Monday, July 20, 2015


It was another exciting year at San Diego Comic-Con. There's no place quite like it. As part this year's offerings, a group of scholars offered academic seminars about comics.  The classes included:
  • insights into the enthymematic nature of comic strip argumentation

  • how the application of metadata reveals previously undiscovered patterns in Batman comic books 

  • an analysis of key Uncle Scrooge comics, characters and stories to support [the] argument that Scrooge McDuck is emblematic of the economic patterns of comic book franchises and prefigures the transmedia development of comic book characters.

My favorite was the class that introduced us to the "ethnosurrealism" of comics: 
Comics are inherently surreal, juxtaposing images, text and word and thought balloons to create layered stories consisting of a multiplicity of perspectives and states of being.  Ethnosurrealism focuses on culture (cultural notions, cultural practices, and cultural theories) to explore those moments where culturally bound interpretations of story converge at the crossroads of everyday life.  It seeks to make these images, stories and their making, co-present.                      
You can learn something from every event at Comic-Con, although the lesson may not be the one intended.  

Some art forms wilt under a sustained spotlight-- not because they are inferior art, but because it's in their nature to wilt.  You would not, for example, inspect ice cream under klieg lights.
The great philosopher John Stuart Mill warned us about over-analyzing what makes us happy, and "putting it to flight by fatal questioning."  He wrote: 

The enjoyments of life... will not bear a scrutinizing examination. Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so. The only chance is to treat, not happiness, but some end external to it, as the purpose of life. Let your self-consciousness, your scrutiny, your self-interrogation, exhaust themselves on that; and... you will inhale happiness with the air you breathe.

One thing I like about Comic-Con is that for four days, it seems like the happiest place on earth.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015


Here's a high rez gallery of drawings by the late great Leonard Starr.   Sparkling draftsmanship, witty dialogue and plots by a master storyteller. No eulogy or speech could be a better tribute. 

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P.S.-- If you'd like a glimpse into the glittering world of successful cartoonists in the 1960s, a close friend of Leonard's Tom Sawyer, has posted on youtube his home movies of a party that Leonard gave for fellow cartoonists in December 1965: 

 LEONARD STARR - PARTY - Dec. 11, 1965 8 mm. footage of a party given by Leonard & Betty Starr at their Central Park West apartment. The guests include many celebrated artists, writers & other personalities (w/spouses) of that era, including Mell Lazarus, Bill & Gloria Overgard. Alfred Andriola, Otto Soglow, Warren & Nadine King, Holly & Tom Sawyer, Jerry Robinson, Len Steckler, Howard Post, Frank Bolle, Irwin Hasen, John Prentice, Tex Blaisdell, Bobbie Shaw, Don Philips. Frank & Barbara Jacobs, Lee Falk, & others. (to request a set of head-shots identifying most of the attendees, email from the Contact page at