We’re heading deeper into autumn, and deeper into our books, comics and links! (The painting above, by Richard Powers, is titled The Cerebral City of fFlar.)


When I read to my kids when they (and I) were younger, one of our favorite books was The Seven Silly Eaters (2000), written by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Marla Frazee. What a pleasure, then, to find read-aloud videos of Silly Eaters on YouTube; watch this video, from the Story Time with Nana account, to see if you like the book as much as we did. (And explore the other videos offered by Story Time with Nana.) Aspiring artists might also want to check out Marla Frazee’s website, where Frazee offers extensive advice on how to break into the children’s book market and how to improve as an illustrator (“my first efforts at drawing characters are always stereotypical and generic, but once I spend time getting to know the character, the drawings eventually deepen and become more alive”).


Last year around Halloween, the syndicated comic strip Sally Forth—written by Francesco Marciuliano and drawn by Jim Keefe—presented a playful tale about a “freaky hot mess of a doll” that a character buys in a thrift shop. On his blog, Marciuliano is re-running that funny story, and here are the first two installments: part one and part two. The Sally Forth creators promise a sequel in this year’s newspapers—and while you’re waiting for that tale, also visit Keefe’s website, where you’ll find an inking demo, a post about how the Coronavirus changed the plans for Sally Forth, and a description of Keefe’s 2019 Halloween collaboration with artist Stephen Bissette.




At the recent virtual New York Comic Con, Raina Telgemeier hosted “Graphix Out Loud: Kids Comics Come to Life,” a panel discussion and live-reading showcase with writer Varian Johnson and illustrator Shannon Wright (collaborators on the graphic novel Twins), author and cartoonist Maria Scrivan (Forget Me Nat), and artist Penelope Bagieu (her comics adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches). And here is the link to the other videos recorded at NYCC earlier in October, in case you’d like to explore what else happened at the event. Not all of these panels are kid-appropriate, but I can recommend for everyone the interview with the producer and voice cast of the current reboot of the classic ‘90s cartoon Animaniacs (yes, Pinky and the Brain are included!), and Misako Rocks’ art tutorial Learn to Drawn Manga in 15 Minutes Flat!


At the increasingly invaluable site NeoText, art collector and illustration scholar Jane Frank profiles Richard Powers (1921-1996), a “bio-organic” painter whose haunting images graced the covers of many science-fiction paperbacks from the 1950s to the 1990s. Frank specifically discusses a 1983 (and long out of print) Powers portfolio titled Spacetimewarp: Paintings by R.M. Powers, and you can wallow in more of Powers’ surrealism at The Science Fiction Cover Art of Richard M. Powers website, which categorizes the artist’s work by decade. And our friends at the Society of Illustrators made available a survey of Powers’ career when he was inducted into the Society’s Hall of Fame in 2016.


Atlanta-born Jack Davis (1924-2016) was one of the most important American illustrators of the second half of the 20th century. After spending his early days working on comic books and humor magazines—he drew the first story (“Hoohah!”) in the very first issue of MAD in 1952—he moved into commercial and advertising art, where his loose-limbed, exaggerated caricatures graced multiple TV Guide and Time magazine covers, as well as movie posters, bubblegum cards, record album covers, newspaper advertisements, and greetings cards. (Check out the Pinterest Board curated by Bob and Peggy Cisko for a great cross-section of Davis’ work.) An active alumnus of the University of Georgia, Davis also drew hundreds of portraits of Uga, the school’s bulldog mascot, until Davis passed away in 2016.

The flip side of Davis’ penchant for goofy caricatures was his love for monsters. All kinds of ghouls and werewolves appear in Davis’ contributions to the 1950s horror comics Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and The Haunt of Fear, and in the 1960s Davis drew for Creepy and Eerie, Warren Publishing’s black-and-white terror magazines. He also designed the monster characters for Mad Monster Party? (1967), a stop-motion animated film produced by Rankin-Bass and released to theaters in March 1967.

Here’s an excellent survey of Davis’ career, and below are samples of Davis’ spooky art.

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 #25 (October 16, 2020)Playhouse Comics Club, Issue #27 (October 30, 2020)

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