Saturday, September 19, 2009
Lawson Wood (1878-1957) was an English artist whose wacky and wonderfully well-painted monkey illustrations were published worldwide. Lawson monkeys can be found on postcards, calendars, magazine covers, advertisements and many promotional items. I love his crazy cartoony simians, and have a good stack of his work here -- enjoy the scans!
I should note that the monochromatic images at the bottom are from promotional cards sent out by the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. I've reproduced the inside of one of the cards, which also includes a pen and ink version of a a Lawson monkey. You might know the company by its better-known name -- 3M.
You can see more Lawson Wood in this post from the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive, a wonderful site I recommend you all explore and support.
Monday, September 14, 2009
My last commission for the time being -- a vintage-style pin-up girl. I have a big project to start working on, so I'm not taking on any more commissions for a while. This is based, in part, on a quick, unfinished drawing done at a local Dr. Sketchy's session -- I used the pose and the lighting. All other details are different. I don't want to burst anyone's bubble or anything -- but I have to tell you -- this sort of thing is more fun to draw than superheroes.
There was a time when comic strips and the artists who created them were so popular, they'd appear on the cover of major national magazines -- as is the case here with Li'l Abner and his creator, Al Capp. Time and Life both cover-featured Capp's comic strip.
The Shmoo was a hugely popular Capp character -- shown here on a certificate given out to kids who'd bought government savings bonds.
Abner and his folks in a B&W still from the motion picture version of the wonderful Broadway musical based on the strip.
A pair of Abner frame tray jigsaw puzzles. Y'know if you turn these upside down to place 'em on a scanner bed, comedy and/or tragedy may ensue....
The Harvey Comics Group, which published the Abner comic book, put together this promotional booklet showing media coverage of the strip. Cover and first page shown.
One of many examples of licensed Abner merchandise. This candy box comes from the defunct Dogpatch theme park in Kentucky.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Comics and cartoon characters have made plenty of appearances on record -- here are a few from my collection. This Batman/Superman 45 was released at the height of 1960s "Batmania."
Hank Ketcham's Dennis the Menace on disc.
Crockett Johnson of the Barnaby comic strip illustrated this sleeve for The Carrot Seed.
This two disc 78 RPM set of Dick Tracy records comes in a fold-out sleeve, with three pages (one shown) of comic strip panels in B&W and without lettering in the balloons. As you can see on the front cover, children were encouraged to write in the balloons and color the art. Hurray for the kid who owned this one, who did neither!
Animated cartoons often had story or soundtrack versions released on 78 RPM discs. This Disney Pinocchio has a particularly lovely read-along booklet inside. One page of that is shown below the cover.
Fleischer Studio's Gulliver's Travels had this great multi-disc 78 soundtrack set issued. No storybook pages inside -- but B&W images from the film on the inside covers -- plus a small fold-out booklet with info on the creators of the film's music (cover shown). I suspect few copies of this exist with the booklet intact, as it could be very easily lost.
I have very fond childhood memories of listening to these Bugs Bunny records, and reading along with the storybooks included. These copies are in rather rough shape, so I did a little Photoshop clean up on the covers -- just enough to make them presentable enough to show here.
Storybook art on these is by Richard Thomas and Bob McKimson -- wonderful drawings -- a few shown here. Bugs Bunny in Storyland was my favorite -- largely for the appearance of Daffy Duck as "Duck Twacy," otherwise only seen in the fantastic animated Dick Tracy spoof, The Great Piggy Bank Robbery.
Here is where several of my collecting interests meet. Vintage albums plus pin-up girls equals "must have" items! Let's start with one of my favorite record packages -- the three EP version of Julie London's Calendar Girl. In addition to having a beautiful voice, Miss London was pretty easy on the eyes. The photos on the covers are in the style of the painted pin-up calendars (Vargas, Petty, Elvgren, etc.) of the day.
The cover of The Best of Julie is quite, lovely, too. The mini-versions of her other LP sleeves are a detail from the back cover.
Do you recognize the young model on the cover of 8 Top Hits? None other than Miss Julie Newmar -- long before she was Catwoman on the Batman TV series.
Pretty girls on the cover seemed to help sell all sorts of music, from Honky Tonk Piano to spy movie themes. And dig the David McCallum look-alike on the cover of this Thunderball disc!
I think we know who Elmo Tanner was whistling at....
There are three women on the cover of Hi Fi. Don't believe me? read up on Billy Tipton.