Saturday, February 04, 2012
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, February 03, 2012
Obscurity of the Day: The Brown Family
The bakery seems to have started up in the late 30's, and by 1940 they had marketed their bread so effectively to the black consumer market that housewives would reportedly go into a grocery store, order all their groceries, then, as the last item on the list, request a loaf of Brown Bomber bread. If the grocer could not provide it they would walk out of the store, leaving all their groceries behind. Inspiring such fervor for their bread was no wonder with advertising lines like "11 cents spent for Brown Bomber gives you double value…a loaf of tempting delicious bread plus part payment of some Negro’s salary."
In 1942 Brown Bomber began a new comic strip marketing campaign in conjunction with Mel Tapley of the Amsterdam News. The Brown Family ran weekly, extolling the virtues of Brown Bomber bread from January 24 to September 12. Some of the strips tie in to other Brown Bomber marketing gimmicks, like the 'Inquiring Fotog' referenced in the final strip above.
What I'd like to know is whatever happened to Brown Bomber bread? The product was so skillfully marketed I can't imagine that the bakery went out of business, but I see no references to the brand past the early 40s. What happened? Did Joe Louis finally object to them trading on his nickname?
Thursday, February 02, 2012
Ink-Slinger Profiles: Mel Tapley
|Tapley editorial cartoon, February 1944|
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Black History Month on the Stripper's Guide Blog!
We'll begin the month with a series of posts covering the career of Melvin Tapley, and then the rest of the month will be a miscellany of other features and creators. Be here tomorrow for the start of the festivities!
I have no plans to do Hollingsworth, but you never know, Alex Jay might just surprise us both!
Strippers can be contracted for performances outside of the strip club environment. Some strippers will only strip for private engagements and do not have a regular affiliation with a strip club.
Our hot talent pool knows exactly how to bring their best to any event, including:
⌐Casino Hotel Parties
Stripper Burlington VT
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Ink-Slinger Profiles: Harry J. Tuthill
I was born in Chicago, Illinois and sold newspapers until I was old enough to answer advertisements for 'strong boy, not afraid of work,' and in this capacity experimented with employers for several years, at the rate of one job a week. One per week is a generalization, because too frequently some boss with a particularly low voltage nervous system was willing to call one day long enough.
In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, the Tuthill family of six lived in Chicago at 731 West Ohio Street. His mother, a widow, was a laundress. He was a newsboy and the oldest of five children. In the World Herald, Tuthill said:
Then a man with more faith than vision sent me out of town to sell enlarged pictures. After that I sold soap, knobs for tea-kettles, baking powder, calendars, solicited patients for an itinerant malpractitioner who specialized in bunions, and, for a part of a season traveled with a medicine show which tried to pass a business depression that was running on the same track.
The September 26, 1935 Niagara Falls Gazette (New York) elaborated on his medicine show days:
The corn doctor and his able assistant covered most of the towns between the Adirondacks and the Rockies, and Harry picked up, besides his weekly pay, a wealth of impressions and mental notes.
...I worked for several years in a dairy, studied steam engineering and got a license to practice it.
During all of this I liked to draw and finally made enough progress to justify a preliminary skirmish with a managing editor. After my wounded vanity was able to be up and around I took a course in drawing and returned to the editor many times. Youth against age. I wore him down to the point where he hired me to get rid of me.
I spent eight years as topical cartoonist and then joined a syndicate as a comic artist.
|St. Louis Star editorial cartoon 1916|
He signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918. He resided in St. Louis at 4537 Tower Grove Place. His occupation was cartoonist at the St. Louis Star. His description was tall, slender brown eyes and hair. The Editor & Publisher reported, on October 16, 1919, Tuthill's move to a syndicate: "Harry J. Tuthill, late cartoonist of the St. Louis Star and the Post-Dispatch, will join the forces of the New York Evening Mail Syndicate, October 27th." There he created the strip Home, Sweet Home, which changed it's name to The Bungle Family around 1923.
He was counted twice in the 1920 census. He resided in Manhattan, New York City at 534 West 153 Street. He was a newspaper cartoonist. He lived in St. Louis at 4537 Tower Grove Place. The head of the household was his brother-in-law George Morrison, who was married to Tuthill's sister Irene. The childless couple looked after Tuthill's sons Harold and George.
Tuthill was the head of the household in the 1930 census, and lived in Saint Ferdinand, Missouri at 102 Elizabeth Avenue. Harold, the eldest son, was a newspaper reporter. His sister Irene was a widow who had a son. The Niagara Falls Gazette said:
|From possible undocumented cartoon series, 1916|
…He has an old-fashioned home of many large rooms, set back among the trees. A separate building houses his studio and a workshop where he tinkers with automobile engines in his spare time. He is a widower, and has two sons in college. His sister presides over his home, and Harry's friends know the place as one of the most hospitable in the hospitable city of St. Louis.
…Tuthill has always spurned the lures of Broadway. He is one of the few strip cartoonists who insist upon living in the middle west. He likes the outdoors and enjoys a motor trip through the Ozarks more than he enjoys a visit to New York night life. He visits the big city once or twice every year, and goes back to St. Louis more than ever contented with home life in Missouri.
Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office published his April 5, 1946 application for "Shading Process for Photographs".
1. The process of applying dots to a graphic composition which consists in providing a thin sheet of transparent flexible material having a multiplicity of perforations extending therethrough, laying such perforated sheet upon said graphic composition, applying to the exposed face of said sheet a liquid solvent therefor which flows through the perforations therein to the underside thereof and causes said sheet to removably adhere to said graphic composition, and then applying to said exposed surface of said sheet a viscous marking fluid which flows through said perforations and adheres to said graphic composition in the form of dots corresponding to the shape, size and spacing of said perforations.
Tuthill passed away on January 25, 1957, in St. Louis. His death was reported, on January 26, in the New York Times which said he died of heart disease at St. John's Hospital. "The Bungles were just an accidental creation," Mr. Tuthill once explained. "I didn't have anybody in mind when I drew them. They just happened."
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
One thing about Tuthill and the Bungle Family that I've never heard remarked on is how large his original art was. I've bought a few pieces over the years, and they dwarf the originals of his peers. Was this the result of bad eyesight?
Again, thanks for writing this.
Anybody here interested in comics should know that Heritage still has lots of these wonderful Sundays, many gorgeously hand-colored, for sale each and every week, and they are an absolute steal. I bought six of them.
The continuing stories in the dailies are quite different in tone. They are epic stories written like Broadway plays.
And although he switched to typeset lettering later in his career, the lettering on the earlier strips has got to be the best ever until Dan Clowes came along decades later.
I show four of the Sundays in my collection here, as well as my theory of why Tuthill's and the Bungles' fame plummeted after his death.
Get into the Bungle Family!
Monday, January 30, 2012
Stripper's Guide Bookshelf: Luks' Illustration Work Reviewed
by Robert L. Gambone
University of Mississippi Press, 2009
Hardcover, 284 pages, indexed.
Gambone's book, which seeks to recap George Luk's life as an illustrator, was published so far under the radar that I didn't stumble across it until just a few months ago, two years after it was published.
Of course I ordered it immediately, because the subject is right up my alley. Anything about the work of a cartoonist who was in the thick of the Sunday funnies phenomenon of the 1890s is like manna from heaven. Of course I do realize that the book would not have seen the light of day had Luks not been famous as a painter, but the blurb reassured me that this book is about his illustration and newspaper work, not his 'fine' art.
And so it is. Although Gambone certainly does discuss Luks' fine art here and there, he does an admirable job of sticking to the task he claims to be tackling in the title of the book. So huzzahs on that account to Gambone. And huzzahs again for the thoroughness of coverage, because Gambone discusses many of Luks' cartoons and illustrations in detail as to style, subject and background, and mentions seemingly practically every major piece he did for a newspaper. So regarding sticking to the subject and covering it thoroughly I give the book an unmitigated thumbs up.
Beyond that things unfortunately go downhill. My problem with the book is that I found myself mistrusting Gambone's judgment about Luks' artwork. In a book as sparsely illustrated as this (keep in mind this is no coffee table art book) it is quite disconcerting to find yourself wondering if the author is really able to judge and explain a piece of artwork realistically and accurately.
I first became concerned early on in the book when Gambone discussed a minor little multi-panel cartoon produced for Puck. This is a strip that is fairly well reproduced in the book. In it we see a dapper rich kid holding a balloon encountering a tough-looking street urchin. The urchin, who is smoking a cigarette, gives the kid a disdainful look and pops the balloon with his cigarette. Panel three finds the pair in a tumbling wrestling match, and in the final panel the foppish rich kid is stalking away with the tough kid's cigarette perched victoriously on his lip while the urchin slinks away, bloody and cowed.
Gambone makes much of a perceived difference in the way the two kids are drawn. He feels that the rich kid is "merely an outline" whereas the urchin is "carefully rendered". Looking at the strip, at least as it is reproduced in this book, it certainly looks to me like Luks put the same amount of effort and detail into both kids. Certainly there is more ink expended on the dirty urchin as opposed to the immaculately clean rich kid, but it takes more ink to show soiling than it does to indicate cleanliness.
Bringing this up would be hairsplitting, except that Gambone uses this perceived difference in the drawing to jump to an utterly ridiculous conclusion. He claims that the quality of the drawing on the urchin proves that it could only have been drawn from life and "this drawing demonstrates that at least three years prior to starting as a newspaper artist-reporter in 1894, Luks developed the habit of strolling about inner-city neighborhoods observing, sketching and devising compositions." Even if there were a vast difference in the quality of the drawing of the two kids, a difference I certainly don't see, drawing such a conclusion is like saying that Alex Raymond must have visited Mongo since he drew the creatures of that world so convincingly. While I certainly don't discount the possibility that Luks might have been sketching street urchins, I can offer a much simpler explanation for a cartoon in which the two characters seem to have a stylistic difference. How about this -- the cartoonist was swiping from different sources for the two characters and didn't make the effort to adapt them to a single unifying style.
For the remainder of the book, now having established his credentials as a spotter of such things, Gambone tells us with assurance many instances when a drawing must have been sketched from life. Another instance when the author's logic in this regard is highly questionable comes with an illustration from the New York Sunday World. The subject is bosses who take their secretaries to lunch, and Luks contributes a large illustration of a restaurant, filled with older men dining with attractive young women. According to Gambone, who notes that the dresses and varying body types seem fully realized, and that the furniture is of a specific design, concludes that the "degree of veracity indicates the World assigned Luks to dine at this establishment and record the scene or else had a photographer make a candid shot that served the artist as an exact model." Oh come now. First of all, any newspaper artist worth his salt could produce such an illustration without moving an inch from his drawing board -- artists were not employed by newspapers if they needed the crutch of live models in order to make a simple story illustration. Second, the illustration depicts a restaurant populated ONLY by twosomes, each consisting of a man and a gorgeous young lady. What are the chances of this ever happening in real life? What, not a single pair of guys or girls going out to lunch? No table just happens to have just a single person or three? The chances against such a congregation of businessmen and their secretaries is astronomical. Third, the women are dressed in such high style my guess is that they were copied out of a Godey's Lady's Book -- it seems very doubtful that a secretary would wear such finery to go to work or could afford to, even if they were the boss' 'special favorite'. And finally, for all the vaunted realism of the scene, Luks has made a royal mess of the perspective. If he were sketching from life, surely he was a good enough artist to not make such a mash-up of the drawing.
These are only two examples, but they're not the only ones. Look, I don't much care whether Luks sketched a given scene from life or not. To me it's not really an important distinction. However, I cannot help but wonder how often Gambone is leading me down the garden path about all sorts of details of Luks' other drawings, the ones that aren't reproduced in the book.Without an illustration which I can judge for myself (which is often since there are few illustrations reproduced), how much of Gambone's description and interpretation should I believe?
Also, to be a bit nitpicky, the book would have benefited from the services of a good proofreader. I don't blame Gambone for the many slip-ups I noted, because everyone has a few holes in their knowledgebase and fingers that sometimes type faster than the brain functions, but a proofreader certainly should have caught the instances of "grizzly" for "grisly", "ground-braking" for "ground-breaking", "sheers" instead of "shears", "lodge" instead of "loge", and so on.
I am impressed and enthused that people from the fine art world would see fit to look beyond Luks' paintings and delve into his commercial art career. Cross-pollination like that is thrilling to me, because I myself rarely think of cartooning in terms of just the lines on the paper or the stories that are told. I am fascinated by the whole universe of thoughts, events and viewpoints that swirl around every piece of newspaper cartoon art. The world reflects the art, and the art reflects the world. To read the perspective of someone like Gambone whose specialty is in fine art is instructive, as so are the perspectives of other disciplines when they intersect with my own personal passion for the history of cartooning. We can all learn something from each other, and increase the sweep of our perspective accordingly. The fact that I think Gambone's book fails on some counts is nothing compared with my delight that this kind of book is being published. More, please more!
Labels: Stripper's Guide Bookshelf
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics
Labels: Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics