Amazing Auction

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I’ve written before of Heritage Comics’ wondrous auctions, and their upcoming one is another doozy. I’ve been browsing mostly through the original comic strip art; if this stuff made up the collection of a cartoon museum, it would be a formidable institution. There are several E.C. Segar Popeye dailys, so many terrific Chester Gould Dick Tracys that I lost track, an array of Caniff strips, some wonderful early Blondie strips, McManus and Bushmiller, McCay and Herriman, Schulz (still nifty even if it’s the most overvalued original art there is), a Hans and Fritz painting by Rudolph Dirks, and…well, if I went on, this would be a very long blog posting. A separate catalog focuses on items from Wendy and Richard Pini’s collection–and those offerings are impressive in themselves.

You can subscribe to Heritage’s handsome, glossy catalogs for $100 a year–which is a better deal than it sounds, since it comes with a $100 coupon you can apply against a purchase. (Tip: If you buy something from Heritage, which I have, you may find yourself getting the catalogs for free, at least for awhile.) The catalogs are nice, but most of the images are small; simply trolling around the Web site is at least as enjoyable, since the online images are oversized, letting you admire the penwork and other aspects of the original art. And even if perursing the site isn’t as much as owning all these gems, it’s about as good as window shopping gets.

Duck, Disney!

Here’s an interesting article from The New York Times (registration probably required) about DisneyWar, the upcoming book by James B. Stewart about the ongoing controversy over Michael Eisner’s stewardship of Disney. Apparently, the company’s already scared witless over the book’s revelations.

I don’t know how much it’ll discuss animation–one assumes that Roy Disney is a major character–but knowing Stewart’s work it’ll likely be a good, well-researched read.

Disney Interviews, Collected

Didier Ghez’s Walt’s People: Volume One is now available from Xlibris for $18.69. The book collects interviews of Disney artists, including Ken Anderson, Marc Davis, Rudolf Ising, John Hench, Milt Kahl, and others, by scholars such as Mike Barrier, John Province, and Jim Korkis.

It’s sad that so many of “Walt’s People” are no longer with us–but there’s much consolation in the fact that many got interviewed by enterprising researchers, and that those interviews are being published in places such as this book and MichaelBarrier.com. And I’m sure there are more interviews out there which we’ll eventually get to read (for one thing, Walt’s People is the first of a series).

Meanwhile, I have one interview with a Walt’s Person right here on this site–my chat with Maurice Noble.

Leapin’ Lizards!

If my home was about two blocks to the east of where it stands, I’d have a new state senator. A lady named Carole Migden won the office in last November’s election, and is presumably now serving her constituents well in Sacramento.

I don’t know anything about Carole Migden’s background or politics, but I do know this: If public service ever fails her, she has a bright future as a professional Little Orphan Annie lookalike–especially if she’s willing to have her eyes surgically blunked out…

Forget Scrappy–Meet Schnappi!

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From Patrick Di Justo, via my friend Paul Boutin‘s blog:

“A four year old girl, with her father’s help, created a silly
song about a German cartoon character, Schnappi the Little
Crocodile.

The song has been number one on the German charts for the past 4
weeks. It has just reached number one in Austria, and his pretty
high on other European charts as well. It has been made into
dance mixes. An english version is going to be released next
week.

There’s a reason why the word “kitsch” is German.”

The Return (Sort of) of Calvin and Hobbes

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Bill Watterson still keeps an exceedingly low profile, but here’s the first significant Calvin and Hobbes news since the strip left newspapers nine years ago: Andrews & McMeel will be publishing The Complete Calvin and Hobbes in September. Unlike The Complete Peanuts, this won’t be a long, drawn-out publishing project: For $150, you’ll get three hardbound volumes with the strip’s entire decade-long run. (I’m not sure if the Sundays will be in color or not.)

I’m also still not sure if C&H was a strip to rank with the best that newspapers ever saw, but I think it’s pretty clear it’s the best strip we’ve seen in the last twenty years. (I’d also rate the best of Berke Breathed’s Bloom County as being something of lasting importance; if there was a complete BC, I might buy it.) It’s nice to know that Watterson’s work, unlike that of some great cartoonists, won’t have to wait until decades after the artist’s passing to end up in a definitive, complete collection.

Meanwhile, if September seems a long time away or $150 sounds like a lot of money, you can read Calvin strips for free here.

Scrappy is on His Way

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For what seems like–well, forever, but it’s been about eight months– I’ve been working (off and on) on Scrappyland, the first Web site about the greatest 1930s cartoon character that nobody remembers. And I’m almost ready to launch it. At the moment, the preview site is still up, but within the next couple of days or so, technical issues willing, Scrappyland should be live in all its glory. I’ll let you know…

Coming Soon: Casual Acquaintance Donald

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I haven’t been to Disney World in a long time, so maybe I’m out of touch here–but I just learned about Pal Mickey, a $60 electronic doll you’re supposed to tote around the park. He apparently uses wireless technology to tell jokes, spout factoids about attractions, and say things like “Say, ‘Fantasmic!’ will be starting in about an hour–If ya wanna see it, now’s a good time to go grab a seat!”

I have the feeling I’d want to chuck the little guy into a lagoon pretty quickly–unless his factoids included, say, the truth about Walt and Ub’s relationship. (Hey, Mickey was there.) But I still find the idea fascinating. And I like the above publicity photo, in which Minnie seems surprisingly placid upon discovering that someone has shrunk her boyfriend.

For more on Pal Mickey, check out this site.

(Link via Andrew Leal)