One of the pieces of ‘bumper’ art on tonight’s episode of Conan’s Tonight Show was the piece below, expertly echoing the ‘circular shorthand’ style that Chris Ware has used in a number of strips and in two animated shorts for the ‘This American Life’ TV show.
Below is an example of the Ware strips I’m referring to, taken from the cover to a recent Penguin edition of ‘Candide.’
There is a long history of Conan’s bumper art paying homage to disparate pieces of visual inspiration. Awhile back, there was a great website collecting all of these homage images here, but it looks like it’s fallen off the web. In a Metafilter discussion of that site, the name Kevin Frank is floated as the mastermind of all this, and following up on that lead brought me to his Flickr account, which has a gallery of all the bumpers with commentary. In case any are missing there, it looks like the content from the first site is also up here. The internet.
An homage to Ware’s work previously surfaced in the background to a piece of Conan’s bumper art in November of 2005. If you don’t see it, Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan is the ‘Non-Conan’ drawing. Thanks to Ted Miller for originally pointing it out!