“We All Have To Start Somewhere” Department. Case in Point No.11

It’s time I got back to this ongoing feature. Here are some early cartoons by Rowland B. Wilson, who died in 2005 at the age of 74. He was actively cartooning to the end, and the story goes that there were sketches for a new “Playboy” cartoon on his drawing table when he passed away. Besides all those colorful full-page drawings he did for Playboy, Mr. Wilson’s cartoons appeared in The New Yorker, The Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s, Esquire and similar publications.

But . . . we all have to start somewhere. The cartoons I’m posting below are from “1000 Jokes” magazine and they date from the 1950’s. 1000 Jokes was a low-paying publication issued quarterly by Dell and edited by cartoonists Bill Yates and John Norment (both deceased). After making the rounds of New York City cartoon editors on Wednesday “Look Day”, many cartoonists submitted their rejections to 1000 Jokes. It was sort of a “last resort” market, but it had the advantage of being edited by fellow cartoonists. I’m not intending to disparage 1000 Jokes here — it contained loads of great cartoons — but it was low-paying, and that’s just the way it worked out. I don’t think many gag cartoonists had 1000 Jokes in mind as their market of choice when they were creating cartoons.

1000 Jokes regularly ran a feature called “Varsity Varieties”, which reprinted cartoons from college humor publications. Two of the Rowland Wilson cartoons posted below appeared in that feature, credited as reprinted from “Texas Ranger”. Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Texas in Austin.

I think you’ll agree that there is a stark evolution in style from Wilson’s early cartoons as compared to the wry, colorful work he did in his prime.

1000 Jokes, Spring 1953


1000 Jokes, Summer 1953


“You should have seen him doing the pole vault.”

1000 Jokes, Summer 1953


1000 Jokes, Summer 1953


1000 Jokes, September 1957 (Texas Ranger)


1000 Jokes, December 1958 (Texas Ranger)


I don’t have a photo of Rowland Bragg Wilson to show you, so I’m finishing up my report with a typical “Playboy” cartoon of his, from the May 1971 issue.rwilsonplayboy.jpg

“Could you put the rest in a bowser bag?”

A couple of years ago, cartoonist Roy Delgado posted an old photo of Rowland Wilson on his blog. It was from the 1980’s and you can see it here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Welcome to the Eli Stein Cartoon archive. To begin, read my introduction and personal notes, and then please look at the cartoons, which are categorized by either decade, publication name or topic. I’ve included some personal comments, memories and photos below many of the cartoons. I’ll be adding cartoons, memories and photos ad infinitum. Remember, your comments are appreciated (just click on the “comment” link at the bottom of each post).