Sunday, August 20, 2017

Larry's Underground Cartoonist Photo Scrapbook

In my last post I stumbled down Memory Lane with underground cartoonist/artist Hector Tellez.

In the process of creating that post I dredged up a small handful of snapshots of the San Francisco comix scence (primarily of the mid 70’s).

It’s a shame, but I only have a very few poor-quality pictures from San Francisco and a few cartoonists get-togethers  (The Loonies, San Diego Con, Bay Con).  Snapshots back then were considerably rarer than today with the advent of the cell phone camera.

Here’s a small smattering of possibly historically interest shots…


Group photo for magazine Towards Revolutionary Art (TRA) 1976. Larry, Harry "R. Diggs" Driggs, Guy Cowlell, Ingrid B., and Trina Robbins. 


Leonard Rifas and me. Golden Gate Park, 1978.
(This is scanned from a contact sheet)

                                                    Leonard Rifas 1978

This is youthful me in Trina's studio, 1975. Lots of Fiction House comic book art on the wall. Note Trina's nose in lower right hand corner.                                                                          (Photo by Denis Kitchen)


San Diego Con 1979: Doug Doherty, Paul Mavrides, Roger May, me, Shel Dorf, Steve Leialoha, Dan O'Niell's elbow, Melinda Gebbie, Bob Foster, Trina and Carol Lay.

And... Harvey Kurtzman.     (Photos by Jackie Estrada)


Monthly Loonies get-together October, Cafe Commons, SF 1979.
It was a Halloween celebration so I'm wearing a paper mask I made.
Gahan Wilson was guest of honor. (Steve Leialoha in background)
Photo by Bob Nelson


Terry Boyce and obviously confused masked man at Gahan Wilson's art opening, also October 1979.

Gary Arlington and artist Dalison in front of the San Francisco Comic Book Company, 1980


Leonard and Larry, Noe Valley, SF. (Larry's shirt courtesy of Goodwill).

M.T. Gilbert and company

Michael T. "Mr. Monster" Gilbert. Late 1970's

Cartoonist Alan Cumings and me 1978


Molly says I should put this one on. Photo taken by Gary Galaxy at the SF Bay Con circa 1977.

Tim Boxell and Revilo at the San Diego Con

Par Holman and Lynn Hansen in San Diego

Byron "Famous Potatoes" Werner San Diego 1983

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A Visit from Hector

Hector Tellez swung by our place for a visit, recently, his van loaded with paintings.

We see each other very rarely but I’ve known Hector since about 1964.

As kids, we were comic collector buddies and budding cartoonists together.


                                Hector and me at the San Diego Comic Con, 1981


                                Larry and Hector on my front porch 2017

Back in middle school we ferreted out golden age comic books (at a nickel a piece) from flea markets and neighbors.

One kid casually mentioned that he had a large cardboard box full of old "funny books" with WWII ads in them. We were at his place in an instant , like pirahnas, snatching up Superman, Whiz Comics, All-Star Comics, The Blue Beetle….

We used to spend hours negotiating a single comic book trade.

We also discovered the emerging comic fandom together buying mimeographed and printed fanzines through the mails. (Yancy Street Journal, Voice of Comicdom, Fantasy Illustrated, Odd, Alter-Ego, ERB-dom, Batmania and on and on).

We drew cartoons, hand drawn comic books, and also did a bit of mimeographed comics are selves (I at least once participated in something called CRUD).


I switched high schools and didn’t see much of him until after high school when we both wound up drawing for the so called underground.


In the late 1960’s-early ‘70’s, Hector drew a lot of flyers for Bay Area rock concerts and contributed to the weekly paper the Berkeley Tribe.


The back cover of Dirty Girdies Comix #3 1969


Some clips from the same issue


Our first appearances in underground commix concurred together as well—in the tabloid Dirty Girdies Comix {1969} and Hee Hee {1970}.


From Hee Hee


Hector, Trina Robbins and me at the Berkeley Comic Art Fair circa 1978. (A poor photocopy of a Clay Geerdes shot I picked up somewhere).              
Copyright Geerdes Estate

I’ve always enjoyed his take on cartooning.



Nowadays, Hector devotes his time to painting. Here are a few examples:




He paints everyday. I’m impressed (and a little envious perhaps) by his diligence.



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Rius 1934-2017

Eduardo del Rio, Rius, iconic Mexican cartoonist, died August 8th at the age of 83.


In the 1960’s, Rius began his social-political educational comic book series  Los Agachados (I’ve seen the title translated as the “Those Who Stoop Down” and “The Underdogs”).



He wrote and drew two editions of Los Agachados every month.


His international impact began with the English translation of Cuba for Beginners (1970) which ultimately led to the launching of the ‘For Beginners’ series of non-fiction, educational comic books in trade paperback format (as sort of predecessor to the “For Dummies” books).


His comics covered topics ranging from socialism, capitalism, religion, soccer, vegetarianism, sex, music, economics, philosophy, history and ecology. 


In the early years of his career, Rius was kidnapped and threatened by the military and excommunicated from the Catholic Church but just last December he received an award from Mexico City's Culture Secretariat and refered to as "a cultural reference in Mexico” .

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Freedom of the Press 1917



                                    An editorial cartoon by Harry Murphy 1917

Hey, freedom of the press. Everybody believes in that, right?

Recent disturbing polls conducted by 60 Minutes, Vanity Fair, American Press Institute, PBS-NPR indicate an alarmingly number of Americans don’t think much of the First Amendment.

One recent poll (PBS NewsHour Marist ) found that 4 out of 10 Republicans assert that  the U.S. “has too greatly expanded freedom of the press”.


"Freedom of the press is not just important to democracy, it is democracy" --Walter Cronkite

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Cartoon Museum of London

I’ve been missing the San Francisco Cartoon Art Museum. 

I used to drop by whenever I could to experience the museum’s permanent collection of original artwork by George Herriman, Hal Foster, Winsor McCay and other illuminaries. The SFCAM put on some great exhibits--solo shows of Ronald Searle, Mary Blair, Arnold Roth, Spain Rodriguez and special exhibits such as 60 Years of Mad Magazine, The New Yorker Rejection Collection and Pioneers of Underground Comix.

In 2015, the museum, like so many other San Francisco institutions—and unfortunate individuals--suddenly found itself homeless.  It’s been on hiatus ever since losing its Mission Street address.

The good news is the cartoon museum may finally be back later this year in a new location.

In the meantime, I recently had an opportunity to visit another museum dedicated to the realm of comic art --the Cartoon Museum of London.



Here’s a brief tour:




The Cartoon Museum was established in 2006. It’s in the area of Bloomsbury and included in the “Museum Mile” (not far from the British Museum).

Public sketching table


The upper gallery


The special exhibit during the time of my visit was The Inking Woman—a historical survey of British women cartoonist.






Marie Duval was the pen name of Isabelle Émilie de Tessier regarded as one of the first female cartoonists of Europe and co-creator of the iconic British comic character Ally Sloper.



I've always liked the  mid-20th century cartoons of "Anton" but the artist(s) identity was always little confusing to me.  This image from the exhibit is apparently the work of Antonia Yeoman (born Beryl Thompson). She and her brother, Harold, collaborated under the name 'Anton' beginning in the late 1930's. Starting around 1949 Harold dropped out and  Beryl became sole creator of Anton cartoons.

Here are a few realtively contemporary pieces from the catalog:






It was a real treat to see so many of my heroes of graphic humor dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries:  Thomas Rowlandson, James Gillray, Robert Seymour, John Tenniel and the like.









Along with 20th century giants such as David Low, H. M. Bateman, Ronald Searle, Ralph Steadman and Gerald Scarfe.



The great political cartoonist David Low.


The museum publishes excellent catalogs of many of its exhibits. I picked up a couple.

This one on H.M. Bateman.




And this one on the equally remarkable Ralph Steadman:







More info the the Cartoon Museum at http://www.cartoonmuseum.org/about/history-of-the-museum