Cartoonist’s Cartoonists Out and About

Jules Feiffer, Mort Gerberg, J.N. “Ding” Darling, and the 1949 King Features Syndicate “bullpen.”

An Appreciation of Jules Feiffer

Steven Heller writes:

When I was young and yearned to become a cartoonist, there was no more perfect role model for me than Jules Feiffer. There are many brilliant cartoonists in my personal pantheon, but Feiffer, 95, is central—and he’s still at it. Amazing Grapes [link added], his first graphic novel for kids, will be published this fall.

The upcoming Amazing Grapes by Jules Feiffer has Steven Heller remembering Jules and excerpting illustrations from one of the books Feiffer worked on.

Upon initially seeing his drawings, I wrongly believed that he could not draw well. I soon changed that opinion after seeing the layers of emotion he was capable of achieving in what seemed at the time like rough sketches. He was a master of gesture. And this is no better seen than in the drawings illustrating quotations lifted from psychiatric sessions and collected by Robert Mines.


The Illustrated Mort Gerberg Interview

From Sophia Warren:

Mort Gerberg and I met in 2017, in a stuffy conference room/holding pen in the offices of The New Yorker. We were among the dozen or so people who milled about that day, each of us waiting our turn to show our drawings to the cartoon editor, Emma Allen.

I had just sold my first cartoon to the magazine; Mort, who started contributing in 1965, had sold hundreds. In that room, Mort was a legend, but he wore the status lightly—joking, inquisitive, and kind to all, including newcomers like me. We struck up a conversation about sketching from life, and before long, in spite of the sixty years between us, we were fast friends.

Today, at ninety-three years old, Mort is still regularly contributing cartoons to The New Yorker, as he has for the past fifty-nine years…

Sophia Warren and The New Yorker present “a comic précis of the illustrious life of” Mort Gerberg.

Mort and I spend many hours looking through his drawings and books. For a while, we talk shop: Does he work from roughs? Rarely; he prefers the energy of a first draft. How does he come up with his cartoons? He keeps a list of things that have been bothering him; often, these days, his gripes come from the news.


Their First Pulitzer

From The Des Moines Register:

Each day this month, as the Register marks its 175th birthday, we’re sharing front pages from noteworthy moments in history.

The Des Moines Register celebrates cartoonist Ding Darling who got them their first Pulitzer Prize.

After the Cowles family bought the Des Moines Register and Leader in 1903, their editors initiatied several innovations that proved immensely popular with readers. Among them was a daily front-page editorial cartoon, and J.N. “Ding” Darling was hired to provide it. His “In Good Old USA,” published on May 6, 1923, earned the Register the first of its many Pulitzer Prizes.


The 1949 King Features Syndicate Lineup

From Bruce Canwell:

Our pal, Bill Chadbourne, provided us with material from his personal collection that we’ve been intermittently sharing with you over the past two years. This installment of The Chadbourne Dossier, and the one that will follow in about a week, offer a real treat – excerpts from a 1949, spiral bound promotional book put together by King Features Syndicate (KFS), entitled Famous Artists & Writers.

The Library of American Comics’ The Chadbourne Dossier present part one of 1949’s Artists & Writers promo.

In his introduction to the package, King columnist Mel Heimer wrote, “KFS is a mammoth, world-blanketing enterprise, the largest syndicate in the world and a vital adjunct of the Hearst newspaper organization … KFS sells to more than 2,500 papers, published in 32 languages in more than 90 countries. Eighteen hundred papers are in the United States and Canada. One of its comic strips alone – Chic Young’s celebrated Blondie – goes to 1,211 newspapers and has almost reached the ‘saturation’ point; i.e., it virtually cannot be sold anywhere else in this country and has only a few remaining foreign markets left to sell.”

For those who don’t want to wait for the next installment Lileks presents the cartoonists from the book.