Monday, February 12, 2018

RUTHLESS RHYMES Illustrated by William Ridgewell

Horrible things can happen in cartoons. A frying pan hits the head of Wile E. Coyote and his head retains the shape of it, etc. You know. We all have seen this sort of violence. But it's OK since, you know, they are just cartoon characters.

Case in point RUTHLESS RHYMES, written by Harry Graham and illustrated by William Ridgewell. This is a horrible book full of horrible people meeting sometimes casual, grisly demises. But, you know, they are just inky characters drawn by Mr. Ridgewell, so it's all right.

William Ridgewell (1883 - 1937) was a busy, journeyman cartoonist. Here's his bio from Lambiek:

William Ridgewell worked as a lithographer, illustrator and comic strip cartoonist. His first drawings were published, as postcards, when he was 17. Stationed in India during World War I he drew posters for the Indian War Loan and contributed cartoons and sketches to The Looker-On and Indian Ink. Upon his return to Britain, Ridgewell worked for Tit-Bits, Bystander, Punch and Passing Show. He drew advertisements for many diverse companies, including Stone's Ginger Wine and Pratt's Petrol.

Unless you are a better Googler than I am, that's all that is out there. No more details about where he lived, his family, his comics. 

Here are a few scans from the 1996 reprint published by Past Times, in Oxford, England. It was first published in 1930 as MORE RUTHLESS RHYMES FOR HEARTLESS HOMES by Edward Arnold and Co. There is no copyright, but I figure it either lies with the creators or with the newer publishers. I bought last month at the Douglas Harding Rare Books shop, in Wells, Maine. When I read the poems, I laughed out loud. The book and its creators are new to me.


Ruthless Rhymes: A site dedicated to the poetry of Harry Graham and the myriad of morbid poets he inspired

No comments: