PANDEMIX: Cartoonists respond to Covid-19

A benefit for The Hero Initiative

PandemixAs the press release says, “At a time when many in the comics industry were told to put their pencils down, a group of diverse cartoonists have raised theirs to tell timely, personal stories in a new benefit anthology, PANDEMIX: Quarantine Comics in the Age of ‘Rona. The 56-page full-color digital anthology will become available July 21 at patreon.com/pandemix for $5. All proceeds go to The Hero Initiative, which aids comics creators in need.”

As one would expect, it’s an eclectic mix of styles and foci by a group of creators, most of whom live in New York. The first story is particularly compelling if you watched the news about New York City in April, or some southern cities right now. Josh Newfield tells about a hospital worker trying to find Personal Protective Equipment for hospital staff and to figure out what to do about the dead. The protagonist, who is Josh’s brother Jake, eschews the label of “Supply Chain Superhero.”

Marguerite Dabaie decides that “It’ll Be Alright” during her lockdown in Brooklyn, even in those moments when it’s not. Peter Rostovsky’s “The Storm” suggests we’ve seen this movie before, and we’ll get through this film as well. Joan Reilly appreciates her “New Normal.” N. Steven Harris’ “‘Rona Routine” is among the most visually pleasing and namechecks the George Floyd protesters.

“Skin Hunger” by Kristen Radtke had been in the New York Times back in March. I surely relate to missing touch. Whitney Matheson spends a page celebrating “My Pandemic Boyfriends”, such as Stuart the Soap. Morgan Pielli’s “Protection” is an effective, wordless paean to the possibility of love.

Curated by Dean Haspiel

Dave Proch’s “Plague Fashion” page segues into “Plague Journal”, six days in April and May that Jen Ferguson creates in somewhat different styles; I found it compelling. Yes, J.J. Colagrande and George O’Connor, it is “Why We Are All Doomed.”

Ellen Lindner had me wondering if I ought to take things “One (COVID) Day at a Time,” as they (sort of) say in Alcoholics Anonymous. I’d hate to think that “Iterations of the Apocalypse” by Jeffrey Burandt and C. Cassano is all there is.

“Currency of the Community” by Dean Haspiel I was genuinely touched by, probably more than any other story aside from the first one. Incidentally, Haspiel, an Emmy- and Ringo Award-winning cartoonist, edited the collection with Whitney Matheson. Finally, Owen Brozman has a wordless “Quarantine Age Dream” we can hope for. The anthology features cover art by Peter Rostovsky and a Star Wars-inspired back cover by Mike Cavallaro.

As noted, all proceeds from PANDEMIX – five bucks! or more if you’d like – go to The Hero Initiative, a not-for-profit organization that helps comic book creators with emergency medical aid and/or essential financial support. “PANDEMIX will be promoted via Twitter (@pandemixcomix), Instagram (@pandemixcomix), and The Hero Initiative.”

Bernie Wrightson; Chuck Berry

“Bernie was such a nice guy that he made me feel totally relaxed, even as he stood holding a butcher’s knife.”

When I was working at FantaCo, owner Tom Skulan had Bernie Wrightson do the covers for the FantaCon comic conventions in 1980 and 1981. (The artist was going as Berni at the time to distinguish himself from another person.) He was a guest at three shows, at least.

FantaCo also published a comic called Deja Vu in 1982, featuring a front cover by Bernie Wrightson and two 1971 stories, The Last Hunters and King of the Mountain, Man, plus works by others in the artistic pantheon, Michael Wm. Kaluta and Jeff Jones. That was edited by Mitch Cohn, so my dealing with Bernie was usually a hello before passing the phone on to Mitch, who felt as though he were in heaven.

But I’ve been even current comic professionals have expressed the same sensation. As my friend, illustrator Fred Hembeck put it:

“I found myself invited to the already annual Wrightson Halloween party in a nearby town. I’ll admit to being a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of rubbing elbows with Bernie and a passel of his highly accomplished peers–after all, I was just a guy who drew squiggles on character’s knees, and he was, well, he was Bernie Wrightson. But my nerves were soon soothed, as Bernie was such a nice guy that he made me feel totally relaxed, even as he stood holding a butcher’s knife while wearing a blood-spattered apron as we pleasantly chatted (it was a Halloween party, remember).

“Over the next decade or so, there were plenty more Wrightson shindigs, holiday-centric or not, as well as a weekly volleyball game attended by Bernie and a host of other local cartooning notables. After awhile, I almost got used to Bernie just being that nice guy I was trying to set up at the front of the net in hopes of scoring on a Wrightson spike. Almost. But I never quite shook the awe I had–and continue to have–for the work he did that so inspired me during key years when I was ramping up my own attempts to get published.”

EVERYONE I read online, including Elaine Lee and Wendy Pini, spoke about how nice Bernie Wrightson was. Some DID complain about his limited danceable music collection: “A little Blues Brothers can go a long way,” someone wrote, and made him mixed tapes.But even in my limited contact, I always knew him to be a sweet guy.

And generous, famous for encouraging younger talent, both artists and writers. Steve Bissette revealed that when “DC in its benevolence sent Bernie a bonus check out of the blue, Bernie would split that bonus check up and mail checks to Alan Moore, John Totleben, Rick Veitch, and me, and when asked what for, he laughed, saying ‘I didn’t earn this, I know this bonus was because of what you guys did on the character, but don’t tell anyone about this because you don’t want DC to have a reason not to send another check!'”

Unfortunately, the enormously talented artist Bernie Wrightson died March 19 of a brain tumor at the age of 68. Ugh, I had a friend die from that; not pleasant. Here’s the notification.

His artistry on Swamp Thing and the stuff at Warren Publications was legendary. Tom Skulan referred to him as “the greatest horror comic artist ever.” A fellow artist said, “That might be Wrightson’s greatest gift to us: no matter how terrible the image he portrayed, it was always captivatingly beautiful.” That’s why I was happy to do my part to keep Creepshow selling when its publisher had given up on it.
***

Chuck Berry was 90 when he died, and I was filled with all sorts of contradictory feelings. On one hand, he is, to my mind, THE single person who had the greatest impact on creating rock and roll. He took the blues that wasn’t, in his words, blue enough, added some country chops, and voila. He was a charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The legendary duck walk, developed when he fell on stage and was getting up, was amazing. His music is literally in space.

He was an obvious influence on scores of artists, such as the Beatles, the Beach Boys and the Rolling Stones, with the former two as subjects of lawsuits by Berry. Here are
20 of his essential songs, and it doesn’t include his only #1 pop hit, 1972’s My Ding-a-Ling.

But he had his demons, which are touched upon in this article. There was the stuff with a 14-year-old girl back in the 1950s, though the use of the Mann Act to prosecute him, usually applied to high profile cases from boxer Jack Johnson to former governor Eliot Spitzer, was troubling. Much later, there were the bathroom cameras.

The article mentions, among other things, the 1987 concert movie about him, Hail! Hail! Rock and Roll, which I saw in the cinema at the time, and I found the musician, to my surprise, rather unlikable. He seemed glib in giving honorifics to almost everyone, he botched Robert Cray’s name, he made Julian Lennon look bad, he practically drooled over Linda Ronstadt.

He was to be kind, complicated.
***
I was living in New York City during the summer of the Son of Sam killings, so of course I was reading Jimmy Breslin, from then and for probably a decade or more. But his most famous piece was much earlier: Digging JFK grave was his honor.

August rambling #2: how ridiculous xenophobia is

Will Your Prescription Meds Be Covered Next Year? Better Check!

Syrian children

It’s not just Freddie Gray. The Justice Department’s new report shows how wide and deep Baltimore’s police problems are

My four months as a private prison guard, which has led to the US phasing out private prison use

US: The Real Way the 2016 Election Is Rigged

Joseph Goebbels’ 105-year-old secretary: ‘No one believes me now, but I knew nothing’ – she said, Nothing!

Germany finally apologizes for its other genocide—more than a century later

Does Henry Kissinger have a conscience?

At what point is it impossible to separate art from the artist? (Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation)

Tote bag proves how ridiculous xenophobia is

“Christian” groups are handing out these creepy ‘gay cure’ comics to children

If your pastor says “RACISM ISN’T A SKIN PROBLEM, IT’S A SIN PROBLEM” you need to find another church

Pew Research: Choosing a New Church or House of Worship; Americans look for good sermons, warm welcome

In today’s troubling times, where are our faith leaders? But Even Reinhold Niebuhr could not be Reinhold Niebuhr in 2016

YOU THROW, GIRL: AN OLYMPIC SHOT-PUTTER’S FEMINIST MISSION

Michael Rivest: The Wall That Heals

Cartoon: The future of climate denial

174 Heroin Overdoses in Six Days in Cincinnati

NPR is closing its comments section – can’t blame them

Flat earth Theories

When New Parents Refuse Vitamin K Shots And Their Babies Get Brain Bleeds

Race and poverty

America’s wealth gap is split along racial lines — and it’s getting dangerously wider

Affluent and Black, and Still Trapped by Segregation

The Original Underclass; Poor white Americans’ current crisis shouldn’t have caught the rest of the country as off guard as it has

‘Hillbilly Elegy’ Recalls A Childhood Where Poverty Was ‘The Family Tradition’

Michele Bachmann: “White People Have Suffered More In The Last 8 Years Than Blacks Did During Couple Years Of Slavery”

Why Poor People Stay Poor -Saving money costs money. Period.

Auto Lending: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Will Your Prescription Meds Be Covered Next Year? Better Check!

The culture of the smug white liberal

What I said when my white friend asked for my black opinion of white privilege

A C-SPAN caller asked a black guest how to stop being prejudiced; Here’s how she responded

The infamous Stop White Genocide video

Lottery of Indencency

Arthur’s Internet wading

When Elite Parents Dominate Volunteers, Children Lose

Thurgood Marshall’s interracial love: ‘I don’t care what people think. I’m marrying you.’

Dashcam Video Captures Highway Pileup, Woman Rescued from Burning Car in Binghamton, NY

Larry Wilmore on the End of The Nightly Show and the Show’s Greatest Legacy

Arthur@NZ is getting better and his hospital bill; damn Kiwis!

Dustbury goes grocery shopping 2.0

At my alma mater at SUNY New Paltz, College mourns death of emeritus biology professor Heinz Meng, known for recovery of peregrine falcon – he was very cool

The only movies I’ve seen with Gene Wilder are The Producers, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask, Silver Streak, Stir Crazy, and one of my favorite movies ever, Young Frankenstein, which he co-wrote. They were all released between 1967 and 1980. But he was always excellent then and in a couple of episodes of Will and Grace early this century. Gene Wilder on The Truth | Blank on Blank | PBS Digital Studios, plus Evanier and Tom Straw remember.

Steven Hill, D.A. Adam Schiff on ‘Law & Order,’ Dies at 94

A Marvin Kaplan story

Jack Riley, RIP

‘I’ve had a good life’: Donna Wold, the ex-flame who inspired the Little Red-Haired Girl in ‘Peanuts,’ dies

Your Guide to the Fall Broadway Season

50 things about comics, featuring ME

The 10 most Influential Poets in History

Art is about surrender – Stop asking for it to be custom-tailored

Chuck Miller at the State Fair and Don Rittner at the county fair, and Jaquandor at the county fair

Now I Know: David’s Garden and Horse, Off-Course

Ken Levine HATES Robert Hall

The Casual Sex Project

Music

Harmonica legend Toots Thielemans, Known for ‘Sesame Street’ Theme, Dies at 94 and The Getaway – End credits – Quincy Jones – Toots; more Quincy and Toots; John Barry, Toots – Theme from “Midnight Cowboy” (mostly stolen from Steve Bissette’s Facebook)

U2 Live Albany New York – 13 November 1981

John Denver, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash & Roger Miller – Rocky Top

Herb Alpert Foundation to donate $10.1 million to Los Angeles City College — making studies for music majors tuition-free

It’s only rock ‘n’ roll – and sometimes it’s better in mono

35 Years Ago: Violent Femmes Discovered by the Pretenders While Busking in Milwaukee

January Rambling #1: Of Oz The Wizard

This is what happens when you reply to spam email.

lutefisk

Gordon Parks’ Jim Crow photos still resonate, alas.

David Brooks of the NY Times: The Brutalism of Ted Cruz.

The father of a boy killed at Sandy Hook gets death threats from people who say the shooting was a hoax.

Amy Biancolli: Not alone at being alone.

Affluenza and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

What militants and the pungent salad radish have in common.

Mark Evanier’s scarlet fever.

The New Yorker: My Last Day as a Surgeon. “In May of 2013, the Stanford University neurosurgical resident Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic lung cancer. He was thirty-six years old.”

Google got it wrong. The open-office trend is destroying the workplace. “Workplaces need more walls, not fewer,” something I’m painfully aware of.

‘Lost’ Jerry Lewis Holocaust film sees the light.

Your favorite movies, re-edited, including Of Oz The Wizard, the movie arranged in alphabetical order, from Aah to Zipper. Don’t watch “of”, if you value your sanity.

Periodic table’s seventh row finally filled as four new elements are added, and the song to go with it.

British actor Alan Rickman, star of stage and ‘Harry Potter,’ dies at 69. Here are his Top 20 movie quotes.

2015: SamuraiFrog’s 50 favorite pop culture artifacts and the year in 4 minutes.

2016 in the Capital District: Salaries, food and taxes, have yourself a nice hot cup of coffee while you still can.

Metroland, RIP, and Albany’s alternative weekly Metroland nostalgic, bittersweet final issue.

TEDx: James Veitch: This is what happens when you reply to spam email.

Music!

Natalie Cole, R.I.P.

The Drifters: A Legacy of Harmony

The Beatles’ 50 Biggest Billboard Hits.

SCIENCE WARS – A capella Parody

“Cortez the Killer” – Anders Osbourne Band with Warren Haynes and Danny Louis, Island Exodus 1/18/2013

Hula Medley – Robert Crumb.

Muppets: Kodachrome and Pure Imagination.

Comics!

abridged classics
How Mickey Mouse Evades the Public Domain.

Morrie Turner dies at 90; broke barriers in comics.

FOUNDER OF RUTHLESS COMICS MONOPOLY SPEAKS OUT IN FAVOR OF INCOME INEQUALITY. That would be Steve Geppi of Diamond Comics Distribution.

Coming Out as Gay Superheroes.

A Nigerian comics startup is creating African superheroes.

Google alert (me)

Is Arthur a blog cheat? (I don’t think so). And he credited/blamed me for him getting out 365 blog posts in 2015. You’re welcome.

Chuck Miller’s five most prolific blog commenters of 2015.

Get out the vote/off my lawn.

December #2: Famous Monsters Chronicles, & EOY

The Great Songs :”Overlooked tracks from artists you know, obscure tracks from artists you may not know…

toon refugee.santaWeekly Sift explains the US polarized body politic: Small-government Freedom vs. Big-government Rights. Plus the Yearly Sift.

New York Times: For the Wealthiest, a Private Tax System That Saves Them Billions.

Deadliest U.S. mass shootings | 1984-2015.

Short video: A Conversation With Police on Race. Also, the Ferguson cop says life is ‘ruined’ after pointing AR-15 at journalists.

No Charges in the Murder of Tamir Rice and Why white people see black boys like him as older, bigger, and guiltier than they really are.

A girl narrates a letter to her dad as she grows up, and it makes rape culture obvious.

Shooting Parrots is blogging again! Why we’re hard-wired to believe conspiracy theories?

Latest Sunrise and Sunset Forecast in the US.

The city of Albany’s budget crisis.

Everyone on Earth is actually your cousin.

George Clayton Johnson, R.I.P. He was known for writing on the original Twilight Zone TV series, for co-writing the novel Logan’s Run and for writing the first-aired episode of the original Star Trek, among many things.

TEDx Grand Rapids talk: ‪”Valuable Bodies” by artist Riva Lehrer.

Second impressions By Tara Whittle.

Now I Know: The Jumping Frenchmen of Maine and How Panama United Great Britain and the derivation of the word “dude”.

The grilled cheese sandwich; you’re probably making it wrong.

Explain to me how it is that people who’ve been dead, usually exactly three years, seem to cycle up again in FB as recently deceased? Ravi Shankar and Dave Brubeck, just this month. Before that Andy Griffith. With Bob Denver, it was 7 years, so the feedback loop is shrinking.

Wide receiver Edgar Allan Poe.

Instagram Journalism, Internet Fame, & How to Think About Exercise, the former with Jeff Sharlet.

I wrote “Heaven forfend” to someone. My spellcheck does not like forfend?!

Kickstarter: The Official Famous Monsters of Filmland Chronicles Book from FantaCo.

Arthur celebrates the end of the year in search and words and phrases.

I LOVED to watch Meadowlark Lemon play with the Harlem Globetrotters.

The passing of Berowne of Savage Reflections at the age of 94, one of our regular ABC Wednesday contributors. He had a very rich life, but I’ll miss his weekly reflections.

A legendary Jerry Lewis film is reportedly about to join the National Film Registry.

Why West Coast Drivers Add ‘The’ to Their Freeway Numbers. “It’s not an affectation of the car-obsessed—it’s history.”

velveteen rabbit

Satire

Make America Great Again.

How to Misrepresent Global Warming in One Graph, for Dummies.

Lawyer for Martin Shkreli Hikes Fees Five Thousand Per Cent.

Parents Outraged Schools “Indoctrinating” Students Into Islam With Arabic Numerals.

Single Woman With 3 Young Children Unaware She Subject Of 984 Judgments Today.

Chuck Miller

Seven Star Wars movies in one day. And the British weather forecast.

What’s Japanese for “You’re so stupid”?

A TV show I barely heard of called Galavant returns; clips of the musical numbers makes me want to check it out.

Music!

The niece! Rebecca Jade & the Cold Fact – Gonna Be Alright.

From imgur: Hosanna in Excel Sheets
hosanna in excel sheets
The Carole King tribute at the Kennedy Center Honors.

End of year musical mashups.

The Coverville Countdown: Best Covers of 2015, Part 1 and Part 2.

Pantheon Songs is dead. In its ashes: The Great Songs – “Overlooked tracks from artists you know, obscure tracks from artists you may not know, masterpieces, and other curios I’d play if I were an overnight DJ.”

The Sound of Silence- Disturbed.

The Artist Formerly Known As Terence Trent D’Arby.

At 90, Dick Van Dyke sings “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” with Conan O’Brien and The Vantastix.

NPR: In memoriam, 2015.

Frank Sinatra’s Drummer Tells the Story of His Final Concert.

New Yorker: The Discovery of Roscoe Holcomb and the “High Lonesome Sound”.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. No YES? NO!

Animated

New group I joined on Facebook: Stephen R. Bissette, writer-artist. NOT started by Steve, BTW.

Evanier on Mel Blanc. Mark has been blogging for 15 years.

Extinct Attractions: Thurl Ravenscroft Documentary (2004) – Grinch, Haunted Mansion, Tony the Tiger.

Trouble with Comics: Favorite Holiday Comics.

I supported the Kickstarter for the documentary I Am Big Bird, but I did NOT know the BINGHAMTON connection of the early career of Caroll Spinney.

Today’s Video Link

Google alerts (me)

Like any rational person, Dustbury LOVES Pet Sounds. I’d love to see Brian Wilson at Tanglewood in June 2016.

How Arthur@AmeriNZ blogs.

Google alert (not me)

Roger Alin Green, 74, died Sunday, December 13, 2015, at his home in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.