Tuesday, March 11, 2008


WIT FROM OVERSEAS, a collection of wit (cartoons and prose) from various foreign periodicals. It's edited by Roy H. Hoopes, Jr. and is (I swear to goodness) copyright: 1950, 1951, 1952 by Farm Journal, Inc.; 1952 by Hulton Press, Ltd.; 1950, 1951 by The Elite Publishing Corp.; 1950, 1951, 1952 by Bradbury, Agnew, Ltd.; 1953 by Roy H. Hoopes, Jr.

I don't know the work of most of these cartoonists, so please excuse my ignorance. I'd love to hear from someone who may know something about these cartoonists.

Above: I love the old robots: all boxy, with knobs and gears and sometimes an old fashioned lightbulb for a nose. The cartoonist added that great big wind-up mechanism in back and it just is a wonderful gag. The smug reaction on the bearded scientist tells you that the poor robot is right.

Above: the drawing makes the gag. Click to really supersize the cartoon. Look at that detail! Look at all that patience to get it all looking right.

The above cartoon COULD be the way it all works. Maybe there's this WHITE CONCRETE, y'know? I recall an episode of the British comedy series THE GOODIES wherein one of the guys is making an old time black and white movie, and he truly believes that he must paint everything within camera range with black or white paint.

Above: you get a great feel for the space in the compartment. Yeah, it's a potty joke -- but one that's clever, and, international -- since it's wordless.

Above: Just look at the cartoonist's command of perspective and excellent reference. And this was before Google images!

Above: a creepy one that would plague me if I saw it when I was a tot. What kind of product are those statue heads using?

Above: some gorgeous work by a Mexican cartoonist. If anyone knows who the cartoonist is, please drop a line. Note to Mr. Hoopes: this wit is not from overseas, since Mexico is part of the North American landmass.

Above: a silly and twisted little cartoon. Who knew that umbrellas were so prim and proper!

Chaval is a name that I see a lot -- but I know nothing of the human being behind the pen. His bold, wordless gags work so well because they're all rooted in human behavior. Not necessarily the kind of behavior that would win you a merit badge, but human behavior nonetheless.

Above: the cartoonist Wiles (?) puts together this grand vertical composition with exacting precision.

It's the appearance of that one high heel -- and leaving their view to the imagination -- that makes this one so successful.

Above: a silly gag, but one full of good drawing: the watery squiggles, the spritzing leak, the Commander in full Napoleon pose.

Not only that, the divan looks like it's floating! An eerie cartoon that smacked of Edward Gorey or William Steig.

Above: life before the Internet. A sharply drawn cartoon by Starke, whose work I've seen in some other UK collections.

Above: another great silent gag, with just enough detail for you to see what's going on.

Chaval with another winner. Are there really big trucks, lugging wine all over France?

Above: a silly cartoon by some youngster named Ronald Searle!

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