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Saturday Site Stuff: Welcome, cartoonist Rob Ullman!

I’ve been a fan of cartoonist Rob Ullman’s work for a long time, and only partly because the guy’s among the best in the business.

ROB ULLMAN

Sports mixed with comic books?

What could go wrong?

viagrabanner2

I’ve been a fan of cartoonist Rob Ullman’s work for a long time, and it’s partly because of the above equation, partly because the guy’s among the best in the business. So I couldn’t possibly be more of a geeky fanboy today in welcoming him to our little world as a regular contributor.

He’ll draw two features a month for us. One of them a sketchbook of Pittsburgh sports figures or concepts or images, the other a three-chapter look back at memorable moments in our city’s sports history.

Here’s a quick visual sampling of the latter type of work:

 photo comic_zpszahjs9ib.gif

Ullman, a native of northeast Ohio, has been a Pittsburgh sports fan almost as long as he’s been drawing comics. He’s worked as a freelance illustrator, cartoonist and storyboard artist for more than 20 years, with clients including The Hockey News, The Stranger, The Washington City Paper, BoingBoing, HarperCollins, The U.S. Army and The American Red Cross. His comics include Grand Gestures, Traffic and Weather, Atom-Bomb Bikini and the ongoing Old-Timey Hockey Tales, which celebrates the history of the sport.

I’ve owned the latter for years, and it’s just beautiful. Visit his site to see more.

Really, really excited to see what Rob sends our way, beginning with the first installment of the history entries next week.

THE DAILY FUN THING

So, where will we put Rob’s stuff?

That’s exciting, too: The imaginatively titled Daily Fun Thing, set to launch Monday, will run every weekday, prominently near the top of the site. And it’ll rotate through a ton of regular features, including but not limited to the following:

DiCello Day: Noted local photographer Dave DiCello, one of our originals here at the site, returns to offer a sampling of his finest shots of the Pittsburgh panorama

Benstonium Day: Our viral-video creative partners, of course, will be in the mix

Behind The Scenes Day: One of our staffers takes you to places few get to see inside our sports scene

Player Frivolity Day: One of our staffers interviews a local athlete, but only with ridiculous questions

DK Sports Radio Day: Tim Benz gathers a bunch of us and moderates a single-topic debate

Grass Roots Day: Our staff photographer, Matt Sunday, uncovers a community sports scene and tells the story as only he can

Nerd Day: Our resident nerds, headed, naturally, by our multimedia director Chris Orban, gather to talk uniforms, logos, bobbleheads and other nerdy fare

Celebrity Day: Our editor, Ron Ledgard, will reach out to a Pittsburgh-connected celebrity to talk sports

Travelogue Day: Our staff gets around, and we’ll take you along to one of the many special places we see

Social Media Day: Our Taylor Haase will collect the top tweets of the month from the local scene

Downtown Day: There’s no place like the Golden Triangle. This one’s my baby. Shades of the old Things I Love About Pittsburgh feature, only with a narrower focus to what’s right down here along the rivers

Journalism Day: One of our staffers will walk you through a day or situation on their beat

Live Day: Just like it sounds. We’ll air a discussion with our staff just like Antonio Brown. Or not.

Top 10 Day: Our staff works together to compile a top-10 list of a timely topic

Reader Day: One of our subscribers tells his or her story, whatever that might be

Cartoon Day: Ullman will offer exclusive sketches of Pittsburgh sports figures, scenes

Golden Memories Day: Ullman takes you back to great moments in our sports history

Wild Card Wednesday: This can be absolutely anything at all, and it’ll run each Wednesday

I can’t stress this enough: We aren’t limited to what’s up there. If it’s fun, we’ll do it. Or at least try it. And then the list can morph from there.

We’re having a lot of fun with this little venture of ours, and we’re looking forward to sharing some of that with you.

ICYMI: DUSTIN TO BASEBALL

In case you missed it, our Dustin Dopirak is moving full-time to cover the Pirates for us. I wrote up a full piece on it yesterday, so this is just to get it out there again.

DRAIN THE SERVER

We’re on a new, singularly dedicated server, with a new host.

That’s the good part. And it’s about to get even better, because the new server — in addition to not secretly hosting 300 other sites, as our previous host had us doing — will allow us to address lingering nuisances such as repeated logins, app alerts being sporadic and a couple other items.

We’re getting there!

Also, I can’t repeat this enough: Be sure to download our latest versions of both the Apple and Android apps. You’re a tap or click away right here:

itunes

googleplay

SPONSORSHIP, ANYONE?

This new feature detailed above would be even more fun if it were sponsored. It’s going to be a primary tenant on the site, to say the least, and it could have your company’s name right there with it.

Email me directly, and let’s find the right fit: DK@DKPittsburghSports.com

BACK TO BUSINESS

• Subscriptions are at 34,882, with a week’s output of 97. Hey, it’s that time of year.

• We’re at 104 in the Lifetime Lunatic category, with two sold this week. If you’re interested in upgrading to any level at any time, click or tap My Account in the menu, then click or tap Upgrade Subscription. You don’t need to wait until your current subscription expires.

• We’re at 20,897 total active app users, a gain of 497 in the past week alone. Which is wild. That figure is based on the number of devices we’re able to reach right now with our app alerts, even if the alerts themselves are turned off. Of that total, 15,590 are Apple, 5,303 are Android.

• All our podcasts, including everything on DK Sports Radio, are available for easy download by subscribing to our pages on iTunes, Google Play or SoundCloud. Audio versions of Morning Java are there, too.

• We make mistakes. If you see one, email Typos@DKPittsburghSports.com.

• Anything you need is on the Support page. Any questions, email us: Help@DKPittsburghSports.com

216 Comments

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216 comments on "Saturday Site Stuff: Welcome, cartoonist Rob Ullman!"

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Yinzer_in_GA
Yinzer_in_GA

Good Lord. The fake outrage social justice warrior crowd is at it again. It must be exhausting to get out of bed everyday and to try and find a way to be victimized.

This perpetually offended crowd should watch Bill Maher’s final thought from this past Friday. He brilliantly addresses this nonsense. Best summation of this topic ever.

https://mobile.twitter.com/billmaher/status/825231550484619264/video/1

RA
RA

I personally was not offended by the drawings. I am offended by the way DK has treated those who were. It’s his site so obviously he can publish whatever he likes, but to not expect people to react and respect their opinion is ridiculous.

PGHinDC
PGHinDC

I came back here to make this point and saw your post at the top. Thanks, raharbert.

Pat G
Pat G

It appears from some comments here that this article should have started off with a TRIGGER WARNING to protect all those snowflakes out there!

Pat G
Pat G

Wow people get so easily offended these days. Relax, and have a Snickers

TWM in CLE
TWM in CLE

For those offended by the “sexist” cartoons and clamoring for some women-friendly pics, I offer you this:

This site, every day, shows images of strong, athletic, masculine men, many wearing skin-tight clothing leaving little to the imagination.

Just sayin.

TVC15
TVC15

The things people get upset about these days…

SteelPenguin
SteelPenguin

Sometimes I wonder how folks that are so sensitive are able to make it through a day….has to be rough always feeling offended. What a way to live.

amishmafia
amishmafia

What could go wrong? Ha!!!

JAL
JAL

Quite a uproar on cartoons. Go to a game. particularly college or pro football and you will see live women in skimpier outfits. That’s sports.

PGHinDC
PGHinDC

“That’s sports” is a cheap excuse, even if your statement is factually accurate. But there is a difference between “sports entertainment” and journalism. The standards and expectations are different. I came here for journalism and promoting that feature with those images just cheapens the site. At the very least, it’s a bad business decision and potentially alienates a large portion of the untapped customer base. Hopefully this is an isolate occurrence and blows over.

fortgreenefan
fortgreenefan

Thanks PGHinDC. I agree with you. Dejan deleted several of my comments on this thread, so I won’t add any more thoughts on this.

Francopaymygasbill
Francopaymygasbill

How is this any different than if the article featured a photo of a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader in their real life outfit? Would that upset people too? If so, I suggest you never watch a commercial break in almost any NFL game.

PGHinDC
PGHinDC

I’ll make it simple what I find objectionable about the cartoons in question. The focus of the artwork is on the female being portrayed as a sexual object. In all three of the pictures the body is a focus point (wearing of the jersey as a dress with stockings, the crop top with chest exposed, and (to a lesser extent) the same in the pitcher cartoon). There is nothing wrong with females (and males) dressing in attire that makes them feel good about themselves. The objectionable part was that this is the sole focus of those illustrations. They are relegated to the role of “sexy fan” rather than an athlete themselves (we do have female athletes in this city). That said, am I going to cancel over it or stage a protest? No. But doesn’t mean I like it. Good Grief, Charlie Brown.

JJFlash
JJFlash

It’s ART and you can interpret it as you wish. My interpretation of the pitcher is much different. This is my favorite because, to me, she looks strong and confident like she knows something the batter doesn’t.

PGHinDC
PGHinDC

JJFlash, I actually agree with you. Seeing that in isolation I would definitely think the same. My issue stems from the fact that these were the ones chosen to promote this piece. That being said, the artist has talent, no doubt and is free to draw as he desires. Just a very weird choice to promote this piece. I didn’t expect that from DK and his staff.

JJFlash
JJFlash

Thank you for acknowledging some middle ground. 😀

PGHinDC
PGHinDC

Or regular fan… sorry, forgot to include that.

hford89
hford89

Exactly. If I hung these in my office cube, I would get an HR Memo. Period. And that would be true whether you found them troublesome or not. It’s just a fact. And I am not about to try. Moving on.

Francopaymygasbill
Francopaymygasbill

I’ve been to NHL games in places like Anaheim, Tampa, Ft Lauderdale. The in-game entertainment have actual women (cheerleaders, ice girls) who are just as scantily clad, if not more, than the cartoon DRAWINGS featured in this article. Never heard a soul complain about that.

JAM
JAM

DK if you can’t see what is wrong with these cartoons and you picked them then I’ve misjudged this site. Put some men cheering the teams out there in jocks with their junk hanging out and see how many men like to look at it. It is just being considerate and respecting people. These cartoons have nothing to do with our teams. Keep them limited to the teams and it is fine but to say you approve of their appropriateness is just sad.

tartans412
tartans412

It’s ridiculous people are truly upset about this. It’s equally ridiculous, DK, that you’re actually acting like there isn’t anything wrong with the comics above. They over sexualize parts of the female body that contributes to an objectified view of women, which is what people are upset about. I do not believe that you are sexist – no reasonable person would. Everyone just needs to take a deep breath and move on. This whole argument thread has been absolutely absurd and polarized, all over rather harmless drawings.

littleworker
littleworker

I love the addition of cartoons. However, given what I know about DK, or think I know (doesn’t drink, has great moral values, holds people to high standards), I was really surprised to see the examples that were chosen. I knew right away some would take offense.

DK, perhaps you aren’t seeing what others are because you are so familiar with the comics industry and these images are par for the course. But in today’s day and age, those particular images are at the very least suggestive and at most sensationalized. It’s a shock to the system for folks not expecting to see it on this site.

A simple clarification of material to come may help to ease the tension.

Chris
Chris

This has to be the biggest meltdown I’ve seen on the site. Beats out all of the college arguments. Impressive. And extremely stupid.

amishmafia
amishmafia

I don’t think the cartoons or caricatures will affect this site + or – .

Hudy
Hudy

DK – it’s called co-location hosting. Most small businesses start this way. You had to be told about it. Perhaps, did not understand it. No biggie. Most don’t. Just as happy as you and all others we are moving forward. Thanks for fixing it.

BurgherInBoston
BurgherInBoston

Love the idea of the Daily Fun Thing. I know at least I (and I would venture to guess that many other subscribers) love some of the more inane, less finite debates about smaller details of sports – best uniforms, coolest logos, best nostalgia, etc. Those types of conversation always seem so organic and fun. I’ve put similar questions into the afternoon Qs, and the staff has graciously and excitedly played along.

Regarding the selected cartoons – found them to be a bit…surprising? Off-putting? I’ve read that DK is a big comic book fan, and I know cartoons tend to exaggerate the human form (male and female) but the first two, while I’m sure crafted with the best intentions and in good fun, seem oddly sultry and pretty out of place.
That said, the talent of the cartoonist seems great.

Swede
Swede

I guess the only answer is stick-figure cartoons in Black and Gold.

mike
mike

Yeah, agree. Don’t step outside the box but doggone you better be fresh, unique and entertaining.

aspiring saint
aspiring saint

Only agenda was to identify a potential unintended consequence in the ongoing effort of this successful site to broaden its audience. That being, potentially discouraging the introduction to a less mature audience.

BG
BG

DK’s unveiling of the new cartoonist and the subsequent reaction is very Pirate like.

Scott
Scott

Just went back to read the Polanco article. There is nothing political in his tweet or the article. He simply complains about his strike zone and suggests it is so bad he may need help from the President to get a fair strike zone.

mwr1x
mwr1x

Agreed about the tweet (besides the fact that El Coffee can tweet whatever he wants). The issue some have I think is that it was nevertheless labeled as tweaking of the President by a reporter who apparently never spoke with Polanco as to the reason for his tweet. Why not just assume Polanco was being funny and clever? Too bad.

PurpleMoose
PurpleMoose

Two of the three drawings is just a female in Pittsburgh sports gear, the third is somewhat provocative. This is people stretching to reach their agenda. How often have we seen a male athlete on here without a shirt on? It is just a cartoon and cartoons have always exaggerated the human body in both good and bad ways. Raise your kids right and get back to a basic family unit and you wont have to worry about outside distractions and influences.

JC
JC

I totally agree! FWIW, I’m a female and it never occurred to me that those cartoon images were offensive. I come to this site because it FUN to read, and very informative when it comes to my favorite Pittsburgh teams.

Whovian87
Whovian87

Didn’t mention this before but love the drawings from Ullman. Have to confess I’ve never seen his work before but if the four drawings shown with the announcement are a sign of what’s to come then I look forward to it.

mjmars
mjmars

DiCello is back! Yippie. The July 4th photos he did for your site a few years back were some of his best. Thanks!

tmandes
tmandes

The people objecting have a point. Draw some dudes in Steeler speedos with big muscles and big bulges and see the reactions. Not a prude at all. Just surprised to see.

deshantz13
deshantz13

Wow everyone is so F-ing sensitive now a days. Just looking for something to bitch about. Fire the cartoonist and make DKPS GREAT AGAIN.!!!! Everyone is offended about everything just shut up. The world’s got bigger problems than a sexy cartoon.

Marc
Marc

I really feel like the cartoon objectification of women runs contrary to the inclusive atmosphere this site has had since the beginning. I’m pretty disappointed since it doesn’t add anything to the fantastic coverage this site provides. There’s plenty of other places on the internet to degrade women; this doesn’t need to be one of them

forloveofsports
forloveofsports

Everyone has varying opinions and views on every subject on earth. For me this site is about how amazing our beloved teams are covered. More than anything, I think the manner in which the cartoons portrayed women and how Rob was introduced to the site was inappropriate. He is very talented and will be highly valued. I appreciate the site and what it offers.

Had the introduction been led with some other illustration and the womens renderings placed inside that column, I wouldn’t have commented at all. Marketing any product, good or bad publicity is what draws views, buys and comments. So maybe it accomplished its desired effect….

Steelbelieve
Steelbelieve

Tim Benz’s radio show on this site has/is being hosted by a strip club, sadly labeled a “gentleman’s” club, and then we have this display that’s not appropriate for a diverse audience.

bucconation
bucconation

Rob is a great artist, a great guy, and and a great sports fan. Outstanding addition to the the site. Can’t wait to enjoy the work he’ll do on here!

gojo
gojo

Dejan…I am not so much “offended” as I am so, so disappointed. I am a wife, mom, sister and daughter. I have been such a supporter of your site and I was stunned to open my app and see, front and center, your chosen examples of the new “sports” comics you will begin featuring. Perhaps the hockey drawing might been a better choice? What in the world were you thinking? The idea in general is fun, but this is how you choose to portray your female readers? I am genuinely saddened.

aspiring saint
aspiring saint

Having purchased gift subscriptions for younger sports fans in the past, the comic portraits gave me pause as to whether I misread the breadth of the audience this business as a whole was attempting to reach.

Diber
Diber

Poor taste on the comics. I’m somewhat offended, but mostly disappointed.

Clemson_Fan
Clemson_Fan

I’ll just add to the chorus saying I think the comics are in poor taste.

aspiring saint
aspiring saint

Curious as to the reaction of the female members of the staff to that selection of comic portraits for promoting Ullman’s addition

Taylor Haase

No comment.

PGHinDC
PGHinDC

No comment speaks volumes… But if my reading between the lines is correct, it’s a sad day for this site to perpetuate that stigma without taking into consideration the opinion of female staff members. I came here for PGH sports insight and analysis. Not gawk at pictures of women objectified in a cartoon. Good grief, Charlie Brown.

greekpimp1320
greekpimp1320

LOVE the daily fun thing idea.

Since when is the drawing of the beautiful female form sexist?

El coffee is the man!

That is all. Peace & Love & Hit ‘me with the Hein!

Ookdilla
Ookdilla

Rob is a great guy and a terrific talent. The site just keeps getting better and better.

Dejan- you should be really proud of what you’ve built here. About the only thing you have left to do is open a Starbucks inside Riverhounds stadium.

Stemfu
Stemfu

I agree with others that it’s pretty tasteless. Check out his site for more cartoons of scantily clad women!

jbgobucs
jbgobucs

Can’t say this moves the needle much for me, but as long as the focus of the site remains as it should…I guess great?

JJFlash
JJFlash

Speaking of historical portrayals, this is one of my all time favorites from World War II. You rock ladies.
comment image

Nick Powers
Nick Powers

Longtime follower of Rob’s work via Uni Watch

Can’t wait to see more of his flashback story boards

Also glad to see Dave DiCello back to showcase his amazing city shots. Will be a nice compliment to Matt’s game action shots

LukesWall
LukesWall

The art samples above are fantastic. Looking forward to yet another site enhancement with Rob’s creative work!!

mike
mike

Just my humble opinion from the three drawings at the top of this article we can tell Rob is an excellent artist. And besides, those light cheesecake renditions are just a-bit-o-equalizer to the real life sports’ beefcakes the ladies like and I’ll never be. Please lighten up, eh.

Mizery
Mizery

Excited about the features. I especially am happy about downtown day. Especially being away from Pittsburgh. It reminds me of what I miss about the homeland.

PurpleMoose
PurpleMoose

Lighten up on the cartoons people. Society is way, way, way, way too sensitive these days.

ste34ler
ste34ler

The comics of the ladies is in poor taste. Just my opinion.

JoeSteelerFan
JoeSteelerFan

I’m of the equal and opposite opinion. I think the Pittsburgh Sports Babes comics are absolutely OUTSTANDING! The world needs more of this … as does this site.

RudyWasOffsides
RudyWasOffsides

Right?

I mean don’t go to a Bucco game in August if these are offensive.

ste34ler
ste34ler

I just think it’s tacky. Feels like it brings things down a level.

Jellydonutz
Jellydonutz

It’s a cartoon ffs. Get a grip, take a breath, and loosen up… You’re a bore.

fortgreenefan
fortgreenefan

Great point! People need to lighten up and stop expressing their perfectly reasonable opinions about this!

Pat G
Pat G

We live in a world now where people just look for things to be offended by. It’s sad, really.

JJFlash
JJFlash

And how about some Pittsburgh sports dude cartoons for the enjoyment of the Lunatic Ladies? I’m all for it.

Matt Gajtka

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JJFlash
JJFlash

Some much needed levity!

One Cool Cat
One Cool Cat

I Like it!

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