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Brian Fies

Your opening grafs reminded me of three cartoonists. One was comic book artist John Buscema, who spent most of his career drawing for Marvel and literally wrote the book on how to draw superheroes. He was a favorite of mine growing up, so I was very disappointed to read late-life interviews in which Big John said he hated superheroes, just drew them for the money, and always wanted to be a "real" illustrator like Leyendecker or Wyeth. His indifference didn't prevent him from being one of the best, and you have to wonder how much happier he might've been if he'd just embraced it.

My friend Dave Roman ("Astronaut Academy") wrote an essay a while back about the difficulty he had discovering his artistic style. He wanted his art to look a particular way, and was frustrated that he both wasn't particularly good at it nor making any money with it. Meanwhile, in the margins of his notebook, he was drawing these cute little characters in a totally different style that people really liked. It took him a long time to realize that, like it or not, THAT was his style. He gave up that other stuff he was trying to do and ran with what worked for him.

The third cartoonist I thought of was Charles Schulz, who (per late-career interviews I recall) went to his grave bemoaning that he'd never produced his "Citizen Kane" and lamenting cartooning's disrepute. Schulz wasn't a falsely humble Eeyore--he knew exactly what he'd done and was proud of his place in the culture--but I think that dissatisfaction both drove him creatively and led to some overreaches/missteps. My take is that he wanted to leave one type of legacy without really grasping the value of the enormous legacy he already had.

Much of the above is only my humble opinion, of course.

nancy o.

re naming conventions:

I was told once that you can identify a woman born in the 1950s if she has a five-letter name ending in "y". I was skeptical until I thought about the crowd that I hung around with when I was a wee one: Nancy (2 of us), Cindy, Kathy, Patty, Peggy (2 of them), and Sandy.

Mary McNeil

And in the '50's there were no girls named Heather.

Mike Peterson

If you click on the link to the story about baby names, you'll find "Heather" covered in the lower left corner, along with Brittany, Nichole and especially Kayla, among the soap opera names.


There are millions of Linda who are about 70 years old, and I assume it's because of the 1946 hit song.

Stan Lee says he used a pseudonym because he was a bit ashamed of writing comic books and was saving his real name for his novel. Things took off when he admitted to himself that comics was actually his career, after 20 years in the business.


By the way, "Comics I Don't Understand" seems to have ceased to exist completely.


I have a spreadsheet of my college students for the past ten years, the class, the semester, and their grade. There are over 1,600 names on it now, including repeats from students taking multiple classes with me. I searched on some of the names mentioned above. The numbers below are for the number of different students with that name. All are within the "normal" college-age range (18-24) with one exception which I note.
Linda: 7 (1 of which is about 70)
Nancy: 1
Sharon: 0
Steve: 3
Stuart: 2
Gary: 1

FWIW, most of the young Lindas have Hispanic family names.


Ignatz - CIDU is experiencing "GoDaddy" issues; appears to be accessible now, but still showing a lot of "errors".

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