Friday, July 30, 2021

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Boris Drucker Gag Cartoons 1946 - 1955

Above: wartime drawings from Boris Drucker's WWII sketchbook. Part of a gallery show at Syracuse University (More images are reproduced in Johanna Drucker's book about her father. Link below.)


Boris Drucker (1920 - 2009) was one of those post-war cartoonists whose work you saw pretty much every week, maybe a couple of times a week, in all of the major magazines of the day. But it was almost a fluke that he became a cartoonist. That wasn't what he went to art school for. Dick Buchanan has the story and twenty great Boris Drucker gag cartoons for your edification. Thanks, and take it away, Dick!


Gag Cartoons 1946 – 1955

Boris Drucker was a cartoonist who also enjoyed an illustrious career as an advertising artist and instructor. He was born and lived most of his life in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After he graduated West Philadelphia High School in 1938, Drucker attended the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art, now the University of the Arts. 

During World War II, he served in the Army in the China-Burma-India Theater. He completed meteorological reports for U.S. pilots flying over the Himalayas, and found time to sketch villagers and his fellow soldiers during his tour.

Drucker got his start in magazine cartooning in 1946, when he came back from overseas and was interviewing for an advertising job. There, an executive advised him that he was a cartoonist, not an advertising artist, and suggested he try the Saturday Evening Post. So, Drucker took the next month to draw 100 cartoons, and, with the help from his family, friends and neighborhood postman, chose 10 to submit to the Post. The cartoon editor bought one of them and Drucker quickly became a frequent contributor to the Post, Collier’s and many other national magazines.

At art school Drucker had been on the advertising art track and he continued to pursue work in that field. From the late 1940s until the middle of the 1960s, he was a commercial artist for corporate clients in advertising and industry, winning awards for his Bell Telephone’s “Call By Number” campaign in the 1950s.

In 1966, after a brief stint of teaching advertising and commercial art, Drucker moved to New York to open a studio and at the age of forty-six was accepted as a New Yorker cartoonist. He continued as a contributor for the next 30 years.

Boris Drucker’s daughter, Johanna Drucker, complied a fine collection of Drucker’s work, including his wartime drawings, "Don't Pay Any Attention To Him, He's 90% Water: The Cartooning Career of Boris Drucker" published by the University of Syracuse Press, 2005.

1. BORIS DRUCKER. The Saturday Evening Post, December 14, 1946.

 2. BORIS DRUCKER. The Saturday Evening Post July 17, 1948.

3. BORIS DRUCKER. The Saturday Evening Post October 23, 1948.

4. BORIS DRUCKER. The Saturday Evening Post January 8, 1949.

5. BORIS DRUCKER. The Saturday Evening Post June, 1949.

6. BORIS DRUCKER. This Week Magazine. May 9, 1949.

7. BORIS DRUCKER. The Saturday Evening Post May 14, 1949.

8. BORIS DRUCKER. The Saturday Evening Post May 28, 1949.

9. BORIS DRUCKER. The Saturday Evening Post June 11, 1949.

10. BORIS DRUCKER. The Saturday Evening Post November 29, 1949.

11. BORIS DRUCKER. The Saturday Evening Post December 17, 1949.

12. BORIS DRUCKER. Collier’s June 17, 1950.

13. BORIS DRUCKER. The Saturday Evening Post July 1, 1950.

14. BORIS DRUCKER. Collier’s May 26, 1951.

15. BORIS DRUCKER. The Saturday Evening Post December 8, 1951.

16. BORIS DRUCKER. Collier’s April 4, 1953.

17. BORIS DRUCKER. The Saturday Evening Post. December 5, 1953.

18. BORIS DRUCKER. The Saturday Evening Post July 10, 1954.

19. BORIS DRUCKER. Collier’s January 7, 1955.


20. BORIS DRUCKER. Collier’s May 27, 1955.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

CartoonBrew: The Kyoto Animation Arson Attack Haunts New Manga ‘Look Back’


It's been two years this month since the arson attack on Studio One of Kyoto Animation that killed 36 people.

Manga creator Tatsuki Fujimoto created a 140 page tribute story titled "Look Back" as a memorial to the tragic event. CartoonBrew has more:

"Look Back features an incident that recalls what happened at the studio. It is also a story about the comfort art can bring to those in distress, and so serves as a tribute to all artists, including those who have suffered and died for their work.

"The 140-page one-shot manga instantly made waves, racking up 2.5 million views in one day on Shonen Jump Plus (the online magazine that released the Japanese version). It can (officially) be read in English for free in Viz Media’s Shonen Jump online library — check it out here."


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

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. I bought this at a small secondhand shop on the Maine/New Brunswick border, just south of Calais.

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.

Below is a 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? [Edit: It IS Dwig. Thanks to D.D. Degg for the information.]

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. 

[Edit: "Glueck" is Bob Glueckstein. Thanks for the ID Larry Rippee! Glueck was "a minor market whiz, was one of those capable knocking out a batch of 10 to 15 cartoons in a couple hours for an obscure trade journal and sell most of them," says Dick Buchanan. Dick shares scans of Glueck's "How I Create Humor?" column from The Information Guide, the trade journal for cartoonists published George Hartman in the late 1950’s and 1960’s at this link here. Thanks, Dick!]

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:

-- Edited from a July 27 2018 blog entry.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Eisner Award Winners

The Eisner Award winners were announced on Friday and there are some amazing books that were nominated. 

Congratulations to all my friends and colleagues. The "Best Reality-Based Work" category was particularly tough, as I thought all were amazing. Anyway, here is a link to a list from The Daily Cartoonist. It's well worth snagging a couple of these, as I have, to support these kinds of amazing comic works.


Derf Backderf, who won for Kent State, wrote this on his Facebook page:


"Thanks for all the notes of congratulations, friends. There are too many across three platforms to respond to personally, but rest assured I’ve read every one and am incredibly grateful for the well wishes.
"Still processing this. Full disclosure: I fell asleep! It was a remote ceremony, Pacific Time, and I dozed off and awoke with a start at 2 am. Only then did I see the first congratulatory texts. Classic. My big moment and zzzzzz."


Gene Luen Yang, who won for Superman Smashes the Klan, shares a childhood memory. From his Facebook page:

"I've talked about this in other places. This is a vague and fuzzy memory, but when I was a kid, my family and I came across an exhibit of Superman memorabilia. In San Francisco, maybe? Maybe timed to coincide with the release of one of the Christopher Reeves movies?

"My parents, my younger brother, and I stood outside of the ticket booth talking in Mandarin. (I was young enough that I wasn't yet embarrassed by my parents' language.) My brother and I wanted to go in. My parents weren't so sure.

"The guy at the ticket booth watched us for a bit, then called us over, and handed us tickets for free with a smile. I don't remember what he looked like or really anything else about him, but I thought back to his kindness when I was working on Superman Smashes the Klan."

Monday, July 26, 2021

John McMeel 1936 - 2021


Photo © Liz Hafalia/San Francisco Chronicle/Getty Images


John McMeel, who co-founded Universal Press and Andrews McMeel Universal, passed away on July 7th.

McMeel was a big name, and one who loved and nurtured comics and syndicated features. Richard Thompson introduced me to him some years back and he was one of the nicest fellows ever.

From the Kansas City Star:

"John P. McMeel, a newspaper syndicator who enlivened American funny pages with the distribution of comic strips such as 'Doonesbury,' 'Calvin and Hobbes' and 'Cathy' and delivered the writings of columnists including Abigail Van Buren and Garry Wills to millions of readers across the United States, died July 7 at his home in Kansas City. He was 85.

"His company, founded as Universal Press Syndicate and now called Andrews McMeel Universal, announced his death this week but did not cite a cause.

"McMeel, a law school dropout once dubbed 'Deals McMeel' for his gift for salesmanship, started his syndicate with friend Jim Andrews in 1970. With an early coup — the first cartoonist they signed was Garry Trudeau, then a student cartoonist for the Yale Daily News and later of 'Doonesbury' fame — their operation grew into the world’s largest independent newspaper syndicate."


 From AMU Chairman Hugh Andrews:

"For John, it was all about relationships.  He cared deeply, certainly for his family, but also for our talented creators, associates, and business partners, ensuring all felt valued, and welcome.  Determined, considerate, and thoughtful, not only was he the only business partner I have ever had, he was like a second father to me.

"For nearly 60 years, the Andrews and McMeel families have worked, and enjoyed life, together.  All who have had the good fortune to know John will deeply mourn his loss, and each of us will remember, and miss him, in our own way.

"Please remember Susan, Maureen, Suzanne, Bridget, and their families, in your thoughts and prayers."


The Daily Cartoonist has a round up of cartoonists' comments on McMeel's influence here


New York Times

Washington Post 

Thanks to Dan Rosandich for the Kansas City Star link. 



Read more here:

Friday, July 23, 2021


Here are a few scans from BEST CARTOONS OF THE YEAR 1944, edited by Lawrence Lariar (natch!) and copyright 1944 by same.


The nice thing about the first few years of the BEST CARTOON series of books is that there is an autobio, accompanied by a self caricature, of most of the contributors.

Above, Dave Gerard was part of what was called the "Sugar Crick Art School" — a term for a group of Crawfordsville, Indiana area artists, the most famous of which would be Bill Holman.

The one and only Al Ross, one of four brothers, all of whom were successful gag cartoonists.

Early Ross cartoons are very illustrative, with a flowing, strong ink line. His later cartoons are wonderfully sketchy.

Above: the word "sipsies" is always funny. A Virgil VIP Partch at the top of the page, while a rare and risque Lariar cartoon is at the bottom.

More VIP, and another one by Al Ross.

Mary Gibson was one of the handful of female single panel cartoonists.

Colin Allen is another cartoonist whose work I see but know little about. Love this overcrowding cartoon. This guy could draw!


Charles Allen was not only a fine draftsman, but also an African American cartoonist.

Dave Huffine lived in the Catskills and was married to a painter, Ruth Huffine. Dave assisted Denys Wortman before going solo.

This was the first time I saw Ving Fuller's cartoons and I really enjoyed them. Ving was a veteran cartoonist who did a lot of gag and syndicated work.

Gene Carr was, according to his Wikipedia entry, doing cartoons for Hearst as a teenager! One of the most early and prolific of newspaper cartoonists.

Salo and Ben Roth, were 2 of the 4 Roth brothers. See Eli Stein Cartoons for more info!

Reamer Keller is one of my favorites. There is a happiness to his lines and I always like seeing his cartoons. He is a fearless drawer.

Brooklyn-born Leo Garel was one of the most prolific gag cartoonists around.

Virgil VIP Partch is one cartoonist who is getting more and more popular as people on the web discover him.


Ed Nofziger drew the best animals.

Greg D'Alessio was so very illustrative. He was married to Hilda Terry.

Leo Salkin's work reminds me of VIP's.

Merrylen Townsend -- another rare female cartoonist. I have no further information on her and wish I had.

Same with Frank Bevan. Scant information on him on the internet.

Ted key, who wrote screenplays and created Hazel. A prolific, smart guy.

4 time NCS Gag Cartoon Division Award winner George Wolfe.


Burr Shafer. I used to study his strong inking style.


Vic Herman created "Winnie the Wac" and drew Little Dot for Harvey Comics.


-- Edited from a January 6, 2010 blog entry.