I took time out this morning from my regular job of wearing a spandex bodysuit, fighting comic book villains named after Welsh towns and making the world safe for pinot gris. Instead of the usual BLAM-BONK-KAPOW, I decided to clean up my office. Never a good idea. Among the dust and detritus, however, I found a few old cartoons of mine, in a format commonly known as tear sheets.
The first one I’m posting today is a cartoon I created on a Macintosh computer, back in the day. Not many cartoonists were using Macs to create their gag cartoons, back in the day. This was before the availability of a stylus pen, which is why I like to say it was back in the day; I drew the cartoons in a software package called SuperPaint and used a semi-responsive mouse. Truth be told, it was like drawing with a bar of soap. The below cartoon was published on the cover of a national Macintosh magazine… The second one I’m posting today is a cartoon I created for a technical writing journal. I worked as a tech writer for several years and then a documentation manager, before crossing over to the dark side of marketing (bahahaha!)… For the life of me or someone else, I can’t recall where this third cartoon I’m posting today was published. I wanted to include it because the gag is a wretched pun and the chimp looks like he’s just finished his seventh cup of strong coffee–either that or he is struggling to remember his password…
Tomorrow, December 8, marks the anniversary of James Thurber’s birth. As you may have guessed, Thurber is one of my literary heroes. I consider Thurber’s autobiography “My Life and Hard Times” to contain some of greatest humor by an American writer in the 20th century. There are many more examples of his brilliance, including such pieces as the wildly popular Walter Mitty story, “The Catbird Seat,” “If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox,” his great memoir piece titled “Doc Marlow” and, of course, I could go on.
Thurber once defined humor as “emotional chaos remembered in tranquility”; we’re fortunate he found enough tranquil moments in his life to do so much writing. In my opinion, when it came to writing humor, Thurber was a genius.
He was also a cartoonist. Chief editor of The New Yorker magazine, Harold Ross, soon recognized this other skill and began publishing Thurber’s cartoons. This prompted one of their regular cartoonists to complain. He asked him how dare Ross publish work by that fifth-rate cartoonist Thurber instead of his cartoons. The editor rose to Thurber’s defense and replied, “Thurber’s not a fifth-rate cartoonist, he’s third-rate.”
As a humorist, whether through his words or drawings, James Thurber was and remains first-rate. Here’s a sketch I drew of Thurber. I’m posting it in honor of his birthday.
“Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.” – James Thurber
I recall from a college literature class that someone, a British lord or a person with a similar amount of time on his hands, wrote a letter to his son. In the letter the man complained that he had to make it a long letter because he didn’t have time to write a short one. I wanted to post an entry tonight but I don’t have time, unfortunately, so I’m going to throw in another old cartoon. This one is from Mas o Menos, a weekly cartoon panel I did in San Miguel the first time I lived here. Vaya con nachos:
I did some hard drive hunting and gathering and found this old cartoon of mine that is a kinda-sorta example of satire. It was published in a sci-fi/fantasy magazine, which I think was called “Dragon,” but I could be mistaking the name for China Dragon, which is one of my favorite restaurants here in San Miguel. Vaya con nachos.