The Genius of Cul de Sac

Richard Thompson’s Cul de Sac is one of two comic-strip masterpieces of this century.1 Fortunately for the busy comics-reader, you can now read the entire work in The Complete Cul de Sac (2 volumes, just out from Andrews McMeel). Unfortunately for the medium (of comics! of Art!), the complete run of the Thompson’s daily strip is…

Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby Volume Two (1944-1945) is here!

Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby Volume Two: 1944-1945 will be shipping soon!  I know this because my copies arrived in today’s mail. (I co-edited this book with Eric Reynolds) It looks great! (You can get Barnaby Volume Two from Fantagraphics or at your local comics retailer. Ask for it by name!) As we did in Barnaby Volume One and will do…

Posters for Harmony, Loyalty, and Discipline

Under the Kansas Board of Regents‘ brave new social media policy, the faculty and staff of Kansas universities must make sure that their speech is harmonious, loyal, and conducive to discipline.  So, the Kansas Board of Regents’ Committee for Harmony, Loyalty and Discipline is here to help you monitor speech. Our staff artist, Comrade Warner, has created…

The Committee for Harmony, Loyalty, and Discipline: The Mixes

Because every revolution needs a soundtrack, I assembled a couple of CDs of songs for the drive to and from Topeka, for yesterday’s Kansas Board of Regents meeting. True, the drive is not in fact that long (only an hour each way), but creating playlists is a form of thinking. It’s something I do for fun. Really….

The object of power is power: a report from today’s Kansas Board of Regents meeting

“The object of power is power.” — O’Brien, in George Orwell’s 1984 To support the basic right to freedom of speech and to stand up for academic freedom, faculty, staff, and students from Kansas universities attended today’s Kansas Board of Regents meeting in Topeka, Kansas. The room was packed: standing room only.  The Board of Regents…

Kansas Faculty Senates ask Regents for “Freedom to speak without fear of reprisal”

Here is the statement from the Council of Faculty Senate Presidents, read at today’s Kansas Board of Regents meeting, about 20 minutes ago. As the Council of Faculty Senate Presidents, it is our responsibility to express to the Board the concerns of the faculty we represent. When the Social Media Policy was introduced in December,…

Wild Things, I Think I Love You: Maurice Sendak, Ruth Krauss, and Childhood

Like his mentor Ruth Krauss’s fictive children, Maurice Sendak’s are emotionally liberated people. That’s one of the points I make in my brief (5-page!) essay “Wild Things, I Think I Love You: Maurice Sendak, Ruth Krauss, and Childhood,” which appeared in PMLA 129.1 (January 2014).  In a belated recognition of the second anniversary of Maurice Sendak’s passing…

How Much Is That Crayon in the Window?: Harold at Compas, L.A.

Crockett Johnson‘s Harold appears in Madeline Stuart‘s window design for Compas, as one of the “Novel Displays: Storytelling by Design” windows at La Cinega Design Quarters‘ “Legends” event (May 7-9, Los Angeles). Surprising no one, I always enjoy reports of Harold sightings. The addition of three crayons behind Harold departs from Johnson’s book, but their presence helps viewers recognize…

The Committee for Harmony, Loyalty, and Discipline

The Kansas Board of Regents’ new social media policy will require vigilant enforcement.  How will we determine when speech is “contrary to the best interests of the employer”?  How will we recognize speech that “impairs discipline by superiors or harmony among co-workers”?  How can we prevent speech that has a “detrimental impact on close working relationships”?  Given…