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.

 

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Cartoon and Illustration

Chester Gould’s Morgue

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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.

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