Tuesday, August 7, 2012

In the News-Tom Armstrong and "Marvin"

Marvin, World's Oldest Baby, Turns Thirty

Thirty years ago this week, readers of the nation's newspaper comics got their first look at a chubby little baby with a mop of red hair and a sly and knowing look on his face. The baby was and is named Marvin and he was created by Evansville native Tom Armstrong. When Marvin began on August 5, 1982, Mr. Armstrong and his wife were "a struggling couple living in Indiana." Now Marvin appears in 300 newspapers and the little red-haired baby was recently added to the attractions at Universal Studios Toon Lagoon in Orlando, Florida. You can read more about Marvin in an article entitled "Nationally Syndicated Cartoon Strip 'Marvin' Turns 30" by Richard Dymond, dated August 3, 2012, and appearing on a number of websites, including that of the Kansas City Star, here.

Happy Birthday, Marvin!

Copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley

In the News-Joel Pett

Joel Pett Returns from China Trip and Gives a Presentation on Editorial Cartooning

Joel Pett, editorial cartoonist for the Lexington Herald-Leader, recently traveled to China on a low-level diplomatic mission. You can read about his trip in an article entitled "A Not-So-Innocent Abroad Recounts His China Tour, Connects with Fellow Cartoonists," dated July 8, 2012, on the website Kentucky.com, here.

A couple of weeks later, Mr. Pett gave a presentation on editorial cartooning at the Danville (Ky.) Community Art Center, where he gave thanks for having "two of the best senators for cartoonists," Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul. You can read more about it in the article "Editorial Cartoonist Has Tongue as Sharp as His Pen" by Todd Kleffman, dated July 19, 2012, on the website of the Central Kentucky News, here

Copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Z - z - z - z - z - z

For almost forty years now, Cecil Adams, the world's smartest human, has been giving readers "The Straight Dope" on their strange and seemingly unanswerable questions. What does "The Straight Dope" have to do with cartoonists? Well, this week in his column, Mr. Adams answers the burning question: Why does the letter Z signify sleep (as in "Catching some Zs")? Mr. Adams' assistant, Sam Clemens, found the answer: Zs are used to signify sleep because that's how cartoonists have done it for over one hundred years, beginning with Harold Knerr and The Katzenjammer Kids. In fact, today--August 2, 2012--is the one hundred and ninth anniversary of Zs in the comics. Just one more example of how cartoonists have enriched American culture.

Neither Harold Knerr (1882-1949) nor Rudolph Dirks (1877-1968)--the original cartoonists on The Katzenjammer Kids and The Captain and the Kids--was lucky enough to have called himself a Hoosier. So what does "The Straight Dope" have to do with Indiana? Well, from its beginnings in the murky past, "The Straight Dope" has been illustrated by Slug Signorino, a Hoosier by residence and possibly also by birth. Why only possibly? Because little is known of Mr. Signorino, just like little is known of Cecil Adams. Even Slug's real first name is a secret to everyone but his closest associates. (I have an idea what it is, but I'm not telling.) In any case, today Slug Signorino has provided his usual illustration for Cecil Adams' column, and it shows the Captain emitting a trail of Zs as he is thrown from an ejection seat. Compared to many of Slug's pictures, this one is pretty normal.

You can see the website of "The Straight Dope" here and Slug Signorino's website here.