Cattle Call

Welcome to the end of the week. We are veritable volcano of content today, all crammed in on this mid-May day for a variety of time-based reasons.

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And now, on the site today we have Tom De Haven's commencement address for the Center for Cartoon Studies. Thanks to James Sturm and Michelle Ollie for this. Tom discusses his own comics education, as well as that of others, and drops this fine story:

The lessons of the Famous Cartoonists School were written by (or ostensibly written by) such luminaries as Al Capp, Milt Caniff, Rube Goldberg, Willard Mullins, Whitney Darrow Jr., Gurney Williams and Virgil Partch. Of course, I sent away for the informational material, but the cost was prohibitive. My mother worked in a bank and brought home less than $45 a week.  It was crushing blow, although (and this such was a wonderful thing, for which I’m still grateful) my mother looked around on her own and found a far less expensive illustration and cartooning home-study course, the Washington School of Art, out of Port Washington, New York. And she signed me up for it. Twelve booklets and an impressive, to me, box of supplies consisting of two pencils, one brush, one pen staff with three different nib points, a fabulous soft blue eraser, a few charcoal sticks, a Conte crayon, a bottle of ink, and a T-square. I  took that course, imperfect as it was, and I wish I still had all my returned artwork with their taped-on see-through overlays with corrections made in red pencil. Unfortunately, for me, only two of the lessons pertained specifically to making comics, but even so, it was realinstruction–and there were real teachers telling me what I’d done right, and what I’d done wrong and how to correct it.

In less happy news, Steve Ringgenberg contributes an obituary of Tony DeZuniga. Additionally, we have Brad Mackay on The Art of Daniel Clowes and, as ever, and thank heavens, Tucker Stone on the global comic book trend.

I suppose it's possible you will want to go elsewhere for yet more comics content, in which case you might  be overdoing it. Still, I feel compelled to guide you:

Is there anything more awesome than a Gilbert Hernandez comic book called Fatima: The Blood Spinners? Of course not. Read what the man himself has to say about it.

Thank you, Warren Ellis. Keeping it real.

I also love Frank Robbins. In fact, I love the whole dang Caniff-school of comic drawing. Lee Elias, William Overgard, et al. So good. But Frank Robbins in the '70s was hallucinatory and great. Milo George has a great appreciation here.

Oh, and I can't believe I'm missing this. Luckily we have embedded a TCJ correspondent on the ground to bring back all the dirt.

11 Responses to Cattle Call

  1. MADdelaRosa says:

    That Chicago Conference does look mighty impressive, except for one important detail: where the hell are the Hernandez brothers??!!!

  2. James says:

    Fortunately, Los Bros have not been made part of the new establishment yet and so they don’t need to be toppled.

  3. jasontmiles says:

    Xaime and Beto are too punk. Same goes for Bagge.

  4. MADdelaRosa says:

    Yeah, this makes sense. I totally forgot about Bagge (dumb…and I just got Reset #2).

    It’s sort of obnoxious that they make it sound like “we gathered ALL of the art comix crowd” or whatever when those titans are conspicuously left out. Then again, I can’t imagine them enjoying this at all, as good as it may be (going back to that too punk thing).

  5. MADdelaRosa says:

    You joke, but you are absolutely right. Along with how everyone has taken them for granted for years now (at least New Stories #3 shook a few people out of their complacent stupor), they rarely seem to be included in the more “high-art” academic discussion/events (i.e., the new establishment). They are probably too punk like jasontmiles says below and they are also tied to a comics tradition (Archie, 60s Marvel, etc) that is less respected than the influences behind the current darlings of said establishment.

    Which of course is not a bad thing, really. But it would still be nice to have an occasion to point to and say “there’s all the greatest cartoonists of the day gathered together.” Oh, well.

  6. James says:

    I wasn’t joking, as soon as someone decides to make a pantheon of who “matters” it is time to bomb it to smithereens. Down with “best of” books, etc elitist bullshit

  7. Scott Grammel says:

    Sure, it would’ve been better if the Hernandez brothers, and Chester Brown, and Spain Rodriguez, and Kim Deitch, and Kaz, and Richard Corben and other names I’m forgetting had been there, too, but the fact remains that it’s an absolutely amazing line-up. I’ve never been to Angouleme or to the San Diego Comicon, but the last 24-plus hours has been one of the most amazing of my comics life. Besides whoever was on stage at any particular time, the cartoonists seemed to spend most of their personal time sitting in the audience as well. I remember looking at the second row in front of me at one early point and there, one after the other, was Mouly, Crumb, Kominsky-Crumb, Green, Tyler, Gloeckner, Panter, Clowes, Burns, Ware, and Barry. Okay, maybe the order isn’t exactly right, and one or two weren’t there yet, and I wasn’t sure on two or three of the names at first, but still. Amazing.

  8. TimR says:

    From the piece on Robbins:

    “But when Robbins moved from DC mystery men to Marvel superheroes, his figure work went apeshit, with results that baffled and/or enraged at least two generations of nerds who grew up and came to value his ebullient but realist cartooniness over contemporary fan favorites like Mike Kaluta and Neal Adams.”

    What does that sentence even mean? Is he saying the nerds were *initially* baffled/enraged, but changed their minds when they grew up?

    The writing in this article is sort of “apeshit” and “ebullient”.. I can sympathize because I sometimes fall into that sort of thing when I try to write a long article or essay, just pointing it out.

    My own nerd ire was provoked even more, for example, by the writer’s obnoxious paragraph comparing the late careers of Kirby, Ditko, Romita etc. to late Robbins, in which he reduces all their lives to absurd, well, comic book encapsulations, and then concludes that “by any objective measure, Robbins wins.”

    Robbins “wins”? Is this article a put-on? Am I being taken in by some kind of weird send-up of comic book criticism? I’m tempted to detail on several levels how absurd that paragraph is, but I can’t believe it’s really necessary to state what must be obvious to anyone who reads it…

  9. Ken Parille says:

    “What does that sentence even mean? Is he saying the nerds were *initially* baffled/enraged, but changed their minds when they grew up?”

    That’s what I took it to mean.

    “Robbins “wins”? Is this article a put-on?”

    I read it as a Milo using hyperbole and exaggeration to talk about why he likes Robbins.

  10. Milo George says:

    Dan: Thanks for the kind words — we Overgard admirers need to stick together!

    TimR: I’m saying the nerds were initially baffled/enraged but changed their minds when they grew up. Thanks for just pointing out that the writing in that my piece is sort of “apeshit” and “ebullient,” and sorry that you didn’t like my thumbnail comparison of Robbins’ 1980s life to those of some of his peers.

    Until recently, part of the American Dream was to
    retire from your day job to pursue your passions and enjoy your remaining life free from your old work bullshit; now, the perfect endgame is probably keeling over dead in your cubicle without leaving any paid sick/personal days untapped.

  11. TimR says:

    Milo George – Maybe I did read it too literally as Ken Parille says. If it’s read as just a flip comparison I don’t find it obnoxious. I thought you were in earnest that Robbins had somehow triumphed, based on some superficial thing, as if someone were to take seriously that saying about “He who dies with the most money, wins”.

    And just to be clear, I wasn’t making some kind of pro-cubicle, work till you drop case as you seem to assume.

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