Found in the Collection: E.G. Lutz (1868-?)

Although you’ve probably never heard of him- cartoonist, animator and author E. G. Lutz is the reason that 19 year old Walt Disney took an interest in pursuing animation. Lutz’s book Animated Cartoons: How They Are Made, Their Origin and Development, is credited time and again for being the book that Disney read that got him to think about starting up a business. However, little to nothing is known about E.G. (Edwin George) Lutz, though the impact of his writing and ideas is obviously tremendous.

Animated Cartoons: How They Are Made, Their Origin and Development, by E.G. Lutz. From The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

One thing we do know for sure about Lutz (and as always, we encourage our readers to contribute their own knowledge!) is that he was also a brilliant newspaper cartoonist, with some of his most interesting work appearing in the gorgeously illustrated Book of Magic, which was the special children’s section of the Seattle Post Intelligencer (where Nell Brinkley’s work frequently appeared as well.) This newspaper supplement featured full-color activities for kids, most commonly illustrated mazes and connect-the-dots featuring some of the favorite newspaper cartoon characters of the time (Happy Hooligan and Ignatz appear often).

E.G. Lutz’s pages typically centered around three basic themes- playing with food, anthropomorphized animals, and early optical toys. As with many of the items in our San Francisco Academy of Comic Art collection here at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum that we thank Bill Blackbeard for everyday, these old Book of Magic sections were inherently dispensable enough in their time just by being newsprint, but doubly so because most of the activities in them required cutting up the paper. Particularly those of E.G. Lutz’s, which we are thrilled to have beautiful in-tact copies of here in our collection.

Below are two samples of Lutz’s optical toys- complete with instructions, and a bolded WARNING! that reads “Do not paint or cut out pages until you have looked over the whole book. There may be something on the other side of a page that you will like better.” Which, I would argue is doubtful, as even grown-up librarians like myself find it hard to resist wondering what the illusion would look like in action.

E.G. Lutz newsprint optical toy illustration from The Seattle Intelligencer's Book of Magic, June 4, 1922. From The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

A phenakistoscope:

E.G. Lutz newsprint optical toy illustration from The Seattle Intelligencer's Book of Magic, February 12, 1922. From The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

E.G. Lutz newsprint optical toy illustration from The Seattle Intelligencer's Book of Magic, April 23, 1922. From The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Below, creative inspiration for food-play, should you be able to find that perfect yam at the market that resembles a baby seal. We are sure that Seattle parents were thrilled with their children’s sudden interest in fruit, but possibly not at the inclusion of orange peels in home decor.

E.G. Lutz newsprint cut-out toy illustration from The Seattle Intelligencer's Book of Magic, May 28th, 1922. From The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

E.G. Lutz newsprint cut-out toy illustration from The Seattle Intelligencer's Book of Magic, April 9, 1922. From The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Lutz’s cartoons, typically anthropomorphic cartoons,  appeared in other papers as well, including the New York Herald and Philadelphia Press. We are lucky enough to have one piece of original art in our collection by E.G. Lutz, a fairly terrifying drawing of a cat with a drinking problem that can be seen below, although we have very little  information about it.

Original E.G. Lutz cartoon, circa late 1880s, from the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

The forgotten E.G. Lutz was a jack of all trades, and it is unfortunate that not much is known about him. We strongly encourage any contributions in our comments section with more knowledge about his life and work, and feel he would be a great topic of research from animation to anthropology.

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UPDATE:

Blog reader, cartoonist and comics educator Ryan Claytor was inspired to make an animated gif of E.G. Lutz’s “Tigress and Her Cubs” to find out how it worked after reading our post! Check it out:

Happy Birthday, Bill Blackbeard! (April 28, 1926 – March 10, 2011)

Here at the Cartoon Library, Bill Blackbeard is a regular household name. We hope the same goes for all of you readers, as the Man Who Saved Comics deserves much remembrance and praise.

Portrait of Bill Blackbeard, ink and gouache original by Alfredo Alcala. San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

This Saturday, April 28th would be Bill’s 86th birthday. In 1998, Bill Blackbeard’s life’s work–The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art collection–arrived at The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum in six semi-trucks, filled to the brim with 2.5 million newsprint clippings of comic strips, entire Sunday comics sections, and tearsheets. This collection had resided with Bill Blackbeard and his wife in their home in California since the 1960s.

The late Bill Blackbeard, among the SFACA collection in its California home. Photo taken by R.C. Harvey. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Having collected the bundles of discarded daily newspapers at the end of the week from neighbors houses as a child, Bill’s enthusiasm and fixation on the newsprint comics form grew exponentially throughout the rest of his life. In the 1960′s, libraries across the country began to convert their large bound volumes of newspapers to microfilm in order to conserve shelf space. Once the papers were converted, these hundreds upon thousands of volumes were then discarded or transferred elsewhere. When Bill Blackbeard found out this was happening, he and his wife Barbara and some volunteering friends rescued these volumes of newspapers from around the country – specifically for the comics sections. Because of certain policies in place about the transference of library materials to an individual collector- in one week’s time Bill established himself as a nonprofit organization, The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art. Overnight, Bill and Barbara’s home became the Academy, and one of the most important establishments in comics history of all time.

SFACA collection while it was housed in California. Photo by R.C. Harvey. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Declared as being open for visitors and researchers at “all hours of every day” (because Bill lived there), the SFACA collection made possible an endless amount of comics scholarship, reprint books, and inspiration for cartoonists and fans alike. Bill, with help of volunteers, spent his days, years, and entire life clipping these strips and organizing them chronologically under each title.

The SFACA collection continues to have an incalculable impact at its permanent home here at the Cartoon Library- where it is easily our most highly-used collection.

Further Information:

To find out much-much more about Bill Blackbeard’s legacy and the collection’s arrival at the Cartoon Library, follow this link to the OSU Knowdledge Bank for an exhaustive article by our head curator Jenny Robb entitled Bill Blackbeard: The Collector Who Rescued the Comics.

To see many more fantastic pictures of Bill Blackbeard and his collection, you can visit our “We Love Bill Blackbeard Album” by liking the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum on Facebook.

To browse the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art finding aid, visit this link. Due to the size of the SFACA collection, it is constantly under processing so this is in no way a complete representation. We are very proud to have about 40% of the collection processed at this time (remember, it contains  millions of items!)

Happy Birthday, Bill Blackbeard!

Portrait of Bill Blackbeard, original in ink and gouache, by Alfredo Alcala. San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

-Caitlin McGurk

 

Found in the Collection: Alfred Andriola’s “Yoyo” Martin!

It was a glorious Friday morning at The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum that found me prancing down the aisles of flat files, looking for inspiration for a blog post. I am admittedly not well-versed in Alfred Andriola’s Kerry Drake comic strip, let alone all of the quirky villains included (and there are some very, very quirky ones). That being said, I was overwhelmed with joy when I opened up a file from the Toni Mendez Collection and found a group of cut-out panels from Andriola’s original art that specifically feature this angry stooge who is hitting people with a yoyo.

"Yoyo" Martin calls Birdlegs stupid, strikes with yoyo to get point across. From the Toni Mendez Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

It’s hard to verbalize why these panels thrill me so, but seeing them completely out of context from the rest of the story made them the most intriguing and hilarious insights into the world of Kerry Drake. It’s a world I’ve really enjoyed living in while reading through these old strips. For as much as sequentiality carries the comics medium, peeking in the window of a single panel sends your imagination spinning, and in a way lends further merit to the artists talent. If looking at one panel of a comic can enrapture a reader almost as strongly as seeing the whole story, something major is being achieved.

Anyone who reads Nancy Panels is no stranger to this pleasure.

"Yoyo" Martin strikes again. From the Toni Mendez Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Finding these panels in the Toni Mendez collection added even more bewilderment to the experience. Toni Mendez worked as an agent for cartoonists from 1946 to 2003, and was a licensor and merchandiser as well. She represented over 50 cartoonists including Milton Caniff and B. Kliban, and handled rights-negotiations for hundreds of others including Rube Goldberg and Ernie Bushmiller. As a former Rockette at The New York City Music Hall, Mendez had a keen understanding of performance and entertainment. She conceived of the idea of cartoonist Chalk Talks (directing and producing the shows herself),  which led to the congregating of artists who would then go on to form the National Cartoonists Society.

"Yoyo" Martin threatens Folly (his blonde partner in crime, seen in the next excerpt) for reasons unknown. From the Toni Mendez Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

The majority of the Mendez collection here at the Cartoon Library, which totals to 416 boxes of materials, is made up of business correspondence and licensed character merchandise- though there are 735 pieces of original art as well. These cut-out panels that specifically feature “Yoyo” Martin come with no greater context, no explanation for why Toni may have had them. Although their inclusion in her collection leaves me curious, the oddness of it breathes even more strange life into the Yoyo character.

In case the injury is not believable, we are assured that there is lead in that yoyo top. From the Toni Mendez Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Yes, indeed- discovering treasures like this is one of the most gratifying parts of working as an archivist or librarian. I hope you’ve enjoyed these “Yoyo” Martin panels as much as I have- I’ll be highlighting many more materials from the Toni Mendez Collection for blog posts to come, and in the meantime I encourage you to browse the Collection Guide.

"Yoyo" Martin threatens Mother Whistler by yoyo-ing her teapot to smithereens after she refuses to let he and Folly hide out in her house. From The Toni Mendez Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

In our San Francisco Academy of Comic Art collection we have a nice run of newspaper clippings of Kerry Drake. After locating Yoyo’s appearances in it (late 1949-early 1950), I thought I’d single out a panel of my own to close with.

Cropped panel from page of Alfred Andriola's "Kerry Drake", from The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum