Wednesday, December 14, 2005

First...Herriman and McCay...

Diamond Comic Distributors is the biggest mover of graphic novels, comic books, genre magazines, trading cards, etc. in the world. If you see such products in any store anywhere, chances are good that Diamond put them there. Every month, Diamond publishes its "Previews" catalog of work due to be released in a few months; shops place their orders and Diamond ships 'em out.

After reading yesterday's blog, comic strip historian D.D. Degg was kind enough to send me this scan of an advertisement Abrams placed in this month's "Previews." As I've done for the catalog pages I posted yesterday, I linked this image to a larger version on my website. To see it bigger, just click on it.

I saw an earlier draft of this but not the published version, so many thanks, D.D. There are two Best Parts to this ad:

Best Part #1: The Tagline. "First...Herriman and McCay.... Now....Piraro and Fies." I laughed and laughed when I read that. George Herriman created the classic "Krazy Kat" comic strip, the first place scholars look when they argue whether comics can be Art. Winsor McCay created "Little Nemo" and "Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend," two all-time great comic strips from the early 20th century. I've already written about my admiration for Mr. McCay in my entry about "Gertie the Dinosaur" on September 27. In any list of history's best cartoonists, Herriman and McCay are near the top. Dan Piraro is a fine contemporary cartoonist who does the comic strip "Bizarro." I've never met Piraro and can't speak for him, but I'm certain that at least I have no business being in that sentence.

When I saw the draft I called editor Charlie and sang him the "One of These Things is Not Like the Others" song from "Sesame Street." He understood my bemusement and explained that the point wasn't to compare Piraro and me to the Greats, but to remind buyers and readers that Abrams had published books about Herriman and McCay...and now books by Piraro and Fies. Abrams wants you to know they understand the medium. They've got comics cred. In that light, the line made sense. Then he told me the even more mortifying and embarrassing ad that Abrams considered before Charlie shot it down in favor of this one, and I considered myself lucky.

Best Part #2: Seeing my drawing of Mom at the top of the page. Somehow that struck me so strongly. Mom would have gotten a huge kick out of that.

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