Archive for the ‘robert ripley’ Category

Thursday, April 11th, 2024

Cartooning: Byrnes’ Complete Guide To Cartooning Part Two

Willard Mullin


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 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

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

Grin & Bear It


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


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

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


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 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 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

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


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


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

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
Animation Resources

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


Animation Resources has been sharing treasures from the Animation Archive with its members for over a decade. Every other month, our members get access to a downloadable Reference Pack, full of information, inspiration and animation. The RefPacks consist of e-books jam packed with high resolution scans of great art, still framable animated films from around the world, documentaries, podcasts, seminars and MORE! The best part is that all of this material has been selected and curated by our Board of professionals to aid you in your self study. Our goal is to help you be a greater artist. Why wouldn’t you want to be a member of a group like that?

Membership comes in three levels. General Members get access to a bi-monthly Reference Pack as well as a Bonus RefPack from past offerings in the in-between months. We offer a discounted Student Membership for full time students and educators. And if you want to try out being a member, there is a Quarterly Membership that runs for three months.



Not Convinced Yet? Check out this SAMPLE REFERENCE PACK! It will give you a taste of what Animation Resources members get to download every other month! That’s 560 pages of great high resolution images and nearly an hour of rare animation available to everyone to download for FREE!

Sample RefPack

PayPalAnimationAnimation Resources depends on your contributions to support its projects. Even if you can’t afford to join our group right now, please click the button below to donate whatever you can afford using PayPal.

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Biography: Robert Ripley

This posting is a stub. You can contribute to this entry by providing information through the comments link at the bottom of this post. Please organize your information following the main category headers below….


Birth: Dec. 25th 1890
Death: May 27th 1949


Cartoonist, explorer, reporter, entrepreneur, radio and television personality

Bio Summary

Robert Ripley led, by all accounts, a very singular life. He created one of the most popular panel comics in history, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, along with immensely popular radio and television programs of the same name. As his popularity grew, so did his ability to travel the world and bring the strange and bizarre from foreign lands back to Mr. and Mrs. America.

Early Life/Family

Born Leroy Ripley on Christmas Day 1890 in Santa Rosa, California to Isaac Davis Ripley and Lillie Bell Yocka Ripley. He was the oldest of his two siblings, Ethel Ripley and Douglas Ripley. As a young man, Ripley was already a promising artist and athlete. By 13 years old he pitched semi-pro baseball and made the advertisements for the games. Robert had sold a drawing to Life magazine at the tender age of 14 (Life was an early magazine, unrelated to LIFE of today). During Robert’s first professional baseball game he broke his arm, effectively ending his sports career at age 15. This event no doubt lead him to take up cartooning as his profession. He officially changed his name to Robert Ripley in 1913 because the editor of the editor of the Newspaper at which he worked said that Leroy did not sound “manly” enough for a sports writer.


Robert Ripley’s official education stops at Santa Rosa High school, which he dropped out of.

Career Outline

Mr. Ripley started his career as sports writer for the San Francisco Bulletin, later he continued the same line of work at the San Francisco Chronicle, before moving out east. In 1913, Robert moved to New York and shortly got onto the payroll of the New York Globe, again as a sports writer. After a very slow day in sports, in lieu of the next day’s column, he submitted a cartoon of nine random bits of sports trivia entitled “Champs and Chumps.” The cartoon was far more popular than his column ever was. So, after a name change, Ripley’s Believe It or Not was born.
After a couple of years at the Globe, and later the New York Post, his strip went into syndication in 1929. By this point Believe It or Not had become immensely popular, and Robert Ripley started to travel internationally, reportedly visiting 201 countries and traveling a distance equal to 18 trips around the world. In 1933 he opened his first Odditorium in Chicago wherein performers would showcase their bizarre abilities, such as Joe Laurello, who could swivel his head 180 degrees. Until the late 1940s Robert hosted a radio program based on his cartoons, which he then turned into a television program.

Comments On Style



Robert Ripley seems to be a bit of a contradiction. He was noted as being extremely shy, yet also a well established ladies-man, sometimes with upwards of five girlfriends at a time. He believed smoking and card playing were evil, but that did not stop him from being a big social drinker and enjoying chasing young women. One thing that seems consistent is his eccentricities. He was known for wearing the traditional costumes of many cultures that most North Americans would never have heard of. He owned a Chinese Junk, but didn’t know how to swim, and a collection of cars, but never learned how to drive. While he was very through with his work and claimed that all his cartoons are extensively fact-checked, he was an outrageous liar in his personal life, lying about his date of birth, and that he had an extensive college education when he was a high school dropout.



Published Charles Shultz’s first paid work when the Peanuts cartoonist was only 12 years old, about his dog Sparky, who could eat glass. Sparky would form the basis for Charlie Brown’s dog Snoopy.
Robert died after filming the 13th episode of his television program, about curious death and burial customs from around the world.



Honorary degree from Dartmouth college
Voted the most popular man in America by the New York Times

Related Links

Bibliographic References

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! special edition


Contributors To This Listing

The Dave Hvizdos

To make additions or corrections to this listing, please click on COMMENTS below…

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather