Thursday, November 22, 2012

The world of 70 years ago...

from the Saturday Evening Post, October 24th, 1942.  I think the ads, each beautifully illustrated, tells us something about life back then.  Sometimes it's the fashion, but in many cases it's the sacrifices and adaptations to life in wartime.  It's amazing to me that almost all these companies or products (except Statler Hotels) are still around. I've noted the illustrators where possible.

cover by Mead Schaeffer

Here's a woman undeterred by gas rationing, heading up from her local A&P Super Market.

Cheerios were first introduced in 1941 at Cheerioats.  The young lady is the mascot Cheeri O'Leary.    If you can't read that closely, the "Food Quints" with their letter caps P, C, M, F and V are Protein, Carbohydrate, Mineral, Fat and Vitamin.

General Tire by Robert O. Reid

Ingram's Shaving Cream from Bristol-Myers

Jockey, the famous brand of support underwear, with some tips for the fellas.

Libby's is there for you, concerned shopper lady!

Airplane and tank cannons from Oldsmobile.

Three timeless friends promoting a cereal the ad copy calls "gay as sunlight."

Sir Walter Raleigh.  Tobacco that "tastes good to you...smells good to others."

Somewhat bizarre art for Sylvania.

Statler Hotels...8 locations.  Stay in Cleveland for $3.00 per night!

ARMCO Sheet Metals urging you to donate scrap to your local salvage committee.

Alcoa Aluminum by Glenn Grohe

An editorial message from the Post - "Yes - you can burn books, Goebbels - but you can never burn truth out of the minds of men."

Thursday, November 15, 2012


The Shel Dorf Awards were held last month at the Detroit Fanfare.  Dorf, who passed in 2009, was letterer of "Steve Canyon" from 1975-88, though he is better known as a founder of the San Diego Comic-Con.  The website has not been updated with the winners as of this posting, but you can find many of the results here.

"Steve Canyon Volume 2: 1949-1950" came out in August.  This volume contains one of my all-time favorite Canyon stories, the introduction of Princess Snowflower.  Not only does the book print the strips directly from Caniff's proofs, but the strips are reprinted in color for the first time.  As a bonus, there is an introduction by Bruce Canwell providing historical context to the stories surrounding Caniff and the strip during this timeframe.  You can order it directly from the publisher here.

Research for the above book was done at the Billy Ireland Caroon Library & Museum in Columbus, Ohio.  The Library is moving to its new, larger space in Sullivant Hall on the Ohio State University campus in late 2013.  They are already planning a Grand Opening Festival for November 7-10, 2013.  The new home greatly expands their ability to have multiple exhibits, as well as house the largest collection of original comic strip and comic book art in the world under one roof.  They are not there yet financially, but are getting help from Jean Schulz, the widow of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz.  She has agreed to match donations up to $2.5 million, and they are at $2.38 million.  Click here to donate to Schulz Challenge!

The October 2012 issue of Comics Revue (#317/318) reprints the "Steve Canyon" strips from May 14 - June 10, 1972.  This magazine is an art lover's treasure trove every issue with Mac Raboy's "Flash Gordon," Russ Manning's "Tarzan," Al Williamson's "Secret Agent Corrigan"along with a dozen other classic strips.  Ask your local comics dealer!

Genius Illustrated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth is coming out on 12/18 from the Library of American Comics.  This is volume two of three of this biography/retrospective project.  Toth was a Caniff fan who grew artistically into a peer, culminating in a mutual admiration.  This volume focuses on his latter day comic book stories and his work in animation.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Turning the blog over once again to pal Ted Haycraft, who's provided us with some insightful music reviews!

BOB DYLAN - TEMPEST (Columbia) -There really is no need for another glowing (&/or slobbering) review of Uncle Bob’s latest is there?!?? As usual, a new full-fledged album of new songs from Mr. Dylan justifiably garnered plentyof coverage from every conceivable corner of our media-saturated world. Plus, being one of those Dylan fanatics who would probably pay good money just to see and listen to him read the phone book (or labels of canned goods – ahem!), I’m coming at it with pretty much a biased view with probably any and all objectivity completely thrown out the window!?!! That said, I must say that my own personal reaction to this epic feeling album is that it may be his best since the astounding TIME OUT OF MIND from 1997 (certainly my favorite of all his late career albums which launched his amazing recent run of albums up to and including his CHRISTMAS IN THE HEART album)!  I do have a theory why this is the case. By the time we are nearing the end of this album we get some solid linear story-songs, particularly “Tin Angel” and “Tempest," which for the most part have been absent on his current spate of albums. As great, potent and downright fun the songs are on these albums – especially their music arrangements sounded out by his current excellent road band – you get the feeling (or at least I do) that the verses for them almost act as separate entities and any of them could be switched around, dropped from the song or even new ones added without effecting the overall structure and theme of the song as a whole. So to hear Dylan back in full frontal storytelling mode is a joy to behold! And then he tops it all with a loving tribute to John Lennon – a cut where I can’t shake the deep emotional pull every time I listen to it. That said and done, I must add that actually my favorite track is “Pay In Blood,” which just blew me away on how – despite the dark overtones of its lyrics – is such a wonderful sounding pop song.  I can’t recall the last time Bob came up with such a fun melody!!!

 AIMEE MANN - CHARMER (Superego) - Hey…finally a new album out from the always interesting singer/songwriter Aimee Mann!!! It’s been four years since her last release and, as always, we get a good chunk of well-crafted melodious pop rock songs covering her usually topics of character studies and the ups & downs/in & outs of relationships. No one track sticks out or distinguishes itself, but if you’re a Mann fan you should be solidly satisfied with it and for a new listener this album is as good as any to become one! (And the CD booklet has a nifty design and art by Ed Sherman who also did the eye-fetching layout of Aimee’s last album @#%*! SMILERS.)  

NEIL YOUNG & CRAZY HORSE - AMERICANA (Reprise) - HA!!! I laughed out loud – a combo guffaw of amusement, shock and pure joy – right off the bat when I first listened to this album, and I continue to chuckle happily with further replays!  Neil always amazes fans and critics alike on how and where his musical career trek twists and turns and I’m expecting no one has ever anticipated to hear such well-known (grade school-singing) song nuggets like “Oh Susannah” (the opening track), “Clementine” and “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round The Mountain (titled as “Jesus’ Chariot” here) taken through the Crazy Horse funky-grunge wringer!?!!?? Devoting an entire album to classic ancient American folk songs by musicians of all types is of course a long-standing tradition. When Dylan did it back in ’92 and ’93 with GOOD AS I BEEN TO YOU and WORLD GONE WRONG respectively we got a deep and dark tour through obscurities with a haunting and mournful feel. With Bruce Springsteen’s WE SHALL OVERCOME: THE SEEGER SESSIONS ('06) we plummeted into a full-blown bombastic blast of traditional songs that we are more familiar with, taken to anthem-like heights that Bruce can do in his sleep. So now here we get good ol’ Neil doing his own wonky take on even more familiar songs with even a few scratch-the-head songs thrown in for good measure: the Silhouette’s “Get A Job” and “God Save The Queen”??!? Approach this album in the right frame of mind and I guarantee you a good time – HA indeed (in a good way)!!!    

JUST TELL ME YOU WANT ME: A TRIBUTE TO FLEETWOOD MAC - VARIOUS (Hear Music/Concord) - I can’t claim to be a huge follower or very super knowledgeable of Fleetwood Mac but they certainly have been weaving in & out of my life and musical interests. So I was really intrigued by this tribute release especially since 1) it includes some of my current favorite artists – The New Pornographers, St. Vincent, Karen Elson… & 2) the very interesting song selection which includes not only the expected Nicks (who dominates) and Buckingham picks but several by Peter Green and even one by Bob Welch! It’s an uneven affair, typical of most tribute albums, but some of the highlights include a straightforward, poignant “Landslide” by Antony, a bouncing, honky-tonk take of “Rhiannon” by Best Coast, a take-no-prisoners version of “Gold Dust Woman” by Karen Elson and an electronic infused “Gypsy” constructed by Gardens & Villa.

RY COODER - ELECTION SPECIAL (Nonesuch) - I remember thinking back when Ry Cooder was pumping out a slew of soundtracks (mainly for Walter Hill films) if he was ever going to get back to doing solo albums similar to the ones early in his career (even though I was a huge fan of his movies scores!). Well finally in 2005 he did with CHAVEZ RAVINE followed by 2007’s MY NAME IS BUDDY and 2009’s I, FLATHEAD (which formed a trilogy on some of LA’s cultural history). With the later two, he began to be pretty much the sole songwriter on them, which strongly continued onto 2011’s PULL UP SOME DUST AND SIT DOWN which foreshadowed the overt political theme of his latest release. Now the deal with ELECTION SPECIAL is how it musically sounds and feels like one of Cooder’s best, harkening back to some of his earlier critically-acclaimed output. There’s one (possible) ‘slight’ problem – if you happen to be conservative/hardcore Republican without an open mind (or no sense of humor) you might have to take a wide berth around this (!?). Cooder makes no apologies where his political POV is and you probably can get the gist of it just by looking at some of the titles on the CD jacket: “Mutt Romney Blues”, “The Wall Street Part Of Town”, “Guantanamo” and “Going To Tampa”!!! If anything one should salute Cooder for throwing topical protest music up front and center whether you agree with him or not, and again, let me state that this is some of Cooder’s best music of late – a great and lethal mix of blues, folk and roots rock. The highlight for me is the track entitled “Brother Is Gone” – a haunting tale concerning deals with the devil with some mighty emotional-wrenching mandolin playing by Cooder. And I love how he wraps up the album with the strutting anthem rocking blues with “Take Your Hands Off It”: “…Get your greasy hands off my Bill of Rights / It was written right you can’t make it wrong.” Sing it Ry…and don’t be shy!!!