Saturday, February 01, 2020
What The Cartoonists Are Doing, October 1915 (Vol.8 No.4)
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.]
LABELS AND CARTOONS
(by B. L. T., in Chicago Tribune)
The American cartoonist, an editorial colleague points out, labels everything—Bryan, Wilson, the Kaiser, every one, everything. “The real power of the cartoon is that its symbolism does not require exposition.” True enough, and the answer is that while there are many talented young men drawing pictures for the newspapers, there are almost no cartoonists.
In the first place, a cartoon ought to be savagely satirical, not good-natured. The dictionary defines it as something intended to affect public opinion. The public's opinion is not affected by good-natured pictorial comment, and the public person represented in the picture is not damaged in the least. A cartoonist like the elder Keppler could drive any of our political charlatans out of public life.
As for the practice of labeling everything, it is interesting because the spelling is so ingenious. The old school, which included such masters as Tenniel, Keppler, and Nast, were ingenious in idea and execution. The picture makers of today expend their ingenuity on their labels, few of which agree with the dictionary.
E. A. Bushnell, who for several years has been doing the cartoon work for the Central Press Association of Cleveland, Ohio, has accepted an offer from the New York Mail, and has joined the staff of the eastern newspaper. The offer came while Mr. Bushnell was away on his vacation in Michigan. “Bush’s” work is familiar to all readers of Cartoons Magazine. Syndicated from Cleveland, it appeared in about 100 American newspapers, and was copied frequently by foreign journals. About a year ago he began substituting crayon for pen and ink. Perhaps his best series is one entitled “When Father Was a Boy;” which has appeared intermittently for several months. Bushnell is a self-taught cartoonist, but by painstaking methods and an indomitable perseverance has won his way to the front. His first cartoon appeared in the Cleveland Press, and represented Mark Hanna as “the power behind the throne.” This was some 20 years ago. Since that time the artist has been connected with the Cincinnati Post, the Cincinnati Times-Star (where he did some of his best work in the local mayoralty campaigns) and the Memphis Scimitar.
A SOUTH AFRICAN TENNIEL
“Pictorial Politics” is the title of a cartoon portfolio by Herbert W. MacKinney, of Cape Town, South Africa. The book is published by the Cape Times, with which newspaper Mr. MacKinney is connected. Sir Maitland W. Parker, editor of the Times, says in the foreword:
“The essence of humor lies in incongruity and contrast. Perhaps that is why ‘Mac,' who is a droll fellow, asks me to write this at a time when the tumult and the shouting of the Union Parliament and of Union politics, the oddities and absurdities of which constitute the cartoonist's stock-in-trade, seem almost to have vanished from memory. But as the British cavalrymen yelled, as they knocked the improvised tackle with which they were fishing off the points of their bayonets, in order to get into the saddle, and ride 'hell for leather' at the German lines, 'Are we downhearted?' We shall not be better able to practice the precept 'business as usual' if we forget that a compassionate Providence has kindly placed the springs of laughter close by the well of tears.
“So go your way, friend 'Mac,' on your cheery mission. Your pencil drips no venom, and if it finds the weak spots of political adversaries, it is only to tickle them into laughter at their own faults and foibles.”
While the subject matter is unfamiliar to American readers, the style and treatment of the drawings recommend the book to any cartoonist who is building up a library.
WANTS “OLD FAVORITES”
From Portland, Ore., comes the request from a reader that Cartoons Magazine publish more “old favorites.” “In my judgment,” says the correspondent, “the best cartoon I ever saw was one published at the time of General Miles' retirement, and called “His First Surrender." The old Indian fighter was represented on horseback, and having reached the 64th milepost, was handing his sword over to Father Time. I have forgotten who was the artist, and in what paper it appeared, but would like to add it to my collection.”
G. H. Chapin, the father of A. B. Chapin, cartoonist of the St. Louis Republic, died recently in Memphis, Tenn. His home for the last 20 years had been in Kansas City, Kansas.
AN INTERVIEW WITH UNCLE SAM
by Morris Miller, in Central Press Association Bulletin
“Is Uncle Sam in?”
“Ah! This way.”
We entered the inner sanctum of our favorite uncle. It was furnished in a tasteful and befitting manner. Stars and stripes, of course, were a chief part in the simple but handsome ornamentation. A rather slender, rather elderly man sat at a desk.
Possibly that sounds like a foolish question. Anyone should know the old man at a glance. He had the well-known whiskers at his chin. He was fingering them nervously as we entered. His trousers were striped and arranged at his boots just as you've always seen them in the pictures. Anyone should have known it was Uncle Sam.
It was his manner that deceived us. There was something so weary and dejected in every line and angle of his figure as he draped himself over his desk that we could scarcely believe that this was the celebrated old man of cartoons. We had always thought him to be agile and vigorous.
“You would like to talk to me a while?” the old man asked. His voice, better than the pose of his figure and the deepening lines of his face, showed his weariness.
“A little more than a little --” he began.
We whipped out pencil and pad to get every word. “Yes?” we asked.
“—is much too much. I had never realized until lately that satiety was much more than just another word in the dictionary."
“You have had enough of something, it would seem?” with the rising inflection.
“This plaguey cartoon business.”
“It must be trying.”
“Trying? Hah!” The “hah” contained so much nervous irritability that we became at once more warmly sympathetic.
“Appearing daily in so many cartoons must be hard work,” we said. “To be up bright and early to pose for the cartoonists, and to be kept at it steadily through the day till late at night—why, how can one man do it? And in each one you must pose in a determined and convincing way, too. And take every side of things. And different people probably writing in at times to say that your behavior in this and that picture is wrong. When you had no word to say in the matter of a pose at all.”
“Yessir, there have been lots of times when I’ve just about concluded to throw it all up. Lately, especially since that darn war in Europe, they've been going altogether too far. I ain't afraid of work. I guess I wouldn't be where I am now if I was. But now that the cartoonists have me working overtime in the acts of presenting a firm front, and laying down the law, and protesting in the name of humanity, and waiting for the news from Germany, and rejoicing over the crops, I don't get a minute's rest." He leaned forward a bit and lowered his voice. “Do you know, several times I've thought seriously of resigning my job as artists' model.”
“That would be disastrous,” we reminded him. “The cartoonists say that you are absolutely necessary in depicting the national spirit. They must have some single figure or character, you know, to represent the thought and feeling of the nation. How could they get along without you? Just answer that.”
“Maybe so, maybe so,” answered the old man reflectively. “Some thoughtless people roast the cartoonists for using me so much —they say I'm a chestnut. But how else could the pen and ink boys represent the whole nation in one figure?” He paused to let the idea sink in.
“Of course, there's Miss Columbia,” he added. “But she can't appear in the heavy cartoons where there is stern work to be done. She is good on the sympathetic stuff and in peace and prosperity cartoons.”
Uncle Sam reached for a copy of one of the monthly reviews which was lying on his desk, and thumbed several of its pages.
“Now, here's what gets me,” he said in an irritated tone. “It's bad enough to be worked to a frazzle by the friendly cartoonists here at home, who make me look strong and snappy. But the thing that makes me boil is to have these supercilious foreign cartoonists make me look like a senile old tightwad. Blankety blank blank!”
Here the interesting old man was interrupted by the sharp bark of a puppy that romped playfully into the room. He approached us with ingratiating wiggles and we reached to pat him. “Cute little fellow,” we said. “Yours? What's its name?”
“Yes, it's mine, but do you think it's so little? He's been working with me in the cartoons quite a bit lately. Name's Army. Navy, his playmate, about his size, has been resting up lately. He was on exhibition, you know, and—”
“Oh! Ha, ha! The dogs of war!” We strangled the incipient snicker. Too hearty mirth at this point might have given offense.
“Yes, they've been working with me quite a bit lately. A lot of cartoonists make 'em littler and skinnier than they really are. I’ve taken quite a notion to the little fellows. Just at that cute age, you know.” “Yes, they're cute, for the matter of that,” we said, eyeing Army a bit critically. “Looks like the sort of dog that'll grow, don't you think?”
“Oh, yes, I think they'll grow. Yes, from the way they both been acting lately I think they're due to grow quite a bit.”
We rose to leave.
“Well, let us all sincerely hope so, Uncle Sam. If they do, it seems certain that your position will have a greater dignity, don't you know. People won't be so critical as they have been lately. And you won't be obliged to make so many daily appearances. That would suit you better, wouldn't it?”
“That's just what I would like. Come and see me again sometime, young fellow.”
THE “MUD DRIPPERS” AGAIN
Anent the charges of the “Editor and Publisher” that cartoon art in America is on the decline, and that masterpieces in “mud dripping” are about all that the artists achieve nowadays, Ryan Walker, cartoonist of socialism, adds that it is not only the cartoons that drip with mud, but the ideas, also.
“The cartoon of today,” says Mr. Walker, “is more or less a bit of deadly, meaningless stupidity.”
RACEY'S CARTOONS IN LONDON
An exhibit of cartoons by A. G. Racey, the Montreal Star cartoonist, at the London offices of the Canadian Pacific Railway, has proved quite a drawing card, according to a London correspondent. These cartoons, he says, “lay bare the soul of a valiant daughter, and interpret the real spirit of the Dominion to the British public.” One cartoon showing the murdered children of Scarborough was particularly admired.
“The Fotygraft Album,” from which the pictures on this page are taken, is by Frank Wing, who for many years was head of the art department of the Minneapolis Journal. The “Album” is supposed to be shown to a new neighbor by Rebecca Sparks Peters, aged seven. Persons who have thus been given an insight into family history by a small daughter will appreciate this little book of Mr. Wing's. It is published by the Reilly and Britton Co. of Chicago.
THE GRAVES AT THE DARDANELLES
D. H. Souter, cartoonist for the Sydney (Australia) Stock and Station Journal, has written a number of inspiring verses on various war themes. The following appeared recently in the “Scottish Australasian.”
Why do you grieve for us who lie
At our lordly ease by The Dardanelles?
We have no need for tears or sighs;
We, who passed in the heat of fight
Into this soft Elysian night;
Proud of our part in the great emprise.
We are content; we had our day,
Brief but splendid, crowned with power,
And brimmed with action, every hour
Shone with a glory none gainsay.
Why will you grieve for us who passed
In our prideful strength at The Dardanelles?
Echoing still in our earth-stopped ears
Are victor's plaudit, or blood-choked cry
Of foe who falls at our feet to die:
We have no need for sighs or tears.
Once having made a sport of Death,
How could we turn to peaceful ways
Or tamely wait uneventful days -
For him at leisure to stop our breath?
How can you grieve? We are not lone;
There are other graves by The Dardanelles.
Men whom immortal Homer sang
Come to our ghostly camp fire's glow,
Greet us as brothers and tell us
“Lo, So to our deeds old Troy rang,”
Thus will the ages 'yond our ken
Turn to our story, and having read,
Will say, with proudly uncovered head
And reverent breath, “By God, they were Men.”
“WEB” ON A FISHING TRIP
H. T. Webster, cartoonist of the New York Globe, accompanied by G. H. Mitchell, who designs covers for Scribner's Magazine, has been spending several weeks in Maine on a combined auto and fishing tour. They had particular designs on six-pound trout. Mr. Webster is rather a renowned fisherman, having been born and raised in Tomahawk, Wis., in the center of the lake region. He announces incidentally that the George H. Doran Co. will offer for the fall trade his new cartoon book.
CARTOONS AS HAND GRENADES
A letter from a British soldier “somewhere in France” received by the New York Tribune, tells of the sensation created when the writer threw a bunch of Tribune cartoons into the German trenches.
“I wish you could have heard the Boches groan and shout and swear,” the letter continues; “they were nothing short of raving mad. One cartoon in particular—the one representing von Bernstorff addressing his country's sympathies to the American public over the 'Lusitania' victims—must have struck them harder than any shell ever did.”
Reproduced from a drawing presented by Mr. Virgil', of Melbourne, to Mme. Melba, as a souvenir, of her Polish concert held recently at the Town Hall, Sydney.
ON HIS MERRY WAY
“Like a beautiful dream,” writes Albert Dressler from New York, “my merry trip across the continent, which started from San Francisco in April, has now ended. New York City has so greatly impressed me that I shall remain here for several days before starting homeward full of merry ideas and love for every village and town I have passed through.”
Mr. Dressler, who likes to combine cartooning with tramping, completed his transcontinental tour late in August, having spent four months “on his merry way.” His ability to cartoon local celebrities gave him an open sesame to the many towns at which he stopped en route, and in every town, he says, he met a pretty girl. He gathered material, incidentally, for a book about his sentimental journey.\
C. R. Macauley of New York has been drawing a series of weekly cartoons for the League to Enforce Peace, of which ex-President Taft is the head. The cartoons, however, are not of the “peace-at-any-price” variety.
CARICATURES BY LOW
A special edition of cartoons by Low, the cartoonist of the Sydney (Australia), Bulletin, has been published by Tyrrell's, of Sydney. This is Mr. Low's first collection, and includes 400 caricatures of famous persons. Several of the plates are in colors. The edition is limited to 250 copies, and sells at One guinea.
A recent cartoon by A. V. Buel, of the Sacramento Bee, representing Hudson Maxim addressing a procession of cripples from a Maxim gun factory, pocketing war profits, and telling them that “war does good,” has called forth a protest from the inventor.
“Please allow me to tell your readers,” says Mr. Maxim, “that I am not an advocate of war, but am a peace advocate, only I happen to be a more practical peace advocate than the advocates of disarmament. I believe in preparing against war, not for war. I believe that this country should get ready to defend itself and the liberties of its people just as our cities are defended by our police against burglaries, sneak thieves and highwaymen, and we need guns for the purpose, just as the police need guns.
“I am not interested in any manner in any concern manufacturing guns or war mater ials. I am not the inventor of the Maxim gun, and have not a cent's worth of financial interest in any gun factory.
“The present war has not brought profits to me, but, on the contrary, it has so interfered with my regular affairs, which have nothing to do with war supplies, that I have been a substantial loser from the war.”
CARTOONIST KING'S NEW UNCLE SAM
A brand-new type of Uncle Sam has been created by cartoonist King, who has taken McCutcheon's place on the Chicago Tribune during the absence of the latter in Europe.
The cartoon, while it is not flattering, is, in the opinion of the Tribune itself, a much truer portrait than any yet evolved. Says the Tribune editorially:
“In Mr. King's cartoons we have a real photograph of Uncle Sam. He has heretofore been sitting for his portrait before an imaginative artist who wished, rather than tell the truth, to please the gentleman who ordered the picture. Thus sitting and thus painted, he has appeared as an amiable, tolerant person whose tolerance and good nature had foundation upon his known ability to resent any affront which crossed the line of tolerance.
“The American nation has been fed upon such cartoons. The Uncle Sam of this fiction has filled the minds of the American people. He is kind, grim, gracious, indulgent, strong, terrible—whatever the occasion asked or permitted.
“Mr. King shows him for what he is—rich, fat, indolent, unready, unable to run a hundred yards, put up his fists, load a revolver, or accomplish successfully any act of self defense. If that suggestion of Uncle Sam should make any advance into American intelligence the American nation might go into training to become what it thinks it is.”
James Walsh, cartoonist of the Scranton Times, has returned from a long canoe trip in the Adirondacks.
PUNCH CARTOONS IN BOOK FORM
Punch cartoons of the war, collected in book form, have been published by the George H. Doran Co. As a pictorial history of the war from the British point of view, these cartoons are unexcelled. “The New Rake's Progress,” a series with the kaiser as the central figure, and “The Unspeakable Turk,” the history of modern Turkey in cartoon, form important chapters. Students of world politics will find this volume almost indispensable to a full understanding of the War.
LEDERER VISITS WEST
Charles Lederer, the veteran Chicago cartoonist, accompanied by Mrs. Lederer, has been visiting the Pacific coast. He attended the meetings of the National Educational Association in Los Angeles, and looked in at the Panama-Pacific Exposition. Since his retirement from the active newspaper field, which he entered in the days of chalk plates, Mr. Lederer has been writing and illustrating a series of art books for school use.
George McManus, creator of “The Newlyweds,” was one of the star performers at the “Booster” entertainment, held recently at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Mr. McManus pictorialized some of his famous characters, and auctioned them off to the highest bidders. He was a guest of the Los Angeles Press Club.
P. J. Kinder of Chicago, cartoonist for the Santa Fe Magazine, has been making a tour of the Pacific coast cities, and visiting the expositions.
Luther C. Phifer has returned to Worcester, Mass., and resumed the making of “Phifebirds” and cartoons for the Telegraph of that city, after a summer's sojourn on his cattle ranch at Larkspur, Colo. Mr. Phifer, though an easterner, is no tenderfoot, but can rope and brand a steer as neatly as a professional cowboy. He was accompanied on his visit by Mrs. Phifer.
Labels: What The Cartoonists Are Doing