It’s especially gratifying when an animation professional stumbles across this blog and immediately grasps what it is we’re doing and how important it is to the art of animation. A while back an old friend of mine, animation director Kent Butterworth (www.attilatheham.com) was doing a web search and stumbled across the Animation Resources website. I hadn’t seen Kent in several years, but he was so excited by what he saw, he jumped in the car and came right over to see what I was up to. I gave him the tour and explained how the database we are building is intended to work, and he was behind the concept 100 percent. A day later he was back, with a stack of books and comics to allow us to digitize.
Kent’s collection is amazing, and the scope is huge. He brought a hard drive full of scans of vintage comic books by dozens of great artists, 40s Colliers magazines with Virgil Partch cartoons, original Sunday pages by Cliff Sterrett, and a book I’ve never seen before… Milt Gross’ Cartoon Tour of New York.
Milt Gross is one of the greatest comic artists who ever lived. His books Nize Baby, He Done Her Wrong and Dunt Esk are classics of ethnic New York humor. His drawing style is direct and funny with absolutely flawless staging, composition and expression. Gross’s Cartoon Tour of New York was published as a program guide for tourists visiting the 1939 New York World’s Fair, and it’s an amazing time capsule into life in the “big apple” in its golden age. If Weegee’s Naked City depicts the front page view of this marvellous time and place, Gross’ Cartoon Tour tells the Funny Pages version.
A lot of this book appears to have been drawn by Milt Gross’ assistant, but there’s still plenty of joy in every panel. Here are scans of the entire book. Enjoy!
Many thanks to Kent Butterworth for sharing this great book with us!
This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Newspaper Comics.