A Prophetic Vision of the 20th Century by J. Campbell Cory, 1901

Happy New Year, everybody! 2013 proved to be one of the biggest years in history for the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, and we can’t thank you enough for your patience during our move this summer, and your undying support in celebrating our incredible new home with us this Fall! We know that 2014 only holds even bigger and better opportunities for us, and we’re excited to share them all with you in the coming months.

Below, an original tearsheet (which is currently on exhibit in our Treasures gallery) from January 6, 1901 by J. Campbell Cory for the New York World. Unfortunately by 2014 we still haven’t mastered teleportation, let alone by 1987 as he predicts…

Click to enlarge:

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J. Campbell Cory tearsheet for the New York World. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

See you all in 2014!

Happy Holidays from Arnold Roth and the Cartoon Library!

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Arnold Roth, Original art from National Lampoon. Arnold Roth Deposit Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

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Arnold Roth, Original art from National Lampoon. Arnold Roth Deposit Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

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Arnold Roth, Original art from National Lampoon. Arnold Roth Deposit Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

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Arnold Roth, Original art from National Lampoon. Arnold Roth Deposit Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

 

Found in the Collection: Charles Pearson!

As we inch closer and closer to our moving date at the Cartoon Library, we’ll be tossing more and more single gags your way on the blog to keep you laughing all the way to the front door of our new building this Fall. Summer is in full swing, and our movers arrive in just a few short weeks!

Today, a magazine cartoon from Charles Pearson, from the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection. Pearson is yet another unsung but highly prolific cartoonists of the 1940s and 50s, contributing work to True Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s, and more. We know that Pearson was in the service as well, as he had also contributed to Yank: The Army Weekly. If you have more information about his work and background, we’d love for you to share it!

Charles Pearson original magazine cartoon, circa 1950. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Charles Pearson original magazine cartoon, circa 1950. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Found in the Collection: Bill Holman’s “Wall-Nuts”

Few cartoonists of the newspaper pages have attempted to pack their daily strips with as many puns, gags, and non-sequitor absurdities as the late great Bill Holman did in his famous funny fireman strip, Smokey Stover. Holman drew Smokey Stover from 1935 until 1973, making it the longest running comic strip of the slapstick screwball comedy genre.

Among his regularly featured made-up words like Foo and Notary Sojac, and inside jokes like “1506 Nix Nix”, Stover strips were layered with background jokes and puns about other puns, plastered into the background of each panel. He referred to these insert gags as wall-nuts, and as if coming up with a new strip each day wasn’t enough in itself, whether they won or lost a laugh they were present in nearly every strip:

Original "Smokey Stover" strip by Bill Holman. From the Philip Sills Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. (click to enlarge)

Original “Smokey Stover” strip by Bill Holman. From the Philip Sills Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. (click to enlarge)

After retiring Smokey Stover in 1973 at the age of 70, Holman was still brimming with wordplay to play with, and re-purposed his wall-nuts concept to be their own separate pieces, which he never published. Though the hand may be more shaky, the “Wall-Nuts” featured below were some of Holman’s last panels in his later years, and still hold forth his love of a good plain gag.

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Bill Holman’s unpublished “Wall-Nuts” originals. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Carton Library & Museum.

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Bill Holman’s unpublished “Wall-Nuts” originals. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Carton Library & Museum.

Wall-NutsCigar

Bill Holman’s unpublished “Wall-Nuts” originals. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Carton Library & Museum.

Wall-NutsGold

Bill Holman’s unpublished “Wall-Nuts” originals. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Carton Library & Museum.

Wall-NutsTact

Bill Holman’s unpublished “Wall-Nuts” originals. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Carton Library & Museum.

Wall-NutsTheater

Bill Holman’s unpublished “Wall-Nuts” originals. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Carton Library & Museum.

 

Crowdsourcing The Dylan Williams Collection

Congratulations to Cartoon Library volunteers Joe Miller and Caitlin Naber for their milestone accomplishment in cataloging the Tom Spurgeon donation to The Dylan Williams Collection! This early donation, which arrived soon after the The Dylan Williams Collection was announced in September, totaled to 1,419 mini-comics and is one of the largest installments that we’ve received so far. Items from the collection are being entered into a finding aid, which will be made available through our catalog after our move into Sullivant Hall.

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Proud Cartoon Library volunteers Joe Miller and Caitlin Naber, amid the cataloged portions of The Dylan Williams Collection!

Joe and Caitlin are diving into the other donations and trucking right along, but we thought we would take pause in this moment of great achievement and pose some questions to the audience. Out of the hundreds and hundreds of items that they have cataloged so far, we’ve stumbled upon a mere few that have us stuck for bibliographic information. Although the beauty of mini-comics can be their departure from the structure of formally published books, and working anonymously has its perks, we want to be able to give all of the creators represented in our collection their due credit and are therefor turning a few unidentified items over to you, dear readers!

If any of the works below look familiar, we’d love for you to help us identify the creators or titles where necessary, as well as any other information you may have about them:

Ramsden McEllroy

Cover and title page of “Ramsden”, cartoonist unknown. Donated by Tom Spurgeon, forms part of The Dylan Williams Collection. The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

**UPDATE: “Ramsden” cartoonist has been identified as Sammy Harkham! Thanks to readers Neil Brideau and Robin McConnell**

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Inside pages, cartoonist and title unknown. Donated by Tom Spurgeon, forms part of The Dylan Williams Collection. The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

**UPDATE: The above mini-comic “Jessica” was done by Jason Overby. Thanks to readers Robin McConnell, Derik Badman, and Chuck Forsman.**

Cover and inside page from “Things Are Bigger in Texas -or- The Misfortune of Betsy the Cow”, cartoonist unknown. Donated by Tom Spurgeon, forms part of The Dylan Williams Collection. The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

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Cover page, cartoonist and title unknown. Donated by Tom Spurgeon, forms part of The Dylan Williams Collection. The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Cover of "Herzog Watusi", cartoonist unknown. Donated by Tom Spurgeon, forms part of The Dylan Williams Collection. The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Cover of “Herzog Watusi”, cartoonist unknown. Donated by Tom Spurgeon, forms part of The Dylan Williams Collection. The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Cover and inside pages of "Como Vacas Mirando el Tren No. 2", cartoonist unknown. Donated by Tom Spurgeon, forms part of The Dylan Williams Collection. The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Cover and inside pages of “Como Vacas Mirando el Tren No. 2″, cartoonist unknown. Donated by Tom Spurgeon, forms part of The Dylan Williams Collection. The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

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Inside pages, cartoonist and title unknown. Donated by Tom Spurgeon, forms part of The Dylan Williams Collection. The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

**UPDATE: The cartoonist for the untitled comic above has been identified as Chris Ware! Made while he was still in school at UT to be sold in a vending machine. This comic was later reprinted in Quimby The Mouse. Thanks to reader Neil Brideau!**

If you can identify any of the creators of the mini-comics above, leave a note in our comments section or send us an email at cartoons@osu.edu!

“The Evolution of the “Original” Comic Supplement”, an Ike Morgan One-Shot

Comics: difficult to write since 1902!

"Evolution of the "Original" Comic Supplement", by Morgan. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

We love this one-shot by cartoonist Ike Morgan, from the June 8th, 1902 Chicago Record-Herald, illustrating the age old tradition of cartoonists borrowing jokes, as totally bizarre as this one might be. We don’t have a lot of information on Morgan, and he appears to have mostly done one-shots other than his short running daily “The Kids of Many Colors”. As early as 1897, Morgan was also contributing political cartoons to The Times-Herald in Chicago.

Morgan would go on to illustrate a number of books, most notable of which were American Fairy Tales and The Woggle-Bug Book, written by the one and only L. Frank Baum — author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. What is additionally fascinating about Morgan, despite the lack of information on him, is the key role he may have played as a catalyst in bringing together the stage production of The Wizard of Oz. During the time that he knew L. Frank Baum through their book collaborations, he also happened to be roommates with composer Paul Tietjens. The two were introduced at Morgan’s wedding reception, and the writer and composer then began their talks for adapting Baum’s illustrated novel for the stage.

While this kind of marginal insight on Ike Morgan can be gleaned from the biographies of Baum and W.W. Denslow (illustrator of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz), substantial biographical information on the cartoonist seems to be lost to obscurity in the early 20th century. We know that Morgan also illustrated books for Grace Duffie Boylan, including Young Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Boylan’s adaptation for children of the Harriet Beecher Stowe novel), but if any of our readers know more, we hope you’ll share!

Found in the Collection: Johannes Borer

Although the mission of the Cartoon Library is to collect American printed cartoon art, we are fortunate enough to have many holdings of originals from overseas. Today, we stumbled upon this delightfully seasonal piece from Swiss cartoonist Johannes Borer in the collection, which appeared in Punch in 1987:

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Johannes Borer original from “Punch”. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Borer was born in Zwingen, Switzerland in 1949 and has been working as a cartoonist, illustrator, and gag writer since 1973. His work has appeared in over 100 newspapers and magazines worldwide, including Punch and Reader’s Digest.

Found in the Collection: Jack T. Chick’s “Times Have Changed?”

Yes, this pre-Flintstones single-panel feature was indeed created by that Jack T. Chick. Quite possibly one of the most widely distributed self-publishers, with fleets of believers getting his work into the hands of the general public in subway stations, rest stops, and public gathering places across the nation (and in over 100 languages overseas), Chick is largely known for his Christian evangelical mini-comics known as Chick Tracts. These pamphlets, nondiscriminatory in their discrimination, target theories of evolution, homosexuality, nearly all religious groups, feminism, and even Harry Potter.

But before becoming the prince of propaganda, Chick worked alongside writer P.S. Clayton on the feature Times Have Changed? which ran from November 16, 1953 through 1955. This earlier, softer form of cultural criticism revolved around the intertwined lives of humans and dinosaurs (perhaps some foreshadowing here of later themes), and how little our ways have changed over time.

P.S. Clayton and Jack T. Chick’s “Times Have Changed?”, from The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

P.S. Clayton and Jack T. Chick's "Times Have Changed?" From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

P.S. Clayton and Jack T. Chick’s “Times Have Changed?” From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

P.S. Clayton and Jack T. Chick's "Times Have Changed?" From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

P.S. Clayton and Jack T. Chick’s “Times Have Changed?” From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

P.S. Clayton and Jack T. Chick's "Times Have Changed?" From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

P.S. Clayton and Jack T. Chick’s “Times Have Changed?” From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Despite the over 700 million published copies of his evangelical tracts, Jack T. Chick himself has managed to remain reclusive, giving few to no interviews since the 1970s. If you know more about Chick’s other early work, please let us know!

Found in the Collection: Jeff Keate!

Beyond a tremendous amount of art auction websites hocking his originals (showing the sheer magnitude of gag work that he did in his day), there isn’t a ton of information out there about Canadian-born cartoonist Jeff Keate. He churned out his feature “Time Out!” of sports-related gag cartoons for the Publishers Syndicate for  nearly ten years, had work in Colliers, The Saturday Evening Post, Cracked, Humorama and others, and produced a hard to find newspaper strip called Rufus for just over a year. Keate also illustrated Charles D. Rice’s instructional book on cartooning Squeans, Plewds and Briffits, or How to be a Cartoonist in 1954.

Below, the rough for a gag cartoon that we stumbled upon in our collection that made our morning here at the Cartoon Library:

"Who made this pencil mark on my memo pad?", original cartoon rough by Jeff Keate. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

“Who made this pencil mark on my memo pad?”, original cartoon rough by Jeff Keate. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Ah, the beauty of the gag cartoon. Sometimes that’s all it takes! In an article about Keate from the August 19th, 1950 issue of Editor & Publisher magazine, he described his desire to intentionally make cartoons and comics with no other meaning or purpose than a laugh: “I really think there’s a crying need for humor. My page won’t carry any message.”

”I’m sure it’s positively indecent... if we could just figure it out.” original gag cartoon by Jeff Keate. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

“I’m sure it’s positively indecent… if we could just figure it out.” original gag cartoon by Jeff Keate. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Keate was raised in British Columbia, and attended college first in Grand Rapids, MI, followed by the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, class of 1936. He relocated to NYC in 1945, which is where his cartooning career really took off–averaging 20 magazine cartoons per week.

Original Jeff Keate gag cartoon for the Saturday Evening Post. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon LIbrary & Museum (click to enlarge)

Original Jeff Keate gag cartoon for the Saturday Evening Post. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon LIbrary & Museum (click to enlarge)

In his Editor & Publisher interview, Keate mentions that his inspiration for being a cartoonist came from his father’s own unfulfilled dreams to draw comics, and support of his sons pursuit. A lumber industry man, the elder Keate would hang frames around the scribbles that young Jeff drew on the walls of their home as a kid rather than punish him.

”We don’t just titter and say ’Well, accidents will happen’ here, Purvis!” original gag cartoon for the Saturday Evening Post. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge).

“We don’t just titter and say ‘Well, accidents will happen’ here, Purvis!” original gag cartoon for the Saturday Evening Post. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge).

If you have more biographical information on Jeff Keate, we’d love for you to share!

Speaking of great Canadian cartoonists, we are thrilled to be attending the Toronto Comics & Art Festival (TCAF) this weekend to promote the Cartoon Library and take donations for the Dylan Williams Collection- be sure to say hello!

Found in the Collection: Spring-Heeled Jack!

London in the 1830s was a truly weird and terrifying place. The city and surrounding villages were plagued at large by a menacing and mysterious figure who not only lurked in dark alleys, but had the gall to occasionally go door-to-door frightening people. Detailed attacks were reported as early as 1838, in which the assailant was said to have “deprived seven women of their senses”, spit blue fire in many a passerby’s face, and generally freak many folks out based on appearance alone. However, among the many of the fiends horrific traits, that which was noted the most was his inhuman ability to… hop.
To hop over fences, in front of horse-drawn carriages causing them to turn over, down long stretches of road while stopping to slap onlookers across the face, etc.

Hence, horror was given a name, and it was Spring-Heeled Jack:

"Spring Heeled Jack" The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

“Spring Heeled Jack”  No. 9 & 10. From The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Although police reports were filed and many a news article written at the time, the real Spring-Heeled Jack was never caught, and so inspired over a century of urban legends. Among the earliest of pop culture formats that Spring-Heeled Jack could be found in was the penny dreadful, a large collection of which we have here at the Cartoon Library in our San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection. These publications, sold for one penny each, were marketed toward working class adolescents, and their feverish fan consumption served as precursors to the modern comic book.

Featured here on the blog today are some of our favorite covers from the collection, where appearances of Spring-Heeled Jack lay somewhere on the border of horrifying and hilarious.

The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

“Spring-Heeled Jack” No. 1. From The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

    "Spring-Heeled Jack" No. 1. From The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

“Spring-Heeled Jack” No. 19 & 20. From The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

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“Spring-Heeled Jack” No. 35 & 36. From The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

“Spring-Heeled Jack” No. 3. From The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Over the years, the legend of Spring-Heeled Jack has gone from evil to good, to evil all over again. Could his winged visage be a Victorian era inspiration to our 20th century Batman?