Monday, October 26, 2020

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Certified Vintage Gag Cartoons 1945 - 1964

It's Monday and so let's start the week with some vintage gag cartoon laffs courtesy of the XXXL cartoon clip pile from Dick Buchanan's collection at his Greenwich Village headquarters. Here's Dick with a selection and, before you get reading, a warning! Thanks and take it away, Dick:



WARNING. These cartoons have been Certified Vintage Gag Cartoons because they have passed their “best used by” date. Immediate consumption is recommended but not required. Take care when examining contents as deteriorating fragments of humor remain. So far, these are not proven harmful when consumed visually. In fact, they may be amusing. Take a Look . . .

1. HENRY SYVERSON. The Saturday Evening Post October 15, 1960.

2. GARDNER REA. Collier’s July 27, 1946.


3. GEORGE BOOTH. Collier’s October 30, 1953.


4. HANK KETCHAM. Collier’s September 14, 1946.


5. CHON DAY. Collier’s July 11, 1953.


6. JOHN MILLIGAN. Collier’s October 5, 1946.


7. TOM HENDERSON. American Legion Magazine January, 1964.


8. KENNETH MAHOOD. Punch August 11, 1958.


9. JACK TIPPIT. 1000 Jokes Magazine June – August, 1960.


10. GUSTAV LUNDBERG. Liberty Magazine July 21, 1945.


11. ROBERT KRAUS. Liberty Magazine August 18, 1945.


12. JANE SPEAR KING. Collier’s August 8, 1953.


13. GEORGE WOLFE. This Week Magazine August 21, 1949.


14. JERRY MARCUS. American Legion Magazine February, 1962.


15. TON SMITS. Colliers July 4, 1953. 



Friday, October 23, 2020

Mike Lynch Teaches Cartooning


I knew this was going to be a tough week, what with teaching my History of Comics class and two History of Political Cartoons classes at the New Hampshire Institute of Art at New England College, I was also doing a series of "how to draw cartoons" classes for a local middle school the same week. Oh, and one of the college classes had its midterm this week too. Very busy!

So it was great to get a lot of comments and thank yous from the middle school students that their teacher forwarded to me yesterday. (That's his comment on the upper right.) These were all put together on some Google Drive app that makes them look like candy colored post-its. 

I'm so glad that this resonated with the kids. All of my teaching is now done via Zoom, so it's very hard to read the room and get a sense about how things are going. Well, these pages certainly told me that it was time well spent showing the kids how to draw hands, expressions, word balloons, and so on. Wow!

Now, I better grade those midterms.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Trots and Bonnie by Shary Flenniken

We all need something to look forward to. Some great comics, Trots and Bonnie by Shary Flenniken, will be reprinted in April 2021 and her cartoons are worth a look. This is the first time this long-running National Lampoon cartoon (1972-1990) has been collected and published. Here's some background.

Shary Flenniken was one of the first women in underground comics. By the early 1970s, she was a contributor to the National Lampoon magazine. She created her comic, Trots and Bonnie, with an innocent look that belied the adult subject matter. Her naive and sweet style, she says, let her talk about extreme subjects. Here's a clip of her from the 1988 documentary Comic Book Confidential (1988):


Here are some samples of the strip, which, stylistically echoes early cartoonists like H.T. Webster and Clare Briggs.  But ... not the writing! Some very edgy and impactful writing here.


The Comics Journal interviews Shary Flenniken: part one and part two.


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Sketches from CARTOONING FOR EVERYBODY by Lawrence Lariar


Here are some sketches from CARTOONING FOR EVERYBODY by Lawrence Lariar, copyright 1941 by Crown Publishing.

Above: Lawrence Lariar self portrait.

Lawrence Lariar was a cartoonist, a cartoon editor for PARADE and LIBERTY, a novelist and one of the most prolific authors of "How to Cartoon" books. He edited the long-running BEST CARTOONS OF series of books from 1942 to 1971. He died in 1981.

If you are building a shelf of books about cartooning, it's inevitable you'll run into a Lariar book. Thanks to him, we have many gag cartoonists' work between hardcovers that may have otherwise turned into dust after being published in the throwaway magazine medium.

Here are some sketches by Lariar, and a couple of colleagues. Unlike his other, later books, Lariar emphasizes the value of sketching and doodling for a number of pages. The nice thing about these sketches is that they look as vibrant and full of life as ever. He's right: sketching from life helps you cartoon.

Above: a page from illustrator and cartoonist Greg D'Allessio's sketchbook. (He was married to cartoonist Hilda Terry for 55 years.)

Above: spots by John Groth (1902-88). I love how loose he works. Loose and confident.

"John Groth made a career as a painter and illustrator by focusing on sports and war. He captured the action-packed scenes by witnessing the events first-hand and sketching his experiences. Groth used a style technique called 'speed line,' in which he sketched his subjects using rough, unperfected lines and filled the lines in with watercolors. Upon describing his technique, Ernest Hemingway, whom Groth spent time with during World War II, wrote, “None of us understood the sort of shorthand he sketched in. the men would look at the sketches and see just a lot of lines. It was a great pleasure to find what fine drawings they were when we got to see them.”

"He also was a artist-correspondent during the Korean and Vietnam wars. Groth was also the Art Director for Esquire magazine."

 Above two pages again by John Groth "with no preliminary pencil understructure."

Above: cartoonist Jack Kabat with some freehand fanciful doodles.

Above: a sketch from Lariar's sketchbook that he sold to the New Yorker as a spot drawing.

Above and below: some more finished sketches of middle-aged women and kids. "Study these doodles and originate a few."

My thanks to my friend, the one and only Don Orehek, for passing along this great book. Thanks, Don!



The New Yorker: Bill Griffith on his mother's affair with Lawrence Lariar, which became the subject of his graphic memoir, “Invisible Ink: My Mother’s Love Affair with a Famous Cartoonist.” 


-- Edited from a previous blog entry dated August 22, 2011. 

Monday, October 19, 2020

Bob Weber, Sr. 1934 - 2020


Gag cartoonist and longtime King Features' Moose and Molly comic strip artist Bob Weber, Sr. passed away Friday night in his sleep. He was 86.

Bob began his career as a gag cartoonist in the 1950s. He would commute up from his home in Baltimore on Amtrak and do the magazine rounds from time to time. His cartoons were in the Saturday Evening Post and al of the big markets. He moved to Westport (or as he called it "Westpork") some years later to be closer. He assisted Dick Cavalli on his Morty Meekle comic strip beginning in 1959, helping with the art and writing chores. 

1965 saw the sale of his Moose comic strip to King Features. It was later called Moose and Molly. He drew the strip for 55 years, and joined the small pantheon of other 50+ year old comic strip artists like Charles Schulz and Walter Berndt. 

He was a master of the big foot style and the nutty gag. Like Moose, Bob was a big guy with a big personality. Bob was always ready with a cartoon-related story. He would talk to complete strangers, joking with them. He loved life, his family, and he loved cartooning and cartoonists. 

In later years, he would assist his son Bob Weber, Jr. on his Slylock Fox feature, just as Bob, Jr. had assisted him in years past. 

Much more at Dailycartoonist.


Cartoonists at the Overlook Lounge, NYC some years back: Mike Lynch, Bob Weber, VG Myers, Sam Gross, Roy Delgado.

Friday, October 16, 2020

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Color Gag Cartoons 1951 - 1955

Dick Buchanan has reached into his vast cartoon files and unearthed some vintage color gag cartoons for our Friday enjoyment! He writes:

"Seems all's well with your garden and as it was so colorful I thought I send you some cartoons that are colorful as well."

Thanks so much, Dick!


1951 – 1955

Here are a few of color gag cartoons from the early 1950’s, drawn by some of the 1950’s leading cartoonists of the time. These cartoons have been extracted from Collier’s, one of the most popular national weekly magazines of the first half of the 20th century. During this period Collier’s published several cartoons in color in each issue. Here are a few we found recently . . .

1. KATE OSANN. Colliers November 24, 1951.


2. BOB BARNES. Collier’s April 18, 1953.


3. JOSEPH G. FARRIS. Collier’s March 13, 1954.


4. HARRY MACE. Collier’s April 5, 1952.


5. JAN & STAN BERENSTAIN. Collier’s August 7, 1953.


6. KIRK STILES. Collier’s July 11, 1953.


7. LARRY FRICK. Collier’s June 13. 1953.

8. GEORGE WOLFE. Collier’s April 5, 1952.

9. JERRY MARCUS. Collier’s November 12, 1951.


10. WILLIAM VON RIEGEN. Collier’s April 29, 1955.


11. WILLIAM O’BRIAN. Collier’s July 11, 1953.

12. DICK HESSER. Collier’s November 2, 1954.


13. STAN FINE. Collier’s October 30, 1953.


14. JACK MARKOW. Collier’s July 4, 1953.

15. CORKA (Jon Cronin). Collier’s July 11, 1953.