A MAD-man retires, and more! This week’s Playhouse Comics Club! (The above portrait: Al Jaffee, Guinness Book of World Records title holder for longest career as a comics artist.)

 

Over the course of his career, Rian Hughes has mixed his work as a cartoonist (particularly for British comics Revolver and 2000AD) with jobs designing CD and DVD covers, advertising typography, and book jackets. Hughes’ website offers hundreds of examples of his fantastic visual sense, broken down into the sub-categories fonts, illustration, design, and logos. All are worth your attention. Superhero fans should get a special kick out of the logos Hughes creates for Marvel and DC comics, like the Batgirl one here.

 

 

 

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, located in my hometown of Buffalo, New York, has a spectacular collection of modern and post-modern art. Like most museums, the Albright-Knox is closed during the pandemic (and, coincidentally, for construction), but it has developed a series of at-home art activities for kids and families inspired by many of its most iconic artworks and sculptures, such as Fernand Léger’s The Walking Flower (1951). Here is the homepage for the museum’s family activities—and be sure to browse the Albright-Knox’s virtual exhibitions and collection too.

 

 

 

I’ve mentioned the comics website The Nib before, and although not everything on the site is appropriate for young readers, I wholeheartedly recommend two hockey comics by cartoonist and sports fan Rob Ullman, “RIP Larry Kwong” (about the first minority player in the NHL) and “Skating on Thin Ice” (about professional hockey during the Spanish Flu pandemic of a century ago). Ullman also writes a column (currently on hiatus) for the DK Pittsburgh Sports site, where he combines stories about the Steelers and Penguins with his formidable cartooning abilities. Check out Ullman’s Pittsburgh columns here.

 

On Instagram, Thien Pham finished 100 comic strips about his life in quarantine. Some of the strips are whimsical—we see Pham indulge in his love for Legos and Zoom chats with his friends—though we also read about his anger over the murder of George Floyd and his support of Black Lives Matter. More recently, Pham has begun to chronicle his life’s most memorable meals, with an opening chapter about his family’s harrowing boat journey to America. (These strips are best for middle-school readers and up.) Click here for three videos on the PBS website where Pham talks about his cartooning career and demonstrates his drawing chops. [Thanks to Marc Weidenbaum for recommending Pham’s comics.]

 

The current issue (August 2020) of MAD celebrates the career of Al Jaffee, who began drawing for the magazine in 1964 and who recently retired at the age of 99 (!). Jaffee influenced a generation of readers with his “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions” feature—the definitive word in sarcastic humor—and his Fold-Ins, where readers discover a hidden picture by vertically bending MAD‘s inside back cover. Here’s a video demonstrating how the Fold-Ins worked, and here’s a collection of 13 choice Fold-Ins. Below: a sample “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions” panel, and Sam Viviano’s MAD cover tribute to Jaffee.

This weekly blog post is written and compiled by Craig Fischer. To send along recommendations, ideas, and comments, contact Craig at craig_fschr@yahoo.com [.]

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Playhouse Comics Club, Issue #10 (July 3, 2020)Playhouse Comics Club, Issue #12 (July 17, 2020)

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