If you've been away all weekend, please note there's lots of goodies I posted over the weekend, including announcements for this and next week's personal appearances by yours truly in connection with filmmaker Lance Weiler's national screenings of his new feature Head Trauma (which weaves a comic drawn by my son Dan and I into its insidious narrative); a full illustrated review of The Wicker Man remake; the fourth part of the Home Movie Day essay; my initial comments on the fantastic new graphic novel, complete at last, from Chris Staros at Top Shelf, who've graced us all with the complete Alan Moore & Melinda Gebbie erotic classic Lost Girls (about which I'll be writing more in the coming week or two); and much, much more.
So, check it all out. Lots of reading for those of you who spent Labor Day Weekend away from the computer. Enjoy.
And as my old Johnson State College buddy Dave Booz reminds us (in the comments on one of this weekend's posts), "...I hope one and all enjoy labor day it is brought to you from the brotherhood of united carpenters of america. believe it or not they started labor day" -- a refresher relevent to this 21st Century era of discouraging organized labor and unions.
You know, I saw a huge number of Republicans & avowed conservatives enjoying the holiday, despite their steadfast loathing of the premise of organized labor and the strength of unions.
As for other comments worth noting here:
Baden Smith writes, "OK, can I say I'm loving your report of the Home Film Fest - are events like these common? I've never heard of the concept before, but it's a good 'un."
Baden, I know this is a relatively new thing, and have no idea if it's taken off nationally, but wouldn't be surprised to know it has. The Northeast Historic Film Museum has hosted such events up in their Bucksport, Maine digs at the Alamo Theater, and I know the previous Home Movie Day event in the Hanover/White River Jct. area spawned similar events the same weekend this year in other New England locations, including one in Burlington, VT. I'll tap the organizers, Bruce & John, for their take in this, and report back to you via the concluding chapter (still a ways away!) of my essay.
I've got a full week ahead, prepping for the launch of the new semester at The Center for Cartoon Studies, committee work on the Marlboro Broadband Committee and the four-town cooperative we're part of, the Board of Directors for The Common Ground restaurant -- which we hope to reopen later this fall -- and more, hence the jam-packed weekend postings. I don't know how much I can post this week here, but I'll do my best to stay daily with it.
Among the posts I'm working on is another piece on The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon & Graphic Art, Inc., my alma mater, which (along with the beloved Joe & Muriel Kubert) put me on my feet to become a professional cartoonist. That's underway, but leads me to today's post. I apologize in advance for the exclusionary nature of this post -- it's really directed at fellow pros -- and hope this doesn't discourage any of you from reading on:
A notice for fellow artists and comics and commercial art professionals:
It's rare that I address my fellow professionals via this blog,
but I am making an exception this morning.
Please not and honor Joe Kubert's request, that this petition is "intended to be signed specifically by cartoonists, animators, and comic book artists." Thanks.
This email from the great Joe Kubert arrived this past week, and is worthy of your immediate attention. If you are so moved to add your name to this petition, note that you are to email
Dr. Rafael Medoff,
director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies at: firstname.lastname@example.org --
-- not Joe.
Read on, please:
August 30, 2006
I don't usually get involved in international controversies. But I am outraged by the refusal of the Polish government to return artwork belonging to a fellow-cartoonist and Auschwitz survivor, Mrs. Dina Babbitt. And I am writing to ask you to join me in protesting this injustice.
Deported to Auschwitz as a teenager, Mrs. Babbitt's life was spared by the infamous war criminal, Dr. Josef Mengele, after he saw a mural of Snow White that she had painted on the wall of the children's barracks to soothe the children in their final hours. He then compelled her to paint portraits of Gypsies upon whom he was performing his barbaric "experiments."
After the war, Mrs. Babbitt relocated to California, where she worked as an animator for Warner Brothers and Jay Ward Productions. Among other things, she illustrated such characters as Wile E. Coyote, Cap'n Crunch, and Tweety Bird for many years.
Some years ago, unbeknownst to Mrs. Babbitt, eight of the paintings she did at Auschwitz resurfaced and were acquired by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, a Polish government institution on the site of the former death camp. Mrs. Babbitt visited the museum and verified that they are hers (they are even signed "Dina 1944"), but the Poles refused to give them back, claiming they are legally the property of the museum.
Four years ago, when I wrote the book Yossel, about a teenage cartoonist whose life was spared by the Nazis because they were amused by his drawings, I did not know that there had been a real-life case that bore similarities to my book. I was stunned to learn of Mrs. Babbitt, and even more stunned by the Polish government's position.
Together with officials of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, an organization with which I have been active, I have prepared a petition to the Polish authorities. It is intended to be signed specifically by cartoonists, animators, and comic book artists. Adam, Andy, and I are very much hoping that you will join us.
To have your name added to the petition, please send an email to the Wyman Institute's director, Dr. Rafael Medoff, at: email@example.com.
With thanks in advance for your support,
Joe Kubert School of Cartoon
& Graphic Art, Inc.
37 Myrtle Avenue
Dover, NJ 07801
M-F, 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM ET
Mr. Piotr Cywinski, Director
Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
Dear Mr. Cywinski:
As cartoonists, animators, and comic book artists, we are deeply troubled that the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum has refused to return the portraits that our colleague, Mrs. Dina Gottliebova Babbitt, painted in Auschwitz in 1944.
The fundamental principle that art belongs to the artist who created it is recognized everywhere except in totalitarian countries. One would hope that Poland, having been liberated from totalitarian rule, would not revert to the mentality that regards everything as the property of the state.
We agree that the display of Mrs. Babbitt's artwork is of great educational value, and we are pleased that the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum recognizes their importance. But that educational purpose could just as easily be achieved by displaying high-quality reproductions of the paintings, while returning the originals to their creator and rightful owner.
Mrs. Babbitt has suffered enough. We implore you to do the right thing and give her back her paintings.
Please note that as of this morning, the following names have been added to the petition.
Yours should be here, too...
Stephen R. Bissette
William F. Brown
Nelson Faro DeCastro
Joseph de Haro
Alvaro MuÒoz de la Rubia
Jim Di Bartolo
Paul Di Filippo
Michael T. Gilbert
Brian Jon Haberlin
HÂvard S. Johansen
Steven Philip Jones
Jose Luis Garcia Lopez
Ken Meyer Jr.
Jon J. Muth
Paco Rodriguez Peinado
Michael L. Peters
John Romita, Jr.
Brian K. Vaughan
Charles Paul Wilson III
Matthew Z. Wood