Wednesday, September 20, 2017

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Magazine Cartoons from Life and Judge 1931 - 38

Here is another trip down retro gag cartoon lane with my friend Dick Buchanan and his massive collection of great, funny, sometimes moldy-oldy gag cartoons. 

Here's Dick:


The great humor magazines Life and Judge originated in the 1880’s, but by the 1920’s they were in decline. When The New Yorker debuted in 1925 their fate was sealed. To paraphrase humorist Fred Allen, “they were on a treadmill to oblivion.” Life Magazine went from a weekly to a monthly and ceased publication in 1936. Judge managed to stay afloat until 1947, albeit as a risqué cartoon joke magazine.

During the 1930’s Life & Judge published the work of several talented young cartoonists would become key members of the New Yorker stable. Perry Barlow and Richard Decker were frequent Life cover artists. Ned Hilton, Otto Soglow and Chon Day contributed Judge covers. Barbara Shermund’s work appeared in both magazines.

The gags haven’t aged well. Some were already old. But much of the artwork stands the test of time, to be sure.

Here are a few cartoons from Life and Judge magazines.

1. RICHARD DECKER. Decker usually had couple cartoons in each issue. Life August 1935.

2. PERRY BARLOW. A Life favorite and frequent cover artist. Life July 1935.

3. FRANK BEAVEN. Beaven has been described as an occasional contributor to many magazines but a regular in none. Judge January 1937.

4. CHON DAY. Different style by Chon Day. His cartoons appeared in both Life and Judge in the 1930’s. He did a Judge cover in 1938. Life. May 1934.

5. OTTO SOGLOW. Soglow also with different style. Judge January 24, 1931.

6. ED GRAHAM. Early appearance of a gag which would crop up over and over for decades. Life September 11,1931.

7. MISCHA RICHTER. Richter’s first New Yorker cartoon did not appear until 1942. Judge May, 1938.

8. NED HILTON. Another Life regular and frequent cover artist. Life September, 1935.

9. LARRY REYNOLDS. Life July, 1934.

10. DOROTHY McKAY. McKay was a fine New Yorker and Esquire cartoonist, illustrator and painter. Life July, 1935.

11. BEN ROTH. Ben Roth was the eldest of the four cartooning Roth brothers. Judge June, 1937.

12. ADOLPH SCHUS. Life May, 1934.

13. RICHARD DECKER. After Decker settled in with The New Yorker most of his outside work was in the advertising realm, most notably his long running Philadelphia Bulletin campaign. Life August, 1935.

14. ROBERT DAY. Life July,1935.

15. Dr. SEUSS. Theodor Geisel’s familiar Dr. Seuss creatures first appeared in Life but this one is from Judge January, 1937.

Dick Buchanan Clip File
Greenwich Village, NY

More the incredible collection of Dick Buchanan here:

From the Dick Buchanan Files: June 1953 Cartoonist's Market Newsletter
Dick Buchanan's Cartoon File: More Mid-Century Gag Cartoons 1946 - 1964

Dick Buchanan's Cartoon File: Color Gag Cartoons 1946 - 1956

Dick Buchanan's Cartoon Files: Cops and Robbers Gag Cartoons 1945 - 1968

Dick Buchanan's Cartoon Files: Gahan Wilson: Early Gag Cartoons 1954 - 1964

Dick Buchanan's Cartoon File: Inkyfellers' Gagzette

Dick Buchanan's Cartoon File: The Years of Al Ross - 1947 – 1968

Dick Buchanan's Cartoon Files: New Yorker Cartoonists Abroad 1966-1968

Dick Buchanan's Cartoon File: 1945 - 1962

From the Dick Buchanan Files: "How I Create Humor" from 1950s - 60s Gag Cartoon Insider Journal "The Information Guide"

Dick Buchanan's Cartoon File: 1950s Color Magazine Gag Cartoons

Dick Buchanan's Cartoon File: Funny Vintage Magazine Gag Cartoons 1946 - 1963

Dick Buchanan's Cartoon File: Wordless Gag Cartoons 1944-1964

1953 George Booth Drawings for American Legion Magazine

Dick Buchanan: Winter/Christmas/Holiday Gag Cartoons 1940s-60s

Dick Buchanan: Some PUNCH Magazine Cartoons 1948-1963

Dick Buchanan: Gag Cartoon Clip File 1946-64

Dick Buchanan: Gag Cartoon Clip File 1947-62

Dick Buchanan: Some Favorite Magazine Gag Cartoons 1940-60s

Dick Buchanan: Gag Cartoon Clip File 1931-64

1 comment:

docnad said...

Well, I for one think these gags have aged pretty well. Certainly the Perry Barlow and Dorothy McKay cartoons are as good as New Yorker material from that time. Richard Decker and Robert Day are already in great form. The Ben Roth and Ned Hilton cartoons work for me.

Certainly the times and the fashions have changed. Note that Ed Graham's newsstand worker is wearing a bow tie!

The style of young Mischa Richter seems to have been influenced by Syd Hoff.