Author Archives: Todd

And Then I Read: THE COMPLETE PEANUTS 1993-94

Peanuts93-94Images © Peanuts Worldwide LLC.

There isn’t much I can say about this series I haven’t said many times before. It makes me smile, and sometimes laugh, which is not something most comic strips do for me these days. The lines are gradually getting shakier, but on this strip it’s a minor distraction, and the writing is as sharp as ever.

Peanuts93-94pageHere’s a single page with three gems. They’re not all gems, but there are enough to make it well worth your time.

Highly recommended.

Excellent Art and Music at Stockton Today

SantoreArkNoah’s Ark by Charles Santore. This and all art images below © Charles Santore.

Ellen and I had a splendid afternoon at Stockton State College enjoying wonders for both the eyes and ears today. In their Art Gallery is an exhibition by children’s picture book illustrator Charles Santore. I’ve admired his work for some time, though I don’t buy the type of books he produces, picture books for young children, but I can highly recommend the exhibit, as seeing his work in person is a delight. There are sample illustrations in watercolor from about ten of his books, with a copy of the book to look at.

SantoreFrogA few of the books are written by Santore as well, including this one about a Frog Knight.

SantoreSheepSantore is skilled in drawing all subjects, but his animals are particularly appealing.

SantoreAliceCryingAbout half the exhibit features sketches, drawings, and a few finished watercolors from his upcoming illustrated version of “Alice in Wonderland,” here’s a sample drawing of Alice crying.

SantoreAliceRabbitSantore does sketches, then tight finished pencils for each illustration…

SantoreAliceColor…then a watercolor sketch, and finally a finished watercolor. I’m not sure how he transfers the image from the pencils to the watercolor, they’re completely separate — perhaps a light box? In any case, all the work is great to see. The exhibit runs through March 28th, and Santore will talk about his work on Sunday, March 1st at 1 PM. More info HERE.

LauridsenProgramAfter enjoying the gallery show, we went just next door to the Stockton Performing Arts Center for this fine concert of choral/chamber music. My main interest in the concert was to hear more music by Morten Lauridsen, whose choral version of “O Magnum Mysterium” I’ve loved since I first heard it a few years ago. I was surprised to find that the composer himself was there, and he played the piano part for the first short piece of his, “Sure on This Shining Night,” with Choral Arts of Southern New Jersey singing beautifully. Then the Bay Atlantic Symphony’s Chamber Group performed his longer piece, “Lux Aeterna,” and I loved every moment of it. Lauridsen’s music touches me deeply, it fills me with a warm, happy glow. I’ve liked choral music since I sang in the choir in my grade school, and I’ve now added Lauridsen to my short list of favorite choral music composers, alongside Ralph Vaughan Williams, Daniel Pinkham, Francis Poulenc and in recent years John Rutter.

LauridsenLauridsen met audience members in the lobby during intermission, so I was able to tell him how much I loved the work…

LauridsenDVD…and I bought an autographed copy of this DVD about him and his music that I’m looking forward to watching.

The rest of the concert was good too, a new piece by Ola Gjeilo, “Dark Night of the Soul,” again with the composer at the piano, and I liked it, but not as much as the Lauridsen work, and finally the familiar Vivaldi “Gloria in D.”  Fun, and well performed, all.

After leaving Stockton, we had a fine dinner at the Tuckahoe Inn, and were home by 6 PM. That was my early birthday treat this year, and I had a fine time!

And Then I Read: LITTLE NEMO, RETURN TO SLUMBERLAND 3

LittleNemo3Image © Eric Shanower, Gabriel Rodriguez & IDW.

This issue is a mind-twisting tour-de-force on the art end, combining the surreal visual styles of Nemo creator Winsor McCay with the equally confounding styles of artist M.C. Escher, known for his optical trickery, and cartoonist Gustave Verbeek, whose 1903-05 comic strip “The Upside Downs of Little Lady Lovekins and Old Man Muffaroo” had the unusual property of being read twice, once normally and once upside down, with characters that combined images to work that way, as in the main figure here. The storyline is equally clever, with some pages being upside-down versions of others. The content of the story is fairly slight, Nemo and Flip are being chased essentially, but there’s so much going on visually it’s hard to see how a deeper story could have been managed. Impressive and fascinating.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: ASTRO CITY 17

AC17Image © Juke Box Productions.

An interesting mix of science and fantasy this time that reminded me at times of the work of Jim Starlin. Honor Guard, the top super-team in Astro City has many foes, but also many fans, including a mysterious one who, once a year, delivers a table-full of red cakes to their headquarters. As the story opens, a strange purple hominid appears on cake day to tell them his people are the providers, and that he needs to make a sad confession. “Sorrowday” is that confession, which involves the demise of one of Honor Guard and how their deadly foe Krigari the Iron-Handed came to focus on their destruction. It’s nicely told, and has a mythic quality that I found appealing. The art is by Tom Grummett and a crew of inkers, but it all looks fine to me.

Recommended.

I’m back…I think.

I’ve been struggling with getting my Blog back in working order, with help from the support team at Lunarpages, my website host. It’s been a long and difficult struggle, made more complicated by having to move the website to different servers twice. Then lots of complications with the WordPress plug-ins I like to use. At the moment I’m keeping the Jetpack plug-in off, as that seems to be messing things up, and I seem to be able to work with the rest of the WordPress administration pages, like the one I’m using to write this. Hope to be back to regular posting soon, I have a large pile of things I’ve read to be reviewed, for instance.