Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Style Du Jour
The editor of the Lebanon Times liked to buy new features. All through the run of the paper, you see weird and rare strips pop up, often to be scrapped after a year or so. In 1957 they were running Art Gates Service Smiles, some of which I have shown before. Art Gates was a journeyman artist, who moved from a Rip Kirby influenced realistic style to his more natural cartoon style, with a little bit of Li'l Abner in between. He also worked on the Mad magazine imitation Crazy, where he may even have subcontracted a whole issue. In the early sixties he ran a gag strip and panel service that had it's own newsletter. Then, in NOvember, they ad another panel, which I had never seen before. It is called The Muffins and is one of George Crenshaw's earliest efforts at creating a series of his own, after a succesful career as a magazine cartoonist all through the fifties. He did hit paydirt until later with the strip Nubbin, about a country boy. In 1962 he created a panel called Belvedere, about a very stylish dog. Crenshaws style was a bit like that of Hank Ketcham, which shows best here in his very Dennis the Menace like panel and in his magazine work just before that. In the late fifties, that's the style that newspapers wanted and Crenshaw delivered. Like Ketcham, he had started at Disney in the late thirties and early forties. They may even have know each other although nothing is known about that (or about Crenshaw ever ghosting for Ketcham). On Belvedere, Crenshaw's style is more like that of Henry Boltinoff, who incidentally, took over Nubbin, when the double workload became too much for Crenshaw (or the succes of Belvedere big enough).