Thursday, April 20, 2017

Dick Buchanan's Cartoon File: The Years of Al Ross - 1947 – 1968

Here, from the heart of Greenwich Village, is Dick Buchanan, with a bunch of old cartoons about one of the best in the business: Al Ross.

As ever, thanks for sharing your cartoony toys, and take it away, Dick!

Al Ross was born Abraham Roth. He was always referred to as “one of the cartooning Roth brothers.” The oldest brother was Ben Roth; the other two were Salo and Irv Roir. They attended the Art Students League and began cartooning in the 1930’s. Their cartoons appeared in the major magazines of the day, Colliers, Saturday Evening Post, This Week and many others. Their work also appeared in many of the pulp cartoon magazines which proliferated at the time. According to all reports, they were a wacky bunch of guys, the cartooning equivalent to the Marx Brothers. Al was considered the most talented draftsman of the brothers. Few would disagree.

In the early days of gag cartooning, most if not all cartoonists made preliminary sketches, and inked over the penciled work to obtain the finished product. Not Al. Al famously quickly sketched the whole shebang. Others did not adopt this approach until the 1960’s.

Over the years his work evolved, like an older jazz musician who play few notes and use space to achieve their sound, Ross utilized this same minimalist technique in his cartoons, becoming freer and increasing minimalist over time.

His gags were always solid, and even in the earliest days, tinged with an intellectual bent.

1.   For Laughing Out Loud, 1963.

2.   Judge.  March, 1947

3.   Collier’s. December 18, 1948

4.   True.  August, 1949


5.   1000 Jokes Magazine Summer, 1950 1953

6.   Gags. February,1951

7.   American Legion Magazine. December, 1953

8.   Collier’s. August 20, 1954

9.   Collier’s. July 8, 1955

10.   For Laughing Out Loud. July-Sept. 1957

11.  American Legion Magazine. December, 1958

12.  1000 Jokes Magazine Mar-May, 1959

13.  1000 Jokes Magazine. Mar-May, 1960

14.  Look. June 18, 1963

15.  1000 Jokes Magazine.  Sep-Nov, 1964

More of Dick Buchanan's great gag cartoon collection: 

Dick Buchanan's Cartoon Files: New Yorker Cartoonists Abroad 1966-1968
Dick Buchanan's Cartoon File: 1945 - 1962 

From the Dick Buchanan Files: "How I Create Humor" from 1950s - 60s Gag Cartoon Insider Journal "The Information Guide"

Dick Buchanan's Cartoon File: 1950s Color Magazine Gag Cartoons

Dick Buchanan's Cartoon File: Funny Vintage Magazine Gag Cartoons 1946 - 1963

Dick Buchanan's Cartoon File: Wordless Gag Cartoons 1944-1964

1953 George Booth Drawings for American Legion Magazine

Dick Buchanan: Winter/Christmas/Holiday Gag Cartoons 1940s-60s

Dick Buchanan: Some PUNCH Magazine Cartoons 1948-1963

Dick Buchanan: Gag Cartoon Clip File 1946-64

Dick Buchanan: Gag Cartoon Clip File 1947-62

Dick Buchanan: Some Favorite Magazine Gag Cartoons 1940-60s

Dick Buchanan: Gag Cartoon Clip File 1931-64

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Video: Tom Toro of The New Yorker at the San Francisco Public Library

April 18, 2017: Litquake's evening of political cartoonists. Part of "No Shadow Without Light," a series of talks responding to the current White House administration. This evening featured: Lalo Alcaraz (“La Cucaracha”), Khalil Bendib ("Zahra’s Paradise"), animator Mark Fiore, Tom Toro (The New Yorker), and Don Asmussen ("Bad Reporter").

More at the San Francisco Public Library's YouTube page.

Video: San Francisco Public Library: Litquake Cartoonists Q&A Panel -- Lalo Alcaraz, Khalil Bendib , Mark Fiore, Tom Toro, and Don Asmussen

April 18, 2017: Litquake's evening of political cartoonists. Part of "No Shadow Without Light," a series of talks responding to the current White House administration. This evening featured: Lalo Alcaraz (“La Cucaracha”), Khalil Bendib ("Zahra’s Paradise"), animator Mark Fiore, Tom Toro (The New Yorker), and Don Asmussen ("Bad Reporter").

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Rina Piccolo: Musings On Keeping A Sketchbook Journal

Rina Piccolo writes honestly about her sketchbook and how your sketchbook can be

" ... a type of time machine. In place of dials, there are pages. This time machine has boundaries, though: you can only go backward, and not forward in time. The future—your future—is yet to be composed."

You know Rina's work from newspaper comic strips (Tina's Groove, Six Chix) and The New Yorker and she also does books (Fun With Physics). How she has the time to do all of her work AND sketch as well is amazing to me.

The nice thing is that this great professional cartoonist can also relate to the fear of the new sketchbook. The fear of making that first mark in the new beautiful sketchbook:

"So, you sit at your table, or on your couch, and stare at the bare, blank first page, and you decide that it is a job and a half just to stare at the page, let alone make that first mark on it. More staring. If you were a robot, there would be an attempt to try to reboot you. And to carry the robot-thing further, the idea of making a mark on the page makes you feel like a robot unable to fix a target for its much-anticipated first step. What do I write? What should I draw?"

 There's more. I really liked to hear all of her opinions on a sketchbook and keeping it. I agree that it's a great record of your life in some ways. Seeing an old drawing that I did in one of my sketchbooks helps me recall the day and what I was feeling then.

Go read!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Rare Video: "Grin and Bear It" Cartoonist George Lichty Draws (1953)

Here's a link to a great 1953 kinescope of a KPIX TV program. (The site won't allow it to be embeded here.) It's an interview with George Lichty (1905-83) wherein he talks about his work in very honest terms. He uses gag writers, for instance. Lichty talks about sending a gag writer an item in the news that he was interested in covering, and getting a gag in return (which he says he didn't like).

We get to see him draw. So far as I'm concerned, this is the only time I have seen him talking and drawing on film. He specifically talks about his "senator" character and why he draws him the way he does.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Cartoonist Photos Part 14

This is one of a continuing series of occasional blog entries of photos of cartoonists from the 20th century. (Honestly, one of them is exclusively from the 19th this time around.) Most of these are sourced from newspaper archives, and I post these when I have enough JPEGs for a blog entry. Links to even more photos to more cartoonists are at the end. There must be hundreds by now.

Art Young, circa 1910-1915, when he was co-editor and cartoonist for The Masses (along with John Sloan):

Art Young as caricatured by James Montgomery Flagg:

 Another photo of Mr. Young:
 Bruce Bairnsfather, creator of "Old Bill," 1930:

Chester Gould, from a 1938 profile of the Dick Tracy creator:

Chuck Jones:

My late friend Eldon Pletcher, or "Pletch," the Times-Pacayune editorial cartoonist from 1966 - 1984:

George Du Maurier, known for his Punch magazine cartoons and his novel Trilby, 1890:

Hank Ketcham:

Great closeup of Herblock:

Gag cartoonist Irwin Caplan, 1977:

James Thurber and his wife, Felicity Hall, Somerset, Bermuda, 1939:

Tank McNamara's creators: Jeff Millar and Bill Hinds:

Johnny Hart, creator of B.C and co-creator of The Wizard of Id:

Jules Feiffer:

Cartoonist Michael Berry in Stockholm, 1949:

Believe It or Not's Robert Ripley:

The one and only, Thomas Nast:

William Steig, 1972:

More Cartoonist Photos:
Part one
Part two
Part three
Part four
Part five
Part six
Part seven
Part eight
Part nine
Part ten
Part eleven
Part twelve
Part thirteen

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Some Early HENRY Comic Strips by Carl Anderson / January 1935

Here are some old HENRY comic strips by its original creator Carl Anderson. Mr. Anderson drew the feature for the Saturday Evening Post for a couple of years in the 1930s before it caught the attention of William Hearst.

Carl Anderson was maybe the oldest superstar cartoonist, having sold Henry to a big syndicate when he was 70 years old. And this was after a long career of freelancing and other, not-as-well-known strips and features.

The daily began life on December 17, 1934. It was popular enough to warrant a Sunday page by March. Carl Anderson drew the strip for the next eight years, but then arthritis made it too hard to continue. HENRY was given over to former assistants Don Trachte (Sundays) and John Liney (dailies). Anderson passed away in 1948.

So, here's a peek at some very early efforts. I only have a handful of dailies for January. As you will see, Henry, famous for being silent, does actually speak from time to time. Of course, this was changed. Henry is copyright King Features syndicate.

These are all I have for January 1935. I have more for the rest of the year and, if interested, I will post them here.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Here are just a few pages from The Flintstones newspaper comic strip reprinted in the Pocket Books paperback THE FLINTSTONES FEATURING PEBBLES, which is copyright 1963 by Hanna-Barbera. The uncredited art is by Gene Hazelton (1919 - 2005), who was an animator and character designer. A matter of fact, he created Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm for the series.

With a long background in animation (at Disney, MGM, Warner Brothers, as well as his own studio) and a syndicated panel under his belt ("Angel Face" for the McNaught Syndicate, which was around for about a year in 1957), Gene was the go-to comic strip guy as far as Hanna Barbera was concerned.

Gene helmed the FLINTSTONES and YOGI BEAR comics from 1961 to 1986, overseeing the work of other talented cartoonists like Roger Armstong, Dale Hale, Harvey Eisenberg, Dick Bickenbach, Joe Messerli, Jerry Eisenberg, Iwao Takamoto, Bob Singer, Tony Di Paola, Lee Hooper and Jesse Marsh. Although I can find support for his involvement in the comic strips, I'm pretty sure that he was behind the scenes of the many HB Dell, Gold Key and Charlton comic books.

Here are a few samples of his great, bold cartoony line from the strip. The jokes -- well, the jokes are not the most fresh ones. But the art is still a standout.