Showing posts with label cartoons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cartoons. Show all posts

08 August 2020

Crime Scene Comix Case 2020-08-010, Invisibility


by Velma

Shifty, sly miscreant as he is, has a clear conscience… of sorts. Let’s visit Shift on the job.

We show another clip from our criminally favorite cartoonist, Future Thought channel of YouTube. Check it out.


That’s today’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit Future Thought YouTube channel.

06 March 2020

Crime Scene Comix Case 2020-03-009, Underground Comics


Our criminally favorite cartoonist, Future Thought channel of YouTube, doesn't disappoint. We love their sausage-shaped Shifty, a Minion gone bad.

Our non-too-bright criminal breaks out of prison. It's Groundhog Day of a different sort.

𝄞 ♪♫ Not much wood a woodchuck chucks… ♬♩𝄇


That’s today’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit Future Thought YouTube channel.

14 February 2020

Crime Scene Comix Case 2020-02-008, Not-so-Healthful Spa


Once again we highlight our criminally favorite cartoonist, Future Thought channel of YouTube. We love the sausage-shaped Shifty, a Minion gone bad.

Did I say sausage shaped? Without clothes, our little villain doesn't have much shape at all. On the run, our none-too-bright criminal drops into a health spa. Uh-oh. What could go wrong?


That’s today’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit Future Thought YouTube channel.

03 February 2020

Crime Scene Comix Case 2020-01-007, Shifty Railroaded


Thus far this year, we haven’t visited our criminally favorite cartoonist, Future Thought channel of YouTube. We love the sausage-shaped Shifty, a Minion gone bad.

Not merely sausage-like, this villain is a shape-shifter of sorts. Our non-too-bright criminal robs a bank. He conceives of an ingenious escape plan. Brilliant, except for the unforeseen…


That’s today’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit Future Thought YouTube channel.

01 November 2019

Crime Scene Comix Case 2019-11-006, Shifty in Love


We welcome our criminally favorite cartoonist, Future Thought channel of YouTube, back to SleuthSayers. They produce more than one animated comic, but our favorite is Shifty.
It was bound to happen– Shifty falls in love. Naturally when our boy courts a girl, courting means something entirely different. Don’t pierce thine heart on the prick of roses.


That’s today’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit Future Thought YouTube channel.

12 October 2019

Crime Scene Comix Case 2019-10-005, Meep-Meep


We welcome our criminally favorite cartoonist, Future Thought channel of YouTube, back to SleuthSayers. They produce more than one animated comic, but our favorite is Shifty.
Usually Shifty, our none-too-bright crook, the one who looks like a Minion in prison stripes, finds himself hoisted on his own pétard. Once in a rare while he manages to escape the law. Here our acme of antics channels the Roadrunner. meep-meep


That’s today’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit Future Thought YouTube channel.

09 September 2019

Crime Scene Comix Case 2019-09-004, Baby Napping


Our criminally favorite cartoonist, Future Thought channel of YouTube, is developing a following among SleuthSayers. They produce more than one animated comic, but our favorite is Shifty.
Remember him, the none-too-bright crook who looks like a Minion in prison stripes? Baby napping… It’s not what you might think when Shifty comes skulking. Ah, the self-defeating little guy.


That’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit Future Thought YouTube channel.

05 April 2019

Crime Scene Comix Case 2019-04-003, Slot Plot


After rummaging through the dust bin of Future Thought channel of YouTube, I bet you’ll enjoy this little gem. Check it out.
Reintroducing Shifty, a none-too-bright crook who looks like a Minion in zebra stripes. This time he tries his hand at gambling. As W.C. Fields might say, “A game of chance? Not the way I play it.”


That’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit Future Thought channel on YouTube.

22 February 2019

Crime Scene Comix Case 2019-02-002, Subway Robbery


We visit the Future Thought channel of YouTube. Check it out. Meanwhile, take a two-minute bite out of crime.
Remember Shifty, the none-too-bright crook who looks like a Minion in zebra stripes? He returns, trying his hand at purse-snatching. As before, Shifty’s half-a-quart low and a stripped cog from success.


That’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show.

01 February 2019

Crime Scene Comix Case 2019-01-001, SleepWalker


Sometimes crime turns funny, especially when dumb criminals are involved. Sometimes creative minds view crime in skewed ways. Today, experience two minutes of mad mayhem.
Meet Shifty, a none-too-bright crook who looks like a Minion in zebra stripes. Although he always wears a mask and prisoner jersey, no member of the public pays him the least attention.

Shifty can be found in the Future Thought channel of YouTube– please visit. Here's an example of Shifty in action.


How's that for crime cinema? Hope you enjoyed the show.

16 November 2016

The Night The Old Nostalgia Burned Down, Again


Last month I wrote about books I dug up recently  because I remembered them from my childhood.  I ended by saying "Maybe next time I will talk about childhood favorites I bought my daughter when she was a kid."  But instead I talked about my non-conversation with a taxi driver.  So here we go.

If you are familiar with Crockett Johnson it is probably because of his wonderful books about Harold and the Purple Crayon which have inspired children's imagination (and the occasional wall-scribble spanking) for many years. Bill Watterson, the creator of the marvelous Calvin and Hobbes comic strip,  also said that Harold was all he knew of Johnson.

The reason he was asked about Johnson is that Calvin bears a certain resemblance to Ellen's Lion.  Both feature a young kid (Ellen is a preschooler, a bit younger than Calvin) whose best friend is  a stuffed animal.  In both cases the beastie has a completely different personality than the kid, but the animal can't speak if the kid's mouth is covered.  (And now that I think about it, it sounds like both artists were describing a child having a psychotic break.  But put that out of your mind.  Sorry I brought it up.)

What I like best about Johnson's stories is that the imaginary friend, so to speak, is the realist in the pair.  When Ellen asks the Lion about his life before they met she wants to hear about steaming hot jungles, but all he remembers is a department store.

By the way, Johnson also created one of the most brilliant comic strips of all time. Barnaby ran during the early forties and featured another preschooler who, in the first episode, wishes for a fairy godmother.  Due to wartime shortages he was instead assigned Jackeen J. O'Malley, a three-foot-tall fairy godfather with a grubby raincoat, magenta wings, and a malfunctioning magic cigar.  Mr. O'Malley introduces Barnaby to such characters as Atlas, a three-foot-tall giant (he's a mental giant), some Republican ghosts, and a talking dog who will not shut up.











The other book I hunted down for my kiddo has nothing to do with Crockett Johnson but does mention Atlas.  The original one.

d'Auliares' Book of Greek Myths, written and illustrated by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire, started me on my lifelong love of mythology.  Not only are the pictures unforgettable but the writing is very well done.

One thing I love about it is how cleverly they slip around, well, the naughty bits that you might not want to explain to an eight-year-old.  In the chapter on Theseus they explain that Poseidon, god of the sea, sent a white bull to the island of Crete, which King Minos was supposed to sacrifice to him:

But Queen Pasiphaë was so taken by the beauty of the white bull that she persuaded the king to let it live.  She admired the bull so much that she ordered Daedalus to construct a hollow wooden cow, so she could hide inside it and enjoy the beauty of the bull at close range....

To punish the king and queen, Poseidon caused Pasiphaë to give birth to a monster, the Minotaur.  He was half man, half bull…

Every adult, I imagine, understands exactly what the dAulaires said that the Greeks were saying about Pasiphaë, but it goes right over a kid's head.  (Did mine, anyway.)

The book is still in print.  Unfortunately the binding is not as long-lasting as the text and pictures.  I have had to replace it about once a decade.

Ah well, no mysteries this week, unless you count the mystery religions.  Or Mr. O'Malley's encounter with the fur coat thieves...

14 December 2015

See You In The Funny Papers


by Jim Doherty and David Dean

There’s an old saying that goes, “See you in the funny papers,” which, I have to admit, I never quite got. I mean, how are you going to see me in the funny papers? I’m a real, live, three-dimensional sort of guy. I must also be a literal kind of guy because now I find that the impossible has happened—I’m in the funny papers! That’s right. I find that I’ve been reduced (some might say enhanced) to two dimensions and basking in the reflected glory of none other than that venerable crime fighter, Dick Tracy! Lest you doubt, I’ve attached proof of my brief appearance.


There, see me? I’m the thin dude in the Hall Of Fame box. It appears that amongst Dick’s many skills and talents at detection, he has also honed an appreciation of fine crime writing—mine… amongst others it seems. Can you believe he also honored some dude named Wambaugh in a previous issue? What kind of name is that for a writer? Get a clue, Wambaugh.

When I got the news it was via a forwarded email from Janet Hutchings at Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. It being a weekday, I was hard at work hammering out my next story when, during a brief lull in my creativity I checked all my social and communication media. Half an hour later, I’m reading a very kind note from a police sergeant named Jim Doherty telling me of my inclusion in Dick Tracy’s Hall of Fame. He had also attached the comic strip. Jim, as I learned, is the police technical advisor to the comic strip’s creative team.

To say that I was blown away would be putting it mildly. Having spent a big part of my adulthood as both a cop and a writer, this inclusion rang all the bells and blew all the whistles for me. I loved it. And it’s great fun to boot.

But that’s enough about me. Though you probably couldn’t tell, I intended my little victory dance to serve as an introduction to my new friend and colleague, Sgt. Jim Doherty, the person most responsible for my induction into the Hall of Fame. On my honor (which is now unquestionable), Jim and I have never met, and he only knew of me through my writing. It was he that submitted my name and bio to the editors, and it was on his recommendation that I was accepted. May his name be sung in the mead halls of Valhalla forevermore.

Jim, as mentioned earlier, is both a police sergeant and technical advisor, but he is also a writer of crime fiction himself. So, I thought it might be interesting if he shared with us a bit about his own background, as well as his relationship with the square-jawed Detective Tracy and his crime-busting comic strip. I think you’ll find it interesting.



Thank you for the introduction, David.

It might seem odd to be discussing a comic strip character on a blog devoted to the mystery genre, until one considers that Dick Tracy’s as important a figure to crime fiction as he is to the comics medium.

Leave aside the obvious fact that, with the exception of Sherlock Holmes himself, Tracy’s the most famous detective in any fictional medium. Leave aside that, like Holmes, he’s a multi-media star, successful in movies, novels, TV and radio, stage productions, and just about any other story-telling medium you can imagine.

Forget about all that and look at him:

The rugged features. The snap brim fedora. The trench coat. Comics are a visual medium, after all, and that being the case, it’s clear that our whole idea of what a hard-boiled sleuth is supposed to look like comes to us direct from Tracy. Every time we think of how cool Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, Alan Ladd, Jack Webb, or Dick Powell look in that particular ensemble, we’re admiring a look that Tracy’s creator, Chester Gould, invented, or at least connected to crime fiction, as indelibly as Sidney Paget connected the deerstalker cap and the Inverness cape in the pages of The Strand Magazine.

And imagine about how many people must have been introduced to crime fiction through Tracy. Most mystery fans, at least in the US, will probably mention the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew when asked how they first got started, but, how many of them, even before they knew how to read, thrilled to the four-color adventures of the most famous of all fictional cops. I know one of my fondest memories is of my dad reading Dick Tracy to me years before I even knew how to read. Aside from turning my into a mystery fan, and eventually a mystery writer, Tracy also clearly had an influence on my choice of day job (though, being Irish, and having a lot of law enforcement types in my family Tracy was, perhaps, not the only influence).

I was fortunate enough to get involved in with Tracy professionally, or at least semi-professionally, when two guys I knew through the Internet, both of them well-known comics professionals, decided to start a web page called Plainclothes as a tribute to the famed law enforcement icon. (When Chester Gould first conceived the strip, he called it Plainclothes Tracy).

Mike Curtis, who had briefly been in law enforcement himself (he once served as a deputy in the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office), started in the business writing scripts for Harvey Comics about character like Casper the Friendly Ghost, Richie Rich, and Wendy the Good Little Witch. Later he would form his own company, Shandafa Comics. Though an admirer of Dick Tracy, Mike’s first love is really Superman, and he owns one of the biggest collections of memorabilia devoted to the Man of Steel in the country.

He’d formed a friendship with legendary comics artist Joe Staton, who, since he got his first professional job in 1971, has been so active in the business it’s easier to list the characters he hasn’t drawn, than those he has. From Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern for DC to the Hulk, Captain America, Phoenix, and the Silver Surfer for Marvel, to say nothing of work for just about every other comic book company in the US, including Charlton, Western, Comico, First, etc., etc. etc.

The one character Joe always longed to draw, but never got a chance to, was Dick Tracy. Or make that rarely got a chance to. He’d done a comic book story for Disney in the early ‘90’s to tie in with the Warren Beatty film, but it never got published due to the rights being clouded. And he’d done some covers for books collecting reprints of the old strips. But he’d never gotten a chance to do the strip, or even a regular comic book series.

Mike had heard that Dick Locher, the Pulitzer-winning artist/writer who had been drawing the strip since 1983, and writing it since 2005, might be retiring.

He suggested that he and Joe do the website, not only as a tribute to the character, but as a sort of high-tech audition, in case Tribune Content Agency, the syndicate that distributed the strip, really was looking for someone to replace Locher. The main attraction on the Plainclothes website was an original Tracy comics story, done in daily newspaper strip format. This was accompanied by articles, original artwork, and prose stories about the character.

Knowing that I was a cop, a Tracy admirer, and a mystery writer, Mike invited me to contribute two prose stories featuring Tracy. I was at the point where I was actually getting paid to write stuff. I’d had two books published, a collection of true-crime articles, Just the Facts, which included a piece called “Blood for Oil,” about the Osage Indian Murders of the 1920’s which won a Spur from the Western Writers of America, and a study of the creator of iconic private eye Phil Marlowe, Raymond Chandler – Master of American Noir. Writing for free seemed, on the surface, like a step back.

On the other hand, my only novel, An Obscure Grave, though a finalist for a British Crime Writers Debut Dagger Award, was still unpublished, and how many chances would I ever get to write about my favorite detective?

It turned out that the Tribune folks were aware of us. And, though our use of the character could be construed as a copyright violation, they were inclined to look at it as an audition, just as we hoped. It turned out that Mr. Locher really was retiring. On the basis of the work displayed in Plainclothes, Mike was hired to write the actual strip, Joe to illustrate it. Mike invited me to be the police technical advisor, since I’m still an active cop, and I live in Chicago (the unstated, but obvious, setting for the strip).

The first person to have that job was a fellow named Al Valanis, a respected detective in the Chicago Police who has the distinction of being one of the first forensic sketch artists in the history of law enforcement. He created a new feature in Tracy that’s become almost as familiar to fans as Tracy’s two-way wrist communication device. “Crimestoppers’ Textbook,” a panel at the beginning of every Sunday strip that gave safety tips for cops, crime prevention tips for citizens, and the occasional pithy editorial comment. As the new technical advisor, I was also to write the copy for “Crimestoppers.”

A few months into the gig, I had an idea for a new feature that would occasionally replace “Crimestoppers.” A feature that would profile a noteworthy real-life police officer, to be called “Dick Tracy’s Hall of Fame,” appearing roughly once a month. Over the years, we’ve honored such famed law officers as Eliot Ness, Frank Serpico, Robert Fabian of the Yard, Mary Sullivan (the first-ever female homicide detective), Eugene Vidocq (the founder of the Sûreté), and Bill Tilghman (the greatest of all frontier lawmen).

During this last year, being a policeman who writes crime stories, I had the notion of building the “Hall of Fame” entries for 2015 around a particular theme, cops who also write cop fiction. A few of the more obvious choices have been Joseph Wambugh, William Caunitz, Maurice Procter, and A.C. Baantjer.

But police work isn’t carried out exclusively on big city streets. And crime fiction doesn’t exist only in novels. And so, when I conceived the notion of devoting a year’s worth of Hall of Fame inductees to cops who were also fictioneers, small-town police chief and short story ace David Dean was one of the first persons I thought of.

I’ve admired David’s stories for years, and was pleased to learn that, upon retiring from the Avalon Police in New Jersey, he intended to start writing novels. His first book-length fiction, The Thirteenth Child, was a first-rate genre-crossover, effectively blending the elements of a realistic police procedural thriller with a supernatural horror novel. I couldn’t put it down.


I was also struck by the fact that, when I saw a picture of David, tall, lean, ruggedly handsome, square-jawed, he seemed to remind me of someone.

Maybe if his hair was dark instead of sandy, or if he changed out of the uniform and into a business suit, trenchcoat, and snap-brim fedora, I’d be able to put my finger on just who it is he puts me in mind of.

23 March 2014

How Writers Write


by Leigh Lundin

More than one author admits to writing in bed, flat on one's back, some in pajamas, others stark naked. While admitting nothing, my thanks goes to a loyal reader who sent me the following by Australian filmmaker and cartoonist, Ethan Waghorn, who uses the internet name 'Atrumentis'.

Time for Bed © Ethan Waghorn
© Ethan Waghorn

Atrumentis' work appears on 9gag.com and his web site, ChewingFat.co. (Images are the property of the artist and are therein internally hotlinked.)

21 August 2013

Five Red Herrings V


1.  Sherlock and key

Got a from Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine in early March describing a fascinating event in their lives.  Like good citizens they had purchased the right to use the Master's name on their magazine.  Unfortunately the person who sold them said rights apparently didn't own them.  Oopsies.  Do a search for Andrea Plunkit and Doyle estate if you want the gory details.

2.  Insecurity Questions

Wondermark is one of the most delightfully bizarre comic strips on the web.  Monty Python goes cyberpunk, sort of.




3.  Harlan Coben, here is the plot for your next novel

When Lori Ruff died in Seattle she left a strongbox full of secrets.  They made it clear that the wife and mother was living under a stolen identity.  But who she was originally and why she changed her name, well, her husband would sure like to know.  From the Seattle Times.






4.  James Powell is going to happen



I don't know if you follow Something Is Going To Happen, the blog at Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, but they recently published a wild piece by Jim Powell who demonstrates that at an age even more advanced than my own he has a crazier imagination than any teenage gamer every dreamed of.  Watch him free associate...

Though it isn’t a mystery story, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Man in the Crowd” may be the short story at it’s best, for there are really only two characters, the man and the crowd. (Speaking of Poe, it has been a long time since the Sherlock Holmsing pigeon drove the Raven “nevermoring” all the way, from its perch on the bust of Pallas just above Poe’s chamber door only to come back to us again as a good part of Johnny Depp’s Tonto headgear in the new Lone Ranger movie. Sherlock’s pigeon would be replaced a few years later by the Maltese Falcon. I wonder what kind of bird will come next to roost on that well-encrusted and put upon piece of statuary?)

5.  They were steampunk before steampunk was cool.

Have you seen the website Murder by Gaslight?  True crimes of Victorian England.  Quick, Watson!  Call C.S.I.!