Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

An early “is is”? Probably not.

March 27, 2017

Jon Lighter on ADS-L yesterday, offering “An early “is is”:

1964 Jere Peacock To Drill and Die  (N.Y.: Bantam) 257:

[(1)] “The thing of it is,” Waldron said … “is that this order was set up for you personally.”

The earliest example of Isis on record up to this point is from Dwight Bolinger in 1971 (details in a 2007 handout of mine, “Extris, extris”); 1964 would be an antedating, but not a remarkable one. Still, I’m dubious that  (1) is a report of Waldron saying:

(2) The thing of it is is that this order was set up for you personally.

More likely it’s a report of:

(3) The thing of it is, …is that this order was set up for you personally.


Sticks and stones

January 13, 2017

Two Calvin and Hobbes strips from a series in recent re-runs. Background: Calvin has called Susie names, deriding and insulting her. Susie tries to take solace in a proverbial rhyme, sadly without success:


And Calvin totally muffs an apology:



Two poignant cartoons

October 27, 2016

A mildly poignant Zippy, in which things have come to the point where Griffy almost misses Richard Nixon. And another deeply poignant episode in the Doonesbury account of Lacey and Jeremy’s adventures in senior dating.





July 26, 2016

Today’s Zippy takes us back in comics history:


Felix the Cat. And Felix Chevrolet, 3330 S Figueroa St in L.A.


Zippy on a cross-comic run

July 16, 2016

In the “Ask the Archivist” column on the Comics Kingdom Blog (from King Features) on the 14th:

It’s been thirty years since Bill Griffith’s underground comix star Zippy The Pinhead went above ground and joined King Features Syndicate. Zippy had been around since 1971, so he’s in the midst of a forty-fifth anniversary, too.

Zippy, as you might know, was inspired by Griffith’s real-life interaction with a Pinhead, as well as Pinheads in popular culture, like the co-stars of the infamous film, “FREAKS” (MGM 1932).

But Griffith has always been more interested in the way culture has impressed him, especially that which addressed kids many years ago. At any time, incomprehensibly, long-dead actors or forgotten corporate mascots might appear, and interact with Zippy or Griffith’s cartoon alter ego. It’s like a surreal dream, often punctuated with misty bits of philosophy and out-of-date advertising catchphrases.

Today I’ve picked some of the Zipster’s various encounters with comic characters


Someone old, someone new

July 8, 2016

Two cartoons from the latest (July 11/18) New Yorker, by veteran artist Danny Shanahan (in the magazine since 1988) and newcomer Edward Steed (first appeared there in 2013):



The Shanahan (which is, in a sense, “about” animal communication) exemplifies the cartoon meme of the animal in a bar (most often a dog, but many other animals have engaged in bar conversations); in this case, the animal in a bar is combined with a comic trope in which a bartender covers for a patron by telling a caller to the bar (clasically, the patron’s wife) that the patron isn’t there. The Steed is a bizarre bulletin in the news for penises.


Another offer (X-rated)

June 18, 2016

Those of you who have visited Kirjasto Zwicky (my “library condo”) on Staunton Ct. in Palo Alto will probably remember the “X-rated bathroom” (the front bathroom upstairs), which was enlivened by mounted X-rated gay collages hanging on its walls; there were more mounted collages (not quite so racy) in the adjoining study/office. All of this is now being converted into a bedroom, which requires more divestment / divestiture. So another offer, this time of the mounted collages.


Anatol Kovarsky

June 17, 2016

In the New York Times on the 14th, an obituary by William Grimes, “Anatol Kovarsky, New Yorker Cartoonist for Decades, Dies at 97”:

Anatol Kovarsky, an artist and illustrator whose sense of whimsy and the absurd made him a fixture at The New Yorker from the late 1940s through the 1960s as both a cartoonist and a cover artist, died on June 1 at his home in Manhattan. He was 97.

Mr. Kovarsky, a master of the wordless visual gag, produced nearly 300 cartoons for The New Yorker. His first, published on March 1, 1947, showed two museum visitors peering at each other in surprise as they looked through the hole in a large Henry Moore-like nude.


You should really look at the text

June 10, 2016

… or maybe you think that any publicity is good publicity — if you are the author of this e-mail that came to me yesterday:

Dear Arnold Zwicky, We would humbly request that you consider adding [site X] as a dating site link on your page [1/20/12, “Christians”]:

We are the largest free Christian dating site in the world and have been around since 2007. We are currently working hard on our memberships and have marketed the latest versions of our Google Play Android app and iOS app to the Christian community. Thank you for your consideration. God Bless, David



Gerard Hoffnung

May 26, 2016

Like Thurber, Sendak, Briggs, and some others I’ve written about, another cartoonist / illustrator not generally accounted to be a Real Artist (perhaps at best a “graphic artist” like Bechdel) — especially since his work is funny, and meant to be. But he was a delight, the clear standout in the specialized field of cartoonists / illustrators / humorists who focus on the world of music. The occasion is my unearthing my copy of The Hoffnung Symphony Orchestra (originally published in 1955, reprinted in 1984), with its enormously enjoyable combination of hilarious exaggerated drawings of symphony musicians at work and preposterous invented instruments. A third vein of humor comes in some other books of his, especially Musical Chairs of 1958, with its hybrid concoctions of animal plus instrument (a cat playing on its whiskers as a violin, for example).

Seven examples follow. I had to exercise severe forbearance to keep from swamping you with Hoffnungiana.