Friday, May 27, 2011

1. International Tourism Cartoon Competition

Picasa Content
Holidays and vacation. Summertime is coming. Time to present a cartoon catalogue about ‘Tourism’. It’s the catalogue of the 1. International Tourism Cartoon Competition (Anatolia, Turkey, 2010, ISBN 978-975-06-0709-7).
Prof. Atila Özer, who passed away in April this year, was in the Organizing committee and jury. He was Director of Anadolu Universtity Reseaerch Center for Cartoon Art. Hereunder is a nice cartoon from him:
Atila Ozer
Atila Özer, Turkey
The first prize in this competition, The Grand Award, has been cancelled. You’ll notice a blank page. It seems that the cartoon who won the grand award had been drawn before! Sometimes there can be a coincidence in cartoon ideas, but in this case, this was a case of plagiarism. On the website of Syriacartoon, there is a page showing lots of cartoon similarities.  You can find the E-magazine here.
cancelled award
Ernest Metz Belgium
Ernest Metz, Belgium
Shahrokh Heidari, Iran
Ahmet Aykanad, Turkey
Ross Thomson, United Kingdom
Thanks Norbert for giving me this nice catalogue!
Learn more:
See the prize winning cartoons
This were the rules

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A dream book


Article by JMB

I have recently mentioned one of Maurice Henry’s most remarkable books: ‘Les métamorphoses du vide’ (Void’s Metamorphosis). This is a very original piece of work, the characteristics of which need to be detailed.

As an early and important contributor to the surrealist movement, Maurice Henry was naturally interested in hypnotic sleep, in lucid dream and in simulating delirium. Showing the absurd and revealing the richness of the unconscious have truly marked Henry’s work. After the war, he set out to create a book which, as an object, aimed at using dreamlike metamorphosis. From 1952 -when he signed his publishing contract- to 1954, the project went through a number of misfortunes. The book was finally published in 1955.


This is an amazing book -a dream odyssey during sleep- wherein Henry uses a clever system of caches and cut out figures to animate his story. These devices are meant to coordinate the various changes of scenery and characters and of the figurative or abstract compositions.


Some copies of Henry’s book, those with a yellow, cut out cover, are very rare. Technical difficulties such as punching out thick cardboard meant that this particular design had to be abandoned. The open book -see the above picture- shows the cut out of the inside front cover, as well as the first page, through which some of the drawing can be seen when the book is closed.


All other copies from the last run have a different black and blue design –as shown above- with no cut out cover.


Whatever the cover type may be, it is a book (21 x 27 cm) of 64 unnumbered pages fully coloured. Some pages, as for example the right one (on the above picture) are cut out in such a way, to allow various readings, by superposing and combining. This clever technique thus enables the most amazing transformations. Scenery, characters and abstract forms blend together to suit the dream traveller till his waking. Below, there is an example of this process of rearrangement of the drawings which can be found in 6 successive pages of this book.




Throughout his life, the dream was a favourite theme for Maurice Henry. His first collection of poems, ‘Les abattoirs du sommeil’ (Slaughterhouses of Sleep) was published in 1937. ‘L’adorable cauchemar’ (The Adorable Nightmare) which was the last of his books of poems, was published in 1983.


An anthology of his cartoons ‘Voyages du rêveur’ (The Dreamer’s Travels) was published in 1979. This is a hardback book (23 x 30 cm, 159 pages) in black and white, with some drawings which are obviously closely connected to the title.


I’m dreaming that I’m dreaming that I’m dreaming that I’m…


Do you ever dream?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Killing Bunnies and Dissolving Rubik’s Cube

The Andy Riley Bunny Suicide exhibition in the ECC is a huge success. At the opening, Andy Riley was so kind to draw some cartoons in the two Bunny Suicide books I own.

I recently found the cartoon book “ DISSOLVING RUBIK'S CUBE The Ultimate Solution.” by Ken Lawless. I own a Dutch edition (Mondria, 1982): “Kubieke Humor of: Hoe kom ik van die kubus af ?!”  In this book, Ken Lawless does the same with Rubik’s Cube, as Andy Riley does with Bunnies.
I don’t know if Andy Riley knows of this book, but It’s surprising to notice some similarities in the ideas of the two cartoonists. Here are some examples:


Learn more:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

About (almost) rare books, again

Article by JMB
Obviously, a rare book is not inevitably very old, unlike those I formerly presented here. There are also several various reasons for books being a rarity. The collection Micrologies I show you now, is just over fifty years old and it is not a limited edition. So, why is this French ten books series so hard to find complete?

Micro1 w

I presume it is the very small size (66 x 66 millimetres) of these thin books that caused them to be mislaid, then to be lost. This could be the main reason, but also, in spite of their interest as an odd item, I suppose - as they have no title on the cover, just the cartoonist name - the possible buyers of that time did not first considered them as real books, and bookshop customers neglected to acquire these so-called gadgets. Their title is printed on page 1 (see hereunder) and, probably because of the lack of mention on the cover; these titles were hardly ever mentioned in the cartoonists’ bibliographies. So they kept almost unknown by collectors.


Under a coloured cover, every book has 24 pages of black and white cartoons, most of them without captions, and one cartoon per page. As a result of this size and pagination, each book weighs 4.9 gram! There is no mention of sale price on the four first books; one can logically suppose they were sold for the same price as the others: 0.50 New French Franc each.


Ami is the penname of Georges Tardy (1924-2005). His favourite character is this naughty boy whom nickname can be translated in “Awful Joe”.

Exactly like the Ami book here above, each Micrologies book has a black cotton link set in its center fold and tightly knotted all around, letting a part running over. This is not for a necessary binding purpose, as there is one staple already. It is just for an attractive good looking. I thought it is useless to show it on every cover picture, so here are just plain covers.


Siné (1928- ) has two books in this series. Every cartoon of this first book is a pun with the French word “chat” (cat). In 1964, he published in the USA a book of dawn puns using the English word “car”, titled Siné’s French Car-toons.


This is the very first cartoon book by Jacques Faizant (1918-2006) who began with gag cartoons, but is better known as the editorial cartoonist he was then after for forty five years.


Most of Faizant’s works, humorous cartoons as well as political cartoons, have a caption.


Mose (Moïse Depond, 1917-2003) is one of the best initiators of gag cartoon without caption in France.


Mose’s work’s atmosphere is marked by unusual or absurd situations, sometimes mixed with tragedy. It is too bad his talent hardly gave him all the success he deserved.


Tetsu (Roger Testu, 1913-2008) too was a specialist of gag cartoons without caption.


All long his career, Tetsu pictured the ordinary life of gloomy people with a just a little touch of strange bitterness. His humour came from the gap between sad reality and a surprising detail.

Like Mose, Chaval and Maurice Henry, but few years later, Bosc (1924-1973) was one of the few French great masters of cartoon without caption.


The antimilitarist he became, back from the Indochina war, drove him to mostly lampoon the military. Although a gag cartoonist, as a de Gaulle opponent he also drew political cartoons.


In postwar France, Siné was the first cartoonist to systematically blast the usual good taste, and especially to violently battle with all authorities. He was and is remaining the great iconoclast of his profession and an anarchist.


A frame with his signature and one knot at its upper part is typical of early Siné cartoons.

Among the pioneers of French cartoon without caption, Chaval (Yvan Le Louarn, 1915-1968) is remaining the most famous. His success overshadowed Mose’s popularity.


Chaval was also an excellent writer of humorous short stories and a short films maker too.

Maurice Henry (1907-1984), poet and artist, took part in every surrealist exhibition for twenty years from 1932. He was a gagman for several films. As a cartoonist for about forty years, he published in some 350 papers and magazines.


He was the best spreader of the surrealist spirit through the press. His greatest drawn book is: “Les metamorphoses du vide”, released in 1955 – a rare book when it is a copy of the very first edition, with a pierced cover.


In this book by Claude (Michel Godement, 1931- ), only the cover shows a gag cartoon; each one of the 24 other drawings is a kind of rebus, a pun with the name of a Paris tube station.


Every answer to this sort of game is printed upside down, at the bottom of each page


In fact, Jean-Jacques Pauvert, the publisher of this Micrologies series, was not the inventor of such cartoon micro-books. Four years earlier, a German publishing house, Bärmeier & Nikel, launched its own series: Die kleinen Schmunzelbücher. These books are not square: their size is 70 x 60 millimetres, but they also have 24 pages fixed by one staple and there is a fiber link set in their center fold too!


That German series was published from 1955 to 1962, at least. The two books shown here were printed in 1962 and the collection had 25 different books at that time. The one by Walter Hanel (1930- ) contains black and white cartoons, when the one by Friedrich-Karl Waechter (1937-2005) is printed in black and white plus additional red (for the lipstick marks featuring on every cartoon)


Well… it is the right illustration to end this article. Kisses to all of you!