Monday, November 19, 2007

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today....

I ran across this photo, taken at the 1987 San Diego Comic Con, on Mary Fleener's blog (go to Mary in Comic Con Land for more fun fotos -- including shots of Peter Bagge, Matt Groening, Dan Clowes, etc. ).

Mary is a talented cartoonist with a long history in the alternative press.

Pictured left to right are Steve Lafler, the late Dori Seda, and yours truly.

Dori, best known for her underground comix Lonely Nights, died tragically the next year from complications related to emphysema.

I didn't actually know Steve or Dori; I suspect that Mary was trying to get a photo of them and I inadvertently lumbered into the shot.

This was my first trip to Comic Con. I'd done some Underground Comix work but also wanted to break into traditional comics, so I split my time between the Last Gasp booth, where I hung out with The Pizz, Bob X, and Dennis Worden, and the Marvel Comics booth, where I showed inking samples to Jim Shooter, Joe Rubinstein, and John Romita. A bit surreal to say the least.

I vividly remember that convention. I was 25, married just two years, and trying to get a foothold in comics. Twenty years later, much has changed, but I'm still married, still have my hair, and still get a bang out of reading and creating comics.

Thanks to the Comics Reporter for the heads up.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Virgin Territory

I ran across this item at a comics newsgroup: An auction for the original cartoon printed in Playboy's first issue.

Published in 1953, the gag is still funny!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Ho Ho Ho

I drove to the local smut shop today (amazingly enough, we have 3 such places in Muncie!) and picked up the December 2007 issue of Playboy. The magazine was sealed in plastic, as it's been for several years now.

A digression: Who here remembers when Playboy -- and Penthouse and even Hustler -- could be thumbed through openly and were't required to be sheathed in plastic, in a sort of giant magazine condom? Also, who here remembers when Playboy (and the other aforementioned magazines) could be purchased at the local convenience or drug store?

A further digression: When I was a college student in the early 1980s, I worked at a 7-11 in San Francisco. We had to keep the Playboys and Penthouses behind the counter in a special rack that showed the magazine's name, but covered the "naughty bits" -- not that the covers of Playboy have every really been terribly "naughty."

Obviously this was the first step on the long road to keep (evil) pictures of nekkid women out of the hands of impressionable children.

So now we have Hugh Hefner's venerable old magzine safety-sealed, hidden away in "Adult" sex shops, while any kid with an Internet connection can find an endless sea of cyber porn, much of which leaves even me -- an avid enthusiast of erotica -- aghast.

Anyway, back to the point of this post: My Playboy cartoon is in the December issue. Yay!

If you want to see the nekkid girls, you'll have to track down your own copy at the local smut shop.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Fair and Balanced

I stalled out after a couple hundred pages into the new Schulz biography. As a cartoonist friend of mine said, "It's tough sledding."

If you're looking for a book on Schulz that provides a fuller -- and more enjoyable -- portrait of of the man and his work, track down Good Grief: The Story of Charles M. Schulz by Rheta Grimsley Johnson.

The book was first published in 1989, but is now, sadly, out of print. Used copies can be found here. I got mine (a British edition published by Ravette Books) over 10 years ago.

Ms. Grimsley doesn't shy away from Schulz's gloomier side and does, in fact, deal quite openly with his depression and problems finding -- and accepting -- happiness. She also includes a lot of great anecdotes and quotes from various cartoonists, both old and new.

And for what it's worth, Bill Watterson recommended Rheta's book, too.