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/
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You were only waiting for this moment to be free.

People can remember events in their lives or recall specific details of life associated with an event even decades later. The odd thing is, they don’t even know the relevance of what that detail is.

Just imagine all the beautiful sounding songs you’ve ever heard and then think of some of the lyrics to them. You can’t right of the top of your head probably. It’s one of those “If you hadn’t asked me I could’ve named a dozen of them” kind of things.

One song that is incredibly simple, sweet, and beautiful has said to be one of the top 10 most covered songs ever. Some cover it because it’s beautiful. Some, though, realize there is a message there.

Blackbird written by Paul McCartney was recorded in 1968 and appeared on the Beatles ‘White Album’. Do you know the message? It’s 1968, an Englishman looks at America and sees what is happening. He thinks of the people in America and thinks of a girl, a bird.

Blackbird is born. McCartney writes about Civil Rights. Normally I would explain a little more and then give you the song followed by the lyrics. But there is a reason Paul’s song has been covered so many times. He’s an author more than a song writer. I call poetry micro chapters of my autobiography. Paul writes micro chapters of history.

It’s 1968. America.

April 1968 Martin Luther King Jr has been assassinated.

June 1968 Paul McCartney enters the studio and records,

“Blackbird”

Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these broken wings and learn to fly

All your life

You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these sunken eyes and learn to see

All your life

You were only waiting for this moment to be free.

Blackbird fly Blackbird fly

Into the light of the dark black night.

Blackbird fly Blackbird fly

Into the light of the dark black night.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these broken wings and learn to fly

All your life

You were only waiting for this moment to arise

You were only waiting for this moment to arise

You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

 

You love the song from the moment the first chord is struck. The music and the voice harmonizes and you get lost before you even know what the song is about. You just know you love the song. Then one day you listen to the words and there it is. You but the year and the song together and you get it.

 

I’m a Southern man. Many may automatically think all Southern men have racial issues. I know of attitudes that are like that now. You can see it in the news today where something happens and they write it off as ‘well that’s the south for you’. Take a closer look at the news. It’s not just the South or mostly the South.

 

I’m a Southern man and I love all people. I love this song. I love the message. As a historian I am amazed at what it says. Paul McCartney, historian, author, singer, songwriter.

Paul McCartney singing with acoustic guitar

For those who say the Beatles weren’t something special . . . keep your Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber.

 

Much Respect

Ronovan

© Copyright-All rights reserved-RonovanWrites.wordpress.com.

Wanting to be a Paperback Writer

Wanting to be a Paperback Writer

by: Ronovan

I want to be a writer, paperback, hardback, e-back, whatever, I want to write.

There are songs that you love before you know why or before they have a meaning or significance. You become a fan of an act and naturally enjoy what they do. Over the course of time each song slowly matures as you do and the meaning is found.

 

I have a special place for songs recorded before I was born. Perhaps it was a more innocent time, or the 1960s were just filled with such great discoveries and experiments that it’s difficult to match. Only the 1980s might have as much experimentation and even producing some great music out of that whirlwind of synthesizers and big hair bands.

 

From the year 1966 comes Paperback Writer by the Beatles. Some of the younger generations say the Beatles are overrated. I say they have no clue as to what the Beatles were and are. Their style changed so incredibly in just the matter of a few years. This song was one of those changes.

 

Not about love or holding a hand, Paul McCartney writes about a man who writes a letter to a publisher wanting to sell his book, a thousand page novel. He’s begging to become a Paperback Writer.

 

All these years and decades later after first loving the song, it has found its true meaning in my life. For those of you who are my writing Friends you should be able to take this one to heart. Enjoy the video. I have included the lyrics below.

http://dai.ly/x132si

 

 

Paperback writer

Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It’s based on a novel by a man named Lear
And I need a job, so I want to be a paperback writer
Paperback writer

It’s the dirty story of a dirty man
And his clinging wife doesn’t understand
His son is working for the Daily Mail
It’s a steady job but he wants to be a paperback writer
Paperback writer

Paperback writer

It’s a thousand pages, give or take a few
I’ll be writing more in a week or two
I can make it longer if you like the style
I can change it round and I want to be a paperback writer
Paperback writer

If you really like it you can have the rights
It could make a million for you overnight
If you must return it, you can send it here
But I need a break and I want to be a paperback writer
Paperback writer

Paperback writer

Paperback writer, paperback writer
Paperback writer, paperback writer
Paperback writer, paperback writer
Paperback writer, paperback writer (fade out)

 

Paperback Writer UK Butcher Cover
The UK Single Cover
Paperback Writer US Single
The US Single Cover with George and John reversed showing playing left handed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope you Enjoyed

Ronovan

© Copyright-All rights reserved-RonovanWrites.wordpress.com-July 06, 2014.

Independence Day . . . 166 years and 6 days later.

“Bill, one of the boys isn’t looking too good back there,” said the man dropping down in the co-pilots seat.

“Airsick?” Lt. William Thies asked.

His friend nodded. “Probably all this flying around blind we’ve been doing. Dead reckoning is fine but we really need to find some clear sign to point the way home soon or we’ll all end up sick. There’s something about this not seeing anything but sky and air that can get to you after a while.”

“I’ll bring her down some. Maybe that’ll help.”

American PBY Catalina

The men in the back of the plane felt the descent.

“Told you he would do something about it,” said one young man.

One sick looking man just moaned. “I didn’t want him to know I was airsick. Just think, an airman airsick. Tough man, huh?”

“Just get over by the window and focus your eyes on something instead of the movements.”

The sick man nodded. “Good idea.”

Pressing his face against the window he watched as the plane lowered down through the clouds. He had always liked that part. He felt like one of the new comic book hero types like that super guy, just not having to wear long underwear. He smiled at the thought, already beginning to feel a little better.

He spotted water below and a sense of reality settled over him. It wasn’t solid ground but at least it wasn’t invisible air. His eyes roamed over the water. His teeth hit the window hard as he slammed his faced against the glass.

“Land!”

“What?” His friend turned to him.

“Land–there,” he said to excited to actually give directions.

 

 

Independence Day.

byfor: The Soldiers of America

WWII in the Pacific, 166 years and 6 days after the Declaration of Independence. I know the United States is celebrating or about to celebrate July 4th, Independence Day, and that isn’t something associated with WWII, but in truth any fight American soldiers are involved in that keep the country independent is part of the celebration to me. And that is why I wanted to write about a story that had escaped me for so long, or perhaps the old mind had forgotten it.

Enola Gay Photo

I have mixed feelings about what happened between Japan and the Allies. A lot of innocents died at the end. One has a guilty feeling about being against the bombings of Japan, but it wasn’t the citizens who bombed Pearl Harbor. I know people say that by dropping the atomic bombs that many more lives may have been saved than were lost. But it still doesn’t make me at ease.

 

This in no way means I think badly of any soldier involved. Orders were given, they were living in the time of war, and they knew more than I did. There are things you cannot understand unless you are there. I’ll never be the one to be a Monday morning quarterback, or more appropriately a Next Century General, when it comes to actions. I have my freedoms and liberties today because of things these men and others like them, including my father, did in the service of their country.

 

Sure I can have opinions but for some things I just don’t know. I think if we are all honest with ourselves we twist inside about things.

 

In all honesty things may have turned out very differently if not for that airsick crewman of the American PBY Catalina on July 10, 1942 over the Aleutians near Alaska. The conversation may have been my own creation but the situation was not. I don’t know that there has been an exact dialogue written down.

 

The crewman really did look out the window as the plane, off course, flew lower because he was sick. He saw land, which meant they could find their way back to their base. But they found something else instead.

Dutch Harbor Unalaska June 1942

About one month earlier Tadayoshi Koga had to make an emergency landing after his Zero had been damaged in an attack run on Dutch Harbor on Unalaska Island, Alaska. His Zero flipped upon attempting a landing on Tadayoshi Koga PhotoAkutan, he died upon impact. He was 19 years old.

 

Why do I write about this?

 

Koga’s plane was the first intact Zero the Allies had been able to get their hands on. After recovering the plane and making it work properly again it was tested and the Akutan Zero Tadayoshi Kogaweaknesses of the plane were discovered. The plane that had been destroying the Allies in the Pacific was no longer the deadly threat it had once been.

 

If not for an airsick crewman the war may have ended differently.

 

Was it luck in finding the Zero? If so, then whose luck was it, the good of the Allies or the bad of the Japanese?

 

Also I still cannot help but think of the results of the two bombs. “But look what they did at Pearl Harbor.” Those civilians didn’t do it. And like I said, I have nothing but respect for the men who carried out the mission. Did they know completely the devastation that would happen? What went through their minds before during and all the years after?

 

People like to think soldiers don’t think about the results, the impacts. My father doesn’t talk about his war experience. He doesn’t want to relive it. I don’t know any of those in the service that do. They talk about their time with their fellow soldiers and the good times they were able to snatch.

 

Unfortunately for me I have this mind that feels both sides of something. I cannot help but feel the hurt and anger and devastation on both sides of the war. I understand those who say Pearl Harbor meant it was okay to do what  happened. Then I see those surviving citizens in Japan who say my child didn’t do anything.  Then the Pearl Harbor parent will come back with, “Neither did my child.”

 

Independence comes at such a high price. We are all the same people. We all want the same things. I just wish we all could understand that.

 

You won’t find images of either Pearl Harbor or the bombings in Japan here. I looked at them and neither of them are something I want to share. I don’t want to remember them. I am hoping that after sleep my amnesia will take it away . . . but I don’t think it will.

Much Respect

An Appreciative American and Son of a Veteran

Ronovan

© Copyright-All rights reserved-RonovanWrites.wordpress.com-July 02, 2014.

Helene Rother: Simply put…Designer

I doubt Helene Rother knew as she and her young daughter escaped to a refugee camp in northern Africa from Nazi occupied France that before long she would be illustrating for Marvel Comics, apparently Jupiter Jimmy, and designing automobile interiors in the United States.

This is a gem I found as I was researching for a car that might have been used in the American Zone of Berlin by an American officer in the late 1940s. I don’t traditionally like to utilize the cliché vehicles we read about in every other book. Instead I want something interesting that I can learn from. When I found the 1948 Nash 600 and Helene Rother I knew I had found my car.

ImageImage

(Interior shot courtesy of autoweek.com)

Helene is credited as being the first woman to work as an automotive designer back in 1943. It’s really no wonder that she was so successful. She knew what women liked and thus what men would like. She brought class to the middle class. And she changed the way the auto industry treated not only the less wealthy auto buyer but the creative woman as well.

Helene went on to design interiors for ambulances and hearses and have her own design company. She even designed the Skylark silverware pattern for Samuel Kirk & Son.

Image

Later in life she began designing stained glass for churches. (Stained glass images courtesy of michiganstainedglass.org)

ImageImage