Cartoons

"We All Have To Start Somewhere" Department. Case in Point No. 8


Case in point No. 8 in this ongoing feature is famed cartoonist J. B. Handelsman, who died last year. Born Bernard Handelsman in New York in 1922, he later gave himself the first name of John, but was known mostly as "Bud".

From 1961 until his death in 2007, J. B. Handelsman contributed almost 1,000 cartoons to The New Yorker, plus five covers. He also was published extensively in Punch, the British humor magazine, and had a weekly cartoon feature there, "Freaky Fables", for over ten years. His work also appeared in most of our major cartoon-using publications, including Playboy and Look.

The two early Handelsman cartoons that I'm posting below are both from Look. They can be found in the hardcover anthology "Looking Over Your Shoulder", published in 1965 and edited by the legendary cartoon editor, Gurney Williams. I don't know the exact years that the cartoons appeared in Look, so I'll just attribute them to the early 1960's. Actually, Handelsman's drawing style in those years didn't vary that much from his later years, but I thought these two would be of interest. Yes, "we all have to start somewhere".

A few years ago, when I was showing cartoons weekly to editor Bob Mankoff at The New Yorker, I sometimes joined a few of the other cartoonists for lunch afterwards. Handelsman was a regular in the lunch group. He and I spoke at one point about his life in England (he moved there with his family in 1963 and returned to live in the U.S. in 1982). I also remember asking him if he was related to editorial cartoonist Walt Handelsman. His reponse was along the lines of "people are always asking me that -- if so, it's a very distant relationship". handelsman1.jpghandelsman2.jpg






"We All Have To Start Somewhere" Department. Case in Point No.7


Case in point No. 7 in this ongoing feature is cartoonist Leo Garel, who was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1917 and passed away in 1999. He was a major cartoon contributor to The Wall Street Journal for decades -- in fact, for a while there when I would pick up the Journal, I would think to myself, "I wonder which Garel cartoon will be published today?" Of course he also appeared regularly in all of the other major and minor cartoon-using publications. Some of his bios describe him as a "New Yorker" cartoonist, but I don't think that was the case -- in any event, I couldn't find any citation for him in The Cartoon Bank.

The first early cartoon of Garel's that I've posted below is from "Esquire" magazine. I found it in the anthology "Esquire Cartoon Album", which was published in 1957. I would date the cartoon from the late 1930's or early 1940's. In no way is it identifiable as a Garel, if it wasn't for his signature at the bottom. To me, it looks more like a Syd Hoff drawing -- the gag also reminds me of something that Hoff would have done. The other two cartoons posted are more like what Leo Garel was doing in his prime. Remember, "we all have to start somewhere".

The second cartoon appeared in "Liberty" magazine in the early 1940's. It's from the anthology "Liberty Laughs Out Loud", published in 1946 and edited by Liberty's then cartoon editor, Lawrence Lariar.

The third cartoon appeared in "Sports Illustrated" magazine, probably in the early 1950's. I found it in the paperback anthology "Choice Cartoons from Sports Illustrated", published in 1957. The anthology's editor was Charles Preston -- the same Charles Preston who to this day still edits the cartoons for The Wall Street Journal. garel1.jpg Caption: "For the others 'hors d'oeuvres,' but for you I got under the napkin, a hot pastrami sandwich." garel2.jpggarel3.jpg






"We All Have To Start Somewhere" Department. Case in Point No.6


Case in point No. 6 in this ongoing feature is Pop Artist Tom Wesselmann. I've written about my old friend Tom previously in Eli's Corner. Tom passed away in 2004 without achieving his not-too-secret ambition of cartooning full-time for The New Yorker. It's interesting to think about how different Tom's life might have been if he received that elusive OK on any of his countless New Yorker cartoon submissions. By the way, reproductions of his Pop Art paintings were featured in The New Yorker in later years, on more than one occasion. I remember one that was full-page.

A Wesselmann painting was recently purchased for over six million dollars at auction.

But I digress -- back to Tom Wesselmann's gag cartoons. I have dozens of examples of Tom's early printed cartoons, some going back to his college days. His cartoons appeared sporadically in many of the regular cartoon-using magazines in the late 1950's and the 1960's, but of course never in The New Yorker. So here is just a sampling of a cartooning career that was nipped in the bud.

And remember, "we all have to start somewhere", even world-famous Pop Artists. Note that Tom dropped the last "N" in his signature in his earlier cartoons.

I've also included a photo of Tom as featured on the cover of Art News magazine in January 1982.

From Profile, a University of Cincinnati student magazine, Christmas 1954 issue: wes1.jpg From Profile, Spring 1955 issue: wes2.jpgwes3.jpg From Profile, Summer 1955 issue: wes4.jpg Caption: "This will teach you that the free peoples of the world are not to be plundered by you pawns of totalitarianism!" From 1000 Jokes, March-May 1956: wes5.jpg From For Laughing Out Loud, May-July 1956: wes6.jpg From For Laughing Out Loud, July-September 1959: wes7.jpg From The Wall Street Journal, March 12, 1959: wes8.jpg From The Wall Street Journal, late 1950's: wes9.jpgwesartnewscover.jpg






"We All Have To Start Somewhere" Department. Case in Point No.5


Case in point No. 5 in this ongoing feature is award-winning New Yorker cartoonist Charles Saxon. Mr. Saxon died in 1988 at the age of 68. More than 700 of his sophisticated, highly-stylized cartoons appeared in The New Yorker, starting in 1956, and he also created 92 New Yorker covers. His pre-New Yorker cartoons, five of which I'm posting here, show an interesting progession in drawing style (and sense of humor).

Yes, "we all have to start somewhere".

The first 2 cartoons are from an anthology I've mentioned before, "The Good Humor Book", published in 1944. The next two are from the Saturday Evening Post, late 1940's or early 1950's (I'm not sure of the exact dates). The last cartoon was printed in True magazine. I found it in a paperback anthology of True cartoons, "Cartoon Laffs", which was published in 1952.

The photo I'm including is from the back cover flyleaf of one of Charles Saxon's own anthologies, "One Man's Fancy", published in 1977. Two other collections of his cartoons were published, "Oh, Happy, Happy, Happy!" (1960) and "Honesty Is One Of The Better Policies" (1984).

To see Charles Saxon's cartoons in The New Yorker, just look at the years 1956 to 1988, or of course you can check him out in The Cartoon Bank.

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saxonphoto.jpgCharles Saxon






"We All Have To Start Somewhere" Department. Case in Point No.4


For this continuing feature, case in point No. 4 is almost too easy -- it's good ol' Charlie Schulz. Everybody knows by now that the late Charles Schulz tried his hand at magazine gag cartooning, with very limited success, before he became a "Peanuts" superstar. These three early cartoons of his appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in the 1940's or 1950's, and they are copyrighted by SEP.

There's nothing much I can say about these early panels that hasn't already been said. Aren't they wonderful curtain-raisers for Schulz's legendary cartoon strip career? Note the appearance of an early version of Snoopy.

Yes, "we all have to start somewhere".

I'm also adding a photo of Schulz that I came across in a cartoon book that was published in 1966.

If you want to learn more about Charles Schulz, I recommend the recently-published biography written by David Michaelis, "Schulz and Peanuts".

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schulzphoto.jpgCharles Schulz






"We All Have To Start Somewhere" Department. Case in Point No.3


Case in point No. 3 in this ongoing feature is venerable cartoonist Ted Key (born in 1912 and currently living in Pennsylvania). These early cartoons of his are from the same hardcover anthology I cited before: "The Good Humor Book", published in 1944.

Ted Key was the creator of the irrepressible maid/housekeeper, Hazel. The "Hazel" panel was a weekly feature on the back page of the Saturday Evening Post for several decades. It also morphed into a popular TV sitcom, starring Shirley Booth. In 1969, when SEP folded (to be reincarnated later, under new ownership), "Hazel" was picked up as a newspaper panel by King Features Syndicate, and I believe it is still running to this day.

In addition to the "Hazel" panel, Ted Key was a prolific gag cartoonist. In his prime, most of his work appeared in SEP, but he was prominently featured in many of the other major cartoon-using publications, such as Collier's, Look and Good Housekeeping.

In my opinion, none of these four early cartoons give any indication of the things to come in Ted Key's future. OK, I'll grant you that the woman behind the desk at the "Treasury Dept" looks a little bit like Hazel. What do you think?

Remember, "we all have to start somewhere". tedkey2.jpgtedkey4.jpgtedkey3.jpgtedkey1.jpg






"We All Have To Start Somewhere" Department. Case in Point No.2


Case in point No. 2 in this ongoing feature, is everybody's favorite cartoonist, the late, great Chon (Chauncey) Day.

These four cartoons appeared in that same 1944 hardcover cartoon anthology that I mentioned before, "The Good Humor Book". I defy anyone to attribute these cartoons to Chon Day, if his famous signature was not there on the bottom of each one.

Remember, "we all have to start somewhere".

I'm also posting a photo of Chon Day from April 1958. He's giving a chalk talk to the Providence, RI, Art Club and he's dressed as his cartoon character, Brother Sebastian. Cartoon Editor Gurney Williams was also a guest speaker on that occasion. This photo was lifted from Gurney Williams "Memos", his free handout to visiting cartoonists, which I've written about before in Eli's Corner.

To see Chon Day's cartoons from when he was in his prime, check any major publication from later years, including The New Yorker, or look him up in The Cartoon Bank. chonday4.jpgchonday1.jpgchonday5.jpgchonday2.jpgchondayphoto.jpg Chon Day






"We All Have To Start Somewhere" Department. Case in Point No.1


This will be a new feature on this site, and here's my explanation.

First of all, I've been showing you lots of my own cartoons that were published as long ago as 1957, and I realize that many of those old drawings and gags look real amateurish. But they are out there for all to see, and I will continue to post them no matter how personally embarrassing they may get.

Second of all, I have a huge collection of hardcover and paperback cartoon anthologies and cartoon magazines. Some of these date back to the early 1940's.

What I plan to do is go through this collection, and whenever I see an early cartoon by a "big name" (living or dead) cartoonist, I'll post it for your examination. I've come across many such early cartoons, and quite often there are dramatic differences in the drawing style, and humor, of the cartoonist at the beginning of his/her career.

For instance, as Case in Point No.1, here are some cartoons by the late Mischa Richter, from a book published in 1944. The title is "The Good Humor Book", and although it's hardcover, it looks like a low-paying anthology. It contains hundreds of cartoons, including many "regulars" of that era, like Jack Markow, the four Roth brothers, Hank Ketcham, Adolph Schus, Ed Nofziger and Gardner Rea. But these guys were all in their heyday, and their drawing styles had already evolved. I'm only going to post cartoons of artists whose styles were still emerging. You probably wouldn't be able to identify them, if the signatures weren't there.

I've also included a photo of Mischa Richter from the 1940's. To follow Richter's professional development, just check out his cartoons in The New Yorker, or look him up in The Cartoon Bank.

And remember, "we all have to start somewhere". richter1.jpgrichter2.jpgrichter5.jpgrichter6.jpgrichterphoto2.jpg Mischa Richter






National Review, February 14, 1986


natrev021486.jpg A few days ago I posted another National Review cartoon and made some remarks about the untimely death of its founder, William Buckley, Jr. I also mentioned his sister Priscilla, who was an editor at NR and for many years had the responsibility of selecting the cartoons to be published there.

Ms Buckley would often comment on my submissions, and today I'd like to recall one particular comment of hers, from about twenty years ago.

In my batch of cartoons at that time was a kind of silly one in which I had an 18th century King of France watching television. The caption, coming from the TV set, was "It's ten P.M. -- do you know where your Dauphins are?". This, of course, was a take-off on the familiar and oft-repeated TV phrase "It's ten P.M. -- do you know where your children are?".

When I received the batch back, there was a note from Ms Buckley. She said, "I liked the 'Dauphins' but by definition there can be only one Dauphin at a time, like the Prince of Wales."

I scratched my head for a while, then looked it up and realized that she was perfectly right. The Dauphin was the heir apparent to the throne of France, and there couldn't possibly be more than one at a time.

I tried re-writing my caption, but somehow " . . . do you know where your Dauphin is?" didn't work at all. I finally gave up and relegated the cartoon to my vast "Unsold" folders.






National Review, March 16, 1992


natrev031692.jpg This cartoon is from the National Review. I was truly shocked two days ago to learn about the death of William Buckley, Jr., NR's founder and linchpin.

Mr. Buckley's sister, Priscilla, an editor at NR, handled the cartoons there for many years, until her retirement in 1991.

No, I didn't agree with most of Mr. Buckley's views, but he certainly made life exciting and entertaining. As The New York Times said in its obit yesterday, "He was often described as liberals' favorite conservative". Amen. And, surely, this will be the first and last occasion that the Times will use the phrase "sesquipedalian spark of the right" in a headline on its front page (look up the word in your big dictionary, as I did).

I always liked to imagine that my cartoons made Mr. Buckley laugh. Oh, and I also enjoyed reading his sailing yarns immensely. Rest in peace, Mr. Buckley.






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