Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2107th Distribution, LASFS Meeting No. 3555, September 29, 2005.
Golden State Colonial Convalescent Hospital, 10830 Oxnard Street, North Hollywood, California 91606-5098.
Telephone: hospital(818) 763-8247; personal (818) 506-3159 * eMail:firstname.lastname@example.org
|L.A.con IV in 2006!||Nippon 2007 in 2007!||Salamander Press #2590|
from Editor & Publisher
Comic Creator and 'Cartoonist Profiles' Editor Jud Hurd Dies
By Dave Astor
Published: September 19, 2005 11:10 AM ET
NEW YORK Jud Hurd, a cartoonist and longtime editor of "Cartoonist Profiles" magazine, died Sept. 14 of pneumonia. He was 92.
The Westport, Conn., resident had previously suffered a stroke in May. "He had a very difficult four months, but he never complained," his widow, Claudia Hurd, told E&P Online Monday.
Jud founded "Cartoonist Profiles" in 1969 after editing the National Cartoonists Society's (NCS) newsletter for several years. Claudia said Jud was able to work on the just-published issue of "Cartoonist Profiles." There will be no more issues after that.
Hurd began his cartooning career in 1936 at an animation studio, and soon started doing the "Just Hurd in Hollywood" strip. (The cartoonist's real first name was Justin.) For that syndicated comic, Hurd interviewed stars such as John Barrymore, Claudette Colbert, Gary Cooper, Joan Crawford, Cary Grant, Bob Hope, Lana Turner, and John Wayne.
I feel that I should note the passing of Jud Hurd and of CARTOONIST PROfiles in ˇRR! because, for decades, it was the source of so much of the information that I published here about comic strips. I was a charter subscriber of CARTOONIST PROfiles in 1969, and for many years it was just about the only source of information about old and new newspaper comic strips. I believe it was also the first American magazine to print any information about Japanese comics, in an article around 1971 or '72 by Kosei Ono. This led me into correspondence with Ono, and we later became acquaintances; there are a couple of photographs of the two of us together in Tokyo in 1983 and in Sydney in 1995 in my Watching Anime, Reading Manga.
From 1969 to about 2000, if I needed any information about comic strips I would go to the stacks of CARTOONIST PROfiles on my bookshelves. Jud Hurd had a fantastically comprehensive archive on the subject, amassed over his lifetime. For the issue that commemorated Walt Disney's 100th birthday in 2001, the cover was a photo that Hurd had taken in the '30s of Disney showing his father (Disney's) around his new studio. The magazine included both historical articles on 19th and early 20th century cartoonists and their comics, and contemporary articles on brand-new comics. Many of the latter did not last long, while others like Calvin & Hobbes and The Far Side were documented throughout their careers.
CARTOONIST PROfiles began to lessen in importance around the late 1990s. The Internet developed many web- sites about comic strips, and it became easier to do a websearch on a particular cartoonist or strip than to search through over a hundred issues of the magazine for an article dimly remembered from years earlier. Hurd finally published articles on just about all the historical comics there had ever been; for its last few years the magazine contained little more than the newspaper syndicates' press kits about their newest comic strips and their hopeful young cartoonists. They all read so similarly that they were virtually interchangeable. The biggest flaw in my opinion was that Hurd virtually ignored all the new comic strips that were appearing only on the Internet. The only two articles that I can remember were on Kevin & Kell and Pibgorn, and I am pretty sure that those were covered only because Bill Holbrook and Brooke McEldowney were already the creators of successful newspaper strips. Hurd also ignored the book collections of Internet strips, although he covered the collections of newspaper strips readily enough.
I suppose that I renewed my subscription during the last few years more out of habit and to keep up my complete collection than because I was still enjoying it as much as I used to. A couple of years ago Hurd announced that, because he was now in his 90s and CARTOONIST PROfiles was a one-man operation, he would only accept subscriptions for two issues ahead at a time, so that no subscriber would be owed too much if he suddenly became unable to continue the magazine. It was a cruel coincidence that he & I had strokes almost simultaneously; me in March and him in May, just after publishing issue #145. His wife sent out notices that he hoped to somehow continue publication from his sickbed, but unless "the just- published issue" was #146 (which seems unlikely), that never happened. CARTOONIST PROfiles and Jud Hurd, R.I.P.
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Last Wednesday evening, Rob Powell took me to the publicity screening for ASIFA-Hollywood members of Tim Burton's Corpse Bride at the AMPAS' Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Attendees got a very attractive souvenir Corpse Bride Flip Book in full color, with a complete plot synopsis (handy for identifying the full cast of characters with the correct spellings of their names).
I thoroughly enjoyed Corpse Bride. It is a visual treat, with a mixture of art styles emphasizing a blend of Edward Gorey's darkly Gothic Edwardianism (above ground) and the colorful Mexican Day of the Dead (below ground). It has some of Danny Elfman's best music yet, and plenty of it. It is fast-paced and spritely, and mostly very witty. Just do not expect the story to make any sense. The Nightmare Before Christmas was a model of straightforward plotting compared to this. I do not want to give lots of spoilers by listing some of the glaring inconsistencies, but the only way that Victor's (the hero, or at least the male lead) character makes any sense is if his personality is so weak that he automatically agrees with whoever he talks to last. He really should have ended up married to both Victoria and Emily (the Corpse Bride) since he either loves both of them or switches his love back & forth with dizzying speed when they are both talking to him. The movie's main flaw, at least for me, was that it was impossible to work up much empathy with such a wishy-washy character. Jack Skellington in Nightmare Before Christmas at least knew what he wanted to do. Corpse Bride succeeds despite, not because of, its main characters or a logical story.
In fact, Corpse Bride is closer to the Gilbert & Sullivan operettas than to other movies. They don't have strong plots or believable characters; just humorous, colorfully fantastic situations and lots of catchy, toe-tapping music. If you like the G&S operettas - particularly Ruddigore - you should love Tim Burton's Corpse Bride.
We arrived at AMPAS' Oscar Awards theater just in time to get seats before the movie started. (One advantage of being wheelchair-bound was that an usher took us directly to an excellent spot to see the screen.) Afterwards I had a chance to chat briefly with Craig Miller & Genny Dazzo, Gustav Baron, June Foray, Steve Gattuso and Tom Sito as the crowd was leaving, but we did not have time to look at the theater's current exhibit on classic Hollywoodiana (Greta Garbo movie posters, photos, scripts, correspondence, review clippings, etc.). I also gave my new hospital address to Larry Lau, one of ASIFA's Directors, since my invitation to this screening had been forwarded from my old address. My ASIFA membership should be expiring soon, and with free publicity screenings expected within the next month of Disney's Chicken Little and Aardman Animation's Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, I will have to find out if ASIFA has a renewal discount for handicapped members.
An unexpected bonus that evening was that Tadao Tomomatsu had given Powell a copy of the previous day's L.A. Times with its "On a Sci-Fi High" article on the LASFS for me, so I did not have to wait for the next evening's LASFS meeting to see it. Thanks, Tadao! The article has the expected minor errors - misspelled members' names including "Freehaufer Hall"; saying that the LASFS has met every Thursday since it began in October 1934, and that Ray Bradbury occasionally speaks at meetings; that the LASFS has the most complete s-f library in the world; describing the Estrogen Zone meetings as "female-only"; saying that the LASFS organizes the annual "Lascon" and that next year the club will host the 2006 Worldcon - but in general it presents an accurate, nicely illustrated, and highly favorable description of the club. It is published in a "Living Well: The Senior Years" special supplement section, so there is an emphasis on how generation- spanning and seniors-friendly the club is, but that is accurate, too. Modern s-f movies and TV and anime are mentioned, and they even put the slash in the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization's name (which De Profundis does not always do). It is generally a more positive writeup of s-f fandom than the average Worldcon gets.
Michael Burlake took me to the LASFS meeting on Thursday, and also brought me a copy of "On a Sci-Fi High". There was a spectacular contrail from a rocket launch at Vandenberg AFB in the sky over the hospital as we left. We had to park at the curb again because the Alderson parking spot was taken by the same car that was in it the previous week. This time Karl Lembke Took Steps; there was a public announcement early in the meeting that the owner of the car had only minutes to move it before it would be towed. (It was gone when the meeting ended, though I do not know whether its owner moved it or it was towed.) The Moffatts brought three cakes to celebrate their Patron Saint's week. There were three or four guests as a result of the L.A. Times' article about the club. The main event of the meeting was discussion of the article, which was generally approved as favorable despite what Charlie Jackson called its description of the club as "mummified", and its superficial errors (although there was debate as to whether the club should spend $50 on ice cream for the next evening in case anyone came for the "ice cream social ... every Friday night"). Enough people who missed buying Tuesday's Times asked if it was still possible to get it, that instructions were given on how to buy recent back issues from the Times' office.
The LASFS Library received the September 2005 issue of Locus, with its list of "Forthcoming Books Through June 2006". Buried in the iBooks release calendar for February 2006 (page 35) is my Furry!: The Best Anthropomorphic Fiction Ever. So it looks like this mass-market reprint of my Best in Show is firmly committed without question.
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-- Comments on Last Week's Distribution:
Thanks for publishing my previous week's missing page 4. I was surprised by the comic strips, though. (Since Vanessa Van Wagner adds comics to fill space and I never am sure how much space needs to be filled, I never know which comic strips have been put onto my last page until I see it in print.) These are the first Nip and Tuck strip, from October 2, 2000, and the most recent strip at the time (#457, this Sept. 15th). I do not usually complain about Vanessa's choices, but it would have made more sense to print the two most recent strips, both for better continuity and because #456 explains why Hortense Lizard is shopping for an outrageous wig. #457 does not really stand alone, and it is also a bad choice because it is one of those that does not print well on the LASFS Gestetner. Panel 3 should show colored lights in the wig when Hortense presses the switch in back. I recommend going to the Nip and Tuck website and reading the most recent half-dozen strips to appreciate the current very funny story sequence. At least the first strip juxtaposed with one of the most recent shows how Ralph Hayes' art style has evolved over the past six years.
Cover - (Moffatt) Very nice. Did you take this cat-at-the-computer photograph yourself? (And have you read the Furry fantasy novels Cats in Cyberspace and Feline Online?)
Godzillla Verses #55 - (DeChancie) Nevada has a strong reputation for Not Going Away. You were not around the LASFS in the 1960s when Jayne Gallion talked about moving to Las Vegas to escape the coming giant earthquake that was going to destroy California. Conversation revealed that she thought that California was going to snap off along the state line and drift into the Pacific, and that she would be able to watch from Las Vegas. There was at least one Underground Comix that showed California sinking into the ocean and all the surfers catching the resulting Big Wave up to the Las Vegas casinos. ## The Japanese curse word that is often translated as "shee!" (or "S---!', or something milder for a G or PG rating) is "kuso!" I understand that in Japanese it does not have the scatological meaning that s--- does. ## I agree that neither the Phil Dick robot nor the promised Hello Kitty robot were/would be true A.I., but that is how they were written up; and it is apparently as close to A.I. as the technology has come to date. This strikes me as similar to the way in the 1950s the word "spacemen" meaning men who go into space, which was accurate, was replaced by "astronaut" and "cosmonaut", meaning men who travel among the stars or into the cosmos, which is a considerable exaggeration of how far space exploration has gotten.
De Jueves #1445 - (Moffatt) There are many things that I do not understand about my computer, and about the Internet in general. Things that work fine for months suddenly "are not supported" on my server. Usually I can find ways to get what I want, after all. For problems that stymie me, I call on Vanessa Van Wagner to come over and get them fixed. ## I am pretty sure that I remember Unobtanium from some Donald Duck or Uncle Scrooge story by Carl Barks, although I have no idea which one. However, I believe that it has also been aerospace industry slang for a long time for whatever idealized but nonexistent alloy engineers might wish to have for a project. I do not know who coined the word first. ## The main things that I remember about fezzes (aside from their being popular with Shriners) are that Kemal Ataturk outlawed them in Turkey, and that Sidney Greenstreet wore one in Casablanca. Wearing one in Our Boarding House to signify that he was a "gentleman of leisure" would also be perfectly in keeping with Major Hoople's self-image. ## I got the impression when I asked for an updated list of LASFS Patron Saints that the list was on somebody's schedule to be updated Real Soon Now. I hope that you can get all the information, and a list of the Sacred Objects. ## My nurses definitely do not want me sitting in one spot for hours at a time, which is why I am currently being returned to bed for two- or three-hour stretches a couple of times a day. I am getting walking exercises, but only for about 15 minutes a day.
I Apologize For The Dumb Mistake - (Cantor) Apology accepted. ## It looks like Phoenix has joined the list of once-great centers of fandom that have dwindled into insularity, like Denver.
Long Time, No C #37 - (Zeff) I wonder whether micropublishers like Sofawolf Press are considered "real" or among the POD and vanity publishers? Sofawolf will not publish a book just because the author will pay for it, but it cannot afford to pay authors more than a token fee; so its books are all essentially donated by their authors for the pleasure of seeing them in print. (Most commercial publishers are not interested in buying Furry novels and anthologies, no matter how well-written.) I have read some novels that are only published on their authors' websites that I consider to be as good as or better than the average published s-f novels (I think that Freedom City, by Phil Geusz, should be considered for the Libertarian Futurist Society's Prometheus Award); and Kay Shapero has described how Lawrence Watt-Evans is self-publishing his ninth Ethshar novel on his website for subscriptions from his Ethshar fans because his book publisher will not publish them any more. Because of these developments, I am not sure that "self-published" carries the stigma that it used to; although I agree that most of the books published by Xlibris that I have read could have used some obvious editorial advice, in my opinion.
Merrie Maladies #27 - (Castora) Culver City is also an independent city completely surrounded by Los Angeles. ## Political Correctness often seems to be about being offensively non-offensive; as in the recent order by the National Collegiate Athletic Association that all college sports teams with Native American names & mascots were required to change them because they were offensively "hostile or abusive". The NCAA was forced to back down for the Florida State Seminoles when Florida State demonstrated its portrayal of Seminoles was respectful and with the Seminole Tribe's prior official approval. There may be many sports teams with demeaning Indian names like the Redskins, but the NCAA should have ruled on a case-by-case basis rather than arbitrarily declaring that all Indian-themed sports names were automatically offensive. ## I believe that it would be more accurate to say that the New Madrid earthquake fault was unknown when this country was founded, not that it did not exist until later. ## Have you ever seen the animated commercials from the first season of The Flintstones when it was a family program rather than a children's program, with Fred and Barney lighting up their Winstons and taking a cigarette break while expecting Wilma and Betty to do all the household chores? Or some of the animated beer commercials with Bob & Ray? Forty to fifty-year-old breakfast cereal commercials are a time capsule of forgotten cereals and cartoon mascots like Buffalo Bee, the cowboy honeybee mascot of Nabisco's Wheat Honeys. Old TV commercials can be very enjoyable to fans of pop-culture nostalgia as much as to animation trivialists. ## Many classic comic strips, including Alex Raymond's original Flash Gordon, read much better at one strip per week than collected into books. Reading them all together exposes how rambling and poorly thought out their stories were. It is even easier to overdose on the overly-similar gag-a-day strips. Animated theatrical cartoons that were intended to be seen months apart have a similar problem, such as all the Coyote & Road Runner cartoons.
I Plead Handicapped - (Gold) Thank you for the new pants, which are so loose they fall down when I stand up to get into & out of my wheelchair. Since I am seated in the wheelchair all the time that I am in public, this is not a problem. ## I do now have my electric fan turned on while I am in bed, and turned off when I am in my wheelchair and can use my computer. ## There were a lot of racy paperback covers in the early 1950s, particularly for the hard-boiled crime novels like Mickey Spillaine's Mike Hammer series. "BEMs & babes" s-f pulp cover artist Earle Bergey was just beginning to switch to paperback covers when he died in 1952; I recall that his cover for Wyndham's Day of the Triffids had a barely-clad beautiful girl fleeing the triffids. Such covers were gone from most paperbacks by 1960. (With some exceptions - remember Pagan Passions, with its juxtaposed authors' credits & blurb of "Randall Garrett & Larry Harris - Forced To Make Love To Beautiful Women!"? As Garrett spent the rest of his life chortling, they wouldn't have to force him very hard. But that book had a sedate cover compared to those of the early '50s.) ## As I recall the Japanese soundtrack to Bleach, the word translated as Death God was definitely shikigami, not shigami. I am well-used to Japanese words in anime & manga not being in Japanese-English dictionaries, although shikigami looks like it should be a conventional word, not teen slang as so many of the new words are. ## So the San Francisco bankers made their decision to keep using only gold & silver and not paper money on (or before) the first day of 1862? A lot of major corporations resolved during the first weeks of the Depression to ignore it; unfortunately for them, the Depression did not ignore them. The first U.S. paper money was issued on March 10, 1862 and the first fractional currency that August to cope with the disappearance of coins of all denominations from circulation. The San Francisco bankers may have resolved to see that the California State Legislature passed a law to "keep California on the gold standard", but what did this actually mean? The U.S. government's paper money was legal tender; a California law could not devalue it. There are certainly recorded instances of people refusing to accept paper money when it first appeared (or accepting it only at a discount), but they were isolated and did not last long. Does The Man Who Built San Francisco say how successful the bankers were in keeping California on a coin-only basis throughout the Civil War? I never heard that California avoided the coinage shortage throughout the rest of the Union during the Civil War. ## Ichigo in Bleach, who wears dark gray samurai robes, is the second Death God. Rukia, the first Death God, who recruits him, wears solid black and looks more like a ninja. (When they are not busy as Death Gods they wear normal high school uniforms.) Bleach is more about modern teen (super)heroes fighting supernatural monsters than about traditional Japanese culture. For more about Bleach than you want to know, see the fan website http://bleach7.com/index.php?page=member/news, which includes downloadable bootleg subtitled complete episodes.
Fish Out of Water #137 - (Helgesen) I used to answer telephone polls before my stroke, if they came when I had some spare time. I have such a hard time talking now that I only answer genuine personal calls. ## Thanks for the information on the Canadian Howdy Doody program, although this just documents the different claims as to whether Robert Goulet was a cast member or not; it does not resolve the issue. It looks like the sites you cite are just reprinting fourth- or fifth-hand information rather than anything verified. One would think that the official Robert Goulet site should be authoritative, but I would want to verify this myself (and I am frankly not interested enough to take the time) before accepting it. Many celebrity websites are in fact run by their fans and are filled with unchecked publicity hype. ## Dean Young's claim that his father owned the copyright to Blondie from its beginning in 1930 is another that I would like to see verified. Most histories of the comic strips state that Milton Caniff was the first cartoonist with enough popularity/prestige to successfully demand the ownership of his own strip, and he had to give up his Terry and the Pirates and start Steve Canyon in 1947 to get it. Also, Blondie is copyrighted by King Features Syndicate today; if it was originally copyrighted by Chic Young, when & how did its copyright get changed? Most histories of Blondie just say that it was started in 1930 by Chic Young who had previously drawn other "unsuccessful" strips including Dumb Dora. They do not say why he gave up Dumb Dora (which continued until 1935 under another artist, so it could not have been that unsuccessful), or mention who originally owned Blondie's copyright. I would more readily believe that Young demanded a more favorable contract upon creating Blondie, but the strip was still owned by its distributor. Comic strips were so universally owned by their newspapers (or distributors) that if Blondie was owned by its creator, I would think that this would be more often mentioned in the histories. Without more detailed information, I would put Dean Young's claim alongside Mickey Rooney's that Walt Disney named Mickey Mouse in his honor.
Oh, All Right!!! - (Lembke) I have developed considerable respect for Wikipedia's entries. They seem to be usually accurate, and acknowledge when information is incomplete or uncertain.
Vanamonde #645 - (Hertz) Rick Sternbach may have been at last year's Loscon, but I did not take advantage of the opportunity to chat with him. Maybe this year, since I hope to make Loscon 32 the first con that I will attend since my stroke.