Monday Cartoon Day.
First of all, anyone interested in cartoons or funny art or just artists being themselves instead of following the current trend should go out and buy Jon Barli's excellent new book on Virgi Partch, the reatest single cartoonist that ever lived. Partch started at Disney, but soon struck out on his own as a caroonist. He soon developed a style that was all his own. Not only a graphic style, but also a style of humor that was not seen anywhere. If one were to describe it, it would be as agressive male absurdisme with visual puns. But a better way would be to just say they were laugh out loud funny. His style was never really imitated by anyone, although Don Martin was influenced by Partch and B.C. creator Johnny Hart said Partch influenced him to develop his own style.
The life and art of Virgil Partch (VIP) is captured in a huge new book by historian Jon Barli for Fantagraphics. It is a tell all coffee table book, filled with the best of Partch's work from the forties to the seventies, including many rarities. The book was made with the help of the family and it has lots of originals and private pieces as well. And, as you can see from the cover, it is wonderfully designed.
I have given VIP a lot of attention here and I was sort of working towards a book of my own. But when I saw what Jon was doing, I was happy to contribute to his book, holding back most of my Partch posts until this book came out. One of my major finds is a stash of about 600 unseen Partch cartoons from the forties. It turns out that Partch joined the line-up of regular cartoonists of the liberal New York paper PM. They had a rotating roster of talent, with VIP covering the Sundays (with no paper on Saturday). These cartoons were also syndicated, with the VIP cartoon filling the Saturdays. And some of the papers carrying that version (called Cracked-Ups) are online. After I had a look last year Jon went to the New York Public Library to get real copies from the original source for his book, so I can safely show my poorer scans.