Archive for the ‘editorial cartoons’ Category

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Editorial Cartoons: Len Norris, Master of Just About Everything

Len Norris

After the holidays, my pal Jo-Jo Baptista showed me a paperback book of political cartoons he picked up in a junk store when he was visiting his family. It was by a cartoonist I had never heard of before… Len Norris. The second I opened the book, I started to get excited. This guy had everything- great compositions, stylish design, solidly constructed characters, flawless perspective, funny drawings, great fabric folds, expressive hand poses, wild looking kids and animals- and he seemed to be able to draw anything from any angle. He caricatured automobiles and trains as well as the insides of gothic cathedrals and department stores, and depicted fabulous mansions as easily as he drew middle class living rooms. What a talent!

Len NorrisLen NorrisI did a little Googling and discovered that Norris worked as Art Director for Macleans magazines for a few years after WWII, then began a 27 year run as editorial cartoonist for the Vancouver Sun. Norris would lampoon stories from the paper, which he would refer to in a tiny box at the top or on the headline of a paper in a character’s hand. Today, without an understanding of the topical context, some of the gags are pretty puzzling. But it doesn’t matter- Norris’ drawings are spectacular.

It’s clear that Norris was inspired by the work of Ronald Searle, as are many current day animators. But Norris takes Searle’s ornamental line and wraps it around completely solid forms. This is exactly the sort of translation that a character designer would need to do if he wanted to adapt Searle’s style to an animatable model. But Norris isn’t just a Searle imitator. His characters are keenly observed and capture the spirit of Canadian culture in the 1950s. Look at these fantastic editorial cartoons and see if you don’t agree with Walt Kelly who was quoted as saying that Len Norris was “the best in the business”.

Len Norris
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Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resource

Editorial CartoonsEditorial Cartoons

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

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Editorial Cartoonists: Louis Raemaekers- The Cartoonist Who Helped Win The First World War

Louis Raemaekers

Berntstorff- The Next To Be Kicked Out

LOUIS RAEMAEKERS

(1869-1956)

“The cartoons of Louis Raemaekers constitute the most powerful of the honorable contributions made by neutrals to the cause of civilization in the World War.” -Theodore Roosevelt, 1917

Louis RaemaekersLouis RaemaekersLouis Raemaekers was born in the Netherlands in 1869. He led a quiet life, painting landscapes while studying and teaching in Amsterdam and Brussels. In 1906 he was asked by a newspaper in Amsterdam, Het Handelsblad, to produce a series of cartoons. His initial attempt at a comic strip was a complete failure, so he turned to politics.

Raemaekers’ interest in international affairs led him to speak out about German ambitions for expanding their territory into Holland and the Allsace region of France. This got him into trouble with the editors of Het Handelsblad. The Netherlands was neutral and Germanic aggression was a hot issue, so they started cutting back on the number of cartoons by Raemaekers in their pages. When a rival paper, De Telegraaf offered him more editorial freedom and as much space as he could fill, he jumped at the chance.

Louis Raemaekers

“I was in prison for life, but they found I had many abilities for bringing civilization to our neighbors, so now I am a soldier.”

At the beginning of the First World War, Germany invaded Belgium. The Netherlands was neutral, so refugees streamed across the border. With them, they carried stories of German atrocities against the Belgian people. Raemaekers secretly crossed the border into Belgium to see for himself if the stories were true and returned outraged at what he had witnessed. He began to produce fiercely Anti-German political cartoons that burned with the passion of personal conviction.

Louis Raemaekers

The Massacre of the Innocents in Belgium
“All in good order. Men to the right, women to the left.”

Raemaekers’ cartoons were picked up for distribution by the British government in a series of propaganda pamphlets. The campaign was so effective, the Germans used their influence in the Netherlands to have Raemaekers tried for “endangering Dutch neutrality”. The charges were eventually dropped, but Kaiser Wilhelm II put a bounty of 12,000 marks on his head. When his wife began to receive anonymous threats, Raemaekers realized that his family was in great danger. He relocated to England, where his cartoons were celebrated in books and museum exhibitions, and syndicated to newspapers across France, Canada and the United States.

Louis Raemaekers

The German Tango- “From East to West
and West to East, I dance with thee.”

Raemaekers cartoons were instrumental in fighting against deeply entrenched American isolationism, and in 1917 the United States entered the war. Raemaekers quickly organized a lecture tour of the US and Canada, rallying the allies to support the French and mobilize against the Germans. The Christian Science Monitor said of Raemaekers, “From the outset his works revealed something more than the humorous or ironical power of the caricaturist; they showed that behind the mere pictorial comment on the war was a man who thought and wrought with a deep and uncompromising conviction as to right and wrong.”

Louis Raemaekers

Von Bethmann-Hollweg And Truth
“Truth is on the path and nothing will stay her.”

After the war, Raemaekers withdrew from international affairs, spending the last 25 years of his life quietly in France and Brussels. By the time he passed away in 1956, the world had pretty much forgotten him. But in his obituary, the New York Times summed up his career, saying, “It has been said of Raemaekers that he was the one private individual who exercised a real and great influence on the course of the 1914-18 War. There were a dozen or so people (emperors, kings, statesmen, and commanders-in-chief) who obviously, and notoriously, shaped policies and guided events. Outside that circle of the great, Louis Raemaekers stands conspicuous as the one man who, without any assistance of title or office, indubitably swayed the destinies of peoples.”

Louis Raemaekers

The Harvest Is Ripe

Today, Raemaekers is remembered more by students of the First World War than by cartoonists and artists. His work has been looked down upon with scorn by certain revisionist historians who argue that some of the more extreme atrocities depicted in Raemaekers’ cartoons never took place. It is always difficult in wartime to know what is happening behind enemy lines. Although Raemakers made several clandestine research trips to Belgium during the war, he also depended on second hand accounts, some of which have since been proven to be untrue. But no one denies that Raemaekers himself believed his cartoons to be completely factual.

Louis Raemaekers

A Fact- The brutalization by Major Tille of the German Army on a small boy of Maastricht was verified by an eye-witness.

This sincerity is what makes him important to cartoonists today. He deserves to be remembered, not as just a propagandist, but as an artist who stood up for what he believed. His passion carried him from being a provincial landscape painter to becoming one of the most powerful and influential individuals on the world stage. There is tremendous power in the art of cartooning. It’s not just “ducks and rabbits” and mindless children’s entertainment. It can change the world. No cartoonists should ever forget that.

Louis Raemaekers

The Future- “For freedom’s battle once begun,
though baffled oft, is ever won.”

For more detailed information on Louis Raemaekers’ life and career, see John Adcock’s excellent article at Yesterday’s Papers.

Louis Raemaekers

The Sea Mine- Von Terpitz’s Victims

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Editorial CartoonsEditorial Cartoons

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

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit entitled Theory.

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.