Tomorrow night: if you're in the Chicago area come out for The Show 'n Tell Show, a rare chance for designers and artists to get together (in front of an audience) and talk about their processes, successes, and failures. I'll be one of those failures, mainly presenting an evolution of the dozens of stages a couple of my books (especially the covers) went through before reaching their final versions.
Opening reception/event: Thursday, May 21, 7:00-9:00pm Free and open to the public
The Cartoon Art Museum presents The Brinkley Girls, a celebration of one of the most popular cartoonists of the early 20th century, Nell Brinkley. This retrospective, guest-curated by comics herstorian Trina Robbins, showcases over 30 lavishly illustrated newspaper tearsheets, magazine illustrations, original artworks and other highlights from Robbins's personal collection.
Details regarding the opening reception and a special presentation by Trina Robbins will be announced shortly.
About Nell Brinkley:
For over thirty years Nell Brinkley's beautiful girls waltzed, vamped and shimmied their way through the pages of William Randolph Hearst's newspapers, captivating the American public with their innocent sexuality.
In 1907, at the tender age of 22, Nell Brinkley came to New York to draw for the Hearst syndicate. Within a year, she had become a household name. Flo Ziegfeld dressed his dancers as "Brinkley Girls" in the Ziegfeld Follies. Three popular songs were written about her. Women, aspiring to the masses of curly hair with which Nell adorned her fetching and idealized creations, could buy Nell Brinkley Hair Curlers for ten cents a card. Young girls cut out and saved her drawings, copied them, colored them, and pasted them in scrapbooks.
Nell Brinkley widened her scope to include pen and ink depictions of working women. Brinkley used her fame to campaign for better working conditions and higher pay for women who had joined in the war effort, and who were suffering economic and social dislocation due to acting on their patriotism. Unlike most of her contemporaries, she drew women of different races and cultures.
Today, except for a small group of avid collectors, she is unjustly forgotten.
But no longer. The Fantagraphics Books publication The Brinkley Girls: The Best of Nell Brinkley's Cartoons from 1913-1940 collects Brinkley's exquisitely colored full page art from 1913 to 1940. Here are her earliest silent movie serial-inspired adventure series, "Golden Eyes and Her Hero, Bill;" her almost too romantic series, "Betty and Billy and Their Love Through the Ages;" her snappy flapper comics from the 1920s; her 1937 pulp magazine-inspired "Heroines of Today." Included are photos of Nell, reproductions of her hitherto unpublished paintings, and an informative introduction by the book‚s editor, Trina Robbins.
Retired cartoonist and current comics historian Trina Robbins has been writing graphic novels, comics, and books for over 30 years. Her subjects have ranged from Wonder Woman and the Powerpuff Girls to her own teenage superheroine, GoGirl!, and from women cartoonists and superheroines to women who kill. She lives in a moldering 103 year old house in San Francisco with her cats, shoes, and dust bunnies.
It's your Online Commentary & Diversions for the day:
• Review: "There is this old-fashioned comic feel that mixes so well with the overall theme and texture of this short. [In] Ganges #2... [Kevin] Huizenga's elegant neo-clear-line style brings a crispness and humor to these low-key slice-of-life stories, and the gray-blue duotone he has picked gives the art a new depth and complexity." - Hero Spy
• Plug: "I’m also trying Blazing Combat, the war comic collection from Fantagraphics. I don’t know much about the series, so this should expand my knowledge of a type of comic I’m not much familiar with." - Johanna Draper Carlson, Robot 6 "What Are You Reading?"
The selection committee for BANR consists of a handful of high school students who help Eggers edit The Best American Nonrequired Reading series. The collection, published annually by Houghton-Mifflin, compiles the country's best fiction, journalism, essays, comics, and humor every year, and introduces a large readership to dozens of new writers and publications. The students have a blog where they post their notes on the stories considered and accepted, and here's the entry on "Hair Types," which is quite funny. I think panelist Sophia sums it up best when she says, "I think it's not supposed to make that much sense but you can make a lot of sense out of it. Does that make sense?"
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