Sunday, June 17, 2012

THe Colonel and Mrs. Simpson

Saturday Leftover Day.

Officially the 'modern' more graphic style of cartooning started just at the end of the war when the future UPC artists found a way to make animated cartoons more graphic, cheaper and better suited to delivering messages rather than characters. But in magazine cartooning, it had ben around much longer of course. In the simple styling of Gardner Rea, for example. Or in the graphic genius of Otto Soglow. But by the sixties it would cmpletely take over all sorts of cartooning. Anyone attempting a more lush and and elaborte style was branded oldfashioned for many years.

One of the first to make the switch was Chic Young. Young had started out as a pretty conservative cartoonist. And althought that would become a quite graphicly influential strip in the forties (inspiring many of the new generation), it eems to me that the greates leap forward was mad in 1934, when he introduced a new 'topper' strip called Colonel Potterby and the Dutchess. In it, we see the adventures of a rich 'Colonel' and his Society Friend, the Duchess. It must have been inspired by the susses of Solgow's Little King, but I see obvious traces of a satire of the scandalous romance of King Edward and Mrs. Simpson - which would be very topical, because according to Wikipedia they only started their affair in 1934. I'd have to have a further look into the precise dates to say that with more confidence.

Although Young used many assistants on Blondie in later years (I still don't know when exactly Paul Fung Jr, who later took over the strip, started - Wikipeduia says 1949, but I see his or a similar style long before that) it seems he created this little gem on his own. And with Fung starting in 1949, maybe I should give him more credit for the amazing style of his strips in the forties. But I just an't seem to match the artist of the erly thirties with that later work. If he did that all by himself, what a stylistic growth he went through!

Anyway, I have shown some of the Pottersby strips here. Most (or possibly even all) of them in black and white. It is one of thse strips that survive the microfiche rocess pretty well, with it's bold lines and light colors. And many times, when a paper decided to run it's Sunday strips in black and white (and not in a seperate section), they ofteh used Blondie and Pottersby. So I have had a lot of good samples to choose from.

But here is one in color, I came across and just couldn't resist scanning.

Oh, by the way - although the strip graphicly is 'a little gem', the jokes itself were never very funny, sometimes even obscure. That is probably why it never went on to become such a succes as Blondie - or even The Little King. Still, it ran from 1934 to 1963. That should count for something.

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MC said...

According my files, the series was essentially the work of Ray McGill, who assisted also Lank Leonardo on “Mickey Finn”

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Okay, that is news to me! But did he originate it as well? I mean, who set the style?