Archive for July, 2010

The Wild Imagination at Play

July 29, 2010

The Wild Imagination at Play:

Interactions between Newspaper Cartooning, Comic Books and Animation  (curated by Maurice Greenia, Jr. Summer 2010)


At the Library of the University of Detroit Mercy, McNichols Campus (McNichols and Livernois) phone: 313-875-0663 Open Monday-Thursday 9am to 6pm/ Fridays 9am to 5pm and Saturdays 9am to 4pm  The show is up from July 12 to August 21 , 2010


This is my first attempt to do a blog about one of my exhibits here at the library.  I’ve long been interested in newspaper cartoons, comic books, graphic novels and cinematic animation.

 Flip books are early sequential images which move when flipped by hand.  These include an old silent movie and an image of myself, moving my hands around.  There’s also part of a MAD reprint and a cartoon xerox that I hand-colored.

Then below, there’s an old 1980’s Etch-a-sketch animator toy and a cardboard zoetrope.  This came free with an old vinyl record LP.  You had it punch it out and put it together.  It was a Doors Lp.  You spin it on your turntable and watch the pictures move.

These first two cases include information on Winsor McCay.  He did amazing newspaper cartoons including Little Nemo in Slumberland.  He went on to be a pioneer animator, doing work regarded to be years ahead of it’s time.  His films included Gertie the Dinosaur:

Some of his other films:

Otto Messmer created Felix the Cat.  He was another pioneer animator as well as an excellent newspaper cartoonist.  Some of his work:

Then, there’s the story of Elsie Segar. He was another masterful newspaper cartoonist.  He didn’t make any of the animated cartoons himself.  He may have been more involved if he hadn’t died young, at age 43.  The Fleischer studios (out of New York), did the Popeye animation.  They also did the classic, early Betty Boop cartoons.


The Fleischer Brothers:


Betty Boop:

George Herriman’s Krazy Kat is also amazing and is represented in the exhibit.  There were some interesting cartoon versions but Herriman didn’t really work on them:

I’d intended to put this on my cinema blog but it fits in just as well here.  Some of my other favorite animators include Tex Avery, Ladislas Starewicz, Jan Svankmajer and those responsible for the classic Warner Brothers studio Looney Tunes cartoons.

Besides these “overlaps” there are also other influences.  Harvey Kurtzman’s early MAD magazine seems to be influenced by animation as well as print cartooning.  Warner Brothers animators and directors have admitted to being influenced by print cartoonists such as Bill Holman and Milt Gross.   This exhibit is a sort of collage or montage on the connections between printed cartooning and cinematic animation.

Phi Pheakistoscope

Thanks to Gary Schwartz for lending work from his archive including an Etch-a Sketch Animator toy, two zoetrope loops and a Phi Pheakistoscope.   Here is some of his work:

Noted: Winsor McCay spent much of his early life in Michigan.  His early art career included a job at a “dime museum” in Detroit, doing portraits.  Max Fleischer spent the late 1940’s and early 1950’s working at the Jam Handy Organization in Detroit.  The great Bob Clampett died in Detroit.  He was in town to promote the video release of his Beany and Cecil show.

There will be a reception for this exhibit here on Saturday August 14 from 1pm to 3pm.  If you think you’re coming please RSVP at my email

Greatest Artist Ever??

July 29, 2010


Tuli Kupferberg 1923-2010

July 15, 2010

I got to meet Tuli Kupferberg a few times in New York.  Once, my brother Matt and I ran into him on a park bench in Tompkins Square Park and hung out with him for fifteen minutes or so.  Sometimes I’d see him around and say hello (or not). 

I’ve never lived in New York.  My brother has.  Since 1980, I’ve got there nearly every year.

The above image is from the 1973 book As They Were.  It was a compilation of “Celebrated People’s Pictures” including many famous writers, musicians, politicians etc.  He put it together with his wife Sylvia Topp.  This picture is from the title page. 

It had great childhood photos from infants to teenagers. They’re listed in alphabetical order. 

There’s Frank Zappa on a strange “trike” wearing a sombrero.   There’s a disturbing photo of the baby Hitler.  It includes 1800’s figures as well, represented by drawings or early photographs.

It was followed by two sequels, one of more photos and one of early creative work by famous writers, artists etc.  I bring this up just to say he was more than just a member of  the Fugs (cool as that was).  I do like the Fugs and I have some of their music in my collection.  I always enjoy hearing their stuff.

I enjoyed his political parodies.  He took old songs and added new lyrics.  I liked his cartoons too.  Then his “1001 Ways” series of books are also favorites, when I can find them.

He was a legendary hipster too.  He was always a bit older, old enough to see Charlie Christian play guitar in a New York club.  That’s impressed me.  Then there’s the whole Howl reference.  Was Tuli the guy who jumped off of the bridge and walked away?  He was definitely part of the beat scene.

I recently saw his bit part in the film W.R .: Mysteries of the Organism at the Burton Theatre here.  Around that time, I heard he’d had health problems and that there was a benefit for him.

In any case, he’ll be missed.  I offer my condolences to his friends and family.

This includes a bibliography of his books:


The Fugs:


you tube videos:

Full Force Humoristics

July 10, 2010


I’m experimenting with scanning my old manifestos and trying to have them be readable in my blogs.  They’re mostly handwritten and/or typed on my old manual typewriter.

This seems to work but the image seems to be a bit crunched.  I’ll see if I can figure out how to have it be readable without having this happen.  If so, I may redo this eventually.  at least the text is readable I think.

If you “click on it” you can enlarge it and the “crunch” goes away.

Smokey Stover

July 1, 2010

I’m a big fan of the mysterious Smokey Stover.  This strip is a copy of an actual fragile old “Sunday funnies” original in my possession.  You can probably click on the image to enlarge it.

Someone actually gave me a few old newspapers which were found in an attic.  Most were in bad shape.  This Smokey Stover strip’s the major success of that stash.

Smokey’s a fireman, who lives in a surreal world of puns and sight gags.  It seems to be a precursor of the Harvey Kurtzman-Will Elder MAD magazine stuff.  The watchword is “Foo!”

I don’t think that Smokey Stover‘s ever been compiled into a book. There is a good website.  It’s sponsored by Bill Holman’s nephew Victor Alsobrook.  Holman was the artist-writer-creator of Smokey Stover.