Union-Tribune has fun with its nameplate during Comic-Con

Looks like the San Diego Union-Tribune is having some fun again with its nameplate in conjunction with this week’s Comic-Con.

Thursday’s nameplate featured an epic battle between Superman and Batman…

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…while today’s nameplate was the victim of a fly-by attack by a fire-breathing dragon.

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Last year, the now-extinct U-T nameplate took a lot of abuse from editorial cartoonist Steve Breen:

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Comic-Con continues through the weekend. We’ll keep an eye out to see what the Union-Tribune does Saturday and Sunday. Thanks to my pal there, Scott Albert, for the heads-up.

Other Union-Tribune Comic-Con posts from my blog archives:

  • 2011: The paper went all out with fun comics-themed illustrations and special sections.
  • 2012: Steve Breen created a sketchbook every day of Comic-Con.
  • 2013: The paper explained the business of small press comics by having small press comics creator (and former Union-Tribune staffer) Paul Horn tell all via — what else? — an extended comic strip.
  • 2014: Read about those U-T nameplates.

Follow the Union-Tribune’s coverage of Comic-Con 2015 here.

How a small-town editorial cartoonist responded to the Charleston church shooting

Mike Beckom — a freelance editorial cartoonist from my home state of South Carolina — shared with us the story behind his latest piece that ran in Sunday’s Greenwood Index-Journal.

Mike tells us:

My editor, Richard Whiting, called yesterday and said he was e-mailing me his op-ed and could I come up with a toon to accompany.

I had no idea where to start. So many emotions. I’d seen so many other news outlets posting reports and images of the murderer and I knew I didn’t want to give him any glory. Instead, I wanted to show something about how the people of my/our state reacted. I think it’s shocked the nation….especially in light of the recent violence in Ferguson, Baltimore, etc.

I’d seen photos of masses of folks in Charleston holding hands and praying. That got me thinking about the hands image. I did a quick internet search and found lots of them.

Mike used this Shutterstock image for reference:

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I did a quick rendering in Photoshop and added a filter to it to make it pop.

And — more importantly — Mike wrote the poem.

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The Index-Journal used this Sunday. Mike tells us…

…and they use the color version. I send out two versions: A colorized and black-and-white version, because all of my papers can’t or don’t publish color editorial cartoons.

Mike is a product of Greenwood County — just down the road from McCormick, where I grew up — and studied graphic design at Piedmont Tech College.

I asked him for a picture of himself and — because it was Father’s Day — he send me one of himself with his kids.

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Fun side note: I have that same exact shirt. Mine is a few sizes larger, I’d expect.

Mike works at the Fujifilm plant there in Greenwood and freelances cartoons to the Index-Journal and to four or five weeklies around the state. A few samples of his recent work:

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Funny stuff.

Find more on his Facebook fan page.

Average daily circulation of the Greenwood Index-Journal is 12,118.

Hutchinson (Kansas) News transforms itself into the Smallville News

Look! Up in the sky!

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a… newspaper?

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That was the actual Thursday front page of the Hutchinson (Kansas) News.

My pal Ron Sylvester — managing editor of the Hutch News — tells us the page was designed by assistant managing editor for design Wendy Skellenger and graphic artist Jim Heck.

He writes:

Three years ago some comic fans presented a pretty detailed argument that Hutchinson was geographically close to where Smallville, Kansas, would’ve been located. They convinced the mayor and the city council to change the name of the town to Smallville for a day.

Since then, there has been a festival created, a comic con, and it’s expanded to four days. It’s become quite a community event.

The first year, the Hutchinson News changed its name to the Daily Planet:

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It was received so well in the community and so popular we decided to do it again this year. Except the Daily Planet was really located in Metropolis. So we decided calling at the Smallville News would be more faithful. Plus, we could use that iconic typography from the Superman comics that we all read  growing up.

We had imagined Superman flying out of the Cosmosphere.  The problem was finding a Superman image we could use. We spent days scouring and finally found an image that had a Creative Commons license that we felt comfortable we could utilize under Fair Use.

Wendy and Jim did an amazing job of paying attention to detail. My favorite is the placement of the barcode and the edition number to parody a comic book.

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This is what a newspaper looks like when people have fun coming to work every day!

This page was the front of what was essentially a four-page pull-off section that wrapped around the rest of Thursday’s paper. These pages were designed by staffer George Woods.

Ron tells us:

It was designed so people could pull off the cover, get the four-day schedule and have a little program on those four pages.

Page two contained a schedule and quotes from local folks.

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Page three contains a timeline of how the Smallville event came to be over the years.

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On the back were a couple of pictures from last year’s festival and a story about a local bookstore that sponsored a Where’s Waldo?-like game tie-in with the event.

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Ron notes that Thursday…

…was also one day we could use comic sans and we didn’t let it go to waste.

On our opinion page, we ran an editorial on why we change our flag and support the festival.

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Inside, Thursday’s Page 3 was essentially the usual Page 1.

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Ron writes:

Our entertainment section, the b, featured the Comic Con on the cover, following the comic book theme.

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Sandra Milburn, our AME of photo, took care of the header, as she does every day.

Naturally, there was also a strong digital component to the project.

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Ron tells us:

Ryan Buchanan, our digital editor, pulled the main package together.

Find it here.

Ron closes by noting:

We have a really good team here. I’m glad they’re going to be recognized for their hard work.

Average daily circulation of the Hutchinson News is 25,722.

Reading Eagle’s Craig Schaffer featured in ‘Cartoon Picayune’ comic

Heads up, comics fans. Here’s something you might want to add to your collection.

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That’s issue 7 of the Cartoon Picayune, which is being released today.

Craig Schaffer of the Reading (Pa.) Eagle tells us that the comic book…

…will be available to order at cartoonpicayune.com, on the comixology app and at a few select comic book stores. It’s a non-fiction comic by news illustrators. Issues cost $4.

Craig took the time to answer a few questions for us:

Q. What more can you tell me about the work you did for this issue? Did you write and draw it, or just draw it?

A. I tried to answer the question “Why is there a pagoda on the mountain overlooking Reading?” I’m not originally from here and didn’t know the answer to that question. It’s a unique symbol of our community.

Print

Q. How many pages is this story you illustrated?

A. It’s only 2 pages and got picked up for the issue after I had completed it and Josh Kramer [the comic’s editor] learned of my work. Normally, they use 10-page stories.

Q. How long have you been working on this?

A. I wrote and illustrated mine in about two weeks.

I tweeted it to some other comic creators who inspired me from a book called Syncopated and they directed me to Josh. Issue #7 has a “chance” theme. I’ve never seen a copy in person. This is my first.

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Q. What do you use? Markers? Pens? Bush-n-ink? Wacom tablet?

A. I use pen and ink, sometimes a brush, then a wacom tablet and Photoshop to color. I letter the page in illustrator.

A 1998 graduate of the Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Mass., Craig spent several years as an archaeological illustrator before joining the Intelligencer of Doylestown, Pa.

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He moved to the Reading Eagle in 2005. He creates a weekly graphic for the Eagle‘s business section. Find a gallery of his Snapshot work here.

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Yeah, that one is about famed book designer Chipp Kidd. Read more about that piece here.

For a while, Craig also produced a “hand-drawn nature column” called Sketchbook that appeared every Wednesday in the Eagle‘s Berks Country section. Find his Sketchbook gallery here.

Find Craig’s online portfolio here and his blog here. Find his Twitter feed here.

Order a copy of Cartoon Picayune No. 7 here.

More fun with nameplates: U-T San Diego

The annual Comic-Con comics, scifi and entertainment convention is being held in San Diego this week.

UT-San Diego has been celebrating with these fun comics-themed nameplate treatments illustrated by the paper’s award-winning editorial cartoonist Steve Breen.

Wednesday’s nameplate featured a hyphen that’s turned into zombie food.

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In Thursday’s nameplate, the Man of Steel is stealing the “T.”

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And there is a little lightsaber accident in today’s nameplate.

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UPDATE – Saturday, July 26

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A 1994 graduate of UC Riverside, Steve spent nearly five years as cartoonist for the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey before moving back to the west coast in 2001.

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Steve has won two Pulitzer prizes: In 1998 and 2009. Find galleries of his work here and here. Find his Twitter feed here.

More U-T San Diego Comic-Con coverage…

  • 2011: the paper went all out with fun comics-themed illustrations and special sections.
  • 2012: Steve created a sketchbook every day of Comic-Con.
  • 2013: The paper explained the business of small press comics by having small press comics creator (and former Union-Tribune staffer) Paul Horn tell all via — what else? — an extended comic strip.

Follow U-T San Diego‘s coverage of Comic-Con 2014 here.

Holy tinkered-with nameplate, Batman!

Get a load of the top of today’s Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss.

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That’s by Merry Eccles of Gannett’s design studio in Nashville. Her guy, Bill Campling — also of the Nashville studio — tells us:

Merry always includes subtle details in her designs, like her Fourth of July promo you highlighted earlier this month.

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This page is no different, with the slight alteration to the mast.

And it’s freakin’ Batman. So that makes it extra cool.

I also wrote about Merry’s work after Vanderbilt won the NCAA national baseball championship back in June.

Find more of Merry’s work here.

For your consideration…

…on this fine Memorial Day:

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That particular piece of brilliance is from Rick McKee of the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle — one of the papers I read every day growing up in South Carolina.

Back then, the cartoonist was Clyde Wells. It’s good to see Clyde’s old job is in good hands.

Rick spent a year-and-a-half as a staff artist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution before moving to the Chronicle in 1990. Find his cartoon archive here and his Twitter feed here.

Jedi Master Martin Gee uses the Force with these ‘Star Wars’ illustrations

In his day job, Martin Gee is is a senior designer for Huffington, the Huffington Post‘s iPad project.

When freelance deadlines beckon, however, Martin leaps into a phone booth, swaps his underwear to the outside of his pants and becomes (Tadaaaaa!): SuperDeadlineIllustratorMan!

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With a little help from the Force this time, of course: Martin contributed illustrations for an article on the new Star Wars movies for Entertainment Weekly magazine.

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Most of those ran on the opening pages of a six-page spread.

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Click on these for a much larger look.

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Martin took the time to answer a few question for us…

Q. I’ve always wondered what kind of deadline freelance magazine illustrators work with. How much time passed between when they contacted you and you had to turn in final art?

A. I had about four days and luckily it was over a weekend. With most assignments, I drop everything and use every minute. Just ask [his wife]Carrie!

For Entertainment Weekly, it was a fast turnaround but I’ve had as little as two days with other magazines. This is why I love and prefer editorial work!

The issue with Martin’s work is the May 16th cover-dated edition — the one with Jim Parsons, Julia Roberts and Mark Ruffalo on the cover.

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Be sure to rush out and buy one before they’re replaced by the next issue.

Q. Did you work up some sketches for them? (And, better yet: Can we see them?)

A. Definitely. I’m kinda embarrassed to show you!

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Unlike illustrators like Von Glitschka and Jennifer Borresen, my sketches look nothing like my final art. It’s only happened once, with PopMech.

Here was the sketch:

Martin says:

After this sketch, I carried my green circle template with my sketchbook for awhile.

Here’s the piece that ran in PopMech‘s December/January 2014 issue:

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Martin continues with his Star Wars sketches:

One of the EW art directors said he didn’t want a LEGO Yoda. They wanted more realistic and less cute (which my stuff tends to be) but still be graphic and edgy.

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Q. Whose idea was it to have Darth Vader accidentally slicing though the headline?

A. It was Jennie Chang‘s, EW‘s Managing Art Director who hired me, after she saw the Vader sketch. She designed the headline and techy borders and I just drew the characters!

Random: When I was at Redeye, I drew a similar but more minimal Vader for Episode III but the editors said it looked too much like an iPod and killed it.

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Q. For a moment there, I thought that was your old ninja cartoon head at the extreme bottom left of page 24.

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A. It actually reminds me of Deadpool!

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Q. So you did Superman…

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…and Spider-Man…

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…for the National and now Star Wars for Entertainment Weekly. What’s next? The president for Time magazine? The Rolling Stones for Rolling Stone?

A. Probably not but hopefully more geeky illustrations! I’ve somehow managed to carve a nice niche for myself.

Funny you mentioned the National‘s Superman: EW specifically referred to that and my Boston Globe robots…

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…for reference.

When Variety called with a Amazing Spider-Man 2 assignment with Captain America, Godzilla and the X-Men…

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… (and, accidentally, the TMNT)…

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[They told him “mutant ninjas” and Martin thought that meant the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Instead, they meant the X-Men. But, as you saw, Martin adjusted.]

…Art Director Cheyne Gately told me “You’re genetically designed to pull it off.”

Martin says he’s:

Living the dream!

First, a little more info about two pieces you saw earlier…

And, even earlier, he had been known to pull off super-hero movie covers for g, the Boston Globe‘s weekly entertainment tab.

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Here’s one he did a year ago for his “day job” at Huffington.

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This one — starring a grown-up, Jean Grey-like Violet from the Incrediblesran in the Pixar Times a couple of years ago when the movie Brave came out:

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Martin tells us:

The art director, Jerrod Murayama, is a fellow SJSU alumni who has done work for Disney — most notably his Hipster Mickey illustrations and merchandise.

And then there’s this one you might not have seen — it’s not comics or movie-related, but it sure looks like it could be:

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Martin says:

This was a really fun pro bono illustration for Elysia Smith, who goes by Dandy Rough on her roller derby team and is the lead designer at Newsday.

Martin studied illustration at San Jose State University and interned at the San Jose Mercury News and the Miami Herald before joining the Orange County Register in 1998.

In 2000, Martin left newspapers to work as a designer for the House of Blues. He leaped back into news design with Chicago’s RedEye in 2005 and then slipped over to the mothership Chicago Tribune before moving back to the Mercury News in 2006.

In 2008, he became art director of the monthly Oregon Business magazine. In 2010, he moved to the Boston Globe as features design supervisor. He joined Huffington in 2012. His wife, Carrie Hoover Gee, is design director at Adweek magazine.

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Find Martin’s web site here and his Facebook fan page here. Find his Twitter feed here.

RIP former Lakeland Ledger illustrator Joseph Escourido

Former Lakeland (Fla.) Ledger artist Joseph Escourido passed away Satuday, the paper reports. He was 89.

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Joseph studied art at the Pratt Institute in New York City and worked as a commercial artist and a book illustrator and drew two syndicated comic strips. One was a Bicentennial-themed strip called Colonial Capers. Find a quick sample here.

He moved to the Ledger in 1977, specializing in cartoon illustration and design of food fronts. He won 22 awards for his work, the paper reports, before retiring in 1991.

The Ledger‘s Bill Rufty writes:

After retiring, he received an award but wouldn’t pose for a picture for a Ledger photograph until the pho­tographer first took a picture of him in Groucho Marx glasses.

Find the story here.

Big political scandal? Try an editorial cartoon on page one.

Remember that political scandal in South Africa I told you about last week?

The president’s personal home in Nkandla, southeast of Pretoria, has undergone more than $215 million Rand — just over $21 million U.S. — in renovations to upgrade security. But a) That’s an awful lot of money for a struggling country, and b) It’s come out that a lot of the “upgrades” had nothing at all to do with security: Among the several items the government installed at President Jacob Zuma’s estate: A giant swimming pool.

Today, the Mail & Guardian of Johannesburg published tons of details about the entire thing, which has the entire country buzzing. And how better to illustrate a story like that than to slap an editorial cartoon on page one?

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Terrific stuff, Illustrated by the nation’s foremost editorial cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro — better known as Zapiro — and, of course, reported and edited by the Mail & Guardian.  Find today’s story here and a special report on the scandal here.

  • President Zuma is also a bit of a legend in South Africa, but not for the reasons one might hope for. The man was in a lot of legal trouble long before he became president. And he’s remained in either trouble or in the middle of controversy his entire reign. What a disaster. I last wrote about him here.
  • Just last week, newspapers across the country were warned by the government not to publish pictures of Zuma’s newly-renovated estate. But several papers did it anyway — one in spectacular fashion.

Another brilliant New Yorker cover illustration by Barry Blitt

Famed illustrator Barry Blitt captures the whole Obamacare launch debacle perfectly with one image on the front of the new issue of the New Yorker.

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Man. Is that perfect, or what?

The New Yorker writes in its blog post about the cover:

“When I heard that the troubled Obamacare Web site was built by a Canadian company, of course I felt personally responsible,” says the Montreal-born Barry Blitt, who drew this week’s cover, “Reboot.” “I’ll be happy when the glitches are all worked out and everything’s running smoothly, so I can put this all behind me,” he concludes.

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A few more samples of Blitt’s work for the New Yorker:

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Find Barry Blitt’s web site here.


UPDATE – 8:35 a.m. PDT

And, of course, only moments after I post that, I see this equally brilliant cover by Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.

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Thanks to all the folks who tweeted about that today.

This just in: Zombies and monsters walk the streets of San Antonio

Here’s a fun, spooky Halloween-themed idea for a local talker.

Why not turn celebrities in your town, big and small, into zombies or classic horror monsters?

That’s what my old friend Mike Fisher of the San Antonio Express News did this week.

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He picked on Hollywood actors from the area, like Tommy Lee Jones

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…sports greats Tim Duncan

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…and Johnny “Football” Manziel

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…and politicians like Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro.

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Hmm. A Democratic Congressman? From a red state like Texas? That’s scary enough, even without the embellishment.

Mike tells us:

Don’t get me wrong, I just love making 1-col. bar charts. Heh. But if I can find time to create a project on my own here, they are pretty good about getting in the paper or online.

I wanted specifically to do something for Halloween that would reside online. So I came up with the concept and the celebrity names with some help from my buddy, Mike Knoop. Then I drew the characters in pen-and-ink and colored them in Photoshop. I started in July and just worked in it when I had some time.

Maybe I shouldn’t have, but I drew a credit page with myself and Knoop as zombie freaks.

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I thought the readers might think it was funny and, who knows, maybe they’ll look forward to another silly project like this from us.

Oh, absolutely. Readers love stuff like that.

That last frame also serves as a great DIY tip. I’m always losing my scissors. Do that with them, though and you’ll never lose your scissors again.

Find the entire slideshow here.

Average daily circulation for the Express-News is 139,099.

I’ve known Mike a long, long time. When I got my first fulltime newspaper job in Athens, Ga., he was an artist at our sister paper in Augusta. Later, I moved to the Rock Hill, S.C., Herald and he moved to Charlotte (N.C.) Observer. Where he eventually worked his way up to graphics editor.

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He spent several years with Knight-Ridder’s TV animation studio, News in Motion, in Washington, D.C. He’s been with the Express-News for several years, now.

Mike Fisher is a huge name in science fiction and horror circles. He’s cartooned for Starlog magazine since the 1980s. He publishes the occasional fanzine comic, featuring his ultimate geekazoid character, 3D Pete. Find Mike’s web site here.

Mike also posts humorous sci-fi and entertainment videos Find his YouTube channel here.

Find a nice Q&A with him here.

How a St. Louis Post-Dispatch baseball cover illustration comes together

Back on Oct. 4 — when it came to pass that the St. Louis Cardinals would take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League divisional playoffs — the Post-Dispatch of  St. Louis commissioned staff illustrator and famed Weatherbird cartoonist Dan Martin to come up with something clever for the front of the paper’s playoff special section.

Dan, of course, knocked it out of the park.

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Having dispatched the Pirates handily last weekend, the Cardinals moved on to the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers — a best-of-seven series that started Friday in St. Louis.

Again, the Post-Dispatch produced a special section — this one was 18 page. And agian, the Post-Dispatch turned to Dan Martin. Here’s what he came up with.

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Click that for a much larger look.

Assistant managing editor for sports Roger Hensley wrote Friday via Facebook:

Another excellent illustration by Dan Martin. And though Carlos Ayulo art directed the whole thing, he doesn’t get credit for the headline this time. Someone smarter than him came up with it. Ahem.

Carlos tells me that Dan turned in eight sketches from which to choose for that cover. Five of them, Carlos happens to still have.

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The theme, obviously, is that the Cardinals have built their roster the old-fashioned way: By trading and by nurturing younger players. While the cash-rich Dodgers have built their playoff team quickly via free agency.

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Carlos says this next one…

…did not show the Cards’ rich history

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And this one, Carlos says…

…we never flushed it out

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Here’s the sketch that was selected.

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And here, again, is the final cover.

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And not to seem overconfident or anything, but Carlos tells us…

[Dan] is already thinking about Red Sox or Tigers.

That might make you angry if you’re a Dodgers fan. But no disrespect is intended. The Post-Dispatch has covered enough playoff seasons that they know very well the value of early preparation. The worst that can happen is your team will lose and some work will go down the drain. That’s better than your team winning and you’re caught empty-handed with another massive playoff special section staring you in the face and nothing for the cover.

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Dan has been the Weatherbird artist at the Post-Dispatch since 1980. The daily Weatherbird feature began in the paper in 1901 and the P-D likes to claim it’s the oldest running daily newspaper feature in the U.S. Here’s a video staffer Huy Mach put together for the Weatherbird’s 110th anniversary, two years ago.

Find a gallery of Dan’s Weatherbird art here.

Two years ago, Dan drew “Hero” and “Goat” illustrations for each playoff game. You can find samples of that work in this blog post.

You probably know what happened in Friday night’s Game One: The game went into extra innings — four of them, in fact. At 12:25 a.m. Saturday, with two men on base in the bottom of the 13th inning, Carlos Beltran marched to the plate and smacked a line drive to deep right field, scoring a run and ending the game.

The Post-Dispatch‘s David Carson got this great celebration shot. The staff back at the paper wisely ran it big and got the hell out of its way.

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Later that day — heh — the Cardinals took a 2-0 lead in the series by topping the Dodgers by one whole run.

That run was scored by David Freese in the fifth inning. And you’re looking at it, as shot by staffer Chris Lee.

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Game three will start today. When it’ll end is anyone’s guess…

For your consideration…

There’s a lot of silliness happening out there in the world.

Meaning San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist Don Asmussen has had plenty to work with recently for his faux-headlines web strip, Bad Reporter.

In just the past few weeks, Don has found inspiration in the car fire that nearly claimed actor Dick Van Dyke

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…the latest Richard Nixon tapes…

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…harrassment charges against the mayor of San Diego…

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…the New York Times‘ troubles with hacker attacks…

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…and he’s had a lot of fun with Miley Cyrus.

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If you’re not reading Bad Reporter, then you’re really missing out. Find it here.

Laid off Thursday by Gannett: Green Bay cartoonist Joe Heller

Reading about the 200+ folks laid off Thursday by Gannett has been awfully painful.

Name after name of quality journalists, shown the door. This by a company that says it’s due to “local market conditions.” This from a company that announced, less than two months ago, it would pay $2.2 billion for 20 TV stations.

This sort of thing makes me angry. I hope it makes you angry, too.

One of the jaw-dropping names that rolled out of Thursday’s debacle was that of Green Bay, Wis., Press-Gazette editorial caroonist Joe Heller. Joe has worked for the Press-Gazette for 28 years.

 

A 1979 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Joe spent six years at the Daily News of West Bend, Wis., before moving to the Press-Gazette in 1985.

Now, being an editorial cartoonist in a town like Green Bay means one must develop an expertise on topics like football. And, uh, football. And, of course: NFL football.

But he also takes on other sports. Here’s a piece on the World Cup of soccer, a couple of years ago.

Here’s a two-themed Christmas cartoon: Shopping and travel.

Here are a couple of political pieces from last year.

Joe also handled high-profile illustration assignments for the paper. Like, for instance, this series of super-hero-themed posters that inserted with great fanfare during a run at the playoffs in January 2012.

 
 
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The Press-Gazette promoted heck out of these posters. They even produced a video to get folks motivated to buy copies in each day’s paper.

When Donald Driver retired from the Packers with great fanfare earlier this year, the Press-Gazette made sure to include a tribute from Joe in its 12-page wraparound special section.

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If you’re thinking Joe is only about big sports cartoons, though, you’d be wrong. Joe created this fun data visualization piece that ran atop page one last November.

There are lots of fun little moments in this illustration.

And, if that wasn’t enough, Joe also worked on the occasional multimedia graphic. Like this interactive map from July 2010.

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As you can see, that’s just a screencap of the interactive map. Find the real one here.

Wow. What a multitalented guy. What a content generator. If Joe’s not the kind of guy Gannett wants to keep around, I really have to question that company’s commitment to newspapering.

Alan Gardner of the Daily Cartoonist asked Joe a few questions yesterday after the news broke. An excerpt:

Q: Have you had time to formulate what your plans are now – near term and long term?

A: Since I’m self-syndicated with more than 350 newspapers, I will continue to draw my editorial cartoons at my home studio. I’ve dodged the axe so many times, that when it did happen, I was prepared.

Q: You’ve had for years a self-syndicated operation of your cartoons. Will that continue and if so, do you think you’ll expand?

A: Without the restrictions that my former paper put on me, and there a too many to note. I can now expand my empire to online and circulation areas that were off limits.

Find the entire Q&A here.

And here’s a story the local Fox affiliate did last night on Joe and the layoffs.

Find Joe’s personal home page here. Find a nice story about his work methods here.

Cool superhero cover alert

It’s Comic Con time in Boston this weekend. The alt-weekly tab there, Dig Boston, celebrated with variant covers.

This one by noted comics artist Ed McGuinness shows Superman and a grown-up Fionna from the Adventure Time TV show…

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…while this one by Shelli Paroline — an artist for Adventure Time — depicts Fionna in a bit more recognizable form, returning the favor.

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Both Paroline and McGuinness live in the suburbs of Boston. And both artists will be at the convention.

Read more about the covers here. Find an interview with the founder of the Boston Comic Con here.