Archive for the ‘comic strips’ Category

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Comic Strips: Milt Gross’ Cartoon Tour of New York

Milt Gross

Milt GrossMilt GrossIt’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 GrossMilt GrossMilt 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!

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Many thanks to Kent Butterworth 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, August 25th, 2014

Comic Strips: Cliff Sterrett’s Polly And Her Pals

Cliff Sterrett Polly and her Pals

Cliff SterrettCliff SterrettAl Capp once described Cliff Sterrett as “the finest cartoonist of them all”. Yet most people have never heard of him or his strip, Polly And Her Pals.

Sterrett debuted the Polly strip in 1912. Initially, it focused on a pretty girl, but as the strip developed, Sterrett turned his attention to Polly’s family- specifically, her father, known as “Paw” and her mother, referred to as “Maw”. Other characters filled out the cast- Neewah, the family’s houseboy; Ashur, the dimwitted nephew; and Carrie, Paw’s sister in law. Shadowing Paw through the panels is Kitty, the cat.

Cliff Sterrett

Richard Marschall produced a pair of books documenting the Polly And Her Pals Sunday pages from 1926 to 1929. This was the prime era of the strip, with Picasso-esque cubist backgrounds and surreal gags. If you see these books for sale, grab them. By the mid-1930s, Sterrett was afflicted with arthritis, and had turned over a lot of the responsibility for the strip to his assistant, Paul Fung. Sterrett let Fung create the dailies without much input, but he supervised the Sunday pages personally, with Fung simply providing the background detail repeated from panel to panel.

Cliff SterrettCliff SterrettMy friend Kent Butterworth brought in a stack of original Sunday pages from 1936 for us to digitize. This era of Polly And Her Pals has never been reprinted, so these delicate originals are particularly important. These oversize sheets are twice as large as the platen on our scanner, so we have to scan them in two passes and splice them together in Photoshop. With the high resolutions we’re scanning art at, it takes over an hour to digitize each Sunday page. But I think you’ll agree that it’s well worth it.

Cliff Sterrett
January 5, 1936

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January 12, 1936

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February 2, 1936

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February 16, 1936

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February 23, 1936

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March 29, 1936

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April 5, 1936

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June 7, 1936

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June 28, 1936

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July 5, 1936

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August 2, 1936

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September 13, 1936

Cliff Sterrett Polly and her Pals
September 20th, 1936

Cliff Sterrett Polly and her Pals
September 27th, 1936

Cliff Sterrett Polly and her Pals
October 25th, 1936

Cliff Sterrett Polly and her Pals
November 1st, 1936

Cliff Sterrett Polly and her Pals
November 8th, 1936

Cliff Sterrett Polly and her Pals
November 29th, 1936

Cliff Sterrett Polly and her Pals
December 6th, 1936

Cliff Sterrett Polly and her Pals
December 20th, 1936

Cliff Sterrett Polly and her Pals
December 27th, 1936

Here are a couple of prime Sterrett Sundays provided by my best pal, JoJo Baptista…

Cliff Sterrett Polly and her Pals
November 6th, 1927

Cliff Sterrett Polly and her Pals
April 8th, 1928

There’s an easter egg in this last one… do a google image search for the name hidden in this comic and see what Sterrett was looking at when he created this strip!

 If you enjoyed these strips, you owe it to yourself to splurge and get one of the finest books on newspaper comics ever published. This oversize volume is beautifully printed and packed with hundreds of great Polly Sunday pages. Order it now from Amazon…

For another example of Cliff Sterrett’s genius, see Michael Sporn’s Splog, and make sure to read Rick Marschall’s great comment adding more details to the story below.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

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

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Inbetweens: Percy Crosby’s “Skippy”

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Here is a sample of comic strips by landmark cartoonist Percy Crosby, starring his character Skippy.

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