Friday, June 30, 2023

Dick Buchanan Files: Gag Cartoons in Glorious Color 1949 - 52

In the media of the mid-20th century, color was a big deal. Heck, back in the day, the Sunday night NBC Walt Disney TV show was NOT originally called "The Wonderful World of Disney." It was called "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color." And, by God, if you didn't HAVE a TV that was COLOR the implication was YOU WERE MISSING OUT. Never mind that NBC was owned by RCA and RCA was in the business of selling color TVs.


Color in any media was a rarity. Here is Dick Buchanan with some unique color gag cartoons. Color being more expensive to produce, these cartoons are not the usual gray-tone vintage gag cartoon oeuvre, gang. So, sit back and let Dick take you on a color-filled single panel cartoon romp.

Take it away, Dick -- and thanks!



1949 – 1952

Collier’s began publishing color gag cartoons in the mid-forties and continued the practice until the magazine folded in 1957. Most issues contained several, always by their best cartoonists. The Saturday Evening Post published fewer cartoons in color but had some great ones as well.

Are traditional black and white cartoons funnier than the ones in color? The debate rages but one thing is certain, often the gag is secondary to the illustration--as clearly demonstrated by John Ruge’s superb illustration in this group.

In any event, it is always a treat to see the great work these great cartoonists turn out when given the opportunity to work with color.

1. FRANK BEAVEN. Collier’s November 4, 1950.

2. STANLEY & JANICE BERENSTAIN. Collier’s December 9, 1950. 

3. KATHERINE (KATE) OSANN. Collier’s May 17, 1952.

4. CORKA. (Jon Cornin & Zena Kavin) Collier’s October 14, 1950. 

5. JEFFERSON MACHAMER. Colllier’s May 13, 1950. 

6. JACK MARKOW. The Saturday Evening Post December 8, 1951. 

7. MARY GIBSON. Collier’s May 7, 1949. 

8. BARNEY TOBEY. Collier’s April 1, 1950. 

9. TED KEY. Collier’s July 2, 1949. 

10. GREGORY d’ALESSIO. Collier’s October 13, 1951. 

11. WILLIAM von Riegen. Collier’s December 9, 1950.

12. JOHN RUGE. Collier’s April 26, 1952. 

13. HARRY MACE. American Magazine September, 1951. 

14. JANE SPEAR KING. Collier’s April 21, 1951. 

15. LAFE LOCKE. Collier’s April 26, 1952.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Steve Brodner on the Ron DeSantis Candidacy

Here's an amazing political cartoon by Steve Brodner that was in last Sunday's LA Times.

Video: Dad Joke Survivors

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Newspaper Apologizes for Political Cartoon and "we will not be accepting any further work from the cartoonist"

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy wrote on Twitter this week that The Quad City Times had "no right" to print the editorial cartoon critical of his visit. 

Via NBC News:

"Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy called out an Iowa newspaper for printing a cartoon he described as 'bigotry.'

"The Quad City Times, a daily paper based in Davenport, Iowa, issued an apology and retraction after a cartoonist depicted Ramaswamy greeting a group of Trump supporters who shout racist things back at him. 

"'We apologize today for letting such an image slip through our editorial process and into our opinion page Wednesday in the form of a political cartoon,' Times executive editor Tom Martin said in the apology. 'The cartoon, while intended to criticize racist ideas and epithets, uses a phrase that is racist and insensitive to members of our Indian American community.'

"The statement said the paper has severed ties with the cartoonist who drew it, as well.

"'The oversight that allowed it to run is inexcusable, and we can and will do better,' Martin said."


The paper apologized, punishing the cartoonist, Leo Kelly, by stating that they will never buy from him again. The editor who approved it got a pass (to quote The Daily Cartoonist).

This is a terribly spineless newspaper editor. Apologizing to this snowflake Republican ... for what? This is capitulating to at best the bullying aspect of the party which has a long history of bigotry, and at worst; kowtowing to white supremacists and Nazis. My guess: advertisers threatened to pull out. 


Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Salem Kirban's "666" Art by Larry Birchler (1980)


Salem Kirban's 666, a "pictorial novel" (to use their term), with art by Larry Birchler, was published by Salem Kirban, Inc. and is copyright 1980 by Mr. Kirban.

Just two years after Will Eisner's A Contract With God (the first graphic novel) and six years before Art Spiegelman's Maus, the book 666 was published and available to buy at Christian book stores or the mail. 

From the introduction:


Pictorial Format 666 is taken from the book of the same name by Salem Kirban. It is a novel. Much of it is fiction. However; it is important to realize that very much of it is also FACT!


The bio on Larry Birchler is:

Larry Birchler is a school teacher with an unusual talent in the field of art illustration. He has dedicated this talent to the Lord. He did the highly complex illustrations for 666 during his summer vacations. He and his wife reside in Washington state.  


Here are the first pages of the 64 page book, or Pictorial Format, depicting the world in the year 2000. It's a world in ruin due to overpopulation and ... well, the devil and corruption. We very quickly get into the Rapture and the Tribulation and international intrigue of the "left behinds" on the Earth. You'll see.

Why Kirban and Birchler put this proto-graphic novel together, I don't know. Maybe they were inspired by those Jack Chick religious comic book tracts. Regardless, it's a standalone story in sequential art format and meets the criteria for a graphic novel. 

The back of advertises many of the other Christian publications available.

Salem Kirban passed away in 2010. As far as I can tell, Larry Birchler is teaching mathematics (see link above). The book was new to me and worthy of a look. It's out of print.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Editorial Cartoonist Bill Baron: "Portrait of a Newspaper Cartoonist"

 Photo by Nathan Burton for Taos News.


Used to be every big and middle-sized newspaper had a staff editorial cartoonist. Here's a short video depicting award winning Bill Baron's routine as the Tao News cartoonist. He retired this past fall, and the video was posted on Friday.

From The Taos News:

"After nearly a quarter-century of illustrating the folly and foibles of local politics and culture, Taos News editorial cartoonist Bill Baron has sharpened his last editorial pencil.

"Those who felt the sting of Baron's editorial cartoons, which lampooned officials in Taos, Taos County and on local school boards, along with utility providers, hospital administrators, animal control officers and even, for a time, the town's parking enforcement officer, know how pointed his pencil could be.

" ... Before settling in Taos, Baron, who is originally from Chicago, spent many years in the business of designing toys. He's perhaps most well-known in that regard for co-creating, with cartoonist Paul Kirchner, Mego Corporation's Eagle Force action figures in the 1980s. He also designed World Wrestling Federation merchandise during the boom years of Wrestlemania.

" ... Taos News Publisher Chris Baker said Baron will 'always will be remembered for his incisive, humorous commentary on Taos current events,' and characterized Baron as 'fearless at times, but never mean.'

"'I would look at his cartoons before we would go to press and say to myself, 'ouch, the phones are going to ring tomorrow,'' Baker said. Someone asked me how much in ad dollars Bill Baron's cartoons cost us over the years — I said I lost count after $50,000.'"

Directed by Geoffrey Plant and Nathan Burton; filmed and edited by Nathan Burton Executive Producer: John Miller


Friday, June 23, 2023

Newfoundland Photos


Last week, we took a long (2,800 miles) road trip from New England to Newfoundland. We were there a week. Here are a few photos. Above is a dinky iceberg near L'anse aux Meadows, the viking settlement, on the western tip of Newfoundland. 

In Gros Morne National Park, there's a tour of the deep freshwater fjord Western Pond. (All of the fjords are called ponds.) The fjord is surrounded by massive rock mountains and there are many waterfalls as you take the two hour boat trip there.

June is iceberg month.

A piece on Inuit art carved from bone seen in St. Anthony's.

Me, in the middle of the "Meeting of Two Worlds" sculpture at L'anse aux Meadows. This depicts the first contact between the Vikings and the First Nations people. It did not go well.

Baby moose by the road.

Unfazed caribou.

Norris Point.

T-shirt for sale at the Nova Scotia Visitor Center.

Pickled wieners for sale in the St. Anthony grocery store. I'm not gonna try 'em. You try 'em.

Unknown plant in L'anse aux Meadows.

Baker's Brook Falls Trail.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

The Garden As of Mid-June 2023

The garden as of mid-June 2023. Just putting in the vegetables: tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers and peppers. Not much to see except dirt and straw, so included are some flower pics.


The big foreground box will be full of zinnias. That will probably be by August.

I love lupins, but they have already by the end of June, they stop blooming. Also in this box: peppers, and a couple of tomatoes. 

Toamtoes and a couple of eggplants. My tomato cages are crtainly wobbly -- something I didn't realize until I posted this photo. Well, they still work. 

Eggplant in front, and (hard to see) wee cucumbers in the back.

Nothing to see in this raised bed, which is in need of repair (see upper left corner). 

 More to come!