Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Whatever happened to the future?

Tuesday Newspaper Comic Day.

Today I have a bit of an oddity, slightly linked to one of my previous posts. When I was trying to find the editorial cartoons done by Noel Sickles after his run on Scorchy Smith, I came across a couple of fill-in cartoons by Hank Barrow. Barrow was an AP-artist, just like Sickles and he had won a prize for his cartoons earlier that decade. He went on to do Dumb Dora (taking over from Milt Caniff, who had been hosting the strip) in a style pretty similar to that of Caniff. As an AP artist he was also chartered to draw picture of situations where there we no photographs, such as these two seminal occasions in WW II, the German's retreat from Moskou and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In all of this he showed a remarkable style which made me wonder why he wasn't recognized more. Apparently he did a strip of his own, that has been completely forgotten. It was a sunday panel which looked comically at inventions of the future. There were others after him who did such a thing (most notably Closer Than You Think and Our New Age) but both were more serious than Barrow ever was. Alan Holtz has already show one of the sundays and written about it in a 2006 post, but I have several more, including one by Barrow himself. Barrow started the feature, which was called Thing To Come, in the early forties and left it in the late forties. The panel ran until 1955 under a much less interesting artist called Bresnan.


Smurfswacker said...

Fascinating. It's odd to see the artist show biplanes attacking Pearl Harbor. I thought the Zero monoplane was Japan's standard fighter by then. Maybe not?

Greatly enjoyed those "Things to Come" pages. I've been intrigued by past future predictions since I read somr 1910s Tom Swift books as a kid. I often wonder how serious the companies were in predicting some of these things. One 1940's Popular Mechanics magazine claimed future furniture would be all-plastic, so the housewife could clean her living room by spraying it down with a garden hose. The water ran out a drain in the middle of the living room floor.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

I have a 50% complete run of Closer Than You Think by Radebaugh. These are hilarious, because he was using offical advisors from industry and the miltary and from all the predictions I have NOT ONE came true. If you google radebaugh you will find a galery of his work and some samples.