A Comic Chronicles Edition
So much comics history.
IF FAY KING HADN’T MARRIED A PRIZE FIGHTER named “Battling” Nelson, we’d know almost nothing about her life. We know her opinions about the manners and mores of the twenties and thirties from her comic strips, cartoons and columns. And we have an inkling of what she looked like because she often included self-deprecating caricatures of herself in her cartoons or to accompany her columns. But just an inkling.
R. C. Harvey’s January Humor Times column expands on that inkling
giving us every available thing to know about cartoonist Fay King.
Once upon a time, the funnies or the comics pages dominated newspapers – back when newspapers were the main source of information for most Americans. In those days, Walt Kelly and Al Capp were titans of the funnies. Their strips Pogo and Li’l Abner were cultural sensations. Both artists were groundbreaking in the way they incorporated satire into their fantastical worlds, back when the comics page was supposed to be an apolitical neutral zone. Even though their strips are not front and center in pop culture today, we are still feeling the ripple effects of what they accomplished.
In part one,[Eric Molinsky]
talk[s] with Mercer University professor Jay Black (Walt Kelly and Pogo: The Art of the Political Swamp) , BYU professor Kerry Soper (We Go Pogo) and Harper College professor Brian Cremins about how Pogo met the enemy, and why he is us.
In looking at the career of Al Capp, it’s hard not to compare him to Walt Kelly.
Both strips are mostly forgotten today but they were titans of the comics page.
And like Walt Kelly, Al Capp was one of the few cartoonists that were able to fight
for the rights to their own strip, which meant he had a lot of creative freedom. He
didn’t have to worry about being censored or replaced. So, both he and Walt Kelly
broke new ground incorporating satire into story–driven entertainment
In part two, [Eric Molinsky] talk[s] with BYU professor Kerry Soper and comic book publisher and author Denis Kitchen about how Al Capp became a hero to the left and the right, while questioning who should be the subject of satire.
Links will take you to the site where the audio is available and also transcripts.
Goldie Hawn recently recalled an encounter with Al Capp in her early career.
“In he walks with his – I didn’t know he had a wooden leg, but he did – well, he walked like he had a wooden leg. He had this insidious grin. It was really ugly,” Hawn continued. “And he said, ‘I’ll be back in a minute, I’m just going to slip into something.’ And he came back in a robe. So now I am freaking out because I am recognizing that something is going on.”
I just got done re-reading The Spirit by Darwyn Cooke, and over the last couple years I’ve read maybe 100 Spirit 7 pagers between the Warren magazines, the sequential kitchen sink reprints, the DC archive editions, that facsimile of the first Spirit comic section in Eisner Quarterly #2 (!!!), and the stupendously colored and edited Clover Press anthology , which kept each 8th page to introduce the following story. It’s by far the most classy presentation of the old material, yet! I’ve just gotta say… with my modern eyes and mind, Cooke’s Spirit blows Eisner’s outta the newsstand!
Gotham Newsstand on why Darwyn Cooke‘s Spirit is better than Will Eisner‘s Spirit.
Even if you don’t necessarily describe yourself as a cat person, it’s most likely that you have consumed some version of a beloved cartoon cat in your time on this planet. Indeed, for over a century, cats have dominated comic strips internationally. While there are in fact plenty of cartoon canines to draw from if that’s your thing — from Marmaduketo Charlie Brown’s friend Snoopy to Tintin’s four-legged pal Snowy — cats seem to remain the more comical animal in our favorite comic strips.
For Book Riot Jeffrey offers “a brief history of cat comics.”
So brief only a half dozen cats are mentioned. Don’t expect to read about Bill the Cat, Fat Freddy’s Cat, Bucky Catt, Spooky, Fritz, or Lupin, Elvis, and Puck.
If you want a broader look at comic cats try find Malcolm Whyte’s book.
New Research Guide: Cartoons and Caricatures
We are pleased to announce the publication of a new guide describing the Prints & Photographs Division’s large and varied collection of cartoon and caricature art. Martha H. Kennedy, now retired Curator of Popular & Applied Graphic Art and author of the guide, describes the appeal of this collection material: “The Library’s vast, diverse collections of comic art contain items that will delight and fascinate generalists and specialists alike, no matter how varied their visual tastes and interests. Among the thousands of political cartoons, caricatures, and drawings for comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, and animation art housed in the Prints & Photographs Division are gems to be discovered among these subgenres.”
The Library of Congress informs us they have a new guide to their holdings.
The Library of Congress Research Guide to Cartoons and Caricatures.
For those of you who think the naive art on The Vintage Phantom of Wilson McCoy is what he was all about, check out the Wilson McCoy website for a different view of the artist.
More comic strip history coming from TwoMorrows this summer.