October 30, 2001
ONCE UPON A TIME, a gent named Alfred Harvey founded the comic book company that bore his name. Although the firm was
later known best for comics like Casper the Friendly Ghost and Richie Rich, they published many books of many kinds. In 1941, in
a book called Pocket Comics, Mr. Harvey launched a very fine adventure strip called The Black Cat. That's the second issue up
there on the left. The character soon graduated to her own comic, which was published intermittently and in many forms for
decades. Many stories featured superb, Caniff-inspired artwork by Lee Elias.
Although the Harvey company and its best-known properties were later sold to others, a few characters remained in the family. A
few years back, Alan Harvey began publishing, reprinting classic old Black Cat stories and even commissioning a new one by Yours Truly and one
of comics' great artists, Murphy Anderson. If you go to his website,
www.blackcatcomics.com, you can read that story on-line and order, for very reasonable prices, some of those comics. We suggest you do
THE ARTICLES I recommend above are about current events. I have one I'd like to recommend to you that is somewhat out of
date but when I first read it in 1996, it made a very big impression on me. It concerns Senator John McCain and I'd like to think that the
portrait it presents of him is accurate and still valid...but I have to admit that some of his actions and statements in the last few years have
caused me to wonder. Anyway, I recently found it on-line and here's the link to it. If you don't have time to read it all, read at least as
far as this passage, which had a major impact on me...
Here, [McCain] pauses, and I figure he's finished. But he's groping behind his aviator sunglasses for the point of his anecdote
— that forgiveness is ultimately less self-destructive than the bitter desire for vengeance. Or perhaps that there is no such thing as
I do not believe that forgiveness is always preferable or even possible. But this article set me off on a lot of thinking on the
topic and that, in turn, has led to a belief that, more often than we might like to think, vengeance is a form of self-deception and that the thirst
for it can be a major form of self-destruction.
In the coming months, we're going to see some permutation of this discussion across the country. An awful lot of folks are
revved-up and horny for the moment we can celebrate that we have avenged the attacks of 9/11 and "gotten even." Right now, they don't want to
hear that bombing the hell out of The Enemy is anything but right and proper. They don't even want to hear any explanations of why other
countries might not love us, as they might lessen the Good Guy/Bad Guy karma of it all. I think we're all going to be giving the concept of
"getting even" a lot of consideration.
By the way: If you read the article I recommend, you might want to also read this news item which sadly buttons the story.
MY PAL Harry McCracken writes to say...well, here — I'll let you read it for yourself:
Just a quick note to say that (a) I'm insanely jealous of your Hirschfeld portrait; and (b) You may already know this, but
there's a New York Hirschfeld exhibit running concurrently with the L.A. show. It's called Hirschfeld's New York, and it's at the Museum of the City
of New York until January 27th. Details at www.mcny.org. I hope to get the New York
show, and maybe the Hollywood one, too, before they close.
Oh, and books have been published based on both exhibits. These are called, logically enough, Hirschfeld's Hollywood and
Hirschfeld's New York, and are currently available on Amazon (you might link to them). I haven't seen them yet, but they're affordable ($12.76
apiece at Amazon), and I have trouble believing that any book that's full of Hirschfeld art wouldn't be worth buying.
Good point. Here are some special links to Al Hirschfeld books currently on sale at Amazon. And remember — if you
click on any of these links to get there and make your purchases, this site gets a tiny percentage of what you spend.
While you're surfing about, the above-quoted Mr. McCracken has a fine website with articles about animation, comics, computers and
such. Go spend some time at www.harrymccracken.com.
I DUNNO how many of you are following the saga of Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine but a bankruptcy judge has ordered
the auction of the magazine this week. Here's a link to
an article that will expire soon but which, for now, will give you all the details.
THE ART OF comic book inking gets a lot of good attention over at Larry Dempsey's website where a number of the top
practitioners reveal their secrets. There's also a terrific section of links to art supplies on the web. Click here to go there.
THE DEBUT OF the I'm Popeye series on the Cartoon Network, previously touted here, has been delayed. Whenever they
do decide to launch it, it'll be announced over at Jerry Beck's Cartoon Research
I'VE POSTED on this site, an obituary I wrote some time ago about a fine gentleman and comic book artist named Don Heck. I've done so many of these that I've now set up a whole section over on the Comic
Books page, just for obits. Audible sigh.
Click here to read the previous NEWS FROM ME