705 – Jimmy Zangwow

Jimmy Zangwow

When Jimmy was close enough to the great Moon Pie maker in the sky…, interior illustration from Jimmy Zangwow’s Out-of-this-World Moon Pie Adventure,
Acryla gouache and airbrush on Bristol board
Collection of the artist

My very first picture book that I created was written in 1997, and it was about a boy who flew to the moon to get Moon Pies. I had this concept that being born in 1969 everything that I thought about regarding the post-war period in America, the 1950s was filtered through, you know episodes of “I Love Lucy,” or “Leave It To Beaver,” and so in my brain I thought, well once upon a time it was 1950. It must have been this amazing time to be a kid.

So I did a couple of books that really tap into that concept, and that idea, and Norman Rockwell’s vision of what America was like was a tremendous influence on the look of both Jimmy Zangwow and Ted. There’s also a little bit of “Little Rascals,” in the jalopy that he makes, and actually a lot of Windsor McCay in the surreal aspects of Mars, when he gets to Mars and he’s surrounded by all these martians. I was absolutely thinking of Little Nemo in “Slumberland.”

The painting style was definitely emulating Rockwell, with definitely a nod to Maxfield Parrish. So if you look at these deep, deep blue space skies, and against this very orange landscape, that’s definitely me thinking of Maxfield Parrish. Then of course Jim Henson kind of came through in the Grimble Grinder. I always thought of him as this big giant, ungainly Muppet that kind of shows up, and has kind of a dopey voice when he talks.