Monday, July 22, 2019

Simpsons, New Yorker and Weird Al News

First of all, you should probably know that for the last six months, I've been working on a big "secret project" for "The Simpsons".  They asked me to keep it secret - if not, the FOX lawyers would come down hard on me - and now that FOX-TV got bought by Disney, the even tougher Disney lawyers would come down on me even harder.  So even though many people have been asking me what I've been working on, I could only say that it was a secret Simpsons project.

Well, now, apparently there was a big panel of Simpsons creators at the San Diego Comic-Con last week and they revealed that they're going to release Season 19 of the show in a DVD box set, and that the brand new (and perhaps last) package design and art would be created by Bill Plympton!  Lots of applause!  But it won't be available until December 3, so you can start saving up your pennies and nickels.

It was a very fun project and I had almost complete control of the images and ideas.  And also, it will be very different, because instead of the typical Simpsons show artwork on the packaging and DVD menus, it's now a much more unique and outrageous style - so please check it out.  I had a lot of fun making it.

On a totally different topic - I have been good friends with Liza Donnelly and Mike Maslin for about 40 years.  They're both great New Yorker cartoonists and married - to each other, to be clear.  Anyway, Liza ended up going to my IFC "Trump Bites" show and she came up with the idea of having a barbecue in upstate New York, where they live, and inviting all the nearby local cartoonists to come over.  Unfortunately, it was on one of the hottest days of the year, like 107 degrees, so we had to eat inside their very cool 1800's colonial house.

Here's a list of some of the people there: Peter Steiner, who just did the most copied cartoon ever in the New Yorker (the one with the two dogs on the computer and one says, "You know, on the computer no one knows we're dogs.") and Danny Shanahan, who is one of my favorites and apparently was a ranked tennis player at one time.  Who knew?  Also, Elwood Smith, one of my earliest friends in New York - his illustrations were famous in the U.S. plus he's a great guitar player and played lead guitar in the all-cartoonist band Ben-Day and the Zip-a-Tones (starring Lou Brooks, Mark Stamaty, Elwood and myself)  We were like a shooting star - we did two or three big gigs and then exploded in a blaze of glory.  And John Cuneo, who lives in Woodstock, he's done a number of New Yorker covers.  He also designed the poster and promotions for the Woodstock Film Festival last year.  In fact, I heard they're putting together a book of Woodstock Film Fest art for this year, and it will include both of our posters.

And then, if that weren't enough, we had the pleasure of being joined by the great R.O. Blechman, who I shamelessly borrowed from for about 5 years when I was younger.  He had some great stories about working in animation and for the New Yorker in the 1950's and 60's - fascinating!  This is what I love about New York, all these great talented artists hanging out and talking shop gossip.

Mike Maslin, Peter Steiner, John Cuneo, R.O. Blechman, Liza Donnelly, Danny Shanahan, me and Elwood Smith at BBQ.
While I was up in Rhinebeck, I heard that another friend of mine, "Weird Al" Yankovic was in town, and performed a concert out in Queens, at the Forest Hills Stadium, with the Queens Symphony Orchestra.  This was called the "Strings Attached" tour, and obviously playing with an orchestra is different - but I think he's back to playing his parody songs again, the last tour he did was only his original songs.

Well, as you might imagine, a lot of the people who work for me are also fans of Al - so Kerri, an ex-employee of mine went to the concert and took some photos for me of Al performing in front of the animation I did for his "Don't Download This Song" music video.  I'm sorry that I couldn't be there, but my thanks to Kerri for sending along these photos!  Be sure to catch Weird Al on tour if you get the chance!

Weird Al Yankovic performing "Don't Download This Song" in Forest Hills, Queens
Now, here's this week's gag cartoon.  Enjoy!

--Bill P.

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