I COULD BE DREAMING is a collection of single panel gag cartoons by Chon Day, copyright 1945 by Robert M. McBride and Co. The dedication reads:
TO CLIN, CHIP AND STEPHEN WHO "WANT TO BE CARTOONISTS LIKE DADDY, SO WE WON'T HAVE TO WORK"
Chon Day should be studied in fine halls of cartoony learning. Above is a great example of a how by adding one little element (an element that took me a few seconds to see) changes what may happen next, throwing the whole cartoon into a hostile and funny light.
A lot of my favorite cartoons are about "the moment just before all hell breaks loose." I love the resigned look on the parents' faces as they prepare to passively face the inevitable.
Above: this would not get published today. I thought it was really funny. You can certainly imagine this as drawn by Addams.
Day's people are anti-establishment, and some then have had enough and are ready to fight back -- whether with guns or little signs on the solar plexus.
"Keep an eye on him -- I think he's got a frock full of snowballs."
Shades of Brother Sebastian, nine years before his initial appearance in the Saturday Evening Post!
Above: one's feverish imagination works overtime to imagine what the above couple is doing Saturdays.
"One more thing -- keep out of the way of his right and his left."
Above: the wordless gag is the hardest to do. Here's another Chon Day character who is at the breaking point -- for what reason we do not know. Her taking taking solace in a good, big swig made me laugh out loud. I can see this running today as a comment on the cost of the war.
I like Day's minimalism. In the background, you can really only make out 2 faces, the rest are curved lines. An economical and effective choice to show a stadium full of spectators.
Above: another cartoon that would fluster a nervous editor. And another cartoon that you can imagine Addams drawing. What are they going to do with this pet???
"I want to buy a doll that doesn't do anything."
Chon Day's characters have had enough, and they want some peace, thank you very much.
Mr. Day is one of those people who just draws the outline of the pants and the shoe. Another cartoonist who draws like that: Sergio Aragones.
Just like the couple who has those Saturday nights where you can only imagine what happens, you have to provide the b-word here. Mr. Day knows you know it.
Again, the economy of a few wavy lines give us the flood, which is half-way up the cartoon's composition. High time to turn the darn water off, you stupid plumber you. (Note to the Robert M. McBride proofreader: it's "your" not "you're.")
The above cartoon reminds me that there is legislation pending in Maine to disallow kids from buying energy drinks.
From the book jacket:
"This is the first collection in book form of the cartoons of one of America's favorite humorists -- the impish maestro whose pictures of human folly range with high gusto over a such a wide variety of subjects. In The New Yorker, Collier's, The Saturday Evening Post and other magazines he has made his gay and impudent reputation as indispensable performer for the sophisticates of mockery. They never know what tricks he will be up to next, and he never fails to surprise. Laughter flows like champagne from his bright pen as he moves from absurdity to fantasy and from nonsense to satire. He is expert in his deflation of pomposity and he takes mischievous delight in sending his astonished characters tumbling head over heels down the toboggan slide that leads so swiftly from the sublime to the ridiculous."
-- This has been an edited version of a 2/24/08 blog entry.