Tuesday, December 05, 2006


The best current book bargain I know of is "Playboy 50 Years: The Cartoons" which originally sold for $50 and is now an overstock selling at Barnes & Noble for $13. The colors have been "remastered", i.e., simplified and drained of their subtlety, but for thirteen bucks, hey, it's still worth it!
I organized a few of the better pictures above (topmost) by colorists I like: Sokol, Dedini, Davis and Kliban. I also put together a collage by artists whose colors I like a lot less (above) (come to think of it, the center artist above isn't bad...he should be in the "good" pile). What's the difference? Why are the colorists on top so much better than the guys below?

Right away I can see the better artists use a lot more darks. Most of them also use more white. The good ones also seem to have a bold plan while the lesser artists are content to use whatever seems unoffensive. The red, white and blue schemes don't work...maybe they'd look better with more pure white areas.

Nobody ever talks about Kliban's color but the examples in the book are all first-rate. His color is funny, it actually enhances the gag. This restaurant picture is especially good but I can't figure out what the color's doing. Anybody care to venture a guess?


Steve Worth just sent me these Santa pictures and I pass them on to you. Man, it must be hard to be Santa! The guy on the bottom has the worst job, he has to wear a mask all day!


From extensive studies we know what kind of man reads Theory Corner. For starters he's young, well-dressed, popular with the ladies and has a killer music and book collection. Women have been overheard to say that he's often mysterious and elusive with a kind of Dean Martin cool. "Like James Dean but hotter!" said one woman!

THEORY CORNER men are adept at urban survival. They know how to use an extendo-fork to obtain a tasty and nutritious meal on the cheap. They're up on the hot films like Lugosi's "Raven" and Lorre's "Stranger on the Third Floor" and they cultivate a fearsome look of disdain for cartoon fans who like the wrong cartoons. THEORY CORNER men even smell good!

Other blogs will attempt to lead you to believe that they will give you that real He-man aroma. This is not so. In fact, THEORY CORNER positively reeks with He-man odors! At least that's what women tell us!

Sunday, December 03, 2006


I don't pretend to know all the reasons for teen gangs but here's one plausible reason that's frequently overlooked: kids who are not suited for college feel they have nowhere to go. For years teachers warned them that if they didn't study they'd be selling fast food all their lives and they took it to heart. I imagine they reasoned that if adult life was going to be pointless and boring then they may as well enjoy their teen years. Gangs don't do much for you but they do provide excitement and if you get killed while young what have you lost? A life of drudgery.

It seems to me that we need to ease up on the college or the scrub bucket rhetoric. It seems to me that an awfull lot of complex and well-paying jobs can be done by non-college graduates. Shakespeare didn't go to college, nor did Thomas Edison, Carnegie, Walt Disney, Ben Franklin and Bill Gates. Before the G.I. Bill (after WWII) an enormous number of complex jobs were done by non-graduates. They must have done a pretty good job because we went from an agricultural country to the pre-eminent industrial country in the world on their watch. People who believe we can't advance unless we send a whole generation to study Derrida are ignoring a lot of history.

Sometimes it seems to me that the America has hardened its heart against blue-collar workers. I first noticed this when the middle class cheerfully allowed the manufacturing jobs to go overseas in exchange for lower prices. The middle class had office jobs and weren't affected by the job loss but blue-collar workers were decimated. When even office jobs started to go then the middle class suddenly declared a crisis and started talking about the danger of "outsourcing." Where were these people when the blue collars were hurting?

I see the same thing happening now with this insistance on absurdly high academic requirements for jobs that never required them before. In my school district you need a Masters' Degree to teach grade school. I believe that absurd requirements like this reflect a class bias; middle class kids tend to have these degrees and blue-collars don't. Who's most likely to get these newly-restricted jobs?

Just for the record, I identify completely with the middle class and I'm a big booster of higher education. I don't want to dumb things down, I'm simply arguing for compassion and common sense. We should keep standards high but remove artificial barriers to upward mobility. Exciting jobs should be within the grasp of whoever can best deliver the goods. I wouldn't show non-academics the mop and bucket. I'd show them a vision of success through hard work.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Made during his visit to Morocco in 1832. From an artbook: "Illustrated letters."

Friday, December 01, 2006


Boy, it pays to write to artists. Look at the answers you get!

These letters are by Victor Hugo (topmost), Daubigny (above), and Gauguin (below). The Daubigny letter looks like it was done by Ardizzone (spelled right?), the modern illustrator.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


I don't have time to comment on them but they sure are interesting. Obviously Kimball would have had no trouble making a living as an illustrator if Disney hadn't worked out.

All these pictures are from Canemaker's "Nine Old Men" book.