Saturday, December 21, 2019


What The Cartoonists Are Doing, May 1915 (Vol.7 No.5)

[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.]

Mr. Cory, the Chicago cartoonist, has had an eventful career. The details of Mr. Cory's experiences were printed in The Scoop, official publication of the Chicago Press Club, recently. The article follows:

“J. Campbell Cory was born in Waukegan Sept. 11, 1867. He got a public school education there, and devoted nine years, beginning in 1887, to drawing horses, in which specialty he achieved an international reputation.

“He began as a cartoonist in New York in 1896. He has occupied leading positions in that capacity on America's foremost daily papers, at salaries ranking with the highest in the world.

“He is much given to exploration and adventure. Has prospected and operated mines throughout the northwest; broken the world's records in a gas balloon; constructed and operated aeroplanes, and killed all manner of big and small game in North and Central America. He is an expert horseman, and an expert rifle, pistol and shotgun man. During the Spanish-American war he published a weekly illustrated paper (The Bee) in New York. In 1907-8 he published The Great West, a monthly in New York.

“He co-operated with John Hays Hammond, Senator Clark and other prominent westerners in founding The Montana Society and the Rocky Mountain Club in New York, and was vice-president of both. “He has attracted considerable favorable attention as a sporting writer under the name of Uncle Dud.

“In various publishing, mining, and exploration ventures, he has had the personal backing of the late Wm. C. Whitney, Thomas F. Ryan and officials of the American Car and Foundry Company, and the Guggenheims' organization.

“His cartoons in the New York World are credited with having been potent in the crusade that drove James Hazen Hyde and other officials out of the Equitable Life Assurance Company previous to the control of that concern passing to Thomas Fortune Ryan.

“During his nomadic career, Mr. Cory has succeeded in breaking his nose six times in as many different ways, with the cumulative result that it is not much of a nose to look at any more, but as he complacently observes, “there's enough nose left to break at least once more.”

“Mr. Cory has also won many trophies as a golfer.”

A cartoon pointing a lesson concerning present-day business conditions that appeared in the New York Sun was the text of a speech delivered in the House of Representatives recently by Congressman Hamilton of Michigan. Mr. Hamilton was discussing the statement of President Wilson that there is nothing the matter with business “except a state of mind.”

“Well, what is the cause of the state of mind?” asked Mr. Hamilton. “‘As a man thinketh so is he. What causes men to think there is something wrong with business? In one of Cesare's powerful cartoons in the New York Sun three threadbare figures, a man and a woman, with a child clinging to the woman’s skirts, pinched with cold, are standing in the slush of a city pavement in the bitter winds of winter and the man and the woman are reading a notice in a window that the Belgian Relief Fund has reached $1,500,000. The cartoon is called “Some American Neutrals.’”
Continuing, Mr. Hamilton said:

“This little shivering group represents the condition of thousands of men and women in America. And the President with uplifted eyes at Indianapolis says: ‘It goes very much to my heart to see how many men are at disadvantage and are without guides and helpers. Disadvantage! They are starving. Guides and helpers! They want work. And then he asks: “Don’t you think it would be a pretty good idea for the Democratic party to undertake a systematic method of helping the working men of America?”

“We do,” concluded Mr. Hamilton with great earnestness.


The cartoon ball is the latest wrinkle in Pacific Coast society. At an affair of considerable local importance in San Diego recently, all the guests were made up to represent comic-section characters. The idea is expected to become popular.


“‘Mr. Bryan makes a much better subject for cartoonists than he used to. Certainly. Paradoxical as it may seem, he becomes not only funnier, but more tragic as well, with each passing year.”—Philadelphia Inquirer.


Harry Palmer is now associated with a film company and will draw animated cartoons under the title of “Kriterion Komic Kartoon.”

The Kidder is a unique publication issued semi-monthly by the Newspaper Artists club of Indianapolis. Its motto is: “The feather is mightier than the hammer.” The cover design by Frank Bowers, cartoonist of the Indianapolis Star, depicts the Public in the act of being tickled by a long feather wielded by an infant jester, whose nursing bottle is marked “Humor.” Mr. Bowers is president of the club, and one of the chief contributors to the paper.

The latest issue of the magazine contains a page cartoon in Mr. Bowers' best vein, entitled “When we were kids.” A group of country boys are seen on the banks of a woodland brook “snaring suckers.”

H. T. Webster, cartoonist of the New York Globe; R. M. Brinkerhoff, cartoonist and illustrator, and Ray Rohn, who is making a reputation for himself in Judge, make up a trio that has invaded New York successfully from the west. Mr. Webster, whose home is Tomahawk, Wis., had been successively cartoonist of the Chicago Inter Ocean and the Cincinnati Post when, after a sketching trip around the world, he decided to tempt fortune and fame in the big city.

His love of boy life is perhaps the most distinguishing feature of his work. “Web” was brought up on “Tom Sawyer” and “Huck Finn,” and cannot remember that he is grown up now and stands 6 feet, 4 inches in his holeproofs. His boys, like Briggs’ “Skinnay,” are the real article, and might almost have stepped from the pages of Mark Twain. They go barefoot, have sore thumbs and freckles, like dogs, and wear cherubic grins.

“Web’s” cartoons today are syndicated throughout the United States by the Globe Publishing Company, and have brought him well merited rewards. The results of a recent cartoon tilt between Webster and Briggs, of the New York Tribune, are reproduced on another page. The shape of the Kelly pool balls as drawn by Briggs apparently got on Webster's nerves, so he perpetrated a cartoon showing the difficulties of indulging in that indoor sport with the balls as drawn by the cartoonists. How Briggs replied can be seen by a study of the second section of the picture. The Globe cartoonist, who is always fond of outdoor life, with hunting and fishing, is planning an automobile tour of the Maine coast.

Brinkerhoff, it will be noticed, has resumed cartooning, his recent work appearing in the New York Evening Post. His attention just now is divided between art and candy making, for he is the manufacturer of the famous “Welsh woggles,” the national sweetmeat of Wales.

Ray Rohn, as will be seen, is occasionally one of Webster's subjects. He appears in a cartoon on this page as indulging in his favorite boyhood dream—being a villain in a melodrama, and returning with the show to his home town.

Scarcely a week passes but that Mr. Rohn adds to the joy of life by one of his humorous drawings in Judge. If he ever had any serious longings for the stage -- this is probably a fiction on the part of "Web" -- he has abandoned such dreams for the pursuit of art.

“A German professor, Dr. Schröer, of Cologne,” says the Pall Mall Gazette (London), “has been denouncing Punch for its cartoons of the Emperor in its series called 'The Rake's Progress.' He finds them ‘infamous,' and is sorry for the people who can think them witty. Here in England we certainly think them not only witty, but charged with a rare dignity of humor, of which Punch, and England, too, may very well be proud. And when we recall, the coarse and disgusting pictures with which the humorists of the German press caricatured Queen Victoria, during the Boer war, we are the more satisfied with Punch. If Dr. Schröer is really solicitous for decency in these matters, we will venture to say that there is plenty for him to do with his home ‘literature.’”


Robert W. Satterfield, cartoonist, is a new addition to the staff of the Sandusky (O.) Register. Formerly Mr. Satterfield was connected with the Cleveland Press and the Cleveland News, and later conducted the Satterfield cartoon service.


On page 731 (see left) of this issue will be. found a sample of Herbert W. MacKinney's recent work, which is said to compare favorably with that of the London Punch cartoonists. Mr. MacKinney is cartoonist of the Cape Times, Cape Town, South Africa.


W. C. Morris, formerly of the Spokane Spokesman Review, has succeeded Weed as cartoonist on the New York Tribune. Mr. Weed has joined the staff of the Philadelphia Public Ledger.

Raoul Barre, the noted French cartoonist, is drawing a series of animated comic cartoons for an American film manufacturing company. Mr. Barre has worked out a new and clever idea in his animated cartoons, the figures moving while he is still drawing them.

Mr. Barre has gained considerable notice in this country as a cartoonist under the name of “Varb.” It was in Paris that he made his mark as an opinion-swaying cartoonist, however. He was pitted against Caran d'Ache and Forian in the celebrated Dreyfus case. The battle which these opposing cartoonists fought over Dreyfus is one of the most memorable phases in a case which shook France to its foundations.

The class in cartooning inaugurated a few weeks ago at the South Brooklyn (N. Y.) evening high school, has shown an encouraging increase in attendance, and has become one of the most popular classes at the institution. George Wingeback, principal of the school, has expressed himself as more than pleased at the showing made by the ambitious students who have taken advantage of the opportunities thus offered. Each phase of the work is gone over by experts, and especial attention is given to a study of the cartoons in the metropolitan press. There is still room in the class for a few more pupils.


Will DeBeck has left the Pittsburgh Gazette Times and has started a feature service business, with a Mr. Carter of Pittsburgh. In addition to running a cartoon syndicate the two young men have established a school of cartooning and comic drawing.

Jay N. Darling, cartoonist of the Des Moines Register and Leader, recently broke all speed records for Iowa's capital city. “Ding” was in search of a cat doctor to make various and sundry repairs upon Thomas, his feline friend and counselor. Thomas was rather seriously scorched when the Register and Leader building burned to the ground recently, and Mr. Darling found his pet wandering about the smoking ruins, rather the worse for wear.

Thomas adopted Mr. Darling several years ago. One day he strolled casually into the cartoonist's studio, and after a calm survey of the artist and his surroundings, decided it looked good enough for him to live in, and immediately made himself at home. All efforts to discourage Thomas were fruitless, and Mr. Darling became much attached to his pet. “Ding” has promised Thomas a fine bunk in the new Register and Leader building, and in the meantime the affectionate feline is making his home with the Darlings.


A popular-price edition of Albert Bigelow Paine's “Thomas Nast, His Period and His Pictures,” with more than 400 Nast cartoons, has been issued by Harper's. Mr. Nast made history with his pencil and crayon. Latter-day political cartoonists still use the whimsical emblems he invented, and reflect his methods and spirit in their drawings.

Hy Mayer, contributing editor of Puck; Orson Lowell, one of the staff artists of Life, and Charles Dana Gibson, the illustrator, were the principal speakers at a recent meeting of the American Institute of Graphic Arts at the National Arts Club, New York.

Mr. Lowell caused some amusement by referring to the days when he and Mr. Mayer peddled their drawings for 50 cents apiece. He spoke also of the distinction between illustrations for stories and cartoons. The former, he said, should arouse the reader's interest in the story, but should not tell the story itself. The cartoon, however, he declared, must tell the whole story in a nutshell.

Mr. Mayer, during his 28 years as an illustrator, has developed a theory that the “man behind the line” is of real importance, rather than the “line behind the man.” In other words, he said that the illustrator should endeavor to express himself, and not attempt merely to develop skill. When an artist becomes too skillful, he added, the result is mostly skill and little art. The artist, he contended, should draw in his own way, regardless of the public demand.


John De Mar, cartoonist of the Philadelphia Record, gave an exhibition of rapid drawing at a recent Lenten entertainment in West Philadelphia.


Comments: Post a Comment

Friday, December 20, 2019


Wish You Were Here, from Jim Davis

Although the most active period for cartoonist-drawn postcards was the first decade or so of the 20th century, others followed later. Here's a very late one, a Garfield card by Jim Davis. This was part of a series published by Argus Communications out of Allen, Texas. Although the copyright is for 1978, I'm betting that the cards were published in the 1980s.

There are some very funny and original cards in the series, but this one maybe not so much (we'll revisit this series with some of the better entries eventually). This card is coded as #P2080 of the series.


The copyright here is not for the item or when the artwork was produced for it, but the Trade Mark,ergo, the character itself. You'll see a Charlie Brown picture with the date 1950 attached to it, or at least you used to see Popeye with a 1929 copyright or Olive Oyl with a 1919 one. Incidentally, she (and Thimble Theatre) were 100 years old yesterday. If I still had my KFS blog, you'd have seen a whole lot of commemoratin' goin' on. But no. Tempus Fugit.
Post a Comment

Thursday, December 19, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Laughs From Europe

Here's another obscurity plucked from the 'one-paper wonders' in Jeffrey Lindenblatt's The 300 for 1977.

In 1958, Iowa's Register & Tribune Syndicate decided that what American newspapers really needed was a shot of urbane sophisticated European humor. They stepped up to the plate by offering Laughs From Europe, a daily panel offering gag cartoons from all over (western) Europe. How they chose these cartoons, and where they had originally appeared in Europe I'm afraid I don't know, but I'm going to bet that R&T got them very cheap, because they offered these daily cartoons for well over two decades to a very small list of subscribing newspapers.

The feature was originally titled Laughter From Europe when it debuted on March 3 1958, but right from the start it had an identity crisis when some subscribing papers slightly shortened the title to Laughs From Europe. In 1960 for some reason the syndicate decided that the feature should be renamed Today's Best From Europe. In 1964 they succumbed to peer pressure and from then on it was officially Laughs From Europe, but of course subscribing papers were now locked into their titles and you'll see all these titles and probably others throughout the life of the feature.

The feature was hobbled, in my opinion, by the pedestrian quality of most cartoons -- if these were truly the best that Europe could offer, I feel sorry for the health of their funnybones over there. The other problem is that the translations of many cartoons seemed totally tone-deaf to humor. There is an art to writing an effective gag line, and the translators seemed not to get that, making potentially funny gags into real klunkers.

In 1977 Register & Tribune seemingly decided they'd offered all the best of Europe that Americans could stand, and they stopped advertising the feature in Editor & Publisher after that year. However, it seems like they must have continued offering it in international syndication until at least 1982, because I find it running in the Calgary Herald that late.

Any information you can offer regarding the nuts and bolts of choosing cartoons for this feature would be of great interest to me.


Were subscribing papers really locked into using the title that the feature had when they originally subscribed? Or was that meant as a joke?
They weren't locked in, they are generally just too inattentive to change their title bars when the name of a feature changes. So old titles go on for years and years. Same for columnist photos -- Dear Abby's picture looked like she was about 35 in my paper when in reality she was in her 70s.

Post a Comment

Wednesday, December 18, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Broadsides

 Here's another obscurity that has the dubious distinction of membership in Jeffrey Lindenblatt's 'one-paper wonders' list in The 300 for 1977.

After Charles Barsotti's daily and Sunday strip Sally Bananas was cancelled in 1974, the prolific magazine cartoonist got back on the horse with a tiny one-column gag panel titled Broadsides, which debuted on June 30 1975* through the LA Times Syndicate. The panel starred his squishy Play-Doh people reflecting on life, politics and society, all in a package designed to appeal to typesetters in need of a hole-filler.

Although the feature was supposedly picked up by a healthy list of about fifty papers, most of them seem to seldom pull Broadsides out of the typesetter's slush pile. After gamely sticking with the feature into 1979** (can anyone supply a specific end date?), Barsotti evidently decided the diminutive panel was not worth his time.

* Source: Gastonia Gazette
** Source: E&P listings


Comments: Post a Comment

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: The Fantastic Foster Fenwick

Here's another obscurity culled from the 'one-paper wonders' in Jeffrey Lindenblatt's The 300 list. 

The prolific Mal Hancock originated no less than eight different syndicated features, and maybe even a few more if we are to believe Lambiek which cites two I haven't managed to locate (Hi And Jinx, Malfunction Junction ... help anyone?).

Of his many features, the most successful (yet still qualifying as obscure) is The Fantastic Foster Fenwick. The single panel feature debuted on February 5 1968* through the auspices of the Washington Star Syndicate. Starring a bulbous-nosed fellow who was usually wearing a hat (sometimes a bowler, sometimes a panama, sometimes a fedora), the panel looks at everday life through a funhouse mirror. If James Thurber, Virgil Partch and Gahan Wilson had collaborated on a panel, I imagine this is pretty close to what they would have produced. As with Hancock's other features, which are also pretty wonderful, I'm a bit at sea to understand why it didn't do better.

After a lackluster run, the Washington Star Syndicate seems to have dumped it on August 2 1975**. But either Hancock wasn't ready to throw in the towel, or someone at the San Francisco Chronicle really liked it, because the feature returned, now syndicated by Chronicle Features under the shorter title Fenwick, probably around March 1977***. But the Chronicle sales force did any even poorer job of selling it, and they finally gave up in 1982****.

* Source: Orlando Sentinel
** Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
*** Source: LA Times, which ran the feature sporadically
**** Source: E&P listings


The "separate checks" panel is very clever and funny.
Post a Comment

Monday, December 16, 2019


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Lou Darvas

Louis F. “Lou” Darvas was born on July 30, 1913, in Hungary. His birth date is from the Social Security Death Index, Ohio death certificate (transcribed at and World War II veterans death file. Darvas’ army enlistment record said he was born in Hungary. Hungary was also recorded in the 1930 and 1940 U.S. Federal Censuses. However, his Ohio County Naturalization Record (at said he was born in Yugoslavia. Darvas’ obituary in the Cleveland Plain Dealer said, erroneously, he was born in Cleveland.

A passenger list recorded the Darvas family of five aboard the steamship Pretoria, which departed Hamburg, Germany on October 25 1913. Their first names were Julius (father), Mariska (mother, known later as Mary), Desro (son, known later as David), Anna (daughter) and Zaslo (son, known later as Louis). The ship arrived in the port of New York on November 11, 1913. Their final destination was Cleveland, Ohio.

In the 1920 census, the Darvas family were Cleveland residents at 2035 West 26th Street. Darvas’ father was an inspector at a drill factory.

On December 12, 1927 Darvas’ father, Julius, signed his Petition for Naturalization which listed his wife, Mary (Kundtz), and three children. David was born 1908 in Roumania; Anna born 1911 “Jugo Slvia”; and Darvas born 1913 Roumania. Their address at the time was 3525 West 56th Street, Cleveland. Julius was naturalized April 27, 1928 in Cleveland. His three children automatically became naturalized citizens.

An early sign of Darvas’ talent was reported in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, April 22, 1928, magazine section which announced the winners of Seckatary Hawkins Club baseball contest. Darvas received a third place dollar prize for his drawing.

According to the 1930 census, the Darvas family emigrated in 1913. Their address was unchanged. Darvas’ father was a real estate salesman.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer, February 11, 1987, said Darvas

started drawing cartoons as a pupil at Thomas Jefferson Junior High School followed by West Technical High School, through the 11th grade.

He enrolled in night art classes at the old John Huntington Institute. His day job was scarping off old signs for an advertising firm.

Mr. Darvas’ first newspaper job was as an artist with the old Toledo News-Bee. He returned to Cleveland and started with the Press in 1938.

In 1935 Darvas created a cartoon panel, Petey, for the Thompson Service but it’s not known if the panel was ever published.

The Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Record, at, said Darvas married Marjorie A. Taylor on March 20, 1939.

The 1940 census recorded the couple in Cleveland at 410 10017 Lake Avenue. Darvas was an editorial artist.

During World War II, Darvas enlisted in the Army on March 29, 1943. The Cleveland Plain Dealer said he was assigned to the Army Air Forces where he “won first place for cartoons in the art show of the Army Air Forces Tactical Center at Orlando, Fla., in 1944.” Darvas headed the drafting and art room of the senior staff school where “he supervised charts and graphs for secret air force statistical records.” Darvas was discharged December 10, 1945.

“Sgt. Louis F. Darvas” was counted in the 1945 Florida state census. He resided at 63 Cheney Place in Orlando.

On December 24, 1945, the Chicago Sun began advertising Darvas’ new strip, Haff Nelson, which was scheduled for a December 31, debut.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer said Darvas was a regular contributor to the Sporting News.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Darvas was the artist on Jerry Langell’s Idea Payoff which debuted April 5, 1948 and syndicated by Editors Syndicate.

During the 1950s, Darvas was listed in Lakewood, Ohio city directories at 477 Elbur Avenue.

Darvas appeared in the 1951 Holy Name High School yearbook Namer. The caption read: “Senior Jack O’Brien, editor of the Name, learns from Bill Roberts, left, and Lou Darvas, right, how to put the professional touch on his cartoons at the Press.”

Darvas’ book, You Can Draw Cartoons, was first published in 1960.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer said Darvas received the National Cartoonists Society award for best sports work in 1964 and 1968. He retired from the Cleveland Press in 1974. In 1986 Darvas was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Sports Media Association of Cleveland.

Darvas’ wife passed away June 7, 1960. In 1961 he remarried to Margaret Claire Ashton.

Darvas passed away February 9, 1987, at the Mount Royal Villa nursing home in North Royalton, Ohio, according the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He was laid to rest at Lakewood Park Cemetery.


—Alex Jay


Thanks for sharing so much background information on Lou. I read his book on comic art so many times, I was always impressed by the artist, now I am impressed by the man as well!!
Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]