Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Dick Buchanan's Cartoon File: The Years of Al Ross - 1947 – 1968

Here, from the heart of Greenwich Village, is Dick Buchanan, with a bunch of cartoons and a brief article about one of the best in the single panel cartoon business: Al Ross.
As ever, thanks for sharing your cartoony toys, and take it away, Dick!

Al Ross was born Abraham Roth. He was always referred to as “one of the cartooning Roth brothers.” The oldest brother was Ben Roth; the other two were Salo and Irv Roir. They attended the Art Students League and began cartooning in the 1930’s. Their cartoons appeared in the major magazines of the day, Colliers, Saturday Evening Post, This Week and many others. Their work also appeared in many of the pulp cartoon magazines which proliferated at the time. According to all reports, they were a wacky bunch of guys, the cartooning equivalent to the Marx Brothers. Al was considered the most talented draftsman of the brothers. Few would disagree.

In the early days of gag cartooning, most if not all cartoonists made preliminary sketches, and inked over the penciled work to obtain the finished product. Not Al. Al famously quickly sketched the whole shebang. Others did not adopt this approach until the 1960’s.

Over the years his work evolved, like an older jazz musician who play few notes and use space to achieve their sound, Ross utilized this same minimalist technique in his cartoons, becoming freer and increasing minimalist over time.

His gags were always solid, and even in the earliest days, tinged with an intellectual bent.


1. For Laughing Out Loud, 1963.



2. Judge. March, 1947.



3. Collier’s. December 18, 1948.



4. True. August, 1949.




5. 1000 Jokes Magazine Summer, 1950.



6. Gags. February, 1951.



7. American Legion Magazine. December, 1953.



8. Collier’s. August 20, 1954.



9. Collier’s. July 8, 1955.



10. For Laughing Out Loud. July-Sept. 1957.



11. American Legion Magazine. December, 1958.



12. 1000 Jokes Magazine Mar-May, 1959.



13. 1000 Jokes Magazine. Mar-May, 1960.



14. Look. June 18, 1963.


15. 1000 Jokes Magazine. Sep-Nov, 1964.

-- Edited from an original blog entry of April 20, 2017.

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