Monday, May 30, 2011


Okay, it's time to discuss science. I'll begin by conceding that some girls (above) are bigger than their boyfriends...we've all seen a few couples like that. 

Most girls, however, are significantly shorter than their men. I mean a LOT shorter! Standing beside them is like standing next to a kid.  They're such tiny little things!

I grant you that women (above) are not without gifts...

...but the fact remains that we men could all have million dollar bills taped to the tops of our heads, and most women would never know it. It is we males that see over the world's fences, we that commune with the gods of the sky.

The result of this inequality of height is that women have become obsessed with appearing taller. By the millions they painfully walk on stilts (above) to buy a few extra inches.

 Women are always complaining that they can't find comfortable shoes, and no wonder...there is no such thing as a comfortable stilt. High heels can also cause serious damage to bones and muscles, but women wear them great is their desire to look their boyfriends in the eye...or at least the chest. 

The desire to appear taller also affects the way they dress. They wear miniskirts because it makes them appear taller. That's fine by us men, but it really limits the way women can move.

It even effects their hair styles! They wear long, straight hair (above) to give them added verticals to fake height.

Have you ever wondered why women carry such big handbags? Part of the reason is that they have to carry a big old pair of sneakers with them. High heels hurt so much that they need to constantly switch shoes during the day. It must be a drag to carry those big bags around, but girls think the added height is worth it. 

All this is puzzling to a guy. I mean, women look better than we do, even when they're small...why  obsess over height? I don't know. Can anyone out there explain this?

BTW: Thanks to the brave soldiers, past and present, whose sacrifices made free expression in blogs like this one possible!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


What killed romance comics? I wish all questions were as easy to answer. It's pretty obvious that what killed love comics were.....good realistic artists.  Expert draughtsmen like Neal Adams, simply couldn't master the surreal, grotesque world of twisted love.  Good draughtsmen took over the romance comics and drove the readers away.

I know what you're thinking...Jack Kirby (above) was a good draughtsman and he did a great job on the romance comics, so where does he fit in? The answer is that Kirby was the rare exception who had the imagination of a bad draughtsman combined with the technical skill of a good one.  Less imaginative,  realistic draughtsmen like the artists at D.C. simply couldn't get down and dirty enough to imagine the bizarre poses that romance requires.

BTW: How do you like the Kirby drawing above? I like the way the man with blocky fingers wraps his arm around the girl with the webbed claws.  Amazingly, their faces seem to occupy the same space.

Above, a story about a girl who has to choose between a handsome normal guy and a loathsome hippie. With a subject like that it should have been a great cover, but the editor handed it over to a technical artist who had no soul. You see the result.

Here (above) a less skilled but more imaginative artist does a better job. The giant wicked city woman looms over her tiny boyfriend and lays it on him that she's slept with every man in town. The man should have been red-faced, but that was impossible given the position of his hands. Undaunted, the resourceful colorist instead made the man's hands red...and it works. Technical artists never do fun things like that.

  How do you like the "Man Starved" cover above? The figures are pretty stiff but the tryst is solemnized by the unnatural, stylized neck poses, the poker chip moon,  and the devil car watching on the bottom right. Only a lesser artist would have thought of cool stuff like this!

Boy, artists were fond of those wonky neck poses (above)! In real life the girl's neck might be broken by a pose like this this, but it works. The man's hand is goofy too, but it fits with the weird heads and horror comics color. You accept it as a stylistic flourish. 

Is this guy (above) kissing a cardboard cutout? What are those ginger root thingies on her arms? And why is she posed like that? I don't know, but it works for me. This is the kind of artist who belongs in the romance biz. 

The girl (above) puts her tiny little arms around her giant behemoth of a boyfriend, who appears to be sucking on her forehead. The artist is on to something here. The real life size difference between men and women is often shocking. You can't imagine how people so different could even procreate. Only an imaginative lesser draughtsman would be bold enough to take the trouble to comment on this.  

Here (above) the girl has the usual tiny arms, awkward perspective cheats, and fish fingers.  That's okay, I'm used to it. 

What I'm not used to is the way their faces fit on their skulls, The girl's face is extremely wide, and wraps around the whole front of her head. The boy's features are just the opposite...they're pinched and cramped on a thin, vertical strip on the front of his face. You see incongruities like this all the time in real life, but only the lesser draughtsman is brave enough to comment on it. 

I wonder if sci-fi artist Fletcher Hanks (above) ever tried his hand at romance comics?

Imagine a story where a big, angry boyfriend discovers another guy trying to muscle in on his girl. Fletcher Hanks would have aced it, and created a comic classic.

Many thanks to Romans for the comment that identified this artist.  


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

NEW YORK 1905 - 1955

That's Manhattan above, and the lit up area is old-time Broadway. Oh, to have been young and creative and in New York in the half century that spanned 1905 to 1955! And since I'm in the animation industry, I can't help wondering what would have happened if American animation had stayed there, and not moved to the West coast.

Hollywood was undergoing an amazing creative leap of its own during that time,  so animation wasn't exactly an orphaned child during that time, but imagine what might have come about if our kind of artists had been able to imbibe the air of New York City for an additional several decades.  It was a time when almost every creative craft in the city was experiencing a Golden Age.

Think of the girlage that abounded in New York in those days!!! What with Broadway, the Rockettes, vaudeville, dance joints, the night clubs...the city was teeming with dancing legs! Imagine how THAT would have inspired cartoonists!

Restaurants played a key role. Every creative trade in NY had its own place to dine, however humble. Animators would have done the same. Everybody needs a place to go after work, so you can try out new ideas and vent about how stupid the bosses are.

Above the Algonquin Round Table. Yes, even intellectuals of that era were moved to abandon their books and find a public place to rant and be witty. The Beats preferred to eat in diners.

That's (above) Tin Pan Alley, where composers pitched themselves to music publishers, and where songwriters and musicians hung out. 

Then there were the Harlem night clubs. Man, the music that must have gone down under those rooftops! Clampett got the idea for "Coal Black" while visiting LA's "Club Alabam." Imagine if he'd had gotten a taste of The Cotton Club!

New York was the capital of vaudville.

Vaudeville was important because acts were judged by audience response. If they didn't like you, they let you know.

When an audience failed to respond the chastened crew held a crisis meeting as soon as the curtain came down, and the act was modified. Immediate audience response keeps you sharp. Surely animation would have benefited from proximity to that. 

Then there was the Jewish Theater (above). Eventually it lost its best people to vaudeville and serious drama but it gave a lot of first rate people a venue to perform in while they were getting used to the New World. Live theater wasn't as big a deal in LA.

And burlesque! A lot of slapstick comedians got their start there. Imagine how much our industry could have learned from those people (and imagine how much fun the learning would have been if the lessons were punctuated by girls taking their clothes off).

New Yorkers were fanatically devoted to sports, and there were plenty of venues. The audiences were as fun to watch as the athletes. Famous boxers like Slapsy Maxie Rosenbloom (above) were regulars at the big bars and night spots. So were mobsters. 

New York press agents were a big deal in those days and some of them threw big parties. Everybody who was anybody then had friends who were press agents, even if they had no professional bond. That's because a lot of good writers got their start as press agents, and they were interesting conversationalists who always seemed to know what was going on around town. Hmmm....come to think of it, LA had its share of press agents too.

I left out a bunch of other creative types: actors, novelists and play writes, competitive newspaper reporters, fine artists, classical musicians, cartoonists, poets, politicians, photographers, radio and TV people...geez, it would be a long list. Like I said, almost every creative craft in New York experienced a Golden Age in the era that spanned 1905 to 1955. If animation people had had the opportunity to hobnob with all those people, what would have been the result? If animation had stayed in New York during that time, would our Golden Age have been... even more golden?

Monday, May 23, 2011


Here's a dream about zombies that I had years ago, and still remember vividly. It was hard to find pictures for this, so I had to change some details, but the overall story is the same...well, sort of.

DREAMER (VO): "I dreamed I was hitchhiking and got picked up by a convertible.  

DREAMER (VO): "I turned to thank the guy who picked me up, but he wouldn't talk, or even acknowledge my presence. He just stared straight ahead while driving."

DREAMER (VO): " 'That's odd,' I thought."

DREAMER (VO): "I watched some of the other drivers as we passed them. They had the same glassy stare. 'What gives?', I thought."

DREAMER (VO): "One of the cars was driven by kids...." 

DREAMER (VO): "...Even they stared straight ahead, just like everybody else."

DREAMER (VO): "I couldn't believe my eyes. I turned away for just a moment, and when I looked back..."

DREAMER (VO): ".....the car was gone! No, wait a minute, it was there, but several feet above the ground, traveling alongside my car. What the....?"

DREAMER (VO): "Downtown the situation was even worse. People were out on the street like normal, but there was something odd about them, something I couldn't put my finger on."

DREAMER (VO): "Then I realized what it was...they were all walking in slow motion! It was had to look hard to see it, but it was real. It was like watching a film slowed down.
And there was also a pervading feeling of malevolence, as if something was deeply, deeply wrong, and getting worse every minute. "

DREAMER (VO): "The car stopped and somehow I knew that if I stayed there something horrible would happen, so I got out and ran." 

DREAMER (VO): "But where to go?"

DREAMER (VO): "The rooftops were filled with people who looked like they were waiting for something."

DREAMER (VO): "It didn't take long to see what it was.  A giant airship churning out industrial sounds loomed overhead. It sucked the roof people up into itself, then spit them back onto the ground, where they scurried away like spiders."

DREAMER (VO): "Finally I found a rundown hotel tucked away in the shadows."

DREAMER (VO): "I was too tired to run any more so I ducked inside."