Friday, April 24, 2009

Craig Yoe Talks about Joe Shuster's Fetish Art on Yesterday's "Fresh Air"

On last night's broadcast of "Fresh Air," NPR's Terry Gross interviewed my pal Craig Yoe, author of the new book Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-Creator Joe Shuster. I got a peek at the book a few months back at the New York Comic Con, and it looks great! I can't wait to get a copy of my own. Much of this work has laid "undiscovered" for decades; Craig's done a great service by presenting and discussing this work, showing us another side of the artist who's best-known (possibly only known) to the general public for having created, with Jerry Siegel, that obscure comic book character Superman.

Listen to Terry Gross' interview with Craig Yoe here.

I've heard rumblings from a (very) few comics fans who lament the book's existence, saying that it sullies Joe Shuster's memory. I couldn't disagree more; the book adds to our knowledge of Shuster, revealing where his opportunities lay once DC Comics had no more use for his services and showing us how his art "matured" (in more than one sense) after he drew the Man of Steel. I've also heard fans say that the art in this book will "overshadow" his work on Superman. Honestly, could that really happen? Will people now remember only this work and forget his co-creation of Superman? Hardly. Or, to put it another way, it's simply inconceivable.

For more information on the book, check out's feature page for Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s co-creator Joe Shuster. We also have info on some of Craig's other books, like Clean Cartoonists' Dirty Drawings and Modern Arf: Artists + Models: The Naked Truth. And no, Craig doesn't just write books with nekkid ladies in them - check out his website for a complete list. Obviously, I need to add - and OWN - the rest of his books!

Addendum: As everyone who's met him or read his book-blog knows, Craig Yoe is one of those shy, retiring types, never one to toot his own horn without painful prodding. I'm not sure who was holding a gun to his head, but somehow he was convinced to create an image promoting his radio appearance:
Very clever, Craig! But I know your secret. You stole - er, appropriated - that face from the original version of your new book's cover.Image credits: Top - cover to Secret Identity, probably Copyright © 2009 Abrams ComicArts. Middle: Copyright © 2009 Craig Yoe. Bottom: A "yoe-toe-shopped" mash-up of the two by moi.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, October 12, 2006

OSU Cartoon Research Library on NPR

I missed the broadcast, but Sunday's "Talk of the Nation" on NPR featured a ten-minute interview with Lucy Shelton Caswell, curator of the Cartoon Research Library at The Ohio State University. The segment focuses primarily on the CRL's collection of original American cartoon art, the largest such collection in the world.

I've been lucky enough to visit the library twice (1998 and 2004), each time in conjunction with their triennial Festival of Cartoon Art. The Festival is always worthwhile, and unlike any other comics event I've attended. Lucy gathers a wide range of cartoonists, scholars, collectors, and afficianados to give presentations and occasionally to assemble exhibits. In 1998, for example, we enjoyed a huge collection of memorabilia from and about MAD magazine. And that was just a suplemental exhibit; the main focus that year was a breathtaking exhibit of orignal art by Winsor McCay, one of my favorite cartoonists. The next Festival will be held October 26-27, 2007, and "will celebrate the centennial of the birth of Milton Caniff." Barring any unforseen complications, I'll be there!

The NPR story is archived on the web, and it's definitely worth your ten minutes. For more on Lucy and the library, you can read "OSU Cartoon Research Library Celebrates Ohio Natives," a newspaper article from a few years back, for which I was happy to contribute some laudatory quotations. And be sure to visit the Cartoon Research Library's website (the source of these images).

Thanks to Eagle-Eye Kate for the tip!

Labels: , , ,

Friday, September 22, 2006


Well, not exactly. But the new book Presidential Doodles: Two Centuries of Scribbles, Scratches, Squiggles and Scrawls from the Oval Office presents all kinds of - well, doodles from America's presidents. I learned about this book from a story on National Public Radio's program All Things Considered yesterday; you can listen for yourself here.

In the audio, the authors discuss the oeuvres of several presidents, including Ronald Reagan (top), whom they describe as a "one-time aspiring cartoonist." Some presidents displayed a bit more talent than Reagan, such as Ulysses S. Grant and his horse (upper), while some present work which, as the authors note, seem definite analyst-fodder, such as Lyndon B. Johnson and his bunny, three-headed woman, and, um, ? (lower).

For more information about the book, be sure to visit its official website, which includes the story of the book's genesis, as well as web-extras like a quiz, ecards, on-line presidential resources, and more.

All images from the NPR website, presumably taken from the book.

Labels: , ,

Friday, February 10, 2006

Comic Books + Poetry + NPR = "Funny Books"

The Writer's Almanac is a daily radio show hosted by Garrison Keillor. Each day GK (nice initials!) reads brief biographies of literary figures as well as a poem. Today's installment included a poem I'd not known before, "Funny Books" by Robert Morgan. It's a nostalgic look at the writer's atom-age childhood love of that most forbidden of all fruit, comic books. Here's a brief taste:
                                      I crouched
in almost dark and swilled the words
that soared in their balloons and bulbs
of grainy breath into my pulse,
into the stratosphere of my
imagination, reaching Mach
and orbit speed, escape velocity
just at the edge of Sputnik's age,
in stained glass windows of the page.
To read the rest of the poem, click here. Or you can listen to Keillor's dulcet tones here.

Labels: ,