Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chicago Comics ~ Thursday ~ 6-8!

Oct. 1st
6-8 pm
3244 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60657 USA


We're celebrating my first Beanworld appearance
in Chicago for at least a dozen years.

Larry Marder signing tomorrow?
Yes tomorrow!
10% off Beanworld collections from now til then!!

We'll have books and art and sneak previews of
Remember Here When You Are There!
and all sorts of other leguminous surprises!
Oh yeah....if you are interested....don't forget this.

(Actually, it's good for both hardcovers!)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hello, I won't be going!

I wish I could catch it while in Chicago--but I don't have the time!

Busy, busy, busy!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Remembering Then When It Was Now!

The Spirit of Art: Now

The Spirit of Music: Now

The Spirit of All of Us: Then

Saturday, day two of NSCDS Class of '69 reunion, summoned real magic.
And the spell was invoked by the intertwining of Art and Music with the spirits of John Almquist and Vincent Allison

Let me try to explain.

A whole bunch of us trekked down from the North Shore and met at the doors of the spanking brand new wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. This building is dedicated to Modern Art so we were quite eager to give it a good look-see.

But the best part was that our tour guide was our friend and fellow '69er, Suzanne Folds McCullagh, who happens to be Curator of Earlier Prints and Drawings of The Art Institute of Chicago. She briskly took us on a whirlwind (but information-packed) tour of the museum. The Art Institute is looking mighty pretty these days having been renovated and reformulated quite a bit since I last had opportunity to take it all in.

Well, truth is, I spent far less time looking at the famous and important pieces and far more time watching my ol' classmates talking to each other as they looked at the famous and important pieces.

There amongst this group of ladies and gents (all now eligible for early-bird specials at the world's finest eateries) were the kids that I studied art with under the late John Almquist. Almquist taught Upper School Art at North Shore Country Day for decades and everyone who went to school there in the second half of the 20th century was influenced by him in some way.

I was influence by him in a big way.
He was an incredible teacher.
He was eccentric, kind, acerbic, caustic, witty, always generous with his time and advice, funny-as-hell, a education visionary, and a perfectly wonderful role model of what an Artist is supposed to be.

We Art Majors were a tight group.
We were supportive of each other but also deadly competitive in a sweet, good natured way.
About 20 years ago, Almquist told me that he remembered our group as the one of the "big paintings." (We did paint on some rather large canvasses. I don't think I ever painted on as large a surface ever again, even in college.)

There is no question that Almquist had an enormous influence on us as individuals and as a group. The gallery in the School is named after him and I had a Beanworld art exhibition there in the early '90s. In fact, I have a few pieces up there now in an Alumni Show.

A lot of these forks are the very same friends I explored the Art Institute with 40 plus years ago when we were kids and were first granted the freedom of movement to drive or train downtown from the 'burbs and explore the delights of the big city.

The new Modern Wing is jaw-dropper. It houses Modern Art, Contemporary Art, Architecture & Design and Photography. As Suzanne pointed out, the museum was built around the artwork and it shows. The pieces all have enough elbow room to breathe.

Do I remember most of what I breezed past?

I was so caught up in the strength of the experience of being there with old friends that the allure if the art was definitely running in second place.

Except for Duchamp, BrĂ¢ncusi, and Eve Hesse.
Not surprisingly, I had to linger a bit longer at their pieces.

I don't know about the others but memories of John Almquist were vivid and dancing in my mind as we were in the Art phase of our day together.

From there it was back up to Winnetka and our official Class of 1969 dinner gathering at Cook's Corner. The high energy summoned by the Art was still in full force.

When we sat down in smaller groups to eat about halfway through dinner someone observed that our table was comprised of the core of the Yearbook group. The handful of us spent a lot of time together over the course of our senior year creating a yearbook which at the time was considered quite cutting edge. We had 40 some pages in it that showcased drawings, paintings, poetry, photography and even some cartooning. The bonds we formed as a group were very alive as we traded stories and filled in the continuity gaps of each others' memories.

And then we started to sing.

Let me digress.
I can't recall what his official title was when we were in school and I'm not sure what it was when he retired either, but the late Vincent B. Allison was in charge of Music at North Shore Country Day School. We sang a lot at North Shore. Sometimes slides would be projected on a screen ala follow the bouncing ball and Mr. Allison would lead us in song. The slides were low tech even for then. They were typewritten directly on something like a piece of acetate or clear film. They were funky looking. Someone from the school, somewhere along the line, scanned the slides and compiled them into a song book. The songs are very eclectic. Folk songs, campfire songs, madrigals, rounds, Anglo-Saxon and Irish tunes, battle songs, spirituals, church songs. A little bit of everything.

Someone starting singing.

Then everyone was singing.
Music filled the room
Music coming from us, welling up from some deep place inside poured out and around us, through us, in a soft crackle of Magic that was both surprising and thoroughly familiar.

"These are the people I learned these songs with!"
That was the thought and feeling that was all around me.
I have no idea how long we sang but you've never seen such smiles as we were singing four part rounds.

Off the top of my head, I can't remember where I read it or who said it, (Pete Seeger? Robert Crumb? Both?) but the observation was that one of the primary human activities that is missing in Modern Life is spontaneous group singing. Gone are the work songs, the marching songs, the singing-for-the-sake-of-singing in the living room. Generally the only time people sing together nowadays is in church or at a concert.

Well, as we were singing Saturday night, we all knew that we had entered into The-Realm-Of-Something-Else.

"Remembering Then While It Is Now" was the Beanworld-ish phrase that popped into my head.

And now, I'm "Remembering There While I Am Here."

At the end of the day, someplace, somewhere, somewhen, the spirits of Mr Almquist and Mr. Allison were aglow with happiness and pride with the way Everyone-And-Everything-Turned-Out.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Functioning Antiquity Discovered!

This morning while doing the Chicago Tribune's crossword puzzle,
I stumbled upon this incredible 20th century pencil sharpener in my Mom's kitchen!

It works perfectly.

What a GEM of a find, huh?


Thursday, September 24, 2009

One Week From Today--Don't Forget!

Don't worry...I'll remind you again!
October 1 at Chicago Comics

But first....
Today I fly to Chicago.
Tomorrow is the kick-off for the 40th reunion
of North Shore Country Day School--
class of 1969.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Aesthetic ancestors of the Boom'r Band?

Did this classic Leo Burnett Kellogg's commercial make an impression on my young imagination that years later influenced the creation of Beanworld's Boom'r Band?

Yep, I think so.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Beware The FOG!

Well, I was working on something and had reason to look at the text pages of the second trade paperback edition of Larry Marder's Beanworld: Book One. I took a look at the Beware the FOG! performance drawing and realized just how muddy and filled it was in that re-printing of the book.

That's almost certainly because it was done from a scan taken from a pre-printed page that was taken from a PMT that was taken from a Velox print from a negative shot from the original piece of art. That is a pretty circuitous route spinning away from the integrity of the original.

So I looked up at the original as it is hanging above my drawing tablet at about 1 o'clock. And I thought, the original is too big for MY scanner but the Velox print is in excellent shape and small enough to be scanned.
So I did.

It's even still taped down to the board with the instructions for the PMT.

The original is a fairly large: 17" x 26." It was drawn on some sort of cover stock that was laying around on a skid in the bindery at Lithographics, Inc. where I worked at the time. I believe the entire drawing was done with Sharpies, Bic pens, and Flair pens. Oh and some sort of White-Out. This was drawn during one of those periods where I had the fervent belief that anything I did should be drawn with tools that could be bought at any Woolworth's store.

I've mentioned it before, but the building in the background was a real place. Well, kind of real. It was based on a comic book store named Funtiques & Fantasy and it was owned by a great guy named Norman Babineau. I used to go there every Friday after work and get a big armload of comics for about five bucks! (They cost about 25 cents in those days after all!)

On a related note, I've posted the Hoo-Hoo-HA & a Hoka-Hoka-HEY text pages from the first book here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

From Out Of The Moondog's Archives!

Hi Larry,

After seeing your query a few weeks back wondering what that one BW piece was, I started going through all the things you gave me or autographed for me back in the day.
I got everything together and took some photos. Hopefully they turned out good enough for you to see.
Share them on your website if you'd like. I think your fans would love to see some of the obscure stuff.
I hope you're well.
Say hi to Cory.



Gary Colabuono, aka Moondog, was my boss for three years in the early '90s when I was Marketing Director for Chicago's Moondog's Comicland.

It was a very heady time in the comics business.

While I was there all sorts of stuff happened including the Death of Superman, the simultaneous and symbiotic births of Wizard Magazine and Image Comics, the speculation frenzy, and the birth of the DLG, a retailers organization.

The core nucleus of crazies in the HQ office was led by Gary and also included Sue Flaim-Laz, Vince Smith, Bevin Brown, and the incredibly talented Chris Ecker. We did some amazing things there in the days before email and the Internet.
We had a hell of a lot of fun too.

Gary is a collector-born.
He has some really good Beanworld stuff here, don't you think?

Don't Forget--Two Weeks From Today!

Don't worry...I'll remind you again!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

More From the Beanworld Archives!

Mr Spook
12" x 12 1/2"
Pencil drawing on paper
(really old and yellow paper!)

This drawing in on a piece of paper that was from my days at Lithographics, Inc. in Canton, CT.

I can tell because it has pre-printed "live area" and "trim marks" on the back side. Nowadays, you only see these things on comic book art boards, but it was pretty standard stuff in all the graphics arts back then.

I left Lithographics during Bicentennial Week in 1976.
I moved from Connecticut, where I'd gone to art school, back to my hometown of Chicago. I brought a lot of paper scraps with me because there were certain stocks that I really liked drawing on.

Do I remember the names?
Not a clue.

Even if I did remember, chances are, the paper companies long ago were absorbed into a huge paper mega-conglomerates and the names stocks have been renamed.

The drawing itself is undated but it wasn't drawn in Connecticut.
Based on the style, I'd say it's from the mid-80s 'cuz that's the "real" Mr.Spook and Fork.
And he's riding some sort of Thunderbird vehicle.
(But it does have a wee bit of foreshadowing of things that happen in Here There!)

I don't remember drawing it.

I don't quite know what it's supposed to be or when in the Beanworld story arc it is intended to take place.
Not sure if it is a "real" Thunderbird or if it is some sort of symbol on shield.
Could be either.

But I like it.
So I thought I'd share it!


Friday, September 11, 2009

Back To School Beanworld

This is a really fun post

When we last heard from Kristina Parmenter, it was to show her Mr. Spook pencil holder.

At the time she wrote:
"I just wanted to say how happy I am to see Beanworld back in print. I teach elementary school and have always wanted to put my Beanworld books in my classroom but I wasn't willing to risk my old and precious copies. This year, Beanworld will be on the shelf and I can't wait to see my students discover it!"

Then recently she wrote again:

"Is it all right with you if I put Beanworld characters around my classroom? I teach second and third grade this year, and I've been very excited to finally have Beanworld books in my classroom. I have also been getting a little bored with the standard "happy animal" decorations I get from teacher stores, and wanted to do something a little different. Beanworld characters seemed perfect.

I would like to make other Beanworld characters to enhance other areas in my room (I thought Proffy would be perfect for Science Center, Beanish for Art Center). I decided to use Mr. Spook to hold "Helper of the Day" names on his trusty fork. However, I wanted to be sure this was okay with you before I did any more."

Needless to say, I wrote back and let her know that it is quite alright with me:

I heartily endorse what you are up to!

I've long had a hunch that Beanworld can be a very helpful tool in educational situations. And your ideas about the various zones seem thoroughly appropriate too.

And then, this came!

Mr. Marder,

On the first day of school, one of my kids found the Beanworld books on the shelf and instantly made the connection to the Beanworld characters I'd put on the walls. She asked me about them, but I said that if she read the books, she'd figure out who they were and why I put them where I did. Suddenly it became a mystery to solve, and I had groups of kids fighting over the books trying to figure it out! Three days later and they've solved the mystery, although I had to admit that Mr. Spook doesn't have much to do with a calendar, but some students decided that Gran'Ma'Pa up at the top made sense, because the Beans have to look to Gran'Ma'Pa for what they will do each day, and that's what the calendar/schedule does. I thought that was some pretty good thinking, really. One student suggested that I make baby beans for Listening Center, because the baby beans are supposed to listen and learn, and another student said that I should put beans with (as he put it) "chow grabbers" on the Lunch Bucket.

My class has really taken to Beanworld!

Kristina Parmenter

Science Center

Art Center

Math Center

The Classroom Bookshelf
These are good neighbors for Beanworld on ANY bookshelf...
but a zillion times better in a third grade class room.

Well, pretty darn interesting don't you think?

What a thoroughly interesting experiment by a really cool teacher!
Now, I had great teachers when I was growing up, but, I was in the third grade in 1959, and needless to say, comic books and comic book characters were still at the peak of their noxious notoriety in the schools.

Sheesh, when I was in the third grade I was practically declared a future juvenile delinquent by the Highland Park school system because I drew a picture of Batman!

We all know better now.
The schools, the libraries, bookstores, and parents all now recognize that comics are a gateway into the pure joy of reading.

A hale and hearty Wahoolazuma! to Kristina Parmenter and her students.
And best of all?
They get to read Remember Here When You Are There! in this classroom during this school year!

I hope we can get additional reports throughout the year, Kristina!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

More Treasures from Treasure and Venture!

Giant Bean
By Treasure Olson
Age 5

Not too long ago, Cory and I got some wonderful drawings from five year old Treasure Olsen.
A lot of folks found them as delightful as we did and now we have received even more. As you will see in the letter below, it seems that reading and thinking and drawing stuff about Beanworld has become a real family past time.

Mr. Marder,

I wanted to write to you to and send you some more pictures. I drew Mr. Teach’em, and a Goofy Surveillance Jerk, and I drew 2 cuties with red feet and one with blue feet. I drew Professor Garbanzo with chips, and I drew the Big Fish with the fork stuck in his tongue. And I drew a really good picture of Beanish finishing his Fabulous Look-See Show.

I even created an Astronaut Bean. What do you think of that! And I drew a Bean named Cookish. He creates new kinds of chow with new flavors, but I don’t know what I did with that picture. It was really good though.

I drew a giant bean. The giant bean is a bad bean. It wants to eat all of the small beans. He came from the giant beanland in the sky. They stopped him by throwing the fling n’ flanker spears at him, but that didn’t do enough so they had to work harder. You can see that Mr. Spook jumped onto the giant’s side and is going to stick him with his fork. Don’t worry! The Chow Sol’jers will stop the giant bad bean.

Are you going to do any stories about the other people in the Big Big Picture like the robot and the other ones? I really want to know their names and what places they come from. I want to know if there are any other worlds in the Big Big Picture.

My Grandma wanted to read about the beans because I told her it was a good story, so I let her read book 1. She read it super quick. She wants to read book 2, but I didn’t finish it yet, so she has to wait a little while. But I’ll let her read it.

(as dictated to her father)

Mr. Marder,

Here’s a ton of Treasure’s newest Beanworld drawings. She had many others, but I told her to limit it to 5 of her favorite ones. She couldn’t get it down to five so we compromised on 10. She’s no longer just drawing characters from the book she’s now started making up her own characters. She was also inspired by the bean action figures that I brought home from the comic-con and has made about 2 dozen of her own using all different types of beans. Venture, my 3 year old boy, has even made a few drawings of beans (under his sister’s tutelage). The first is a picture of one of the Boom’rs and the second is a new bean that he made up himself called Laughing Bean. According to Venture, this bean is a kind of clown that makes the other beans laugh. Thank you for your time and for your great story.

Best regards,

Shayne Olson

ALL of the pics that The Olsen family sent in are on display in the Leguminous Fan Art Gallery starting here.

Thanks again, Shayne, for sending along these marvelous drawings. Although they are all incredibly well done and show a lot of imagination, I'd say MY personal favorite is the one shown above. It demonstrates a lot of action.

And Venture? For age 3...he's pretty darn good with a pencil himself!

Now to answer your questions.

"Are you going to do any stories about the other people in the Big Big Picture like the robot and the other ones? I really want to know their names and what places they come from. I want to know if there are any other worlds in the Big Big Picture. "

Yes. I sure will. There are many, many places in the Big-Big-Picture that have been barely hinted at let alone explained. Starting in Book Four....the Beans will start bumping into them more and more. This prediction will make more sense after reading Book Three.

So folks, send your fan art to me at and I'll showcase it here and then put it on permanent display gallery called LEGUMINOUS FAN ART with Beanworld fan efforts of all varieties.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


This one has me stumped.
Longtime Beanworld fan, Kim Scarborough
posted this screen shot from The Wire on Facebook.

He reported "It's from season 2, episode 4.
I'm amazed I caught it!
It's only on the screen for maybe a half-second.
The guy says 'I brought you some Silver Surfers'
before setting down the stack."

Frankly I have no idea what this apparent Beanworld ad is!
Looks like the back cover of something.
Something glossy.
But what?

Looks like my style of ad.
But from when?
Drawing a total blank!

Regardless of my memory gap...
a hale and hearty Wahoolazuma! to Kim
for bringing this amazing wonder to my attention!

Okay, Leguminous Sleuths.
What was this?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"Here There!" Teaser Freezer!

It's Tuesday and I thought I'd do a
teaser today.
To my surprise I realized that any sort of teaser I plucked out of the book
at this point might act as less a "teaser" and more of a spoiler."

Can't do that!

So, instead, here is the artwork
(without the dialogue)
from another tale altogether.