Sunday, September 30, 2018

Indiana Illustrators in Puck and Life

More than a couple of Indiana illustrators did work for Puck, Judge, and the old Life humor magazines. Two of the earliest and most well known were Albert Levering (1869-1929) of Hope, Indiana, and Walter H. Gallaway (1870-1911) of Pendleton and Indianapolis. Following is some of their art.

Life, Auto Number, January 19, 1905, with cover art by Albert Levering. In addition to being an illustrator, Levering was a cartoonist. His training as an architect showed through in his precision and complete confidence in depicting buildings and machinery.

Levering may not have been right on the timing or appearance of the vehicles shown here, but he foresaw that horses would one day become pets rather than beasts of burden. Note the lap-horse held by the woman on the right. It probably won't be long before miniature horses are called "therapy animals" or "service animals" and that you'll find them sitting next to you on the plane.

Levering's cartoon portrait of Mark Twain, here used as the cover of a color insert in Life, July 13, 1905, became one of his more well-known works.

In the early 1900s, caricaturists often depicted well-known men as having big heads and little bodies. Here, with William Howard Taft, Levering did the opposite. The result is funny, though not very flattering to our heaviest of presidents.

You don't have to know who William Waldorf Astor was to gain some insight into his personality and character by way of Albert Levering's very devastating caricature from Life, 1905. 

One hundred years ago this season, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany was in a bit of a pickle. His country was losing its war and he was only a few months away from abdicating his throne and fleeing to Holland. In 1905, Albert Levering caricatured him for Life, and though this portrait isn't as devastating as the one above of Astor, the artist nevertheless had his fun. Note "der Kaiser's" own self-portrait and book of poems. Note also the little cannon, which became a very big howitzer--Big Bertha--just a few years after this drawing was made. The Kaiser is just another example of how personal and psychological failings on a very individual level can have outsized effects on history and the rest of humanity. We are today still paying the price for those kinds of failings, one hundred years after the end of the Great War. 

Albert Levering was most active during the Progressive Era when trusts were seen as a great enemy and trust-busting was a favorite activity among politicians. Trusts, here disguised as corpulent girls (they're probably supposed to be caricatures of a real-life person but I don't know who that might have been) dance around a man (is he supposed to represent the public?) in a drawing captioned "A Maypolitical Party" (a somewhat clumsy pun on "Maypole Party"). The month for this issue of Puck is obvious, but I can't read the year. Sorry for the poor image. What we need, I think, is a complete and easily accessible, searchable, portable, and necessarily digital version of Puck for all to see.

Walt Gallaway did at least two covers for Puck, this one from June 26, 1901 . . .

And this one, from September 13, 1903. Note the very Hoosier-looking men with big bellies, big, unkempt beards, slouch hats, big boots, and baggy pants.

Text copyright 2018 Terence E. Hanley

Saturday, September 15, 2018

More Comic Magazine Covers

I have more comic magazine covers for you, beginning with John T. McCutcheon's drawing for the first issue of Liberty. Known later in life as the dean of American editorial cartoonists, McCutcheon (1870-1949) worked for Colonel Robert R. McCormick at the Chicago Tribune. He was no doubt called upon to lend his considerable popularity to the first issue of Col. McCormick's new magazine. McCutcheon's cover drawing seems to have been intended to evoke memories of his famous "Mysterious Stranger" cartoon from 1904 (below).

Next are two more covers for Judge by Don Herold (1889-1966) of Bloomfield, Indiana. Finally, two covers by Warsaw, Indiana, native Don Ulsh (1895-1969) for the humor magazine It's a Lu-Lu or Lu Lu, from the 1930s.

Next: A few covers from the other great humor magazines, Puck and Life.

Liberty, May 10, 1924, with a cover--an infinity cover no less--by John T. McCutcheon, originally of South Raub, Indiana.

McCutcheon's cartoon "The Mysterious Stranger" appeared in the Chicago Tribune in November 1904, after an election in which Missouri, here represented by a Mark Twain-like figure, went Republican for the first time since 1868. There are echoes of McCutcheon's cartoon in his cover drawing from twenty years later.

Judge, Chicago Number, October 9, 1926, with a hilarious cover drawing by Don Herold.

Judge, April 21, 1928, again with a cover drawing by Herold. This reminds me of the work of cartoonists from later decades, including Abner Dean (1910-1982). People may have forgotten Don Herold. At this late date, his influence upon other cartoonists may be vastly underestimated.

Don Ulsh drew this cover for the first issue of It's a Lu-Lu. Ulsh, a minimalist, taught and advised generations of young cartoonists until his death in 1969.

By the third issue, It's a Lu-Lu had become merely Lu Lu. Don Ulsh was the cover artist again. Note the passing resemblance of his signature to that of Don Herold.

Text copyright 2018 Terence E. Hanley

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Hoosier Cartoonists on the Cover of Judge

The Sunday newspaper comic section in America has its origins, as so much of our popular culture does, in the late nineteenth century. The Sunday comics are of course in color, and they got their start as inexpensive competitors to (and imitators of) the color comic weeklies, first of which was Puck, founded in 1876 by Austrian-born artist Joseph Keppler (1838-1894).  (1) After Puck came The Judge in 1881, then Life, in 1883, the latter made famous by Charles Dana Gibson (1867-1944), creator of the Gibson Girl.

Puck, The Judge, and Life benefitted from innovations in printing technology, as well as from improved methods of mass production and mass transportation in the late 1800s. Newspaper printing lagged by comparison, but in 1892, the Chicago Inter Ocean became the first paper to print a color supplement. The Sunday comic supplement--what became the Sunday comic section and ultimately just the Sunday comics--soon became a feature of big-city papers in New York and Chicago. By the early or mid 1900s, even smaller papers had full-color Sunday comics, although they often outsourced the printing to companies in St. Louis, Buffalo, etc.

Although Puck ceased publication in 1918, its covers and especially its double-sized center spreads are still with us. If you look hard enough, you'll find them at antique stores and malls, as well as on line, usually at reasonable prices. The old Life magazine, on the other hand, has been largely forgotten. If you mention Life, most people think of the photojournalistic version of 1936-2000. Copies of the old Life may be hard to come by.

The Judge, usually just called Judge, is probably the least well known of the three, having come to an end in 1947, beyond living memory for most people of today. In its day, though, the magazine featured covers by Rea Irvin (1881-1972), John Held, Jr. (1889-1958), and Dr. Seuss (1904-1991), among many other luminaries of the popular arts in America. 

Hoosiers had their place on the cover of Judge as well, chiefly Don Herold (1889-1966) of Bloomfield. Below are a few of his covers, plus a bonus cover by Nate Collier (1883-1961), who, though he didn't enjoy the good fortune of having been born in Indiana, studied cartooning by correspondence with the National School of Illustrating of Indianapolis and worked as a cartoonist for the Kokomo Dispatch in the early 1900s.

(1) Although I have not found any direct record of Joseph Keppler's sojourn in Indianapolis in the late 1860s to about 1870, I have an article that says that he indeed lived in that city before moving on to St. Louis. By the way, Keppler should not be confused with the artist Max Francis Klepper (1861-1907), as has happened so often.

Judge, the Etiquette Number from November 28, 1925, with a cover by Don Herold.

Judge, February 27, 1926, again with a cover by Herold.

Judge, April 24, 1926, with a cover by Don Herold and "T.S."

Judge, Younger Set Number, July 17, 1926. Don Herold was once again the artist. His theme: "How to Rear a Daughter." You might think that no one has ever looked like a Don Herold cartoon. In fact, many of his male figures were more or less self-portraits. By the way,  Herold's daughter was Doris Herold Lund (1919-2003), author of the book Eric (1974). Herold is also the originator of the quote, "Actresses happen even in the best families."

Judge, Red Number, date unknown, with a cover by Don Herold. 

Finally, Judge, The Great Melodrama Number, January 28, 1928, with a cover drawing by Nate Collier.

Text copyright 2018 Terence E. Hanley