Saturday, February 15, 2020
What The Cartoonists Are Doing, December 1915 (Vol.8 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.]
REPRODUCING BIASED CARTOONS
The Philadelphia Record takes exception to the practice of certain editors of reproducing from the foreign newspapers, especially the German, “offensive cartoons and comment intended to place the United States, as represented by the President and his advisers, in a ridiculous and unfavorable light.”
If this be “hybrid journalism,” as the Record alleges, the editor of Cartoons Magazine must plead guilty. Ours, to quote further, “is the same spirit that, during the civil war, would have taken pleasure in reprinting from Punch its coarse caricatures of Lincoln.”
“When one considers,” adds the writer, “with what consummate skill and tact President Wilson has steered the ship of State through the most serious crisis in half a century it is difficult to understand that form of Americanism that seeks to belittle these achievements by giving wide publicity to the views held by ignorant and violently prejudiced foreign observers.”
The editorial is not directed particularly at Cartoons Magazine. We cannot agree, however, with the writer. Why, just for the sake of sparing our own feelings, should we conceal what others, “ignorant and prejudiced” though they may be, are thinking and saying of us on the other side of the Atlantic? Ought we to reproduce only the “nice” things, and blind ourselves to the unpleasant things? Only an ostrich, we believe, would pursue such a policy. Unjust and biased as many of these cartoons may be, they represent the soul thoughts of the nations they represent. They summarize the opinion of the man on the street. It is only the advocates of peace at any price who would deliberately close their eyes to the attitude of other powers toward us. Possibly we can read a lesson, although an unpleasant one, in some of these cartoons and sentiments, and, reading the lesson, be prepared for anything that may come in the future.
Edgar A. Schilder has left the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette and signed up with the International Syndicate of Baltimore, Maryland.
Harvey G. Parsons, formerly cartoonist of the Kansas State Journal has been drawing a number of sketches for a new Kansas history to be used in the public schools of that state.
Clifford Berryman, cartoonist of the Washington Star, has a sincere admirer in Daisy Fitzhugh Ayres, a correspondent for the Louisville Courier Journal. In one of her recent letters, Miss Ayres points out the fact that Berryman never takes liberties with other person's features. One of the most genial and whole souled of men, she says, Mr. Berryman enjoys a unique distinction in his art. We read:
“He never caricatures a face. However grotesque the pose and situation may be of the human object whom the circumstances of the day suggest to be the butt of his incisive pencil, the victim's facial characteristics, no matter what the expression of the moment depicted, are never in the least degree distorted.
“And this is where, perhaps, the kindliness of heart of the gifted young Kentuckian, is most conspicuously evinced.
“Not one of us enjoys being ridiculed. Our mug is our most sensitive organ. Our facial map lies mighty close to our heart, physiology or no physiology. To have our fair features distorted out of drawing to illustrate even the most poignant political situation, is an injury unbearable. Mr. Berryman, the star of Washington's cartoonists, leaves famous physiognomies to 'requiescat in pace, and not to rest in pieces,’ as O. Henry used to say. He takes outrageous liberties with the rest of famed physical anatomies, but he never monkeys with the features. That's Cliff. His nimble pencil has a heart of gold and not of lead.
“Notice for yourself, Wilson, Bryan, Roosevelt, the Kaiser, all the best selling countenances of the period, which are daily the object of Mr. Berryman's symbolic sketches. In each case the likeness of the celebrity remains intact, through every variant expression.
“And Mr. Berryman has a wonderful talent, too, in portraiture, and the temptation to distort, for a laugh's sake, must oftentimes be strong. But Cliff was raised a good old-fashioned Kentucky Presbyterian, and his conscience never lays down on the job.”
Some of these cartoons showing Uncle Sam handing out coin to foreign borrowers would have more point if it was the government that proposed to lend the money -- Pittsburgh Times.
ODE TO OUR NEIGHBORS
by Fred Myers in the Kidder (Indianapolis)
When I was sick with grip and chills
and half a dozen other ills,
The neighbors called each day to tell,
When they were sick how they got well.
And each one had a remedy
For ailments that afflicted me
They pumped me full of nasty dope
Until I finally gave up hope.
“Good morning—how you feeling?” “Punk.”
“You ought to try some of this junk
It fixed my uncle when he had
The same as you but twice as bad.”
“You can't go wrong,” another said,
“With a Swiss cheese poultice on your head.”
Or “Dr. Perkins Peanut Pills You'll find will cure all human ills.”
The undertaker called each day
To be there when I passed away,
Afraid, the mercenary slob,
Somebody else might get the job.
The parson asked my fav'rite hymn
And while the lights were low and dim
Another hung around for hours
To ask about my choice of flowers.
At last when I was nearly dead
I called my family in and said,
“If I must die then I'll agree,
But please don't let 'em poison me.”
So now as long as I shall live,
To others nasty cures I'll give.
To give, the Good Book says, I b'lieve,
Is far more bless'd than to receive.
Ad. Goodwin has been free-lancing in New York since leaving the Buffalo Express.
PUNCH CARTOONS DE LUXE
Lovers of good prints will welcome the announcement of Punch to the effect that the first of a series of war cartoons published originally in the famous British weekly is now offered in de-luxe form. The set consists of twelve cartoons, printed from the original plates on tinted India paper, and mounted on rough-edged Whatman boards. Among the prints are Bernard Partridge’s “The Triumph of Culture,” “The World Enemy,” and “The King at the Front,” and L. Raven-Hill’s “India for the King.”
“The largest aggregation of cartoonists ever gathered under one tent,” as Helena Smith Dayton expresses it, served as a jury of critics at the dress rehearsal and fashion show of costumes for the suffrage parade recently at Mrs. Dayton's studio in New York. Society leaders, actresses, novelists, and suffragettes mingled with the cartoonists, had their pictures taken, and partook of tea and macaroons. Among the cartoonists who received invitations were Clare Briggs, R. M. Brinkerhoff, Robert Carter, Oscar Cesare, T. A. Dorgan, Norman Green, Bud Fisher, Fontaine Fox, R. L. Goldberg, Rollin Kirby, Fred A. Opper, Hy Mayer, W. A. Rogers, Lawrence Semon, Herb Roth, Cliff Sterrett, C. A. Voight, H. T. Webster, Art Young, Hal Coffman, Winsor McCay, J. H. Cassel, Rehse, and Marcus.
We don't know whether it is much of a boost for suffrage to have it announced that “Secretary Redfield is for it.” In fact, when you think of the cartoons you realize that little men with side whiskers are always for it, anyway.—Chicago Evening Post.
A genuine addition to the humor of the war has been made by Claude H. G. Woodhouse in his collection of “War Plants” published by a London firm. The “products of intensive culture” described by Mr. Woodhouse would challenge even Luther Burbank's art. They belong more to the school of Edward Lear or Oliver Herford. The sample reproduced herewith is christened “Sanguinaria Williamia,” and is described as a “plant at one time placed by British botanists among the Sweet-Williams (Caryophyllaceae),” but which really belongs to the Sanguinariaceae. It is, moreover, a flower “easily recognized by its two curiously upturned petals and by its epaulettelous leaves.” As regards habitat, for full development “a place in the sun” is essential.
DORGAN’S IDEA CONTEST
T. A. Dorgan (“Tad”) has been carrying on through the columns of the Cleveland Leader, a popular contest for amateur artists of the Forest City. Prizes of autographed cartoons were offered, and artists were asked to submit ideas and sketches for an “Indoor Sport” cartoon.
MINOR SAILS FOR EUROPE
Robert Minor, of the New York Call, has sailed for Europe, where he promises to “rip the brass buttons off from the big war.” According to his publishers, he is going to tell the truth, and to sketch things as they are, not glorifying horror for the mere sake of being horrible. His pictures, we are told, “will not be colored by the sheen of gold lace or the glitter of helmets.”
“HANSI’S” INFLUENCE ON THE FRENCH STAGE
Writing in Pester Lloyd (Budapest) on French war sentiment, Max Nordau, the Hungarian critic, and Paris correspondent for Vienna, Budapest, and Berlin newspapers, tells of the influence of “Hansi,” the Alsatian cartoonist, on the stage of France. In a translation of his article, made for the Vital Issue, we read that the characters in the war play “Alsace,” by Gaston Leroux and Lucien Camille—that is, the German characters—were taken from the cartoons of “Hansi,” and especially from his bitingly sarcastic book “Professor Knatschke.”
They are, as Nordau tells us, “officers stiff as ramrods, of enormous self-conceit and little education, grotesque officials without tact or understanding, a long-bearded, bespectacled, portly professor in a coarse woolen coat, wearing the green Tyrolean hat, adorned with the beard of a chamois .... coarse-hearted, despicable, greedy, forward women, who look like milkmaids dressed for a visit to the city .... foolishly arrogant barbarians without a trace of understanding for the feeling of disgust .... which they arouse in the vanquished.” The play was produced at the Theatre Réjane.
“The cartoonists,” says the Kansas City Journal, “always try to make a public man they would condemn look repulsive, but in the case of Dr. Dumba they have only to make him look natural.”
J. H. Donahey, of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, has erected an office building in the Forest City, and has been dreaming of concrete, steel beams, and fire escapes.
John T. McCutcheon, who has returned from his second visit to the war zone, has been contributing to the Chicago Tribune an interesting series of sketches from the front. Mr. McCutcheon's most thrilling experience was his trip over the German lines in a French aeroplane.
Harry Murphy, cartoonist of the Chicago Examiner, has been doing the big fairs on the Pacific coast.
H. T. Webster, cartoonist of the New York Globe, accompanied by Frank Casey, art editor of Collier's Weekly, spent a week last October in the Adirondacks. They made their headquarters at the lodge of F. P. Collins, adjoining the Harry Payne Whitney estate, and hunted both on Mr. Collins’ and Mr. Whitney's preserves. Web writes that he bagged some partridges, which is not surprising, considering that the joint estates included some 96,000 acres.
CARTOONISTS HUMBLE ACTORS
At Bayside, L.I., recently a baseball team captained by T. A. Dorgan (“Tad”) and composed of New York cartoonists and newspaper artists, defeated a team of actors captained by James J. Corbett, former heavyweight champion of the world. Four innings were played, and the score was 18 to 3. “Tad” was in the box for the cartoonists. Among his players were Hal Coffman, Lawrence Semon, Robert Carter, Rube Goldberg, and Walter Hoban. A clambake followed the ball game.
Winsor McCay, who is again on the vaudeville stage, was the guest of honor recently at a banquet in Brooklyn. Following the banquet the guests attended his performance at the Orpheum Theater. William E. Kelly, postmaster of Brooklyn, stepped upon the stage and presented Mr. McCay with a huge basket of American beauties.
CARTOONISTS AND CANDIDATES
Town Topics, of Cleveland, Ohio, makes the following observations on the work of the cartoonists during fall political campaigns. “Personally,” comments Town Topics, “these cartoonists are genial enough men,” and probably do not intend to be so disagreeable. “But,” adds the writer, “editors think that it is necessary, in order to win, to make their political opponents look like pirates, highwaymen, murderers or clowns. So they are giving the orders to the cartoonists to get busy on rough stuff. The cartoonists are making some of the politicians look like born criminals, and others like born fools. Of course, they do not look that way any more than the cartoonists look disagreeable, but the editors and cartoonists, regardless of whatever breeding and education they may have, think it necessary to cater to a low element and to use coarse pictures in political campaigns.”
A reader in Pekin, Ill., sends in “free of charge” the following suggestions:
“(1) Draw roosters representing all nations. A hen house with roosts in it, with the most quiet country sitting on the highest one. At the bottom have Belgium drawn out as a rooster lying dead on the ground, and Germany drawn in a different position battling hard with Russia and England. Also have Austria and Turkey there, with Bulgaria looking in the door ready to assist Germany, and have a nest on the wall with Japan sitting idly in it. Remember have the Eagle sitting above all watching the outcome.
“(2) Draw two steam rollers, one representing Germany, and the other Russia. Have them bucking each other, with Germany getting pushed back, and Russia in a zig-zag fashion, try to draw the cities as their destinations.
“(3) Draw a motorcycle coming down the road a-tearing, with Austria and Turkey following, and Belgium drawn as a man ran over, and Serbia right in front of the tire coming next, and the rest of the allies with all hands joined, stretched across the road, ready to stop him. Represent Japan by having him with his motorcycle fixing his tire in the rear of the allies.”
MISS DAVENPORT KILLED
Miss Cleo Davenport, sister of the late Homer Davenport, was killed September 29 in Los Angeles, when struck by an automobile. Miss Davenport was strolling with her fiancé, Frank Travers, an official of the Panama-Pacific Steamship Co., when the accident occurred. Mr. Travers was seriously injured. The driver of the car escaped without revealing his identity.
If you still have, tucked away under your vest, the heart of a boy; if you still sometimes chuckle over the exploits of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn; if your memory still wanders back along the Road to Yesterday, or lingers in the Golden Age, you will appreciate the little book of “Boyhood Thrills” drawn by H. T. Webster, cartoonist of the New York Globe, and published by the George H. Doran Co.
Many of the thrills already are familiar to readers of Cartoons Magazine. But every one of them will summon back a half-forgotten little comedy or tragedy. Do you remember testing the tomato-can telephone; calling for the first time on your sweetheart with a livery rig; putting things on the track for No. 3 to run over; finding a copper boiler in the junk heap, or tormenting a faithful dog friend by hiding under a pile of autumn leaves?
Mr. Webster received his original boyhood thrills in the small town of Tomahawk, Wis., which nestles among a chain of crystal lakes. He was brought up on Mark Twain, and he had an old-fashioned mother who allowed him to go barefoot.
Five sets of cartoons are included in the book under these heads: “The Thrill That Comes Once in a Lifetime,” “Our Boyhood Ambitions,” “The Most Futile Thing in the World,” “Life's Darkest Moments,” and, “Dogs, Automobiles, and Things.”
The artist has sent in a sketch showing a thrill he himself recently experienced.
CARTOONISTS AS HISTORIANS
“Punch cartoons,” observes a writer in the Boston Advertiser, “must take place among the few sets of contemporary documents that have their origins in the brains of artists with pencil and brush, that actually reflect the views of the British people. Many students of the war are beginning to collect literature that is illustrative of its myriad phases or that mirror the fleeting hates and sympathies of the nations involved. No collection can hope to be complete if it omits the important work of the cartoonists.
“Time alone can reveal what measure of incentive or what fraction of interpretation is furnished by the men who see things not in words, but in the virile shapes of visible figures of men and of events.”
Labels: What The Cartoonists Are Doing
Friday, February 14, 2020
Wish You Were Here, from Dave Breger
Here's another card from Dave Breger's series for Nyack Art Pictures. For those interested, the code on the back is 605 / 89368, whatever that means. Still only finding unused copies of these, so I'm still just guessing that the series was published in the 1950s.
I worked my way through college pumping gas. One of the last full service stations in our area. I didn't cut hair, but I did check fluids, wash the windshield and see if the tires were properly inflated. Not only did I get a tip maybe once or twice per hundred fill-ups, but people sometimes actually got angry when I'd find that their oil or other fluids were low. They seemed to be dead certain I was lying about them needing a top-off or that I was making a kickback by selling oil and tranny fluid ... which I wasn't.
Labels: Wish You Were Here
Even if you hold off on the clippers, you might still be out to give em' a trim.
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Magazine Cover Comics: Let's All Elope
Raeburn Van Buren was just about to embark on a long stint working on Hearst's daily romantic cartoon series when he was tapped to provide a very short series for their Sunday magazine covers. Let's All Elope was only three episodes long, and foolishly tried to tackle a story of two star-crossed couples in a comedy of errors that needed way more space to make any sense to readers. The final episode, above, reads more like the Cliff's Notes to the story than the story itself.
Let's All Elope ran from February 12 to 26 1933, and comes just months before the end of the King Features magazine cover series. With cover series like this, no wonder it was cancelled.
Labels: Magazine Cover Comics
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Obscurity of the Day: The Funny Side of Life in Montana
Courtesy of Cole Johnsons's archives, today we have the entire run of a series about J. Campbell Cory's trip to Montana. This series ran in the New York World for four installments from November 27 to December 18 1898.
From the perspective of humor, the series is no classic, but Cory's delightful art and the superb coloring job on the first and last installments make this series worth remembering. His depiction of frontier life may or may not reflect the state of the wild west as he encountered it, but it certainly plays into all the familiar stereotypical accounts brought back by Eastern dudes in search of what Teddy Roosevelt would soon call the 'strenuous life.'
You may wonder at my choice of The Funny Side of Life in Montana as the headline title. After all, it was only used on the third installment, and that installment was a minor one, running in two colors on an interior page of the World. But Ken Barker chose this as the series title for his New York World index and I agree with his choice. This is the only installment which recognizes that this is a series, by use of "Series III" in the headline, and so we both think that Cory considered this his true title, despite it not being used elsewhere.
The first strip here; "Training in Montana for Governor of New York" obviously alludes to Theodore Roosevelt's ascension to that office in the election of just a few weeks past.
Earlier in that year, T.R. had won an important battle in Cuba during the Spanish-American war, and was well known to have spent many years in the far West hunting, cattle raising, cowboying, and generally living a life of outdoor adventures.
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Obscurity of the Day: Karl and Fritz
The Chicago Tribune went for German cartoonists in a big way in 1906-07, and my impression is that some of them were brought over to Chicago while others submitted material from their homeland. My guess is that Victor Schramm is one of the latter type, especially since he consistently adds 'Munich' after his signature.
Schramm created only one series for the Tribune, but what a memorable one it was. Karl and Fritz is about yet another pair of rotten kids who play pranks --- okay, so that part is a real yawn -- but wow are these some memorably stomach-turning pranks.
I've only seen a handful of strips, but each one outdoes the last for pushing the envelope of good taste. I'll not say more than that, but leave it to you to discover the depravities of Schramm's weird mind. After you've checked these out, head on over to Barnacle Press for more.
As usual with these Germans in the Tribune, determining the full runs of their strips is made harder because in most Tribune microfilm the Feininger pages are missing, and the other Germans are often inhabiting the other side. With the help of Cole Johnson, who had a pretty good collection of miraculously unpilfered sections, it seems as if Karl and Fritz ran June 3 to December 2 1906. Cole also supplied the sample scans.
Cole had indeed, a rare run of untouched Chi' Trib, you'll note that they came from a bound run (which I disembounded myself) from the Minnesota Historical Society, which you'll also note is rubber stamped on the cover of the first example. They really loved stamping that on the cover of every last section of every edition, daily and Sunday.
I don't know as the Germans came over to do the Trib stuff, I was of the belief that Schram, Horina,Fieninger, et al. were churning them out back in Der Faderland at the same time they were all working at one of the German cartoon mags. I think it was either Simplicissimus or Kladderadich. Can't recall. Cole would've- he had a pile of them right into the end of the end of WWII, when they weren't so funny any more. Teutonic humor then or back in 1906, is an acquired taste.
Sure, you could buy a side of Beef then; you can finish off one at a single sitting, if you're hungry enough- and provided you're eighteen feet tall.
Why those little bastards! Sewing a drunken man up in a side of beef is one thing, but sewing a poor Cat up in a rabbit skin, ach! Enough iss too much!
Monday, February 10, 2020
Toppers: Barney Google's Knee-Hi-Knoodles
One of these days we'll discuss the classic and much in need of reprinting Barney Google topper Bunky, but today we're going to settle for a forgotten secondary topper, Knee-Hi-Knoodles.
In the mid-1930s King Features started strongarming cartoonists to supply not just one but two toppers for each Sunday strip, all the better to shore up the front page headline that "The Sunday Gawker has 99,999 Comics!" Billy DeBeck responded with an oft-changing set of panel cartoon series. Knee-Hi-Knoodles offered up wacky wisdom from the mouths of children when it began on September 9 1934. Eventually, though, DeBeck found the restriction to kids more than he wanted to deal with, and on March 24 1935 the title was changed to DeBeck's Knoodles, so that the gag lines could be an all-ages sport.
The feature was dropped after the installment of June 23 1935, and DeBeck produced only a single topper, Bunky, for the next few months, flouting King Features' directive.
Labels: Topper Features
My impression was that though they might be technically counted as another feature,they impressed few editors or readers. Some cartoonists really enjoyed doing them, like Jimmy Murphy, who had earlier devised the "comic Stamp" and "Play Money" features that many of the other KFS strips had for a little while. His cutout dolls were apparently very popular, and other cartoonists with girl leads in their strips followed suit, even over in other syndicates.
But you will notice that the extra panel idea was dropped by most of the KFS series by the begining of WWII. The most important of the panels was Chic Young's, which was a nondescript thing called "Sideshow", which he replaced with "Colonel Potterby & the Duchess" in early 1935, which expanded to become the top comic after only a few weeks, when "The Family Foursome" was retired. The Colonel and the Duchess went on to become the last of the top comics, lasting until the Autumn of 1963.