Archive for the ‘comics’ Category

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Cartooning: Byrnes’ Complete Guide To Cartooning Part Two

Willard Mullin

SINGLE PANEL COMICS, SPORTS CARTOONISTS, EDITORIAL CARTOONS AND COMIC BOOKS

We continue with the section on two column panel and sports cartoonists from Gene Byrnes’ Complete Guide To Cartooning (1950). Here are step by step descriptions of the creation of panel cartoons by George Clark and Lichty; as well as an article on Robert L. Ripley and features on sports cartoonists Pap, Howard Brodie and the great Willard Mullen. Following that is a gallery of Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoons, features on C. D. Batchelor and Bill Crawford, and a cursory look at how comic books were edited.

TWO COLUMN PANELS

Two column panel cartoons are a staple of newspaper comics today, even though the width of the standard column has shrunk. As the size decreased, artists were forced to reduce detail. Daily strips are so small now, it’s hard to do anything wider than a medium closeup in every panel. The two column panel cartoon has become the last bastion of cartoons with any kind of detail at all. Here, Gene Byrnes covers a few of the most popular single panel comics from the late 40s.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

GEORGE CLARK
The Neighbors

George ClarkGeorge ClarkGeorge Clark was born in Oklahoma. He began drawing at a very young age, and by 16 years old, his cartoons were appearing in the Daily Oklahoman. His first syndicated cartoon was "Side Glances", and in 1939, he created the one panel comic he is best known for, "The Neighbors". Clark’s gags were inspired by quiet observation of people in soda fountains and railroad stations. He would photograph situations, street scenes and expressions to incorporate into his drawings. The family in the comic was loosely based on his own wife and children.

He would create all of his comics for a week in one marathon session. He wrote, "It takes me at least six hours to warm up. I sit there trying to work and wondering what I’ve been doing all these years that it should still come so hard to me." When the ideas started flowing, he would work nonstop for up to 12 hours straight to complete the six cartoons for the week. He commented on the grueling process by saying, "When I’m trying to think of ideas for cartoons and they won’t come, I think it would be wonderful to paint landscapes, with no gags in them."

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

LICHTY
Grin & Bear It

Lichty

George Lichty was one of the most famous and highly paid one panel cartoonists in the newspapers. He created the cartoon, "Grin And Bear It" in 1932, and it ran every day for many decades. When asked to what he attributed the popularity of his wonderful lummoxes with names like "Bascomb Belchmore" and "Senator Snort", he replied, "From little acorns mighty oafs grow."

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

LARGE PANEL COMICS

When newspaper comics were at their zenith, whole pages were sometimes devoted to a single comic. Other comics would be half pages. Interspersed throughout the comics pages were quarter and third page single panels that depicted scenes and panoramas filled with gags. Today, each comic is so small, it’s lucky if it can put across a single gag. A lot of the richness and depth of view has been lost.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

ROBERT L. RIPLEY
Believe It Or Not

Robert RipleyRobert RipleyRobert Ripley was unique among cartoonists, because he truly lived his strip. Ripley travelled the world in search of the odd and unusual, which he featured in his daily newspaper comic. He passed away in 1949 at 56 years of age.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

SPORTS CARTOONISTS
“PAP”

PapPapThomas "Pap" Paprocki was referred to as the "Rembrandt of the sports pages". Born in 1902, he began his artistic endeavors at age nine, when he took painting lessons from an artist near his home in New York. A gifted athelete, it was natural that he would gravitate to being a sports cartoonist. In 1932, he began working for the Associated Press, where his column and drawings ran for over three decades. Check out the meticulous planning he put into his work.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

HOWARD BRODIE

Howard BrodieHoward BrodieHoward Brodie worked as a sports cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle. During WWII, he became a combat correspondent, creating illustrations of GIs in action that made a huge impact on readers stateside. He was a decorated veteran, and also served as a combat artist in Korea and Viet Nam. In the 50s and 60s became a courtroom artist, famous for his ability to capture the drama and detail of the proceedings in his quick powerful sketches.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

WILLARD MULLIN

Willard Mullin
Willard Mullin has been featured in this blog before in reference to his work on the Famous Artists Cartooning Course. He grew up in Los Angeles, but like most newspaper cartoonists of his era, he moved to New York in 1934. He worked for the New York World Telegram for over thirty years, where he created the iconic caricature of the Brooklyn Dodgers, the "Brooklyn Bum". Mullin eventually became a respected illustrator for Time, Life, and The Saturday Evening Post. Although sports cartooning is pretty much a dead artform, Mullin’s work is timeless and will live on long after the game has ended.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

EDITORIAL CARTOONING
By C. D. Batchelor

C D BatchelorC D BatchelorClarence Daniel Batchelor started as a staff cartoonist at the Kansas City Star. He worked as a freelance illustrator for a time before joining the New York Daily News in 1931. He worked there for 38 years as an editorial cartoonist, He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937 for the accompanying cartoon of a young man labelled "Any European Youth" being propositioned by a skull faced whore representing war, captioned… "Come on in, I’ll treat you right! I used to know your Daddy."

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

PULITZER PRIZE WINNERS

Mauldin
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

WILLIAM CRAWFORD

Bill Crawford
As I went to Google to research this blurb on editorial cartoonist Bill Crawford was a master of the medium. He was awarded the National Cartoonists Society awards for best editorial cartoon of 1956, 1957, 1958 and 1966; he was awarded the Silver T-Square Award in 1977; and he served as president of the organization in 1960. His cartoons first appeared in the Newark News, and later were syndicated to over 700 newspapers around the country.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

COMICS MAGAZINES
By Whitney Ellsworth

Byrnes Complete Guide To CartooningByrnes Complete Guide To CartooningWhitney Ellsworth started out as an assistant artist at King Features, working on strips like Dumb Dora and Tilly the Toiler. He was chief editor at DC Comics during the golden age of Superman, Batman, The Spectre, and The Green Arrow- but Superman was the series he was most closely involved in. Ellsworth wrote many of the story outlines for the comic books, and in the early 50s, he wrote the pilot episode of the Superman TV serial, Superman Meets The Mole Men. He retired in 1970.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

It’s interesting to compare the editorial script to the finished artwork provided here. The only thing the artist used was the basic situations, a few details and the dialogue. The staging of the panels and the pacing of the action from panel to panel had to be completely reworked to function visually. It’s surprising that Byrnes gives this section on comic books such short shrift. Ellsworth focuses on the technical and editorial aspects of the comic book business, and barely mentions the artists who actually create them. Perhaps if Byrnes had gotten Joe Shuster, Bob Kane or Jack Kirby to write this section, it would have been a different story.

Many thanks to Marc Crisafulli and David King for sharing this great book with us.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

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

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Inbetweens: Jo-Jo Shares His Treasures

Milt Gross Count Screwloose Nize Baby

Every year at Comic-Con, my pal JoJo Baptista busts his bankroll on old moldy newsprint. He’s generously offered to share his treasures with all of us. Thanks, JoJo!

Milt Gross Count Screwloose Nize Baby

As I always say… if you’re one of those folks who don’t click on the images because you don’t think it’s worth the time it takes to read… YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE MISSING!

First off, here are some of the backsides of one of his best Comic-Con hoardes…

Mutt And Jeff
Moon Mullins
Reglar Fellers
Mr and Mrs
Tillie the Toiler
Tillie the Toiler

And here are the fronts- some prime Milt Gross

Milt Gross Count Screwloose Nize Baby
Milt Gross Count Screwloose Nize Baby
Milt Gross Count Screwloose Nize Baby
Milt Gross Count Screwloose Nize Baby

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Comic Strips: A Typical Golden Age Comic Section

David Apatoff's Comic Collection

I read the news on the internet the other day that many newspapers are discontinuing their comics sections. I don’t think many people realize just how far the market for cartoons has fallen over the past few decades. Newspaper comics are the clearest example of how quickly a once vital artform can go the way of the dodo bird. This weekend, take a close look at your local Sunday funnies. (If your city’s newspaper still has them that is…) Compare them to these comics from nearly 70 years ago. Keep in mind that this is just an average Sunday from an average newspaper of the time period. I think you’ll be shocked at how different it is from what passes for comics in today’s papers.

David Apatoff's Comic Collection

Until I had a chance to actually see a complete Sunday comics section, I had no idea how huge and diverse the Sunday comics section was in the past. Not all these comics are classics, but even the worst of them are more interesting than the crop in current papers. It’s a crime how lousy newspaper comics have become.

David Apatoff's Comic Collection

Here are some statistics to think about, courtesy of Mike Fontanelli’s research… At the time this newspaper comic section was published, Li’l Abner had a circulation of over 80 million, and Capp made $200,000 a year from the strip- not counting licensing and other ancillary income. At that time, the population of the United States was 145 million, and adjusting for inflation, Capp’s salary in 2008 dollars would be 2.2 million dollars a year. Capp’s cartoon was read every day by more than half of the United States, and he made much more money any modern day print cartoonist makes from his work. But Capp wasn’t alone. Chic Young made $5,000 a week from Blondie. Milton Caniff, Chester Gould, George MacManus, Hal Foster… all of these men made MUCH more than the typical cartoonist today does, (NOT factoring for inflation!) and their work was seen and enjoyed on a single day by more people than current artists can hope for in a decade. The difference in scale is mind boggling.

David Apatoff's Comic Collection

This week, I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon chatting with Ralph Bakshi. I can’t seem to shake one comment he made when he visited and saw what we were doing here at Animation Resources. Ralph said, "Cartooning is in jeopardy." He explained that artists who would have become cartoonists in the past are going into other fields, because the market for cartooning has deteriorated so much. In the past, a cartoonist could do a newspaper strip, or contribute one panel gags to magazines, or do spot illustrations for advertisements, create comic books or make animated cartoons. Today, every single one of those branches of cartooning is struggling for survival. There are animated cartoons today that are neither animated, nor cartoons. The comic book business is suffocating under the weight of an unsupportable business model. Magazines rarely run cartoons, and advertisements are usually just Photoshopped collages. Some markets, like newspaper comics may be on the way out entirely. It’s clear that if you’re determined to become a cartoonist today, you can expect to be swimming against the current.

David Apatoff's Comic Collection

It’s difficult not to be depressed. I’m not sure what can be done to reverse the trend. I can only hope that this website will act as a catalyst to inspire the artists who truly love the medium to create something totally new and exciting. We can only hope that artists will stick with the art of cartooning and build up a totally new market on the internet, because that’s our best hope for the resurgence of cartooning. Perhaps today’s hard work and sacrifices will spawn a market for cartoons that replaces and surpasses all the old models. I sure hope that happens, and I’m doing what I can to see that it does.

David Apatoff's Comic Collection

I hope you cartoonists out there understand what I’m saying… I’m not saying that there are no good cartoonists and no good cartoons today. I’m saying that the market for cartooning has been allowed to dwindle down to nothing. That isn’t good for the business of cartooning or for cartoonists who want to make a living drawing. I’m reminding you here that there was a time when cartoonists didn’t think small or settle for being boxed into a "niche market". To them, becoming successful was the goal, and they didn’t consider that to be the same as "selling out". The aimed straight for the mainstream with a variety of challenging, well drawn comics, and they hit it big. Let’s find a way to do that again.

The New Orleans Times Picayune
First Comic Section
Sunday, June 25th, 1939

1939 Sunday Color Comics
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Comics
1939 Sunday Color Comics1939 Sunday Color Comics

Second Comic Section

1939 Sunday Color Comics
1939 Sunday Color Comics1939 Sunday Color Comics
1939 Sunday Color Comics1939 Sunday Color Comics
1939 Sunday Color Comics1939 Sunday Color Comics
1939 Sunday Color Comics1939 Sunday Color Comics

Third Comic Section

1939 Sunday Color Comics
1939 Sunday Color Comics1939 Sunday Color Comics
1939 Sunday Color Comics1939 Sunday Color Comics
1939 Sunday Color Comics1939 Sunday Color Comics
1939 Sunday Color Comics1939 Sunday Color Comics

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

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