''Is it...silent?'' ''Well, there's a percussion track''
#991; The Chipmunks, and What Came After

It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I realized the Chipmunks (which I had always known as cartoon characters from my childhood) were actually, as pop-cultural entities, much older — dating back to their eponymous novelty Christmas record in 1958 or, arguably, the “Witch Doctor” song all the way back in 1952. There was a short-lived cartoon in 1961, but the Saturday-morning cartoon that I and people of my generation are most familiar with didn’t come around until more than 20 years later (1982-1990).

The audio trick that creator Ross Bagdasarian used to create the sound of the Chipmunks’ voices was so simple, and the resulting songs so popular in the late 50s and early 60s, that I figured they must have spawned some knockoffs. Sure enough — enjoy the squeaky sounds of:

The Nutty Squirrels (singing “Uh Oh”)
The Grasshoppers (singing “Shortnin’ Bread”) (More info)
The Three Happy Crickets (“We Wish You a Merry Christmas”)
Woody Woodchuck’s Christmas Sing Song (info only)
Sing Along with the Busy Beavers (album download)
BONUS LINK: The Happy Hamsters sing “Ghostbustin'”, a few decades later. Full album here.





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Check out: NPR’s list of “100 Favorite Comics”

NPR has just published a list of 100 Favorite Comics And Graphic Novels — and I’m thrilled that Wondermark made the list!

The list has all the usual suspects — Maus, Watchmen and the rest — but makes clear it’s a list of favorites, so there’s some variety as well:

This isn’t meant as a comprehensive list of the “best” or “most important” or “most influential” comics, of course. It’s a lot more personal and idiosyncratic than that, because we asked folks to name the comics they loved.

And they break the list down into sensible categories — graphic novels vs. comic books vs. webcomics, etc — which allows for a few favorites to be listed in each.

A lot of my friends are on the list too, which is great, because it means I have talented friends and good taste in friendships! Check out the links for plenty of new reading material.

Thanks, NPR! Sorry for making fun of you in 2006 and again, kind of, in 2012.

(But I know we cool, because I was also briefly on Morning Edition in 2010. And I did that whole thing for Sanden Totten where I impersonated Tesla.)

COMIC-CON ALERT: San-Diego Comic-Con is next week! I will be back at the TopatoCo booth as per usual, #1229!

Remember the mnemonic: Just think 1-2-3-4, and look for booth #1234! Then turn around, and I’ll be behind you!



The ‘Littlest Butt’ — set to music AGAIN!

This week’s comic features a songwriter character who’s shown up in Wondermark several times.

His preëminent work, however, is clearly the “Littlest Butt”. I have been honored to see this fine masterpiece, this literary juggernaut, be set to ACTUAL MUSIC several times.

First, by Max Martin, who even added his own extra verses:

Then, by Adam Proctor, and also, by Lusipurr (MP3 embeds in this earlier post). Quite different renditions but ALL PERFECTLY LOVELY BUTTMUSIK.

Now, it’s happened again! Here is a KINETIC TYPE rendition by Matt Francis:

Matt also writes:

I saw your comic about the songwriter and his song about wanting the littlest butt on your twitter the other day.

As a wannabe songwriter myself with a few ‘comic’ songs under my belt I felt inspired by your lyrics and put them to some music.

It’s very much a first take special — the bass timing (and the odd note) is a bit out here and there — and the vocals are not a style choice; frankly it was quite late when I recorded them so I had to keep it down a bit.

Hope you like it — and the little joke of my own with the drum part.

Any musical adaptation of any of my comics, PARTICULARLY BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE ONE ABOUT A VERY LITTLE BUTT, I will put on my website. This is a warning and also a promise.

ANIME EXPO ALERT: I will be at Anime Expo in Los Angeles this weekend! Seemed like a good idea at the time. I will be at booth 4018 (listed in the book as TopatoCo) with my pal Sam Logan!



Recipe Comic: My Dad’s Salad

Today’s comic originally ran on SAVEUR Magazine, as part of their series of “Recipe Comics”.

I’ve posted about my dad before, a few times. Here he is in a 1959 San Bernardino newspaper; here is a painting Carly did of him; here is the thing I mention most often, an essay about how and why I learned to fly airplanes.

The recipe comic is about him too. He’s on my mind a lot. It was just my first Father’s Day as a dad myself, and it colors my memories of him somewhat, changes my perspective.