Thursday, May 28, 2020

Flu Toons from Our Past

Here are a few cartoons mostly drawn around 1918 and 1919 alluding to the H1N1 pandemic that killed an estimated 50 million (and that’s often regarded as a conservative estimate).

It is an unfortunate sort of deja vu -or is that history stuttering?--to see this North Carolina cartoon (above) from 100 years ago.

Walter Allman
Charles A. Voight

Edmund Gale

Most of the WWI cartoons I've seen stick it to Spain for the "Spanish Flu" which I've learned in recent readings is a major misconception. Spain was neutral during WWI.  All the warring nations had military censors suppressing the news of the Flu (not wanting the enemy to know their troops were in bad shape). Spain, minus military censors, freely reported the spread of the flu in its country. Hence, most of the early news regarding the flu was coming out of Spain = "Spanish Flu".

Edwina Dumm

Bud Fisher

A.B. Chapin 1919

The thing is, I've always wondered about the seemingly near total absence of references to the "Spanish" flu in our collective memory.  I recall listening to an old Jack Benny radio show on tape and Mary Livingston mentioned the influenza.  I knew that the blues-jazz guitarist great, Lonnie Johnson, had lost his family (parents, siblings, and more) to it.  And stories about its spread among troops in the trenches.  But few significant stories seemed to emerge in popular culture without digging a bit. I often wondered how the up-to-50 million deaths have never added up to much in our culture. I guess the elusive--down right invisible--nature of the thing makes it harder to get a grip on than, say, a world war with tanks and bombs.  Judging by many people today that's still true. 

For a much more in depth look at the subject check out Jared Gardners excellent Drawing Blood site:

Sunday, May 10, 2020

What Ever Happened to the 30th Annual Spring Art Show?

Usually at this time of the year I would be in the midst of orchestrating the San Geronimo Valley Community Center’s annual Spring Art Show.  Friday, May 8th would have been our grand reception night presenting about 100 artists and  hosting a few hundred more viewers.

This, of course, did not happen.  And as with pretty much everything else from the Beforetimes we instead celebrated virtually with an all-day online art show.

Meztli Sanchez from Valley Arts Day

If you would like to see our Valley Arts Day go to the SGVCC Facebook page and check out the May 8th postings (you may have to scroll back to do that).

Richard Lang from Valley Arts Day

Here’s the link:            

Molly's "Flowers for Bubba" for Valley Arts Day

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

It's National Cartoonist Day 2020 !

Vic Forsythe from a clipping circa 1920’s

Bud Fisher 1916

Fay King

Rube Goldberg

Pierre Artigue from Judge early 1900’s

British cartoon from 1919

Nina Allender, Cartoons Magazine 1916

William Kemp Starrett  

Fred Schwab

Walter Allman and a long list of cartooning buddies, 1916

 For more posts on National Cartoonist Day check here:


Thursday, April 23, 2020

It Must be Time for a Covid Cartoon

I guess the news is getting to me. Here’s drawing I did today in my sketchbook.

c Larry Rippee 2020

Saturday, April 18, 2020

See No Evil - One More Time

These things happen.

In the realm of gag-making, cartoonists wind-up duplicating cartoons overtime usually without ever seeing the cartoon-cousins.

I was amused to see the recent Bizarro cartoon by Dan Piraro which echoes a cartoon I did for the infamous Berkeley Barb a few decades ago when the CIA was raising a ruckus.

My cartoon was essentially an editorial cartoon, Piraro’s is more of a general social commentary (And beautifully executed).

There have been countless cartoon variations on the Three Wise Monkeys or Three Mystic Apes (aka "See No Evil, Hear No Evil Speak No Evil") but this is the first one that I have see that is similar to my old cartoon.

Again, this happens--and without any intent of “appropriation". Dan Piraro undoubtedly never saw my version.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Larry’s Comic Art Memorabilia

While we are all ‘confined to quarters’ during this terrible pandemic, many of us are doing some version of spring cleaning—sifting through the debris of our life.

I’ve been attempting to organize/clean/purge my studio-office (aka Larry’s Cartoon Vault). It’s a slow going process to be sure.

I’ve also received a couple of old-cartooning-days blasts from the past of late.

Here are a couple.

Kevin Brady sent me this scan of a cartoon drawn by another Kevin—Kevin East.

The drawing commemorates the first encounter of a handful of young, neophyte cartoonists. We all met at the first Bay Con held at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley in 1975.

Me, Marc Miyashiro (who at the time drew ‘Xeno’ for the Berkeley Barb), Michael T. Gilbert (of Mr. Monster fame and various mainstream enterprises including, Superman, Dr. Strange and Mickey Mouse), Kevin Brady (a Dan O’Neil cartooning student who became host and/or wrangler of the soon to be GroundUnder Cartoonists and still making art up in the foothills of the Sierras) and Kevin East (another former Dan O’Neil student and Berkeley Barb cartoonist).

Speaking of the GroundUnder Cartoonists: I just rediscovered, in the Cartoon Vault, a tattered, torn, poorly printed official “GroundUnder’ T-shirt.

The late Roger May instigated the creation (and silk screening) of the meat-grinding T-Shirt featuring cartoon self-portraits of most of the core members.

‘Membership’ was a loose distinction, in deed. We met every Thursday night at Kevin Brady’s place in the Sunset district of San Francisco. We ate, drank, did a lot of show-and-tell, and created some very rambling cartoon jam sessions (many saw print in various Roger May self-published comics such as Vibratory Provincial News). 

Right to left, top row are: The amazing Melinda Gebbie as an amazing squid, Trina Robbins, Marc Miyashiro, Shelby Sampson, Roger May and Dot Bucher. Center: Kevin Brady. Right of Kevin: Michael T. Gilbert. Bottom: Me.

Michael Gilbert dug up a photo (circa 1977?) previously unknown to me.

Right to left are: Hairy Me again, Al Gordon (Marvel, DC inker), then Mary Gordon (a good calligrapher), Michael T. Gilbert, Steve Leialoha (another well-known DC and Marvel artist) and (legendary underground comix pioneer and comics “herstorian”) Trina Robbins.

I don’t know what the heck were supposed to be doing or why.  It looks like an out-take from an Austin Powers movie.

Stay Healthy