Archive for the ‘punch’ Category

Friday, March 24th, 2017

REFPACK015: Download An Amazing E-Book On The German Caricature Journal Die Muskete


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March-April 2017

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PDF E-BOOK:
Die Muskete

Die Muskete
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Volume 10 Nos. 236-252 (April-July 1910)

Die Muskete During the 19th century, society had a totally different relationship with cartoons than we do today. Beginning with artists like James Gillray and George Cruickshank in early decades of the century, cartoons were seen as serious business. They crystalized the image of the rich and powerful in the minds of the masses, and even Kings and religious leaders were forced to take notice of their impact. The pen truly had become “mightier than the sword”.

With the dawn of the 20th century, the lives of people were changing. The modern world was emerging, and with it came pressures brought on by technology, new forms of government, colonialism and war. The gloves were off– cartoonists no longer limited their satire to Kings and religious leaders. They wielded their power to satirize by skewering everyone and everything around them– religion, ethnicity, the rich as well as the poor, and the power that the government held over the public. Cartooning became a powerful tool for changing hearts and minds, as well as disseminating nationalistic propaganda. The conflicts that these new challenges created began building to a head, and it would eventually result in “The Great War”, World War I.

Die Muskete But even though it was a difficult time politically, the world was experiencing a renaissance in the arts. There were two principle styles during this period: Historicism and Art Nouveau. Historicism was an ecclectic style which embraced neo-classical forms and themes. The subject matter consisted of idealized imagery of ancient Greece, mythological and historical tableaux, or exotic locales in faraway lands. The other popular style was Art Nouveau. In Germany, it was known as Jugendstyl (Jugend Style), named after Jugend, one of the most famous arts magazines of the day. Art Nouveau was based on craftsmanship and hand work. It rebelled against the machine-made look that was taking hold in graphics and consumer products in the early industrial age. It did this by putting the hand of the artist at the forefront and incorporating lush organic patterns derived from nature. These two styles were represented in all forms of art, from architecture to interior design, to ceramics, fabrics, fashion, sculpture, illustration… and even cartooning.

Die Muskete
An example of Historicism by Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Die Muskete Technology wasn’t altogether as bad a thing for the arts as the Art Nouveau movement believed though. Lithography in the 19th century was beginning to enable the mass production of high quality images, exploiting new printing techniques to produce art magazines and satirical caricature journals. The oldest of these caricature magazines was the French weekly, La Charivari, which began publication in 1832. The title referred to a folk custom where peasants would perform a mocking, off pitch serenade accompanied by a cacophony of banging on pots and pans to shame adulterers, cuckolds, widows who planned to remarry before the proper period of mourning had passed, or to encourage reluctant sweethearts to marry. It was an apt reference, because La Charivari was host to a cacophony of highly critical satirical articles chastising the moral standards of the time, as well as scathing caricatures of famous people.

Die Muskete In less than a decade, La Charivari had made so much of an impact that similar publications started springing up all over Europe. In 1841, the British publication, Punch: The London Charivari was established. Before this time, the word “cartoon” had a different meaning– it was only used to describe a preliminary sketch for a painting. But in 1843 there was an exhibit of “cartoons” for proposed murals in the House of Parliament, and Punch suggested that its satirical drawings would make even better murals in the lawmaker’s halls. The term “cartoon” was applied to the humorous drawings in Punch, and the term has stuck ever since.

Over the next few decades, satirical magazines flourished all over the world. La Rire (The Laugh) and L’Assiette au Beurre (Man & Beast) began publication in France in 1894 and 1901 respectively. Italy had several humorous journals in addition to La Charivari, most notably Il Lampioni (The Street Fights). In Germany, Fliegende Blatter (Flying Leaves) was founded in 1845 along similar lines to Punch, and Kladderasdatsch (Scandal) followed two years later. The art of caricature spread as far as Argentina with the magazine Caras y Caretas (Faces & Masks) in 1898.

Meanwhile in America, cartoonist Thomas Nast was exerting great power, lampooning the corruption of the Tammany Hall politicians in the pages of Harper’s Weekly. The “New World” was ready for some “Old World” satire, so in 1871, German immigrant Joseph Keppler founded Puck magazine in the image of Punch. A decade later, some of the key artists at Puck defected from the publication to establish Judge as a conservative alternative to the more liberal Puck. (For more information, see the third volume of our e-book series on Eugene “Zim” Zimmerman’s cartooning course).

Die Muskete

Die Muskete But arguably, the greatest of all of the satirical caricature magazines came from Munich, Germany. While Jugend (Youth) magazine provided a more respectable image based on Art Nouveau, the opposite extreme was represented by Simplicissimus (Simpleton). Simplicissimus was the most audacious and daring magazine of the day, lampooning the stiffness of officers of the military, class divisions, loose social morals and inevitably, powerful political leaders. Its reckless determination to offend destined it for trouble, and it didn’t take long.

In 1898 Kaiser Wilhelm objected to a caricature of himself on the cover of Simplicissimus. He shut down the magazine, forced its publisher to flee to Switzerland, and threw the cartoonist, Theodor Heine in jail. Like a phoenix, Simplicissimus soon sprang up again, but it continued to have legal troubles with the government and religious leaders until the Nazis came to power in the mid-1930s. The Nazis despised everything that the magazine stood for, but they didn’t shut Simplicissimus down. They purged it of the Jewish employees and weeded the ranks of its most radical writers and artists. They succeeded in blunting its impact considerably, a blow from which the magazine never recovered. Simplicissimus ceased publication at the end of World War II, and was re-established for a while in the mid-1950s, but by that time it was pale shadow of its former self.

Die Muskete The center of the arts in this region was Vienna, Austria, so it is natural that a great caricature magazine would come from that city– Die Muskete (The Rifle). The principles behind Die Muskete were initially quite different than either Jugend or Simplicissimus. It was a humorous “men’s magazine” aimed at military officers and veterans. It still made fun of bureaucratic excesses, military inefficiency, social mores, the battle of the sexes, and religion, as well as political corruption, while remaining steadfastly loyal to the Emperor of Austria. The staff consisted entirely of local artists like Fritz Schönpflug, Karl Wilke and Franz Wacik. Each one brought something different to the table. Schönpflug specialized in military caricature, gently poking fun at the men who made up a large part of Die Muskete’s subscriber base, Wilke excelled at drawing pretty girls with a nouveau flair. And Wacik specialized in a wide range of fantastic subjects- strange creatures and fairy tale settings. Working along side them were the political cartoonist Josef Danilowatz, fashion artist Heinrich Krenes, and the brilliant caricaturist Carl Josef. These artists were well matched as a team to provide a variety of images and approaches. During World War I the focus of Die Muskete shifted from being a humor magazine to being a magazine for soldiers in the trenches. The tone became more political and the focus shifted to demonizing the enemy. But the level of artistry remained at a high level until many of the original team of artists began to leave the magazine in the mid 1920s.

It’s important to remember that in the heyday of caricature journals, the artists didn’t identify strictly as cartoonists. For instance Franz Wacik was a designer for the theater, he painted frescos and murals, and he illustrated children’s books. Most of the cartoonists at Die Muskete were ne artists as well as being cartoonists, and this is typical of of their contemporaries at other caricature journals. There’s a lot to learn from these talented artists. I hope you find this e-book useful.

Die Muskete

This e-book file is set up for printing on 8 1/2 by 11 three hole punch paper, and is optimized for high quality display on tablets and high resolution computer monitors. Thanks to JoJo Baptista for sharing his collection of these rare magazines with us.

REFPACK015: Die Muskete Vol. X
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Friday, August 19th, 2016

Newspaper Comics: Trog’s Rufus and Flook

Trog's Rufus and Flook

Trog's Rufus and FlookTrog's Rufus and FlookToday, I’m posting a complete story by a comic strip artist whose name won’t be familiar to you unless you grew up in England in the 50s and 60s… he went by the name of "Trog". The nickname, short for "Troglodyte", came from his days hunkered down in air raid shelters during WW2. His real name is Wally Fawkes, and he’s one of those artists who has had two equally noteworthy careers- one as a cartoonist and the other as a Jazz musician.

Trog's Rufus and FlookTrog's Rufus and FlookFawkes played clarinet in Humphrey Lyttleton’s jazz band in the 40s and 50s, and was one of the finest Jazz musicians in Britain. But in 1956, he launched a simultaneous career as a cartoonist, which brought him even more fame. “To cartoonists, I was always the one who played jazz. To musicians, I was always the one who drew cartoons.” he once said. But his talent for capturing personality through caricature was his strongest suit. Fellow artist, Nicholas Garland wrote of his political cartoons, "Very few artists can see a likeness the way he can, and catch it so completely. He doesn’t develop a hieroglyph for each politician and then simply reach for it each time it is needed. Every Trog caricature is carefully recrafted." You can see this in the story that follows in this post. Trog doesn’t simply copy the caricatured heads from panel to panel. He’s able to convey the essence of the caricature from a different angle in almost every frame.

Trog's Rufus and Flook

At age 21, Fawkes entered an art contest that was being judged by the Daily Mail cartoonist, Leslie Illingworth. Illingworth was impressed with Fawkes’ work and got the young artist a job at the Daily Mail. Using his nickname, Trog, Fawkes created a comic strip about an imaginary furry creature named "Flook". It became an instant hit and Trog became the toast of the town. At a reception soon after its launch the Daily Mail’s owner, Lady Rothermere asked him, "How is your lovely little furry thing?" Trog replied, "Fine thank you. How is yours?" The cartoonist had to beat a quick retreat after that quip, but admitted that he couldn’t help himself when presented with such a perfect setup.

Trog's Rufus and Flook

Trog worked with several writers on the strip over the years- Compton Mackenzie, George Melly and Humphrey Lyttleton among others- and the direction of the strip evolved from a light hearted fantasy for children to pointed political humor similar to Walt Kelly’s Pogo. But the stories aren’t the reason that Rufus and Flook are so interesting today- it’s the unique drawings.

Trog's Rufus and Flook

When I first ran across this strip, I admit that I really didn’t know what to think about it. The drawings of the main character Flook were dumbfoundingly ignorant. But the incidental characters were wonderfully observed, sharp caricatures of British society at the time. And the backgrounds often included perfectly thought out compositions with impeccable architectural perspective and beautiful stylization of folliage. At first, this sharp contrast between ignorance and genius can be jarring. But after reading a while, the direct, simplistic looseness of the main characters and the planned and observed structure of the rest of the drawings don’t clash because Trog’s stylish sense of fun makes it all work.

Trog's Rufus and FlookTrog's Rufus and FlookRufus and Flook continued in the Daily Mail for 40 years, until Trog’s jabs at Margaret Thatcher earned him the scorn of the paper’s conservative editorial staff. He never took censorship personally though. In 1977, when one of Trog’s political cartoons of Cyril Smith was rejected, and he simply shrugged his shoulders and said, “It’s their paper." After leaving the Daily Mail,Trog moved on to the Mirror and the Sunday Telegraph until his failing eyesight forced him to retire from his art career in 2005 and pick up the clarinet again.

Personally, I think it’s a shame Fawkes isn’t better known in the US. Perhaps the softspoken, rambling British tone of the stories and the topical nature of the satire doesn’t come across at all any more, but those drawings- wow!

Trog's Rufus and Flook

This story from early in the strip’s run comes from an extremely rare paperback compilation, titled simply Flook…

RUFUS & FLOOK in
ROMAN’ IN THE GLOAMIN’

Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook

Richard Warren has written an interesting article on Flook on his blog. Check it out. Let me know if you would like to see more by Trog in the comments.

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, July 14th, 2016

Comics: Rowland Emett- Cartoonist & Tinkerer

Rowland Emett

I’m discovering that during the late 1940s and through the 50s and 60s, there was a group of British cartoonists who paralleled the style of Ronald Searle. I’ve already profiled Trog and the Canadian cartoonist Len Norris. Today, I’m going to introduce you to another interesting artist… one who had the mechanical skills to build his own cartoon world.

Rowland EmettRowland Emett was born in London in 1906. His father was an amateur inventor and his grandfather was a prominent engraver. He showed aptitude in both engineering and art at a young age. He studied at the Birmingham School of Arts and Crafts, and was drafted into the military during World War II. Beginning in 1939, he joined the staff of Punch magazine, where he was free to create cartoons on whatever subject he wanted… Usually, that subject was trains.

The cartoons at the bottom of this post come from Punch in 1947. At this time, Punch was at the peak of its circulation- 175,000 copies a week. After the war, there was a determined effort to brush away the cobwebs from the preceding century and update the graphic look of the magazine. More modern cartoonists began to replace the old guard, and subject matter became more centered around the everyday life of the average Brit, rather than the political struggles of the upper classes. Rowland Emett’s mechanical whimsey fit perfectly within this new framework.

Rowland Emett

But Emett wasn’t content to limit himself to pen and ink. His urge to tinker took over in 1951 when he created the Far Tottering and Oyster Creek Branch Railway at Battersea Park for the Festival of Britain. Intended to lift the spirits of the British public, the Festival of Britain received mixed reviews. Sir Thomas Beecham described it as “a monumental piece of imbecility”. But at least it was entertaining imbecility thanks to Rowland Emett.

Rowland Emett

Built of mahogany and copper over the top of a 15 inch gauge diesel electric engine that Emett obtained from a war surplus supplier, the cartoony railway was a huge hit with the public and repaid the cost of designing and building it in just three weeks.

Rowland Emett

The main locomotive was named “Nellie” after the engine in his Punch cartoons. In the five months the festival operated, around 8 1/2 million people visited the park. A lot of the design ideas for kinetic sculptures at the Festival of Britain influenced Disneyland’s “imagineers”, in particular, with the design of the “Small World” attraction and the Casey Jones ride in Fantasyland.

Thanks to our reader, Matt Jones here are a few links to videos of newsreels about Emett and his creations… These videos are mind-blowing!

Rowland Emett

Emett went on to design “The Featherstone-Kite Openwork Basketweave Mark Two Gentleman’s Flying Machine”, two copies of which still exist. He designed a “Forget-Me-Not Computer” for Honeywell and acted as a production designer for the 1968 film, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. His last great kinetic work was the “Aqua Horological Tintinnabulator”, a water powered musical clock which still operates at the Victoria Center in Nottingham. Rowland Emett was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1978 and passed away in 1990 at the age of 84.

During December of 2012, the Ontario Science Centre hosted an exhibit of Emett’s machines. Here is an amazing video of them in action.

Enjoy these fantastic cartoons by one of Britain’s most interesting creators…

Rowland Emett
Rowland Emett
Rowland Emett
Rowland Emett
Rowland Emett
Rowland Emett
Rowland Emett
Rowland Emett
Rowland Emett
Rowland Emett
Rowland Emett
Rowland Emett
Rowland Emett
Rowland Emett
Rowland Emett
Rowland Emett
Rowland Emett

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Magazine CartoonsMagazine Cartoons

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