Gaar Williams: The Indiana Ink-Slinger; The Cartoonist Who Helped Usher in Jim Crow; Kunzle and the Comic Strip; Setting the Stage for 1924; and Whatever Happened to Plan Nine Publishing?
Rob Stolzer sings the praises of cartoonist Gaar Williams in his latest Ink Slingers entry.
Gaar Williams might not have had memorable characters, but in terms of good old-fashioned ink-slinging, there were few who were better. Hell, there were few that were Williams’ equal.
… Both cartoonists [Percy Crosby and Gaar Williams] slung ink with seeming reckless abandon, somehow, some way managing to harness the energy of that greased lightning. In Crosby’s case, the drawing was almost entirely about the figures, who existed largely in the foreground with sparse background elements that would not take away from their movement and expression. Williams was exactly the opposite. The setting was key to his work, anchoring the scene to a time and place. Whether taking place in an over-the-top interior from the 1890s, or WWI editorial cartoon from his days at the Indianapolis News, Williams knew how to place his characters in the environment they belonged in. All the while doing so while maintaining a gloriously active pen line…
In 1898, state democrats, led by our own Furnifold Simmons, pulled off a political coup that disenfranchised black voters, and included what one site describes as “the only coup d’etat in United States history to take control of North Carolina’s then-largest city, Wilmington.”
The story of the violence that overthrew all black power in Wilmington and ushered in our Jim Crow years is importance, but let’s come back to it another day. Right now, let’s turn our attention to cartoonists. Didn’t expect that little twist, did you? Well, okay, the headline kind of gave it away.
Bill Hand for New Bern Live tells of Norman Jennett, “The Cartoonist Who Helped Usher in Jim Crow.”
The recently deceased comics historian David Kunzle related in 2003 how he came to be infatuated with comics and cartoons of long ago. The International Journal of Comic Art reposts “Kunzle and the Comic Strip.”
Sam Armstrong continues his theme from last Saturday’s post of marital blisslessness with a harridan bride bearing a striking resemblance to Wisconsin’s Republican Senator Bob LaFollette (who might be at 11:00 in Morris’s cartoon above). Recognizing as Ford did Coolidge’s inevitable nomination on the Republican ticket, LaFollette’s presidential ambitions lay as a third-party candidate.
As the stage is being set for the 2024 election Paul Berge looks back at “Setting the Stage for 1924.”
In 1995, a brand-new webcomic appeared in the CompuServe forums, Kevin and Kell. Created by Bill Holbrook, who was already nationally syndicated with two comic strips On the Fastrack and Safe Havens, the strip featured a married wolf-and-rabbit couple navigating a world that didn’t accept marriages between a herbivore and a carnivore. The strip gained dedicated readers … One of those early readers was David Allen … He enjoyed the strip enough that he emailed Holbrook asking if there were any book collections. To his dismay, there were none … It was then that Allen approached Holbrook with a proposition: what if he were to publish the books himself? … The first Kevin and Kell collection, titled Quest for Content, was released in 1997, and with that, webcomics would enter the print market.
Charles Brubaker at the Cartoonist Cooperative asks and answers “Whatever Happened to Plan Nine Publishing?”