Archive for the ‘comic book’ Category

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Theory: Big Boy and the Power of Licensing- A Cautionary Tale

Bobs Big Boy

In 1936, entrepeneur Bob Wian opened a small lunch stand. He had a brilliant, yet slightly devious idea for a hamburger. If he took a standard hamburger bun and sliced it down the middle twice, instead of once… and if he took a standard hamburger patty and divided it into two small patties… he could create a double-decker hamburger that appeared to be larger than the average without costing him any more to make. He named it the "Big Boy".

Bobs Big Boy

Wian hired pretty high school girls as car-hops and dressed them in short skirts and cowboy hats. But something was still missing…

Bobs Big Boy

One day, animator Benny Washam was lunching at Wian’s stand, doodling on placemats. Wian saw that he was a cartoonist and asked him to draw a caricature of Richard Woodruff, a chubby, apple cheeked boy who helped out at the stand sweeping up after school. Washam obliged, depicting the lad in oversized checkered overalls munching on a burger.

Bobs Big Boy

Ben Washam’s Original Design

Wian loved the doodle and gave Washam his lunch for free. Bennie gave the sketch to Wian to use as a mascot for the stand.

Bobs Big Boy

Bennie didn’t think any more of it for many years…

Bobs Big Boy
Bobs Big Boy

Bobs Big Boy

Wian turned the caricature into an empire, branding not only his hamburger stand, but a line of sauces and spices and a franchised chain of family restaurants that eventually covered the entire country. A cutened version of Washam’s doodle was plastered all over the menus, signage and television advertising.

Bobs Big Boy

Bobs Big Boy

Wian knew who in the family made the decisions about where to eat… It wasn’t mom and dad, it was the kids. Outside each restaurant in the chain, he placed a huge fiberglass statue of Big Boy as a beacon to attract children…

Bobs Big Boy

And cartoonists, like assistant archivists, Alex Vassilev and JoJo Baptista!

At the restaurants, Wian gave away free comic books featuring the character. Here is an extremely rare example… Big Boy comics number one from 1956. These comics were produced by Timely Comics, which later became Marvel. They were written by Stan Lee and drawn by Bill Everett. Later issues featured the work of Archie comics artist, Dan DeCarlo. Adventures of the Big Boy is one of the longest continuously running comic book lines. It’s still being produced fifty years later.

Bobs Big Boy

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Bobs Big Boy

Years later, when Big Boy had become a familiar figure to the entire country, Washam admitted to his fellow artists at Warner Bros that he was the cartoonist who had created the character. They laughed and teased him, saying, "Benny, you should have been heir to a hamburger fortune, but no! Your lot in life is to toil day and night making animated cartoons!" They were joking, but there’s an element of truth in it. Never underestimate the power of a doodle. The Big Boy sketch that Washam traded away for a free meal in 1936 ended up selling millions and millions of dollars worth of hamburgers.

If you would like to see more Big Boy comics, let me know in the comments.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

TheoryTheory

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit entitled Theory.

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Inbetweens: Wally Wood, the Michelangelo of Science Fiction Comics

Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy

In 1950, Wally Wood convinced EC publisher William Gaines to create science fiction comic books. In Weird Science and Weird Fantasy (later combined into Weird Science Fantasy) Wood knocked the ball out of the park by pencilling and inking spectacular images that defined the way science fiction looked during the fifties.

During the 1970s, Wood’s health began to decline. He suffered from chronic headaches, alcoholism, kidney failure and strokes. The health problems led him to commit suicide in 1981. He left behind a legacy that will never be forgotten.

Here is a sampling of Wood’s work from around the net…

Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy

Wally had a tension in him, an intensity that he locked away in an internal steam boiler. I think it ate away his insides, and the work really used him up. I think he delivered some of the finest work that was ever drawn, and I think it’s to his credit that he put so much intensity into his work at great sacrifice to himself. –Harvey Kurtzman

Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science FantasyWally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science FantasyWally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science FantasyWally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science FantasyWally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science FantasyWally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science FantasyWally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science FantasyWally Wood Weird Science Fantasy

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Inbetweens: Jim Tyer Comics

Jim Tyer Funny Animal Comic

Jim Tyer was one of the most imaginative artists who worked in funny animal comics. Check out these amazing examples…

Jim Tyer Funny Animal Comic
Jim Tyer Funny Animal Comic
Jim Tyer Funny Animal Comic
Jim Tyer Funny Animal Comic
Jim Tyer Funny Animal Comic
Jim Tyer Funny Animal Comic
Jim Tyer Funny Animal Comic
Jim Tyer Funny Animal Comic
Jim Tyer Funny Animal Comic
Jim Tyer Funny Animal Comic
Jim Tyer Funny Animal Comic
Jim Tyer Funny Animal Comic
Jim Tyer Funny Animal Comic
Jim Tyer Funny Animal Comic
Jim Tyer Funny Animal Comic
Jim Tyer Funny Animal Comic
Jim Tyer Funny Animal Comic
Jim Tyer Funny Animal Comic
Jim Tyer Funny Animal Comic
Jim Tyer Funny Animal Comic

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources