Tuesday, April 30, 2019

My Entries in the Moment Cartoon Caption Contest for March/April 2019

Who can find the time for work, family, and my entries in the Moment Cartoon Caption Contest for March/April 2019? Moment is a magazine which covers topics of Jewish interest. Multiple entries to the contest are permitted. The drawing is by Benjamin Schwartz. My first entry in this contest is obviously no longer current.
"I'm sorry, but I'm going to need more time to redact the Mueller report."
"I know I used my kids' names for my password, but I can't remember either."
"Just have my assistant fly down for a few rounds of keep away."
"I wanted a staycation but I was outvoted."
"It turns out paradise has everything but wi-fi."
"Boss, what do I do? My kids set a limit on my screen time."

"I've fallen behind. It turns out the wi-fi here is shomer shabbos."
"And that's why I'm known as the maven of multitasking."
"Let me bounce that off the team and I'll get back to you."

June 12, 2019 Update:  The Finalists

October 6, 2019 Update:  The Winner

Glossary of Jewish Humor:  Shomer shabbos refers to people or entities which observe Jewish law on the Sabbath. Thus in the context of my seventh caption here there would be no wi-fi from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. A maven, of course, is an expert. A mikvah is a ritual bath.

  Last year's Moment profile of some of the Caption Contest contestants may be read here.

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Monday, April 29, 2019

My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #660

Hear ye, hear ye: the king hath proclaimed my entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #660 for April 29, 2019. The drawing is by Benjamin Schwartz.

"In medical terms, you're royally screwed."

May 6, 2019 Update:  The Finalists

May 13, 2019 Update:  I voted with Medford.

May 20, 2019 Update:
The Winner

Note:  Last week cartoonist Felipe Galindo showed us a woman resting in her nest. My caption laid an egg. See what's up with Contest #659.


Sunday, April 28, 2019

MoCCA Fest 2019: Mark Alan Stamaty's MacDoodle St.

My earliest visits to the annual MoCCA Arts Festival in New York a few years back were largely unplanned. These visits were nevertheless successful because of seemingly chance encounters and random finds, but much of my time was spent trying to orient myself to the vast convention floor filled with unfamiliar work by mostly independent comic artists unknown to me. In succeeding years I've broadened my interests a little and devoted more time to planning which signings and panel discussions I would attend. This year I came both days and attended  a total of five panels. At the top of my agenda for MoCCA Fest 2019 was meeting artist Mark Alan Stamaty and grabbing a copy of the new edition of MacDoodle St. (1980, 2019). I am happy to report my success on both counts.

There's a lot to look at and a lot to like in Stamaty's presentation doodles, if I may call them that. For example, I always want to see what he draws on the neckties.

Note:  Attempted Bloggery seeks images of original art by Mark Alan Stamaty, including interesting souvenir doodles such as this one.

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Mark Alan Stamaty


Saturday, April 27, 2019

MoCCA Fest 2019: Peter Kuper's Ruins

It's only this past year that I learned what a superb job Peter Kuper does at providing fans with original sketches in his books. Naturally I made it a point to stop by his table at MoCCA Fest 2019. He's a popular guy with many fans both of his graphic novels as well as his MAD magazine Spy vs. Spy work. I think of him more as a New Yorker cartoonist, of course, but he has no books—yet—highlighting this facet of his career. That's no problem as I'm more than happy to acquire a copy of his Eisner Award winning Ruins (2015). Besides, I've been kicking myself for not snatching up a copy at previous MoCCA Fests when it was merely an acclaimed graphic novel but not yet an Eisner winner. To my surprise and amazement, it's still in its first printing!

Note:  It should be obvious that Peter Kuper does a really nice job on these book sketches. Readers lucky enough to have their own original books with drawings by Peter Kuper are invited to submit them for possible inclusion in a future blog post. No need to thank me; it's what I do.

Outstanding acquisitions from MoCCA Fest 2019 in general are also welcome. Submit away!

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Friday, April 26, 2019

MoCCA Fest 2019: Gary Panter's Songy of Paradise and Dal Tokyo

At the MoCCA Arts Festival 2019 I came across Gary Panter signing copies of his works at the Fantagraphics table. Two of his big books were on hand, and I ended up purchasing both. First was Songy of Paradise (2017), a reimagining of Milton's Paradise Regained, itself based on Jesus' temptations in the desert.
Gary Panter
Songy of Paradise, 2017

I liked the way Panter drew Songy with the vulture—liked it enough to take a chance on a copy of Dal Tokyo (2012). This one takes place on the planet Mars as it is being terraformed by Texan and Japanese workers. Right up my alley…
Gary Panter
Dal Tokyo, 2012

Well, the comics here are a little less coherent than Songy. Still, I think it's great that Panter is so generous in providing sketches to his fans. Ultimately, though, why draw these sketches on patterned endpapers? The drawings would look far better on a plain white sheet. There's a good reason most comic artists place their sketches on clean page surfaces.

Note:  Back at MoCCA Fest 2018, the Fantagraphics table did not stock plastic bags big enough to hold some of the books being sold and the situation this year was no different. Last year I resorted to buying a Society of Illustrators tote bag and I made a note to myself to bring it along with me this year. So in order to prepare for a potential MoCCA Fest buying spree this year, I got out the old tote bag and carefully stowed it in my car. Then I parked my car across town and left the tote bag in it.

Readers with their own original book sketches by Gary Panter, if they're significantly different from the ones already shown here, are invited to submit them for inclusion in a future blog post. On Mars.

Rest assured, my posts about books collected at MoCCA Fest 2019 will continue in the coming days. If you wish to have me consider posting your own acquired books, by all means send along images of them.

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Thursday, April 25, 2019

MoCCA Fest 2019: Joe Ciardiello's A Fistful of Drawings

I met illustrator Joe Ciardiello at the MoCCA Arts Festival this month—twice. Still, I did not manage to swing by his book signings for A Fistful of Drawings, his 2019 homage to the Spaghetti Western. No matter; the artist had the foresight to leave a signed copy adorned with an original cowboy sketch at the Fantagraphics table. I was only too happy to claim it.

Note:  Today marks Joe Ciardiello's first appearance here on Attempted Bloggery. With any luck there will be many more.

As you already may have noted, MoCCA Fest 2019 was a great opportunity to acquire signed books, many of them bearing original sketches. I have been showcasing my library acquisitions here (with interruptions) for about a week now and in about another week (also with interruptions) I should be done. For now.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #20,

This week I remembered to enter the Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #20! The drawing is by Tom Toro.
"Some days I think Dad didn't really build this treehouse for me."
"His motto is work hard, play hard."

"It's his branch office."
"On bad days he comes over and reads my comics."

May 5, 2019 Update:  The Winner

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Tom Toro

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Ted Key: Leftovers

So…what's in your lunchbox today? Dick Buchanan has contributed a scan of a long-forgotten 1951 color gag cartoon from The American Magazine. The artist is Ted Key, famous for creating the panel cartoon Hazel as well as the characters Peabody & Sherman for Jay Ward.
"Have a nice Easter?"
Ted Key
The American Magazine, March 1951

Scan by Dick Buchanan

Note:  My sincere thanks to the energetic Dick Buchanan for making his forty-fifth contribution to Attempted Bloggery! Go ahead, count 'em! Dick maintains the exhaustive Dick Buchanan Cartoon Clip Files from which he contributes regularly to Mike Lynch Cartoons, most recently an informative post entitled "From the Dick Buchanan Files: New Yorker Luminaries 1933 - 1942." 

By the way, Dick recently did some outstanding work researching John Gallagher and he should now be considered a leading authority on this gag cartoonist. Here are the gems he has uncovered:

John Gallagher Gag Cartoons 1951 - 1970

John Gallagher Part Two: 1000 Jokes! - Gag Cartoons 1954 - 1965

I'm happy to share some other recent favorite posts of his:

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Show Business Gag Cartoons 1945 - 1962

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Caption-less, Wordless Gag Cartoons 1946 – 1963

After that, I'm afraid you're on your own. By the way, Attempted Bloggery seeks other high-quality scans of long forgotten published rarities such as the one here by Ted Key.

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Ted Key

Dick Buchanan


Attempted Bloggery's Rehashed Index


Monday, April 22, 2019

My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #659

Here is my entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #659 for April 22, 2019. The drawing is by Felipe Galindo, a.k.a. Feggo.

"I used to be so grounded."

These captions were not elevated enough:
"It's roomier now that the kids have flown."
"This year I didn't fly south with Henry."

April 29, 2019 Update:
  The Finalists

May 6, 2019 Update:  I voted with Charles Addams's hometown of Westfield.

May 13, 2019 Update:  The Finalists

Note:  Last week cartoonist Carolita Johnson showed us a woman dating a man who had a churning kitchen blender for a head. (And you thought caption contests were irrelevant!) Anyway, my caption might have come out better if I'd left the cover on. Pore over what's poured over from Contest #658.


Sunday, April 21, 2019

MoCCA Fest 2019: Amy Kurzweil's Flying Couch

Part of the challenge of navigating MoCCA Fest is making sure one has the flexibility to go after things one never expected one was going to find. Case in point for me was coming across New Yorker cartoonist Amy Kurzweil signing copies of her graphic memoir Flying Couch (2016). I had been wanting to pick up a copy of this book for a while now and clearly this was my golden opportunity. I don't exactly remember what I said to her—surely something smooth and sophisticated—but on the basis of her inscription she seemed somewhat unsure whether this personalized copy of her book was ever going to end up on this blog. Amy  Kurzweil, there was never any doubt.

Note:  Today represents Amy Kurzweil's first appearance on the old blog. As one might expect I'm looking for examples of her original art, preliminary sketches, and uniquely personalized books to include in future posts. 

I have been systematically going through my acquisitions at MoCCA Fest 2019, although I do have other things planned for the next three days. Don't worry, the blog has plenty of time to get through all this.

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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Blog Post No. 2900: My Copies of The Ultimate Cartoon Book of Book Cartoons

There's a new cartoon anthology just out and it's a fine one. The Ultimate Cartoon Book of Book Cartoons (Princeton Architectural Press, 2019) is edited by cartoonist Bob Eckstein and was released early this month. While I couldn't say how truly "ultimate" it is going to prove to be, whether or not it is the final word on the subject it is already hands down the best cartoon collection about books. Every selection is a winner. The closest contending anthology would have to be The New Yorker Book of Literary Cartoons (2002) edited by Bob Mankoff—it appears one has to be named Bob to put together such a collection. There's even some understandable overlap in the cartoons that were chosen for both books. Readers of this blog will want to have both volumes in their libraries, of course, but those who can manage to snag only one today should by all means get the latest. And, while you're at it, you might try to have it signed.

It's a beautiful book: nicely made and a pleasure to hold. There is no dust jacket, which I consider a plus. I regard a dust wrapper the way I regard the human body: it's nice enough at first blush, but it's an awful lot of work to maintain over the long haul. 

I make it a practice here not to underestimate New Yorker cartoonists, but nevertheless Bob Eckstein continues to astonish me. He is not only a first rate cartoonist, his painting skills are outstanding, as amply demonstrated in Footnotes from the World's Greatest Bookstores (2016). I thought his History of the Snowman (2013) was doomed to remain ignobly out of print forever, yet last year he published an updated edition. He live-draws. He curated a gallery show. And now he edits his first cartoon collection. Have I mentioned that this is a really first-rate collection? Even the minutiae are handled refreshingly well. The book's index, for example, includes page numbers as well as brief capsule biographies of the artists. I don't think I've ever seen this done better anywhere.

It should be no surprise then that Bob Eckstein's even got the art of the book signing down, and I say that most assuredly without having attended one. On April 9 at Rizzoli Bookstore in New York he sat down with three other New Yorker cartoonist colleagues—Robert Leighton, Marisa Acocella, and Barbara Smallerfor a presentation followed by a signing.
Robert Leighton, Marisa Acocella, Bob Eckstein, Barbara Smaller
Rizzoli Bookstore
April 9, 2019

Photo by Tom Bloom
I was unable to attend, but I wanted to get a signed book from this event anyway. I contacted Rizzoli and was told there was no way to preorder a signed book. They advised me to call the morning after, however, and they would inform me what they had on hand from the signing. So that's exactly what I did.

I was delighted to learn that five cartoonists had signed the book. Five? I was expecting four. (It turns out that David Borchart and Nick Downes turned up at the event and signed the book too. They are scheduled to appear with Mr. Eckstein in Brooklyn on April 23 at WORD Bookstore.) That was good enough for me, even if the math didn't seem to come out quite right. So I ordered my copy sight unseen from Rizzoli:

Signed by Bob Eckstein (with snowman), Robert Leighton (with self-deprecation), Nick Downes, David Borchart, and Marisa Acocella (with a captivating pair of mascaraed eyes).

The only disappointments were that Barbara Smaller, who signed for guests at the event, did not remain to sign the bookstore's copies. Also, if the book can't be preordered, obviously it can't be personalized.

The following day, April 10, another signing was held by Bob Eckstein at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, New York, with three different New Yorker cartoonists in attendance:  Liza Donnelly, Michael Maslin, and Danny Shanahan. Once again I was tragically unable to attend. In the case of Oblong Books, though, I was able to preorder a book online and even to have it personalized in my name. This was a key factor in having the signing turn out as well as it did. It didn't hurt at all that each of these  cartoonists know who I am after nearly eight years of my perpetrating this blog. Here then is my signed copy of the book from the Rhinebeck event, this time with the awesome back cover leading:

Signed on the title page by editor Bob Eckstein

Signed a second time and inscribed by Bob Eckstein
Signed and inscribed with drawings by Liza Donnelly, Danny Shanahan, and Michael Maslin

Note:  My thanks to Tom Bloom for photographing the Rizzoli event.

I see no reason my readers should have to go through life without their own signed copies of The Ultimate Cartoon Book of Book Cartoons. Signings are scheduled all over from April 23 through August 10, 2019, with more events likely to be added. Catch the latest information at BobEckstein.com.

Then if you happily find you are in possession of a signed copy of this book substantially different from the ones I have posted here, by all means send me an image and I'll very likely put it in a future blog post. I can do that, you know.

Today marks Nick Downes's first mention on this blog. I'll take the blame for waiting this long.

Well, if it were I who was a contributor in any way to a handsome new book, I wouldn't miss an opportunity to sign every copy I could. What could possibly keep me from signing at an event I was already attending? Well, a few things perhaps. I wouldn't want my signing to cause me to be late to a wedding, for example. Heck, I wouldn't even want to miss curtain time on Broadway if I had tickets. If I finally had my interview scheduled with Thomas Pynchon, I'd probably leave and go to that. And I certainly wouldn't want to be late for a new episode of "Whiskey Cavalier." Otherwise, though, I'd sign those books. Wild horses couldn't—well, you get the picture.

The Attempted Bloggery Centennial Posts

Blog Post No. 100
Blog Post No. 200:  A Shaggy Dog Story