Monday, June 16, 2008

1000 gags.

Monday cartoon day.

After leaving Missouri State University, Mort Walker quickly became one of the country's best selling cartoonists. In his biography he complains that he soon realized that he had to try and get something else going to make a decent living. Let's do the math... he sold cartoons to the wekkly Saturday Evening Post, the weekly Collier's, the monthly True and some other magazines such as Argosy and the Sunday supplement This Week. He is not in every issue of every magazine of that period, one when he is, it's usually just one cartoon. That means that he sold about three cartoons a week, maybe four. Doesn't sound like a money making proposition even though he was one of the best.

In late 1949 he took a job as editor of a couple of Dell magazines, the most familiar of which is 1000 Jokes. These 1950 issues are pretty hard to find and when I finally got one, I expected to see lot's of Mort Walker cartoons. I didn't instead, I did see a couple of two page spreads of the same sort Walker used in his University magazine The Missouri Show Me. And I found two text featured signed by Walker. He may have done more under a pseudonymn, but these two are certainly his. He proves he is a pretty funny writer as well as a cartoonist.

The second one eleborates on a theme he used for a cartoon as well, probably around the same time. I can't date it, because it comes from a cartoon compilation from the early fifties.

Here are two more cartoons from the same book and one from another, The Cartoon Annual from 1953 from Ace.

Next we have three cartoons from his most frequent buyer, the Saterday Evening Post. These are from februari and july 1950 and predate Beetle Bailey by at last nine months.

These are from the monthly True, all from the first half of 1951. These were probably sold after Beetle Bailey got his start.


Mike Lynch said...

Some great gags here -- gags that are still funny. I've spoken to Mort about this time, and he's done some talks (notably his 2007 career-encompassing talk at that year's Reubens), and he's quite frank about the fact that he was making top dollar in the gag cartoon field, and that still was not a lot. MORT WALKER : CONVERSATIONS is a great book to read about a guy who was (and still is) a cartooning machine. And you can read excerpts online at Google books:

Mort was at last year's NYC licensing show, manning a table. During down time, when things were slow, he could be seen, pencilling BEETLE BAILEY. No time is wasted! I learned a lot from Mort.

Thanks for this, Ger!

Ger Apeldoorn said...

I sort of though I would already have all the interview in Conversations, but maybe I should get it. I have many more Walker cartoons and will come back to them from time to time. As you say, most of these are genuinly funny and do not really on old cliche's.