Edith Chavez, center front, and Alan Altamarino, center back with KU students at Taller Chicharra.

Edith Chavez, center front, Alan Altamarino, at back & KU students at Taller Chicharra.

While ice storms hit the U.S. a group of Kutztown students spent 17 days of winter break in sunny Oaxaca, Mexico. We worked with a group of talented young printmakers in Taller La Chicharra (translates as the Cicada Studio).

Alan Altamarino  on press pulling a large scale print with Kevin McCloskey

Alan Altamarino on press pulling a large scale print with Kevin McCloskey.

Alan Altamarino, who also goes by MK Kabrito, runs the studio. He is a recent graduate of the School of Fine Arts at UABJO, Oaxaca. He specializes in large format relief prints. In the image above he carved MDF, multi-density fiberboard, to print a mega-print for his upcoming exhibition in Guadalajara.

knox

Nueva Vida, 2-color woodblock print by KU student Elaine Knox.

Printmaking studio classes were scheduled from 11-4, but at times the KU crew was still working happily as late as 10pm. Of course, they took a long dinner break around 3pm. Some brave souls sampled fried grasshoppers, a typical Oaxacan snack.

Pajaro Rojo, print, by KU Prof. Miles DeCoster

Pajaro Rojo, print, by KU Prof. Miles DeCoster

Each student created an edition of 15 black and white prints for a portfolio to exchange with their classmates. They also created a limited edition with a second color printed from a block of carved plywood.

Figura Prehispanica, detail, by Ashley Ridgway.

Figura Prehispanica, detail, by Ashley Ridgway.

We came as a group with a reservation, but Taller La Chicharra offers short classes for visitors throughout the year. Besides woodblock, they offer classes in serigraphy and engraving metal via electrolysis. Typically, courses are for half-days and last a week. The cost ranges from 500-1000 Mexican pesos, $40 to $80 U.S.

KU student Blake Myers sketching in the mountains of Mexico.

KU student Blake Myers sketching in the mountains of Mexico.

“Impressions From Oaxaca” prints from the KU workshop will be on exhibit at the Student Gallery, Sharadin Building, Feb 10-15.

KU students carving blocks at Chicharra.

KU students carving blocks at Chicharra. Photo: Miles DeCoster

We had time for trips to the Prehispanic ruins at Monte Alban and Mitla. A highlight was a journey to the petrified waterfall known as Heirve el Aqua.

Wolfgang and Brigid inking plates. Photo M.DeCoster

Wolfgang and Brigid inking plates. Photo: M.DeCoster

Muchas Gracias to Alan Altamarino, Edith Chavez, Marcus Lucero, Mariana Rivera, and all the wonderful Oaxacan artists who made our time in Mexico so memorable! Nos Vemos! See you again!

Blake Myer's sketch of Oaxaca Valley as seen from Monte Alban

Blake Myer’s sketch of Oaxaca Valley as seen from Monte Alban

The observatory at Monte Alban by Malia Balas

The observatory at Monte Alban by Malia Balas

Welcome reception at Hostal Don Nino.

Welcome reception at Hostal Don Nino.

Mariana Rivera giving us a tour of the Opera House.

Mariana Rivera giving us a tour of the Opera House.

Rebekah, Ashley, and Jen sketching at San Pablo

Rebekah, Ashley, and Jen sketching at San Pablo

13 KU students and Prof. Miles Decoster are with me sketching in Oaxaca. In less than 36 hours we have seen the San Pablo Center, site of the first Spanish Settlement in the early 1500’s. Then we visited the ancient Zapotec site at Monte Alban, founded circa 500 B.C, it may have been the very first city in North America. It had 30,000 people at its height. We also visited the Macedonia Alcala Theater, a wonderful old opera house, where we were allowed on stage and on the roof. We met the ASARO printmaking collective, and the students are doing wonderful sketches.

The Hostel Don Nino gave us a welcoming reception of flautas, which are like fried enchiladas, guacamole, Oaxacan cheese and aqua de Jamaica. It is not easy to post from my ipad here, but I will share student drawings and post more when we return from our 17-day Oaxaca tour.

 

WordPress.com’s 2014 annual data report for illustration concentration. Had about 35,000 visitors. If you want more details, click below.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 35,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

details from Pyongyang All art © 2001, Guy Delisle

details from Pyongyang All art © 2001, Guy Delisle

I’ve been to Seoul and Pusan in South Korea, but everything I know about Pyongyang I learned from a comic book. Guy Delisle drew a marvelous book, Pyongyang, a graphic memoir of working there in 2001.

socks

Few Americans ever visit Pyongyang. Delisle is Canadian from Quebec, He was hired by a French studio to direct animations being drawn in North Korea. Odd, how the global race to the bottom in wages means children’s cartoons are made in the least happy country on earth.

prodogiesPyongyang was a critical success. The Globe & Mail (U.K )said: “smart, sharply observed and funny, without downplaying the untold horrors (death camps, starvation) that lurk around every corner.” Canada’s National Post wrote: “Tinged with black humour, Pyongyang offers a perspective no straight-up print journalism could.”

Screenshot from the blog at www.guydelisle.com

Screenshot from the blog at http://www.guydelisle.com

The book was translated into a dozen languages and optioned for film. Until last week it was going to be a movie starring Steve Carell. I expect it would have been a far more interesting film than The Interview. On December 19, Guy Delisle announced on his blog that he learned Pyongyang, the film, was canceled, collateral damage to the SONY fiasco. Delisle wrote, “What saddens me the most are the reasons that lead to this. One would have imagined that a huge corporation would not bend so easily under the threats of a group of hackers from North Korea. Apparently they hit a sensitive nerve.” Delisle’s full statement in English and French can be found here.

lovemoviesSpeaking of film, part of Pyongyang deals with the movies. Delisle learns that Kim Jong-Il, (father to today’s supreme leader Kim Jong-Un) loved the movies. Believe it or not, Kim Jong-Il’s secret police kidnapped South Korean filmmaker Shin Sang-ok and forced him to make films in Pyongyang.

PYONGYANG-01Get Pyongyang. Buy it, or ask for it at your library. It is a thoughtful book about an unthinkable place. You can read a free excerpt of Pyongyang at the website of Delisle’s Canadian Publisher, Drawn and Quarterly.

Cody, Olivia & Jesse, Founders of BRAINBUG

Cody, Olivia & Jesse, Founders of BRAIN BUG magazine

BRAIN BUG is a new kid’s magazine by three enterprising Kutztown University students. “It’s called Brain Bug because we wanted to incorporate something to do with the brain (to emphasize knowledge, understanding and giving kids REAL information) but we also want to be about things that are gross-out fun, and science related, like bugs.”

Centipedes among the bugs in Brain Bug. issue 1.

Centipedes among the bugs in Brain Bug. issue 1.

Editor-in-chief Olivia Knowles is a Fine Arts /Painting major. Brain Bug is inspired by her fond memories of the wacky energy of Nickelodeon magazine. “I’m also inspired by the attitude of my kids at the daycare I work at, -how much they love stickers, books, coloring pages, physical activity, and how curious they are about the “grown up” lives of all the staff members.”

panel from the story Culture Vultures by Cody Myers, Brainbug issue !.

panel from the story Culture Vultures by Cody Myers, Brainbug issue 1.

Cody Myers is a Business major, but he can draw comics like a pro, as can be seen in the Culture Vultures panel above. Jesse Warner is a Communication Studies major. Jesse says issue one took 4 months, but it is a bimonthy magazine, so they are going to speed up production. “Brain Bug to me is more than just writing about topics, it’s a little piece of things that I liked when I was a kid and still do.”

Cover of BRAINBUG, issue 1.

Cover of BRAIN BUG, issue 1.

Want to start a your own magazine? Here is a tip from Brain Bug: “Tell everyone. By telling literally everyone we’ve ever met about this project, we’ve received SO much support. It can’t hurt!”  The 30-page full-color magazine looks sharp. They used a digital printing service called MagCloud, recommended by KU Fine Arts Prof Dan Talley.

Kutztown, PA is on the map in BRAINBUG>

WOW! Kutztown, PA is on the map in BRAIN BUG

Olivia has high hopes for Brain Bug. “My hope for Brain Bug is that it gets big enough that we have a fairly substantial group of readers that are excited to get a copy every month and know exactly the feeling they’ll get when they open it. A lot of adult friends have bought copies, but my hope is that with the next several issues we can reach out to more kids and parents that don’t know us directly. I hope that our issues will continue to be thicker, have longer more juicy articles, and more comic contributors. I hope we can unify our aesthetic and establish a concrete style and expectation while still keeping the grab bag feel as much as we can!”

detail from "Our Gross Best Friends" in Brain Bug.

detail from “Our Gross Best Friends” in Brain Bug.

Brain Bug is looking for art, story and comic submissions! Guidelines: Non-violent, non-political, not an advertisement! A reading level that fits about a ten-year old, non-gender biased, has to fit the informative and fun the theme of our magazine. Issue 1 is nearly sold out. “We still have about 20 copies for sale, but there may be a repress! If anybody would like a copy, check out our online store! “ Get in touch with the team via Brain Bug’s Facebook page.

 

Peonies, all images in post © Danny Gregory, from his Flicker page.

Peonies, all images in this post © Danny Gregory, from his Flicker page.

“Danny Gregory and his wife, Patti, hadn’t been married long. Their baby, Jack, was ten months old; life was pretty swell. And then Patti fell under a subway train and was paralyzed from the waist down.

In a world where nothing seemed to have much meaning, Danny decided to teach himself to draw, and what he learned stunned him. Suddenly things had color again, and value. The result is Everyday Matters, his journal of discovery, recovery, and daily life in New York City. It is as funny, insightful, and surprising as life itself.”  – note from Hyperion, the publisher of Everyday Matters.

Hounds © Danny Gregory.

Hounds © Danny Gregory.

Danny Gregory is coming to Kutztown University on Thurs, Dec. 4, thanks to Prof. Ann Lemon. Danny is an artist, illustrator, teacher, filmmaker and writer. I see from my Amazon history that I first bought his Everyday Matters when it came out in 2007. Like so many others, I was touched by the story of how he sat at his wife’s side during her hospital stay, and how the act of drawing saved his life. We use two of his books, The Creative License and The Illustrated Life as texts in classes at Kutztown.

9781600610868_p0_v1_s600

Detail from Amsterdam Sketchbook ©Danny Gregory

Detail from Amsterdam Sketchbook ©Danny Gregory

I asked Ann Lemon three questions about Danny Gregory. I asked when she first met him and what was her favorite drawing? and what’s Danny really like? Below are her answers:

Ann Lemon:  “So, I honestly can’t remember how long ago I met Danny. I think it was back in the 90s through his art director partner, who went to school with me. But I got to know him when we both worked at mcgarrybowen. I maybe even was more friends with his wife Patti – but then everybody always was.

Sketchbook © Danny Gregory

Sketchbook © Danny Gregory

Then, kind of a weird surprise, after Patti died (major tragic accident) he began dating my good friend, J.J. Wilmoth, who had also worked at mcgarry. They moved out to L.A. together for a while when she took a job out there last year, but they both missed New York too much and returned a few months ago.”

Bad to the Bone by Danny Gregory

Bad to the Bone by Danny Gregory

“Not sure what drawing would be my favorite. Maybe the cover of Bad to the Bone cause I have a major crush on his dog, Tim. I hope Tim comes to the talk. Actually, as long as Tim comes, I don’t even care if Danny comes.

Self-portrait © Danny Gregory.

Self-portrait © Danny Gregory.

His work personality is absolutely the opposite of his book personality – at work he comes across as kind of tough, silent. Also, he is a writer by trade, not an art director, so a lot of people at work had no idea he had this other life as an artist. He’s really funny, but always serious, too. You’ll see.”

O.K. You’ll see, too. Come see Danny Gregory at Kutztown University, Thurs. Dec. 4 at 6pm, Academic Forum 101. Free and Open to the Public. Bring your sketchbook, Danny will not mind if you draw while he talks. Sponsored by The Communication Design Dept., KUSSI, and KU’s AIGA student group.

Frank of Mars, A.K.A Frank Marsters, a self-portrait.

Paeregrine, A.K.A. Frank of Mars, A.K.A Frank Marsters,  self-portrait.

UPDATE: FUNDED at $1800, 3 times original goal! Frank Marsters is also known as “Paeregrine” and “Frank of Mars.” A Kutztown Communication Design grad, he is creating a full-color comic book based on his popular web comic Paeregrine.Cast. The comic book project is already funded via Kickstarter and heading toward new goals. I’m a backer. I love it when a former illustration student takes the initiative to make a dream come true. You have until November 13 to share the dream, which Frank explains earnestly in his basement.

FacebookCover_Kickstarter1bQ. Frank, What year did you graduate from Kutztown University?
December, 2012, my entire KU experience took 5.5 years to complete.

detail from a recent strip © Frank Marsters.

detail from a recent strip © Frank Marsters.

Q. What were your concentrations?
I graduated with both Illustration and Interactive. I had enough classes to graduate with Graphics as well, but ended up dropping my last requisite class in my final semester to help save my sanity.

tumblr_nbiag7FkL61tbb5tco1_500

BeardRex by Frank Marsters

Q.What is your day job?
I am currently working a few days a week as an in-house freelancer at Neo-Pangea,  where I did my Internship and where I was a part of the Intern Abuser project. In the evenings I am doing freelance illustration to help make ends meet. Ideally, I would like to make my comic my full-time job, but, alas, I’m not there yet.

Q. Can you tell us about the inspiration for the cast ?
The cast of characters are all people I interact with on a mostly daily basis. I originally started out looking at each character as a 1:1 representation of the person behind it, but it quickly became more about caricatures and exaggerated versions of these people. Paeregrine, BeardRex, Ondine, etc. have become characters of their own, loosely based on the people they represented.

Troy Gearthe, inspiration for cast member BeardRex.

Troy Gaerthe, inspiration for cast member BeardRex.

Troy Gaerthe is the inspiration behind the BeardRex character, he helped me out a good deal with some site issues early on and still is a big help/support to the comic.

Q. Technical Question: Where will you get the comics printed?
It is currently my plan to use a web-based service called “KA-BLAM”. I can print short runs based on how many of each cover are selected on Kickstarter. KA-BLAM will print “Sketch Covers” on good drawing paper making my hand-drawn cover reward a lot easier to complete.

Alternate covers by KU grads Nathan Hurst and Griffin McCauley.

Alternate covers by KU grads Nathan Hurst and Griffin Macaulay.

Q. What are the figures for web hits? What was your biggest day?
The comic’s website has undergone a few face-lifts, – since moving to the current incarnation it has over 100,661 page views.

The comic that got of 17 hits on day one!

The web comic that got 17,350 hits on day one.

The comic (above) about the sale of Mojang / Minecraft to Microsoft got the highest number of views I’ve had in a single day: 17,530. But that is way higher than my daily average.

Q. How many subscribers?
As of the moment there is no way to subscribe to the site itself. (Working on that. Fan/followers on social media, hovering around 300.)

Paeregrine.cast, detail, all art in this post © 2014 Frank Marsters

Paeregrine.cast, detail, all art in this post © 2014 Frank Marsters

Q. Are you getting hits internationally?
From a lot of different countries. My top 7 nations (all in the thousands of hits) are the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Germany, Sweden, France, and the Netherlands.  The international attention astounds me and makes me really happy. The French branch of the major games company Bethesda shared one of my comics. That was a really big deal to me, they translated the message along with it and everything.

So, if you like, support the Paeregrine Kickstarter here and get the comic book for a pledge of only $8. Or, you can always read the Paeregrine.Cast free online, updated 3 times a week! ‘Nuff said.

Lorenzo Mattotti with his original art for Hansel and Gretel

Lorenzo Mattotti with his original art for Hansel and Gretel.

Once upon a time, in 2007, The Metropolitan Opera staged Humperdink’s Hansel and Gretel.  Françoise Mouly, art editor for The New Yorker, helped organize an exhibition at the opera house based on the fairy tale. Contributors included stellar New Yorker cover artists including Roz Chast, Jules Feiffer,  Anita Kunz, Christoph Niemann, Gahan Wilson, and Lorenzo Mattotti.  Mattotti, one of Italy’s most important contemporary graphic artists, contributed a series of large-scale india ink drawings.

All images from toonbooks.com

All images from toonbooks.com

Pictures Came First: Françoise Mouly is also publisher and art director of the influential line of children’s books, Toon Books. She shared Mattotti’s moody artwork with her friend, writer Neil Gaiman. She asked him to retell the tale first written down by the Brothers Grimm in 1812.

neil-1

Neil Gaiman, from Toon Book’s Facebook page.

Gaiman, best known for Coraline and The Sandman, took up the task. Gaiman told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour this tale of Hansel and Gretel, of lost children and starvation, resonates in 2014. He spoke of his recent tour of Syrian refugee camps, “talking to Syrian refugees who ran out of food, – telling me of getting permission from their imams to eat cats and dogs, – eating grass, – drinking swamp water. -This is Hansel and Gretel!” Full interview is here.

© 2014 Lorenzo Mattotti

© 2014 Lorenzo Mattotti

“…shadows crept out from beneath each tree and puddled and pooled until the world was one huge shadow.” There is a wonderful visual verbal synergy here. The cadence of Gaiman’s prose flows as swiftly and smoothly as Mattotti’s brushwork.

© 2014 Lorenzo Mattotti

© 2014 Lorenzo Mattotti

In April at MOCCAfest, the comics convention in NYC, I met with Françoise Mouly about a book I’m working on with her. (More on that another day.) She shared with me the proof of Hansel and Gretel. The black and white printouts were neatly folded, fastened together with scotch tape. I held it in my hands and looked at Mottotti’s art for the first time. I found the images remarkably powerful, but not what I expected of a Toon Book. Toon Books are all different, but generally made in a colorful comic book style, with panels and word balloons. Mouly explained Toon Books was branching out with a new line, Toon Graphics.

© 2014 Lorenzo Mattotti

© 2014 Lorenzo Mattotti

She asked me what I thought of the book. I told her it was quite beautiful and I expected it would be a great success. That was an understatement. Gaiman recently read Hansel and Gretel to a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall. The book hasn’t even been released yet and it is already in its third printing. Variety reports Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Juliet Blake bought the movie rights to the book.

© 2014 Lorenzo Mattotti

© 2014 Lorenzo Mattotti

The NY Times gave Hansel and Gretel a glowing review. Gaiman said it was the best review of his career. Mouly said it took her breath away: Written with a devastating spareness by Neil Gaiman and fearsomely illustrated in shades of black by Lorenzo Mattotti, the newest version of “Hansel and Gretel” astonishes from start to finish. It doesn’t hurt that the book itself is a gorgeous and carefully made object, with a black floral motif on its pages’ decorated borders, along with red drop caps and tall, round gray page numbers. (Published by Toon Books, the New Yorker art director Françoise Mouly’s venture into richly illustrated books for children, it comes in two formats, with an oversize one that includes an afterword about the evolution of the tale.) Their rendition brings a freshness and even a feeling of majesty to the little tale.” -NY Times. The full review can be seen here.

© 2014 Lorenzo Mattotti

© 2014 Lorenzo Mattotti

Hansel & Gretel is being released Oct.28. For more info, including video interviews with Gaiman and lesson plans based on the book visit Toon Books here. Near NYC? Lorenzo Mattotti is flying from Europe to visit McNally Jackson Books, 52 Prince St, NYC on Sat, Nov.1. He’ll read from the book and share how he makes his pictures. Details here.

Illustration © by Jeremy Gilberto to raise awareness of testicular cancer.

Illustration © by Jeremy Gilberto to raise awareness of testicular cancer.

C.D. stands for Communication Design. I say C.D. so often I forget it is jargon used at Kutztown U, not everywhere. One of our annual events is the David Bullock Return of the CD Grads. This year we have two Renaissance men coming to campus to share their art and design. If you are in Kutztown come see them, if not, well, click the links below.  Jeremy is an Art Director at Red Tettemer. Greg is currently an Associate Creative Director at 160over90, both uber hip Philadelphia-based design firms.

White Rabbit design © Jeremy Gilbert

White Rabbit design © Jeremy Gilbert

JEREMY GILBERTO

Jeremy Gilberto writes: “I’ve given a good part of myself to advertising (not just time -it takes its toll). I graduated in 2010 and have since lived in two cities, been employed by two agencies and have had two very different experiences. In the past four years I’ve worked on about every type of client you can imagine, from those that will probably kill you, to ones that are used to clean you.

From Dean Ballas's blog on Jeremy Gilberto.

From Dean Ballas’s blog on Jeremy Gilberto.

When I’m not busy pushing pixels and making ads I’m busy pushing a stroller and being a dad. Occasionally, I’ll take a break from advertising and use my creative eye to take the cutest darn baby pictures I can. When I grow up I’d like to be an astronaut, but I probably should have made that decision earlier on in my life. Check me out here.

For an in-depth interview with Jeremy visit the dezignrogue.blogspot. This always interesting site is by former KU Prof. Dean Ballas.

hairypotter500

Hairy Potter © Greg Christman

GREG CHRISTMAN

I wrote a post about Greg Christman when he came to visit in 2012.

jerry

‘Sailor Jerry’ press kit design by Greg Christman

Greg Christman is a designer, illustrator, typographer, husband, dad and cat blogger. He is currently writing this bio in the third person. Since 2007, he’s worked on Ferrari, Sailor Jerry Rum, Prince Tennis, Versus TV, ECCO Shoes, Tullamore Dew Whiskey, Hendricks Gin, The Philadelphia Eagles, countless bands, AAA, Mars Drinks, New Balance, Spike TV, US Open, and a ton more that he can’t remember because his wife isn’t here to remind him.

PA Hardcore Gig Poster ©  Greg Christman

PA Hardcore Gig Poster © Greg Christman

His cat blog has been featured on Comedy Central’s Adult Swim, BBC Comedy, and tweeted by countless celebrities. His design career is jealous of his cat blog.

Jeremy and Greg are both remarkable talents. I grabbed some of their illustrative work from their web sites, but they are great designers, too. The RETURN of the CD Grads is Thursday, October 16  4:30 p.m – 6:00 p.m. in KU’s SUB Alumni Auditorium. Shout Out to Prof. Elaine Cunfer who does the nearly thankless job (THANKS!) of creating the Return of the CD Grads every year.

Robert Ripley at his drawing board from www.nealthompson.com

Robert Ripley at his drawing board, from http://www.nealthompson.com

In 1930, in the depths of the Great Depression, the highest paid artist in America was a cartoonist. Robert Ripley earned $350,000 in 1931. Presidents of railroads earned less. Babe Ruth earned $80,000. The average American earned $1,850. King Features syndicated his Believe it Not cartoons to hundreds of newspapers. That contract alone was worth $100,000 annually. Ripley leveraged his drawing ability and celebrity to earn his fortune via lectures, newsreels, and a radio show.

ACuriousMan_Ripley_NealThompson-web

A Curious Man, The Strange and Brilliant life of Robert ‘Believe It or Not!’ Ripley by Neal Thompson is now out in paperback, published by Three Rivers Press.

A classic Ripley cartoon, drawn charcoal, 1932.

A classic Ripley cartoon, drawn charcoal, 1932.

I enjoyed the biography. I like Ripley’s charcoal drawing style. Even when he had photo reference his line quality suggests direct observation. I wanted to like Robert Ripley, the man, but found him terribly creepy. He was a world traveler, but like many Americans declined to learn other languages. He’d just speak English louder expecting to be understood.

classicripley

Ripley did have an urbane assistant, a Polish emigre named Norbert Pearlroth. Pearlroth had a photographic memory and spoke eleven languages. It was Pearlroth who spent long days in The NY Public Library mining the stacks for bizarre factoids to fill the columns. Ripley did the drawings. Ripley paid Pearlroth $75 a week and never publicly acknowledged Pearlroth’s contribution. He never invited Pearlroth to the endless parties at his posh Manhattan digs or to his private island.

Ripley’s island, called BION Island (Believe It Or Not) was on the Long Island Sound. He hired a string of beautiful 18-year-old female assistants and made them sign a waiver stating that they came voluntarily to his island. He was a heavy drinker and by the end of the night could forget his date’s name. His 28-room mansion on BION Island had a basement full of erotic curiosities and medieval torture devices. We learn “girlfriend-secretary-housekeepers overlapped and two or three would be living on BION Island at once.” And “those who stayed found… easy living, easy money, not too much work and plenty of liquor.”

Ripley published Charles Schulz's first dog cartoon in 1937.

Ripley published Charles Schulz’s first dog cartoon in 1937.

Long before Snoopy appeared in Peanuts, Charles Schulz drew his iconic beagle and mailed it to Robert Ripley. Ripley included the teenager’s drawing in the 1937 cartoon above.

Thompson writes that Ripley, who had buck teeth and a speech impediment felt empathy for the strange people he wrote about. Ripley never liked the term “freaks” He preferred his own word “queeriosities.”

Ripley measuring a moustache.

Ripley measuring Arjan Desur Dangar’s mustache aboard a ship from India.

Mister Arjan Desur Dangar was scheduled to appear at Ripley’s Odditorium at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. That did not work as planned. “Dangar fought with his manager, who ripped off half of his mustache. Ripley sent them back to India.”

The syndicated Ripley cartoons continue to this day. Perhaps they have lost some impact. Today everybody is a Ripley documenting the freaks on their block, or you-tubing their own Jackass antics.

Ripley might be pleased that this book has a gimmick: the downloadable “Oddscan” phone app. When the reader finds the Oddscan mark on a page they can scan the page with their cell phone to view exclusive hidden content. “Dear Reader: Want to see a man stick a spoke through his tongue, or get shot in the gut with a cannonball and survive?” Alas, I can’t vouch for this feature. I don’t have a cell phone, Believe it or Not!

Amazing Facts and Beyond © Kevin Huizenga and Dan Zettwoch

Amazing Facts and Beyond © Kevin Huizenga and Dan Zettwoch

I will leave you with one final irony, above. Ripley became a millionaire with his Believe it or Not cartoons. Today Dan Zettwoch and Kevin Huizenga are creating Amazing Facts and Beyond, a satire on Believe it or Not. Zettwoch and Huizenga are two amazing cartoonists, but are making hardly any money at all! -Believe it or Not!

Detail© K. Huizinga& D. Zettwoch for more info: leonbeyondfacts.blogspot.com/

Detail © K. Huizenga & D. Zettwoch- More info: leonbeyondfacts.blogspot.com

Disclosure: I got this Ripley biography, A Curious Man, free from bloggingforbooks.org. If you blog, check it out.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 236 other followers