Saturday, April 20, 2019

Observed With A Pencil

Saturday Leftover Day.

Modern generations like to prtend that they invented cartoon journalism, although we all know (as Joe Sacco probably does) that Harvey Kurtzman perfected the genre. When he did his cartoon reports in Esquire, The TV Guide and Help, he was probably inspired by Shel Silverstein's work at Playboy in the late fifties, but there had been precursors before him as well. One is a piece on Beauty Contests by hank Ketcham (which can be found on my blog, as well as all of Kurtzman's work). I am always happy to find others. Here is a two page piece by Michael Berry for The American Legion - more of a collection of gags than an actual journalistic piece, but he did go there and sketched his own impressions before boiling it down to this.

Friday, April 19, 2019

When The West Was Livid

Friday Comic Strip Day.

I am slowly getting back to posting more regularely. Here is another set of Tumbleweeds from 1970.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Follow The Music

Wednesday Extra.

Regular followers of this blog will know that I have a great fondness for the 1958-1962 period in American newspaper comics. Comic were no longer shown in the full page size of the thirties and early forties, but after a decade of exploration many new exciting strips were started and there was still time and space to make them special. That's why I got as many Sunday sections of this period as possible. And of course there were many surprises. But none as odd as this one, a Sunday strip that showed a new song every week with modern children's book style stories and art. Wee Willie ran for just over two years and I got many samples. I will be showing them over the next few wednesdays, to ease down on the cleaning - which can be quite difficult at times.

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Wrong Tack

Monday Cartoon Day.

Back when cartoons were still big (way befiore even I was born), getting your own regular series in one of the monthly (or even weekly) magazines was what every cartoonist hoped for. A guaranteed sale every issue and you were often allowed to have a non regular cartoon as well. Reamer Keller was one of the more succesful artists of his group (the forties and fifties mid-range cartoonists), but he didn't have a regular feature of his own. He had tried to get a brand going with rural hillbillie-like characters, but there were too many people doing that (including pre-Goofy Paul Murray) and his sense of humor didn't always fit within that small subject range - although he did sell a regular cartoon calle Kennesaw in the early fifties to Collier's and even managed to get a newspaper strip out of it. But suddenly, just after the war he hit it big with The American Legion, a rightwing weekly magazine for the former armed forces - filled with newsrelated articles, short stories and lots and lots of cartoons (including work by my favorites Mort Walker, Hank Ketcham and Virgil Partch, but also with Sam Stevens, Jack Mendelsohn and George Crenshaw). Early in 1946, his regular cartoon Hardtack started, a silent panel about a small kid dressed in what looks to me like a graduation baret in daring situations. The only problem was that is was not vert good. Reamer Keller always excelled at outrageous gags about men eand women and family situations, but somehow his efforts at silent humor never clicked. He also used a lot of gray wash, insted of the marvelous nervous line that was his trademark for the rest of his career. Hardtack (a good portion of which I scanned and cleaned for you) ended before the end of the year.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Figuring Out The Action

Sunday Toth Treasures.

This is the oldest All-American Western I have n my collection. It also has one of the best covers Toth ever drew, which was also used for one of the later Johnny Thunder collections. The splash page... not Toth's best.