Cartoonists in the News – Catching Up

With Steve Brodner, Alison Bechdel, Lawrence Wood, Alex Norris, Jerry Craft, Art Speigelman, Norman Rockwell and The Usual Gang of Idiots.

photo by and © Bruce Guthrie

The Herblock Foundation held its 2024 Herblock Prize ceremony at the Library of Congress on June 4 honoring Steve Brodner this year.

Comics DC has links to photographer Bruce Guthrie‘s pages of the reception and guests.

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Cartoonist Alison Bechdel is easily one of the most recognized names in comics — especially because her work has transcended the medium to affect all aspects of pop culture. Her seminal graphic memoir Fun Home has been adapted into a five-time Tony Award-winning Broadway musical and her strip comic, Dykes to Watch Out For, is still named as a paradigm example of the medium. There’s also ‘The Bechdel-Wallace Test,’ which for some time was used as the metric by which a work was judged pro- or anti-feminist.

Samantha Puc for Popverse profiles the 40 year (so far) cartooning career of Alison Bechdel.

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I have spent much of the past 25 years obsessing over [The New Yorker]’s cartoon-caption contest, in which readers compete to supply the cleverest line of dialogue to a captionless drawing. I have entered more than 900 contests, losing almost all of them. But, because I have won eight contests, and made it to the final round in seven others, I hold the all-time caption-contest record. And I might have some insight into how you can beat me at my own game.

Lawrence Wood tells The Atlantic readership (pay wall alert) how to win The New Yorker’s caption contests.

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The online comic series, literally Webcomic Name, is the creation of Alex Norris—who since first publishing this pared back, three-panel strip in 2016 has amassed more than 760,000 followers on Instagram.

Back in 2017, Norris signed a contract with US-based table-top games-maker Golden Bell to create a boardgame and toy based on characters from Webcomic Name. Golden Bell argued that this contract meant Webcomic Name, “Oh No!” and other aspects of Norris’s work became the company’s intellectual property, to do with as they wished; Norris, who had no intention of handing over their intellectual property or working with Golden Bell outside of the boardgame, sued. 

David McAllister for Prospect writes a precautionary tale about signing contracts involving your intellectual property starring cartoonist Alex Norris and his Webcomic Name.

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Jerry Craft is the New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of the graphic novels New Kid, Class Act, and School Trip. New Kid is the only book in history to win the John Newbery Medal (2020); the Kirkus Prize (2019), and the Coretta Scott King Author Award (2020). 

Art Spiegelman has almost single-handedly brought comic books out of the toy closet and onto the literature shelves, with his groundbreaking and acclaimed Pulitzer Prize winning MAUS graphic novels and his underground comix series RAW

Jerry Craft and Art Spiegelman are a couple of the special guest cartoonists scheduled for the 2024 CXC.

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What, Me Worry? The Art and Humor of MAD Magazine, an exhibit at the Norman Rockwell Museum.

This exhibition explores the unforgettable art and satire of MAD … features iconic original illustrations and cartoons created by the magazine’s Usual Gang of Idiots—the many artists and writers who have been the publication’s mainstays for decades. These include Sergio Aragonés, David Berg, Paul Coker, Jack Davis, Dick DeBartolo, Mort Drucker, Will Elder, John Ficarra, Kelly Freas, Al Jaffee, Harvey Kurtzman, Don Martin, Nick Meglin, Norman Mingo, Antonio Prohías, Marie Severin, John Severin, Angelo Torres, Sam Viviano, Richard Williams, and Wally Wood. The art of next generation visual humorists, including Emily Flake, Drew Friedman, Peter Kuper, Teresa Burns Parkhurst, C.F. Payne, Tom Richmond, and Dale Stephanos, will also be on view.

The show covers the full legacy of MAD, from Harvey Kurtzman’s inspired comic book, to Bill Gaines’ outwitting the Comics Code Authority by transitioning from comic book to magazine format, up through the present. The NRM curatorial staff, headed by Stephanie Plunkett, together with guest curator Steve Brodner (assisted by an unusual gang of experts), has brought MAD—which ended newsstand distribution in 2018, continuing in comic book stores and via subscription—back to the fore with a richly filled treasury of printed and original material.

4 thoughts on “Cartoonists in the News – Catching Up

  1. If in this article there was any mention of Frank Kelly Freas I seemed to somehow missed it.

    1. Kelly Freas was name-checked in The Museum’s alphabetical list of artists quoted above,
      and is also mentioned in the Heller interview as part of the 1956-1964 Feldstein Rebuild.

  2. Took a deep dive reading up on Golden Bell this weekend — since no game designer I knew had ever heard of them — and am surprised they are still able to bring a suit against Norris. The company has been banned from Kickstarter *and* Boardgamegeek (which is really impressive …if your goal is to completely destroy your reputation), and hasn’t been able to deliver any of the games in their pipeline. It appears their main source of income is countersuing all the creatives who sued them in the past for IP theft.

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