Monday, January 06, 2020

Using The Force

Somewhere on this blog is the one single issue I have or The American Air Force Features Sunday paper, that was inserted in some military camp newspapers between 1955 and at least 1966. it is particulary remarkable, because of the many known artists that worked for it, including Jack Cole on a totally unknown strip. A couple of years ago, I found an online source that has many of these sections, missing only a few whole years in the beginning and most at the end. I actually never knew it ran for so long, until I found a spanish seller offering two of the later ones for far too much money. I agreed with another Jack Cole collector ro keep the site a secret until he could wirte about it, but it appears that he no longer has any attention to do so. Still, I am keeping Jack Cole out of it for now. I have downloaded all of the available material and will share some of the other finds here and there.

This time, it's a varied offering. The Cartoon Parade consisted of a selection of cartoons with an military subject. The first few seem to have been suggested by actual G.I.'s sending in jokes, but the later ones may have dropped this practice. I have added some comentary, to note some of the known artists contributing.

Fred Balk was a little known cartoonist, whose work does sometimes appears in the late forties and fifties, but not enough to say he could have made a living out of it. Here is the original for a cartoon he did for True in 1951. He may have gone into political cartooning.

I do not know Marty Low and could not find any other work by him.

I know Fred Levinson from his appearances in 1000 Jokes in the mid fifties. Mike Lynch mentions him here:

All of these are drawn badly enough to be by the actual service men themselves.

Same for the first three, but the tier underneath looks to be by Jack O'Brien. O'Briend was a prolific cartoonist, who actually started in the army in WWII. He specilized in cheap and easy cartoons. I became interested in his work, when I wrote my book on Mad magazine imitations (Behaving Badly, get yours by clicking on the banner on the right). While working for Charlton in the late fifties, he was assigned to put together a couple of issues of their Mad magazine imitation Crazy. Some issues, he just drew everything himself, but he hired a young college graduate called Tony Crouch for some of the later issues. I was lucky enough to correspond with Mr. Crouch before he passed away a couple of years ago.

This one, I am not so sure if the drawings are by the servicemen credited.

Here we see O'Brien signing with his rank. I don't think he was in the army still, although he could have been.

The lower tier looks like the work of Herb Rokoff, another of the regulars here. He started out as a cartoonist and went on to become an important editor at Ziff-Davis. He was interviewed by Jim Amash in Alter Ego #42 and his obituary can be found here: Rogoff also may have been a link between this Sunday newspaper and some of the other artists working here. That is all my congesture, but he knew (and worked with) many of them. Maybe he was eve involved with getting the whole this together?

The third gag seems like a quick job by Vic Martin, another AAFF regular.

Maybe some of these (the one on the left and the right) are by the actual submitters.

I would say that the ones that have an actual autograph instead of a printed name, are more likely to be by the submitter.

Most of these have O'Brien's inkline.

Some nice cartooning on the first one. Sadly, I can't make out the name.

The Thomas Oglesby gag is drawn too well to be from an unknown.

The most exciting name of the lot. Unfortunately it's Sgt. Mort Kurtzman, not Harvey. He (or a relative) may actually be around and recognize the name. If so, please contact me below.

Captain Robert Rafferty has a pleasant style (if he did it himself).

The two panel gag looks to be by a AAFF regular again.

If that first gag on the last page isn't drawn by Vic Martin, I'll eat my cap.

There are very few returning gagsters, but Robert Rafferty really kept going.

I am guessing Sgt. E. Machamer has nothing to do with the cartoonist of the same name.

The first time I see a double signature: Winick and Sgt. Lee Taylor. I am guessing Winick is not Leon Winik, the mid fifties newspaper and comic book artist.

Winick and Taylor again.

Lee tayler and Winick and Robert Rafferty!

Some strong Vic Martin vibes on the top right gag.

"must be all by the same artist," I though before noticing the banner.

Robert Rafferty is still at it.

G. K. Lindquist is a regular too.

And here he even gets to use his own name in the caption.

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