Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Q Toon: World AIDS Day

I'm taking a serious turn with this week's cartoon, and a somewhat less colorful one.

My decision to colorize only the red ribbon may have been influenced by having been at my drawing board until 1:00 a.m. inking in all those itty bitty people in the lower half of the cartoon..

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just for the holiday, here's an old Thanksgiving-themed cartoon from 2003:

Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Q Toon: Beefcake for Thanksgiving

We pause one moment before the Thanksgiving holiday, the fiscal cliff, and the next round of Israeli-Palestinian bombings to wring one more drop of prurience out of l'Affaire David Petraeus.

Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving. Unless you're forcing your minimal wage employees to spend the holiday stocking shelves and ringing up sales. Then I hope your Thanksgiving sucks even more than theirs.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What the Deuce, Holmes!

Well, now I don't know what to make of what I'm finding and not finding in Google's postings from The Strand Magazine.

That series of articles by Thomas E. Curtis on American cartoonists to which I linked in the March, 1903 issue last night?

 The same series appears begins in the March, 1902 issue as well: 
Note the difference in that introductory note about previous articles in the series; furthermore, three paragraphs have been added in the later edition prior to the introduction of Frank Opper, whose cartoons appear on these pages.

Obviously, these are from different strands of The Strand Magazine -- the British edition and the American edition, perhaps. So it is entirely possible that the nine pages of The Strand Magazine in the possession of Gus Frederick are indeed from the November, 1902 issue, even if Google's posting of the very same magazine doesn't include those pages.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sneak Peek, and Still Looking

Well, okay, this week's sneak peek is rather disturbing.

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I'm still hunting for that The Strand Magazine article about American editorial cartoonists.

What I wasn't considering at the time I wrote last Wednesday's entry was that while "THE STRAND MAGAZINE" is plainly printed at the top of every other page, the date of the issue appears only on the front cover and on the title page. That opens up the possibility that those nine pages of The Strand Magazine which Gus Frederick bought on Ebay are indeed from The Strand Magazine, but perhaps just not the November, 1902 issue.

The article includes mention of German Prince Henry's visit to the United States, which did take place in 1902; therefore the article has to be from 1902 or later. R.C. Bowman died in 1903, and the article makes no mention of that, so it can't be much later than that year.

Google's scan of Volume 25 of The Strand Magazine (the first half of 1903) is missing the issue for January, as well as the index for the volume. In March, April, and May, there is a series by Thomas E. Curtis on "Some American Humorous Artists"  (not, I notice, Humourous ones), at the beginning of which
"Attention is drawn to the fact that the present series of articles on the Humorous Artists of the World have already dealt with German artists in May, 1901; with those of France in January, 1902; with those of England in February, 1902; with those of Australasia in July, 1902; and those of Holland in August, 1902."
There is also an interesting article in the May, 1903 issue on "England and America, as Illustrated by Punch," showing political cartoons about Anglo-American relations in the British publication from 1842 to 1902. In the examples below from 1861, the U.S. is represented by "Brother Jonathan," a predecessor of Uncle Sam.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Q Toon: A Totally Gay Election

2012 will go down in history as the first year that voters approved marriage equality.

Different-sex marriage remains the law in Minnesota; but voters in Washington and Maryland approved prior action of their legislatures in favor of marriage equality, and voters in Maine overturned a previous referendum restricting marriage to straight couples. (And voters in Iowa rebuffed an effort to unseat a fourth justice of their Supreme Court who had ruled in favor of marriage equality in 2009.)

The six congressional candidates alluded to in this cartoon are incumbents Jared Polis (D-CO), David Cicilline (D-RI), and newly elected candidates Mark Pocan (D-WI), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Mark Takano (D-WA), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). The lone gay candidate to lose last Tuesday was Republican Richard Tisei, who narrowly lost to incumbent John Tierney (D-MA).

I went somewhat out on a limb by including Sinema in that list when I drew the cartoon on Sunday night. That race wasn't called in her favor until Tuesday. She will be the first openly bisexual member of Congress, and possibly its second out atheist.

And I'm particularly proud that my home state elected Tammy Baldwin to the U.S. Senate. I'll admit that I occasionally had some doubts that Wisconsin would elect as Senator one of the most liberal members of the House (and I was not alone here) after making such a sharp turn to the right in 2010 and 2011. But, the unrelieved nastiness from all advertising comers in the fall notwithstanding, she did a great job of introducing herself to the voters while Tommy Thompson and his Republican rivals were busy attacking each other in the spring and summer.

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Regarding Saturday's blog entry about in the Strand Magazine, I've been trying to find the next article in Arthur Lord's series on American editorial cartoonists in 1902, so far without success. In fact, I have been unable to find Mr. Lord's article in Google's on-line digitization of the October, 1902 edition of Strand Magazine in which it is supposed to have appeared.

What Mr. Gus Frederick says on his Homer Davenport site is: "Through Ebay, I recently obtained a selection of nine original pages from the October, 1902 number of The Strand Magazine from London. This was an article entitled The American Cartoonist and His Work by Arthur Lord and featured short bios and examples of four 'famous' cartoonists of the day."

Mr. Frederick posted an Optical Character Recognition rendition of the text and illustrations rather than images of those nine pages, so we can't confirm that they have "The Strand Magazine" in the top margin of alternate pages, as the magazine would have had. I have so far found no reference to anyone in the U.S. or Canada having started up a "Strand Magazine" stateside, or that there was a separate North American edition of the London publication. (Perhaps in London, Ontario?)

One reason I suspect that the publication is American is the lack of any British condescension toward the New World cartoonists or the U.S. press. When Ohio Senator Mark Hanna is first mentioned in the article, it is by his last name alone, indicating that the author expected all of his readers to know who "Hanna" was. It's a reasonable assumption that American readers would recognize "Hanna" as the Karl Rove of William McKinley's presidency, but would British readers?

Mr. Frederick notes the British spellings -- "draughtsman," rather than "draftsman"; "abhour" instead of "abhor" -- and florid language of the article, but that doesn't guarantee that the pages were published in London. "American" spelling was not universally accepted in in this country in 1902. American spelling dates back at least as far as Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary, but there were resistance and ridicule when Teddy Roosevelt proposed making "simplified spelling" official in 1906.

My first thought was that the pages might be from another publication. I thought of Public Opinion, which was fond of printing editorial cartoons; but it was published weekly, not monthly, and doesn't appear to have attached bylines to its feature articles. It seems unlikely that Puck would have profiled a cartoonist from the competing Harper's Weekly while ignoring its own remarkable cartoonists. Harper's Weekly, of course, was published weekly; and, like any other magazine of its day, put its own name on the top of every page.

I'll keep looking.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Strand Magazine: The American Cartoonist

Gus Frederick, whose blog is the [Homer] Davenport Project , discovered my site while researching turn-of-the-century editorial cartoonist Rowland Claude Bowman because of a write-up in the October, 1902 edition of Strand Magazine: "The American Cartoonist and His Work" by Arthur Lord. The article profiles the New York Journal's Homer Davenport, Harpers Weekly's W. A. Rogers, and the Chicago Tribune's John T. McCutcheon, in addition to R. C. Bowman of the Minneapolis Tribune.
"Where Davenport, in short, would make an enemy, Bowman would make a friend, so great is the difference in the styles of the two men. Bowman is a careful student of politics, and his picture editorials always present a strong argument. He possesses a rare originality and spontaneous humour, and that his drawings are well thought out is proved by their simplicity in detail. ... Bowman is a humorist and not a satirist, and has attained his success through close adherence to well-defined principles of directness, simplicity, and gentleness. The Tribune reader opens his paper with the knowledge that he is going to get a laugh, and the man made fun of may open his copy with the knowledge that he is not going to squirm."
The Strand article includes three more samples of Bowman's cartoons (I suspect they are details of portions of cartoons, however). The article appears to be one of a series, insofar as it promises more about Bart Bartholomew of the Minneapolis Journal in the next issue.

And, as long as I'm on the topic of R.C. Bowman again, here's another cartoon, from page 14 of the 1900 edition of his cartoons, in which the Populist Party is depicted as a bunch of frogs pestering Vice Presidential hopeful Adlai Stevenson Sr.
Stevenson hollers for help.

I wonder if the Illinois Senator laughed at the gentle treatment of consistently being drawn wearing a little girl's dress.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Q Toon: There's Got to Be a Morning After

If you were expecting a cartoon congratulating the victors of last night's election this morning, sorry. I had to have this week's cartoon to my syndicate by Monday morning, when the results were still unknown, and I figured there would be plenty of other cartoons out today exulting in the end of the nasty ads and incessant phone calls.

Mother Nature and the predictable religious idiots who blame every hurricane, earthquake and volcanic eruption on gays and lesbians provided me with today's non-election-related cartoon. Those religious idiots include a Pennsylvania pastor John McTernan, an upstate New York rabbi Noson Leiter, a Maryland pastor Luke Robinson, and some twisted ex-gay sister Lisa Miller.

Drawing water, by the way, is mighty tricky. It doesn't have a lot of corners. It doesn't sit still so you can draw its edges. It does have a mood: calm or angry, pleasant or turbulent. I've been looking all over (for a couple weeks, actually) for a book I have somewhere on the history of the comic strip; I remember there being an excellent drawing from the 1940's of Tarzan swimming through some angry water. There must have been some other example from Terry and the Pirates and Tintin, I'm sure.

You don't see a lot of today's editorial cartoonists or comic strip artists drawing with the evocative precision of Hal Foster (there are some choice examples of how to draw water at that link, by the way). Who has time to draw each individual raindrop? Just for kicks, here's a cartoon by Stuart Carlson. Here's one by Dave Granlund. And here's an example by Pat Bagley.

Monday, November 5, 2012