Saturday, December 31, 2011

From 1937 to 1956, Jackie Ormes (1911-1985) drew comics for two African-
American newspapers, the Pittsburgh Courier and the Chicago Defender.

Jackie Ormes is featured in this supergirls video set to "Mad Mama" (Jane Bowman, 1961).


Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Harry J. Tuthill (1886–1957) drew the Bungles from 1918 to 1945. In 1924, he changed the title from Home Sweet Home to The Bungle Family.

He Won Success On A Bungle (Modern Mechanix, October 1936)

PLAYING the banjo for an itinerant medicine man might not be considered the ideal preparation for a career as a cartoonist, but that is the unconventional path to comic strip fame followed by Harry Tuthill, creator of the famous Bungle Family.

Tuthill actually bungled into fame, if we may be granted a play on words which is the license of every cartoonist. Harry Tuthill created The Bungle Family, and the family in turn went out and made him famous from coast to coast. Today, with the cartoon strip appearing in scores of daily newspapers throughout the United States, Tuthill is one of the best paid topnotchers of his profession.

Tuthill himself gives a good deal of the credit for his success to the unusual opportunities for observing human nature in action which came his way as banjoist, barker and working humorist for an old time medicine show. He had to play the banjo well enough to attract a crowd. He had to have a robust flow of humor to keep the crowd interested and put it in a buying mood. Certainly it was as exacting a school for a humorist as any cartoonist ever graduated from with a degree of D. H. N.—Doctor of Human Nature.

Tuthill’s “medical” employer specialized in corn cures, and the pair traveled in a covered wagon which visited most of the towns between the Adirondacks and the Rockies. As a covered wagon it was a weird and wonderful vehicle. Its exterior was plastered with agonizing signs which pictured in elaborate detail every misery the human foot is heir to. A far cry from those aching posters to the deft pen and ink drawings the young spieler was later to turn out!

The Bungle Family offers interesting sidelights on how a cartoon strip is developed. It didn’t start out to be the Bungle Family at all. It began, some 17 years ago, as Home Sweet Home when Tuthill got a job as cartoonist on the New York Evening Mail. But he had named his inkpot characters with an aptness worthy of a Dickens. Their vitality asserted itself and before very long the strip became The Bungle Family and so it has remained.

To the cartoonist just breaking into the game, or to the student interested in discovering just what, gives certain cartoon strips their phenomenal popularity, the Bungle Family is well worth studying. It is a leading exponent of what a critic might describe as a comedy of situation. Wisecracks and gags are conspicuously absent.

The situations are never fantastic. The troubles and successes of the Bungles are those which might reasonably occur to an average family.

Secondary characters are brought in as circumstances may require, but the spotlight always beats down upon the Bungles themselves—Colonel George B. Bungle, his wife Josephine, and his daughter Peggy. This is a secret known to every successful cartoonist—never let the center of interest shift from your heroes.

George B. Bungle, in many of his characteristics, reflects the secret yearnings of Tuthill himself. The Colonel, as thousands of Bungle fans are aware, is a troubled business man, a promoter, and something of an inventor. He comes by his inventive talents honestly, as a visitor to Tuthill’s studio soon discovers.

It is as much a home craftsman’s workshop as an artist’s studio. Half of it is given over to drawing boards, inkpots and pens which create the adventures of the Bungles from day to day. The other half is equipped with workbenches, wood lathes, turning tools, hacksaws and chisels in a profusion to delight the heart of a hobbyist.

Tuthill’s particular delight is tinkering with automobile engines. When the Bungle Family has trouble with its Scatterbolt Six, it is pretty safe to assume that Tuthill has just been taking one of his own cars apart and putting it together again. The hands which are so skilled with brush and pen are just as deft in operating upon a delicate piece of machinery. But all of Tuthill’s inventions issue through his brain child, George Bungle.

His workshop-studio occupies a building of its own at the rear of an old-fashioned house with many rooms, set back among the trees on his spacious estate in a suburb of St. Louis. Tuthill is one of the few first-rank cartoonists who lives in the middle west.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Reed Crandall (1917-1982) was born in Winslow, Indiana, but grew up in Newton, Kansas. He did the Native American Art Triptych in 1933 while he was in Newton High School. The wooden sculpture Scrooge was created in 1936, the year after he graduated from high school. Newton's John Gaeddert did some recent restoration work on Scrooge.

Below are two illustrations from Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars, published in 1964 by Biblo & Tannen's Canaveral Press; both were reprinted in Castle of Frankenstein #5 (1964) to illustrate a Dick Lupoff article about Burroughs. The sword battle shows the attack of the Morgors, the skeleton men of Jupiter. Crandall also illustrated Tarzan and the Madman for Canaveral. "The Sucker" was published in Terror Illustrated #1 (December 1955), and "The Lipstick Killer" was in Shock Illustrated #2 (February 1956), titles in EC's short-lived Picto-Fiction line. For the true facts about the myth of the Lipstick Killer, click on the "lipstick killer" label at bottom.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011
Russ Cochran announces a new 32-page monthly publication, The Sunday Funnies, devoted to classic comic strips. It features reprints of Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Bronc Peeler, Little Nemo and other Sunday pages dating back to 1895 but mostly from the 1900s to the 1930s. The premiere issue features Gasoline Alley (the first ten Sunday pages from October 24 to December 26, 1920). Also: Alley Oop, Bronc Peeler, Krazy Kat, Wee Willie Winkie's World and Crazy Quilt (April 19, 1914), a strip by Frank King and five other artists with several storylines stitched together.

The source for this material is the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, launched by Lucy Caswell and Milton Caniff at Ohio State in 1977. Cochran comments: "Each issue of The Sunday Funnies will be a full-size 22"x16" comic section, containing full-page Sunday comics in full color. These pages are coming from the archives of Ohio State University, which, thanks to Bill Blackbeard, has the largest and most comprehensive collection of Sunday comics in existence. The retail price will be $10 (plus $5 S/H for US or $7 S/H outside the US) and I will be selling subscriptions, 12 monthly issues for $100. My print runs for these historic sections will be low and I expect to sell out the first few issues, so get your order in now before it's too late. The first three issues of The Sunday Funnies are being printed at once, so send $30 plus $9 shipping ($21 outside US) to get these first three, or, if you believe in me, send $100 plus $25 shipping ($55 outside US) for a year's subscription. I promise you will be delighted... I discovered that there would be considerable economy in printing The Sunday Funnies three at a time, I realized that there would be similar economy in shipping them out three at a time, and that's the way I should be selling them... three at a time. So I am not offering single issues of The Sunday Funnies anymore, I'm selling them in groups of three, all to be mailed in a sturdy Calumet Carton at the same time. This means that now it is essentially a quarterly publication of three Sunday sections, each of 32 pages, for the retail price of $30 plus shipping ($9 US; $20 Outside US). I think this will work much better. As always, you can order through my web site, www.russcochran.com; or you can send your check to PO Box 469, West Plains MO 65775; or you can call 417-256-1311 if you prefer to use MasterCard, Visa or Discover. You can also make a payment by Paypal to russ@russcochran.com. If you want to be invoiced to pay by Paypal, just e-mail Judy atcomicart@russcochran.com."

December 6, 1936

July 21, 1940

January 2, 1944

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011
  Wood Chips #40: Mad #52 (January 1960)

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

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Thursday, December 08, 2011
These comic book pages by Russ Manning (1929-1981), best known for his Tarzan comic strip and comic books, were drawn for the pressbook of the film Luana (1968).

April 9, 1976

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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

A selection of work by Darrell McClure (1903-1987), best known for his long run on the Little Annie Rooney comic strip from 1930 to 1966. His assistants on the strip were Bob Dunn and Fran Matera. Brandon Walsh drew the Sunday strip from 1931 to 1953. "Greetings" was a page from a Christmas promotional book King Features sent to newspapers in 1939.


Saturday, December 03, 2011
  Topps #14: Laugh-In
Of all the gags I ever devised for Topps, the interactive Yellow Pages card is my favorite. "Let your fingers do the walking" was an ad slogan so familiar that Advertising Age listed it in their top slogans of the century. When the two die-cut holes at the bottom of the card were punched out, fingers could be inserted to walk the card across a tabletop.

The Laugh-In television series was a huge hit, and these finger cards were part of Topps' licensed Laugh-In series in 1968. Woody Gelman called me into Larry Riley's office, and the three of us had a verbal gag session to generate cards and stickers relevant to the TV show. Jo Anne Worley (not Joanne) was presented as a loudmouth on the show; hence, the hole in mouth. Since Goldie Hawn rose to fame on Laugh-In as a sort of walking collage of painted messages, it's odd this finger card didn't feature more body art. I seem to recall there was also a card in which the finger became an elephant's trunk.

Advertising Age's top ten slogans of the century:

Diamonds are forever (DeBeers)
Just do it (Nike)
The pause that refreshes (Coca-Cola)
Tastes great, less filling (Miller Lite)
We try harder (Avis)
Good to the last drop (Maxwell House)
Breakfast of champions (Wheaties)
Does she ... or doesn't she? (Clairol)
When it rains it pours (Morton Salt)
Where's the beef? (Wendy's)

Look Ma, no cavities! (Crest toothpaste)
Let your fingers do the walking (Yellow Pages)
Loose lips sink ships (public service)
M&Ms melt in your mouth, not in your hand (M&M candies)
We bring good things to life (General Electric)

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Friday, December 02, 2011
Jack Davis at the Scott Eder Gallery.
"Welcome to Texas"

"Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich"
"Jack London"

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Thursday, December 01, 2011
Jack Rickard (1922-1983) is known for his Mad covers and his movie posters. But here's a jazz painting and other work by Rickard. Pauline McPeril was his 1966-67 comic strip with Mell Lazarus, who scripted under the pseudonym Fulton. Pauline was a secret agent. Note that Alfred E. Neuman and Lazarus' Miss Peach characters have walked into the Sunday strip. When Pauline McPeril came crashing down, Rickard drew himself and Lazarus at work.

May 7, 1966
January 1, 1967

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Masquerade of the albino axolotls

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is the editor of Against the Grain: Mad Artist Wallace Wood (2003), reviewed by Paul Gravett.

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