Thursday, December 13, 2018

RIGHT AROUND HOME by Dudley Fisher

If you had a big hardcover dictionary of cartoonists by state, then Ohio would be the thickest chapter. So many great cartoonists came from the Buckeye State. The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum has compiled a list of names with strong ties to Ohio that includes James Thurber, Milton Caniff, Bill Watterson, John "Derf" Backderf, Matt Bors, Jim Borgman, Edwina Dumm, Billy DeBeck, Cathy Guisewite, Richard Outcault, one of the co-creators of Superman, and more here. 

The Washington Post's Michael Cavna asks "Wait — just how did Ohio become the cradle of great cartoonists?"

From the article:
"'As a cartoonist, your job is basically to sit alone in your room, drawing on a never-ending deadline,' [Bill] Watterson, who grew up in Chagrin Falls, tells Comic Riffs. 'For that kind of work, it helps to grow up with sober Midwestern values and to live someplace without a lot of exciting diversions.'

"'Cleveland is especially good,' the “Calvin and Hobbes” creator notes, 'because it has eight months of cloud cover and snow.'"

Well, who am I to argue with Bill Watterson?

Today I want to talk about another great Ohio cartoonist: Dudley Fisher. Born in Columbus, OH in 1890 and schooled in the same town at OSU. It was in his sophomore year, during the mid-year break, that he visited some friends who were working at The Columbus Dispatch. There was a job opening, and so he began doing layout for the newspaper. This was a lot better than his previous job of working in a pool hall during the evenings. It would change his mind about his architect career. He worked at the paper and enjoyed it.

He participated in The Great War, and upon returning to Columbus in 1919, continued at The Dispatch. Mentored by renowned Dispatch editorial cartoonist Billy Ireland, he became known for a feature titled Jolly Jingles. He also drew an occasional Sunday, Skylarks, that incorporated an aerial view. In early 1938, he began Right Around Home and it was an immediate hit.

The feature took advantage of the size of the page, and it was a sweet look into an innocent, small town America. King Features took notice, and quickly syndicated it nationally. 

From Hogan's Alley's The View from On High: Dudley Fisher’s “Right Around Home” by Jonathan Barli:

"The drawing style of Right Around Home evolved from a variation of Ireland’s into one that would influence future generations of cartoonists. The compositions of the strip were concerned with surveying the ground, not with breaking ground. Large, single-panel cartoons went back to the early days of newspaper comics: the Yellow Kid, Jimmy Swinnerton’s Mount Ararat and crowded genre scenes by Walt McDougall, to name a few ....

"Just as Gasoline Alley, week after week, depicted the passage of time, so too did Right Around Home, making note of seasonal changes throughout each year, announcing 'Signs of Spring' and 'Autumn Leaves,' and marking Halloween, 'Thanksgiving at Grandma’s' and 'Christmas shopping.' Right Around Home’s thematic concerns are rarely concerning: whether it’s neighborhood picnics, screening home movies, going sledding, waffle parties, gathering around a radio mystery or automobile problems like tire blowouts and fender-benders, everyone in the neighborhood is there; even if they are dragged out by a spouse.

The feature diminished in size as all newspaper strips did beginning during WWII. This reduced its impact. Fisher died in 1951. His assistant, Bob Vittur, continued the strip, along with the assist of Stan Randal, until the end of its run in 1965.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

BEN AND PAL by Cynthia Dee Buchanan

Here's BEN AND PAL, which is Sullivan Storybook 2B by Cynthia Dee Buchanan. It's copyright 1966 by McGraw Hill.

Ben is the kid on the cover and Pal is his dog. They have three adventures in this "Sullivan Associates Reader." What caught my eye was "The Man in Red." There is a previous story in which we see Ben draw with a crowquill dip pen. A kid drawing using a bottle of ink is not something I am used to seeing in ANY kids book and it sure reminded me of trying to master a dip pen when I was in junior high. Anyway, so the set up here is that the kid drew a man in red ink, along with drawing a chicken and then took a nap. This is the story of what happens next.

There is no artist credit here, and I suspect that Ms. Buchanan was not the artist. I figure it was given to the McGraw Hill art department. Whoever drew this, they sure knew how to draw in adventure comic strip style/superhero comic book style. I have no guess as to who it is.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Winter and Holiday Gag Cartoons 1939 - 1955

It's getting to be a winter wonderland out there and White Christmas ain't gonna be just a song for us this year. This is a good time to ask Dick Buchanan to share his gag cartoons with us from the golden age of magazine cartooning. Well, any time is a good time, really. Now, a couple of these are a bit small, but you know what to do: right-click and open 'em in a new tab to enlarge them.

Thanks and take it away, Dick!



(1939 – 1955)

In the mid-century Cartoon World December meant just three things: Snow, Santa Claus and shopping. But to be for fair, shopping is a year-round laugh fest. With that in mind, here is the Cartoon Clip File’s 3rd annual Winter & Holiday Gag Cartoon treasury . . .

1. WILL JOHNSON. The Saturday Evening Post December 7, 1946.

2. CHON DAY. Collier’s December 3, 1949.

3. MELL LAZARUS. Here! November, 1951.

4. BARNEY TOBEY. Collier’s December 24, 1949.

5. DON TOBIN, The Saturday Evening Post February 20, 1954

6. GEORGE HAMILTON GREEN. Collier’s December 23, 1950.

7. HELEN HOKINSON. Collier’s December 16, 1939.

8. HARRY MACE. Collier’s January 7, 1955.

9. GEORGE RECKAS. The Saturday Evening Post December 25, 1948.

10. HENRY SYVERSON. The Saturday Evening Post December 10, 1955.

11. NED HILTON. Collier’s December 10, 1949.

12. BILL KING. The Saturday Evening Post December 7, 1946.

13. JERRY MARCUS. Collier’s December 24, 1949.

14. JEFF KEATE. Collier’s December 18, 1948.

15. DON TOBIN. The Saturday Evening Post December 25, 1948

16. GUSTAV LUNDBERG. Collier’s December 10, 1949.

17. IRWIN CAPLAN. Collier’s December 18, 1948.

You want more holiday and winter-themed cartoons? You pig! OK, OK. Here you are collections of Dick Buchanan's cartoons from the past couple of years. Remember to thank him!

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Holiday and Winter Cartoons 1948 - 1960

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