Friday, April 24, 2009


Here are just a few cartoons from THE BEST CARTOONS OF THE YEAR 1958 edited by Lawrence Lariar and copyright that same year by him.

Below: Al Kaufman's line is precise and to the point. It took me a few seconds, but by his use of blackspotting, I figured out the gag. I always like these "the moment before chaos" sort of gags.


The one and only Orlando Busino's take on those ubiquitous "Think" signs. The look on the guys face, his hand casually in his pocket as he effortlessly tosses the sign makes this one a bullseye.


I believe this is the work of cartoonist Ken Montone. Look at how he handles time. Specifically, in the second panel, the recognition of what's happened vis the girl's bikini really has not set in on the boys' faces. That's how quickly this has occurred.


Monroe Leung gives us a shocking moment when an innocent boy scout has his traditional values sullied by a member of The Greatest Generation.



Jack Markow, who reminds us that back in 1958 the important thing to a woman was that her hat was one of a kind.


George Wolfe has a gag that relies on you, the reader, knowing about clotheslines of this era. I wonder if, in a few years, when more people realize their dryer is the most energy-sucking home appliance, that hanging up wash will be more status quo -- and this gag will again become cutting edge.



Al Ross gives us a creepy, almost Addams-ish, psychiatry gag. I love how sketchy the cartoon is.


Virgil VIP Partch always delivered a good punch line.


Ton Smits is a cartoonist who deserves to be better known in the USA. There is always a philosophic layer to his work.



Ned Hilton -- another cartoonist with a clear precise line that easily denotes mass and form -- shows us a good gag, and an idea that might really come in handy.



Bob Tupper with a gag that took me a couple of seconds, with my eyes roaming around the drawing, to get the gag.


And, last, another great multi-panel Partch cartoon. Somehow, Partch's characters can be dreadful and horrible, but they are still very, very funny.



All of these cartoons have one thing in common: no gag line. All are visual jokes, and most are technically wordless. Wordless gags are, I believe, the toughest to create, if you are a cartoonist. So, I appreciate all of these more than the ones with words, you bet.


A hat tip to my pal, cartoonist John Klossner, who loaned me his copy of the BEST CARTOONS OF 1958. Thanks, John!


swanie said...

mike, thanks for sharing ... these are wonderful ... i have a hard time picking a favorite ... i think it's a toss up between the boy scout helping the thirsty lady and the tossed bikini-clad(less) lady.

the formats are big ... what a luxury they had back then.

Nick Fechter said...

Wow, such great cartoons, and not an instance of dialogue used in any of them. Very impressive.