Merrie Melodies, Silly Symphonies, and Looney Tunes
Meet The Queen’s Cartoonists, a New York jazz band bringing back cartoon music.
As I watched The Queen’s Cartoonists slip and slide through decades of cartoon music in a matter of minutes, with the animations projected on a large screen behind them, I followed a captivated crowd of young and old consciously connect what they were watching with what they were hearing. The pleasure of the perfect synchrony of sound and pictures was instantly recognizable.
“At the start, we just performed this cool swing music used in cartoons,” [Joel] Pierson says. “Now the emphasis has changed to, ‘look at this cartoon and we’ll play the soundtrack.’ It’s become more visual.” While the projections are the most important aesthetic aspect of the show, Pierson admits they really try to put the looney in their tunes with each band member performing pretty complex circus numbers and tricks.
On the Origin of Species
Griffith is a champion of the overlooked and the out of place, and also an outstanding researcher…This kindhearted and thoroughly interesting tribute to the man who inspired Griffith’s Zippy is also a history of 20th-century American culture and social mores.
Down in The Boondocks
More of The Boondocks by McGruder and Kim courtesy SOHH.
Aaron really needs to set up a dedicated website for this great stuff. I’m begging here!
Zonkered* Senior Citizens
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Woodstock festival this summer, the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center presents a yearlong exhibition celebrating the smallest Peanuts character, Woodstock, named for the generation-defining music event. Opening March 17, 2019, and on view through March 8, 2020, Peace, Love, and Woodstock provides a rich snapshot of the landmark festival while tracing the evolution and life of Snoopy’s most trusted friend.
Though birds appeared early in Peanuts, it was not until 1967 when a distinct little bird began to appear more frequently in the comic strip, capturing hearts and inspiring laughs with his unique personality and eccentric ways. In a strip from June 22, 1970, his name was finally revealed.
*in-joke for The Walker Bros. of Hi and Lois fame.
You Bring the Duck
Six records set during illustration art auction.
The runaway top lot of the sale was a pen and ink drawing of the Marx Brothers by famed cartoonist Al Hirschfeld. The illustration for the cover of Why a Duck?, 1971, which features Chico, Harpo and Groucho in classic Hirschfeld style, barreled through its high estimate of $7,500 selling for $26,000 after a bidding war.
Humor is highly subjective; however, there is one metric which is hard to deny: winning the New Yorker Cartoon Caption contest. That indicates that at least once, you were quantifiably funny. But to win it SEVEN times? Now, that sounds like solid proof.
I had a chance to chat with Larry Wood, the seven-time New Yorker Caption Contest winner last month at the Cartoon Collections launch party. A tall, unimposing sort, Larry fit right in with the crew of cartoonists who’d gathered for the festivities. He’s smart, charming and quietly amusing, much like the rest of the gang.
Rebooting My Generation
Perhaps nowhere is this ageism more visible than in commentary surrounding the new Nancy comic strip. If you like it, great. But if you don’t, prepare to receive the absolute sickest of burns: “You are old.” Originated by Ernie Bushmiller in 1938, Nancy was recently revived by a cartoonist using the pseudonym “Olivia Jaimes.” I like most of Jaimes’s new daily and Sunday strips a lot. Others are solid, a few are bland, some are repetitive (too many cell phone gags), and some I just don’t get (likely ’cause I’m old). If you think the new Nancy is, like her pal Sluggo, “lit,” I’m perfectly ok with that (and if you haven’t read the comic, I recommend it). If you hate it and think it was only good when Bushmiller did it, I’m fine with that, too. I might have some trouble with anyone who thinks Guy Gilchrist is the best Nancy cartoonist. But even then, whatever.
Speaking of reboots…
January 17th, Popeye’s actual birthday, saw the return of this lovely inclusive tradition on Comics Kingdom, which, in 2019, expands considerably on Segar’s intent by allowing artists in 2019 a forum for presenting their own contemporary takes on Popeye’s representation.
Andy Crump, for Men’s Health, appreciates the new Popeye’s Cartoon Club
and gives us a look at a few, as yet unseen, upcoming strips.
Already seen on bookshelves of *BIG NAME BOOKSTORE*,
though the official release date isn’t until March 5, is Brian Fies‘s A Fire Story.