Friday, April 17, 2009

A Tale of Two Cartoonists by Hugh Turley

Above: ©2001 Skippy, Inc. Joan Crosby Tibbetts

One of the truths of the cartooning business is that you don't get to choose what you'll be remembered for. Your fate is handed, first, to a series of editorial gatekeepers. If you can find someone who likes what you do then maybe jut maybe you'll get a buy. And, second, it's then up to people out there in the real world who consume your work. They will determine if you have value and meaning. They will either give a shrug, or demand more.

"A Tale of Two Cartoonists," is an April 8th column by Hugh Turley, from The Hyattsville Life and Times. The piece recounts the fortunes of two of the best cartoonists in the 20th century: Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and Percy Crosby (SKIPPY).

DC Dave has a link to the article (The Hyattsville Life and Times has no Web presence that I can Google up and may be, apparently, the little newspaper at the end of time.)

Percy Crosby, whose work I personally put at the top of the heaps of great cartoonists, was a huge name in the 1930s. Schulz cited his SKIPPY comic strip as an influence. If you get a chance, please visit, which is run by his daughter, Joan Crosby Tibbetts, President, Skippy, Inc., and Administratrix of the Percy Crosby Estate.

Once you browse the site, you'll see some great cartoon work, as well as the details of Unilever's theft of the character's name; "... they remain willfully blind when it comes to stealing the SKIPPY name and character that Percy Crosby created and made world famous."

SKIPPY didn't play by the rules. SKIPPY shredded hypocrisy with a bit of humor and whimsy, along with Percy Crosby's signature bold pen line. His work resonates, and deserves to be remembered. I'm thankful to Joan, whom I call a dear friend of my family, for showcasing her Father's work on the SKIPPY site.

Thank you, Joan!


Brian Fies said...

Skippy was indeed one of the unjustly forgotten greats, and an inspiration to many that came after it. I'd certainly agree that Crosby deserves a spot in the All-Time Top Ten List. (Unfortunately, my personal version of that list now has about three dozen names on it.)

Mike Lynch said...

SKIPPY is one the best ever.