Saturday, May 23, 2020
What the Cartoonists are Doing, June 1916 (Vol.9 No.6)
In November 1913 the magazine began to offer a monthly round-up of news about cartoonists and cartooning, eventually titled "What The Cartoonist Are Doing." There are lots of interesting historical nuggets in these sections, and this Stripper's Guide feature will reprint one issue's worth each week.]
Under royal patronage in Montreal and under the distinguished patronage of His Honor the Lieutenant Governor and Madame Le Blanc, Sir Lomer and Lady Gouin, and His Worship the Mayor and Madame Lavigueur in Quebec, A. G. Racey, cartoonist of the Montreal Star, delivered his lecture entitled “The War in Cartoon.” The proceeds went to the Red Cross society. Both occasions served to bring out Canadian expressions of patriotism and loyalty. Mr. Racey had prepared the lecture at the request of several members of parliament. In the course of his remarks he stated that everything in Germany had been made subservient to militarism; that Prussia had prepared so well for war that she only awaited the chance to strike. He showed on the screen the signature of von Buelow to the now famous “scrap of paper,” guaranteeing Belgium's neutrality.
The difficulties that confronted Great Britain in the earlier stages of the war were depicted. A series of cartoons reviewed Germany's submarine warfare, the Balkan developments, the attitude of the United States, Germany's dream of an Egyptian conquest, and other features. The cartoonist expects to realize more than $30,000 for the cause.
Chapin, of the St. Louis Republic, has drawn a cartoon which is being used by the St. Louis Provident Association in a campaign to raise $23,000 for its summer work. The drawing pictures the rise of a family from despair to hope, the steps to independence being respectively Relief, Encouragement, Help, Employment, and Opportunity.
AUSTRALIAN ARTIST IN AMERICA
Jack Flanagan, one of the youngest of the Australian cartoonists, who has achieved the distinction of full-page cartoons in the Sydney Bulletin, has reached the United States via Vancouver, and intends to locate in New York. His ambition is to illustrate an edition of the Odyssey. Mr. Flanagan will be followed shortly by Harry Julius, who illustrates the theatrical page of the Sydney Bulletin, and who has something new in the way of animated cartoons that he wishes to introduce in America.
Don Barclay, a comedian of the “Maid in America” company, and a former St. Louis cartoonist, claims to be the originator of the Charlie Chaplin walk. His specialty as a cartoonist was drawing funny feet, and from this he developed a vaudeville act, he says, that the famous film artist has imitated.
PREACHES CARTOON SERMON
The Rev. Cauley H. Perrin, who is a cartoonist as well as a clergyman, has been giving a series of cartoon sermons, portraying the progress of the modern pilgrim through the various stages of life's journey. Mr. Perrin is the pastor of the First Methodist Episcopal church of Watertown, N. Y.
John Campbell Cory, formerly cartoonist for the Chicago Journal, is now syndicating his work through the Publishers' Feature Bureau of Chicago. He has a summer home at Wadsworth, Ill.
Commenting on the tendency of cartoonists to picture Britain as a bulldog, standing square to the world, and ready to grip with the grip that never lets go, a writer in Town and Country says: “Personally I think a bulldog rather unattractive and I think its reputation for courage and tenacity rather exaggerated.”
At the recent dinner given by the Evening Star Club at the Raleigh Hotel, Washington, each guest was presented with a copy of the “Morning Star,” a souvenir newspaper edited by the Evening Star staff, and illustrated with cartoons drawn for the occasion by Clifford K. Berryman. Mr. Berryman received as a special tribute during the evening a big Teddy bear, so lifelike that it might have stepped out from the corner of one of his daily cartoons. Mr. Berryman in his turn presented to Uncle Joe Cannon, one of the honor guests, a huge cigar. After having drawn more than sixty cartoons for the dinner souvenir, Mr. Berryman was ordered to draw one of himself, which is presented forthwith.
WESTERMAN’S CARTOON APPEAL
A recent cartoon drawn by Harry J. Westerman, of the Ohio State Journal, and depicting the contrast between the fate of the clown, “Slivers,” and Charlie Chaplin, the movie comedian, so appealed to Mr. Sam McCracken, the noted sportsman, that he purchased the original and had it framed for his office. “Slivers,” it will be remembered, committed suicide at about the time that Mr. Chaplin's half-million-dollar contract was announced. Mr. McCracken was perhaps “Slivers” closest friend. It was he who staged the Willard-Moran fight in New York. “Slivers” was undoubtedly the world's greatest clown. It was his privilege to make thousands of grown-ups and children laugh, but his later days were days of tragedy.
The New York Tribune Sunday magazine is running a series of four-column cartoons by Robert J. Wildhack, captioned “How to Make Money.” There isn't any doubt that Bob Wildhack himself knows how to make money for he has just added the third car to his automobile stable.
WEB'S “DACHSHUND” CAR
H. T. Webster, of the New York Globe, has taken delivery of a new Marmon car. It is a bachelor's runabout. Had Webbie been a marrying man he might have bought a Mormon car. Webbie was measured for the car and then the car was made to Webbie's measure. Standing upon the equator Webster would be head and shoulders above the arctic circle, so no stock car would accomodate his reach. Pushing the motor forward 18 inches and moving the seat back so that it overhangs the rear axle gives Webbie ample leg room.
Of course the car suffers some in appearance. On the leading drives about New York, Webbie's car has already been named “the Dachshund.” It is long like that. It has two steering wheels, one to operate the front pair of road wheels, and a second one for the rear wheels like an aerial-ladder fire truck. Managing two steering wheels would ordinarily be a busy job, but for a cartoonist who draws with one hand while he lights a load of soft-coal tobacco in a base burner pipe with the other, it is a cinch.
HERB WILL STAY HERE
The report that Herb Roth was going to Spain for a couple of years has been officially denied. Instead Herb has signed another two-year contract with the New York World. The night shift of New York's gaiety workers is relieved by this announcement. Now they know the worst. Herb Roth is a truthful cartoonist. With the mathematical certainty of the magnetic compass which always points north, Herb plants a laugh even if he does not adorn a face. His recent picture of the Fakirs' Ball at the Hotel Vanderbilt showed 50 persons and every one was a speaking likeness. The “Met section” would be something else if Herb should go to Spain.
WILSON CARTOON ILLEGAL
Charles Richardson, a Washington, D.C., shopkeeper, was summoned to court recently to account for a cartoon in his store window depicting President Wilson as a gladiator standing over his victims with a sword dripping with blood. Action was brought by the police under the statute which forbids the display of pictures dealing with crime, or intent to commit a crime.
BRIGGS’ “RUDDER GRANGE”
Readers of the old school who remember “Rudder Grange” still dream, perhaps, of living in a house made out of an old boat. Clare Briggs, the author of “Skinnay” and “When a Feller Needs a Friend,” has built such a dream house at New Rochelle, N. J. It is such a house as Frank R. Stockton or Robert Louis Stevenson would have delighted in, and the name of the house is “The Blue Anchor.”
A writer in the Utica Observer, describing a visit to the home of the “Mark Twain of cartoonists,” says:
“A striking feature of this house is a framework of ship timbers, taken from a water-logged schooner, wrecked on a bar undoubtedly, and procured from a salvage firm in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Some of the lumber used in the construction work is only 250 or 300 years old; and one does not have to look hard or long to see timbers 14 by 12 inches in size by 35 feet in length, which, in course of time, will be hand-carved.
“The supposedly front elevation is the rear of the house, the latter being half surrounded by a stone wall, embedded in which are parts of the hull of the same old schooner.
“The dining room is large and comfortable, surrounded entirely with quartered white oak panels, six feet in height, stained most beautifully by Father Time himself. The ceiling is beamed with those old water-logged timbers. The window frames are made from the old planking, which more than a dozen hardwood turners refused to touch with their tools.
“To the modern builder every stick of timber in ‘Blue Anchor' is subject to condemnation. Holes, dowels and splints are everywhere, and cracks half an inch wide are the rule, and why not in a house 300, or shall we say 400 years old?
“Remember we are in the dining room, and its windows are of leaded glass, as are all the windows throughout the house. In each window there may still be three or even 10 pieces of the old glass, opaque but not transparent, which was the best that glaziers could produce when ‘Blue Anchor' was built 400, or shall we say 500 years ago? And then there is sure to be found in every window one or more descriptive pictures, for once “Blue Anchor' must have belonged to an artistic individual who was most lavish in his expenditures, for he replaced the old glass with the most unobtrusively blending pictures one can imagine.
“From the dining room one passes through a spacious hall, into the living room, two steps below. The room occupies half the house, and is finished—Well:
“Its floor: Planking four inches thick, sixteen or eighteen inches wide, 30 feet long; the seams are calked with oakum and tar, for those planks have lived many a year on that diet. Scars and marks on the floor show where stays were fastened in them aboard ship.
“At the far end is a stone fireplace. At its left a secret panel gives entrance to a winding stairway in the chimney, and either to Mr Briggs' grill room below or to Madame's boudoir above, past the minstrels' balcony, one within the holy of holies of this family can go.
“The huge rudder of the schooner 15 feet long and with its massive iron pivot and chains weighing nearly 1,400 pounds was not thrown onto the junk heap, but has been given the most conspicuous place in the grill room. It serves as chimney breast, over a glorious fireplace. At the other end of the grill, directly opposite the fireplace, is a huge anchor, a gift of a friend, J. K. Stewart. This cute toy weighs a ton and a quarter.”
BRINK BUYS A STUDIO
R. M. Brinkerhoff, of the New York Evening Mail, has bought himself a studio and living apartment in the big structure which Penrhyn Stanlaws is building on 67th Street and Central Park, West. Each tenant owns, in fee simple,—whatever that is— the right and title to his own apartment with trespass rights in the public halls, elevators, and the sidewalk fronting.
Brink is now shoppng to furnish his new home. He is to have Chinese rugs, Turkish corners, French pastry, German fried, Swedish massage, and Bull Durham, while the decoration will be largely Hungarian goulash and all very Chile con carne.
Clifton Meek, formerly cartoonist with the New York Evening Journal, is now in business for himself, and is connected with “The Silent Partner,” a “magazine of inspiration” published in New York.
THE BERRYMAN CARTOON EXHIBIT
An exhibition of original cartoons by Clifford K. Berryman, of the Washington Star, has been attracting many visitors to the Corcoran galleries of the capitol city. It was the first time the gallery had ever placed on view a collection of drawings in black and white.
Among the best known of the pictures to be shown is the “Why Didn't I Think of That?” cartoon of Roosevelt, which shows him reading reports of President Wilson's first personal address to congress. This cartoon was reproduced all over the country, subsequent to its publication in The Star. Another famous cartoon in the collection is the “To Go or Not to Go” commemoration of Roosevelt's retirement from the White House on March 4, 1909. The picture shows the famous Berryman Teddy bear on the steps of the executive mansion, regarding with pensive gaze a large moving Van.
The Baltimore convention of the democratic party in 1912, the German submarine controversy, Roosevelt's trip abroad and in Africa, the Mexican controversy, “Uncle Joe” Cannon and Speaker Clark, all come in for their share of the friendly satire of Mr. Berryman's pen.
A fine point in newspaper law has developed in connection with the alleged misuse by Dr. John R. Davis, of Mena, Ark., of an “Everett True” cartoon by Condo, of the Newspaper Enterprise Association. The cartoon, as originally drawn, showed the redoubtable Everett belaboring with his umbrella the head of a congressman who, instead of attending to business, spent most of his time at pink teas.
Dr. Davis, who was a congressional candidate in a hot primary fight in his district, altered the cartoon by lettering in the name of his opponent and distributed it in circular form, the attorneys for the syndicate claim. The N. E. A., therefore, has brought action against him for the misuse of a copy righted cartoon.
MUTT, JEFF, AND THE CZAR
Mutt and Jeff, in the opinion of the Russian embassy at Washington, are not fit companions for the czar of Russia. Followers of Bud Fisher's cartoons will remember that the czar was commandeered by Mutt and Jeff and introduced into the mysteries of draw poker. The Russian embassy, however, didn’t like the idea, and made a protest. As a result the fact was disclosed that it really wasn’t the czar, after all, who accompanied the comic-strip celebrities to America, but the czar's valet in disguise.
MRS. McCUTCHEON DIES
Mrs. John Barr McCutcheon, the mother of John T. McCutcheon, the Chicago Tribune cartoonist, George Barr McCutcheon, the novelist, and Benjamin F. McCutcheon, died recently at her home in Chicago.
MACAULEY'S CENSORSHIP CARTOON
The first gun in what is to be a nationwide fight against moving-picture censorship has been fired by Charles R. Macauley, formerly cartoonist of the New York World. Mr. Macauley's shot is in the nature of the cartoon presented herewith, and showing a “holier-than-thou” individual veiling a screen with a banner which bears the legend “Pre-publication Censorship.” This, with others, will be shown in the cinema theaters throughout the country as part of an organized crusade.
H. T. Webster, of the New York Globe, and R. M. Brinkerhoff, of the New York Evening Mail, have been spending a week in Washington, D. C., getting acquainted with the celebrities in order that their cartoons hereafter will bear a semblance to the truth. They have been studying President Wilson, Secretary Baker, and others at first hand. The trip was made in Web’s new touring car.
Labels: What The Cartoonists Are Doing
Jack Flanagan from Australia was John R. Flanagan, who soon became one of the great pen-and-ink illustrators of the 1920s. He drew many illustrations for Collier's, including the popular Fu Manchu series following J. C. Coll. Flanagan was just 21 when he came to New York, having already established himself as a newspaper cartoonist back in Australia. Fun to see him right at the start of his career.
I, too, really enjoy these slice of life glimpses of the cartooning world, so long ago. I have always loved the "really old" strips, so it is an added enjoyment to read about the cartoonists too. Thank you, Allan!
Friday, May 22, 2020
Wish You Were Here, from Jim Davis
Here's another Garfield postcard, this one is coded #P5530, from Argus Communications. I'm not a big Garfield fan, but IMHO this is one of the funniest postcards ever.
Labels: Wish You Were Here
Thursday, May 21, 2020
Magazine Cover Comics: Petty-June at College
Fish, the great British cartoonist, had a long relationship with the American Weekly, producing quite a few series over about a decade and a half. Here's an early offering, Petty-June at College. This one is about a vacuous little John Held-style flapper-deb. The series appeared on American Weekly covers from November 18 1928 to February 10 1929, and was popular enough that the character returned for a second series, Petty-June Does Europe.
I think Fish did tremendous work, and I'm surprised no retrospective book of her cartoons and illustrations has been produced. Am I alone in my admiration for her work?
Labels: Magazine Cover Comics
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Frank Giacoia
Francesco Carmine “Frank” Giacoia was born on July 6, 1924, in Latronico, Italy. Giacoia’s first name was on a passenger list and middle name from his Social Security application (transcribed at Ancestry.com) which also had his birth information. However, Giacoia’s World War II draft card had Potenza, Italy as his birthplace.
On April 7, 1932, Giacoia and his mother, Domenica, were aboard the steamship Augustus which departed Naples, Italy. They arrived in the port of New York City on April 18. Giacoia’s father, Giuseppe, paid for their passage. His address was 2614 Hoyt Avenue, Astoria, New York, which is in the borough of Queens.
The 1940 U.S. Federal Census recorded Giacoia, his parents and two younger siblings in Astoria at 32-12 Astoria Boulevard. The census said Giacoia’s father was a building construction laborer who was born in Brazil, South America. Giacoia’s mother made dress trimmings.
Giacoia attended the School of Industrial Art in Manhattan. His classmates included John Belfi, Carmine Infantino and Gil Kane. Giacoia dropped out of school. Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said he worked at the Harry “A” Chesler and Fred Iger Studios.
A profile in All-Star Companion, Volume 1 (2004) said “… In the early ’40s he inked such Timely series as Captain America, Jack Frost, Captain Wonder, and Young Allies; by 1948 he was inking Carmine Infantino and occasionally Alex Toth on Green Lantern, et al., for DC. …”
On December 11, 1942, Giacoia signed his World War II draft card. His address was 28-19 Astoria Boulevard in Astoria. His employer was Timely Comics. Giacoia’s description was five feet seven inches, 149 pounds with brown eyes and hair. His father adopted the name Joseph.
Giacoia’s Department of Veterans Affairs file said he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corp on June 5, 1943. A muster roll, dated July 31, 1943, listed Giacoia as a private, stationed at the Third Recruit Battalion Recruit Depot on Parris Island, South Carolina. The October 31, 1943 muster roll said he was a private first class at the Aircraft Engineering Squadron at Cherry Point, North Carolina. According to the July 31, 1944 muster roll Giacoia was a cook at the same location. On April 30, 1945 Giacoia was a corporal at Songaree Field, Columbia, South Carolina. Three months later he was back in Cherry Point, North Carolina. San Diego, California was Giacoia’s home on the October 31, 1945 muster roll. In 1946 his final station was the Headquarters Squadron-33, Marine Aircraft Group-33, Marine Air, West Coast, U. S. Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, Santa Ana, California. Giacoia was discharged June 22, 1946.
After the war Giacoia continued working in the comics industry.
Bowling was one of Giacois’s hobbies. The Star-Journal (Long Island City, New York), October 28, 1949, said
Giacoia Hits 546 Series to Pace Ditmars LoopThe Star-Journal mentioned Giacoia in its November 4, 1949 report.
With Frank giacoia rolling a 546 series to pace the league, Team No. 2 swept its match with Team No. 4 in the House Bowling League at the Ditmars Center, Astoria.
Giacoia, bowling in the No. 4 position, hit games of 205, 166 and 175 as his team prevailed by more than 100 pins in each of the first two games and annexed the finale with a 45-pin margin. …
… Team No. 2 registered a new high team game score of 882 to break the record of 868, held by Team No. 6, which dropped an odd-game verdict to the the new record holders. Frank Giacoia hit 200 for the winners. …On October 27, 1951, Giacoia and Phyllis M. Zupa obtained a marriage license in Manhattan, New York City. Phil Zupa was one of Giacoia’s pen names.
Giacoia passed away on February 4, 1988 according to the Social Security Death Index.
Further Reading and Viewing
Kleefeld on Comics
Grand Comics Database
Alter Ego #155
What If Kirby
More Heroes of the Comics: Portraits of the Legends of Comic Books
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Obscurity of the Day: Thorn McBride
Frank Giacoia never had much luck picking a blockbuster newspaper strip; part of that was his choice of syndicates. His first two strips, Sherlock Holmes and Johnny Reb and Billy Yank, were distributed by the New York Herald-Tribune, which had great taste in features but couldn't sell them to save their souls. His third try, Thorn McBride, managed to find an even worse distributor. Copley Press, which operated a substantial chain of newspapers, couldn't even seem to convince their own papers to run their strips. Now that's pathetic.
Maybe with Thorn McBride those Copley papers weren't so dumb. Giacoia's art, always superbly professional if not especially flashy, was paired with the awful writing of a fellow named Kanneth Simms. Simms was in love with what he thought was snappy dialogue. He obviously wanted to be the next Milton Caniff, but what came out on the page was confusing, herky-jerky and worst of all, verbose. Poor Giacioa sometimes has to shoehorn talking heads into panel corners just to remind us that it's a comic strip. To his credit, though, he worked hard on this dog. Check out the extra bits of business Giacoia adds in some of these strips above that could have been just a series of talking heads.
Debuting on September 12 1960* as a daily-only strip, Thorn McBride concerns the adventures aboard a US Navy nuclear submarine. This was a hot topic at the time because the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear sub, had just made headlines by 'sailing' under the North Pole. There was also a big budget nuclear sub movie in the works, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. The concept seemed like a surefire hit for a strip, but the quality of the writing combined with the inability of Copley to sell their wares had this ship sinking a lot faster than subs ought to.
Frank Giacoia jumped ship after just four months, handing the reins over to another fine cartoonist, Mel Keefer (see the final example above for a Keefer strip), on January 23 1961**. Keefer proved much more game to ride on the Thorn McBride ship, and lasted until its demise on December 29 1962***.
Copley advertised the availabiltiy of the strip in 1963, but someone there was apparently a little behind on reading company memos. As proof I can offer that one paper ran a blank space for a week after the cited end date, with the text "Thorn McBride has been discontinued by the Artist."
One other minor postscript; Copley was seemingly unable to handle the distribution of a daily comic strip themselves, so they recruited United Feature Syndicate to handle the distribution.
* Source: Charleston Daily Mail
** Source: Washington Star
*** Source: Hayward Review, Long Beach Press-Telegram.
Monday, May 18, 2020
Mystery Cartoonist: Lynn Daily Evening Item Circa 1921 -- JB? BJ?
As I go through my boxes upon boxes of files awaiting sorting, I come upon the occasional mystery item. Here's a couple clippings from 1921 issues of the Lynn (Massachusetts) Daily Evening Item, featuring an editorial cartoonist who signs him or herself with what looks to me like an interlocked J and B. Searching around I cannot find a cartoonist who was associated with that paper that has these or similar initials. Can you identify the mystey cartoonist?
Labels: Mystery Cartoonists
"Jack Beckwith, for the past 22 years cartoonist and all-round artist for the Lynn (Mass.) Daily Evening Item..."
Gonna have to find something really challenging -- maybe a tiny scrap of paper with a stick figure from an unknown paper.
Saturday, May 16, 2020
What The Cartoonists Are Doing, May 1916 (Vol.9 No.5)
In November 1913 the magazine began to offer a monthly round-up of news about cartoonists and cartooning, eventually titled "What The Cartoonist Are Doing." There are lots of interesting historical nuggets in these sections, and this Stripper's Guide feature will reprint one issue's worth each week.]
THOSE ANTI-AMERICAN CARTOONS
The publication in Punch, and other British journals, of cartoons deliberately unfriendly to America has aroused quite a storm of protest. Sir Edward Grey, British secretary for foreign affairs, speaking in the House of Commons, expressed the opinion recently that the friendly relations between the United States and England had been jeopardized to some extent by such cartoons, which, however, could not be suppressed unless they transcended the law.
Discussing the Punch cartoon comparing President Wilson to the prophet Job (reproduced in the April Cartoons Magazine), the Syracuse Post-Standard says that the drawing is but a mild rebuke when one considers certain British cartoons on the subject of Secretary Lansing’s “Ancona” note. The German cartoons picturing Uncle Sam stuffing his pockets with gains from munition selling at the expense of the Teuton cause, this newspaper points out, are even more vitriolic.
“One wonders,” it adds, “what would have happened to Punch if that estimable journal had printed the cartoons of Carter, Starrett, Cesare, or Kirby.”
Says the Buffalo Enquirer:
“Cartoonists have little sense of responsibility and rarely withhold a shaft for the harm it may do. The cartoonists should give serious attention to Sir Edward Grey's reply to the question whether friendly relations between the United States and Great Britain had been injured by the English cartoons reflecting on American diplomacy. Every American who has felt his wrath rise when looking at British cartoons will confirm the secretary for foreign affairs. Still better proof is the fact that foes of the British circulate British cartoons in the United States for the purpose of arousing American ire. It is equally true, of course, that American cartoons madden the British and Germans just as British and German cartoons anger us."
Boardman Robinson, the former New York Tribune cartoonist, since his return from the war zone, has been delivering a lecture called “From Saloniki to Petrograd.” It deals with the artist’s experiences in the typhus hospitals of Serbia, on the battlefields of the east front, and in the Russian jails.
ALAS, POOR HAM!
When Fourteenth Street, New York, was the real Rialto and hang-out for actors, both good and bad, says “Zim,” Grant E. Hamilton and I used to take our noonday bite at the famous Lüchow restaurant opposite Tammany Hall, and I know by the way those Shakespeareans and comedians sized us up we were mistaken for a fat song-and-dance team. It was our before-dinner delight to assume every aspect of the exalted race that was basking in the meridian sun during its off-duty hour, and often we'd catch wireless remarks as to our bookings. Once during my absence, “Ham,” as I called him, ran the gauntlet of inquisitive eyes alone. On this trip he recorded many remarks about the other fat one. “He’s alone today—wonder where his partner is.” This was our opportunity to study stage characters in real life. Every man to the lowest and basest comedian felt himself an important cog in the theatrical machinery. Each was attired in his best raiment, some having their entire estate upon their backs, surmounted by fur collars overhung with curly locks of varied hues. I once spoke the name “Ham” rather loudly in addressing my partner Hamilton, and as “Ham” is a show term for Shakespearean actor, many eyes were riveted my way, causing me, of course, to draw my head within my shell. The movies have wiped out this interesting feature of artistic life and circumstances have dissolved my attachment for the place.
WHO WANTS TO BE A COLLIER?
N. L. Collier, cartoonist of the Chicago Journal, having the distinction of being named after an oceanic coal hod, has been amusing himself by clipping headlines from the newspapers. Pasted on his desk are such captions as:
“COLLIER SAVES 400 AFTER SINKING EMPRESS OF IRELAND”
“GERMANS BLOW UP COLLIER”
“GERMAN SUBMARINE IS SUNK BY COLLIER”
“COLLIER FIRED ON BY ENGLISH”
“RIDDLED COLLIER AFLOAT”
“BOMB WRECKS COLLIER”
“COLLIER SENT TO BOTTOM”
"Who,” he asks, “would want to be a collier?”
THE "BREAKFAST FOOD" MAKES A SHORT CRUISE
The good ship “Breakfast Food,” which is allegorical for your morning paper, made a short cruise at the annual dinner of the Dutch Treat Club at Delmonico's, New York, recently. The Dutch Treat Club is an organization of artists, cartoonists, and writers. The “Breakfast Food” made its appearance in the opening scene of the comedy, “The Breath of Scandal,” written by James Montgomery Flagg, who played a leading role.
One of the features of the evening was the presentation of birthday honors to deserving members of the club. Arthur William Brown, who illustrates the stories for the Saturday Evening Post, received the Order of the Kodak, which gives him permission to take two negatives of any pretty girl who is without a chaperone. Herb Roth was awarded the Order of the Cave Gentleman, and will be allowed to flaunt an electric sign above his studio door with the inscription “Chez Herb.”
ABE KABIBBLE BREAKS IN
Abe Kabibble, Harry Hershfield's perennial delight, broke into the League of Cook County Women's Clubs at Chicago recently. In other words, Mr. Hershfield was invited to address the meeting, and to introduce Abe and his cigar to the ladies.
In his talk Mr. Hershfield told why he had created Abe.
“Abe Kabibble is intended to exemplify a higher type of Jewish humor,” he said. “Previously there had been shown on the stage and in burlesque a type of alleged Jewish humor not at all complimentary to the Jewish people and not at all justified. So I decided to make ‘Abe Kabibble' a clean-cut, well-dressed specimen of Jewish humor.
“In drawing a cartoon I believe the public should be taken into the artist's confidence. The idea should be brought home to them.
“I am a Jew and know the life of my people well. The names of the people mentioned in the cartoons are not fictitious. They are the names of people whose families I know.”
THOSE PRESS-AGENTED SALARIES
Commenting upon the much advertised salaries of Reub Goldberg and other comic artists, the Christian Science Monitor says:
“What would Artemus Ward, Josh Billings, Petroleum V. Nasby, Thomas Nast, and other of the well-known humorists and cartoonists of the nineteenth century, say if they were to know that a humorist who draws ‘comics' has just been guaranteed a minimum salary of $50,000 a year, and that he expects to make as much more in work 'on the side’? Before they could make any discriminating reply they would have to consider two facts: the syndicate system, by which a clever man's work now appears simultaneously in hundreds of papers, and the altered standards of humor.”
PRAISES McCUTCHEON CARTOON
Speaking at Valparaiso, Ind., recently, William J. Bryan said that if he were an artist he would go the world over and reproduce one of John T. McCutcheon's cartoons in which anarchy's slogan is represented as “Dynamite makes right.”
WHAT IS ART?
The Brooklyn Times comes nobly to the defense of the newspaper artist in an editorial reply to Mr. Frederick Dielman, “once president, we believe, of the National Academy of Design.” Mr. Dielman is quoted as saying that there were things published in New York under the name of art which were “simply horrible.” He referred to the cartoons and so-called funny sections of the metropolitan newspapers, and added: “Youngsters come to me who have heard of the large salaries paid to men who draw these things, and are ambitious to become artists of this type.” Says the Times:
“In the name of a discriminating public we rise to ask, who is Frederick Dielman? We know Goldberg, who gets a salary only a trifle less than the annual stipend of Charlie Chaplin; we know Opper; we know Bud Fisher and we know Tom Powers. We feel that we know Art from ‘A’ to ‘T.’ But this Dielman person, who ever offered him fifty thousand a year for a series of comics? By what authority does he speak for Art? Upon what colorful supplement has he scrawled an illegible but glorious signature? Yet, he has the presumption to declare Hans Katzenjammer is not art. He would have us believe Abe Kabibble is something a little lower than a cubist caricature. He cannot find a place for Mr. Jiggs in the classic, the compressionist, the impressionist, the post impressionist, or the depressionist school. Fie on Mr. Dielman! As Leonardo da Vinci once said to Mike Angelo, “Where does he get off?’”
ONLY ONE HAL COFFMAN
Hal Coffman, the cartoonist, who for some weeks had been trying to locate a mysterious impersonator who was using is name, finally discovered that a Joseph Harold Coffman Welsh, of the Mills Hotel, New York, was the person he was after. The latter, summoned before a police magistrate for disorderly conduct, admitted that he had shortened his name, and had been posing as the cartoonist. The temptation to be known as an artist, he said, had been too much for him, but he was “very sorry.”
THE BEST CARTOONIST
The Students' Art Magazine in an effort to discover from its readers who is America's greatest cartoonist, appears to be still in the dark. As the result of a vote taken, no two readers selected the same cartoonist, each naming a different one. The logical inference, observes the editor, would be that the present age has produced a great many good cartoonists, but none whose claim to renown stands out preeminently above those of his fellows.
Reub Goldberg's new animated cartoons, a writer in the New York Telegraph observes, are a reminder that two years ago this artist wrote a number of scenarios for the movies. A New York literary critic said at the time of the films:
“They were so funny that they defeated their own purpose. Hunchbacked generals riding billy goats led scarecrow soldiers to battle, and let 16-inch cannon balls bounce off their bosoms. There was no point of view from which to get an angle on the crazy comedy. No moments of tragic relief. Tragedy to be effective has to have its period of comic relief by way of contrast. The same holds true for comedy. It must start from the normal and proceed to the absurd. The simplest laugh in the world is a man slipping down on a banana peeling. It is laughable because the man is walking along normally with no intention of springing any funny stuff. The sidewalk flies up and smites him in the back of the neck, while his arms and legs fan the air like an overturned turtle. The beholders laugh hysterically. The unexpected transit from the normal to the absurd is comedy. The Goldberg scenarios were so continuously comic that they never switched back to a normal status for the beholder to get his breath and start laughing.”
WHY DON'T YOU EARN IT, BUD?
“We don't like to be criticising our superiors all the time,” remarks the Ohio State Journal in a moment of pique, “but it does seem to us that, if we got $105,000 per annum for doing no more work than Mr. Bud Fisher does, we wouldn't put the syndicate to the necessity of explaining at least once a week that, owing to circumstances over which it had no more control than a rabbit, we were unable to do our daily stunt yesterday.”
STEALING THEIR STUFF
Because the modernists have stolen their stuff and called it art, the Society of Amateur Fakirs of the Art Students' League of New York, was forced to give a costume dance this year to raise their annual scholarship fund. The dance was given at the Vanderbilt Hotel on April 5. Formerly the “Fakirs” sold their travesties on the National Academy's pictures, but since the advent of the modernists, who regard such atrocities as real art, the “Fakirs" have been hard put to it to gain recognition.
A recent cartoon by Cesare in the New York Sun, showing Bryan in the act of scuttling the Ship of State, gains in verisimilitude, observes the Brooklyn Eagle, from the fact that the auger is inserted only above the water line.
Chapin's cartoon in the St. Louis Republic, showing D. R. Fitzpatrick, the Post Dispatch cartoonist, “breaking into the big league” with his first mustache, is said to be responsible for a mustache epidemic in the suburb of Piedmont, where Chapin lives. More than a score of young men, most of them unmarried, inspired by the cartoon, pledged themselves not to touch a razor to their upper lips for sixty days.
ONE ON LEE STANLEY
Lee Stanley, of the Central Press Association, is very youthful in appearance. The other day he presented Bill, the office boy, with a pair of theater tickets. Bill, elated at the prospect of an evening's entertainment with all expenses paid, skipped out of the office relating his good fortune to everybody. “Where'd you get the tickets?” he was asked. “Th' kid what makes the cartoons give 'em to me,” was the reply.
W. A. Rogers' cartoon in the New York Herald, entitled “They would never have given up the ship,” should, in the opinion of New York Town Topics, be painted as a historical picture, and hung in the White House. The cartoon depicts President Wilson, pale and haggard, at his desk, considering the “Lusitania” settlement, while behind him are grouped all the former presidents. Mr. Rogers, declares Town Topics, has described the situation exactly.
PETEY STATUETTE COMPLETED
The Petey statuette, the counterpart of C. A. Voigt's popular little cartoon character, is now completed. The artist modeled the figure from sculptor's clay, and will use it as a pattern for the plaster figures that are to follow. Petey is shown in his favorite chair, his mouth open, and a frown upon his brow. Apparently he has been caught in the act of giving Henrietta a dressing down for wearing a too frivolous costume.
The real Petey Dink, it is said, lives in Rochester, N. Y. He is a successful banker and manufacturer, is short and irascible, and objects very much to being reminded of the fact that he resembles a cartoon.
None of John Roche's cartoons in the Los Angeles Express is complete without a certain little bug—a namesake, by the way, of the cartoonist. One of the engravers on the paper must be given credit for the first one that appeared. He took the liberty of adding it to one of Roche’s cuts, and, though it was a crude affair, it helped to carry the idea. What was meant for a joke turned out to be a tragedy, for it cost the engraver his job. Now, however, the little cockroach appears on every drawing Roche turns out, while its clever side comments are always appreciated.
AN ARTIST IN THE ARCTIC
By J. N. M. Brown
The writer of the following human document is so far distant that it required three months for his manuscript to reach us.-Editor.
Now that the mercury, as Mrs. Wiggs would say, has riz to zero, I feel sufficiently thawed out to hold a pen. Strange things happen at the north pole. You may doubt it, but one's brains tend to congeal at a temperature of sixty below zero. At forty below the blood runs thickly, and feeling slowly leaves the extremities. One's nose, ears, and cheeks freeze, and a thin film of ice forms over the eyeballs. At the very lowest temperature the native leaps head first into a snowdrift, and after thawing out in its genial warmth, plunges forward into the next drift.
Probably you are wondering where I live? If I were to tell you, my community would doubtless cast me out as being too veracious. Suffice it to say that the north pole is adjacent. Frequently it comes and camps in our back yard.
In summer the thermometer goes up to 90, and in the winter, down to 90. This trifling difference of 180 degrees, doesn't seem to trouble those who have farms or real estate to sell. They say, “Oh, but you don’t feel the cold up here! It's so dry.” The moment they sell out, they take the train to Panama, where it is warm all the time.
Being an artist, my present activities are confined to caricaturing walruses and Eskimo dogs, making genre pictures of the kitchen stove, and thawing out the water pipes.
Those of you who practice art in more temperate climes may imagine that the immortal fires die out around the arctic circle. But you are wrong. We manage somehow to keep the temperature of our dwellings up to 15 or 20 degrees below the freezing point if there is plenty of fuel. Fuel ran out the other day, and I burned up the dining-room chairs, the beds, the table, and my drawing board.
I claim to be the only artist capable of properly' portraying the aurora borealis. Most pictures of the northern lights are wrong. They remind me of futurist sketches of the sun. The real thing looks as if the British navy were having search light practice during a Zeppelin raid. You see a large ray of light climb slowly through the sky. Then a few more rays climb up to keep it company. Then they all do the Ziegfeid Follies finale to the tune of "It's a Grand Old Rag,” scamper from west to east, die down, flare up, die down again, and fill the heavens with a yellow effulgence.
McCUTCHEON BACK FROM WAR
John T. McCutcheon, the versatile cartoonist and war correspondent of the Chicago Tribune, is back from the war. He has brought his dog with him, and Chicagoans feel immensely relieved now that the little canine is back in the corner of John T.’s cartoons, where he belongs. Mr. McCutcheon was stationed at Saloniki, which stronghold he regards as free from attack for the time being.
“I think the most remarkable condition I have ever seen existed prior to January 1 in Saloniki,” he said. “The allied armies were in control. But the civilian Germans, Austrians, and Turks were in constant and almost necessary evidence.
“For example, it was no uncommon incident to see British army officers dining in a German restaurant, of which there were two. There would be a table occupied by British officers and immediately next to it a table at which sat German officers.
“British, Russian, German, French, and, in fact, the consular and diplomatic officers of all nations might be seen dining in the same room. Of course the representatives of warring nations did not intercommunicate.
“This state of affairs continued until the first of the air raids. Immediately came the arrest of all German and Austrian diplomatic representatives. I am inclined to believe, however, that these raids were mostly for the purpose of taking photographs.
“We heard from time to time news that the Germans would begin their advance 'next week.' The postponements were as frequent as the announcements, and we finally came to believe that these statements were being made for the purpose of causing the allies to hurry all possible reinforcements to Saloniki, thus weakening other points.
“Whether it was intended to weaken the defenses at the Suez canal or on the western or eastern fronts has not developed, I believe.
“One hears much of the length of the war, but it is all speculation.”
Prominent New York newspaper artists, including T. A. Dorgan, of the Journal, and Oscar Cesare, of the Sun, contributed to a souvenir program for the bazaar held at the Grand Central Palace recently for the benefit of the Jewish war sufferers.
TO AID ACTORS FUND
America's movie cartoonists, according to a recent announcement made by Charles R. MacAuley, have agreed to raise $500,000 as their share of a $1,000,000 actors' fund. T. A. Dorgan, of the New York Evening Journal, and George McManus head the list of those who have responded to the call for help. The campaign is to be nation wide. Cartoons will be shown in the cinema houses appealing to the generosity of the public. The plans also include a number of public balls and benefits, with a “National Moving Picture Tribute Day” on May 15. Mayors of twenty-five cities will appear on the films in behalf of the movement.
At a dinner given by the publicity committee of the Motion Picture Board of Trade to the cartoonists and newspaper writers at the Hotel Astor, New York, an organized attack was made on the censors. Among those present were Hy. Mayer, Winsor McCay, Fontaine Fox, Rollin Kirby, Frederick Opper, R. M. Brinkerhoff, Ray Rohn, Herb Roth, Cliff Sterrett, R. L. Goldberg, Robert Carter, Hal Coffman, C. Allan Gilbert, George McManus, L. M. Glackens, Gene Carr, H. T. Webster, and W. K. Starrett.
“FAIR HARVARD” IN CARTOON
From Cambridge, Mass., comes the report that fair Harvard has been turned upside down by a cartoon booklet entitled “Harvard Inside Out.” The authors are Elmer E. Hagler and Robert C. Bacon, and the idea is borrowed, evidently, from Frank Wing’s “Fotygraft Album.” Thus, Willie Peebles, aged 11, is the interlocutor. Referring to a cartoon of President Lowell, he says:
“That there's President Lowell. Joe says he's jest started a finishin' school fur manly boys down by the Charles River. I shud think it'd interefer with the college a whole lot. Joe says he's a mighty fine man, though.”
A tribute to Professor Hugo Münsterberg follows: “That's Hugo Münsterberg. He's in competition with A. B. Hart for publicity. Jest now Hart's ahead by about 300 lines, but Hugo's got an article on the psychic significance of Charlie Chaplin for the Cosmopolitan that'll put him way in the lead.”
The first cartoonist in need of an idea, suggests the Buffalo Enquirer, might draw a picture of Elihu Root weeping at the grave of Huerta.
An exhibition of St. Patrick cartoons was a feature of a celebration in honor of Ireland's patron saint, given at the Eastern Cartoon School of Philadelphia.
Robert Minor, the New York Call cartoonist, who spent several months in the war zone, has been active on the lecture platform since his return. “Travel in Europe these days,” he says, “isn't exactly a pleasure trip. One of the conditions is that you spend part of your time in jail.”
Mr. Minor was arrested once in France as a German spy, twice in Italy for the same reason, and once in Germany as a British spy. Of the three hours he spent in Germany, two were behind bars.
The stories of atrocities on both sides, he declares, have been greatly distorted. He denounces the news stories from the front, which he pronounces “half truths which are the blackest kind of lies.”
He has been telling socialistic audiences that there are but two nations in the world, “the nation of workers and the nation of parasites.” He is opposed to compulsory military service in the United States, and says that we will be disgraced if we do not at once take the stand that the workingman has no country, and will not fight for the one that is owned by his exploiter.
TO AID PREPAREDNESS
A movement to interest prominent illustrators and cartoonists in the plans for an adequate national defense has been launched by the Aero Club of America. Among those who have signified their willingness to coöperate are Henry Rueterdahl, the marine artist, James Montgomery Flagg, W. A. Rogers, cartoonist of the New York Herald, and W. K. Starrett, of the New York Tribune. The idea, it is said, was suggested by the remarkable success attending the Brangwyn recruiting posters in England. The organization plans to distribute “preparedness” posters throughout the United States.
LONDON BYSTANDER FINED
For depicting Tommy Atkins drunk, the proprietors of the weekly journal, the London Bystander, were fined recently under the Defense of the Realm Act. The cartoon, which was considered prejudicial to the recruiting campaign, was entitled “Reported Missing,” and showed a British soldier lying in a rather blissful state under a tree with an empty bottle of rum. The picture was drawn by Lieut. C. E. B. Bernard of the Tenth West Yorkshire regiment.
Robert Henry Schulz has left the art staff of the Baltimore News, and is now staff cartoonist for the Binghampton Republican-Herald. In addition to his regular cartoon work he is launching a comic strip entitled “Veronica Versatile and Flossie Forgot.”
Labels: What The Cartoonists Are Doing
Friday, May 15, 2020
Wish You Were Here, from Phil May
Here's a postcard penned by the great Phil May. This one was issued by the Raphael Tuck Company, and was #1008 in the "Write Away" series. This is a very interesting card for a few reasons.
First is the subject matter. The card seems to have been issued in 1904 (as the card was dated by the sender and is cited as the date on this website), and the subject therefore is presumably the Brits' 1904 Licensing Act. This act, one of many limiting the sale of alcoholic beverages, was not really addressed at pub habitues, like our red-nosed friend above, but at pub keepers, who were forced to pay into a fund to compensate pub owners who were forced to forfeit their licences. Therefore the gag doesn't really apply to the new 1904 licensing act much, but since all the licensing acts, and there were lots of 'em, were aimed at stemming liquor sales, everyone would easily follow the gag.
Second item of interest: I was surprised to see the spelling "license" on a British postcard. Don't they spell it "licence"? Well turns out I was oversimplifying my spelling. Outside the US, where license is both a noun and verb, turns out that in the Empire we are expected to spell it "licence" when used as a noun, and "license" when a verb. So I guess the licensing act actually applies to pub licences. Good to know!
Third item of interest: somehow this postcard was sold to a Canadian in New Brunswick. Surely Britain's pub laws didn't apply in Canada, I assume, so why export the cards? I dunno, but this guy in New Brunswick seemed to have it in for some politician named Neale who I gather was in favor of abstention via government mandate. Anyone know if this Neal is a British or Canadian politico?
Okay, last item of interest. This 1904 card has a divided back, which only got going in the US in 1907. So I gather other countries allowed messages on the back earlier. News to me. I notice this Canuck, though, stuck with scrawling all over the front anyway.
Labels: Wish You Were Here
I think the card scrawler actually wrote "Hale" not Neale. This makes sense as one Fredrick Harding Hale was the local MP since the 1880's and was running again in 1904. Alas, poor Hale lost his chance to stay on representing Carlton County, New Brunswick(Where "Hartland" is to be found), beaten by a Liberal party upstart named Carvell.
The Tuck company was one of the world's first international publishers, starting in the 1890's, they were being sold everywhere, in and out of the empire. Americans would more than likely get an English gag.
I don't know when it was legal to write a message on the back in Britain and Empire mail, I have some mid 1890s' ones, views of York, that are still only to be front-written, and this one just keeps the tradition alive because for one thing, you want to keep appealing to markets that still have the address side taboo, and the "continue the message" technique was very popular with card writers.
Thursday, May 14, 2020
Obscurity of the Day: The Marsoozalums
Pinpointing important firsts in the newspaper comics world is seldom simple. What is the first newspaper comic strip? Well, long story. How about first adventure strip? For that you can get arguments that put it anywhere from the 1890s to 1929.
One first that seems a little simpler is first science fiction strip. Buck Rogers, right? Well, some folks disagree. There is a faction that points to a much earlier feature, Mister Skygack from Mars (debuting 1907), but as much as I love that delightfully witty feature, I'm sorry but it is a panel cartoon, not a strip, and so therefore, doesn't qualify in my mind.
In StripScene #13 (Fall 1980), Mark Johnson offered a few additional contenders. He suggested 1902's Sandy Highflyer, an airship pilot who sometimes travels through space, as the first SF strip, but he noted that there are even a few earlier contenders. Along with a mention of 1901's Professor Gesla, a mad scientist strip by Dwig, he brings up a feature by Jimmy Swinnerton called The Marsoozalums, saying it is "about a clan of spacemen living on a far-off planet. It started on February 24 1901 for Hearst."
There was no sample of The Marsoozalums with the article, and I had no samples, but the Johnson brothers are as trustworthy as it comes so I did include a listing for the feature in my book, though it was a listing full of question marks.
Many years later Cole Johnson sent me a scan sample of The Marsoozalums, as shown above. I was disappointed to find that Swinnerton had merely added some antennae to his oft-used tykes, or bears, or tigers, and called them Martians. Not much of a sci-fi spectacle, really, but we do have aliens and a rocket ship, so I can certainly see them as a contender. Only problem is that, just like Mister Skygack, it is a panel feature, not a strip. But Cole's short message, which I didn't really clue into at the time, is alarming. He says "Here's a weird one from Swinnerton. The first extra-terrestrial series? Or is it a one-shot?"
Now that I'm finally trying to tie up the research on this feature, decades later than I should have, I'm faced with the possibility that the panel was a one-shot! I first checked the interwebs to see if someone else had any information about the feature. About all I could find was Luca Boschi's website, and to my horror he offers the very same sample of the feature as Cole did. That led me to be practically convinced that Cole's intuition was right -- we have a one-shot.
Finally, though, I combed through records in the OSU Bill Blackbeard collection, and found that he had a Chicago American for February 24 1901, and the cited title was indeed different from our sample: "The Marsoolazums. A Funny Scene That Swinnerton Saw Through a Telescope on the Planet Mars". I breathed a sigh of relief, and did a bit more poking around. I had already checked Alfredo Castelli's superb book, "Here We Are Again", and had been disappointed to find yet again the same strip installment that I already had. But a second more thorough look revealed a second sample elsewhere in the book. Lo and behold, that one had the February 24 title. I can't show it to you here, because the PDF is locked, but it is a panel of the same sort of alien hijinks as the sample above.
Did the panel run any additional times than those two? I don't know for sure, but I tend to doubt it. Does anyone know of any more?
EDIT: Alex Jay found the second installment of The Marsoozalums in the Denver Post. Note that it ran as a weekday strip there, not in the Sunday comics section:
Beyond of the G-D, the only other one that comes to mind is the Boston Post.
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Obscurity of the Day: Tucker
Joe Martin has had a long career as a syndicated comic strip creator, and was once even crowned by the Guinness World Record people as the most prolific newspaper cartoonist*. His first foray into the newspaper cartooning biz didn't turn out too well, though.
On April 24 1978** Joe Martin's first syndicated strip debuted, a daily and Sunday offering distributed by Field Enterprises titled Tucker. The concept was simple; Tucker runs an employment agency and deals with all manner of oddball clients. With such a rich vein of humor to mine, Martin should have had a successful strip on his hands. I like the strip well enough; the only criticism I would make is that Tucker is saddled with a brainless idiot client/pal named Bustout, and I find him about 90% annoying and only 10% funny. Would have liked to see him given the pink slip. Otherwise, a good strip with pleasant art and good gags. Nevertheless, it was not to be. After only two years in syndication*** Field evidently pulled the plug.
According to Joe Martin in Cartoonist Profiles #123, he self-syndicated Tucker for a short while after Field dropped the strip. I haven't seen a self-syndicated version of the strip anywhere, but Martin certainly does like self-syndicating -- he took over syndication of all three of his strips in 2005. Has anyone seen the self-syndicated Tucker?
* A declaration like that seems an invitation for a footnote full of nitpicking from me, but I have to admit the Guinness people may well have the situation dead to rights. In 2000, the year that title was bestowed, Martin had three seven-day per week strips running -- Willy 'n' Ethel, Cats with Hands and Mister Boffo. I certainly can't come up with any cartoonist who can make the claim of producing 21 syndicated comic strips every week -- can you?
** Source: Washington Star
** I can trace the strip through the end of March 1980, and I'm guessing with a second anniversary coming up the next month, Tucker got the axe. Does anyone have a definitive date?
If memory serves, Martin's son had a strip some years ago. It was a bit like Calvin and Hobbes, except the kid's imaginary friend was clad in black bodysuit and mask like a superhero/villain. We had it in the San Jose Mercury News, replacing B.C. There was a reader backlash, small but of unusual vehemence. The complainers claimed we were replacing a "Christian" strip with satanic one. B.C. came back and the new strip vanished from the Merc; I don't know if it persisted elsewhere.
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Ray Burns
Ray Burns was born Raymond Howard Bernstein on April 21, 1924, in the Bronx, New York City, according to the New York, New York, Birth Index at Ancestry.com. His middle name was recorded on his Social Security application which said his surname was changed from Bernstein to Burns in April 1941.
Burns’ parents were Mortimer Bernstein and Harriet Baum, who married on January 7, 1923 in the Bronx. The 1925 New York state census recorded the trio in the Bronx at 54 Evelyn Place. Burns’ father was a jewelry salesman. At some point they moved.
In the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Burns, his parents and brother, Mortimer Jr., were residents of Stamford, Connecticut, at 44 Culloden Road. Burns’ father was general manager of a jewelry store.
The 1940 census listed the family in Stamford at 19 Merell Avenue.
Burns graduated from Stamford High School in 1942.
On June 30, 1942 Burns signed his World War II draft card. He lived with his parents at 31 Pellom Place in Stamford, where he was employed at the Electric Specialty Company. His description was five feet eight inches, 150 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair.
The Wilton Bulletin (Connecticut), November 11, 1970, profiled Burns who talked about his art training and war service.
“I had no training per se except a few life classes and lectures. Because of my early interest in comic strips I wanted to be a cartoonist,” he said. “In 1942 I was out of high school but any future was obscured by the war. A trade school in Stamford and a crash night course to help get into defense work so I worked with lathes and grinders and in the summer in a machine shop and I hated it. I decided to hell with it and joined the Navy.”He served on a destroyer in the Mediterranean and the Pacific as a second class signalman.
“… I was in on the invasion of North Africa and the Anzio thing and I was in France for quite a time. When I got out I wanted to go to art school and applied to Pratt but I didn’t go. I worked at home practicing drawing and comic strips. Alex Raymond who did the Flash Cordon and Rip Kirby strips lived in Stamford and I went to see him with some of my things. He was one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever known He advised me and really helped me.”Burns said his first comic strip work was lettering and background art on John Lehti’s Tommy of the Big Top. American Newspaper comics (2012) said the strip ran from 1946 to 1950. Burns also assisted Raymond on Rip Kirby.
The Stamford Advocate, December 21, 1949, published a profile of Alex Raymond and said
… The entire strip is drawn by Raymond, and after he has roughed in the balloons containing dialogue and made the decisions on setting, an assistant, Ray Burns, a Stamford man, handles the lettering and background sketching. Raymond considers Burns to be one of the best lettering men in the comic business.Burns was called to serve in the Korean War. The Department of Veterans Affairs said Burns served from December 4, 1950 to March 17, 1952. Burns went back to Raymond and resumed work on Rip Kirby. During this time Burns also met Frank Beck and Gus Edson and did work for them. American Newspaper Comics said Rip Kirby began March 4, 1946. Raymond died in a car crash in 1956 and his last strip appeared September 29, 1956. John Prentice took over the strip.
Burns turned to illustrating textbooks. The Wilton Bulletin, November 30, 2000, said Burns also worked with Johnstone and Cushing, an agency specializing in advertising and industrial comics.
Stamford city directories from 1949 to 1956 listed Burns as an artist. His address was 31 Pellom Place then, in 1955, it was off Davenport Ridge Road. In the March 31, 1982, Wilton Bulletin column, “Twenty Five Years Ago” for March 27,1957, it said “Raymond H. Burns, an illustrator, and his wife, a dramtic [sic] soprano, and their two sons moved from Stamford to a house on Warncke Road.”
Burns illustration works included over 80 books, posters, audiovisual programs, and corporate publications of companies such as GTE, Union Carbide and Xerox.
Burns returned to comics in the 1990s when he helped his friend, Jack Berrill, on his strip, Gil Thorp. The Wilton Bulletin said “When Mr. Berrill’s health began to fail in the early 1990’s, Mr. Burns helped draw the strip for two years. After Mr. Berrill died in 1996, Mr. Burns continued the comic, working with writer Jerry Jenkins to prolong the strip, which began in 1958.” American Newspaper Comics said Burns’ last Gil Thorp strip appeared January 6, 2001. The series continued with other artists and writers.
Tim Murphy’s Murph’s Turf sports column in the Wilton Bulletin, March 27, 1996, was about Berrill and his Gil Thorp strip. Murphy wrote
“Jack was constantly on the lookout for ideas to use,” said longtime friend Orlando Busino, a Ridgefield resident who has done the lettering in Gil Thorp for the past eight years. “He was always interested in the personal problems of high school students. He came up with a lot of topics from talking to his wife, Veronica (a teacher at Brookfield High School).”Burns passed away on November 23, 2000, in Norwalk, Connecticut. He was survived by his wife, Doris, daughter, Jane, and sons, John and David. He was laid to rest at the Fairfield Memorial Park in Stamford.
“It (Gil Thorp) has quite a cult following, said Ray Burns of Wilton, who has done the drawing for the last year. “There are a lot of fans out there.”
Burns, Busino and two other Ridgefielders—Ed Plaut and Jerry Marcus—are among a group of local writers and cartoonists who regularly have lunch together on Thursdays at Nick’s Restaurant in Danbury. Berrill was one of the organizers of the weekly lunch, which has been taking place for more than 25 years. At last week’s gathering, the group toasted Berrill and kept a chair open for him.
“I can’t think of any man who would be more missed by his friends and family,” said Plaut “That tells you what kind of a person he was.”
“At our Thursday afternoon luncheons it was always Jack who held our attention,” said Marcus, the creator of the comic strip Trudy. “He was soft spoken, and when he spoke.
(Burns should not be confused with the Raye Burns School of Cartooning which was formed around 1930.)
Further Reading and Viewing
The Library of American Comics
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
"She was a talented artist and worked for Alex Raymond in her younger years painting backgrounds for the Rip Kirby and Flash Gordon comic strips."
No dates, but she was certainly the right age and in the right area to assist Raymond. Maybe her help on Rip Kirby ended when Burns came around? Or maybe she was recalled when Burns went to Korea?
Monday, May 11, 2020
Obscurity of the Day: Farmer Judkins
Jack "GAL" Gallagher came up with lots of series for the Philadelphia Inquirer in the 1900s, then later specialized in taking over strips for cartoonists who parted ways with the newspaper.
Here is a series from the first part of his career, Farmer Judkins. It's your typical hayseed farmer strip, though as usual for GAL he was cribbing gags from any and all sources, so you have strips like the top one that really don't have any real connection to the character. GAL wasn't the greatest cartoonist ever, but he did have a flair for portraying physical humor; he does a great job getting everything he can out of the weak gags in the strips above.
Farmer Judkins appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday sections from May 5 to December 22 1907, but it was one of those strips that ran longer in their syndicated section -- latest I've found outside the Inquirer is May 24 1908, in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.
The big disappointment was that the micro files of the G-D didn't bother recording these worthless comic pages most of the time, and the little edge visable from whatever page preceeded them, proved this was intentional. About 1915, the entire comic section is passed over too.
I knew that braid had a name, but had to Google it. It was called a queue or cue.
Saturday, May 09, 2020
What The Cartoonists Are Doing: April 1916 (Vol.9 No.4)
[Cartoons Magazine, debuting in 1912, was a monthly magazine devoted primarily to reprinting editorial cartoons from U.S. and foreign newspapers. Articles about cartooning and cartoonists often supplemented the discussion of current events.
In November 1913 the magazine began to offer a monthly round-up of news about cartoonists and cartooning, eventually titled "What The Cartoonist Are Doing." There are lots of interesting historical nuggets in these sections, and this Stripper's Guide feature will reprint one issue's worth each week.]
(From the Toronto World)
Everyone has been to see the collection of Raemaekers' cartoons exhibited in London, and the papers have been full of references to these remarkable examples of the cartoonist's art. They follow in their artistic character the tradition of modern English cartooning with its regard for the proportions of the human form divine rather than the earlier grotesqueries of Rowland and his school and the distortions of some of the European continentalists and many of the Americans. In Canada the art of the cartoonist still hovers between adopting the caricature distortion of the human face and form and the genuine humor of idea and incident, with the tendency strongly in favor of the nobler aspect of the cartoon.
The great Dutch cartoonist follows the more humane method, and his cartoons appeal by their beauty as well as by their genius of satire, irony and tragic mirth. His monsters are monsters in expression and not merely in form. His maenads and furies are terrible, not by their outraged features, but by the force that their features display. The men who are drawn in the midst of murder and rapine are studies from life, not hideous imaginations, but they are all the more striking and dreadful because they are men of like nature to ourselves. It is ordinary men, just like the men of other lands, who are being driven to the fearful deeds which the Prussian system compels from its slaves. This is the profound truth underlying Raemaekers' work. Other cartoonists give us the impression that the Germans are a race apart, and they are drawn as though they had descended from another planet. They are of this earth earthy, indeed, but human, though depraved by a system against which the whole world is in revolt. Given the system and any race of men may gradually be degraded to the frightfulness which these cartoons so scathingly portray.
There is much simplicity about Raemaekers' work. “The Widows of Belgium” is appalling in its suggestions of the grim harvest of the battlefield. Three typical “money bags" moralize over martyred Belgium. “Why couldn't she submit? She would have been well paid.” The type of mind, essentially German, which always thinks in terms of money, does not wear the appearance of a monster.
One of the most striking of all the cartoons, worthy of the highest classical art, is “Germany's Dance with Death.” Germany will think of this for centuries, long after the dance with death has been ended. Another picture full of bitter irony is “The Children of the Lusitania.” Underneath is the quotation from a Berlin paper: “We do not want any love among the Americans, but we do want respect, and the case of the Lusitania will win it for us better than a hundred victories on land.” Stretched on the deck lie the rows of murdered infants.
Be Germany never so blind, surely these great cartoons would make even the kaiser see the depth of his deep damnation.
|Axel Peterson woodcarving, "Signing for the Army"|
SOME NEW CARTOON TOYS
At the recent exhibition of Swedish art at the Brooklyn, N. Y., Museum, many persons were attracted by the display of cartoon dolls which were contributed to the sculpture section of Axel Peterson, a self taught peasant genius, who began life as a carpenter's apprentice. He has developed the art of carving wood statuettes of local types and groups to such a degree of ironic insight that his work is said to compare favorably with that of Daumier, Caran d'Ache, Poulbot, or Forain.
His “Village Trial,” “Christening,” and “Game of Chess,” with their marvelous little gargoyle figures, so cunningly, so humorously whittled out of wood, and stained with black and brown, give the impression of a very Dickens of a sculptor.
“WEB'S” BOYHOOD THRILL
The ruler of the Queen's Navee in “Pinafore,” it will be remembered, polished up the handle of the big front door, but H. T. Webster, author of “Our Boyhood Thrills,” in the days of his youth went the British admiral one better. His earliest experiences in art consisted, he tells us, in delivering flour and bacon for the village grocer in Tomahawk, Wis., working in a box factory, and toiling in a brickyard for a dollar a day. So successful did he become in these occupations that he was promoted to a position of sweeping out the railway station, filling lamps, and delivering telegrams. He was not, he adds, adopted by the railway president.
The great whisker contest between Ray Rohn, of the Judge art staff, and Herb Roth, of the New York Evening World, is running into the tenth inning. Under the terms of the contract, both were to let their beards grow while patronizing Broadway cafés nightly. The first to get arrested was to lose the stake.
The whiskers on the two contestantrs are now several weeks old, and are said to be the most offensive facial adornments ever seen on Times Square. The term “frightfulness,” in fact, as the New York Telegraph expresses it, loses its significance when applied merely to alleged German atrocities.
Complications already have arisen which threaten Rohn's stand-in with Judge. It is he who illustrates Walt Mason's rhymes, and Mason is an arch enemy of whiskers. Mr. J. A. Waldron, editor of Judge, fearful lest Mason will quit writing poetry when he knows the truth, has offered Rohn the alternative of shaving or resigning from the staff. E. P. Ripley [sic, should be R.L.], sports cartoonist of the New York Globe, loses a side bet of $25 if the artists wear their beards longer than three months.
HOW SAM'S CHANGED!
Apropos of Preparedness (and what isn’t?), some years before the present war Punch ran a cartoon representing Britannia pleading for a more adequate defense against the War-Lord, shown rampant in the background with the caption: (Britannia to Vulcan): “If you turn sulky and won't make any armor, how shall I be able to resist Mars?”
The date of the issue of Punch was March 25, 1865, and the War-Lord in the background was Uncle Sam, fresh from his victory over the Confederacy and arrogant with lust for territorial and financial aggrandizement. Isn't it a small world, after all?—New York Tribune.
Admirers of Harry J. Westerman's “Young Lady Across the Way” cartoons have for many years reserved a soft spot in their hearts for the little dog who is frequently seen with the young lady. After a long search for a real dog of that kind Mr. Westerman has found one in Rochester, N. Y.
The little black and white boy is of the most aristocratic and blue-blooded doggy families to be found, and is noseless and a first-prize winner at every show where he has been exhibited.
He boasts of having the undefeated Prince Charles, Celamo Daydream, for his father, and is a grandson of the wonderful English Blenheim, Ch. Windsall, who defeated every English toy spaniel on the English bench, and whose owner, Mrs. Lytton, refused $10,000 for him.
Only the best to be found could please Mr. Westerman, and though the price was a long one, the little dog is now a member of his household and many times the amount paid could not buy him.
“Will some cartoonist,” pleads the Brooklyn Eagle, “kindly picture the Bull Moose, a pen in his cloven hoof, writing on a mammoth table a Progressive platform for the Grand Old Republican party? A somber elephant in the background might be worth while.”
MISREPRESENTING UNCLE SAM
“If the humorous and satirical papers of London,” says the Western Christian Advocate (Cincinnati), “are any index of the popular British conception of the ideals of the United States and the attitude of our nation toward the mother country, then we must utter our most serious protest against their caricatures. Because, it would seem, this country elects to remain neutral, and will not openly ally itself with England in the fierce struggle in which she is engaged, and because, as a neutral, she feels free to sell in open market to the belligerents on both sides, food supplies, clothing, horses, minerals, munitions, etc., the cartoonists of London represent Uncle Sam in various pictures as worshipping a dollar-sign, thus intimating that money, and money only, is his god—that the dearest idols he has known are his money-bags and his stocks and bonds, and that, when on his knees to these he is oblivious to all the pitiful cries of humanity—turning a deaf ear to all appeals for help. Again we say that such representations do us rank injustice and are not calculated to foster a kindly feeling on this side toward those on the other side.”
(London Correspondence of the Christian Science Monitor)
In England, in the days of Hogarth, Gillray, and Rowlandson, caricature was forceful and savage. Those days have passed. Edwardian and Georgian caricaturists are neither forceful nor savage. They use the rapier, never the bludgeon, and they incline to humor rather than to menace. The extraordinary success of the exhibition of cartoons by Louis Raemaekers, the great Dutch satirist, shows that the British public is ready for a more vigorous system of cartoons than that offered them hitherto. Contrasted with the passion for justice, and the scorn for vile deeds shown by Raemaekers, the gentle fun of F. C. Gould, the labored sarcasm of Bernard Partridge, the particularized humor of Haselden, seem a little tame. E. J. Sullivan, our strongest satirist, is far behind Raemaekers in range, artistic feeling and the spontaneity that make his cartoons seem inevitable and enduring.
HIS LUCK MAY CHANGE
Gene [sic - Jean] Knott, sports cartoonist on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, has been drawing a series of poker cartoons entitled “Penny Ante.”. They have the earmarks, it is said, of having been inspired by one who knows, and according to an unidentified rumor, Knott is contemplating submitting to his business office at the end of each week an expense account to cover losses while engaged in getting raw material.
“PUNCH” GOES TO LAW
Action to restrain a London theatrical concern from reproducing Punch cartoons in the form of tableaux vivants was brought recently by the proprietors of London Punch. It was admitted that Mr. E. V. Lucas, one of the chief contributors to Punch, and librettist of the revue, “Business as Usual,” had received permission to introduce certain cartoon tableaux into the production with the understanding that Punch was to receive a royalty. The plaintiffs claimed, however, that they had no thought of licensing the use of their cartoons to any hall but the London Hippodrome. Suit was brought after the revue had been touring the provinces.
The cartoons in question were “Dropping the Pilot,” by Sir John Tenniel, which appeared in 1890; “After Ten Years,” which in April, 1914, celebrated the entente between France and England; “Bravo, Belgium!” by Mr. Townsend, which represented the attack on the independence of Belgium; “The World's Enemy,” a striking cartoon representing the Kaiser and the spirit of Carnage as his only friend (by Bernard Partridge), and “Unconquerable,” depicting the King of the Belgians defying the Kaiser.
“BRINGING UP FATHER” IN LONDON
London has capitulated to the comic strip. Thus, the London Evening News ponderously announces that it will introduce a feature that might be called “a humourous serial story in pictures, with the title ‘Bringing Up Father.’” The story, the News goes on to explain, concerns the Jiggs family, who have suddenly come into a fortune. The artist, George McManus, says the News, came to New York from St. Louis “with only a hundred pounds or so in his pocket.”
McKee Barclay, cartoonist of the Baltimore Sun, has been writing, in collaboration with William O. Stevens, a tale now running serially in the Sun. It deals with events of the war of 1812, the scenes being laid on the privateer “Comet,” which plied the waters of Chesapeake Bay.
Daniel McRitchie, who was formerly on the staff of the Sydney Post, and who later worked as cartoonist for several Canadian newspapers, has enlisted for active service with the 36th Canadian field battery.
The press agent of “Mutt and Jeff in College,” an attraction based on Bud Fisher's cartoons, has been presenting free tickets on the western tour of the company to youngsters who send in the best copies of the famous characters. The efforts of these budding Bud Fishers are published in the local newspapers.
All one needs to do to draw a salary of $100,000 a year, according to Reuben L. Goldberg, the New York Evening Mail cartoonist, is to make a few perpendicular lines, then a few horizontal lines, then a few diagonals and circles.
At least that's what Goldberg told the members of the Men's Club of Temple Berith Kodesh, of Rochester, N. Y., on the occasion of a recent monthly dinner. He confessed that he didn't know himself how he earned $100,000 a year. He hadn’t the least idea, he said, where his ideas came from. They only came, and all he had to do was to put them on paper.
He never realized that his ideas were funny, he admitted, until people began telling him they were, and then he tried to analyze the ideas for himself. He tried to hit upon the foibles of the day, he told his audience,—ice skating, or preparedness— and thus make the reader smile at himself. In other words, he added, a spirit of kindly satire animated all his work.
Mr. Goldberg illustrated his talk with crayon sketches and moving pictures of some of his latest cartoons.
Russell Henderson, cartoonist of , the American Issue, the official Anti-Saloon League publication, has a small brother, James Henderson, who has ambitions to become a second Nast, and has considerable talent too. The youngster, who is now in Charlotte, N. C., will take a three months' course in art this summer under the tutelage of his brother at the Chicago Academy of Art.
TAKES PUNCH TO TASK
A recent cartoon in Punch, representing Uncle Sam addressing the prophet Job on the subject of President Wilson's attitude toward Germany, has called forth a rebuke from the London Chronicle. Such attacks, the Chronicle declares, are neither good form nor good policy, and in making them Punch falls into the same error by which German propagandists have made themselves so much disliked. In the cartoon Uncle Sam boasts that in Wilson, America possesses a man able to knock the spots off Job's record for patience.
“CARTOONS” IN THE TRENCHES
From Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, comes a word of cheer. Cartoons Magazine, it appears, has a staunch admirer in “The Parson,” who “has been a reader since the first number was published,” and who “always looks for his copy (at the Rex cigar store) about the 27th of the month.”
“I am going into uniform in the 152nd battalion,” he adds, “but let me tell you, they don't dig trenches too small or make guns big enough to keep me from reading Cartoons Magazine.”
VON JAGOW AS A CARTOONIST
Like his distinguished superior Emperor Wilhelm, Herr Gottlieb von Jagow, Germany's secretary for foreign affairs, is a cartoonist and designer. When not en gaged in writing notes to Secretary Lansing he is busy with his pencil. As you enter his office you will observe a large clean blotter on his desk, and this, as he talks, he gradually covers with sketches. His servant brings him a new blotter for every visitor.
MAKING ANIMATED CARTOONS
(From the Dayton News)
Animated cartoons are always favorites of those who like comic motion picture films. Few realize the enormous amount of work entailed in making one of the animated photo comics. Six cartoonists, twelve assistants and four camera men are included in the average staff of a studio turning out animated cartoons. There are from 3,000 to 4,000 cartoons in each thousand feet of the completed film and as each cartoon undergoes thirty-four processes, it will be seen that a thousand feet of animated pictures involves from 102,000 to 136,000 processes.
First, a background is traced on a sheet of heavy paper, and then reprinted on many sheets of tracing paper. Then the artists draw the parts which are to appear in motion. The background remains absolutely stationary. Great care must be taken in the drawing of the cartoons. The artist places a sheet of transparent paper over his last drawing and thus is enabled to draw the next position carefully, as the one before shows clearly through the paper. When the set of cartoons is completed, four cameramen photograph them to obtain the negative film. The speed of action in the picture is controlled by varying the number of photographs taken of each cartoon. For instance, if the scene demands that an object shall move rapidly, then slowly, and finally come to a stop for a moment, the pictures representing the quick action would each be given one exposure. As the movement of the object diminishes in rapidity, each picture is given a correspondingly increasing number of exposures. When the action comes to a stop numerous photographs are taken of the same picture, the number being dependent on the length of time the action is suspended.
RAEMAEKERS HONORED IN PARIS
After being fêted in London, Louis Raemaekers, the Dutch cartoonist, has been lionized in Paris. He was the guest of honor at a reception given by the Paris Municipal Council on February 8. The reception was followed by a dinner. On February 10 an exhibition of Raemaeker’s drawings opened at the Trocadero with a program of music and speaking. The proceeds of the affair were given to charity.
According to the Paris correspondent of the New York Tribune, it is because of the strength of his sentiments rather than the superiority of his work that his cartoons have had such a vogue in France and England. “There are many cartoonists,” the correspondent adds, “who are the equal of Raemaekers, both in ideas and professional skill, and not a few who are his superiors, but the circumstances of the war have given him a special value.”
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