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Cartoonists Chronicles 20-11-19

Accounts of comic/cartoon history that we stumbled on this past week.

Eustace Tilley: Origins of an Icon

Alex Jay’s short pictorial…


leads us to R. C. Harvey’s 2017 True History of Eustace Tilley essay at The Comics Journal.

Eustace Tilley is the name given to the 19th century boulevardier languidly inspecting a passing butterfly through his monocle on the cover of the first issue of The New Yorker dated February 21, 1925. The same picture appeared on the magazine’s anniversary issue every year until 1994, when a new editor at The New Yorker, Tina Brown, suddenly violated hide-bound tradition by replacing Tilley with a 20th century version of the boulevardier, a chronic slacker and layabout drawn by Robert Crumb.

As Lee Lorenz, one-time cartoon editor at the magazine told me, Eustace Tilley appeared on the cover of the anniversary issue because no one could think of an appropriate alternative. So year after year, Eustace Tilley returned. Without too much difficulty, we can see how this custom had become a habit. It was Harold Ross’s fault.


Ub Iwerks, Co-Creator of the Disney Empire

Today, the name of Ub Iwerks is fairly well known to most Disney fans but there was a time when he was at best just a small footnote in most histories of the Disney Studio. Even today, some people are unclear about his many significant contributions to the Walt Disney Company.

“Walt and Ub were a great team,” Roy E. Disney said. “They had something special, those two. It just clicked.”

When the Disney Studio began in 1923, it was rumored that Iwerks was the “secret genius” behind the success of the studio. Over the years, top animators from Betty Boop creator Grim Natwick to Les Clark, one of the fabled Nine Old Men, described Iwerks as “a genius. He was like Walt.”

Jim Korkis takes to the beginnings of Disney Inc and the other man there.


Lou Rogers – Forgotten Cartoonist, Forgotten Suffragist

Annie Lucasta Rogers (1879-1952), [was] a significant cartoonist for women’s suffrage and other injustices against women of her era (from about 1908-1940). Owing to gender-bias in the male dominated newspaper and magazine editorial industry, she used the nom de crayon Lou Rogers, in order to publish prodigiously as a visual commentator and caricaturist (The New York Call and Woman’s Journal the newspaper of the National American Woman Suffrage Association), editorial illustrator on woman’s rights (Judge magazine) and children’s book author. She was, furthermore, the art director of Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control Review where she published biting critical propaganda. Cartoons Magazine, a influential review of the world’s leading comic and satiric art and artists noted “Her pen is destined to win battles for the Woman’s Movement and her name will be recorded when the history of the early days of the fight for equal rights is written.”

As is his wont, Steven Heller enlightens us to a forgotten cartoonist.


The Creation and Exportation of Canadian Comic Books

In December 1940, Canada passed the War Exchange Conservation Act (WECA), which restricted the importation of non-essential goods, comic books included.

“The clause in the budget which banned import of ‘pulp’ fiction magazines and comics from the United States has been followed by a ruling prohibiting also the import of materials from which these may be printed, such as mats, stereos, etc. Accordingly, if these magazines are to be distributed in Canada, it will be necessary that they be produced entirely here.” [“Public Savings Turned Into War Channels,” NATIONAL POST, Dec. 14, 1940.]

This directly led to the birth of the homegrown Canadian comic book industry.

Over the next four years, in the absence of American competition, Canadian comic book publishers flourished.

Ken Quattro details the Canadian Comic Book (and magazine and book) publishing efforts.


From The Village Voice Archives

If Krazy Kat was one strip that never ducked the violence inherent in the term “punch line,” it owed considerable charm to its subject’s personality — the Kat’s ro­mantic optimism, philosophical ram­blings, amiable propensity for ukulele-­accompanied song (“There is a heppy lend, fur, fur a-wa-a-ay”). The strip has no mystery greater than that of Krazy’s sex.

Unlike Krazy, Herriman refused to commit himself. “I don’t know. I fooled around with it once; began to think the Kat is a girl — even drew up some strips with her being pregnant,” he wrote. “It wasn’t the Kat any longer; too much con­cerned with her own problems — like a soap opera. Know what I mean? Then I realized Krazy was something like a sprite, an elf. They have no sex. So that Kat can’t be a he or a she. The Kat’s a spirit — a pixie — free to butt into anything. Don’t you think so?”

The release of a 1986 Krazy Kat book compels 1986 Village Voice to look at Herriman’s Krazy.


Harvey Kurtzman Gags


Animation Resources gifts us with some Kurtzman funny book stuff.


Mutt and Jeff On Strike (1920)hat tip: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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