Monday, November 30, 2009

Mexican Taxi Cam

They say the US is the land of the free but they'd never allow a license plate like this.

Coffee Against Magic?

No rabbits in this one. I'm not sure I can be fully opposed to this trick. The gentleman in the illustration appears to be very impressed. Courtesy of Mostly Forbidden Zone.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lots of Bull

I'm glad I didn't wear the red cape that day.

Wartime Rabbit Switcheroo

I caught this on the excellent Mark's Scrapbook of Oddities and Treasures blog. Another marvelous example of a rabbit-pulling-magician-out-of-hat image. This one's from 1943. How many more of these do we need to make this a genre?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Unknown Rabbit

No details about this painting. However, the rabbit looks pretty happy. maybe he's being petted by the no-forehead guy who's wife is also stroking the black hen while the spare hat is filled with coffee from a hose. Strange people these Mexicans.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Ear Today

I spotted an error in this one that slipped by me, my proof checker and my editor. I you look closely at Weenus's head in the last panel you can see that the brown of the tree trunk is in front of his ear. It's mistakes like this that probably cost me my place in the annals of great cartooning.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Day I Ate Corn Smut

I'm not much of an adventurous eater. After all I've not eaten anything with a face since 1984. However, I did recently try Corn Smut. Just in case you're not familiar with this Mexican snack (also known as "huitlacoche" which translated from the Nahuatl means, literally "ravens poo"), corn smut is a disease of maize which can infect any part of the plant it usually enters the ovaries and replaces the normal kernels of the cobs with large distorted tumors. In the United States it is considered a pest. In Mexico… it is a delicacy!
Here's my corn smut being prepared by a local senorita in Xochimilco. The green and yellow bits at the bottom are for a different taco snack of flor de calabaza (squash blossoms) and mushroom.Here's the finished smut (top). It tasted pretty good. Sort of mushroom-like, sweet, savory, woody, and earthy.Washed down with an ice cold Negra Modelo. Yum! Delicious.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Knight in Shining Lycra

The gentleman on the bike in the background is cartoonist Keith Knight. This was in response to his including Weenus in his cartoon here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lemon on the Alameda

Here's another cunning snapshot from my recent Mexico trip. I'm standing in front of my favorite Diego Rivera mural Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park (yes, you're allowed to take pictures "sin flash"). It's a sort of "popular" history of Mexico as opposed to his usual murals of Spanish conquistadors burning and torturing the indigenous peoples on one side while the working classes are oppressed by the corrupt bourgeois elite on the other.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Where the Streets Have No Lane

I'm an avid bicyclist although not the renegade bike messenger type, nor the Lycra-wearing sporty type. The "other" type. Of course in real life the bike lane in the strip above would be blocked with double parked vehicles and littered with dangerous street detritus.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Big Trick

I saw this at the Museo de Arte Moderno (Museum of Modern Art) in Chapultepec Park, Mexico City and thought it was pretty awesome. It's called "El Gran Truco" by Cynthía Gutiérrez (2008).

Saturday, November 21, 2009


This is of course based on Dalís "Persistence of Memory" but I changed it slightly. There's nothing worse than getting sued for copyright by a dead surrealist.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bizarre 3-D Sponge Rabbits

They're "easy", "fun" and "amazing" and sort of weird, looking like a cross between toast and goldfish crackers. These are a set of sponge bunnies (5 baby rabbits and 3 adults) that apparently allow you to perform the famous multiplying rabbit trick (a new euphemism for sex ?). I might hold out for the 2-D version. Available here.

A visit to the Cartoon Museum in Mexico City

Any time I'm in Mexico City I love to drop by the Museo de la Caricatura which is conveniently situated very close to the historic Zocolo in the center of the City. It's a small but lovingly maintained collection with a great spread of Mexican cartooning.

Here's one of my favorite displays. A pair of cartoonist's glasses. It doesn't specify who they belonged to but you can see they are obviously specially designed to meet the very particular needs of a cartoonist's vision.My favorite all-time Latin America cartoonist is a Chilean cartoonist called José Palomo. The museum has a couple of great examples of his strip "El Cuarto Reich" which was kind of like seeing the Holy Grail for me. He's been drawing the strip since 1963, before I was even born. His scrappy edgy aesthetic style and political sensibility really resonate with me.
Mexican cartoonists use similar tools to cartoonists in other countries with the exception of that nubby pencil sharpened like a dart. I expect that's used for all those tildes and tiny accents.Inside the museum is a large courtyard filled with actual Mexican cartoonists, may of whom hang out, chat and do their work there. They'll even do a caricature of you for a few pesos. Here's me with my good buddy and amazingly talented cartoonist Román Rivas who always makes me feel at home among the Mexican cartooning elete. He has an excellent blog in addition to an impeccable taste in music.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wooden Rabbit Show

I'm not sure if this is still on, but if you're in the Chicago area you should go see this delightful looking exhibit at the Vale Craft Gallery in River North. Artist Steve Rebora's "Magic Show" is comprised of multiple hat-box-sized wooden sculptures of magic rabbits that pop out of a magician's hats.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Magicians Against Rabbits

The amazing cover of Giggle Comics number 14 from 1946.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Eightball's Gray Period

Lighting is everything.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chilangos los Fines de Semanas

Cuernavaca is about an hour south of Mexico City on the smog-free hillside which makes it a popular weekend retreat for rich "Defeños" (I just learned this word which means people who live in the capitol), many of who own impressive property here. Hernan Cortez also built himself a palace here in 1525 after retiring from his life of conquistadoring. I'm currently holed up at the Raquet Club, built as a Hacienda in the 1930s and used as a country club for the Mexican elite for many years before being turned into a nice little hotelThe great Cantinflas owned a home here. Since he was best friends with Diego Rivera, he had the muralist install a tile artpiece in his swimming pool. The image is of Gaia, the primal Greek goddess of the earth although I am ashamed to say I was more interested in the impressive array of insect life that was drowing in the water.
There's not much to do up here since I'm not a raquet player, so I've been catching up on my comic strips. I feel very much like a colonial traveller, sipping mint julips and listening to the colorful birds inprisoned in their hanging bamboo cages awaiting the arrival of my steamer trunks (there must be at least seven waiters keeping an eye on me in case sdgg I look up) except instead of a dusty Remmington on a wobbly walnut desk there's a laptop with high speed Wi-Fi. It can't all be perfect.

Rabbits Against Topless Magic

Yes! A topless magic show. One assumes they will be pulling more than just a rabbit out of the hat. As you may have guessed I'm currently in Las Vegas for a meeting, and managed to find my way out of the casino for a couple of hours to take some pictures.

Since I'm not a gambler, Vegas doesn't hold much interest for me other than marveling at the jaw-dropping excess that demonstrates the worst aspects of life in these United States. While recreating the great European landmarks under a fake sky and pouring buxom wenches into the tightest cocktail dresses for the purpose of coaxing ever more bits of green paper from you pocket appears to be a successful business model, the retro kitsch of Frank, Dean and Sammy has all but vanished. That's me (above) being crushed by the clown outside Circus Circus.Perhaps the oddest sight in all of Vegas was this vending machine--the kind usually filled with plush toys that you can almost never hook with the mechanical claw--except that this one was filled with live lobsters. If you should be able to hook yourself a hapless crustacean ($1 a pop) the restaurant will cook and serve it for you for free!Frankly there's just too much smoke and noise and insanity in Vegas. Luckily, the public transit system offers the most peaceful refuge you'll ever find.

Cat Nipping!

IDW Publishing is releasing my favorite ever Krazy Kat story in hardback. I first saw it when it appeared in Raw many years ago and it's one of the few expanded storylines that Herriman did in his daily strips. From the product discription: "Krazy Kat's most surreal adventures were the famed "Tiger Tea" sequence where Krazy Kat imbibed of the psychedelia-inducing substance. This is George Herriman at his best in the only full-length Krazy Kat adventure story of his career presented in the same era as Terry and the Pirates and Captain Easy. Krazy & Ignatz: Tiger Tea is printed on hemp paper and showcases a rare photo of Herriman sporting a Mexican sombrero and smoking a funny-looking cigarette. A special bookmark in the shape of a tea label and string will make the readers high with happiness". It's available for pre-order here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Soy and Kidney

Here's a sticker I did for a campaign to replace dairy products in school lunches with a healthier (but still environmentally destructive) alternative.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


This idea came from a real life “aquarium store next to sushi bar” situation on Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco that I saw about five years ago. The aquarium store has now closed. Someone on GoComics pointed out that Tom Gammell over at The Doozies did a better version of this joke back in May.I agree, so from now on, no more sushi jokes from me.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Paradise Sloshed

This years Day of the Dead strip has an alcohol-related theme.

Accordion Crimes

Here's some photos from last nights Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration in San Francisco. The person on the left was one of the many colorfully dressed participants enjoying the huge procession which very conveniently starts and ends one block from my house. The accordionist on the right is yours truly hamming it up for the paparazzi.
Although the atmosphere during the parade is electric, once you reach Garfield Park where the fantastic altars are set up to commemorate the dead, the mood becomes respectful and subdued.
For the record, I'm not actually playing the accordion here. If I was, the combination of those buttons would make for a terrible sound.

Thanks Maria for the excellent photos.