Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Three Cartoon Worlds of Eldon Pletcher

I got a note in last month from Eldon Pletcher:

"My friend Dave Carpenter has told me of your conversation, in which you expressed an interest in possibly doing a blog on me ... going from editorial cartooning to 'gag' cartooning. While I haven't felt there was anything special in doing both types, if you would like to do a blog on the subject, it's OK with me."
So it is written, so shall it be blogged!
Cartoonist Eldon Pletcher was born in Goshen, Indiana on September 10, 1922. After his first year at the Chicago Academy of Art, he went overseas, to serve in World War 2.

Like a lot of cartoonists, he started by drawing some gag cartoons, which are reproduced here. But he didn't have to buy his art supplies. Art supplies found him. Here's Pletch:

"I was in Germany when World War 2 ended. At that time I found some art materials at a bombed out artists supply store and started sending some cartoons to the Continental edition of Yank magazine, published in Paris. It was some early efforts in 'gag' cartooning. 

"I've enclosed a few of those they used while I was in Germany and while at the University of Aberdeen, in Scotland, while waiting for the number of 'points' I had (the Army had a point system in determining the order of when troops came home) to be enough to get me home."

When he got back to the States, Pletch attended the John Herron Art School in Indianapolis. He married Barbara Jeanne Jones in 1948. By the next year, he was the editorial cartoonist for the Sioux City Journal, a position he held for seventeen years.

The family moved to New Orleans in 1966, where he drew the editorial cartoons for the New Orleans Times Picayune for the next 19 years. Here is a selection of his editorial cartoons that he passed along for me to share:

There's Kennedy ...

The more things change, the more they stay the same. There's Romney, Sr. in the line up!

The pendulum swings back and forth.

Remember Billy Beer?

Dick Nixon piloting the capsule? Now that's a NASA disaster waitin' to happen!

So, from gag cartoonist to editorial cartoonist and now ... back to gag cartoonist. Award winning cartoonist Eldon Pletcher continues to cartoon. Here are a few recent ones.

Thanks for sending these along, Eldon. I loved the story of finding those art supplies in the rubble of post-war Germany. Keep toonin'!

Hat tip to the Wichita State University Library for the biographical info.

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