Friday, March 25, 2011

Chris Giarrusso - G-Man

2011.03.13 Metuchen Public Library, Graphic Novels Day, Metuchen, NJ...

I had met Giarrusso previously and obtained a Mini-Marvels Silver Surfer sketch. At the time I also picked up the G-Man series of books. This time around I picked up the Mini-Marvels collected works, very funny, and a G-Man sketch on a Libraries FDC...I kinda like to mix things up...

It was great hearing Giarrusso's presentation about his process of writing and working with his editor, very entertaining, including the development of the stories "Hawkeye and the Curse of the Crimson Crown" and "The Couch"...

Giarrusso also spoke of his creation G-Man and his how G-Man's older brother picks on him, not unlike Giarrusso's older brother did to him...as a younger brother I know the feeling and my youngest son Matt who attended the lecture gave me a knowing look of "been there, expect more of the same." The whole program which lasted about 1.5 hours was well worth the time...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Misako Rocks! - Graphic artist

2011.03.13 Metuchen Public Library, Graphic Novels Day, Metuchen, NJ

The library was visited by Misako Rocks!, Colleen Venable and Chris Giarusso, who each presented a slide show on how they create, develop and became involved in producing graphic novels. This free program was open to the public and presented by the Friends of the Metuchen Public Library.

Misako Rocks! is a graphic artist from Japan, but did not become involved in graphic novels until after she had moved to the US. Her style is Japanese, with an American touch...An American manga written by a Japanese writer/artist. Misako got her start drawing for the newspaper "The Onion"

Her first novel was Biker Girl, the story of a young girl who becomes a super-biker when she rides a magic bicycle. Misako followed this with Rock and Roll Love, and Detective Jermain volume 1...Misako offered a very nice presentation about her work and getting involved in graphic novels.


Author Colleen Venable gave an excellent presentation on how she created her characters for the Guinea Pig Pet Shop Private Eye Series...(no art)..

Chris Giarusso next week...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tom Batiuk - Funky Winkerbean - "Lisa's Story"


2001.02.28...Lisa (Funky Winkerbean)...Breast Cancer Awareness 1996

When I came across the Breast cancer awareness FDC in my collection I was not sure I would be able to use it for a sketch. Then I was reading Funky Winkerbean and Lisa's ghost made one of her usual comforting visits to her husband Les Moore, and I knew I had to request a sketch from Tom Batiuk of Lisa Moore...


I first received a sketch from Tom Batiuk, Funky Winkerbean in the late 1980's. Back then Funky, which first appeared in 1972, was about a group of high school students going through the usual problems a teenager faces. Yes the comic had the usual best friends, school bully, student living in a locker, but Batiuk also featured stories that brought a teenager's problems out in the open, including teen pregnancy...

Batiuk then did something no other artist did. He took time off and brought the cast back as adults, with established careers and lives. Still Batik touched on subjects that we all face, marriage, divorce, birth, drunk driving, war and death...

Lisa's story was one of the story arcs that touched many readers when it was published and still does in book format...Lisa had married Les Moore and in 1999 Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer. The strip followed Lisa through her discovery, treatment, family relationships through tough times and her untimely death at a young age (2007). This was not a quick get it done story but 8 years of a characters life. While Lisa was undergoing treatment my family was dealt a similar blow. My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer and is now a 4 year survivor. While I was reading about Lisa's final battle the realization that we were just beginning ours touched me very deeply. When Lisa passed I could not tell my wife, the thought of having to be in Les' place was too difficult to think about...

When I sent my request to Tom Batiuk, I was not sure if he would respond and I was not sure how I would feel if he did. When I opened the envelope with the sketch of Lisa's smiling face I was delighted, not saddened as I might expect. I thank Mr. Batiuk for bringing realistic experiences to the daily comic strips, it did help me to cope as I looked back to Lisa's story. He helped take the loneliness out of the situation many of us have had to face.

Lisa is not the only comic character to die, of course Superman and Batman have died a thousand deaths. There are several characters that have met their end in the comics, including another Tom Batiuk character John Darling (John Darling, Funky Winkerbean spinoff), Farley the dog (Better or Worse), Phylllis Blossom (Gasoline Aley, where the characters age in "real-time"), Grandpa (Family Circus), but Lisa's lost battle to cancer was carried by several newspaper and television news reports. Lisa's Story made an impact on many people and will continue to reach out and touch many lives...

Lisa's Story Reuters

Friday, March 4, 2011

Patrick McDonnell - Mutts

2003 Patrick McDonnell appeared at Buchmeister Books, Chatham, NJ to sign copies of his books and to support the North Shore Animal League, (McDonnell is involved with The Humane Society of the United States). McDonnell has been awarded the National Cartoonist Society's Reuben for Cartoonist of the Year 1999, Comic Strip of the Year 1996; Germany's Max and Moritz Award for Best international Comic Strip 1998; Harvey Award for Best Comic Strip 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003 among others...

Mutts first appeared in 1994 and is based on the every day antics of Earl, the dog, and Mooch, the cat, and their human owners. Their friendship shows the differences between the animals as pets and their relationships with their owners.

One of my favorite parts of the Sunday strip is the title panel. Each Sunday the panel features a tribute to some of the most influential artists and designers of the past century, such as Mike Mignola, Donald Baechler, Shuster and Siegel, Katsushika Hokusai, Dali, Toulose-Latrec and many more....

Mutts has seen publication in several books...

Signing his book - Mutts - What Now...for my sons Mike and Matt, McDonnell noticed they were wearing soccer shirts. He said he had never drawn Earl or Mooch playing soccer and this would be the first time. Since I read the comic strip everyday, I have seen Earl play baseball, but have yet to see them play soccer outside of this drawing.