Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Video: Jules Feiffer "Transforming Rage Into Art: Lessons From the Army"

Jules Feiffer, Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist and writer, explains how joining the army taught him how to express his pent up anger, and how that set him on his career path as a satirist and cartoonist.

To see the full interview and learn more about the Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project, visit: https://www.yiddishbookcenter.org/collections/oral-histories/interviews/woh-fi-0000994/jules-feiffer-2017

Monday, July 30, 2018

Sofie Hagen Interviews Alison Bechdel

Sofie Hagen talks to cartoonist, creator of ‘The Bechdel Test,’ and author of Fun Home Alison Bechdel about writing an auto-biographical book that turned into a play, letting other people take creative control, dealing with her father's suicide, being gay, the different concerns that come with getting older, being followed by a coming-of-age story when definitely of age, finding a young queer audience, The Bechdel Test in a changing cultural stew, identity, family secrets, how drawing memories can change the way you remember them and a meditation on mortality.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Cartoon and Ads from Farm Journal September 1947

I would have had this up before now but when I updated my IOS, my Photoshop needed a newer version of Java, which I downloaded but it still didn't work. So I figured out another way to get scans done.

Honestly, anyone reading Farm Journal (or doing anything else) in 1947 would read that above paragraph as utter gobbledygook. But a lot has changed since then, huh?

Here are some illustrated ads and cartoons from the September 1947 issue of Farm Journal, the "World's Largest Rural Magazine." The circulation was 2,650,000. The magazine was published monthly out of Farm Journal, Inc., in Philadelphia. It's copyright by Farm Journal, Inc. as well. It began publication in 1877 "for farmers in bountiful agricultural regions within a day's ride of the publication's office in Philadelphia." The magazine is still published today.

Robert C. Dell, who signed his cartoons "R.C. Dell." He lived in the Chicago area, and cartooned for pulp magazines (drawing some risque cartoons sometimes) and was also selling to major markets, including Esquire Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post and Collier's.

Cartoon by Max. I don't know who a lot of these cartoonists are. A lot of them tended to specialize in these niche markets and never or rarely appeared in the major magazines. 

Cartoons make ads better.

Roy Carling: 

Some good movies are out!

W. Walter “Cal” Calvert was a Bucks County (PA) artist and illustrator. “Cal” Illustrated and created hundreds of covers for the magazines Saturday Evening Post, Bucks County Traveler, Country Gentleman, Sports Afield, Bell Telephone News, Pennsylvania Railroad, and others.

I can't see the artist's signature at all here.  Maybe it's Dwig?

The one and only Reamer Keller:

More R.C. Dell, who had a great signature, huh? 

Not from this issue of Farm Journal: here's a fun self portrait of R.C. Dell, drawn using the letters of his name:

Graham Hunter, a journeyman cartoonist whose clients included The Saturday Evening Post, Argosy and other markets:

Big pharma hates this idea I'm sure! 

Glueck (?) is a name I see in the smaller markets, but no other information is out there that I can find.

A Steig ad:

Uncredited except for the "M:"

Looks like Billy Mumy from that Twilight Zone episode! 

A cartoonist named Dobbs, no other information:

It took me a couple seconds to "get" this R.C. Dell cartoon:

Sometimes cartoons are inadvertently scary looking:

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Cartoonist Chris Schweizer on Pitching Graphic Novel Ideas

Successful graphic novelist Chris Schweizer writes at his Patreon page about pitching an idea and getting rejected. All of the greats have been rejected, and Chris is kind enough to write about his idea and why he thinks it was a no-go from the publisher.

"Approaching every project with an absurd degree of hubris gives you the emotional fortitude to see it through to completion and do your very best, convinced that it'll lead to commercial and critical success. The trick is shrugging it off if/when it doesn't."

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

TEENA by Hilda Terry

Here are some TEENA strips by Hilda Terry. She included these in her autobiography STRANGE BOD FELLOWS, which details her life, her cartoons and her belief in reincarnation.

Look at all the design and figure work for what is really just a static set-up to a gag. The dialogue doesn't imply movement. That was the cartoonist's choice.

And her choice to juxtapose the stripes on Teena's blouse with the grain on the tree has a nice contrast, as both of the girls move around, and the angle gets closer on them. And not only do we, the readers, get the pay off -- Teena gets her pay off: an apple. I have to think the attention to texture was due to Hilda's fashion background.

In her autobiography, Hilda talks about a real estate purchase. She bought a couple of building plots for $200 each in Rocky Point, Long Island. She began building a cabin on the land, having never had done anything like that before. This worked its way into Teena's world for series of cartoons.

The verve of the bodies, combined with the rigidity of the wall makes this a pleasing cartoon to linger over. She was not afraid to draw a lot of people. And looking at the third panel, I see those feet that she drew, and they really imply the weight of the wall.

Little Gwendolyn, a later addition to the strip, had a knack for showing her knickers (penultimate panel above). I like the first panel, where we can see the lanky gawkiness that teenagers have, This is something I see in Borgman's drawings for ZITS.

So much detail in the porch, and Terry labors over it nicely. And Teena is never in the same position twice. "Dorcas Good" refers to the spirit of a real girl that Ms. Terry felt inhabited her, and inspired her work. (That's the reincarnation part of her STRANGE BOD FELLOWS autobiography.)

"LET ME ASK -- what would you do if commanded to entertain the King with a new original joke every day or lose your head? If you're an ordinary person, as I am, you would probably do as I did-- turn to God and yell 'HELP!!!' 
"No one knows where ideas come from. My experience as a cartoonist, commanded to come up with a new joke every day or lose my job, was that they come from outer space. I have a pretty good relationship with God, but at some point I began to realize the preposterous vanity of presuming the Absolute Eternal Ultimate would be helping me write jokes. In so complicated a system as the entire universe. face it -- there has to be a lot of delegating. I knew an invisible SOMEone was helping me, and I had an obsessive curiosity as to whom that might be." 
-- STRANGE BOD FELLOWS, self published autobiography by Hilda Terry, 1992.


"Later in life, she was convinced that she was the reincarnation of Dorcas Good, a child accused of witchcraft at Salem, Mass."

-- Stephen Miller, writing about Hilda Terry's life in the October 18, 2006 edition of the New York Sun.

-- This was edited from an October 19, 2006 post.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Women Cartoonists: Barbara Shermund, Hilda Terry, Mary Gibson and Dorothy McKay 1935 - 1952

In honor of the "Funny Ladies" Society of Illustrators show's opening reception July 26th, here are some gag cartoons by women.

The cartoons are curated by Dick Buchanan. The title is "These Women," which acknowledges the title of Gregory d'Alessio's syndicated panel. Thanks for all your hard work, and take it away, Dick!



1935 – 1952

Women cartoonists have contributed to American Humor for decades. However, it was never an easy road for the female cartoonist. For instance, Dalia Messick (creator of Brenda Starr) found it necessary to use her nickname “Dale” in order to skirt the discrimination she encountered at the hands of biased editors. Cartoonist Dorothy McKay was once arrested in New York’s Grand Central Terminal for the high crime of sketching.

Despite the obstacles, some women cartoonists did manage to overcome discrimination to earn a place in the gag cartoon field.

Founded in 1946, the National Cartoonist’s Society at first was an all male organization. In 1949 Gregory d’Alessio nominated his wife, Hilda Terry, for admittance in the Society. Hilda Terry’s witty letter, suggesting the organization should be called the National Men’s Cartoonists Society was a benchmark in the struggle to include women in the organization. Only after considerable heated debate, including some member’s assertion that including women would hinder their proclivity to swear, Hilda Terry, Barbara Shermund and Edwina Dumm were admitted the following year.

We have delved into the Cartoon Clip File and selected some of the cartoons drawn by four prominent women cartoonists of the mid-century era. Barbara Shermund, Hilda Terry, Mary Gibson and Dorothy McKay appear in this collection. Other women cartoonists will certainly appear in future installments.

For the best telling of women cartoonist’s story, we highly recommend cartoonist Liza Donnelly’s insightful book, FUNNY LADIES: The New Yorker’s Greatest Women Cartoonists (Prometheus Books, 2005).


Barbara Shermund’s career began in the mid-1920’s, her drawings appearing in The New Yorker, Life, Judge, among others. In the mid-forties she ceased her New Yorker work but remained a major cartoonist, continuing to appear most famously in Esquire and Pictorial Revue. Pictorial Revue was a newspaper Sunday supplement originating in Chicago and distributed by King Features Syndicate. She illustrated many Pictorial covers and her weekly feature “Shermund’s Sallies” was a staple of the publication.

1. Collier’s January 8, 1938.

2. Collier’s December 13, 1939.

3. Collier’s May 28, 1938.

4. Pictorial Revue, January 16,1949.


Theresa Hilda d’Allessio, better known as Hilda Terry, began her career in the mid 1930’s when she drew two cartoons to submit in a newspaper cartoon contest, one a sports cartoon and the other a funny cartoon. The funny cartoon won and launched her successful gag-cartooning career. Her nationally syndicated cartoon featuring teenage girls, “It’s A Girl’s Life” first appeared December 7, 1941, becoming the panel cartoon “Teena” in 1944, and ran until 1964. Terry also was a pioneer in early computer animation, creating the first animated scoreboards for major league baseball stadiums. The National Cartoonists Society recognized her work in 1979 when she received their Animation award. Terry was also a longtime instructor at the Art Students League well into her eighties and nineties.

1. The Saturday Evening Post December 28, 1940.

2. American Magazine December, 1942.

3. The Saturday Evening Post August 8, 1942.

4. American Magazine March, 1942.


Mary Gibson’s drawings appeared in The New Yorker and but more frequently Collier’s, American Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post and Liberty. Unfortunately, not much is known about her life, but her drawings remain a testament to her substantial artistic talent.

1. Collier’s July 12, 1947.

2. Collier’s October 11, 1947.

3. American Magazine March, 1952.

4. Collier’s February 17, 1951.


Dorothy McKay arrived in New York from San Francisco in the 1930’s. At first she worked as a secretary by day and at night studied at the Art Student’s League with the hope of becoming an illustrator. This goal was not realized as she felt editors did not take her seriously so she became a cartoonist. She appeared in the first issue of Esquire. They accepted 18 of her cartoons from a single batch—quite likely a cartooning record.

1. Life August, 1935.

2. Collier’s September 25, 1937.

3. Collier’s February 26, 1949.

4. Esquire August, 1945.


Dick Buchanan’s Cartoon Clip File

Greenwich Village, NY

Monday, July 23, 2018

New Graphic Memoir: A FIRE STORY by Brian Fies

My friend, the graphic novelist Brian Fies, has announced a new book for 2019. Titled FIRE STORY, and to be published by Abrams in March 2019, it's a memoir of the California wildfire that engulfed and destroyed his entire neighborhood. He made an 18 page comic about it. It was later animated and aired on KQED, for which it won an Emmy Award.

Today's announcement from Brian's Facebook page:

In my little flurry of posts from Comic-Con, I completely buried the lede: the main point of my Spotlight Panel on Friday was to officially announce that "A Fire Story" will be a full-length, full-color graphic novel published by Abrams ComicArts in March 2019! I haven't been shy about hinting I was up to something but couldn't really say until now.

I'm working again with my friend and editor Charles Kochman and some other Abrams people including marketer Anne Jaconette, publicist Maya Bradford, and designer Pam Notarantonio, who did the heavy lifting on that striking cover. Abrams makes beautiful books, and I'm excited for what they have planned for mine.

Publishing lead times being what they are, I'm actually in the throes of deadline woes right now, with just a few weeks to wrap it up. I'm not the one who'll decide if the book will be a hit or a flop, but I can guarantee it'll be the best book I know how to make.

EDIT: The San Diego Comic Con awarded an Inkpot Award “for achievement in comic arts” to Brian this weekend. Congratulations, my friend! 

Fantagraphics Plans The Return of The Comics Journal Magazine

Fantagraphics has announced the return of the print version of its Comics Journal, which will begin in 2019 with a featured interview with Tomi Ungerer. More at CBR.

Nemo Magazine Returns

Richard Marschall has announced the return of NEMO.

NEMO: THE CLASSIC COMICS LIBRARY Magazine was published by Fantagraphics for 31 issues and one annual from 1983 to 1992. It will be returning, with Marschall and many of the same team in place (and the same publisher). John Adcock has more on his blog here.

Friday, July 20, 2018

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Life Cartoons 1924 - 1936

True story: I just was at the Fryeburg Fair Grounds in Maine. Every Sunday they have a big flea market. Someone there had a table full of magazines, including a 1936 Life Magazine. It looked like it was printed yesterday. It still had the subscription card in it -- you know the one: the postage-paid card that you fill out. Anyway, the person who was running the table COULD NOT BE FOUND. There were a couple of other people looking for this person too. Goodness knows where he/she was.

So -- ARRRGGHH -- I left it there. I didn't steal it, although I wanted to. And so much good art in there. Who knew I would be able to see some great old Life Magazine cartoons thanks to Dick Buchanan!

Thanks and take it away, Dick:


“While there’s Life, there’s hope.”

Life cartoons
1924 – 1936

Life magazine was the leading humor magazine of the first quarter of the 20th Century. It featured the work of the most talented cartoonists and illustrators of the time. Life covers featured exceptional work by such luminaries as N.C. Wyeth, Maxfeid Parrish, James Montgomery Flagg, Norman Rockwell, John Held, Jr. and Rea Irwin among others.

Life was founded as a weekly in 1880, becoming a monthly publication with the January 1932 issue. In 1936 Henry Luce bought the publication solely for the use of its name for his trail-blazing photographic magazine. Subsequently, for many years thereafter, this great humor magazine, became known as “the old Life.”

This collection of cartoons from Life features the work of some of the established masters of illustrated humor as well as the efforts of several emerging New Yorker cartoonists who had yet to establish their now familiar styles.

These cartoons are far different from today’s cartoons in many ways. They are examples of the gag cartoon as it existed from the 1800’s to the 1920’s and early 1930’s. In that era cartoons often had titles and the captions usually consisted of dialogue in which each speaker was identified. The single line caption was to become the standard in the 1930’s.

Most of the cartoons were well illustrated jokes. Even though these cartoons have lost much of their original humor, the essential kernel of humor therein still remains. The artwork is impressive.

Here, for the delight and edification of young and old alike, are some great cartoons from the final 12 years of the “old” Life . . .

1a. Cover

Life October 16, 1924. This marvelous cover by Rea Irwin clearly illustrates the mastery of this artist who was to become one of the key creators of The New Yorker. After being fired as Life’s Art Director, he joined Harold Ross and others in shaping The New Yorker in 1925. He drew the magazine’s first cover, featuring Eustace Tilley. This cover was reproduced annually until 1994. Thereafter, it has been occasionally replaced by a redrawn version. He was instrumental as the magazine’s first Art Director, creating the New Yorker’s masthead and the magazine’s typeface, which now bears his name.

1. CARL ANDERSON. After struggling for years as a freelance cartoonist, Anderson created the wordless wonder Henry as a panel cartoon for The Saturday Evening Post in 1935. Henry later became a successful syndicated comic strip. Life October 16, 1924.

2. JOHN HELD, Jr. Held was one of the iconic cartoonists of the Jazz Age. Life December 21, 1925.

3. PETER ARNO. Arno, considered by many as The New Yorker’s greatest cartoonist, needs no introduction to gag cartoon followers. Life June 10, 1925.   

4. ALICE HARVEY. Ms. Harvey was the second cartoonist to appear in The New Yorker. She played an important part in the magazine’s early years. Life June 9, 1927.

5. GARRETT PRICE. This panel of was a regular feature during 1927. Life June 9, 1927.

6. T.S. STROTHMAN. Each issue of Life featured a centerfold cartoon like this fine one. Life April 12, 1928.

7. GLUYAS WILLIAMS. Williams was one of America’s leading illustrators for decades. Williams regularly contributed full-page cartoons to Life. He also illustrated many humorous articles and spot drawings for the magazine’s regular departments. Life April 12, 1928.

8. NED HILTON. Here’s an early example of Hilton’s work. In the 1930’s he became one of Life’s regular cover artists. Life April 12, 1929.

9. R.B. FULLER. Ralph Briggs Fuller’s first Life cartoon was published in 1910. His drawings also appeared in Puck, Judge, and Collier’s. Life February 7, 1930.

10. GARDNER REA. Rea’s cartoons for Life were usually full-pagers. This one is from a series titled “The man who knew him when.”

 11. RICHARD DECKER. Life March 20, 1931.

12. LEONARD DOVE. Dove was another New Yorker cartoonist experimenting with different styles. Life January 1932. (the gag line is, "Now you tell me, is it or is it not, your ambition to become a fireman?")

13. OTTO SOGLOW. Soglow used two different styles. This one was later abandoned in favor of his “Little King” approach. Life January 1932. (The gag line is, "I always thought you had a mole here!")

 14. WILLIAM STEIG. Steig was another of The New Yorker’s greatest cartoonists. Life January, 1932.

15. LUDWIG BEMELMANS. Bemelmans contributed 32 covers to The New Yorker. Today, he is best remembered for his children’s literature’s classic, Madeline. Life August 1933.

16. DANIEL ALAIN. Life January, 1935.

17. GEORGE PRICE. We suspect George Price was always George Price. Life January, 1935.

18. BARNEY TOBEY. Tobey was not only a New Yorker favorite but one of Collier’s mainstays, publishing hundreds of gag cartoons and a three covers, as well. Life May, 1936.

19. BARBARA SHERMUND. Shermund’s cartoon world did not include children, making the appearance of this baby a rare event. Life May, 1936.