Saturday, June 08, 2024

Hey, JC!

 Saturday Advertising Day.

Ever since I started this blog about 15 years ago, I have included comic style advertisements as they were found in the Sunday comic sections. Along the way, I found that the Johstone and Cushong agancy was one of the largest producers of these ads, employing all sorts of talent. Some one off, some regulars. Tom Heintjes' article in Hogan's Alley (available online) was one of the major steps in finding out more about this legendary agency. Dave O'Dell did some important reserach, as well.

I tried to find out more, but unfortunately all of the artists of the Golden Age of Johstone and Cushing have pasted on. I was able to talk to two of the later talents (Neal Adams and Tom Scheuer/Sawyer) but they both only worked there from the late fifties and had very little to say about their predecessors. 

Lately I have been gathering 'evidence' to do a series of articles (or possibly a book) about the most important of the Johnstone and Cushing regulars. I learned from Doc Vassallo that the best way to learn to identify styles is to look at as much material as possible, preferable chronologically. This is what that looks like. These ads are from a paper that I never had acces to before. There are still some holes, I have to go back and fill.

Pacquins ads are a long runing series, many of which I have shown before (even in color). The flowery style has made me wonder who was the artist on them, sometimes even wondering if Dr. Kildare artist Ken Bald was involved. He had an equally fluid and often very thin line in his drawing and he excelled at pretty women. But looking at the whole lot from the start, it is clear to me that Swedish born artist Gunnar Peterson may have been responsible, certainly at the start. I earlier did a seperate post on these, which has more samples (probably a lot of the same, but from different sources). His trademark style elements are the larger opening panel (which on some ads he painted rather than drew) and the bland Lou Fine-like smile on his women characters.

In the comments, Allan Holtz (he of the unmissable American Newspaper Comics) asked me what I look at to indentify certain artists that have not digned. In many cases, it is a combination of factors, having to do with the faces, the poses, the line quality and the history of a company in combination with other works that are signed. With Gunnar Peterson, I was not even sure where I first found his name, but looking back at previous posts I found that one my my regular visitors called Fortunato had alerted me to him. This led me to a website about American Illustrators, where I immediately recognized his painted style. Also, some of his ads for Colgate were shown as samples of his advertising work. The Colgate ads became the basis to compare his other work to. They used a painted and larger first panel in combination with two tiers of smaller inked panels. This same format was used for some of the Pacquins ads, with a regulary inked panel as the first one. The Colgate ads also show how Peterson used bland smiling faces with perfect teeth for the women, which are completely the same as the smiling faces Lou Fine used in all of his work. But Peterson's men are less slick and manly than Fine's, so that's something to distinguish between them. Also Peterson staging is much more stiff and posed compared to Fine's masterful comic book staging. Once you get a feel for Peterson's staging, it is easy to recognize his work. 

Of course, one of the factors at Johstone and Cushing that makes all of this harder, is the fact that often for various customers, different twams were formed of some of the 'main suspects'. I will say something more about the individual styles of Creig Flessel and Craig Pineo, but Flessel particulary seems to have done more collaborations. These Peterson samples seem to have various inkers and I would not be surprised if Ken Bald did some of the more thinlined ones.

Another regular series was that for Sal Hepatica laxative. It can also be seen on the Johnstone and Cuching publicity ad above. I have always been. I have always been convinced that it was done by Johnstone and Cushing regular Elmer Wexler (who later tought both Neal Adams and Tom Scheuer/Sawyer), based on the similarity to his confirmed series for Gillette razor blades. But going through my files, I found some color ones that look more like Al Avison was invovled (a prolific artist who mainly worked for Harvey Comics) and I even had one that was signed by Johstone and Cushing other regular Creig Flessel (CJ in the last panel). Now I am not sure anymore. They are not by Stan Drake, who did the daily version.
The Purex ads are signed by Pineo, a realistic artist from the early fifties. I did a seperate post on him as well, where I added these two as well. He was one of a few artists to regulary sign his work and I hope to find more of it.
I was alerted to the Kool ads featuring Willie the Penguin by my friend Ken Quattro (The Comics Detective) when he did a post somewhere about the comic book version of this seemingly innocent children's character. The comic books were drawn by Chad Grothkopf, but I don't think the ad were. So the artist remains unknown, although the insidious intention of the cigarette company who prodcued them isn't. You gotta get them hooked young.
The Tiron ads are one of the many series that took a Ripley Believe it or not/Seein' Stars type of format and used it for advertising. I am not sure about the artist. The loose style points to Avison, but I would have to see more to be sure.

The rest is a mix of unknown and known ads.  The Jergens Lotion ad has the diary set-up that Gill Fox used in his Jeanie Sundays around the same time (with the same lettering), but the art does not seem to be his.

The Nescafe ad seems to have been drawn by Stan Randall, who not much later actually took over the Right Around Home newspaper feature which inspired this ad.

The Philip Morris ad is #92 in the long running Lou Fine series.
The artist of this Royal Dessert ad is unknown to me, but I like thse ads that used movies and movie actors as their entry point.
The faces here are clearly by Gill Fox, although the inking style suggest another artist worked on it as well.
Someone should do a complete collections of all Sunday, Daily and comic book Captain Tootsie ads, which was started by C.C. Beck, contunued (probably with him) by Pete Costanza and later made more realistic by Bill Schreiber.


Allan Holtz said...

Hi Ger --
I think something that would be interesting to those of us who wish we could ID these guys is if you could point to certain stylistically unique elements that lead you to make an ID, even if it is not a definite.

I recall hearing from good art IDers that they tend to keep a mental file of how a given artist draws eyes, hands, certain favoured poses, etc. as those things can be real tale-tellers.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Good idea.

Allan Holtz said...

Royal Dessert possibly by Creig Flessel? He popped into my head when I looked at it, anyway. Btw, thanks for pointing out some tips on your art spotting methods. Being a left-brained person, I really benefit from rules for art-spotting, though I know a lot of it is pure gut instinct, like my Flessel ID. I so appreciate artists like George Tuska, who can always be reliably IDed simply by looking at his unique mouths! -- Allan