Friday, August 22, 2014


Robin Williams' TV character Mork was a pop culture phenomenon.  His wacky, anything goes style fit perfectly with Cracked Magazine's askew take on the world.  Cracked loved Mork, featuring him on the cover of seven issues within 1979 and 1980.  He was so popular he edged out Gary Coleman and Penny Marshall, two other Cracked favorites, for cover face time.  Covers meant be drawn by Cracked mainstay John Severin.  Severin, a legendary comics artist with a knack for likenesses, seems like he had fun drawing Williams' malleable mug.

Severin's original drawing for Williams' first appearance - Cracked #158 (May 1979).

His second regular issue paired him with Coleman, another character who dominated Cracked covers at the time (#161, August 1979)

Pam Dawber gets cover time again with Williams, just two issues later!  I wonder if Severin thought up those pants as Mork's beachwear. (#163, October 1979)

Here he is again, this time cracking up the logo as well (#167, March 1980).

The last time we would see Mork on a cover, in this "Love Boat" parody (#187, July 1982).  The fourth and final season of "Mork and Mindy" ended a couple of months before this.

Here's Williams at the center of this collection of his peers. (Collector's Edition #32, November 1979)

Mork had two "Collectors' Edition" covers all to himself.  The only TV/movie character to do so. (#35, May 1980).

(#29, May 1979)

John Severin's original art for Cracked Collectors' Edition #29.

Cracked Magazine would later do parodies of other Robin Williams' movies - "Hook" (#272, July 1992), "Flubber" (#326, July 1998) and "Patch Adams" (#334, May 1999).  But Williams was never on the cover again.  Those '90s issues are hard to find, so I'm not even sure if Severin ever drew Williams again, but it's a good bet that he did.

While Williams earned his way out of Mork's shadow through stand-up specials and dramatic roles, for millions of viewers who recall being excited by his weekly antics, he would always be Mork.  So, I'll leave you with this parody by Severin from Cracked #164 (November 1979):

Saturday, August 9, 2014


The cover of the latest issue of Comics Revue (June 2014) features Milton Caniff artwork commemorating the bicentennial.  This issue reprints the "Steve Canyon" strips from February 18 to March 17, 1973.  It is the conclusion to of a sequence that has Steve on a mission in Israel.  The intrigue puts him at odds with an early nemesis, Captain Akoola, now robbed of her beauty.

The Famous Artists School is an art correspondence course created in 1948 by illustrator Albert Dorne. Caniff (pictured bottom right) was attached to the school as one of the instructors for a couple of decades, though I'm unsure what involvement he had.  I know his work was part of the instruction courses, but I don't think he was involved in the grading/evaluating of submissions.  The school still exists, and they even have the classic cartooning course available.

Robert and Magdalen Livesey, who purchased the Famous Artists School in 1981, have donated the school's archives to the Norman Rockwell Museum.  The archives are unorganized at this time, so who knows what Caniff artifacts they may unearth!

You can read more about the donation here.  For information about the founding of the school and it's founder, Albert Dorne, I recommend this book.

The Eisner Awards were given out July 25th at Comic Con International in San Diego.  The event had a couple of Milton Caniff connections.  Jenny Robb, curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, was one of the judges.  The Library was founded on Caniff's archives.  The Library of American Comics (LOAC) took home awards in three categories.  The LOAC is the publisher of "The Complete Steve Canyon" series.  Congratulations to Dean Mullaney, Bruce Canwell and Lorraine Turner of the LOAC.  You can fine their reaction here.  A complete list of winners can be found her

Speaking of the LOAC, they recently announced a new project reprinting Corto Maltese.  Corto Maltese is considered by many to be the masterpiece of Italian cartoonist Hugo Pratt.  Pratt's art was greatly influenced by Caniff.  I'm excited to read some Pratt in English, as all I've read were from the Pratt-edited "Sgt. Kirk" magazine, which is in Italian.  Pratt was apparently comfortable with the comparison, as he reprinted Caniff's "Male Call" strips in "Sgt. Kirk" alongside his own work.

The 12-volume "Corto Maltese" series will be edited by Dean Mullaney, but published under a new IDW imprint - EuroComics, beginning in December.

The National Cartoonists Society (NCS) has launched a digital magazine - the National Cartoonist.  The magazine is available to read online for free at this link.  The issue includes a report on the recent Reuben awards, a profile of Jim Borgman, and an article about the brief return of Bill Watterson to the comics page.  

The NCS published a print magazine - The American Cartoonist - in the late '70s, and an annual Reuben awards magazine - The Cartoonist - for several decades.  Milton Caniff was a founding NCS member, a past president, a two-time Reuben award winner and is the namesake of its lifetime achievement award.

Saturday, August 2, 2014


No reviews this time around, but FYI - the new John Hiatt is a good listen and the new Willie breaks his string of lackluster releases.  And wow, First Aid Kit?  Sing it, ladies...

Recent Releases of Note

  • Louis Armstrong - Louis Armstrong and His Friends [reissue of 1970 LP]
  • Louis Armstrong - The Complete Satch Plays Fats [reissue of 1955 LP w/ 10 bonus tracks]
  • Bee Gees - The Warner Bros. Years, 1987-1991
    • reissue of the three studio albums they did for Warner Bros.
    • 1 CD of demos and outtakes
    • 1 CD of an unreleased 1989 live concert
  • Johnny Cash - Out Among the Stars
  • Chicago - Chicago XXXVI: Now
  • Eric Clapton and Friends - The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale 
    • featuring Tom Petty, Willie Nelson and Mark Knopfler
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - CSNY 1974 [3 CD/1 DVD live set]
  • John Denver - Take Me Home [reissue of 1994 autobiography in print, Kindle and audio versions]
  • Bob Dylan - Rome Press Conference 2001
  • First Aid Kit - Stay Gold
  • John Hiatt - Terms of My Surrender
  • Jayhawks - separate reissues of post-Mark Olson albums, all with bonus tracks
    • Sound of Lies
    • Smile
    • Rainy Day Music
  • Billy Joel - A Matter of Trust - The Bridge to Russia [2 CD/1 DVD] [from 1987 trip to USSR, includes concert and documentary]
  • Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
    • Single disc reissue of John's 1973 smash, or
    • Deluxe edition w/ a disc of rarities and covers, or
    • Super Deluxe edition w/ above + 2-CD live 1973 concert and a DVD documentary]
  • Elton John - The Million Dollar Piano [recent concert on DVD or Blu-ray]
  • Led Zeppelin - reissue of first three albums
    • Single disc reissues of each album, or
    • Deluxe editions for each, featuring live and unreleased material [3 CD for the 1st album, 2 CDs apiece for II & III]
    • Vinyl versions of the deluxe editions
    • Super Deluxe Edition with the CD, vinyl, download & book which Jimmy Page comes to read to you at your home]
  • John Lennon & Yoko Ono - The Smith Tapes: I'm Not the Beatles [8 CDs of interviews]
  • Jenny Lewis - The Voyager [7/29]
  • Paul McCartney - Off the Ground [remastered 1993 album with no bonus tracks]
  • Paul McCartney - iPad appversions of the recent Deluxe Edition box set reissues from Concord
    • McCartney, Ram, Band on the Run, Wings Over America, McCartney II
    • apps include the music, books and video content - all for $7.99 apiece!
  • Mike + the Mechanics - Living Years: 25th Anniversary Edition [2 CD w/ bonus & live cuts][UK only]
  • Willie Nelson - Band of Brothers
  • Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl
    • 1 CD/1 DVD reissue of 1989 album w/ bonus tracks, documentary and music videos
    • Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - Hypnotic Eye [7/29]
  • Frank Sinatra - reissue of eight albums from his Reprise years
  • Frank Sinatra - Rat Pack Live [combination of two previous Rat Pack releases as a 2 CD/1 DVD set]
  • They Might Be Giants - Idlewild [compilation album of the last decade's releases]
  • They Might Be Giants - the first album played live [free download at]
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic - Mandatory Fun
  • Neil Young - A Letter Home
  • various - Bob Dylan in the 80s [covers tribute]
  • various - Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute to John Denver
  • various - Petty's Peculiar Picks [compilation of songs played by Petty on his XM Radio show]
  • various - 2776
    • comedy-music journey through American history at the Bimillennial
    • Will Forte, Aubrey Plaza, Andy Richter, Patton Oswalt, Aimee Mann, Dick Cavett, Triumph, Neko Case, Ed Helms and more

Releases from this past Record Store Day on April 19th
  • ABBA - Waterloo [7" single]
  • Byrds - Straight for the Sun [2-LP 1971 live concert]
  • Johnny Cash - With His Hot & Blue Guitar [reissue of 1957 debut LP, limited to 3000]
  • Sam Cooke - Ain't That Good News [reissue of Cooke's last studio LP]
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival - The '69 Singles [10" record]
  • Everly Brothers - Roots [LP reissue]
  • Everly Brothers - Songs Our Daddy Taught Us [LP reissue]
  • Fleetwood Mac - Dragonfly [7" single from 1970]
  • Genesis - From Genesis to Revelation [LP reissue]
  • Norman Greenbaum - Spirit in the Sky [LP reissue]
  • Idle Race - The Birthday Party [reissue of 1968 debut on gold vinyl]
  • Gordon Lightfoot - Sundown [LP audiophile reissue]
  • Dean Martin - Dream with Dean [reissue of 1964 LP]
  • Randy Newman - Randy Newman [LP reissue of debut album]
  • Jimmy Page & the Black Crowes - Live at the Greek [3 LP on colored vinyl]
  • Jill Sobule - Dottie's Charms [new album that will debut on LP, released on digital and CD in May]
  • Ronnie Spector & the E Street Band - Say Goodbye to Hollywood [reissue of 1977 single]
  • Regina Spektor - You've Got Time [7" single on orange vinyl]
  • Bruce Springsteen - American Beauty [12" 4 song EP]
  • Hank Williams - The Garden Spot Programs, 1950 [10" vinyl EP]
  • various - The Folk Box [reissue of 4-LP box set originally released by Elektra in 1964]

Upcoming Releases
  • Beatles - The Beatles in Mono [14-LP reissue box set of the UK versions of the albums][9/8]
  • Bob Dylan - Shadows in the Night [late 2014]
  • Loudon Wainwright III - Haven't Got the Blues (Yet) [9/9]
  • various - The Art of McCartney [late 2014]
    • tribute featuring Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Brian Wilson, Barry Gibb, Steve Miller Band]

On Tour in the Tri-State
  • America - Louisville - 8/16
  • Beach Boys - Columbus - 7/29; Cleveland - 9/7
  • Mike Birbiglia - Dayton - 9/12; Cleveland - 9/13; Indy - 9/18
  • Chicago - Indy - 8/10; Cincinnati - 8/13
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash - Evansville - 8/19
  • Christopher Cross - Cleveland - 8/1
  • Miley Cyrus - Louisville - 8/9
  • Iris Dement - Cleveland - 9/19; Columbus - 1/16
  • Fleetwood Mac - Columbus - 10/19; Indy - 10/21
  • Jim Gaffigan - Indy - 8/17
  • Herman's Hermits - Belterra - 12/30
  • Indigo Girls - Akron - 8/14; Goshen - 9/13
  • Gary Lewis & the Playboys - Indy - 10/11
  • Jenny Lewis - Indy - 7/31
  • Paul McCartney - Louisville - 10/28
  • Don McLean - Cleveland - 10/10
  • Moody Blues - Kettering - 8/29
  • Willie Nelson - Indy - 8/23
  • New Pornographers - Cleveland - 11/15
  • Katy Perry - Columbus - 8/13; Cleveland - 8/14; Louisville - 8/16
  • John Prine - Cincinnati - 9/19; Indy - 9/20
  • St. Vincent - Cleveland - 9/30; Columbus - 10/1
  • Steely Dan - Cincinnati - 8/12; Columbus - 8/13
  • Styx - Louisville - 8/15
  • Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons - Cleveland - 11/9