May 2008

"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

Law Practice Management, May-June 1996


My intent with this gag was to get across the thought that a law firm would, almost by definition, provide a lengthy, long-winded job description to its job candidates. I now see that I didn't effectively get that point across -- there are too few pages being handed over. About three times the number of pages would have worked much better.

"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