Month: December 2012

Found in the Collection: Arthur Radebaugh’s “Closer Than We Think”

Just in time for 2013, we’re starting a tradition of our own – we have too many of the fantastic original works of visionary Arthur Radebaugh not to share them during this changing time of year!

Art Radebaugh’s 1950s/60s visions of the future feel equally as outrageous as they do eerily spot-on. Millions of readers saw his syndicated feature Closer Than We Think in the hundreds of newspapers from 1958 to 1962.

Original from Arthur Radebaugh's "Closer Than We Think", from the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Original from Arthur Radebaugh’s “Closer Than We Think”, from the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

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Original from Arthur Radebaugh’s “Closer Than We Think”, from the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Radebaugh was born in Coldwater, Michigan in 1906, and started experimenting with air brush painting while attending the Chicago Art Institute in the 1920s. Through the 30s, he worked as a sign painter, engraver and magazine illustrator, and eventually enlisted in the army in the 1940s. Both before and after his duty, he had begun elevating himself in the motor and transportation illustration business- even designing the Detroit Automotive Golden Jubilee symbol.

Original from Arthur Radebaugh's "Closer Than We Think", from the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Original from Arthur Radebaugh’s “Closer Than We Think”, from the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

While continuing to produce automotive art over the next few decades, his work consistently maintained a sleek and futuristic focus. He created his first syndicated series Can You Imagine for the Detroit News Pictorial in 1947, and his black light artwork was featured in articles and exhibits.

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Original from Arthur Radebaugh’s “Closer Than We Think”, from the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

His Closer Than We Think series elevated him to national recognition, many episodes of which he created while touring America for inspiration in a 1950s British Ford van that he converted into a mobile studio.

    Original from Arthur Radebaugh's "Closer Than We Think", from the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Original from Arthur Radebaugh’s “Closer Than We Think”, from the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Radebaugh fell on difficult times in the 1960s as a result of health complications, and spent some of the last years of his life working as a furniture decorator before passing away in Grand Rapids, MI in 1974. He was clearly a man living far before his time, and the hundreds of brilliant works he created throughout his career lend an essence of the  extraordinary to his remembered life. In our favorite anecdote about Radebaugh, from the The Future We Were Promised website, his New Center Studio’s office is described:

Radebaugh’s studio is decorated with an unusual touch, invisible until he turned off the lights and ignited his blacklight. Springing to life on one long studio wall is a life-size and life-like vista painted entirely in fluorescent blacklight paints. The scene is of Rio de Janeiro: famous statue of Christ on the hill to one side, beach and city below, as seen from a hotel balcony, bedecked with an arabesque striped awning and elegant white railings.”

Found in the Collection: Dan Smith’s Holiday Herald Covers

There are few things more breathtaking in the turn-of-the-century issues of The New York Herald than the color covers by Dan Smith. In the thick of the holiday season, we’re happy to highlight some of his warm and wondrously illustrated scenes from over 100 years ago, at a time when newspaper covers could look like this:

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Dan Smith for The New York Herald, tearsheet from The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Many of Smith’s covers from this time period included juxtaposed photos. Below, an especially lovely piece with shots of Manhattan’s Central Park and Van Cortland Park in the Bronx.

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Dan Smith for The New York Herald, tearsheet from The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

ChristmasHerald

Dan Smith for The New York Herald, tearsheet from The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

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Dan Smith for The New York Herald, tearsheet from The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Happy Holidays from the Cartoon Library!

Stay tuned next week for a vision of the future from Arthur Radebaugh, as the New Year steadily approaches.

Found in the Collection: “Small Potatoes” by Mary G. Jones

Today we’re highlighting one true enigma of the 1903 newspaper pages- Small Potatoes by Mary G. Jones. Yes indeed, one of the very earliest known female newspaper strip cartoonists, of whom we humbly admit to having absolutely no information on. With such a common name, ancestry databases turn up no revealing information about her life.

Mary G. Jones’ “Small Potatoes”, 1903. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Jones’ adorably bizarre Small Potatoes ran through the New York Herald syndicate, from July 19th through September 6th in 1903.

Mary G. Jones’ “Small Potatoes”, 1903. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

We give Mary G. Jones imagination plenty of credit, even if the verses of the potato people storylines leave something to be desired. We are especially fond of her potato puppies.

Mary G. Jones’ “Small Potatoes”, 1903. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Mary G. Jones’ “Small Potatoes”, 1903. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Mary G. Jones’ “Small Potatoes”, 1903. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

If anyone has any information about Mary G. Jones, we would love for you to share it!

Found in the Collection: Leighton Budd

Once again, we’re happy to be sharing another old unsung cartoonist of the newspaper pages from over 100 years ago. Little is known about Leighton Budd, whose boneless and clean characters can be seen in the features below. “Why Peter Puff Swore Off” ran in the New York Herald 110 years ago today, December 7, 1902.

Leighton Budd’s “Why Peter Puff Swore Off” tearsheet from December 7, 1902. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Leighton Budd’s style was before his time, and some of his most beautiful work can be seen in the short-running feature Every Move a Picture, Yours Truly the Tumblebug Brothers, of which we unfortunately do not have any tearsheets of in our San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection. Budd’s work has the feel of some of the finer German Invasion cartoonists, who would be emerging on the scene in America a few years later, as well as some of the Mexican cartoonists of Multicolor.


Leighton Budd’s “Something Doing In the Art World” tearsheet from June 29, 1902. From The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Budd had a solid stint at Puck magazine during this time and would later go on to work for one of the earliest American animation studios, Bray Studio.

Leighton Budd’s “Barney’s Bubble Trip” tearsheet from May 25, 1902. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Unfortunately, Budd was a noted alcoholic, and there is not much to be traced of him beyond the 1930s. If you have any more information about the man, please let us know!

Leighton Budd’s “Little Johnny” tearsheet from November 25, 1900. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Congratulations to Meredith Spano!

We’re tickled to highlight student employee Meredith Spano on the blog today, who has recently hit the 100 mark in processing originals of continuing feature comic strip titles from our International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection (IMCA)! The IMCA collection was transferred to us in 2008 from Mort Walker, for whom one of our galleries in the new Sullivant Hall facility will be named. The collection contains thousands of priceless original cartoons from around the world, as well as books and artifacts related to all of the genres of cartoon art.

Student employee champion, Meredith Spano.

Since Meredith’s start date here in October, 2010 Meredith has been hard at work in building finding aids for continuing features in IMCA, and the 100 titles that she has now processed have included over 40,000 pieces that have passed through her hands for cataloging.

The process starts with physical sorting- Meredith, as seen in the image below, pours through the hundreds upon hundreds of daily and weekly strips, and arranges them physically in chronological order, neatly and safely in our acid free archival storage boxes.

Student employee Meredith Spano, sorting IMCA originals into chronological order.

After arranging the series, she gets to work on building a spreadsheet for the individual title that is later turned into a finding aid. You can see what the end result looks like here. Each individual strip has been assigned a finding number, and is listed by its publication date.

Below, a small slice of the rows upon rows of the IMCA collection boxes once they have been processed!

International Museum of Cartoon Art processed features by finding number

Meredith is double majoring in Arabic and International Studies, and is a proud and prominent member of the OSU Ukelele Club. Although her favorite series to work on so far has been Dick Tracy, the other 99 titles she has tackled include Bringing Up Father, Blondie, Henry, The Gumps, Katzenjammer Kids, Tillie the Toiler, Steve Canyon, Smitty, Rip Kirby, Polly and Her Pals, Moon Mullins, L’il Abner, Jungle Jim, and many many more.  The Cartoon Library simply would not run if it weren’t for our incredible student employees- thank you so much for all of your hard work, Meredith!