’m glad that T.h.u.n.d.e.r. wasn’t more of a success.

Standard
Cartoon and Illustration

What’s up with the change on my FB page?

Some of the more astute folks (who actually bother to read this blog) may have noticed that as of this morning (7/25/16) I changed my Facebook banner and image to read differently.

My banner now reads, “Preserving and Promoting the good name of my neighbor and myself.”  My image now says, “Left blank on purpose.”

There are some compelling reasons for this change.  Frankly I’ve been more and more struck by the increasingly antagonistic attitudes on Facebook during this election cycle, and began to be convicted when a friend of mine (Arnie Grieves) posted a note about the same, encouraging people to say more about their own lives and less about the coming election.

But conviction, like drawing is a process.  So Arnie’s words were the beginning the process.  The next step of conviction was a few weeks ago when I encouraged my Sunday School class that we really shouldn’t be calling our political opponents “idiots”, “stupid”, or “morons”.  It doesn’t apply, nor address any of the issues–it’s simply name-calling.

By Friday of last week I had more or less decided that what was needed was to blank out my FB page in a manner such as this, but as providence would have it, our Pastor (Larry Jones) just happened to be teaching on this very point during Sunday Worship Service. (And as I don’t do a lot of internet stuff on the weekends, the “final nail” in this conviction came from the pulpit.)

Specifically he reminded us that the Ninth Commandment, more than simply teaching us to “not lie”, should actually compel us to to look for the good in others–in spite of any differences we may hold.  At the same time we’ll be preserving the good name of ourselves and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

So, I would like to apologize for my previous confrontational language during this or any other election cycle toward those I differ with.  I will now endeavor to turn the matter over to God.  Bear with me as this is (like all things) going to be a process.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am still a Christian, a strict-construction Constitutional supporter, and social conservative.  I am still registered as a Republican because I believe that political party (in spite of various faults) best represents my views; those that will protect the needs of family and friends, as well as work to stabilize the nation we grew up in.

In an effort to preserve the good name of those with similar beliefs I will still engage in appropriate correction of those with whom I differ.  (That is I’ll try to convince people with loving reproof–not bludgeon them with sarcastic words).

Right now I’m trying to, “light a single candle rather than cursing the darkness.”

This is not apathy.  It’s a hopeful step in the right direction.

Not trying to lay judgment on any of you out there that feel compelled to continue to politic on FaceBook or in other social media.  (Though I do hope you will extend me the same courtesy and avoid casting epithets upon me and my family, contemporaries, etc.)

But I’m done with that.  I’ve got another calling.

Oh, and this is not surrender to the world.  It’s surrender to the commands of Christ.  “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”

Standard
Cartoon and Illustration

Heroes Convention 2016 Passes by…

Long story short, I missed Heroes Convention 2016 completely.  This is a real shame for me, as that show is like a summer-time Christmas celebration / family reunion for me in many ways.

I look forward to being there all year long.   I begin dreaming of it around February of each year, and have attended the show nearly every year that it has been in existence (up until now, only missing it because I was in Illinois the summer of 1988, busy with preparations for my upcoming wedding).

In fact, last year, my brothers were kind enough to send me off to Heroes in spite of the fact that our Mother had just passed on the day before the show opened!  (I had to cut the event short and return home in time for the funeral and interment, but they understood that going there would take my mind off the sadness for a little while).

But this year it was different.  I caught a nasty little virus which began bothering me on Tuesday, and by Thursday sent me to the Urgent Care Center.  They tested for Strep and Flu, but found neither of those.  However, the infection was so acute that they were afraid (in my present condition of recovery from Idiopathic Aplastic Anemia, and still undergoing immune suppression therapy) that I might develop pneumonia.

They gave me a round of antibiotics to prevent that secondary infection, and I went home to bed.  I finally began to feel a bit more energy on Sunday, but by then it was way too late to even put in an appearance in Charlotte.

So I missed it.

Imagine me as Linus, who neither met “The Great Pumpkin” nor got to go out for “Trick or Treats” and you’ll have some idea of what my mood is today.  Of course I’m not seven–so I’m a bit more stoic than Master Van Pelt was…but that’s me on the inside.

Still, I’m pretty beat.  Haven’t got a lot of work done today.  Answered a lot of emails that had backed up while I was ill, did some preliminary work in Photoshop, did a bit of organizing of the Chester Gould Reference Morgue.  But I’ve about had it already.

I should go back to bed.  I can mope when I feel all the way better.

Anyway, for those of you who stopped by my table looking for me, thanks.  To those of you who sent your well-wishes, those are much appreciated.  To the one man who came by to get a copy of Tales from Neverland signed, thank you, I’ll be happy to do that some other time (and thanks for the encouragement).

To all my old friends who were there, I really missed you.  Literally dreamt of being there with you all.  Such is my mania.

Lord willing I’ll be in perfect health for Rob-Con in Bristol, TN on July 30-31.  If you’re in the neighborhood come on by and see me there.

 

Standard
Cartoon and Illustration

Chester Gould’s Morgue

IMG_20160613_114355134

There’s been so much going on in the past several days that I hardly know where to begin. Got new mobile phone, having repairs done on studio building, went to MAGMA in Pigeon Forge, getting ready for Heroes Convention this week…

But seeing as I’m most excited at the moment about the photo above I think I’ll talk about that.

It may not look like much to the untrained eye, but it is Chester Gould’s “Morgue”.  No, it does not contain the remains of the creator of Dick Tracy.  But rather it is the greater portion of his reference files going back to at least 1922, and used by him in creation of that comic strip.

The files were passed on to Ray Schliemann, who assisted Mr. Gould on the strip (primarily as inker over Gould’s pencils).  When Ray retired he passed them on to Nick DePaolo–who I’ve had the pleasure to get to know over the past several years since he retired to my community here in the mountains of North Carolina.

Yesterday Nick passed this treasure on to me.  Which is a round about way of saying, “God has been so good to me” (as well as, “thanks Nick!”)

It’s like the biggest Christmas present ever.  I’ve hardly scratched the surface of the files, but as indicated the tear sheets go back to at least 1922 and the most recent stuff I’ve seen is probably early 50s.  Though I suspect that Mr. Schliemann added to the files after he got them from Mr. Gould.

What’s so great about this, you ask?  Oh man!  To a cartoonist and comic book artist this is like finding a gold mine.  Particularly if that cartoonist is in the midst of drawing a comic book set in the period when so much of this reference is from.  Sure, I can go online and find stuff at the drop of a hat.  But not ALL this stuff.  Because nobody has bothered to digitize all of this stuff.  A Morgue is rather subjective after all.

For example, who out there has the advertisements for the 1950 Studebaker in the same folder with pictures of 1897 Oldsmobile?  Well, I do now!

Another great thing about this, I also inherited my father-in-law, Ernie Guldbeck’s Morgue (he gave it to me in bits and pieces when I’d go to visit him in Glen Ellyn, IL until the time he passed away) so I can now combine the two Morgues into one, add my own collection of actual  tangible clippings and have all sorts of vintage reference at my fingertips.

The difference between the Gould/Schleimann Morgue and the Guldbeck/Lyle Morgue?  Gould organized his already.  It’s all neatly catalogued and foldered.  All I need to do it clean out my file cabinet, put the folders into alphabetical order and add my paltry two drawers of reverence to his.  I may need more file cabinets, not sure.

As I stated the collection is rather subjective.  But another great thing about it is that since Gould and Schleimann were also in the Chicago area, Ernie’s files dovetail neatly into theirs.  And as Ernie took up his career in Chicagoland in the late 50s many of the clippings naturally come from the same sources.

Awesome!

I’m surprised that I slept at all last night.  I wanted to look at every clipping in the collection.  I held myself to a half-dozen file folders, which I looked at while finishing dinner and “watching” a re-run of Columbo.

What I have noticed thus far is that Mr. Gould enjoyed the work of  Norman Mingo, Robert Graef, and John Held, Jr. in particular.

A lot of people only know Norman Mingo for his work at MAD Magazine (he’s the guy who did all the classic Alfred E. Newman images, so it makes sense that he’d be identified with that character.  But Mingo did a lot of advertising art much earlier in the century, in particular featuring “good girl” illustrations to sell things like shaving cream and men’s ties (go figure).

Graef is probably best known for his Argosy covers, but he also did a lot of advertising illustration and so that’s what’s contained in the files.

John Held, Jr. of course did a lot of cartoons of the “flapper age”.  In fact, he’s known for defining the look with his cartoons.  There are a lot of those in just the few files I looked at last night.

Unfortunately, as these are clippings many of the sources are obscured by simple fact that the titles of the magazines and papers they’re pulled from are missing–not to mention the dates.  But I have determined already that there are many clipped from Collier’s Magazine, and at least a few photos trimmed right out of the Chicago Tribune.

Of course, you’d think that working for “the Trib” that Gould would have a lot more clippings from that paper.  But I suppose he figured that if he wanted reference from that source he could just go down to the paper’s own Morgue and look up almost anything.  So it would appear that the few Tribune clippings that Gould kept in his own files were of particular note to him.

I’m sure I’ll come up with all sorts of ideas about his thinking as I go through the files.

But I fully intend to apply the reference I find to the production of the comic-book series, The Mob of Zion, as that book was already something of a tribute to Dick Tracy and Chester Gould.

Standard