Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Eternal Cat an Mouse Game

Tuesday Comic Strip Day

I have shown the strips made of the Yogi Bear and The Flintstones television shows. But they were not the first cartoon stars to have recieved the newspaper strip tretament. Bugs Bunny is one of the first and most uninteresting ones. His strip rn from the forties all the ay through to the sixties and frankly, I find it boring in any period. There also was a Tom and Jerry strip, which ran from 1950 to 1952 and that was a lot more interesting. Stan Jones from the Yahoo comic strip classic group collected a months worth of daily strips from Newspaper Archive the Tom and Jerry strip and put them in a file, which can be downloded here.


I don't now who the artist was, but it doesn't look like Harvey Eisenberg, who drew the comic book version of Tom ad Jerry or many years. It does look like the work of a competent carttonis, just not one I am familiar with. Maybe someone here cab provide the answers. Here are some more samples from other periods. The strip itself remained a mix of typical Tom and Jerry jokes, new characters and even silent jokes, that kept it fresh.

April 1 1950:

April 2 1950:

April 4 1950:

April 5 1950:

April 6 1950:

April 7 1950:

April 8 1950:

April 11 1950:

April 12 1950:

April 13 1950:

April 14 1950:

April 5 1950:

April 17 1950:

April 18 1950:

April 19 1950:

April 20 1950:

April 21 1950:

April 22 1950:

April 24 1950:

July 3 1950:

July 31 1950:

Oct 23 1950:

Oct 27 1950:

Oct 30 1950:

Nov 3 1950:

Nov 8 1950:

Nov 10 1950:

Nov 13 1950:

Nov 15 1950:

Nov 17 1950:

Nov 20 1950:

Nov 22 1950:

Nov 24 1950:

Nov 27 1950:

Nov 29 1950:

John K. suggests it could be the work of Gene Hazelton. The telltale signs should be in the way the secondary characters are drawn. But would Hazelton create some of the tangents seen in these samples taken from Stan JOnes' download?

From Jan 8 1952: The nose of the rabbit touches Jerry in the second panel to create an ugly tangent.

From Jan 13 1952: The way Droopy's hair touches Barney' shoulder creates another tangent. Will Eisner said drawing a comic strip is like conducting an orchestra in a phone booth. The characters in the background of this panel are very unique looking and should help identify the artist.

From Jan 28 1952: Not the most readable of silhouettes I have ever seen. The way the figure in the second panel walks is very typical for this artist.

From Jan 31 1952: Here the silhouettes are very well done. And there is another uniquely constructed secondary figure. These low legs are typical for the design of this artist.

In 1957 Hazelton did a Dennis the menace inspired pael called Angel Face. I have nt been able to find new samles of that, but some of them can be found on the internet. Later on, I will be adding a link to Cartoon Snap where they showed a couple of them at the time of his eath a couple of years ago. That's where this one comes from, which at least shows some sort of stylistic connection to the Tom & Jerry strip.


JohnK said...

Looks like Gene Hazelton!

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Wouldn't that be a surprise!? In the month that Stan prpared for the download there is one strip that has a really horrific tangent-mistake. I was to lazy to pull it out, but I really should.

Thad said...

Hi Ger,

I just heard from Alberto Becattini, and his opinion is that Gene Hazelton didn't draw this strip, as he never mentioned it when Alberto interviewed him years ago. He is certain though that a guy by the name of Ernie Stanzoni was involved with it, probably writing it. Alberto also writes: "My guess is that Stanzoni (and/or the guy who drew the strip) was working for the AP (who syndicated the strip), not for MGM. Western
Publishing, as far as I know, was not involved in the production of the T&J strip (differently from the Bugs Bunny and Woody Woodpecker
strips), so the artist shouldn't be a Western staffer/freelancer."

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Alberto is a prime resource for this type of information, but I wish he could give a name so we could compare or look for samples. Because since hearing the option it might be Hazelton, I see more and more common traits with his work expecially on Angel Face. Still, the are the awkward poses on some characters. Might he have been involved as designer? It is my experience that things like this get forgotten or are not mentioned because they are percieved as a failure.

Thad said...

Hi Ger, Alberto just emailed me this:

"After having another look at the T&J strips, my guess is that Dan
Gormley may have had to do with the artwork. Gormley worked for
from 1941-64, and he was the T&J comic-book artist before Eisenberg
took over around 1947.

This is just an educated guess, of course. But have a look at
Gormley's T&J stories around 1945 to compare them with the strips
and let me know what you think."