Posts Tagged ‘cartoonist’

Cartoonists I dig – Frank Springer

April 6, 2009

It’s after midnight, I should be in bed but I was clicking around the web, landed on Mark Evanier’s site and found out Frank Springer had died on Thursday. He was 79.

Damn.

I should be in bed, but I feel the need to type this…

Frank was such a kind-hearted sweetheart of a guy. I met him at the National Cartoonist Society Reuben Weekend in 1994. It was my second time at The Rubes, but I still didn’t know many people and felt a bit lost. I don’t know if Frank sensed this but he started talking to me at the cocktail party, telling me about baseball players that had the same name as mine. He even mailed me some info from a stats book. We became friends.

Such a great guy, and although he had all that white, wavy hair, he seemed pretty ageless…

At The Rubes a few years ago, I was talking with Frank, telling him about my new home town, a hot spot of the Civil War. I was going off about how I was discovering that some people don’t view “The War of Northern Aggression” like some others do…when I found out that Frank, because of his heritage, was one of those “some people” (while I was in the “some others” camp). He was very nice about it when he told me but I just apologized over and over again for insulting him. He said that it was OK, to just forget about it.

When I got home I bought him a lapel pin displaying a certain flag and sent it to him…because that’s how important his friendship was to me.

And now to bed. Good night.

Bald like me

April 3, 2009

johncl-copy

The strip on Gocomics.com today starts off a series about baldness, the most dreaded disease humankind has even known.*

Yes, I am a bald man. My hair starting leaving me (and not coming back) when I was 18. I started shaving my head when I was 31. (A friend called it “taking control of my own head.”) You can see what I look like now in the police artist sketch above.

*kidding

Happy new year…again…part 2

March 23, 2009

Got a second? Check out today’s strip in the never-ending Bo-as-temp-waiter-looking-for-the-right-party saga on GoComics.com. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

(emoticon of a man examining his fingernails then rubbing them on his lapel like he’s in a movie from the 40s)

The year that this strip ran originally this was pretty much the New Years Eve my wife and I had. We had just flown back from visiting her family and were just about to drive six hours to visit my family when my back went out while I was looking into the dryer. Not lifting anything – just bending over and looking. Plans were changed and we spent New Years Eve Day on the couch, watching “comfort movies” and eating take-out. We watched fireworks from the window of my studio for a few minutes and went to bed.

Belated birthday

March 18, 2009

I’ve been meaning to post about this for a while but, well, hadn’t. Here it is.

Occasionally I’d put my friends and colleagues in the strip, usually for their birthday. A couple of weeks ago this strip ran on Gocomics.com. I did it originally a few years ago for the birthday of Paul Jon Boscacci (the clerk’s name tag says “PJ”). I also drew the clerk aping Paul Jon’s style – but I left off the “googly” eyes, since it felt like it would be distracting from my “less-than-googly” style.

An interview (well, part of it…)

March 2, 2009

Remember when the nice people from the regional magazine Celebrate Gettysburg came over and I gave myself a wicked papercut just before the interview and patched myself up with a HI-larious cartoon band-aid? (No? You can refresh your memory here.) Well, I got my issue in the mail today and it’s a very nice piece, with some of the nicest pix of me I’ve ever had taken. And in two of the three photos you can see the band-aid as clear as day.

To see part of the article and the one band-aidless photo, click here.

Cartoonists I Dig – Ford Button

February 16, 2009

I got home from teaching at about 1:00 pm, flipped my date book to this week and there it was. Today is the anniversary of my friend Ford Button’s death. He died in 1995 just before his 70th birthday.

Ford was the first cartoonist I ever met. (He always said that with a name like “Ford Button” he had to be a cartoonist.) He was a grade school art teacher who cartooned on the side, but did a lot of work. (In his heart, I think he was always a cartoonist first but, from what I’ve heard, he was a heck of a teacher.) He was primarily a gag cartoonist who had done a fair amount of “general” work, but what he was known for was his educational cartoons. That is, cartoons about education. (You can see some of his work in this on-line textbook.) He’d be the first to tell you that he wasn’t a ground breaking cartoonist. I think he said he worked in the “Grand Rapids Style” meaning that anyone, anywhere could understand it.

I met him when I was in college, and even though he was almost 40 years older than me, we became friends. And even though I was just an art student/wanna-be cartoonist, he treated me as an equal. During the 10+ years we knew each other, he was always encouraging. I showed him my meager work and he though it was great. He introduced me to the Upstate Cartoonists League of America, or UCLA (a rag tag group of cartoonists that met once a year). He and I ended up reviving the group and started having regular meetings in Rochester and Buffalo, as well as a newsletter and an annual cartoon art show. He wrote my sponsorship letter for the National Cartoonists Society. I remember excitedly talking to him about sending the weekly strip I’d been doing out to the syndicates for the first time. All in all, he was my mentor…and it was sad that he didn’t get to see me become a full-time cartoonist, get syndicated and get into MAD.

I was honored that his family asked me to speak about the cartooning side of his life at his memorial service.

All the cartoonists of my generation that knew Ford marveled at his age when he died. He was always so full of life they just couldn’t believe it.

I hope that I’m like that when I get old.

(I dedicated my Bo Nanas collection APPEELING to Ford as well as to the-best-friend-a-cartoonist-could-have Tim Rosenthal and Buffalo-area cartoonist Bob Bindig.)

The Case of the Missing Wiki

February 6, 2009

Let’s start with a confession: Sometimes, when I’m bored, I Google myself. (Shameful, I know.)

During one of these shameful events, I found that I was listed on Wikipedia. Nothing much, just a sentence about me doing Bo Nanas from 2003 until 2007. But it was still kinda cool.

A week or so later I looked for it again and it was gone. I was able to stumble upon the list of people that had edited the entry. There was about eight of them…and the last one delete me.

I’m just a working class cartoonist who did a comic strip that only a few people had heard of…and this guy decided that I didn’t deserve that one sentence. Makes you think. Was I not worthy of that sentence? And what about that guy – does he just surf Wikipedia looking for one-sentencers to erase from existence?

Eeeeeeeeevil!

December 17, 2008

When I stumbled upon the me-and-Al-Jaffe photo from yesterday’s post, I found this one too. It was also taken the National Cartoonists Society‘s gathering in New Orleans last spring. I’m standing with friend and colleague Carla Ventresca at the black-tie Rebuens award dinner.

I like the dichotomy of drinking orange juice while looking like a Bond villain.

Cartoonists I dig – Al Jaffee

December 16, 2008

How could you not love Al Jaffe? The MAD Fold-ins. Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions. He’s the only one of MAD’s “old guard” to still be appearing in every issue. (Well, he and Sergio Aragonés.) And he’s 87. (Al, not Sergio.)

This is a pic I found on the Hogan’s Alley site while searching for something else. Al was awarded the Reuben by the National Cartoonists Society earlier this year in New Orleans. Afterward I went up to meet him, introduced myself as one of the very new MAD guys and told him how much I have always loved his work. He was very nice but obviously had no idea who I was. And then our picture was taken.

Below is one of the first books I ever bought (from the Scholastic Book Club, I believe.) I still have it.

funnyjokes

And here’s Al’s new book, Tall Tales, a collection of his comic strip that ran from 1957–1963. And it was done vertically, not horizontally.

(Disclaimer: Since I have a lot of cartoonist friends – and I don’t want to insult anyone by leaving them out – I’m limiting “Cartoonists I dig” to those that are deceased, retired or certifiable living legends.)

HOW interview

November 25, 2008

A few years ago my friend Jude Stewart did an article for HOW Magazine about me doing Bo. It also has some step-by-step images of the specific strip I was working on at the time of the interview. You can read it here.