Friday, January 31, 2020

Some Late 2019 Sketches

Here are some sketchbook sketches. I post these from time to time on my Instagram. That's why you can see these slightly milky little toggles on the images.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Audio: Hank Ketcham January 25, 1971 UCLA Interview

This March 14th will be the 100th birthday of Dennis the Menace creator Hank Ketcham. In this presentation, Hank asks, "What is a cartoonist doing talking?" And jokingly calls it ridiculous. He then talks frankly about his life and work. This is from the archives of the UCLA Communications Studies Department, which digitized the tapes in 2013.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Gag Cartoons by Comic Strip Cartoonists 1951 - 1964

Here is Professor Dick Buchanan with a spotlight on four syndicated newspaper cartoonists who began in the business by selling gag cartoons.

Drawing gag cartoons is haphazard way to live to say the least. You really live by your wits. Syndication, with its steady income and its syndicate salespeople doing the flogging on your behalf -- now THAT'S where it is. A syndicated cartoonist could make a good, steady living. As long as their comic strip connected with readers, natch! Same with getting a contract with a comic book company. If you look at old magazine cartoons, you'll see some names that may be better known from their work in comic books and newspaper comic strips.

Of course, nowadays, with the decline of newspapers and editors cutting content, syndication is not as lucrative or as stable as it once was.



Today we dip into the Cartoon Clip File and look at the magazine cartoons by four cartoonists who began their careers as magazine gag cartoonist but eventually became most successful as the creators of some of the funniest comic strips of the last half of the 20th century -- Johnny Hart, Frank Ridgeway, Ralston Jones, and Frank O’Neal. Their work appeared in all the national magazines—Collier’s, The Saturday Evening Post, Look, This Week, and True.

As always, these cartoons are in the same vein, subject wise, as most of the cartoons appearing in the national general interest magazines at the time. In other words, they were in every-which-way politically incorrect. Nonetheless, the wit and verve of these cartoonists is apparent.

JOHNNY HART ("B.C." and "The Wizard of Id”)

Hart was a Korean War veteran whose first cartoons appeared in Stars and Stripes. Upon separation in 1953, he began pursuing a freelance gag cartooning career. His comic strip, B.C. debuted February 17, 1958. B.C. was awarded the National Cartoonists Society Best Humor Strip in 1967. In 1960, Hart developed a new strip, “The Wizard of Id”, working with the cartoonist Brandt Parker. In 1968 he received the Society’s Reuben Award as the Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year. Hart worked on his 'B.C.' comic strip up until the day he died in April 2007. The strip has continued, produced by a quartet of family members.

1. JOHNNY HART. Collier’s October 29, 1954.

2. JOHNNY HART. The Saturday Evening Post June 14, 1956.

3. JOHNNY HART. American Legion Magazine June, 1956.

4. JOHNNY HART. For Laughing Out Loud October - December, 1956.

 5. JOHNNY HART. American Legion Magazine July, 1958.

RALSTON “BUD” JONES. ("Mr. Abernathy")

Jones signed his gag cartoons Ralston. Together with fellow cartoonist Frank Ridgeway, he created the long running comic strip Mr. Abernathy, syndicated by King Features beginning October 14, 1957. A Sunday strip was added from 1959 to 1986. Jones drew the strip and Frank Ridgeway wrote the gags until 1980, when Jones retired and Ridgeway took over both chores

1. RALSTON JONES. 1000 Jokes Magazine December, 1955 - February, 1956.

 2. RALSTON JONES. 1000 Jokes Magazine June-August, 1959.

3. RALSTON JONES. The Saturday Evening Post April 6, 1957.

4. RALSTON JONES. The Saturday Evening Post August 17, 1957.

5. RALSTON JONES. 1000 Jokes Magazine December, 1955 – February, 1956. 

FRANK RIDGEWAY. ("Mr. Abernathy")

Frank Ridgeway studied at the Art Students League and the School of Visual Arts, in New York. He created the newspaper strip about multimillionaire 'Mr. Abernathy' with Ralston Jones in 1957. Ridgeway was the writer and Jones drew the strip. When Jones resigned in 1980 Ridgeway continued, writing and drawing the strip until his death in 1994. Ridgeway had also scripted the 'Lancelot' daily for artist Paul Coker, Jr. He was a teacher at the Famous Artists' School.

1. FRANK RIDGEWAY. The Saturday Evening Post February 20, 1954.

2. FRANK RIDGEWAY. True Magazine May, 1955.

3. FRANK RIDGEWAY. The Saturday Evening Post April 13, 1957.

4. FRANK RIDGEWAY. The Saturday Evening Post May 4, 1957.

5. FRANK RIDGEWAY. 1000 Jokes Magazine. June – August, 1964. 

FRANK O’NEAL. ("Short Ribs")

Frank O’Neal studied at the Jefferson Machamer School of Art, in Santa Monica, California. He sold his first magazine cartoon to The Saturday Evening Post in 1950. O’Neal’s Short Ribs, a gag-a day strip with a selection of characters, first appeared November 17, 1958. A Sunday strip was added in 1959. In 1964 O’Neal won National Cartoonists Society’s Division Award for Newspaper Strips: Humor. O’Neal drew the strip until 1973 when he handed the strip over to his assistant, Frank Hill.

1. FRANK O’NEAL. Collier’s May 26, 1951.

2. FRANK O’NEAL. Here! November, 1951.

3. FRANK O’NEAL. American Legion Magazine December, 1952.

4. FRANK O’NEAL. The Saturday Evening Post May 18, 1957.

5. FRANK O’NEAL. The Saturday Evening Post May 24, 1957. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Video: Jeff Stahler Profile

Cartoonist Jeff Stahler has created editorial cartoons, a syndicated panel and now, plein air painting. Here's a profile from PBS station WOSU:

Monday, January 27, 2020

"Never Again Will I Visit Auschwitz" by Ari Richter

Ari Richter, a New York-based artist and professor, creates a personal graphic memoir of his visit to Auschwitz in the piece "Never Again Will I Visit Auschwitz" for The Tablet. It's a short and to the point sequential narrative about history changing with the times, and facts, chillingly, being changed to suit the political climate. And this a week after learning that the National Archives deliberately altered photos. As Masha Gessen wrote for The New Yorker, there was a

" ... photograph from the 2017 Women’s March on Washington. On the photograph in question, the word 'Trump' was blurred on a sign that originally read 'God Hates Trump.' In other signs in the same picture, the words 'vagina' and 'pussy' disappeared."

 Well worth a read and a think as we begin an historic week in American government.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Video: Emmanuel Macron: "We are a country where the freedom to criticize goes hand in hand with the freedom to express oneself ...."

From January 15, 2020: French President Emmanuel Macron spoke about the importance of the freedom of expression without censure as an absolute right. This was five years and a week after the Charlie Hebdo shootings, which killed 12 and injured 11 people at the satirical magazine.

 "We are a country where the freedom to criticize goes hand in hand with the freedom to express oneself; where the freedom of blasphemy is also protected -- and I deeply wish it to be maintained and preserved."

He cites the Addis Ababa Declaration, a statement signed by 200 cartoonists from 20 countries declaring cartooning as a fundamental right, and submitted to UNESCO in 2019.
"The two-page document outlined the intrinsic and unique value of cartooning, claiming that the art is increasingly under the threat of censorship globally. Emphasizing the value of cartooning in society and the crucial role of the cartoonist in a democracy, the group made a case for recognizing it as a separate right, aside from the right to free expression that is already enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

Thursday, January 23, 2020

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Gag Cartoons in Color 1943 - 1957

Here are some great old timey gag cartoons from the major magazines during the golden age of gag cartoons. These are some relatively rare color cartoons that my friend Dick Buchanan has saved and clipped for us to enjoy lo these many decades later.

Thanks and take it away, Dick!



1943 – 1957

Gag cartoons were published in black and white.  But several of the mass circulation magazines, especially Collier’s, The Saturday Evening Post, and Esquire published some cartoons in color. Many years have passed and, somehow, a bunch of these aging cartoons wound up in the Cartoon Clip File.  Here, arranged almost completely at random are a few of these color gag cartoons. Take a look . . .

1.  MARTHA BLANCHARD. The Saturday Evening Post  August 6, 1948.

2.  REAMER KELLER.  Collier’s  March 31, 1951.

3.  TED KEY.  The Saturday Evening Post  November 5, 1949.

4.  CORKA.  (Jon Cronin)  Collier’s  March 24, 1951.

5.  HARRY LYONS.  The Saturday Evening Post  January 5, 1957. 

6.  JAN & STANLEY BERENSTAIN.  The Saturday Evening Post  July 24, 1948.

7.  IRVING ROIR.  Esquire  February, 1952.     

8.  JOHN RUGE.  The Saturday Evening Post  April 18, 1959

9.  JERRY MARCUS.  The Saturday Evening Post  June 22, 1957.   

10. DAVID GERARD.  Collier’s  November 12, 1949.

11. ED NOFZIGER.  The Saturday Evening Post  December 10, 1949.

12.  JERRY MARCUS.  The Saturday Evening Post  June 8, 1957.

13.  KATE OSANN.  Collier’s  March 11, 1950.

14.  FRANK BEAVEN.  Collier’s  August 14, 1943.

15.  HANK KETCHAM.  Collier’s  March 31, 1951.