Tuesday, February 26, 2008


"When I finished the book you are holding in your hands, my sides literally ached," writes Clyde Carley, Cartoon Editor of TRUE, "the Man's Magazine." this paperback collection, a Gold Medal Original from Fawcett Publications is copyright 1952 by Fawcett. Above: a cartoon by Virgil Partch, nicknamed "VIP." The man is being mean to the lady, but it's OK: they're 1950s cartoon characters.

Kirk Stiles draws the above cartoon with his usual breezy line. I like how the secretary, who powers over her boss, is leaning in to him, obviously up for anything.

The one and only Hank Ketcham, whose pen line and composition were impeccable, provides this cartoon. Just take a look at the crowd scene: is that Lucy Van Pelt in her witch outfit?

Another cartoon by VIP. It took me a minute to see the gag here. And it took me about 30 seconds of looking around at the cartoon to see VIP's signature.

Above: veteran gag cartoonist Dick Cavalli gives us a woman who is shady. It's the décolletage, the frilly flounce at the bottom of the gown, and that long cigarette holder working together to tell us very quickly what we need to know: she is no Sunday School teacher.

Hank Ketcham with another one. The guy with his hat in his hand reminds me of a middle-aged Mr. Wilson.

Above: another example of TRUE's branding. The men in the cartoon by Reamer Keller are the ones who read TRUE; the guy who's self-consciously obsessing about personal hygiene is not who they are.

Above: More VIP. He was, arguably, the cartoonist that was identified with TRUE during its heyday. The forced perspective here really works well. And look at the economy: 7 figures in total, no background, no bases, no stadium -- a lot of stuff that he did not draw. But it still READS as a ball field.

Gardner Rea, a master of line and boiling down characters to their minimum, gives us a racy caveboy gag.

Above: one of my favorite drawings in the collection by (who else?) VIP. For as much detail that he left out of the baseball gag, here is lots of detail of the destructive wake of the waterspout.

VIP with a honey of an overhead shot of a desert island and, below, a 7 panel silent gag. Click to supersize. I love the guy's sneering lip! With ugly, mean guys like this, it's no wonder VIP never sold to The New Yorker!  EDIT: WHOOPS! He did sell to the NYer. Mea culpa!


Mark Anderson said...

I just picked up a bunch of VIP that I need to get scanning. And that Ketcham... WOW! Seriously, having nothing but Ketcham gag cartoons you could learn to be an awesome cartoonist.

Mike Lynch said...

Ketcham was a master. Marcus Hamilton, who now draws the Dennis the Menace daily, has talked about what a perfectionist the guy was.