Here’s the thing : Jim Woodring’s been at it so long, and done it so well, that it’s almost easy to — dare I say it — take him for granted.
There’s really no reason that you (or I, or we) should, though — after all, the guy is basically a cartooning national treasure. Dating back to the (very) late-1980s debut of his first series, Jim, and continuing through Tantalizing Stories, Jim Vol. 2, Frank, and a number of subsequent graphic novels and occasional short strips set in his (and I use this term with precision) visionary world known as The Unifactor, he’s been making comics like no one else has ever made — hell, like no one else has probably ever thought of — for going on three decades now, and here’s another thing : his stuff seemed about 100 years ahead of anything that…
Frank McHugh got a rare starring role in the comedy THREE MEN ON A HORSE, based on the hit Broadway play by George Abbott and John Cecil Holmes. McHugh was usually cast as the funny friend of fellow members of “Hollywood’s Irish Mafia “ James Cagney and Pat O’Brien, but here he takes center stage as a meek, hen-pecked type who has an uncanny knack for picking winning horses – as long as he doesn’t bet on them!
Greeting card writer Erwin Trowbridge is beset by a whiney wife, obnoxious brother-in-law, and bullying boss. After a row with wifey brought on by meddling bro-in-law, Erwin leaves his humble Ozone Park, Queens abode and decides to skip work and get sloshed. Stumbling into a seedy hotel bar frequented by Runyonesque gamblers, Erwin gives them a winning pony – then passes out. The three mugs, Patsy, Charlie, and Frankie, bring him up…
Today is National Moonshine Day, which is observed on the first Thursday of June. Even if you can’t get your hands on any Tennessee White Whiskey, you can still celebrate with the four covers of Speakeasy Stories.
One of the many pulp magazines published by Harold Hersey, Speakeasy Stories had a brief run in 1931. At the time, a speakeasy was a secret club where people could get a drink and violate prohibition. Speakeasies were associated with gangsters and good times and that’s what the covers of Speakeasy Stories promised their readers.
Here are the four covers of Speakeasy Stories:
Though there does appear to be a signature on the first cover of Speakeasy Stories, it’s not legible. It doesn’t look like the signature of Walter Baumhofer, who did the next two covers.
The W.B. by the gangster’s elbow indicated that this is the work of Walter Baumhofer.
Again, Walter Baumhofer’s signature is easy to spot on this cover.
I think this cover was also done by Walter Baumhofer but I’m not sure. His signature is not readily apparent but it does look like Baumhofer’s work.
Only four issues were published but they have subsequently become eagerly sought after by collectors.
In this video, Fiona Apple serenely covers the Beatles’s Across the Universe while chaos reigns all around her.
Fiona recorded this cover for a 1998 film called Pleasantville and the video follows along with Pleasantville‘s plot of a black-and-white world descending into chaos as the result of a little color being added. That said, I would argue that this video is far superior to the film because Pleasantville was directed by the always heavy-handed Gary Ross while this video was directed by Fiona’s then-boyfriend, Paul Thomas Anderson. While staying true to the themes of Ross’s film, Anderson still brings his own signature wit to the video.