Saturday, March 30, 2024

Can Ya See?

Saturday Leftover Day. 

I won't say I am a huge fan of Mal Eaton's work, but it has always stood out to me a the work of a very capable and funny artist. He is best known for the Peter Piltdown series he did for The New York Herald Tribune in the thorties and forties. Of course, many people will know he did a less adventurous version of this kid caveman strip in Boy's Life in the late fifties, called Rocky Stoneaxe. But did we know he started out doing caricatures from the first Life magazine (when it was still a cartoon magazine between the eighteen eighties to the nineteen thirties)? Well, if you didn't, you are excused, because he has no wikipedia page and others (like his Lambiek page and the wonderful write-up on Eaton's artistry with lots of original art on Inkslinger: only mention Peter Piltdown. So I went to my back-up drive and found some of his other stuff, if onoy to put the record straight.

Someone told me you can look at (and download) almost all the issues of Life between 1880 and 1940 somewhere on the internet. Leaving through 1922 and 1924 (looking for some other stuff) I came across these three caricatures Eaton did, recognizele from the style, but mostly from his unique signature.

After that, I have two samples of Peter Piltdown. As you can see, he started out quite tame, but in the forties, he really began to experiment with his storytelling. The second one is a photo from the 14 tearsheets I am currently selling on Ebay (cheaply). I guess I didn't bother to properly scan them, but maybe I should. Upon reflection, they are quite good.

After that I have a Rocky Stoneaxe. I actually have a huge stack of Boy's Life issues, which should get around to listing and selling sometime as well. I like this style less and it may have been a reason I didn't appreciate or scan the earlier Piltdowns.

In the mid forties Eaton also did a lot of other work. He was one of the many artists who drew for the Pepsi-Cola ads after Rube Goldberg left and before they ended up being handled by Stan Randell.

But most interestingly, he did a few one tier filler strips for the Herarld Tribune that I also failed to scan. I found one original online and as soon as I have found the the one or two in my collection, I will add them.

No comments: