Monday, January 30, 2012

Now and Then: Dan Danglo

Interviewing Dan Danglo was a pleasant experience. His house is not far from my office, so it was convenient to drop in on him after work. He took me on a tour of his home and basement studio as his wife Rhoda served us coffee and cookies. Rhoda had some of the best stories to tell! Before I left, Dan asked me to draw a sketch for him. They were wonderful hosts, and he's a wonderful artist. And he draws a wonderful, wonderful cat.

This column is from Hogan's Alley #18, which is on sale as I write this:
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Friday, January 27, 2012

Now and Then: Howard Beckerman

My friend Kit Hawkins has often told me about the great animators she's worked with. One day, at a birthday party for her husband, she finally introduced me to one. When I met Howard Beckerman, I recognized him from the Berndt Toast Gang, though we had never actually spoken before. He was a great Now and Then subject.

You can watch The Trip, the animated short mentioned in the column, by clicking this link.

This column appeared in Hogan's Alley #17:
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Now and Then: Emilio Squeglio

Emilio Squeglio is another Berndt Toaster, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that he lives in Floral Park, NY, not too far from the Elmont house where I grew up. (We lived on opposite sides of Belmont Park Racetrack.)

Emilio's comic book career was relatively brief, and took place in a time before most artists' names were listed in the credits. So even though I was a fan of the original Captain Marvel, and probably enjoyed much of Emilio's work, I didn't know his name before we met.

In recent years, Alter Ego and other magazines have published articles on Emilio, and much of his Captain Marvel work has come out into the light. I'm glad to be able to add to the recognition he deserves.

This column appeared in Hogan's Alley #16:
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UPDATE: Emilio passed away on March 12, 2012. He will be missed, but his work lives on.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Now and Then: Bill Kresse

When I started attending Berndt Toast Gang lunches, I met many veteran cartoonists whose names I recognized. One that made a particularly big impact on me was Bill Kresse. I enjoyed his "Super" Duper cartoons in the NY Sunday News many years ago. I didn't realize until I met him that the strip only appeared in the News, and was never nationally syndicated.

Bill has a thick folder filled with negative photostats of his "Super" Duper strips (alas, not a complete set), which I scanned and inverted for him. He's been asking me to help him clean them up and compile them into a book. With all the print-on-demand services available today, we may just do that soon.

This column appeared in Hogan's Alley #15:
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Friday, January 20, 2012

Now and Then: Tom Gill

It's hard to find adult education classes in cartooning. When I saw an ad for Tom Gill's class on Cartooning for Fun and Profit at Nassau Community College in 1997, I jumped at the chance to take it.

Tom was a fine instructor, and a fountain of information. So when I needed a subject for my next Now and Then column, I got in touch with him. Among other things, he told me about the Berndt Toast Gang, a Long Island cartoonists club that meets for lunch every month. It was named in honor of the late Smitty cartoonist Walter Berndt, to whom the members drink a toast at each meeting. Joining the Berndt Toast Gang gave me material for several more columns.

Tom Gill passed away in 2005, two days after I interviewed him on the telephone. His memoir, The Misadventures of A Roving Cartoonist: The Lone Ranger's Secret Sidekick, was published in 2008.

This column appeared in Hogan's Alley #14:

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Now and Then: Martin Filchock

I wasn't familiar with the work of Martin Filchock until I "met" his number one fan, G.G. Faircloth, online in a Yahoo forum. G.G. put me in contact with Martin, and gave me quite a bit of biographical information that she had already collected.

Martin Filchock turned 100 on January 6, 2012, making him probably the oldest working cartoonist today. His "Defective Detective" cartoons appear in Looking Back magazine. G.G. Faircloth's cartoons can be found in Scary Monsters magazine.

This column appeared in Hogan's Alley #13:
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Monday, January 16, 2012

Now and Then: Myron Waldman

The new issue of Hogan's Alley, the Magazine of the Cartoon Arts, is on the stands now. The first issue came out in 1994. It was originally intended to be a quarterly publication, but the schedule has been somewhat erratic, and it's actually coming out on close to an annual basis. It's a thick magazine, though, with lots of varied material, so each issue is worth the wait.

Hogan's Alley covers the entire gamut of the cartoon arts, past and present: comic strips, comic books, animation, editorial cartoons, gag panels, and advertising. The new issue, #18, features interviews with Cathy Guisewite (creator of Cathy) and Alvin Schwartz (writer of Superman); a history of Ren and Stimpy; articles on the classic comic strips Invisble Scarlet O'Neill, Penny and Right Around Home; the story behind Charles Schulz's creation of Franklin, the first African-American member of the Peanuts cast; the story behind why Popeye's arch-nemesis is sometimes called Bluto and sometimes Brutus; a history of the Filmation Superman cartoons of the 1960s; articles on gorillas in comic books, and the deaths of comic book characters; an editorial on the vanishing newspaper syndicates; and more.

I began a correspondence with HA editor Tom Heintjes right after the first issue came out. A few years later, when the regular writer of Now and Then (a sort of "where are they now?" column) decided to stop writing it, Tom offered it to me. I've been the writer of Now and Then since issue #12. It's given me the opportunity to get to know some of the veterans of the cartooning field.

I'm going to post my past columns on this blog over the next few days. I hope you enjoy them. If you do, I hope you'll also give the rest of Hogan's Alley a try.

There's a story behind my first column, about animator Myron Waldman. My wife and I were shopping in a neighborhood supermarket, and a young boy took notice of the Superman T-shirt I was wearing. He said to me, "My neighbor used to draw Superman." I didn't recognize the name he gave me, but when I went home, I looked it up and found that Myron Waldman was not an artist on the Superman comic books, but an animator for the 1940s Superman cartoons! Some time later, when Tom offered me the column, I used it as an an excuse to contact Myron and ask to meet him.

Myron and his wife Rosalie were wonderful hosts, and had plenty of stories to tell. Myron passed away in 2006. I'm glad I had the chance to meet him when I did.

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