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You know… I’m a bit more proud of this sticker than usual this time.

In my search for copies of Uncle Gustave’s work, I’ve come across some medium-quality scans, like this one. Here’s what I’ve been able to do to restore it.

(The original is large enough to read the captions. The creatures seen here are a chimpanzeebra and hippopotamustang.)

Terrors of the Tiny Tads restoration

Terrors of the Tiny Tads restoration

Following up on my last item, I’ll also be doing some coloring for this project.

After all, I not only have a copy of Photoshop, I have the time and know-how to use it.

I can’t post the art itself, since it isn’t mine, but here are the colors from one of the pages. ;)

Yes, it’s a bit naughty. 8O But this page is about as racy as it gets.

This is stretching the concept of “fame” a little, but I may be getting a bit of my work into print sometime soon. I’ll be doing the letting for a guy who was in my illustration classes, who has a few short pieces he’s doing for an anthology that’s coming out next year. After all, I have a copy of Illustrator.

I’ve been collecting material for my Gustave Verbeek site, and just came across a substantial jackpot: scanned copies of a few years of his “other” strip.  It’s “The Terrors of the Tiny Tads”, which features a group of interchangeable kids, who encountered all sorts of strange creatures whose names are combinations of two words. 

One of the Tads greets an pretzelephant

One of the Tads greets a pretzelephant

For example, there’s a hippopautomobile (a hippopotamus with seats in its body) and hammocking birds (a pair of birds with a hammock connecting them).  The strips are kind of short on story logic much of the time, often introducing one of these creatures just for the sake of showing off the idea, but they’re still bizarrely imaginative.

As you can see, the scans need a bit of clean-up (at least to satisfy my borderline OCD), and unfortunately they’re from black and white reprints not the original color. But they’re good examples of the genius of Uncle Gustave, and demonstrate that he wasn’t just a one-trick pony with the Upside-Downs.

I’m going to knuckle down and get to work on a project that - like so many others - I’ve been putting off for a long time. It’s a web site featuring the work of a guy named “Gustave Verbeek”, whom I suspect of being a relative of mine. In addition to the almost-matching surname, his father was a missionary for the Reformed Church, which my family has been associated with for generations, so we probably had some common ancestors back in the Netherlands.

Great-Uncle Gustave (as I think of him) is best known as the creator of “The Upside Downs”, a 6-panel newspaper strip that was read through normally, then turned upside down and the same panels re-read in the opposite direction to finish the story. It’s a huge formalist challenge, and he pulled it off for 64 installments. He went on to produce another series called “The Terrors of the Tiny Tads”, which was loaded with imaginative wordplay/visualizations.

Gustave’s cartoons were published in the early 1900s, so it’s all in the Public Domain. That means - family or not - I have the right to reproduce it all, and I’ve collected a fair amount of it (especially the Upside Downs strips). It’s the early 2000s now, so I’m going to put it on the web.

Of course the Upside Downs material requires some special handling in this medium. I can hardly expect readers to turn their computer monitors upside down to finish each strip, so I’ll have to do something with Flash or JavaScript to flip the pages over. And there’s the perennial question of how to fit the strips - which were originally published fairly large - on the screen. We’ll see.

I have accomplished one thing, however. I’ve rough-drafted a logo which captures some of the forward-and-backward nature of Great-Uncle Gustave’s famous work:

Welcome to the new, experimental log section of the Michigan Comics Network!  Consider it a “beta” for now.

The purpose of this part of the site is to give members a place to keep an online log of what they’re working on.  Let me know if you are a Michigander Comicker and would like to be set up to post info, images, etc. here.