Wednesday, September 30, 2015

THIS IS THE LIFE! by Walt McDougall

Above: "Old Mr. Profanity Makes a New Year's Resolution" by Walt McDougall (1903), nicked from the Billy Ireland blog. 

Cartoonist Walt McDougall (1858 - 1938) "practically invented [comic strips] in the 1890s" according to comic strip historian Allan Holtz. He worked at the magazines like Puck and Harper's Weekly, as well as the New York Graphic and then he New York World. When the very first comic strip was ever published in color, it was drawn by McDougall. There was a time when he was drawing six comis strips a week. He may be best known for a newspaper comic strip of L. Frank Baum's "Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz" which was reprinted by Sunday Press Books. 

Here's Mr. Holtz:

"It has long been my belief that the most important and interesting cartoonist memoir ever published is that of Walt McDougall. Titled 'THIS IS THE LIFE,' it was published in 1926 by Knopf, at a time when McDougall was struggling to find work in a profession that he had practically invented in the 1890s. Though the occasional touch of bitterness shows through in the book, as is to be expected, McDougall in the main does a wonderful job of giving readers an exciting and insightful look at the early years of the newspaper cartooning profession -- a profession in which he had a key role over and over again.

Allan has found THIS IS THE LIFE! online and is now indexing it, chapter by chapter, at his Stripper's Guide blog. So far, he has the preamble and part one of Chapter One. There are 330 pages, so it's a slow process. He is doing all of us a public service by showcasing this book on the seminal years of newspaper comics and the people who drew them. 

Above: “Familiar Sights of a Great City—No. 1 The Cop is Coming!” by Walt McDougall, New York Journal, Sunday, January 9, 1898.

My thanks to Mr. Holtz for this undertaking!

Video: Ben Katchor July 21, 2015

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Video: Jim Henson's Muppets in Wilkins Coffee Commercials 1957-1961

Early Muppet Commercials by Jim Henson

Stephan Pastis: 2015 National Book Festival

Michael Cavna interviews "Pearls Before Swine" cartoonist Stephan Pastis at the 2015 Library of Congress National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. This runs an hour and 11 minutes.

Monday, September 28, 2015


Here are some CARTOON CLASSICS FROM MEDICAL ECONOMICS. This is a hardcover collection of gag cartoons from the Medical Economics magazine, copyright 1963 by the Medical Economics Book Division, Inc. of Oradell, NJ.

Above: Jack Markow is the cartoonist and this is one of my favorite cartoons of his. This may be one of his most reprinted cartoons. Mr. Markow was a prolific gag cartoonist who wrote a series of "how to cartoon" books throughout the 1960s and 70s. Every cartoonist I know had one of Mr. Markow's books!

You know it's coming, but the gag is classic.

Look at that. An office without a computer. Or any files.

Joe Farris, the one and only. Those sly looks on the kids' and moms' faces have me feeling a little uncomfortable.

Above: Al Kaufman, one of the greats. This made me laugh out loud. What a gleeful look on that kid's face!

Sid Hoff using his dry brush on pebble board technique. A creaky gag, but an idea I still see published from time to time.

Tom Hudson with a sorry little kid.

I can't make out the signature, but I think maybe, probably it's Shirvanian. This is fun and probably a true life event!

KAZ, who is alive and well and living in Connecticut, with a racy one.

And the last one for now is this wordless gag by the late, great Charlie Rodriguez. It took me a couple of seconds to see what's going on ....

-- Edited from a blog entry that originally appeared March 11, 2009.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Saturday Evening Post, January 3, 1959

The first Saturday Evening Post of 1959 gives us an ice skating gag. "Artist Alajalov, who depicts the Wollman Rink in New York's Central Park (give or take a few details), could never make ice skates behave, but he was a whiz on roller skates," reveals an interior blurb.

So nice to see an actual gag on the cover; especially a racy Moms-I'd-Like-to-Double-Lutz sorta gag. Let's take a look at the interior gag cartoons.
Ted Key gives us a great gag. Bounce! Bounce! Bounce! Big Brother Boss is watching you!

Vahan Shirvanian sold to top markets like Reader's Digest all his productive life. This same year, 1959, he won the National Cartoonists Society Gag Cartoon Division Award.

It's New Year's and it's 1959. Drunks were fodder for humor back then. This was, after all, the era of Thirsty Thurston!

Al Johns gives us an Inuit (they used to be called "Eskimo") gag that is becoming less funny what with the ol' globe warming up and all.

Above: some things change, some don't.

Above: a wordless cartoon that still works. Although in-line skates are the way most go today, the design of the sleigh is unchanged.

Barney Tobey is a master of the inky wash. Look at those breezy lines!

Dahl shows, without using any words, that the only thing that you should not resist is temptation.

Are there still hurdy gurdy monkeys?

Around here, in the frozen Northern New England area, a lot of the pasty white teenagers go to tanning booths so as to look a Hollywoody, trendy toasty brown. I found the above cartoon by Gene Carr pretty relevant.

Chon Day gives us a great gag expertly depicted in simple line and wash.

And, of course, Ted Key's Hazel panel ends this issue.

-- Edited from a January 6, 2008 blog entry.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Fat Superman

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

1000 JOKES MAGAZINE # 92 Winter 1959-60.

The Hairy Green Eyeball 3 blog has a complete issue of 1000 JOKES, a Dell Magazine full of gag cartoons. It was considered near the end of the gag cartoon food chain, offering far less money than prestige markets like True or Look magazines. Nevertheless, many popular cartoonists sold to it. Bill Yates, the editor, was also a cartoonist. He was one of the figures in cartoon history who not only created his own gag cartoons and features, but was also an editor. "Professor Phumble," a syndicated feature, ran for 18 years under his authorship. In 1978, Mr. Yates, upon the demise of "Phumble" became Comics Editor for that syndicate; King Features.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Have a Great Week

I'll be away from the blog (doing some cartoon events in Eastport, ME). Back soon!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Some Mom Cartoons

Here are a few of my cartoons about mothers that I have drawn. Please enjoy these.

We open with, frankly, quite an odd cartoon, that I sold to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Now, here's an Oprah cartoon. She's been off the air a while now, huh? I sold some Oprah-critical cartoons in the early 2000s. Before then, no editor would touch one. The way this country is, I'm sure there's an editor out there today who is asking without irony, "Who's Oprah?"

There is a lot of scholarship and knowledge in reading those labels. There should just be a "this will make you fat" aisle.

Spelling out you mom's name in toast (of course, her name is "mom") is something I would have done as a kid.

Being a parent today is especially challenging. But, hey, if the webcast is popular, then she will be known as "viral mom," huh?

Some tough-love city bird parents.

"Mom Voice Mail:" the most reprinted Mom cartoon I ever drew.

 Using business-related phrases in personal situations = funny.

I like how this guy is prepared to go to the department store's Mother's Day sale!

Cartoons by me, Mike Lynch. All rights reserved.