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"

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.

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.

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.”

“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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”


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.


(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.


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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