Sunday, July 31, 2011


I stumbled on a great Carl Barks comics site on the internet, only I forgot to bookmark it, and now I can't find it. Anyway it was great to be reminded of what a terrific storyteller Barks was. His best stories, like the Uncle Scrooge "Klondike" story pulled no punches. In Klondike he seemed to tell kids that getting rich was doable but hard work and great sacrifice were the price, and kids should man up so they'll be ready to do battle when enormous difficulties come their way.

In the Northern gold fields Scrooge encounters Glittering Goldie, the only love of his life, and she steals from him.

Scrooge forces her to repay him. He puts her to work digging for him. They both live together in the same shack til the debt is paid. Try to imagine the modern Disney corporation printing stories like this!

The site talks a lot about bloopers in the stories...little nitpicky things like Donald's car (above) having a windshield in one panel and no windshield at all in the next.

BTW: I LOVE the design on Donald's little red convertible! Somebody should build a real car that looks like that. Wait a minute. They did! Thanks to Glenn for the cool picture.

Anon sent a picture of a late 30s Bantam Roadster, which may have been the inspiration for Donald's car. The end of the link dropped out, so I didn't get to see Anon's photo, but I looked up the car on the net and discovered lots of terrific pictures.

Back to Barks' bloopers: sometimes they were glaring. Here (above) Barks adds a fourth nephew for one panel only, just to add to the weight it takes to hold a man down.

Barks was proud that he was able to work what he called his "cynical" worldview into his stories. He created Gladstone Gander (above), the lucky friend of Donald who never has to work hard for anything. We all know and secretly envy somebody like that. Gladstone reminds me of the character Al Pacino played in David Mamet's "Glengarry, Glen Ross". Come to think of it, Scrooge reminds me of the character John Wayne played in "Red River."

The site has plenty to say about Barks' wife Gare, a landscape painter (sample above) whose pictures convey enormous good cheer.

That's (above) Gare when she was young. Wow, she was a looker!

In her retirement years Gare ceased to look like a babe, and morphed into something even better...the sweetest person you could ever hope to meet; a first-rate human being. Thanks to Milt Gray I was able to spend an afternoon with Carl and Gare and was taken by how much they seemed to enjoy each other's company. I'm so happy that she and Carl found each other.

Carl recommended me to his friend Mik, the artist who did the newspaper comic strip "Ferd'nand."  Mik was looking for an assistant to help draw the strip, and offered to give me a tryout. Wow! What an opportunity! Unfortunately I had to decline. I'd only recently discovered Clampett and my mind was full of the possibilities offered by funny, full animation.

Let me take a stab at the site where I got all these Barks pictures...could it have been this one?

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I hope readers will indulge me with just one more post on the subject of literary comparison. I love battles between writers. The way to do it is the way it's done here, with two paragraphs side by side, and with each writer describing the same thing. Battles like this get bloody. Reputations are won and lost. It's not for the faint of heart.

Here's the first comparison, from Ayn Rand of all people. In an essay In "Romantic Manifesto" Rand compares a passage by literary novelist Thomas Wolfe (above, top right),  and one by down-and-dirty pulp novelist Mickey Spillane (above, top left). She prefers Spillane. See what you think. Both writers attempt to describe New York city at night. 

Thomas Wolfe: "The city had never seemed as beautiful as it looked that night. For the first time he saw that New York was supremely, among the cities of the world, a city of night. There had been achieved here a loveliness that was astounding and incomparable, a kind of modern beauty, inherent to its place and time, that no other place nor time could match."

Mickey Spillane: "The rain was misty enough to be almost foglike, a cold gray curtain that separated me from the pale ovals of white that were faces locked behind the steamed-up windows of the cars that hissed by. Even the brilliance that was Manhattan by night was reduced to a few sleepy yellow lights off in the distance" 

Rand comments: "There is not a single emotional word or adjective in Spillane's description; he presents nothing save visual facts; but he selects only those facts, only those eloquent details, which convey the visual reality of the scene and create a mood of desolate loneliness." Wolfe, she argues, uses only estimates, "and in the absence of any indication of what aroused these estimates, they are arbitrary assertions and meaningless generalities."

Here's (below) another interesting comparison, two versions of the first paragraph of Genesis. I'm only comparing line number two ("And the Earth..."), but I'll start with the first four lines just to put everything in context: 

<< Genesis 1 >>
King James Version

1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

Okay, here's the comparison:

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep water. The Spirit of God was hovering over the water.
King James Bible
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Obviously the King James version is superior...but why? Well for one thing, "formless and empty" is merely descriptive. The KJ version milks more drama by dividing "formless" into two words, and contracts "empty" into the more masculine, one-syllable word, "void," creating more contrast, and giving us a deeper sense of loss.

"Darkness was upon the face of the deep" is pure genius. Who'd have thought the deep could have a face, but it works. Anything that does something to a face gets our attention.  

"The spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters" is even purer genius! Imagine the spectacle of a miles long face of God cruising at awesome speed above the sea, regarding what He created. And there's that word "face" again! If only it were possible to know who wrote/translated this version!

I wish there was a whole book of comparisons like this. Imagine how much you could learn from it!

BTW: Don't confuse Thomas Wolfe (above), the novelist who wrote "Look Homeward, Angel",  with Tom Wolfe, the author of "Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test."

Monday, July 25, 2011


Greetingth, Poetry Loverth! I thought I'd post my new favorite poem...if you can call it a poem...."The Rose of Sharon" from Song of Solomon 2:1, in The King James Bible. I'd have preferred a good dramatic reading on film, but I couldn't find any...nothing first-rate anyway.

I couldn't find any masterpieces of painting to illustrate the subject, either. It's odd that one of the world's greatest love poems inspired no great art. I put up some only vaguely relevant pictures of Solomon above and below, and I guess they'll have to suffice.

Oh, well...we have the text, and that's the important thing:

<< Song of Solomon 2 >>
King James Version

1am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.2As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.
3As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
4He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.

[Note: The rose of Sharon? The lily of the valleys? Boy, this author has a knack for words that stick in the mind. "So is my love among the daughters" is so much better than the merely factual "So is my love among the young women." The metaphor of the apple tree is terrific, and so is "his banner over me was love."

A couple of random points: some of the words in the body of the poem are italicized...I don't know why, since emphasizing them buggers up the sound. And if you're reading the poem out loud, I would emphasize the second syllable in "Sharon" because it sounds better that way.]

5Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love.
6His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.
7I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.

[Note: "Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples" is pure word music. I assume that "sick of love" means something like "dizzy with love," which is a good thing. Charging by the roes and hinds is a brilliant formulation. It seems to acknowledge the magical  power and beauty of nature. Her command to the other women has great force because she summons nature to back her up.]

8The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.
9My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice.
10My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
11For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
12The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

[Note: As a cartoonist, line 8 is skewered for me because I can imagine the way Don Martin would have drawn it. It's still a beautiful image, though. I forgive the "voice of the turtle" reference...turtles don't have voices, do they?...but why quibble?]

15Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.
16My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.
17Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bethel.

[Note: That's it, that's the end. I have no idea why the boyfriend wants to take vine-eating foxes with him, but the word music here is so powerful that it transcends literal meaning. I deleted lines 13 and 14 just to make the passage shorter. You can read the whole passage here:

(Forgive the weird spacing above...I'm having computer problems)

A beautiful poem, huh? I wish poetry readings were sometimes done by professional actors reading classic poems like this one. If they were, maybe they'd be better attended.

BTW: if you follow the link to the site that I stole this from, you'll discover that clicking on the blue line numbers in the King James Version will take you to a long list showing how other translators handled the same line. Boy, what a difference! If you're a student of good writing, I know of no better textbook than these comparisons!

Also BTW:  Animation Insider just put up an interview of me on their site:

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Oh Man, I'm in heaven! Commenter and famed illustrator Kellie Strom told me how to recover this accidentally deleted photo story and the advice was good as gold! Here it is in all it's funky glory. I'm tempted to change a few things, and I wish I didn't look so fat in it, but I'll leave it as is, just to be safe.

The story:

"Now to write this thing...."

"Let's see....hmmm....Love...our love..."

"Our love is such that..."

"No, no....our love runs...runs and swims... "

"No... we swim into love with...we swim into the swimming hole of love...we swim..."

"Oh, the heck with it!"


"We swim...we dive...we swan dive..."



"We're CREATURES of FIRE..."

"Mingled male and female yearning..."

"Yearning for...for...YEARNING for THE HEAT!"


"I SPLASH into the PLEASURE, all consuming..."

"A-l-l c-o-n-s-u-m-i-n-g..."

"...and now...and now... I'm happy...really happy...I'm..."

"I'm just incredibly happy...I'm um..."




"I'm JOYFULLY INSANE...insane with...with..."






"Now for the reward! I think I've earned a little nip!"

NOTE: This is a bowdlerized version of what I assume is a famous poem but I don't have the name at hand.

NOTE 2: Many, many, many, many thanks to Kellie for the much needed computer help!!!!!!!

Kellie's impressive blog: "Airforce Amazons":