This Day in Death

12.18.15: Norman Bridwell, Creator of Clifford, the Big Red Dog – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 6:07 pm December 21, 2015
Norman Bridwell, Dick Robinson[via Today]

Bridwell, right, appears at a birthday event for Clifford, who has raised his paws in a symbolic gesture of solidarity with the #redlivesmatter protesters. Jesus, we’re trying to have a party here, can you turn off the social justice rhetoric for one day?

 

Norman Bridwell, creator of the much-tolerated Clifford, the Big Red Dog series of books, has died at the age of 86. Clifford, of course, was the heartwarming story of a runty puppy who eventually grew to become a crippling financial burden to his owner, a little girl without a job. I think it’s a metaphor for going to college.

You know, everyone thinks they can just wham bam a children’s book and make a fortune because they’re only, like, 50 words long and most of the pictures are of everyday things like dogs and trees and gimp masks and stuff. Well, that’s where you’d be wrong, you cynical opportunist, you. Even the simplest writing is extremely draining. Why, just check out this exclusive sneak peek at the climactic scene from my in-the-works screenplay, Lawyerhorse 2000: The Horse That’s Also a Lawyer:

LAWYERHORSE

 

That right there is the result of two years of meticulous plotting, intense personal introspection, and one failed marriage. So don’t go assuming that Bridwell just one-two’d the whole concept in an afternoon.

…Scholastic accepted the manuscript that he’d written over a weekend.

See? A weekend. That’s three days if you count Friday. For all we know Monday was Memorial Day, it could’ve been a solid 96 hours invested. Alright, fine, so it’s still not that long. But that’s only because Bridwell was a professional and knew how to execute an idea in a short amount of time, the result of years of disciplined writing. By the time he came up with Clifford he must’ve been firing with enough precision and prolificacy to make Stephen King throw up his corn chowder all over his L.L. Bean signature shearling-lined duck boots. (He lives in Maine.)

Bridwell told Simon that he “was shocked when it was accepted for publication, because I’d never written anything before.”

Okay, so, this is getting hard to justify, like feeding a cow a hamburger. I guess the real lesson here is, “just do it, you might get lucky.” It’s the same attitude bank robbers have. Just sayin.

 

Source: NPR

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6.22.15: Donald Featherstone, Creator of the Flamingo Lawn Ornament – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 4:53 pm July 3, 2015

DONALD_FEATHERSTONEAll I’m saying is that, if the gay mafia is so worried about reinforcing stereotypes, they’d do well to find a slightly less whimsical method of gangland reprisal.

 

Donald Featherstone, the creator of the pink plastic lawn flamingo, has died at the age of 79. If you’ve ever wondered about the origin of the well-known ornament, but only wanted to hear the story if it was completely boring and unremarkable in every way, then you and your weird adrenal gland are in luck:

“…They asked me to work on a duck, so I went to buy a real duck to study. I named him Charlie. When I had the plastic duck done, set him free in Cogshall Park. They then asked me to do a flamingo,” he said.

“You can’t go locally and buy a flamingo, so I got some books, and one that had some good shots was National Geographic. I made the silhouette, then put on the clay and that’s how it all got started.”

“Basically, I did my job.” Well, touché, interviewer who expected a lot more than that. To be fair, Featherstone eventually became president of Union Products, the company he made the decorations for. So let that be a lesson for all of us: Keep your nose down, do your job well, stop stealing syrup from the soda fountains at work, and someday you’ll definitely be managing that Sbarro’s and pulling in a rather tasty $37k annual salary. Then you steal the syrup.

For those outside of America’s majestic trailer park circuit (AAA refers to it as the “Meth Belt”), you may not be aware that the pink flamingo lawn ornament has become a symbol of distinction and class division. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this comparison, and while you’re at it, stop second-guessing me all the damn time, you bunch of Doubting Dorothys.

MOBILE_HOME

 

Pretty conclusive stuff, right? Well hang onto your acid wash cutoffs, because those’re actually the same trailer! That’s right: Just eight bucks’ worth of painted plastic is all it takes to let your neighbors know that, yeah, you might be getting approved for that payday loan after all.



Source: NPR

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6.17.14: Cadillac Ranch Patron/General Weirdo Stanley Marsh 3 – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 7:37 pm June 24, 2014

MARSHMarsh, in front of one of the cars in his famous Cadillac Ranch art installation. Sure, it’s missing tires and will most likely explode the second you turn the ignition, but it’s still safer than any of the flaming deathwagons that GM keeps rolling out. GM: Because Fuck It.

 

Insane rich guy, sort-of artist, and probable child molester (ooh, the Bryan Singer hat trick!) Stanley Marsh III has passed away due to pneumonia. Actually, that should be “Stanley Marsh 3,” as he’d had the “III” legally replaced with the Arabic numeral, insisting that Roman numerals were too pretentious. And the producers of The Fast & the Furious franchise slowly nodded their heads in respectful agreement before purchasing suits made out of pure cocaine.

He once turned a football-field-size swatch of ranch land into the likeness of a pool-table top: he had the prairie painted green and supplied giant billiard balls and a 100-foot cue stick. He had a colossal necktie tied around the chimney of his mother’s home. And he had dozens of fake traffic signs scattered around the city offering cryptic or lighthearted messages like “Road Does Not End,” “You Will Never Be the Same” and “Ostrich X-ing.”

When one such sign was stolen by a local teenager, Marsh hunted the thief down to his family’s property, locked him in a chicken coop, and proceeded to berate and threaten him. The incident brings up a mess of interesting questions about things like civil rights and trespassing laws, with the biggest one being what kind of teenager can’t escape the clutches of an out of shape 56-year-old man trying to stick you in a chicken coop? The kid even had home-turf advantage. I blame these video game consoles, making youths all soft and doughy. When I was that age I escaped from older men trying to trap me in all kinds of things, from overturned shopping carts to poorly-constructed bear snares to discarded refrigerators down at the dump. Life used to be a lot more fun.


Source: The NY Times

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5.13.14: H.R. Giger – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 3:17 am May 17, 2014

HR_GIGERYep, that’s the legitimate and boundlessly creative work of a beloved cult artist. I suppose that means there’s a certain 9th grade social studies teacher out there who owes the cover of my high school notebook an apology now.

 

 

H.R. Giger, the rare artist who actually was just trying to make everything look like cocks (unlike those half-measure Disney artists), has died due to injuries sustained during a fall. Details are spotty, so it’s currently anyone’s guess if that accident was more along the lines of an endless and terrifying freefall into a twisting vortex of techno-organic female genitalia or just, like, tripping on a crack in a Whole Foods parking lot. You know, if you think about it, that whole “twisting vortex” thing probably counts as gettin’ some.

Giger is best known for designing the schlong-skulled titular creatures of the Alien film franchise. Those monsters were the most successful case of covertly sneaking a giant dick into a film until Mel Gibson gave himself a cameo in The Passion of the Christ. BAM! That is a burn ten years in the making!

The “Alien” movies weren’t Giger’s only foray into cinema. He contributed designs to other science-fiction films such as “Species” and was featured in the recent documentary “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” having contributed designs for the director’s aborted film adaptation of the Frank Herbert novel.

Around the same time Giger was commissioned to design a new batmobile for 1995’s Batman Forever, also known as where Val Kilmer left his career. You would be forgiven for expecting a Giger-designed vehicle intended for a Joel Schumacher Batman movie to be a slam dunk of man junk, but the results were suprisingly non-phallic, proving that even innuendo must have a saturation point. So tread lightly, Queen tribute bands of the world: that ice is looking mighty thin already.

 

Source: LA Times

 

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1.13.13: Poster Artist Gary Grimshaw – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:30 am January 27, 2014

GARY_GRIMSHAWIs that a poster advertising other posters? That is some next level meta shit right there. Also, what the hell are you listening to that needs that much high end? Is there a band that consists entirely of nothing but cymbals and banshee shrieks? Jesus, it’s called “equalization,” not “make-the-neighbor’s-dog-think-someone’s-jamming-an-ice-pick-in-his-ear… ization.”

 

I believe it was Ghandi who said that a product’s advertising is almost always better than the actual product being advertised. A slickly-executed promotion is the thin psychological membrane keeping us from realizing that there’s no scenario where getting a payday loan isn’t a terrible idea, or wondering why white people apparently can’t go a month without taking an extravagant vacation. Even musical performances need eye-catching ads to ensure no one will notice that all of those White Stripes songs are pretty much the same thing.

Of course, music is gone now, no longer being produced or consumed in any measurable quantity. Many of the younger generation believe it was never more than an urban legend to begin with, and those who were actually able to hear it at some point in their life have been left with nothing but the fading memory of Gwen Stefani’s brutal and unprovoked murder of beloved Beastie Boy Adam Yauch. But back in the days before the FCC declared that all advertising was legally required to be about insurance, cell phone plans, or interchangeable first-person military shooter games, there was Gary Grimshaw advertising local Detroit bands and festivals with his psychedelic poster art. Grimshaw’s work perfectly captured the mind-expanding, drug-fueled, grope-who-you-want madness of the rock and roll scene during the 60s and 70s. Unfortunately his later, more mellow posters were never quite as successful, and mostly focused on how having a loving family and a stable home life is the most intense high of all.

Born in Detroit in 1946, Grimshaw was a graduate of Lincoln Park High School, a Vietnam veteran, an antiwar activist and onetime member of the White Panther Party. He began producing art at the age of 20, and, over the next four decades, made his name working in media (including famed Detroit-based underground magazine Creem) and producing concert promotional posters for acts like the MC5, Sun Ra, Miles Davis, Iggy & the Stooges and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Hey, you know what poster I’ve always liked? That one with Einstein sticking his tongue out at the camera. It really reminds you that, even though he was a genius, he was still just a normal person like everybody else. It’s why I commissioned that oil painting of Carl Sagan starting a cockfighting ring in Mexico. We’re all just people, doing our best to make this crazy experiment called “life” work, man.

 

Source: Detroit Free Press

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11.25.13: Diorama Painter Fred F. Scherer – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 10:55 pm December 11, 2013

FRED_SCHERERScherer, seen in the background doing art. You know, art; the thing with the assholes wearing the berets?

 

If there’s one key human advancement that we witnessed in 2013, it’s that we’ve finally made the scourge that is art completely obsolete. Van Gogh? More like Van Get the hell out of my modern society, you pompous, one-eared Dutch freak. Oh, you spent a month painting a picture of a starry night? Yeah, I have the same picture; I took it with my phone and added a “Post-Impressionism” filter while I was eating a Swiss cake roll and waiting for the bus. It took me five seconds, and it didn’t have to be commissioned by the Sky Pope, or however shit gets done in the Netherlands. No, here on Earth we’ve advanced beyond the need for art. Who are you to tell me how a thing looks, anyway? I can already see in on Google Street View, don’t try to tell my retinas that that redwood’s bark is a burnt sienna when it’s clearly more of an Aztec brick. My eyes work just fine, thanks. It’s like I’ve always said: the visual arts are only useful for the blind. Those guys could use a leg up about that kinda thing.

It may’ve been art’s impending death that caused Fred F. Scherer, diorama landscape painter for the American Museum of Natural History, to pass away last month, a poetic synchronization with the loss of the form that, in many ways, gave him life to begin with. Or it could’ve been because he was 98. Or it could’ve been the result of being in confined spaces with open cans of Benjamin Moore all day. I’m not a theologian/doctor/painter.

…[T]here has to be a lot of depth and substance to the airspace of the picture — an illusion of odors, bugs and many miles of air currents in the 20 to 30 feet between the back wall and the spectator’s glass. Mr. Scherer was a master of all those illusions, especially air, [museum artist Stephen C. Quinn] said.

In an interview with The Brattleboro Reformer in Vermont, Mr. Scherer gave a summary of his technique: “I would juxtapose warm and cool colors to give it more airlike qualities,” he said. “It’s painted that way to vibrate like air in the distance does.”

“Find a way to paint more visible air into this landscape” sounds like either a zen mind-clearing exercise or the insane demand of an eccentric billionaire art collector, but Scherer managed to pull it off. Some of his dioramas looked so realistic you could be living inside one right now and you’d never even know it. It would definitely go a long way towards explaining these “American Midwestern Lonely Blogger” information plaques I keep finding around my apartment.



Source: The NY Times

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2.5.13: Hollywood Makeup Artist Stuart Freeborn – DEAD!

Filed under: Uncategorized —James @ 6:23 pm February 8, 2013

STUART_FREEBORNHey ladies, wouldn’t it be great if we could do that to every man’s head? Woo! I have had *too many* Coco Snowball Martinis.

 

From transvestites and the excessively vain to the slutty Golden Girl and even your validation-starved sister, everyone loves makeup. But did you know that it can be used for something other than reinforcing oppressively stereotypical gender expectations? It’s true! Makeup can also be used to make space turtles or whatever for movies. That’s what Yoda is, right? Some kinda space turtle? Whatever, I don’t really care. Point is, Stuart Freeborn, who created the makeup for characters in Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyssey and more, is dead today at the age of 98.

Lucas said in a statement:

“[Freeborn] brought with him not only decades of experience but boundless creative energy. His artistry and craftsmanship will live on forever in the characters he created. His Star Wars creatures may be reinterpreted in new forms by new generations but at their heart they continue to be what Stuart created for the original films.”

Freeborn was just another member of the delicate ecosystem of talented people who worked tirelessly to bring George Lucas’ half-assed fever dreams to something approaching palatability. In retrospect, what exactly did Lucas contribute to the empire that keeps his horrific meatbeard so glossy? Other people designed and built everything, and even a lot of the directing and writing duties were taken up by more competent nerds than Lucas. At this point it seems like he basically just scribbled “ROBOTS N MONKEYS IN SPACE!” in crayon and tricked everyone into feeling sorry enough to try and help him. I tell you, in the 70s you could get anything done with enough moxie. Moxie, of course, being 70s slang for cocaine.



Source: Time

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8.12.12: Legendary Comic Book Artist Joe Kubert – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 11:02 am August 14, 2012

“For fuck’s sake, I’m not gonna draw anyone humping, what is wrong with you people?”

 

Legendary comic book artist Joe Kubert is dead today. Mourning has led America’s dweebs to declare a temporary ceasefire in their never-ending feud with the nerdlingers, an across the aisle gesture we haven’t seen since 1996, when both factions signed an accord declaring that Rob Liefeld should “suck a duffel bag full of dicks.” No love lost between those guys, is what I’m saying. Let’s just go to the block quote from those dinguses at SuperHero Hype.

Kubert began drawing comics at DC Comics way back in 1943, including an extended run on Hawkman during the Golden Age of comics that made him one of that character’s signature artists, as well as drawing some of the most influential war comics of the ’50s and ’60s most notably G.I. Combat, which featured Sgt. Rock (his other signature character), Enemy Ace and the Haunted Tank.

The Haunted Tank! And it’s not even like it’s a metaphoric tank or any kinda misleading bullshit like that. It’s an actual tank that’s haunted and goes around tanking the shit out of things that get in its way. If it hadn’t been created before I was born I would be certain someone just stole the sketchbook I kept when I was twelve. Thankfully nobody’s ripped off my other flagship character, “Machine-Gun Woman with Like a Hundred Boobs.” She’s one third machine gun, one third woman, and one third unrealistically depicted.

 

Source: SuperHeroHype.com

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6.20.12: Artist LeRoy Neiman – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 3:35 am June 22, 2012

The final photo of Neiman, taken moments before being suckerpunched by the ghost of Pastel Muhammad Ali. That guy is a fucking menace.

 

Impressionistic painter LeRoy Neiman, the second most popular LeRoy after Jenkins, has died this week at the age of 91. Let’s all slip on our tweed blazers and tastefully step back from this block quote:

Mr. Neiman’s kinetic, quickly executed paintings and drawings, many of them published in Playboy, offered his fans gaudily colored visual reports on heavyweight boxing matches, Super Bowl games and Olympic contests, as well as social panoramas like the horse races at Deauville, France, and the Cannes Film Festival.

Basically, if Thomas Kinkade fucked Bill Cosby’s sweater and they had the most bourgeois child ever conceived, you’d have Neiman’s style. There. I just saved you $60,000 on that BFA.

Alright, now that we’ve got a classy backdrop to work against, let’s get to what you guys expect from me: Softcore smut.

In 1954, after five issues of Playboy had appeared, Mr. Neiman ran into Mr. Hefner and invited him to his apartment to see his paintings of boxers, strip clubs and restaurants.

That sounds like every first date I’ve ever had. Personally, I like to hang the strip club paintings above the bed. It really helps connects the dots, and I find that women appreciate that.

In 1955, when Mr. Hefner decided that the party-jokes page needed visual interest, Mr. Neiman came up with the Femlin, a curvaceous brunette who cavorted across the page in thigh-high stockings, high-heeled shoes, opera gloves and nothing else. She appeared in every issue of the magazine thereafter.

Oh, the opera gloves are a smart touch; They keep it from being sexist. It’s like when a porno uses those soft dissolves between scenes. It’s too artful for anyone to be offended. “Is this some lost Orson Welles film? When did he work with Sasha Gray? Should I put on a tie before I watch this thing?”

 

Source: The New York Times

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5.11.12: “Jonah Hex” creator Tony DeZuniga – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:35 am May 14, 2012

“We can do this the easy way, or we can do this the sexy way.”

 

Hey, nerds: Comic book creator Tony DeZuniga died on Friday at the age of 71. I was gonna make a joke here, but I feel pretty bad about calling you guys nerds a second ago. It’s my fault. I just get so scared sometimes.

DeZuniga suffered complications following a stroke in April brought about by a bought of pneumonia.

He was best known for his work on Conan and as the co-creator of DC Comics characters Jonah Hex and Black Orchid.

The artist was the first Filipino to work for DC and Marvel Comics.

For those who don’t know, Jonah Hex is a bounty hunter who starred in a series of well-received stories based around hard-boiled western tropes. Before being turned into a time-traveler who fights space aliens. And then starring in a movie so shitty that Megan Fox was only about the fourth most wooden and embarrassing thing about it. Hex is currently benefiting from a minor creative rebirth, which will undoubtedly be followed by the inclusion of a back-talking teenage sidekick and relocated to early 90s Compton. Fresh!

 

Source: Digital Spy

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