The Big Dumb Family and The Cowboy Book. What a range. Get it? Range, cowboy.

In Graphic Literature the political strip always seem to be a lead-in to other things in a countries history in Graphic Literature. And that’s where today’s country somewhat began with the art form.

I’ll share a bit of that, plus some heroes as well. The art will of course pop up, well appear on the page. Let’s begin near the beginning. We’re headed to Mexico.

So we’ll start near the beginning.

First up is Gabriel Vargas and La Familia Burron (The Big, the-familyDumb Family). Why am I starting with this one? I think a book running from 1948-2009 should be mentioned. The book was about a lower to middle class couple in Mexico, their teenaged kids and an adopted child.1 One site mentions a comparison to The Simpsons.2 Such a success from a man who had 11 siblings and was a draftsman for a newspaper around the age of 13.

 

 

Yolanda Vargas Dulché, an author who along with Alberto memin5Cabreras, created her own legend and legacy with Memín Pinguín in 1943.3 Memín Pinguín was noted for its use of clean language4 with family values and handling of societal issues. Part of the societal issues handled and that were able to be addressed is that Memín and is his mother were Afro-Mexican characters. The characters in the book were based on children Yolanda had seen when she was young and had traveled.5 To be truthful, the manner in which the main character is drawn cvargas2onfuses me. A description has him with curly hair. But all images are of him with no hair, that I can see, and I at first thought the boy in the picture might have been Memín, but no, the boy in the read shirt is.

Another of Yolanda’s creations, along with her husband Guillermo de la Parra, Lágrimas, Risas y Amor (Tears, Laughter and Love), 1962 was said to have helped to raise the literacy rate in Mexico. Think melodramas aimed at women.6

The above examples are rarities. The majority of the material that was put out during the 1970s and into the 1980s was little more than illustrated porn.

Popular Books Today.

vaqueroTwo books mentioned as being the most widely circulated amongst Mexico’s historietas as they are called, are El Libro Vaquero (The Cowboy semanalBook) aimed at men, dating back to 1952. and El Libro Semanal (The Weekly Book) aimed at women and set in the 19th century on the American frontier.7I’ll admit I like the idea of westerns as being a popular form of Graphic Literature as opposed to the normal superhero I am accustomed to.

The Dark Ages

It has been repeatedly mentioned in the main source I’ve used about how the industry did not go through the slump the United States did during the 1990s. I’ll take a moment for a personal comment here. If American comics had resorted to selling porn on cheap paper and and everywhere it could, most likely they could have floated through a a little better. Although American comics are not what they once were as far as being as family friendly, they aren’t porn. They are more like hard boiled detective novels.

A Family Affair.

Now let’s talk about a family with a superhero flare. Yes, I am tired of dealing with the somewhat overtly serious and direct.


I love when generations get involved in creating Graphic Literature. There are several in the United States among Marvel Comics. But we’re in Mexico.

zorOscar González Guerrero is not what would be called a young man these days, born in 1926 he is now 89 years young. Perhaps the medium he works in is part of what keeps him that way.  He started back in the 1950s but is still active today as part of a company with his son. Some books from his early days were Zor y los Invencibles. And then one classic, I just can’t help but laugh to look at. Hermelinda Linda.8

hermelindahermelinda2

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

But let’s check out some of his son, Oscar González Loyo‘s work who 250px-Karmatronformed ¡Ka-Boom! Estudio9 with his father. Two of his noted books are Karmatron and the Transformers and Las Aventuras de Parchís. He’s also worked on titles such as the New Speed Racer, The Simpsons, and even story boarded the the Latin American version of Sesame Street. Story boarding is where someone draws the images of how the sholoyow or movie is to go. That way people can see it visually before performing. He’s also a Will Eisner award winner.10

 

 

Well, that’s it for today. I have more but sometimes enough is enough for one day. You don’t want to know about the guy born in Mexico that ended up drawing Spider-Man and the X-Men anyway. Maybe another time. So what if the two guys above are the ones who made it happen for him.

See you tomorrow.

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References
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Return to Gabriel Vargas
1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel_Vargas
2 http://www.ualberta.ca/~berban/Mexico/mexhistory.html

Return to Yolanda Vargas Dulche
3 http://www.ualberta.ca/~berban/Mexico/mexhistory.html

4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yolanda_Vargas_Dulch%C3%A9
5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mem%C3%ADn_Pingu%C3%ADn
6 http://www.ualberta.ca/~berban/Mexico/mexhistory2.html

Return to Popular Today
7 http://www.ualberta.ca/~berban/Mexico/current.html

Return to Oscar Gonzales Guerrero
8 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Gonz%C3%A1lez_Guerrero

Return to Oscar Gonzalez Loyo
9 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C2%A1Ka-Boom!_Estudio

10 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Gonz%C3%A1lez_Loyo

 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humberto_Ramos

 

 

 

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L is for Lithuania. From Painters to Peanuts.

I find it interesting how world events, and politics can shape the creativity of a society.

I am reminded somewhat of the old Martin & Lewis movie Artists and aandmModels1 every time I do one of these articles when there is a long history of graphic artist interpretations of literature. In the movie these types of books are seen as a detriment to society through their influence on the young. Personally, I learned how to be a great reader through the form.

Graphic interpretation of writing goes back a ways in Lithuania, and there was even satire leading up to WWII. Something we might find surprising with our thoughts colored by the Cold War and Soviet Block since then.


The Early Years.

e8098214e018A man named Jonas Martinaitis was one of those early satire painters and writers.  He also did work for publications where he would use satire in the text of his work and often in rhyme.2 This sounds much like types of things we do here in a Haiku Challenge I host each week.

During the research for this series, I found comics in the form we know them today isn’t how they’ve always appeared. Early on, the text appeared in spaces beneath the images. In a way that makes sense in that you get to see a full piece of art. And understand, these were and can be works of art. Try to draw or paint some of what you see. Many people don’t realize that many comics are painted. But back then, those text balloons get in the way. These days the art is laid out in such a way as to account for the balloons.

Following WWII things were a bit more strict, much like what happened here in the US in the 1950s, with the publications being somewhat dictated to and any artistic images and wit were spun toward propaganda, not like here in the US in the 1950s. Fortunate or not, Martinaitis didn’t have to suffer this creative death. He passed away in 1947.

Creativity Grows Cold.

Imagine if for decades I were to tell you when creating  Haiku here on my site, the only place you could write Haiku and that was the only way you had to make money, that your words and images had to support something or be against something, regardless of what you believed. If you fought against me I would make sure you didn’t work anywhere else, because I had control there as well or possibly I could have you thrown into prison.

For Lithuania it was like that. Artists were subject to their work needing to meet the guidelines of Socialist realism as regulated by the government.3

It wasn’t until 1990 that Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare its independence after being occupied in WWII by the Soviets and the Nazis.4 I am trying to imagine the kind of things I would create under that atmosphere.

The Yoke Loosens.

In the 1960s the loosening feel, the I am free to be  me feel, that seemed to be in the air must have stretched to Lithuania in some way. Artistry and creativity in literary aspects changed slightly.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAA painter named Aleksandras Vitulskis created what would be called the greatest of all Lithuanian comics 10037951.jpg.330x330_q85work  in 1968 and 1969.5 The work was compared to that of Alex Raymond6, creator of Flash Gordon7 in 1934. Considering the impact Raymond’s Flash Gordon had on US society in graphic interpretation and cinema I can only imagine what Vitulskis did for Lithuania. Here are samples of his work, not his comics work. I was unable to find any of that at this time. But will update this article when I do.pilenai2

A Touch of Humor and a Touch of Simplicity.

But not all Lithuanian creators were painters and detailed artists. Some went with simplicity and touching the pulse of a society. Enter Fridrikas Jonas Samukas and Miko Ridiko.Samukas focused using his wit and showing human flaws, something everyone could associate with.8 His art was simple and to the point, uncluttered so as to give a quick lithuania-comics-miko-ridikoimpression. For me, if I were looking at the painting above by Vitulskis, I might spend more time looking at each part rather than taking in the message. You need to look at your balance to achieve your goal. If you click on the image to the left you will see there are no words needed to relay the message. That message is universal in every society.

Samukas did that, and did it very well. Mikko Ridiko has been published since 1968 if that tells you how successful his method worked. It still goes on today although under other artists since his death in 2003.

Artists of Today.

First there is Andrius Zaksauskas. I love the images he comes up with. Some are a bit to the point. All very well done, very painter like with one I picked today that gives me a Charlie Brown feel, not so much in the style but in the feel of the words and yes, even in perhaps the style a bit with the size of the heads of the children. But the words spoken by the character in front reminds me a bit of Charlie Brown. I translates I can.

andriusForces you did not seek to be more than a person then you will be less than a human.

That is how Google Translate does it. I get the meaning but am having difficulties expressing it here. Can you put it into words that make better sense for me? Leave a comment below. Seriously.

The next is Herta Matulionytė-Burbienė. I love this one. I so wish these herta1were in English, but if you are a blogger or someone who Tweets or FBs things, you will get this image meaning easily. That’s the talent of this creator.

 

herta2

Cats Anonymous Slave Society

Prisipazjstu, that I am powerless over my cat, and humbly To be completed by all his wishes.

That’s it for today. I enjoyed researching for the article. Loving history and comics and art and writing, this series has been a lot of fun for me. I hope you enjoyed it. Tomorrow is some place beginning with M. I have no idea yet. I best get on that.
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References
Return Artists and Models
1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artists_and_Models

Return to The to Early Years
2 http://www.ljudmila.org/stripcore/burek/lithuan.htm

Return to Creativity Grows Cold
3 http://vddb.laba.lt/fedora/get/LT-eLABa-0001:E.02~2011~D_20110615_101047-35146/DS.005.0.02.ETD
4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithuania

Return to Aleksandras Vitulskis
5 http://www.ljudmila.org/stripcore/burek/lithuan.htm
6 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Raymond
7 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_Gordon

Return to Fridrikas Jonas Samukas
8 http://www.respublika.lt/lt/naujienos/pramogos/zvaigzdes_ir_zmones/kaip_fsamukas_atrado_legendini_mika_ridika/
Return to Artists of Today

Hong Kong from Oriental Heroes to Mcdull. Comics abound. #AtoZChallenge


 
 
 

HToday’s article is brought to you by the letter H by way of the A to Z Challenge1 challenge. You can visit them with a list of almost 1800 bloggers from around the world participating in the challenge this month. Click the little 1 and it will take you down to the link.

Now with that out of the way, let’s get to the serious business of comic book creators. Many people don’t understand what comic books or graphic novels are. I am not speaking of Archie or Bugs Bunny. Those may come up at some point but I am looking for books in the form of images and text balloons.

Some of the first exposure to long words can be found in my early days of reading the Fantastic Four with the scientific jargon used. No, not POW! BiFF! BAM!

atoz-map-h

We’re headed to a land where the comics are called manhua or impromptu sketches. The third largest comic book market in the world, Hong Kong2. I had five countries or regions that operate as separate entities and are recognized as such. I didn’t go to the Holy See, as you can, well as you can see.

Having said that I am not into, for the purpose of these article, Bugs Bunny type comics, let’s begin by talking about a pig.

Alice Mak3 & Brian Tse4

This artist and writing, respectively, duo brings us Mcmug5, a pig’s tale. Those last three words are mine. As well as Mcdull6. Mcmug is one of the most popular characters in Hong Kong and isn’t really a child’s figure. The comic speaks about social concerns in a way that likely can only be gotten away with through this particular style. The series has mcmug-mcdullbeen running since 1991.

“Drawing is a language to me,” said Ms Mak. “If I don’t know how to say something to you, I will draw it instead.”

Alice Mak and Brian Tse are actually married.7  The McDullformal training Ms. Mak received was from the former Hong Kong Polytechnic Institute8 where she took a design course. Otherwise she watched her elder brother while he took his drawing classes and sought at foreign illustrators for critiques.

Mr. Tse’s influence in regards to his writing is Raymond Briggs9, an illustrator, cartoonist, graphic novelist and author from England. Tse became influenced while studying at the University of Sydney. He and Mak met when he asked her to draw the images for his writings.

 

Let’s go a little more old school now, and really more where I belong.

Wong Jan-lung10

little-rascalsYou might know him better as Wong Yuk-long or Tony Wong, Mr. Hong Kong comics himself. He brought us what was originally titled Little Rascals but is now called Oriental Heroes11. Why, mentioned? This was apparently the first based on oriental-heroesaction and fighting. The graphic nature of the early editions lead to the Indecent Publication Law in 197512. The book involves the story of members of a Kungfu school Dragon Tiger Gate. They fight against injustice.

Perhaps the longevity of the series can be attributed to Wong’s willingness and his recognition in regards to changing art style and writing style. As times habatman-hkve changed, so has he. The two covers above are the same series decades apart, both by Wong.

I am happy to notice DC Comics took note of who they called “superstar artist” for their Batman: Hong Kong13 hardcover graphic novel.

 

 

 

I wanted to do something on Theresa Lee Wai-chun of  Miss 13 Dot but I couldn’t find information enough to do anything with. Great art out there though.

I would  have also included Old Master Q but the creator, Alfonso Wong was not born in Hong Kong.

Click the link below or the  letter to go to Greece.

Greece from Arkas to Papadatos.

G

 

 

 

 

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References

1 http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/a-to-z-challenge-sign-uplist-2015.html
2 http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/arts-culture/article/1559058/hong-kongs-comics-artists-find-new-perspective

Return to Alice Mak & Brian Tse
3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Mak_%28cartoonist%29
4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Tse
5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McMug
6 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDull
7 http://english.cntv.cn/program/cultureexpress/20120620/108374.shtml
8 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_Polytechnic_University
9 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Briggs

Return to Wong Yuk-long
10 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wong_Yuk-long

11 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oriental_Heroes

12 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_in_Hong_Kong

13 http://www.dccomics.com/graphic-novels/batman-hong-kong

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Denmark, Superman and Valhalla? Okay. #AtoZChallenge

All links open in this page for the convenience of screen readers of the blind and the visually impaired.

If you are participating in the challenge, if you will put a link to your post for today in a comment below I will make sure to visit you and my readers can too. There are so many out there I know I am missing some of my friends. I’ll keep putting this message in each day just in case.

 

DDenmark. Never thought about comics from there before. But now I know. Several for you to read about today. From those who gave comics a rebirth in the country in the 1970s to the more recent crop of creators, I give you a taste of them all today.

atoz-map-d



Peter Madsen

peter-madsenPeter Madsen was born in 1958 and is partly responsible for the rebirth of the comic book valhallaindustry in Denmark. He is primarily known for his work on the albums of the comic Valhalla. Madsen was not alone invalhalla-cover the new wave of comics Denmark in the 1970s. He had help from editor Henning Kure and fellow cartoonist Rune T. Kidde. Valhalla is so popular, the books were turned into an animated film which Madsen do-directed.

But Madsen would not have been involved with Valhalla and who knows where he might have ended up if not for, editor and writer Henning Kure.


 

Henning Kure

henning-kureHenning KureHere is the translation of his wikipedia page. (born 11 December 1953 in Hoptrup) is a Danish comics creator, writer, editor and mythologist. Worked as editor for Inter Press in 1974-1988, where he greatly influenced the development of comics in Denmark. From 1995-2009 he was manuscript editor at Egmont producing series for Disney’s Donald Duck Jumbo books, which he himself has supplied scripts.

Initiator and one of the driving forces behind Valhalla comic, which he has both worked as an editor and writer. The seventh volume as lead author. Kure also helped to translate the series into an animated feature films.

Kures children’s book Troll story also appeared as a picture book in collaboration with Rune T. Kidde and drafter of Valhalla series, Peter Madsen. The TV series Trol Therein is based on the universe and characters from his Troll story.

Kure also work as a story-doctor for several Danish writers, including Jussi Adler-Olsen.

As a mythologist and self-taught Norse philologist, Kure has researched and developed several new interpretations of Norse mythology, which include described in scientific articles and in the academic paper In the beginning was the scream. Conceptual thought in the Old Norse myth of creation.


Rune T. Kidde

rune-t-kiddeRune Torstein Kidde was born in 1957 and of all the creators today he was perhaps the most maddeningly creative one, with a sad twist for an artist. He’s been mentioned above in the previous two creators’ entries. I will give some of his other works. Part of what I found interesting with Kidde was his editing. He edited The Phantom and Beetle Bailey. He also worked with Mort Walker as well as Will Eisner, of course. Walker is an of course because of Beetle Bailey.

I mentioned a sad twist to Kidde’s career. He lost his eyesight in 1990. You would think he might have slowed down. Through instruction to friends who were artists he kept working in illustrating, but even greater was his work in radio for children’s programming as well as writing books of poetry, prose, biographies and family histories. Also he was an accomplished folk singer and musician and even had a role as an actor. He passed away in 2013.


 

Peter Snejbjerg Nielsen

Peter-SnejbjergPeter Snejbjerg Nielsen was born in 1983 and is a freelance artist who currently resides in Copenhagen, Denmark. He studied at Kolding Kunsthåndværkerskole, which translates to Kolding School of Design, located in Kolding, Denmark.
book-of-m

His career began in 1986 with Rune Fleischer, writer and artist. What some of us may know him from are things like Hellblazer with writer Garth Ennis and The Books of Magic, all at Vertigo Comics. Also Animal Man, Starman and Adventure Comics at DC Comics.

You may notice how Nielsen uses the style of drawing in comics called ligne claire or clear line that I have mentioned before pioneered by Hergé of Belgium. It’s not so much the style but there is the lack of hatching. Many artists have gone the way of a more painting feel to their works which would do away with the hatching technique. There is a certain fluid style and feel to Nielsen’s work that I do like. But when in something like Batman, I do like the hatching style to give a grittier feel.


Teddy Kristiansen

Teddy_2Teddy Kristiansen is an Eisner Award winning painter/artist most known here in the United States for his work on The Sandman Midnight Theatre by Neil Gaiman, as well as his award winning Superman Supermangraphic novel with writer Steve Seagle, It’s A Bird through DC/Vertigo.

 

reddiaryHe has also done work for Dark Horse on Grendel Tales and did an English translation of The Red Diary through Image Comics. I like the contrasting styles we see between Nielsen and Kristiansen. With the artists from Argentina, with their being so close and even teacher and student you have similarities. Here you have two very different approaches.



 

Next we have the letter E. Who will they be? Where will they be from? I have no idea at this moment.

Click below for Croatia. Or you can just clink this title-Croatia brings us Chess and Comics. Who knew that first one?

C

 

 

 

 

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Belgium and those little blue guys. #AtoZChallenge

All links open in this page for the convenience of screen readers of the blind and the visually impaired.

BToday we visit Belgium for a look at comic creators from around the world.

One you will know but not even realize it. But you’ll have to wait for that one. Belgium has a great history in what I will call the graphic art of storytelling.  Their history begins in the 1920s with youth publications and church newspapers. They share greatly with the French and French creators through one of their two languages.


Jean-Michel Charlier

“The coward think of what they can lose, the heroes of what they can win.”

Jean-Michel-CharlierBorn in Belgium Charlier was a writer who later died in France. During his lifetime he created one of the most dominant comic series of the 1960s throughout Europe. Along with French artist JeaBlueberry-Giraudn “Moebius” Giraud, he created Blueberry (1965-1990), a western comic set in the American West with an atypical cowboy hero. He wasn’t a lawman or out to get the girl. He happened to be in a place at a time and did what needed done. “When I was traveling throughout the West, I was accompanied by a fellow journalist who was just in love with blueberry jam, so much in love, in fact, that I had nicknamed him “Blueberry”. When I began to create the new series, and everything started to fall into place, I decided to reuse my friend’s nickname, because I liked it and thought it was funny. […] I had no idea that he would prove so popular that he would eventually take over the entire series, and later we would be stuck with that silly name!“~Charlier. He had been sent to Edward Air Force Base on assignment.

Charlier was the writer of Buck Danny (1948-1988), Redbeard (1961-1991) as well as many others. What I find interesting is the Belgian method of a series. Apparently it is tradition the writer and artist team continues until one either passes of the series is over. If one passes the series ends. Fortunately, Charlier had chosen successors for his works. There is a quality of these books that I am highly impressed with and has my fingers itching to write comic book scripts again.


 

Hergé (Georges Prosper Remi)

“I’m a dreadful egotist. I draw for the child I was and still am. If Jacques Martin or Bob de Moor has a good idea, I convince myself completely and forever that it was mine.”

Herge-TintinHergé was born in 1907 and passed away in 1983 in Belgium. He is seen as the pioneer of a style of drawing in comics called ligne claire or clear line. Although an artist he was also a writer. His art worked with his writing to create the stories he told. Tintin-mainCast

His most famous work is The Adventures of TinTin. Although a much loved and popular series of the 20th Century it did have its detractors for its racial stereotyping. “I was fed the prejudices of the bourgeois society that surrounded me.” Some of his early work had to be altered depending on the market it was to be distributed in. The series has been on radio, TV, and movies.
hatching

The art style, ligne claire has influenced many. Think of a Batman comic with simply lines and paint rather than shadows on the face created by what is called cross hatching.

One particular standout to me is Geof Darrow who has worked with a previously mentioned creator, Frank Miller. One collaboration, Hard Boiled won the Eisner Award for Best Writer/Artist in 1991. But how does Hergé connect to something you might know today?

After his work on Hard Boiled a team know as the Wachowskis asked him to do some concept work for a movie called The Matrix. Darrow receives screen credit in each movie.


It is impossible to do a comic piece on Belgium and not mention this next man.

The man known simply as:

Peyo

“He remembers a meal he had with his friend André Franquin (Marsupilami) when he’d wanted to ask Franquin to pass him the salt. But he couldn’t remember the word so he says: “Pass me the … uhm … the smurf!”. Franquin hands it over and answers: “Here’s the smurf. Once you’ve smurfed with it you can smurf it back to me!” And so the name and language of the little imps were invented…”-From Smurfs.com

PeyoPierre Culliford was born in 1928 in Brussels and passed away in 1992 in Brussels. Belgian from beginning to end. Why Peyo? A cousin mispronounced his name and I guess he liked it. He first worked for an animation studio but when it shut its doors he wasn’t accepted by another place that took his friends in. Thus began a career in print.

Johan_and_Pirlouit_PeyoWhile working for Le Soir, a newspaper, he created Johan. Later when hired for Spirou published by the same company, Dupuis, that had refused to hire him before, he continued Johan as Johan and Peewit. This was in 1952.

smurfs-sheetIn 1958 a creation came about in Johan and Peewit that would become  cultural phenomenon in the future. The first Smurf was introduced. The Smurfs became so popular Peyo started his own studio.

The rest is history. I am certain some of you have seen the Smurf cartoons, and the Smurf movies. And all because a young man wasn’t hired by a company as an animator when the doors shut on his previous employers studio.


 Click the A for Argentina.

A1

 

 

 

 

Click the C for Croatia.

C

 

 

 

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