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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Moldy Oldie

July, 1984 was the month and year I started working in the animation industry. This panel dates to just prior to that, when I was working on the Queen Mary Ship in Long Beach in the finance dept. of all places. At the same time I was also doing panel cartoons for the 91-X radio station's newsletter out of San Diego as well as a long-gone rag called the L.A. Funnies, and any other publication that would have me.
These were the days before photoshop and fonts, so the lettering in this example was painstakingly applied by hand. That's real Zippatone too, folks; sticky-backed dot screen patterns that were laid over the drawing and then cut out with an exacto knife. Mistakes in the drawing were either brushed over with white-out or scraped off with a knife. It was no big deal back then because that's the way everyone was doing it. A finished cartoon was something to marvel at, not like a computer file nowadays that has no warmth.
Don't get me wrong, I love Photoshop, and I can't wait to get my drawings scanned and start working on them on the computer. Photoshop is so forgiving it's ridiculous compared to the old ways, and for me, it's like being ten years old again and reliving the thrill of drawing on my very first Etch-A-Sketch.
Also interesting to me about this panel is it may have been the very first time I used a clown theme in a gag. It was only because I needed a visual play on the caption, not that it was really about clowns for me back then. But nowadays I write gags with clowns in them all the time, because I've grown to love them. In fact, I almost called the blog 'Clowns and Caves' because of my leanings toward caveman jokes as well. But everyone seemed to like Crotchety Comics when I ran it up the flagpole at work, so that was that. My occasional grumpiness probably helped sell the idea too, I suppose. Ha! -Ted Blackman


  1. Hahaha. I grew up listening to 91X in San Diego, but never knew they published articles. I remember the yellow and black stickers. Was it a magazine or what?

    Any tips on how to get your gag strips out there into publications? Did you just do cold submissions to magazines and hope they'd be interested?

  2. I remember working with that Zippatone stuff in the "caveman" days. We had more patience then didn't we? We sure have come a long ways with the tech stuff. This is just a fun cartoon to look at. It has that classic look alright.

  3. Chris, I haven't a clue how to get cartoons published anymore. That was 300 years ago. The competition must be fierce these days, that's why we're all online.

    Thanks, Belf!
    Yeah, I was using press-type and Zipatone long before I could walk upright.

  4. wait. you were Grumpy back then?
    who knew?
    (and how did you get into that ridiculously tiny outfit at Disneyland?)

  5. Ted, this was one you did while I was in the Navy on the Kitty Hawk out in the middle of the Indian Ocean. I still have the original you sent me. It's funny because at "Mail Call" all the Sailors in my Division would listen to see if I got a letter from you. They all enjoyed looking at the cartoons you would draw on the envelope and the ones you put inside. We'd all sit around and laugh. This cartoon in paticular got a few deep belly laughs....