Archive for the ‘comic strips’ Category

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Magazine Cartoons: James Montgomery Flagg’s Nervy Nat

James Montgomery Flagg

James Montgomery FlaggJames Montgomery FlaggJames Montgomery Flagg is best known for his iconic recruitment posters like the one above, but he was also an accomplished magazine illustrator and cartoonist as well.

In 1890 at the age of 12, James presented himself and a group of sketches at the offices of St. Nicholas Magazine, the leading illustrated children’s publication of the time. He was shown to the office of one of the editors who looked at his drawings and determined that he showed promise. The editor praised the boy’s work and encouraged his parents to seek out art training for him. Flagg took classes at the Art Students’ League in New York, and within two years, he was a regular contributor to St. Nicholas, and Life magazine, and eventually landed a staff position at Judge. Alongside great artists like Grant Hamilton and Eugene Zimmerman, Flagg flourished, becoming one of the top illustrators of his day.

James Montgomery Flagg

Flagg was very versatile, and his sketches of beautiful women were just as well drawn as his caricatured cartoons. He was outspoken and critical of the art community. He once said that "the difference between the artist and the illustrator is that the latter knows how to draw, eats three square meals a day, and can pay for them."

From 1903 to 1907, Flagg drew a comic strip for Judge titled, "Nervy Nat". It appears to be based on the early vaudeville perfomances of W.C. Fields. Here are some examples of the strip from 1906 and 1907.

James Montgomery Flagg
James Montgomery Flagg
James Montgomery Flagg
James Montgomery Flagg
James Montgomery Flagg
James Montgomery Flagg
James Montgomery Flagg
James Montgomery Flagg
James Montgomery Flagg
James Montgomery Flagg
James Montgomery Flagg
James Montgomery Flagg

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Magazine CartoonsMagazine Cartoons

This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Magazine Cartoons.

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Comic Strips: Cady and Fisher- Masters of the Bird’s Eye View

Right Around Home by Dudley Fisher
Dudley Fisher

Harrison CadyHarrison CadyHarrison Cady was one of the most famous and prolific cartoonists of the early decades of the 20th century. Although he is best known as the illustrator of Thornton W. Burgess’ Peter Rabbit series of books, and the cartoonist behind the newspaper comic bearing the same name, Cady was an active illustrator as well. His illustrations and comics appeared in the Saturday Evening Post, The Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Life, St. Nicholas Magazine and Boys’ Life.

These “bird’s eye views” are masterpieces of visual organization. Instead of just one overall composition, there are dozens spread all through the image. The amount of planning and pencil milage that must have gone into these complex images is impressive.

Animation Resources supporter, Jonathan Barli of Digital Funnies contributed these amazing scans to the archive database. Jonathan is hard at work on an important project- documenting and restoring early cartoons and comics in digital form. When I spoke to him about Animation Resources, he instantly understood what we are trying to do. Jonathan has donated high resolution TIFF images of his entire collection to Animation Resources.

Here is a selection of Cady’s Birds’ Eye View illustrations for Boys’ Life magazine…

Harrison Cady
Harrison Cady
Harrison Cady
Harrison Cady
Harrison Cady
Harrison Cady

Here is a similar format comic… "Right Around Home".

Right Around Home by Dudley FisherRight Around Home by Dudley FisherDudley Fisher was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1890. He studied to be an architect, but dropped out to take a job as a layout artist at the Columbus Dispatch. After returning from WWI, Fisher created a comic strip called "Jolly Jingles". Year after year, he cranked out rhyming verse until he couldn’t stand it any more. In December of 1937 he decided to take a break from jingles and draw what Christmas on his grandmother’s farm would be like (if he had a grandmother and she lived on a farm!) He drew it as one big full page panel and readers immediately took to it and clamored for more. King Features picked up the strip and titled it "Right Around Home". These great Sunday pages date from early in the run- 1939.

Right Around Home by Dudley Fisher
Right Around Home by Dudley Fisher
Right Around Home by Dudley Fisher
Right Around Home by Dudley Fisher
Right Around Home by Dudley Fisher
Right Around Home by Dudley Fisher
Right Around Home by Dudley Fisher
Right Around Home by Dudley Fisher
Right Around Home by Dudley Fisher
Right Around Home by Dudley Fisher
Right Around Home by Dudley Fisher

When asked by a young artist what sorts of pens and paper to use to draw cartoons, Fisher recommended not worrying about things like that, saying "I feel certain that Michaelangelo could have done a masterpiece on meat wrapping paper with a toothbrush and shoe polish. It’s all got to come out of the artist- not the ink bottle."

Thanks for the wonderful scans, Jonathan!

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Newspaper ComicsNewspaper Comics
This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Newspaper Comics.

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Comic Strips: Chic Young’s Blondie

Chic Young Blondie

Chic Young was one of the most successful newspaper cartoonists of his time. His first syndicated strip, Dumb Dora ran from 1924 to 1930. He retired the strip to create a "pretty girl" comic (ala Polly & her Pals) titled Blondie. It was an instant hit. Young penned Blondie until his death in 1973. The strip is still in print, under the byline of his son, Dean.

Chic Young's Blondie

The other day, Animation Resources supporter Joe Campana stopped by for a visit. He brought along a book for us to digitize… Comics And Their Creators was written by Martin Sheridan in 1942. It’s a treasure trove of biographical information on great comic strip artists. Today, I am presenting the chapter on Chic Young, along with some rare original Sunday pages from the collection of Marc Crisafulli.

Chic Young's Blondie
Chic Young's Blondie
Chic Young's Blondie
Chic Young's Blondie
Chic Young's Blondie
Chic Young's Blondie
Chic Young's Blondie
Chic Young's Blondie
Chic Young's Blondie
Chic Young's Blondie
Chic Young's Blondie
Chic Young's Blondie
Chic Young's Blondie
Chic Young's Blondie
Chic Young's Blondie

Here are some of the very earliest Blondie Sunday pages…

Chic Young's Blondie
July 19th, 1931

Chic Young's Blondie
August 9th, 1931

Chic Young's Blondie
August 16th, 1931

Chic Young's Blondie
August 23rd, 1931

Chic Young's Blondie
September 6th, 1931

Many thanks to Marc Crisafulli for sharing these rare original comics pages with us; and to Joe Campana of Animation Who And Where for lending us Comics And Their Creators.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Newspaper ComicsNewspaper Comics
This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Newspaper Comics.