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”.