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Category Archives: Paper

The Disney Version

Jerry Beck of Cartoon Brew shared a prime piece of vintage ephemera with the Disney Studio’s 1943 employee handbook. I enjoyed the perky illustrations, but beyond that is the fascinating text dealing with wartime working conditions. Dem employees were kept on a tight leash (unlike today).

The Cartoonists’ Club

This New York Times piece on the weekly lunches of New Yorker cartoonists was very evocative and nicely written, but it also personally left me feeling wounded. Reading it was akin to being the party guest who was conspicuously not invited to the party (I had the same irrational reaction while viewing a recent CBS News Sunday Morning report on the same subject). A selfish impression, sure, especially since I have no interest in living in NYC or even being a cartoonist. Ridiculous, eh? Reality check: you will never get anything in The New Yorker, nor will you have fabulous weekly lunches with your colleagues to celebrate your wonderfulness. Get over it, Matt. (special, uh, thanks to Christopher)

Reading Railroaded

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Hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday weekend. Ours was jam-packed and too frazzled, but we finally got to relax a little this afternoon after a brunch and gift giving with my family. This year’s theme might as well be Books, Books, Books. I’ll likely write more about these later on (pardon the obnoxious Amazon.com linking). My brother and sister-in-law kindly gave The Complete Peanuts 1961-1962 and Charles Addams: A Cartoonist’s Life by Linda H. Davis off my online wish list. Good friends of ours gave Christopher a fascinating looking book called The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries by Marilyn Johnson. I’ll have to borrow that from him someday. Also my s.o. gifted me with a Borders card (which I might use to buy Neal Gabler’s Disney bio) and the neato Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 4 set. C. also got the Mission: Impossible first season DVDs from my parents. And I hung a new/old Joyce Compton 1940s lobby card on my wall. Fun stuff!!

Chris Ware’s Paper Trail

Soon as I saw the cover of Chris Ware’s ACME Novelty Library #17, I thought it looked comfortably familiar. Though it’s not a ripoff, the design and format borrow a lot from this old “Science and Industry” volume published by Childcraft in the ’40s. I remember that book well — mostly for its fascinating cover illustration and the bumpy texture on this series’ famous orange binding. Though you can’t see it here, he also mimiced the spine design from the Childcraft book. Chris Ware’s a friggin’ genius.


Birthday Haul #3: Cartoon Modern Book

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A wad of extra birthday cash inspired me to go to amazon.com and purchase the book Cartoon Modern: Style and Design in Fifties Animation written by Amid Amidi of Cartoon Brew and Animation Blast magazine. Although I haven’t yet read it, the book looks absolutely gorgeous and smartly designed with tons of beautiful film stills and production art. I also like how it was organized alphabetically by studio, encompassing not just theatrically released shorts but television (dig the early, cooler lookin’ Flintstones!), commercials and industrial films. There’s also an intruiging section on animation trends in Europe. I could be completely wrong about this — but paging through the book gives one the sense that during this period the big movies studios’ animation units were becoming obsolete, which paved the way for dozens of smaller studios to step in and produce more visually innovative work. I can’t wait to read this one.

The Hair Care Bunch

Some goofy hairstyles from 1977’s Vogue Body and Beauty Book might serve as inspiration for halloween costumers or drag queens. I’ve always liked that “disco helmet hair” look in vogue briefly during the late ’70s. Dorothy Stratten in Galaxina, Frida of ABBA and (briefly) Elaine Joyce of Match Game had that ‘do. And it’s not in an ironic “ha ha” way, either; I really do like that hairstyle. It takes a certain kind of nervy woman to pull that look off, however.

Completely unrelated: Ken Jennings blogs on his experience guesting on NBC’s 1 vs. 100. Interesting reading with Jennings pointing out the obvious shortcomings of the show. I watched one and only one installment. Cool set, nice concept, non-engaging gameplay, unbelievably stupid questions. A Television Without Pity forum poster accurately desribed the show as “Jeopardy with a lobotomy”.