Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Now A Word From Our Sponsors

Wednesday Advertising Day.

This month I cleaned up I lot of ads I had scanned over the last year. Here they are, with some comments.

I have always been fond of movie ads in comic strip form. This one is not really a strip, but cartoony enough to be included here. It is probably by some illustrator, although there is a vague Johnstone and Cushiness to the lady on the lef.

Parts of these Baker's ads are sufficiently similar to the work of Dik Browne (especially the second one) for me to guess he was at least involved in it. I would be one of his few attempts to draw realitiscally.
The Ben-Gay is best know for it's Jack Betts drawn Peter Pain ads, but apparently they did this type if endorsement ads as well. Or maybe just this one. It is the only one I have ever seen.

I found this Bud Blade drawn ad in a pile of comics that were cut off too much. It seems to have been a trent with certain collectors, sice there are enough of these trimmed strips about to assume it was not just one collector. What is it, an advice in a magazine or a naturally occuring obsession?

I have shown more of these Bromo-Seltzer ads. This one seems like a prime example of Ken Bald's advertising work.

My friend Michael Vassello runs a Facebook group devoted to the New York Sunday News strips and has collected a lot of Craig Fleissel's Eveready ads, which ran from the early forties until the late fifties - probably the longest running ad series ever (Camels had ads for just as long, but changed formats towards the end). As far as I can see there was a new one every two weeks, so he may have done over 400 of them. I have shown a lot of those here, but never collected them in one place (except the raw scans on my computer). The advantage of a facebook group is that Michael was able to put his together in one 'album'. The disadvantage is that he can't put long rambling comments with them, like I can.
 As this magazine version shows, even the Eveready ads were sometime recut and used in magazines.
 And here is an early pulp illustration by Fleissel, from The Hooded Detective in January 1942. In the same issue, there was another illustration by another Johnstone & Cushing regular. You find it further on.

This is as close as a comedy housestyle Johnstone and Cushing ever developed, Signed by Roland Coe, you can see traces of Coe himself, Dik Browne's kids faces, Haenigen's simplicity, Gil Fox's slickness and probably more.

This is as good as that style got, probably by Dik Browne and Gill Fox.

The cold demons were another Sunday page regular. I can't pinpoint the artist, but the bottom tier of the second one seems to be Dik Browne on his own. Withou Gill Fox, his work was always a bit more friendly.

Jack Betts' other account, Neddy Nestlé ran from just before the end of WWII to the mid fifties, when Betts disappeared (quite literally, leaving no trace). This is pure Betts - and he was even allowed to sign it in the last panel.

After his disappearance a couple of Neddy Nestlé were done by other Johnstone and Cushing artists. In 1958, the Nestlé company asked Al Capp to make his own version and this is what he (and his studio) came up with.

Yer basic American realism, as could have been done by a number of artists. The face of the kid in the first panel is quite unique and special, though.

The P.F. ads were a staple of comic books and the Boy's Life magazine for scouts, but like other ad series (The Pepsi Cop Biys come to mind) they were published in newspapers as well. For a long time I though Mad's Will Elder moght have been involved, but he never did advertising (nor had the time). Someone told me this is the work of the stilistic chameleon Al Plastino - who also drew the Archie comic strip in the early sixties, the Superman meets Kennedy story for DC in 1964 and a year of (unpublished) Peanuts for the syndicate (who wanted to show Charles Schulz they didn't need it). Plastino also took over the Hap Hopper strip form Jack Sparling between 1944 and 1948 and started at DC after that. If this ad is his work is his, he may have also done True Comics' Jack Armstrong between 1947 and 1949.

Did I show this before? One of the best drawn ad series by an artist I can't really place.

Another realitically drawn ad series by an unknown artist. More demons, which were probably very popular with ad agencies.

In the early sixties comic strip ads had all but disappeared. The Johnstone and Cushing comapny trew in the towel. One of the only artists still doing them was Mel Casson, who had a whole range of clients.

The Post cereal company had a lot of different series of ads made for them for various products. This late fifties series tried to appeal with Trailer Chique.

I have shown a lot of Lou Fine ads and written about them. In the late forties Fine started his own ad agancy together with Lou Komisarov and they did a lot of very slick and very appealing ads for several products. This is one of their signature series. For as far as I can see it was produced once every two weeks, like a lot of ad series in the late forties and early sixties. One of these days I am going to put them all together and see what I do and do not have.

This may be by the same artist as Post's Trailer Twins. Some very lively images here.

The Smith Brothers' series establishes a clear link between the work of Dik Browne, Gill Fox and Bill Williams. Each of them signed some of these Folks Nex Door. This later one is by Bill Williams.

Another late ad, by Mort Walker. This appeared about a year after he started Boner's Ark as Addison. But here he was allowed to sign the comical animals in his own name.

This ad is from 1962 and the kids on the right suggest to me it was by Mel Casson as well.

I always thought the Uguentine ad series (which used a corner of the space left over by Pepto-Bismol was started by Dik Browne (since all of my samples were by him). But here he takes over after the first two.
I have shown many of these Trouble Twins strips and told the anecdote hoe this strip git him the Hi and Lois account. Click te link to see them.

Another long running series, which was used in a Johnstone and Cushing ad suggesting the artist we see here is Elmer Wexler. Wexler was a long standing employee of Johnstone and CUshing and influenced many after him, including Neal Adams and Tom Schreuer/Sawyer.

And here is that second pulp illustration I promised, by Wexler.

So when Dik Browne left J&C to do Hi and Lois, his palce in The Trouble Twins was atlen over by Bill Williams. You can see it in the mother in the last panel.
Endorsement was always big in comcis. Camels made a feature of it, but other companies dabbled in FFR (Fanous Face Recognition) as well. For a long time I suspected Stan Drake's involvement in this, but lately I am not so sure.

Another stale of advertising - using cartoons by famous (or at least familiar) cartoonists. In the forties this was a huge trend, especially in magazines. It spread to newspapers as well, but mostly in black and white daily edition. Wildroot used Reamer Keller on a more regular basis for ads like these.


comicstripfan said...

Ger: your appreciation of, and extensive work in, the history of comic art as it relates to American newspaper advertising gives an interesting perspective which appears to be only rarely dealt with elsewhere (correct me if I’m wrong but I can only think of Tom Heintjes’ article in Hogan’s Alley, and it just deals with a history of Johnstone and Cushing). Since advertising work was significant for many comic book and comic strip artists and is therefore, one would think, necessary to examine in order to properly understand and evaluate their body of work and the subject of comic art generally, it’s puzzling why there seems to be a dearth of studies such as yours.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

And indeed I would jump at the chance to do a book - if only because it would give me an excuse to go and find out if any of the companies or agencies involved still have record.