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Take a peek over Jim Borgman's shoulder

Jim Borgman has been the Enquirer's editorial cartoonist since 1976. Borgman has won every major award in his field, including the 1991 Pulitzer Prize, the National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year in 1993, and most recently, the Adamson Award in 2005 as International Cartoonist of the Year. His award-winning daily comic strip Zits, co-created with Jerry Scott, chronicles the life of 15-year-old Jeremy Duncan, his family and friends through the glories and challenges of the teenage years. Since debuting in July 1997, Zits has regularly finished #1 in reader comics polls across America and is syndicated in more than 1300 newspapers around the world.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Charles M. Schulz

I haven't read the David Michaelis biography of Charles Schulz yet, but I did get the chance to watch the PBS American Masters episode last night. Anybody else?

I met Sparky several times at cartooning functions, but had only one visit of any substance with him. Though he did his best to circulate among cartoonists like one of the gang, his presence in the room always sent people abuzz and he was usually surrounded by groupies. Trying to have a meaningful conversation with him under those circumstances was pointless. Though cartoonists I've known are nearly all approachable and humble, him included, Sparky was anointed our king, a role he probably couldn't have declined if he'd wanted to.

In the spring of 1998 I made a special trip to Santa Rosa just to visit with him. I didn't know that within a year he would be diagnosed with cancer. He was fit and vital and showed few signs of aging. We met at the Warm Puppy Cafe in the ice arena and later walked through a gallery of his work and spent an hour or so at his studio a few blocks away. He couldn't have been more generous with his time.

At the same time, I didn't meet the presbyterian minister I expected. Sparky showed flashes of impatience, competitiveness and judgmentalism that hadn't been part of his generous legend. The warmest part of our visit was in his studio as we talked about our dads, his a barber, mine a signpainter.

My visit was entirely satisfying and cordial. I sensed at the time, though, a man who had been thrust into a far more public role than he'd have ever wanted for himself. When anecdotes note his flashes of surliness toward autograph seekers or his panic attacks when cajoled into public speaking, I can only think how well he generally performed for a shy man who preferred his own inner life to the public stage that insisted on casting him as a sage, teacher, therapist, minister and healer.


at 10/30/07, 11:08 AM Anonymous Mark G said...

I was struck with a deep feeling of sadness while watching the show. It was one of the best programs I've seen in a long time. Looking back on his strips, it's amaziing how much of himself and his own personal struggles came through in his drawings.

at 10/30/07, 1:14 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought it was a pretty good program. The lack of narration seemed to give the beginning of the program a disjointed feel, but I think things picked up.
I would have loved to see more of the footage of him drawing, but otherwise, no complaints.

at 10/30/07, 2:47 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Peanuts" centers around a perpetually depressed little kid. It's not that hard to believe the creator of this harsh universe has a dark side.

The strip remains one of the best Western works of art in the 20th century.

at 10/30/07, 3:50 PM Anonymous Weekly Cartoonist said...

(Missed the first 1/2 hour.)
I wonder if Schulz' life would have been happier if he had had a Bill Watterson approach and not marketed his characters. (He wouldn't have been richer than Midas, of course.) It's a tribute to the strip that his great work survived the ridiculously endless merchandizing tie-ins he okayed.
The Chip Kidd PEANUTS book is always a joy to look at.

at 10/30/07, 9:08 PM Blogger Doug said...

therre has been an interesting ongoing commentary on Cartoon Brew about the biography. The Schulz children have put in their thoughts on the book there.


at 10/31/07, 12:48 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

when was the above cartoon done? i assume after his death?

at 10/31/07, 2:40 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the American Masters piece. I liked seeing Schulz' childhood family photos, the images of the home they built in California, his children as children and as interviewed adults. I'm impressed by home much he and his wife accomplished. I felt like I was seeing all this through a grey gause Michaelis threw over the information. I found many life lessons in the Peanuts series over these many years. I saw a wide range of emotions displayed. Depression was 1% of that.

Thanks, Jim. I see your 'toon is from 1999.

peace love joy hope

at 10/31/07, 8:02 AM Blogger WaymanWynn said...

Good Grief!

After viewing the 2002 American Masters program on PBS Monday night, I started early yesterday looking for more information on what I now recognize in Peanuts as the single most important cultural feature influencing my youth and quest for maturity. Sounds impressive and self important, huh?

In grade school and high school, I was Charlie Brown - always happy with 2nd place, the A- was good enough, the self deprecating style seemed to keep the bullies at bay, the Sunday night paralysis of facing another Monday without confidence in my self or an inkling of my worth. The only high school graduation card I remember was one of those giant jobs, sporting Good Ole Charlie Brown on the front and the punch line inside, “There’s no greater burden than a great potential.” I laughed and smiled the (CB) Mona Lisa smirk at the time, but in retrospect, it was an amazing epiphany.

The PBS show and a new book about a great artist happening to be human, has spawned a great deal of comment. The current thread on Cartoon Brew is an amazing testament to the tenuous nature of truth in the form of facts, but points out that real truth is the product of a very complex process of experience, opinion, emotion, and humor. 5 cents please… Thanks for the post and opportunity ...

at 11/19/07, 12:20 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

patriots statistics

Passing Yards: T. Brady 3059
Passing TDs: T. Brady 38
Rushing Yards: L. Maroney 436
Rushing TDs: S. Morris 3
Receiving Yards: R. Moss 1052
Receiving TDs: R. Moss 16
Interceptions: A. Samuel 4

Offense (Rank)
Yards: 4368 (1)
Passing Yards: 3050 (1)
Rushing Yards: 1318 (4)
Points per game: 41.1 (1)
Yards per game: 436.8 (1)
Touchdowns: 48 (1)
Field Goals: 11 (29)

AFC East Division
Team W L T Pct
New England 10 0 0 1.000
Buffalo 5 5 0 .500
New York 2 8 0 .200
Miami 0 10 0 .000

Schedule 2007
Week Date Opp Info
1 9/9 @ NYJ W 38-14
2 9/16 vs. SD W 38-14
3 9/23 vs. Buf W 38-7
4 10/1 @ Cin W 34-13
5 10/7 vs. Cle W 34-17
6 10/14 @ Dal W 48-27
7 10/21 @ Mia W 49-28
8 10/28 vs. Was W 52-7
9 11/4 @ Ind W 24-20
10 Bye Week
11 11/18 @ Buf W 56-10
12 11/25 vs. Phi
13 12/3 @ Bal
14 12/9 vs. Pit
15 12/16 vs. NYJ
16 12/23 vs. Mia
17 12/29 @ NYG

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