Wednesday, August 6, 2014


In 1959, a series of LP budget record albums, (cheaply produced), were released by Carlton records as the "Hear How" series. Approximately 25 in all were released offering advice on how to improve your skills in various hobbies, sports, languages and occupations, offered by experts in their chosen fields.
In an attempt to boost lagging sales, the final albums in the series from the early 1960's focus on more controversial topics, including sexual harmony in marriage and explaining the facts of life to the kids.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Portrait of a young Shemp

This is my newly completed watercolor portrait of a young Shemp Howard (Samuel Horwitz) circa mid-1920's:

My preliminary pencil sketch:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Joe Shuster's 100th Birthday

                    July 10th, 2014 is the 100th Birthday of the artist Joe Shuster
my new portrait of artist Joe Shuster and writer Jerry Siegel, (click to enlarge), circa 1939 in Cleveland,
shortly after they signed away all the rights to their new character Superman to National/DC comics for the total sum of $130. The check they endorsed was actually for over $400, padded out with other payments due them, no doubt to make the signing more enticing.

 Jerry Siegel would have turned 100 in October. The illustration is also available as a high-quality, limited edition print (only 12 have been created), and can be ordered here:
Siegel & Shuster preliminary pencil sketch

My portrait of Siegel & Shuster in the mid-seventies when Siegel was working as a file clerk
 and Shuster was unemployed
and near-blind, created for my new book Heroes of the Comics

Pre-order the book from Amazon:

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Drew Friedman's "Heroes of the Comics"

early comic book company logos, the endpapers
design for the book
My latest book,  "Heroes of the Comics", features 84 full-page, full color portraits of the pioneering legends of comic books. Featuring a foreword by Mad's Al Jaffee, and my illustrated introduction, it debuts in August. 
the cover featuring a contemplative Jack Kirby, designed by Jesse Marinoff Reyes.
the book was designed by Keeli McCarthy and edited by Eric Reynolds.

The oversize hardcover published by Fantagraphics features portraits of early comic book artists, writers, editors and publishers, all of who played an integral role in the dawning  years of the comic book industry, from the mid-thirties to the mid-fifties.

The book features 84 full color portraits of the legends of American comic books, from the industry's birth in the mid-thirties, through the EC comics and the enforcement of the strict industry "Comics Code" in the mid-fifties. Featuring the famous and in some cases obscure. I wrote a  short biographical essay on each subject. I grew up meeting and later getting to know a number of the legends included, as the son of the author and former Magazine Management editor, (the company that ran Marvel comics), Bruce Jay Friedman and later as a student at New York's School of Visual Arts and contributer to Mad, among them:  Stan Lee, Martin Goodman, Al Hollingsworth, Irwin Hasen, and later Harvey Kurtzman, Will Eisner, Mort Drucker, Dave Berg, Al Jaffee, Will Elder and William M. Gaines. 

My piece written for The Comics Journal on how I chose who qualified as a "Hero of the Comics":

More names you may, (or may not), recognize include Max Gaines, Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, Lev Gleason, Joe Simon, Carl Barks, Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson, Charles Biro, Wally Wood, Woody Gelman, Basil Wolverton, Frank Frazetta, Marie Severin, Johnny Craig, Mort Meskin, Gardner Fox, Jack Cole, Steve Ditko, Ramona Fradon, John Stanley, Dr. Fredric Wertham and many more. It's a visual who's who/hall of fame of comic book history.

Pre-Order the book from Amazon:

Or order directly from the publisher:

                                      some of the portraits included in the book:
the full illustration of cover subject Jack ("King") Kirby
Harvey Kurtzman, the brilliant creator of MAD and my cartoon instructor
 at the School of Visual Arts for three years.
 the great EC comics and science fiction artist Wally Wood

legendary comic book and Cracked magazine artist John Severin

 early comics artist/editor/writer and longtime Mad contributer Al Jaffee,
who wrote
 the foreword to the book

the two creators of Superman, writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster

pioneering black comic book artist Alvin Hollingsworth

two preliminary sketches, the full color finishes will be included in the book:

pencil sketch of Timely/Atlas/Marvel comics publisher Martin Goodman

pencil sketch of Batman's co-creator, writer Bill Finger.

The book debuts at the San Diego comicon in late July where I'll be a guest, and will be available in stores in August. I'll be posting information about all upcoming signings and panels here.
the official Facebook group for the book:

Monday, May 5, 2014

My Old Jewish Comedians Show at the Society of Illustrators, a recap.

The poster for the show, designed by Monte Beauchamp. The
poster is available for purchase for $25 via the Society of
Illustrators by ordering here:
This art will also be featured on the upcoming DVD box set fron SHOUT! Factory, The Marx Brothers TV Collection
The Society of Illustrators presented a 2-floor gallery showing in their museum of illustration of my "Old Jewish Comedians" artwork, curated by Monte Beauchamp. The opening reception was held on March 5th and the show ended May 3rd. The show featured all of my original artwork from my three OJC books, edited by Beauchamp, as well as early rough sketches and additional Jewish comedian-related artwork created for books, magazines, prints and DVD covers. This was the most comprehensive display of my original artwork to date, containing over 115 illustrations, plus biographies of each comedian. Also on display was over one hundred of pieces of rare comedian ephemera from my collection,  books, magazines, comic books, records, sheet music, advertisements, brochures, toys, games, buttons, cigar boxes, shoe laces and playing cards,  some featuring art by Al Hirschfeld, Jack Davis and Norman Rockwell. Illustrator Stephen Kroninger loaned many rare Jerry Lewis pieces from his collection for the "Jerry Lewis shrine" and Ben Fentington loaned several OJC comedy records for display.

Boing Boing announces the OJC show:

The following is a photographic recap of the show, the opening reception, and the two panels held in conjunction with the show, the first at the MoCCA arts festival with Joe Franklin, the second "From the Borscht Belt to Seinfeld" at the Society of Illustrators on E. 63rd St, moderated by Dr. Eddy Portnoy and featuring myself, famed comic Larry Storch and writers Bill Persky and Tom Leopold. Special thanks to Mark G. Parker, Monte Beauchamp and Anelle Miller and the entire staff of the Society of illustrators for making this show happen.

Stephen Kroninger's Drawger blog on the then upcoming show:

this large banner was created for the entrance of the show, designed by Monte Beauchamp
invitation to the opening reception

The Wall St. Journal on the OJC opening reception...

The New York Observer covers the opening...

The Jewish Daily Forward...

13th Dimension...

The following photos are courtesy of the Society of illustrators unless otherwise noted

posed in front of several OJC drawings (photo by Ken Farrell)

OJC record covers on display

the Milton Berle shrine

some of the OJC ephemera on display...

the Jerry Lewis shrine, from the collection of Stephen Kroninger...

more ephemera on display...

books, posters and postcards for sale
the main gallery, pre-opening...

Society director Anelle Miller and young, older Jewish comedian Gilbert Gottfried, pre-opening

downstairs gallery

two of the framed pieces (photos by Jeff Cuyuamba)...

the opening reception (photo by Jeff Cuyuamba)

Greeting the crowd with talk show legend Joe Franklin (photo by Jeff Cuyubamba)

introducing Joe to the audience

Watch Joe Franklin at the opening reception as he drops the F-bomb:
(via Kevin Dougherty)

with Gilbert Gottfried and Joe Franklin

with Gilbert Gottfried and Paul Shaffer...

Handsome Dick Manitoba and MAD legend Al Jaffee

Front row: Becky Hall, DF, Paul Shaffer, show curator Monte Beauchamp
behind: unknown, smiling photo-bomber

Michael Townsend Wright, Liz Belmont, Owen Kline

Tom Leopold, Craig Bierko (photo by Liz Belmont)

Handsome Dick Manitoba, Ellen Abramowitz, Joe Franklin

Joe Coleman, Joe Franklin, Larry (Ratso) Sloman

old school chums, Mark Newgarden, Dave Dubnanski

Mad art director Sam Viviano, Eric Reynolds, illustrator Steven Guarnaccia
Michael Wright, Gilbert Gottfried

Robert Klein posing with his portrait

Robert Klein, DF, Abe Vigoda

Klein, Vigoda and Gottfried

the Society director Anelle Miller greets Joe Franklin and Abe Vigoda

with illustrator Joe Ciardiello, Anelle Miller and Abe Vigoda

Fantagraphics co-publisher Eric Reynolds and Abe Vigoda

cartoonist Mark Newgarden and Abe Vigoda (photo by Liz Belmont)

Tom Leopold, Abe Vigoda

Abe Vigoda and my father Bruce Jay Friedman

Bruce Jay Friedman talks with Robert Klein

Al Jaffee and Joe Franklin

illustrator Tim O'Brien and Abe Vigoda

Al Jaffee 
(the following B&W photos by Ken Farrell)

Joe Franklin 

Paul Shaffer

illustrator Sanford Kossin

Gilbert Gottfried 

Abe Vigoda 

Jeff Ross visits the show, with the Society director Anelle Miller

J.R. and friend pose with Buddy Hackett, Jeff's mentor

On April 10th, As part of the MoCCA Arts Fest at the Lexington Ave Armory, and in conjunction with the OJC show, legendary talk show host Joe Franklin and I held a panel to discuss everything Old Jewish Comedians. I also gave a visual preview of my upcoming book "Heroes of the Comics". The panel was filmed and will posted here soon.


Bleeding Cool on the MoCCA panel:

Watch the entire MoCCA panel here;

the following panel photos were taken by Bob Greenberg:

comedian/actor Michael Townsend Wright introduces the panel (cartoonist Neil Numberman in the center, moderated the powerpoint presentation)

the panel

discussing Jerry Lewis

Joe Franklin

On April 24th, The Society of Illustrators hosted a panel to coincide with the show, "From the Borscht Belt to Seinfeld, the evolution of Jewish Comedy", moderated by Yiddish theatre scholar/P.hd Dr. Eddy Portnoy, and featuring comedy legend Larry Storch, famed comedy writers Bill Persky and Tom Leopold, and myself. The sold-out SRO panel was made possible by a grant from the New York Dept of Humanities.—The-Evolution-of-Jewish-American-Comedy.asp
Jewcy on the panel:

Trav SD:

The entire panel can be watched here:

Larry Storch holding the book containing his portrait in the Society's shop

Larry arrives and poses with a print of his portrait

posed with Larry (whiping off his portrait)

photo by Suzanne Grossberg

The following photos were taken by the panel coordinater Suzanne Grossberg (unless otherwise noted):

audience members including Joanna Persky and TV comedy writer Bob Ellison on the right

panelists Friedman, Persky, Leopold, Storch

with Bill Persky and Tom Leopold

photo by Liz Belmont

Larry Storch tells a joke in front of a photo of himself from the early fifties

 the panelists including modorater Eddy Portnoy and Society director Anelle Miller...

Larry Storch and Anelle Miller

Larry Storch by illustrator Victor Juhasz, drawn during the panel

Persky by Juhasz

Larry Storch and Victor Juhasz

Stephen Kroninger and Larry (photo by Aviva Ebstein Kroninger)

DF & JR (photo by Jillian Schienfeld)

The Jewish Daily Forward:
interview about the OJC show with Jewcy: