Table Topics Chit Chat 57 #113-114


  1. If you could spend a Saturday morning watching any cartoon what would it be?
  2. When you travel do you most enjoy dining, sightseeing, or people watching?

ANSWERS By: Austin Smith

  1. Animaniacs without a doubt.
  2. I don’t really enjoy anything about traveling, so I’ll say people watching because I think I like that one best.


Book Review – the Wall Street Journal Portfolio of Business Cartoons.

I’ve never read the Wall Street Journal, nor really any news publication. Those I have glanced at have always been for the cartoons. And when I get the chance to pick up a book collecting some cartoons from a respected publication I’ve possibly never seen before, I do it.


The cartoons collected in this book are limited when compared to the scope the publication. There are only a handful per decade, but they do convey the time they were from and are very funny. They are provided with no extra information or context, and nothing about he cartoonist themselves is recorded. The images still hold up on their own, most being easy to understand by almost anyone. They are well drawn and well reproduced on high-quality paper in the book.

There isn’t much more to say about them. It’s a to-the-point cartoon collection; a fast and enjoyable read that I would recommend to a fan of business humor.

Book Review – The Big Book of Weirdos

The “Big Book” series of comic books is weird one. I’ve seen a few, but only ever read this one in full. The Big Book of Weirdos is about various historical figures and their antics, which range from quirky to insane (it’s mostly insane). In general, the book goes by type of person (actor, dictator, etc) and in chronological order, though not always.


The book starts with Caligula (basically), which is never a good choice if one wants a book to remain nice and/or sane. Continuing on from there is a whole host of personalities: Hitler, Tesla, Ford, Kafka, Dali, on and on. Most of these characters get around 6 pages of harsh black-and-white drawing. Many don’t shy away from being repulsive in various ways, and the many artists who took part in the work all have unique ways of looking at things. Some are quite minimalist and attractive, where others are hard to follow, and in many the people just look ugly. I know this is by design in many cases, but there are ways of making people look insane without disfiguring them and disturbing the reader.

Some of the stories are interesting, some a gross, some slow, some fast, some well-known, and some untrue. Syphilis is blamed for many things, and alcohol is a demon. Overall, the storytelling is nice, but too vague, and one is simply told things. The other things that are going on are not even allowed to the imagination, and as I said many things are untrue. Facts weren’t verified entirely for the book, which is fine. It doesn’t try to present itself as a reference, and it shouldn’t be. Its art indicates that it was an exercise, like many of the books in the series, to have many different artists contribute to a common theme. And the art does work well together. The stories and pictures are not jarring, nor badly crafted. They both show the utmost of technical skill, if not the grasp of facts.

But technical skill does not make for pleasant reading, and while the book is a great reference for different art styles, in many cases the art is unattractive. Even the best-rendered visual of people being torn apart isn’t fun to look at (that doesn’t explicitly happen).

The book is interesting, both to read and to look at, but I’m not sure I can recommend it. The various historical figures explored don’t have the time to be more than one-dimensional, insane puppets. There is very little to attach you to them, which may be a good thing in many cases. It’s a fun read at times, and a crazy read, and an interesting read. But I can’t say it’s a good book. Beyond being on a coffee table to start conversation, it isn’t that great. Or perhaps (the reason I keep my copy) it can be used as a reference for different art styles and ways to tell a story.

Happy Birthday Bruce

bruce colvin .1bruce with motorcycle

The man pictured above in both photograph and cartoon form is Bruce Colvin. He recently passed away in April and this July would have been his 70th birthday. I’m not posting this on his exact birthday because I’m not exactly hurting to share that information.

Bruce was a friend of my family since before I can remember; I can’t remember very long, but still. He stayed at our motel before moving out here and working on a project house of his. From what I understand, previously he was a professor in New York City before his move. He never discussed this with me, but I’m glad that he was. He seemed to me one of the best possible people to have as a teacher.

He never did talk to me directly about much, likely because I was never the only one talking to him, and because I was a kid, and talking wasn’t my forte. We did have several very interesting conversations about my cartoons as those progressed and came into book form. He was fascinating to talk to and just as fascinating to listen to. I wish I was able to recall more of the conversations for which I was present.

He drew an indescribably wonderful picture for my mother’s birthday, spurred my brother’s interest in motorcycles, and always thought of everyone wherever he went. If he saw anything that reminded him of you he would either get it, or, being unable to, inform you in great detail of its existence.

Like I said I didn’t converse with him much, but I will back the sentiment of everyone whom I have talked to about him posthumously; that he was not ‘a very kind person’ or ‘one of the most thoughtful people’ but that he was ‘the most kind and thoughtful person I knew”.

My drawing is not that great but I drew it because I wanted it drawn. Happy late birthday, Bruce.

Speak Your Mind 41 #201-205


1. Have you ever been in a parade?

2. What was something that has happened to you in school that has made you sad?

3. Do you like to wear jewelry?

4. What is one thing that makes you happy?

5. What was (or is) your favorite cartoon?

ANSWERS By: Austin Smith

1. No, I have not.

2. Basically everything that happened to me in school made me sad.

3. No, not really.

4. Her.

5. Easily Daffy Duck.