A Comics Relief


It’s been nearly a week or so, so here’s some more mathematics comics. No pictures over there, so let me give you one here. This installment of Little Denny Mud was run as part of Peter Maresca’s Origins of the Sunday Comic feature at Gocomics.com recently.

It's a comic strip carved as a relief and then photographed.
Charles Beaty’s Little Denny Mud for the 247th of March, 1910, as printed in Peter Maresco’s Origins of the Sunday Comics feature the 26th of July, 2015.

As Maresca’s caption says, the strip was carved as a relief sculpture and photographed. It’s a strange and innovative idea. It wasn’t long-lasting, though. It ran from the 16th of January through the 8th of May, 1910. I can imagine the concept being artistically successful in a high-quality print magazine, or as something distributed on the web. But newspaper publication with the technology available in 1910? I guess it came through tolerably or we wouldn’t have the panels that look as good as they do. But it still seems like a neat concept done in the wrong medium. (The strip itself, well, that’s any comic strip from 1910 and if it weren’t for the medium I don’t know I’d have worked my way through the captions.)

The Stripper’s Guide offers some more information about Charles Beaty, including samples of his pre-1910 artwork. Beaty would produce a clay-portraits panel for Universal Press Syndicate. The earliest The Stripper’s Guide had was a January 1912 production of then-Governor Woodrow Wilson. Some other figures for the Great Men In Common Clay series include Orville Wright, Andrew Carnegie, Mark Twain, and Kris Kringle.

I tend to be impressed by the attempt at doing a comic strip in an unusual medium. Mo Willems’ Sketchbook is often photographs of stuff doodled on placemats. Terry Border’s Bent Objects is panel cartoons enacted in sculpture. But often that amounts to admiring the effort involved rather than the emotional appeal of the final product. Still, you can’t get a good artistic medium going without experiments and novelties and offbeat projects like this. I’m glad to know things like this exist.

Calm Urged As Art Exhibited Publicly


I wanted just to share the front page from the Lansing State Journal from the 4th of October. It’s mostly about a perfectly normal incident, the sprucing up of campus by covering some of it with public art. I get the 30-foot-tall pencils. They were one of the best ways to jot down notes back in the olden days when students were over 350 feet tall and used sheets of paper two-thirds the size of a baseball infield for their records. It’s a time worth remembering. I don’t get the bright red squiggly figure but I imagine it’s something useful in a note-taking app or whatever they do in classes anymore.

Lansing State Journal, 4 October 2014

Also I notice that the Lansing State Journal warned, “LCC UNVEILS PUBLIC ART” using a bigger typeface than it saw fit to use for the start of the Korean War. Public art can be confusing and uncertain, sure, but it hardly seems to be that alarming. They could have used a subheadline of maybe “Despair Unwarranted; There Is No Need To Panic”. Nevertheless, it’s a fine typeface they use for that headline, though. That R has character. It’s no Bodoni, I’ll admit that, but as sans serifs go it’s something.