Thursday, May 21, 2015
Saturday, May 16, 2015
I made her a mystery woman..."Madam X."
Above, Ghengis's horse remembers the good old days before he and his master split up.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
I'm reading Mike Barrier's new book about the Golden Age of Dell comics. It's pretty impressive. I could happily blog for a month on subjects I've already read about and I'm less than a third of the way through.
By way of a sample I thought I'd expand on Mike's discussion of rhythm in the Carl Barks duck stories. The opinions and the examples (badly scanned; sorry about that) are mostly mine but it's all informed by things that Mike wrote. Read it and see what you think.
Barks was expert at compressing a story into just the right number of panels. Read the page above where Donald's fishing boat sinks to the bottom of the sea then is yanked out by a whale and deposited on land. In the hands of a lesser storyteller that might have taken two pages at least. Barks does it in one.
Here's (above) a detail showing the first two panels. Donald is pulled into the upside-down boat, then the cables go slack, then the boat is lowered into the water...and none of that is shown! All the information I just mentioned is implied in just one drawing that shows him already in the boat and shows the boat already submerged.
Barks gets on with the plot and doesn't burden us with inessentials.
Above, another detail showing the second two panels. The ship settles on the bottom, the cabin floods, the ducks stress out, and the snagged whale doubles back. Amazingly, all this information is contained in only two panels!!!
One more detail: the whale doubles back pulling one of the cables with it. This could have been a large upshot panel showing the massive whale passing overhead. Instead it's handled in one simple side-shot. Imagine how flamboyantly Sterenko or Buscema or manga would have handled this. Not so with Barks. He tenaciously regards the whale's turn-around as just one more plot point.
Don't get me wrong. I don't mean to understate Barks' achievement here. He's established a powerful rhythm in the page and he rightly doesn't allow himself to digress with a beauty shot of the whale.
Sorry for the crude scan. I didn't want to hurt the book's binding by pressing it on the scanner so I allowed the edge to blur. Anyway, Mike's interpretation of Gottfredson's advice was that Barks should give greater emphasis to the psychological aspects of his stories. Barks presumably did and the tighter focus might be what improved his staging.
Sunday, May 10, 2015
Doodling is a great way to do a script for first-time, try-out characters because you quickly find out whether the characters work visually. In this case the girl character worked fine, but the guy didn't.
Friday, May 08, 2015
Also in the picture: Rich Aarons, Ken Boyer, Girard Baldwin and Art Leonardi.
How do you like the camel driver's socks and sock garters?
Here's (above) how I draw myself: suave and slim with lots of hair. It's a lie I know, but I can't see myself any other way.
Haw! Nobody else draws me as suave. I don't see how they can fail to see it. Above, an anonymous unsuave sketch of me geeking out over Chaplin.
Thursday, May 07, 2015
BTW, how do you like the dynamic sweep of this room? It's so cheerful, so optimistic, so American in the best sense of the word.
May was a developer as well as an architect and he tried to bring low cost modernism within the reach of the common working man. For that he had to rely on prefab parts but that proved to be difficult because, as a pioneer, he was the only buyer and couldn't benefit adequately from economies of scale. Not only that but different suppliers worked to different standards. Some nearly went broke and May had to start a loan business to keep them afloat. The projects put grey hairs on May and were reportedly "not fun."
May's reward for his labors was Mandalay, a home he designed for himself near his favorite city, Los Angeles. The house was mostly reworked by a new owner but some of the old structure remains. Here's (above) a picture of May's interior court yard which contains some of his books. He covered them in vellum to protect them from the elements.
Nifty, eh? Why isn't May better known?
BTW: A friend expressed no interest in May and said he didn't see what was so special about him. I was astonished. For his sake I'll put up a couple of examples (below) of how other lesser architects handled the modern ranch idea.
Here's (above) one example: it's not horrible but it's modern only to cash in on a trend. There's no philosophy here, no awareness of how a space can be enclosed in an exciting and stimulating way.
Okay, 'nuff said.
Monday, May 04, 2015
WARNING: "Nothing obscene here, but it's probably not office or school safe.
UNCLE EDDIE: "Hi Folks! I've done special blog posts for both men and women in the past and they were pretty well received. I even did a couple just for kids. It occurred to me that I never did one for seniors. I'll remedy that right now.
Welcome to the ST. ANDREW HOME FOR SENIOR MEN."
GEORGE: "Hi, Uncle Eddie! Gee, a whole blog just for us! I'm overwhelmed."
UNCLE EDDIE: " 'Glad to be of service. What do you want to see? How about some pictures of trout fishing in the local lake? I have pictures of all the lures that people use there!"
GEORGE: "Why don't we do trout a little later? I'm thinking we might start off with a little...you know...a little pulchritude."
UNCLE EDDIE: "Pulchritude? Oh, yeah...right. Okay, Here's Wendy (above). She loves posing for stuff like this."
GEORGE: "Wow! She's great! Er, wait a minute....it looks like she's having a problem with one of her socks."
UNCLE EDDIE: "Oh, yeah...I remember that. She had a back problem and she couldn't bend over to straighten it. We didn't think anyone would notice."
UNCLE EDDIE: "Haw! Geez, George...what a horndog! And at your age, too!"
TED: "Hi, Uncle Eddie! Well, what I'm wandering is...well...do you have any pictures of a girl with...you know...a rack?"
UNCLE EDDIE: "Huh? Leather? A SNAKE!!!!???? I don't know, Sid. I mean, this is a family blog and all that. I don't want to..."
SID: "Aw, I knew you'd wimp out."
UNCLE EDDIE: "I didn't say I was going to wimp out! I just....(Sigh!) Oh, okay..."
AS UNCLE EDDIE PACKS UP TO LEAVE:
NURSE: "Did everything go alright? It was so nice of you to talk to the men. They're so starved for intellectual stimulation."