Archive for the 'News' Category
Friday, May 17th, 2013
Hard to believe there is still “news” about a book that is 18 months past its release, but today I shipped off several cases of The Mad Art of Caricature! to a company called Basheer Graphic Books in Singapore, which will be distributing it in Asia. I’m not sure how much of Asia they mean, as Asia is an awfully big place, but I am pretty sure if you are in Asia and inquire at your local book store they can probably order a copy for you. It might take a few weeks for the book to start showing up in wholesaler’s catalogs, but it should soon. That’s good news for anyone in Asia who wants to get a copy, as they don’t have to pay the outrageous shipping costs the USPS charges, worry about customs which can delay delivery for weeks, or end up with a very beat up copy on the other end despite my careful packaging. Of course, it won’t be signed, but as Alfred E. Neuman might say, “big deal”.
I have also been exploring the possibility of selling Spanish language foreign rights to a company in Spain. They would then do a translation in Spanish and sell them directly. I will say this is unlikely to happen. They don’t seem very willing to pay a reasonable advance/royalty for these rights, and are not very forthcoming in details on the process of doing the translation. Maybe another company will be better. I get a fair number of inquiries about having the book translated, especially into Spanish, but the cost is prohibitive to do it via self-publishing. Hopefully this will end up working out, it would be cool to see the book in Spanish!
Thursday, May 16th, 2013
Readers may or may not know I am a member of a web collective of cartoonists known as The Cartoonists Studio. TCS is sort of a virtual gathering place for cartoonists with pages for each member that includes bios, photo tours of their studios, news about what they are up to and links to communicate with them. It’s supposed to be a place that fans can go and “meet” the creators of their favorite cartoons. TCS is probably best known for its cartooning “contests”, where aspiring cartoonists create comics and compete for various prizes. I know it used to be a syndication deal but the latest prize is 4 weeks of mentoring by one of the professional cartoonists from the group. I know I have said I am not very big on art contests, but as they go these are good ones… they don’t own or place any claim on the artwork submitted, and while online voting factors in ultimately a panel of pro cartoonists choose the winner. The main attraction is feedback from people making their living doing cartoons.
TCS started something new this week… a blog. I know, blogs are so last decade, but this one will have entries by the many different cartoonists from the group, answering questions like how they got started, what their process is, etc. It’s worth looking at because of the diverse group and the many different views and answers you are bound to find there. The first entry is from Tom Batiuk of “Funky Winkerbean” fame, telling us about the first cartoon he ever sold. I wish the answer was a little longer and more involved, but maybe future posts will be a bit more indepth.
I’m not sure how often there will be posts on TCS Blog, but it’s a bookmark-worthy resource.
Friday, May 3rd, 2013
Encouraging kids of any age to discover and read comics has no downside, and to that end there is a wonderful annual event called Free Comic Book Day that happens in comic book specialty shops across North America and worldwide. Held the first Saturday in May each year, the premise is simple: any customer can walk into a comic shop and receive a free comic book!
Now in its 12th year, Free Comic Book Day happens tomorrw, May 4th, at your local participating Comic Book shop! To find shops near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com. Go visit your local comic book store tomorrow, get a free comic and browse about to see what is new and exciting in the world of comics.
You might even see some local cartoonists appearing as part of Free Comic Book Day in your comic book store! The folks who run Free Comic Book Day and the National Cartoonists Society are joining forces to help promote comic books as a gateway to fun reading and literacy. Some NCS members already attend FCBD as guests for signings, supporting their local shop. This promotion is a great thing not just for comic books and their publishers, but for the entire cartooning industry.
Since its inception, more than 27 million free comic books have been distributed to almost 8 million FCBD attendees. Last year, more than 3.5 million comics were given out, and the event generated over $1.8 million in free publicity for the event, comic books, and comic book shops. For more information, visit www.freecomicbookday.com.
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
The latest in MAD‘s series of “Mad’s Greatest Artists” featuring Dave Berg just became available for pre-order on Amazon. From the Amazon page’s description:
Included in this magnificent collection are some of the greatest works from Dave Berg—one of MAD Magazine’s most popular writers/artists. The material will be presented chronologically and interspersed throughout with rough sketches, a rare 1970 interview, an introduction and portrait of Berg by well-known American illustrator Drew Friedman, a “growing up with Dave Berg” essay by his daughter Nancy Berg, newly illustrated versions of classic Berg strips by several noteworthy cartoonists, and much more.
I am one of the cartoonists who did one of the “classic Berg strips”, which made me happy because when Dave passed away I had just joined the Usual Gang of Idiots, and as a result of being a newbie I was not asked to be one of the artists that took part in a special tribute to him in issue #427. In that issue a number of MAD artists illustrated what was his last script of “The Lighter Side of…”, which he never got a chance to illustrate. This time I got to do one. By the way I’ve seen Drew’s illustration of Dave as mentioned above, and in typical Friedman fashion it is fantastic.
These books are very well done. The only real problem with them is that so many of “MAD‘s Greatest Artists” worked for the magazine for so long and did so much work, that a “The Complete Work of…” is impossible with only a few exceptions. Dave worked for MAD for 46 years, first doing various gag artciels before starting “The Lighter Side of…” in 1961, which he did until his death in 2002. Just for perspective, “The Lighter Side of…” was already five years old when I was born in 1966.
Friday, April 26th, 2013
The fourth printing of The Mad Art of Caricature! arrived today and is back in stock!
The book has a ton of extremely positive reviews on Amazon (88 as of this post), but there has been one complaint made by a just a few people—apparently on some copies the binding has come loose and pages have fallen out. I’ve only had a handful of complaints about it out of many thousands sold, so I suspect the problem only affects some copies where perhaps the glue was thin or some other factor weakened the binding on part of the run. That’s not unheard of… in the original print run a small number of copies had duplicated pages out of order (!!).
The book is perfect bound and glued, not stitched. I went with glue only simply for economic reasons. I’d have had to charge more for a stitch-bound book, and $24.95 seemed like a lot for a paperback already. The type of glued binding was called ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) hotmelt, and is a very standard type of perfect binding.
After I got those few complaints I did some additional research and found one of the shortcomings of EVA hotmelt is that it doesn’t do as well with glossy, coated stock, and that’s just what is in my book. It also is not very flexible and opening up the book to lay flat will certainly cause the pages to loosen and eventually fall out.
I’m happy to say this new printing uses a different type of glued binding called polyurethane reactive (PUR) gluing. It’s still not stitched, but the PUR binding offers many significant advantages over EVA. First, it bonds strongly to coated stock like that in TMAoC. It has a 40-60% stronger adhesion, while using less glue overall. PUR glue is considerably more flexible than standard EVA hotmelts, making it possible to open the book fully to lie flat and allow for hands-free reading… this one I have a hard time believing but that’s what they say. It also doesn’t “wrinkle” or distort the spine as much. Of course, it’s more expensive. It’s still cheaper than stitching, so the book stays the same price.
In other book news, there is now a Canadian price of $27.95CAN on the book’s UPC box. This is because it is likely the craft store chain Micheal’s will start carrying the book, and they require a marked Canadian price. For simplicities sake, any Canadian buyers who gets the book directly from me will still pay the US price converted rather than the Canadian price, which is (right now) a better deal anyway. Plus I sign it for you (big deal, I know).
Thursday, April 25th, 2013
The National Cartoonists Society Foundation announced the 2013 recipient of the Jay Kennedy Memorial Scholarship today. From the NCSF website:
2013 Jay Kennedy Memorial Scholarship Winner
April 23rd, 2013
The National Cartoonists Society Foundation (NCSF) is happy to announce the winner of the 2013 Jay Kennedy Memorial Scholarship – Charlotte Mao.
Charlotte is an illustration major at Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota FL. She was chosen from over 65 applicants for the award, which includes a $5,000 scholarship and a trip to the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben Award weekend in Pittsburgh in May. The scholarship applicants submitted eight examples of their work along with an entry form that included short essays on their current and future plans in cartooning. Entries were judged by a jury of professional cartoonists who are members of the National Cartoonists Society Foundation.
In addition to her studies, Charlotte is working on writing and illustrating her own children’s book. She has done freelance work for Harper Collins Children’s Books and will be interning at American Greetings this summer.
The Jay Kennedy Memorial Scholarship is an annual award established in memory of Jay Kennedy, the late King Features comics editor, from an initial from the Hearst Foundation/King Features Syndicate and additional generous donations from other prominent cartoonists. It is administered by the National Cartoonists Society Foundation. The scholarship is awarded to a college student in the United States, Canada or Mexico who will be in their Junior or Senior year of college during the following academic year, and is selected by a panel of professional cartoonists.
Congratulations to Charlotte! See you in Pittsburgh!
Friday, April 19th, 2013
The National Cartoonists Society will be holding its annual Reuben Award Weekend on May 24th-26th in Pittsburgh, PA, and part of the festivities includes a public cartoon event on Sunday.
The Toonseum and the NCS Foundation, along with several local sponsors, are putting on a special public event to raise money for a worthwhile cause on Sunday, May 26th in the 900 block of Liberty Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh. Here is the official press release:
First Annual Pittsburgh Comic Arts Festival!
Pittsburgh, PA-Hundreds of cartoonists are descending on downtown Pittsburgh as the city plays host to the National Cartoonists Society Conference. It is the first time the prestigious organization has been to Pittsburgh in its almost 70 year history.
In conjunction with the conference, The ToonSeum will be hosting the very first Pittsburgh Comic Arts Festival on May 26th from noon to 5pm.
The festival will feature autograph and sketch sessions with over 60 of the nations top comic artist and cartoonists including such luminaries as: Partrick McDonnell of Mutts, Lynn Johnston of For Better or Worse, Tom Richmond of MAD Magazine, Brian Walker of Beetle Bailey, Dan Piraro of Bizarro and many more.
The 900 Block of Liberty Avenue downtown will become a veritable living funny pages block party with visits from Betty Boop, Popeye, Olive Oyl, Dennis the Menace, and the Care Bears. Fun vendors, art activities, chalk artists and caricaturists and will round out the festivities and help to literally draw a crowd.
Several ticketed panel discussions and lectures will be taking place at Bricolage Theater featuring an exciting panel of women cartoonists presented by Carlow University. The Panel will include Cathy Guisewite, Lynn Johnston, Terri Liebenson, and Hillary Price.
The ToonSeum will host the first ever exhibition of Reuben Award winners featuring a who’s who of comics and cartooning spanning over 60 years and rarely seen original art.
At the August Wilson Center there will be original art from the classic animated series Fat Albert on display in their gallery.
Admission to the street festival is free. Five dollar admission gets access to exhibitions at the ToonSeum and artists signing booths.
Books and prints for signings will be available for purchase with all proceeds benefiting the NCS/ToonSeum Fund for Youth Programs.
Panel discussions seating is limited and ticket price is $20.
On Thursday night, there will be Special VIP tickets available including a sneak peek of the exhibit, reserved seating to all panels, and private meet and greet with artists which are available for $150.00
Information on the festival is available at pghcomicartsfest.com
The festival is a partnership between the National Cartoonists Society, the ToonSeum, The August Wilson Center and Bricolage theater with support from the R K Mellon Foundation and Geek Pittsburgh.
It should be a great time, and raise money for a good cause.
Monday, April 15th, 2013
I am totally out of copies of The Mad Art of Caricature. I am supposed to have the fourth printing in stock by the end of April, but we will see if the shipping people stay on schedule. In the meantime, there are still a few copies on Amazon, and they sell it cheaper there (but unsigned!), but they will be out shortly as well. My apologies to those looking for a signed copy.
Thursday, April 4th, 2013
I was sad to hear that well-known film critic Roger Ebert passed away today at age 70, after a long battle with cancer. I always liked his take on films, and while I did not agree with them all the time, they were always presented with just the right amount of wit, sometimes of the sharp-tongued variety. He was also a long-time fan of MAD. Here’s a quote from his forward from the book MAD About the Movies:
“I learned to be a movie critic by reading Mad magazine… Mad’s parodies made me aware of the machine inside the skin—of the way a movie might look original on the outside, while inside it was just recycling the same old dumb formulas. I did not read the magazine, I plundered it for clues to the universe. Pauline Kael lost it at the movies; I lost it at Mad magazine.”
Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
I just found out that longtime MAD artist Bob Clarke passed away on Sunday from complications from pneumonia. He was 87.
I only met Bob once, at an NCS Reubens weekend in 2000 when it was held in New York City. He was pretty spry and sharp, and a gracious and humble guy. His work in MAD was always terrific, and while he didn’t get the kudos and attention of guys like Mort, Jack, Sergio, Don or Antonio, he was quietly one of the mainstays of the Usual Gang of Idiots and one of my favorites. Interestingly, he was one of several artists that were intrigued by, and came on board the magazine thanks to, an ad in the New York Times placed by
Bill Gaines Al Feldstein, which also netted Norman Mingo and Mort Drucker. Bob was an example of an illustrator that could do it all, and quite literally did it all. He seemed to be able to work in any style effortlessly, and that ability made him invaluable to MAD, as he could spoof almost any subject or genre from comic strips to children’s books to movie posters to advertising. He even did a number of Spy vs. Spys for the magazine. I always thought his work had an elegance to it that seemed to barely contain a very animated, zany style bubbling just under the surface. He did the sketch above for The Lovely Anna at the Reubens that year, and you can see his hands were not as steady as they were back in the day. Below is a picture of him drawing it. I wish I could have met him more often, and gotten to know him.
A true pro, a great talent… he’ll be missed but his legacy of work is one to be envied. RIP Mr. Clarke.