Category: Cathy Hill’s Comic Art

Dance of the Pen by Cathy Hill

     “Dance of the Pen” is
“Dance of the Pen” is Cathy Hill’s comic tribute to an art supply, the DIP PEN, the holder and the pen point. It’s a tribute, not only to the dip pen, but to a lost art in a world that doesn’t celebrate drawing by hand so much anymore. As you have seen on past posts, Cathy is an experienced artist and handles the recalcitrant and stubborn pen with grace and aplomb. Her lines are exquisite, full of rhythm and scintillating, undulating beauty. Her text is all in rhyme, full of lines that celebrate the experience of an inker, “..a sideways slice–through thick and thin..(I must confess) the pen is in good form tonight.” I love her celebration of the “choreographer” of the page, the pencil! (On page six) “The final curtain’s down, Alas, We won’t be certain how he did until we see the pencil lines erased.” Cathy equates the “Dance of the Pen” to show business; the inkwell and the white out bottle are the pen’s managers. Note the “fans” clamoring for the Pen’s autograph on page Seven as the Pen replies to the autograph hounds, “Thank you, do you have a pen?” My favorite touch is the little car driving off with the Pen and his pals as they say: “Let’s celebrate in noisy joints! The night is going to waste.” Cathy and I often quote this line to each other. I hope you will enjoy the “show”!

The Lady and the Tiger Return!

August 7, 2020

In our last episode of Cathy Hill’s comic story; “The Lady and the Tiger”, the lady was going in to a hypnotic trance as she entered the jungle and imagines she’s riding on a pterodactyl. Her feline friend, the Tiger, takes her by the hand and over to a mysterious castle.

The Lady’s Tiger friend tried to protect her from a monster bird in the mysterious castle, but apparently perishes in the attempt, only to transmogrify into another sort of friend, human, male and without stripes. I love Cathy’s style in this story, she used doilies to add an abstract pattern in pages 4 and 5, and her use of black in pages seven and eight weaves a note of horror and mystery into the panels. This is the story’s first publication anywhere.

Here’s Myrtle from 19490620 to 19490626. I love the whistling Bingo in the 6-25, and the action pose on Myrtle in the 6-26 as she socks a croquet ball around the backyard. I am continually drawn to Myrtle at this point in the feature’s life. She evolved from a skinny rube in the early 1940s, to a cute little girl with pigtails coming out of her bonnet as you see here.
In Felix, from 19330918 to 19330924, Felix and Danny find jobs for their fellow animals, cats and pigs, and a French tutor for Danny, much to his disgust. The NRA gets a plug in the 9-24. The Sunday page has Felix driving his rickety car, with power supplied by a goat. He tries to substitute a carbonated beverage for Danny’s Pop in a pun that’s strictly on ice. Otto Messmer did the art on these.
In Krazy Kat, from 19440207-19440212, Garge is doing the artwork in this week’s comics. I like Krazy’s action in the 2-10, as he does a “summa salt” in midair to avoid a brick, and the touch of Spanish tile roof under Krazy and Offissa Pupp in the 2-11. After this week, Garge’s drawing disappears from the strip until March.
In Krazy Kat from 19440214-19440219, Bob Naylor once again takes the pen, and of course, signs the strip “Herriman”. Naylor does the dailies until the end of March. The stories seem to fit the Coconino looniverse, and Naylor’s art looks OK, but it’s not as loose as Garge. This is the first time this particular week of Kats has been reprinted. Herriman passed away on April 27th, 1944. He was very ill with cirrhosis of the liver, arthritis and had one functioning kidney, but kept at the drawing board, turning out his beloved Krazy until the end. He died with nearly two months of strips ready to publish.

Kurt’s Corner

      Here’s a couple of columns for the Irish Independent by James Hilton, compiled by my much-missed brother, Kurt. He put together a very comprehensive file on nearly all of Mr. Hilton’s newspaper articles. The “Timing Laughs” column, from 19380328, gives a little insight in to how comedy writers functioned in 1938 Hollywood. The audience’s laughter was law!

In his Irish Independent column from 19380530, Mr. Hilton tried to explain away the escapism of Shirley Temple, Charlie McCarthy and Walt Disney’s Snow White, over more weighty dramatic faire. He chastises the public in the last paragraph for expecting a cinematic “masterpiece” every week.
Kurt’s Corner signs off this time with a collection of 10 rare British cigarette cards of the 1930s featuring Ronald Colman. These represent him as he appeared in “Clive of India”, “Beau Geste”, “Under Two Flags” and “Bulldog Drummond”. The reverse side of the cards is just above, so you can read all the vintage British advertising and the captions.
I hope all my readers are well and sheltering at home as much as you can. When you go out, stay socially distanced and become a “Zorro” in reverse, wear a mask over your nose and mouth. Love to you all.

The Lady and the Tiger

From the Cathy Hill Archive of Unpublished Comics comes “The Lady and the Tiger”. This story was drawn before Cathy started the “Mad Raccoons” series. Unlike the Raccoons, “The Lady and the Tiger” has no dialog, it’s all action and pantomime. The art was influenced by the work of Al Williamson, and Cathy’s staging and design show traces of Aubrey Beardsley and the psychedelic posters Cathy was designing in those days. The Lady is quite exotic, helmeted barbarians try to capture her on page two. Her tiger companion leaps to her rescue, scattering the abductors. Together they ride into the psychedelic tangle of the jungle. See part Two next time as the tangle relaxes.

Here’s Krazy from 1-24 to 1-29-1944. “Garge” is back on the job, complete with the stage details, stairs and floorboards he drew below the main action in the strip. I really like the 1-29, Krazy’s expressions are fun to look at as he pulls the beard of the “Koilly Lox” dog and is knocked for a loop by the bewigged canine. See if you can figure out the wordplay in the 1-25, kinda fun.
“K” here is from 1-31 to 2-5-1944, these again, are all the work of “Garge”. My favorites are the 2-3 with all the active little poses as Krazy evades the bricks tossed by Ignatz. The word play in the 2-2 is quite delicious and super corny at the same time.
Here’s Myrtle (“Right Around Home”) by Dudley Fisher from 6-13 to 6-19-1949. My favorite strip is the 6-18, the mix-up in cutlery reminds me of a children’s book and a Warner Bros. Cartoon. Hyacinth the Cat makes two appearances in the 6-19 Sunday page and has a line of dialog as well.
Here’s Felix from 9-11 to 9-17-1933, drawn by Otto Messmer. Lots of labor/depression gags this time, my favorite is the 9-16 , last panel. Otto could draw cats in myriad designs, all funny. The Sunday page is quite ambitious, as Felix and Danny accidentally start Papa’s roadster and tear up the countryside with it. The city and the rural countryside are quite close together in Danny’s world. I like the long panel when the police show up to interrogate a shocked Papa Dooit.
Kurt’s Corner
My brother’s collection of Lost Horizon stills included this one of Frank Capra, Jane Wyatt, possibly his assistant director and a newborn colt. The lamasery set is in the background. I love the ill assorted stone walkway pieces in the foreground, which fit in perfectly with the art deco Lamasery building.
My brother loved the writings of James Hilton and discovered his columns from the Irish Independent in 1939. This one describes his stay at the Furnace Creek Inn, built in 1927, 66 rooms. He talks about the little airport near the Inn, and paints a word picture of what a weird place Death Valley was before it became a National Monument. I wonder if Mr. Hilton every met up with Death Valley Scotty?
Here’s an interesting article written by James Hilton earlier in 1939, which really throws a rose to the Motion Picture Industry, in it’s finest year. He even relates an opinion of one of the readers of his book “Lost Horizon”, claiming that “…it left out a lot that was in the film…”. Hilton makes a pitch for Hollywood to develop it’s own stable of writers to create original novels for the screen, effectively putting authors like himself out of business!

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