Category: New Acquisitions (page 1 of 2)

Found in the Collection: Etta Hulme!

“I’m in this business to dispense opinions,” Etta Hulme once said in an interview, “and — if the job gets done right — to get people stirred up while keepin’ things on the funny side.” Best known for her editorial cartoons, Etta Hulme (1923-2014) was the chief cartoonist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for 36 years. She also served as President for the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists, and twice received the National Cartoonist Society award for Best Editorial Cartoonist. The BICLM recently acquired a collection of Hulme’s original artwork, sketches, correspondences, books, comics, and other belongings.

During her long and industrious career, Etta provided a consistent voice in cartooning. Her path wasn’t always easy; she was one of the only women to be hired as a full-time newspaper cartoonist, and was frequently carped for her boldly liberal views in a conservative Texan town. Etta laughed off criticism and even threats; her endless wit and terrific determination are best illustrated by her daily cartoons. Among the 33 sketches are a few that feature one of her popular targets, the IRS:

irs1

Sketches for editorial cartoons. Dates unknown

irs2

Sketches for editorial cartoons. Dates unknown

Etta’s cartooning long pre-dates her political strips. These are the artifacts of a long and varied career, beginning with Disney; the animation studios hired her during World War II, when restrictions on hiring women were temporarily lifted. During her early days working in animation, Etta earned her chops story-boarding, inventing characters, and cartooning for a kids’ audience.

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She submitted a number of storyboards to popular comic book publishers, many of which were turned down. Editors were often very candid with their criticism–letters like this one would have required a thick skin!

Rejection letter from Whitman Publishing Company, 1951

Rejection letter from Whitman Publishing Company, 1951

 

Eventually, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Etta landed a regular job writing and drawing for “Red” Rabbit, a very popular kids’ comic. We found this fantastic photo in a box of her belongings—a group of kids in the early fifties, gathered around their favorite comic.

 

Photo of kids reading “Red” Rabbit circa early 1950s, with the caption “Yes sir, Mr. Laue, down here in Texas, Red Rabbit Comics are about all you ever see. Wherever you find five or six kids together, you’ll find two or three Red Rabbits.”

Photo of kids reading “Red” Rabbit circa early 1950s, with the caption “Yes sir, Mr. Laue, down here in Texas, Red Rabbit Comics are about all you ever see. Wherever you find five or six kids together, you’ll find two or three Red Rabbits.”

The “Mr. Laue” referred to in the caption is Charles “Chas” Laue, who was Etta’s editor. Etta and Chas had a friendly working relationship, and his letters were fond and informal, unlike previous editors’. Here’s an example of one such letter, in which Chas asks Etta for advertising advice:

 

Letter from Charles “Chas” Laue, March 22, 1951

Letter from Charles “Chas” Laue, March 22, 1951

Chas Laue was happy with a cover Etta (then Etta Parks) had drawn. Among a pile of original “Red” Rabbit covers are this sketch and final print, as well as some charming character sketches.

Sketch and final cover for “Red” Rabbit No. 22, September to October 1951

Sketch and final cover for “Red” Rabbit No. 22, September to October 1951

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Taking inspiration for both editorial cartoons and kids’ comics, Etta had a (heavily bookmarked!) collection of Cartoons Magazine, a World War I anthology of humor and politics, as well as these colorful comic books ranging from Krazy Kat to Korak.

 

A pile of thirteen Cartoons Magazine issues from 1913-1921

A pile of thirteen Cartoons Magazine issues from 1913-1921

 

Assortment of comic books from the early 1950s

Assortment of comic books from the early 1950s

Etta Hulme was a talented cartoonist and a fascinating person—this is just a small sample of her life and legacy. To learn more about Etta and her work:

New Acquisitions! Early Arab Comics: Samir and Dunia al-Ahdath

Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum has recently added first year print-runs of two important Arab comics magazines: The Egyptian magazine Samir (founded in 1956) and the Lebanese magazine Dunia al-Ahdath (founded in 1954). Both collections reflect early articulations of mass print culture for children in Egypt and Lebanon and reveal intriguing intersections between popular culture, nationalism, mass education, and gender in a period of early postcolonial nation building.

Samir

"Samir" cover, no. 17

“Samir” cover, no. 17

The comics weekly Samir was founded in 1956, four years after the 1952 Revolution, when Jamal Abd al-Nasser and the Free Officers overthrew the British-backed Egyptian monarchy. Published by the government-owned Dar al-Hilal, it would become the most popular comics magazine in the Arab world in the 1950s and 1960s.

The 1956-7 issues in the collection showcase the magazine’s mission of educating Egypt’s young citizens in a nationalist mold in the early years of the Egyptian republic. Some of the recurring strips feature characters created from local contexts, such as Basil, a young adventurer who battles networks of smugglers to protect Egypt’s borders, or Samira, a girl who often demonstrates the smarts and strength of female characters.  Some strips draw on internationally known characters such as Mickey Mouse and Alice and Wonderland. In other strips, the pairing of the two iconic figures Juha and Samba reveal how racialized colonial stereotypes reappeared and were re-adapted in Egyptian and Arab contexts.

Samira

Do you know Madame Curie-

Do you know Madame Curie?

Samir included educational vignettes and biographies of influential historical figures. Texts and comic strips also retell the events and aftermath of the 1952 Egyptian revolution.

The Story of the Revolution

The Story of the Revolution

In later issues, Samir would take a more critical turn. Artists such as renowned Egyptian political cartoonist Ahmed Hijazy, who joined the magazine in 1965, played a role in reshaping the direction of the magazine in the 1960s and 1970s. Hijazi’s popular strips chronicling Samir’s adventures with the comical Tanabila trio would satirize Egyptian politics and Egypt’s class culture. Some of these later issues can be accessed at other libraries: http://osu.worldcat.org/oclc/11352739

Billy Ireland holds one of Ahmed Hijazi’s original drawings in its collection:

Hijazy drawing

Ahmed Hijazi original art from the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Dunia al-Ahdath

Dunia Al-Ahdath (The World of Youth) is considered the first Lebanese comics magazine. It was founded in 1954 by the poet, teacher, and children’s book author Loreen Rihany. Loreen and her husband (owner of Rihany press, which printed the magazine) were active in many organizations that promoted Lebanese cultural institutions.  Arab comics scholar Henry Matthews has suggested that the magazine’s was closely modeled on the earliest Arabic children’s comics from the 1940s and 50s. The form and content of the early issues bear a close resemblance to the Egyptian magazine Sindibad (Matthews 5).

Dunia al-Ahdath was published bi-weekly and distributed in Lebanese schools. The educational content closely followed school curriculum (Matthews 5). Many of the texts include vowels (normally omitted in Arabic) to help school children master the standard Arabic educational content.

The Story of Layla

The Story of Layla

Like Samir, Dunia al-Ahdath featured both local stories and heroes, such as Hikayat Layla (The Story of Layla) and the adventures of Zarzour and Farfour as well as Lebanese re-interpretations of characters such as Tarzan and Flash Gordon.

Zarzour and Farfour

Zarzour and Farfour

In 1964 Dunia al-Ahdath changed its format and became al-Foursan (The Knights). It ceased publication in the early 1970s.

These collections of Samir and Dunia al-Ahdath issues show the beginnings of two magazines that would play central roles in the history of modern Arab comics. Come and take a look!

Guest post by Johanna Sellman, Middle East and Islamic Studies Librarian

 

For further reading:

Gruber, Christiane J, and Sune Haugbolle. Visual Culture in the Modern Middle East: Rhetoric of the Image. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013.
http://library.ohio-state.edu/record=b7398648~S7

Douglas, Allen, and Fedwa Malti-Douglas. Arab Comic Strips: Politics of an Emerging Mass Culture. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994.
http://library.ohio-state.edu/record=b4244724~S7

Matthews, Henry. Dunia Al-Ahdath: First Lebanese Comic Book. 2015.
http://library.ohio-state.edu/record=b7870761~S7

Mehta, Binita, and Pia Mukherji. Postcolonial Comics: Texts, Events, Identities. London: Routledge, 2015.
http://library.ohio-state.edu/record=b7906704~S7

 

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