Interview: Arnold Roth Pt. 2 [of 2]

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Since first launching his career six decades ago, Arnold Roth has become one of the best know and most beloved cartoonists of the 20th century. His work has appeared on the cover of Time and in the pages of virtual every well-known American publication, from The New Yorker to Sports Illustrated to Playboy to The New York Times.

Of course, the cartoonist had to pay his dues, just like the rest of us. In this second part of our interview with the artist, we dig into Roth’s early career, before The New Yorker, before Playboy—even before Humbug and Trump—to discover how he went from being expelled from a Philadelphia commercial arts college to becoming one of the most celebrated cartoonists working today.

[Part One]
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The Cross Hatch Dispatch 3/30/09

Categories:  The Cross Hatch Dispatch

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[Above, it's clobberin' time with Miss Lasko-Gross. Below, Dispatch flame on.]

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Interview: Nicholas Gurewitch Pt. 2 [of 2]

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Nicholas Gurewitch gets extremely excited when he discusses his upcoming projects—few if any of which have anything to do with the strip that made him one of the most beloved names of the early 21st century Webcomics renaissance. He talks painting and screenplays and a pilot that he worked on for the BBC, a while at times the artist’s mind seemingly couldn’t be further from the comic, Gurewitch clearly has plenty of love for the strip. And he insists that, while its seemingly been placed on the back burner in favor of new creative ventures, it’s certainly not going anywhere.

In this second and final part of our interview with the Perry Bible Fellowship creator, we discuss the artist’s many creative pursuits, the importance of feedback, and why being funny isn’t necessarily the most important function of great comedy.

[Part One]

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Next Week’s Is Funny with Timmy Williams 3/27/09

Categories:  Next Week's Is Funny

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[Above: Peter Jackson, Timmy Williams, Steven Spielberg, an umbrella.]

Hey All,

I wanted to do a quick intro for our newest columnist, Timmy Williams. Timmy comes from South Dakota, is a member of the IFC sketch comedy troupe The Whitest Kids U Know, and according to the Wikipedia, did not go to the School of Visual Arts. Also he likes comics and writing funny things. This is his first column. It’s sort of like Best Week Ever, only with less Paul F. Tompkins and more jokes and Dave Sim and farts.

–BH

Hi there!  My name is Timmy.  Brian and I have decided that what the world needs right now in this time of global strife is another column where some dork talks about comics.  Enjoy!

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The Cross Hatch Dispatch 3/27/09

Categories:  The Cross Hatch Dispatch

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[Above, Ariel Schrag on the couch. Below, the Dispatch overstays its welcome.]

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Manny + Bigfoot by Meghan Hogan

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Manny + Bigfoot
by Meghan Hogan
2D Cloud

mannyThis weird and beautiful little comic is as interesting to touch as it is to read.

Maybe you can recall a few years back when elephant dung paper first hit the market.  From the buzz, I thought Mr. Ellie Poo’s paper would be in use all over the place, but Manny + Bigfoot is the first mini I’ve seen made with the stuff.

Poop as paper inspires an odd fascination, but also a whoop of joy from environmentalists and animal lovers.  As noted by the Huffington Post, “…a tenth of the mere 40,000 Asian elephants worldwide live in Sri Lanka, where they’re killed due to their interference with agriculture. There’s no major ivory trade, and Sri Lankans don’t eat elephant meat, so the sole factor that elephants are being exterminated is because they’re a nuisance.”  In other words, having its poop harvested for paper is one way an elephant becomes a useful member of society.  If only it was that easy for the rest of us.

As a vegan bicycle commuter, Meghan Hogan (of the Good Minnesotans) regularly acts on her good conscience, so it’s no surprise that her book Manny + Bigfoot leans the same direction.  It might feel strange to touch a page made of poo, but take the risk.  Her the story has a sweet expression, wonderful colors, and even a touch of mystery.

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The Cross Hatch Dispatch 3/25/09

Categories:  The Cross Hatch Dispatch

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[Above, Austin English looks at the man in the mirror. Below, seven years of bad Dispatch luck.]

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Good-Bye by Yoshihiro Tatsumi

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Good-Bye
by Yoshihiro Tatsumi
Drawn & Quarterly

yoshirotatsumigoodbycoverMost people in the States—even comics people—don’t know the name Yoshihiro Tatsumi, but they should. Tatsumi is a vastly influential figure in the history of manga, the Japanese comics style that developed in postwar Japan and that has exploded in popularity abroad in the past decade or so; until fairly recently, however, few people here had ever heard of him.

Tatsumi is credited with being the creator of gekiga, comics for adult readers, which contrasted with the manga that was prevalent in the 1950s and ’60s, generally aimed at children. He is, in a sense, the godfather of alternative Japanese comics, and a look at any of his work, much of which is now being repackaged and re-published by Drawn & Quarterly, will instantly tell you why.

Tatsumi wrote about and drew everyday people, a practice that in and of itself carries historical weight, but more than that, he focused on lonely, marginalized everyday people. Reading Good-Bye, D&Q’s third compilation of his selected short stories, makes it immediately clear that Tatsumi’s Japan is not the bright, shiny place we might be tempted to envision. His is a dark Japan, full of confusion, depravity, and despair.

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Interview: Arnold Roth Pt. 1 [of 3]

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Fantagraphics’ new two book Humbug set marks the first time that the long-defunct magazine’s material has been pulled together into a single collection.  Forty years after its initial publication, the magazine has largely been forgotten by all but the most devout cartooning fans. Its founders Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Davis, Al Jaffee and Will Elder, however, should be familiar to all of those who have a passing knowledge of that perennial favorite humor magazine, Mad. Jaffee, Davis, and Elder all followed Kurtzman as the editor made the jump from Mad to Hugh Hefner’s newly launched humor magazine, Trump.

After two issues, however, Trump’s increasing expenses and Hefner’s own economic troubles resulted in the closure of that magazine. Along the way, however, the four Mad refugees added yet another creative cartooning force to the team—a young Philadelphian named Arnold Roth. It was with Roth, funds culled together by the five artists, and some residual Hefner office space that Humbug was born.

Humbug, too folded quickly, completing a paltry print run of 11 issues. Roth, however, would go on to a diverse and successful career illustrating for Playboy; creating his own syndicated strip, Poor Arnold’s Almanac; designing album art for Dave Brubeck; and drawing book covers for John Updike.

We sat down with the artist, a month after his 80th birthday, to discuss Humbug and his early forays into the world of cartooning.

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Interview: Nicholas Gurewitch Pt. 1 [of 2]

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Earlier this month, Dark Horse released The Perry Bible Fellowship Almanack. A gorgeous hard-covered volume, the book trumps its predecessor, The Trial of Colonel Sweeto in sheer breadth of content, collecting the entire span of the Webcomic’s run, with a supplemental interview (conducted by Wondermark’s David Malki), a foreword by Juno’s Diablo Cody, a number abandoned strips, and some additional illustration work.

There’s also sense of finality to the volume. Perhaps it’s the fact that it covers the entire series this far, or maybe it’s the Dark Horse press material, which refers to the book as, “the second (and likely final) collection of strips from the award-winning comic series.”

It’s no doubt a downer of a sentiment for the series’ numerous fans, but for the strip’s creator, Nicholas Gurewitch, the book’s release hardly marks the end of either PBF or his career as a cartoonist. The artist has, however, scaled production on the strip back from its weekly publishing schedule. But with more time to pursue new creative avenues, Gurewitch assures us that we’ve only seen a small piece of his creative potential.

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