Dear Readers, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and all the other Variant Celebrations! Vic Vac of the old St. Louis Globe-Democrat, did Christmas, Halloween and July 4th special covers for the Sunday Magazine through the 1930s to the 1980s. He was a staff cartoonist who liked to use aerial perspective in his work, as in the Halloween cover I uploaded a couple of posts ago. This one is from 12-25-1977, and shows Santa taking a break from driving the reindeer to worship at a little mid-western church. Maybe he’s listening to my Mother singing “Oh, Holy Night”. I like the little touches Vic Vac throws in, like the fox, raccoon, mouse and birds with their Christmas stockings, the old horses and sleighs, the barn and farmhouse in the distance, down to the boots and overshoes laid out by the church door. These drawings were never syndicated outside of St. Louis, and they really remind me of a hometown Christmas.
Here’s the front cover of a brand new book by my pal, Tim Walker. Tim has done animation, assistant animation, storyboard and sheet timing for cartoon studios from 1969 to the present, we met at Chouinard Art Institute in 1968. There are few people I know who love cartooning like Tim. It was a real shock for him, when in 2007 his right arm grew very weak, and what he thought was Carpal Tunnel was diagnosed as Lateral Parkinson’s Disease. Tim was very worried, because he had always been right-handed. How would he draw and write now?
On June 11th, 2007, Tim took up his pencil and brush pen in his LEFT hand for the first time and drew the character above, his first drawing with his left hand. He kept working that hand, and soon began to fill sketchbooks with his appealing characters, gnomes, bearded dwarfs, batmen and batkids, cavegirls and caveboys and naked ladies. I like the shaded line he gets with the brush pen and the way he spots black shapes behind his figures helps to tie them together. The caveboy on the front cover is drawing a caricature of Tim with his left hand. Tim really loves to draw these characters, and almost always has a sketchbook with him. They are really fun to look at, and now he’s published this hardback book so everyone can share his story and the sketches. If you would like to order a copy, Paypal $25.00 to Tim Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org . He will ship your copy to any place on earth. The binding is very nice on this book, it’s printed on beautiful paper as well.
Felix bids goodbye to Punk Chow and Fooy Tu Yu in the dailies from 3-16 to 3-21-1936 as he rides a gas balloon to the sky and boards Fooy’s airplane. Felix steals Fooy’s suitcase containing the diamond and waves goodbye to the escaping crooks. In the Sunday, 3-22, Felix is still trapped in the 6th century waiting for the scientist to bring him back to 1936 with the time-control. Bell-bottomed knights pursue him with axes and hope. Remember, just click on the thumbnails to blow them up.
Offissa Pupp becomes royalty in the Krazy strips from 9-2 to 9-7-1940. The 9-2 is a Herriman rarity, a continuity hold over from the previous week’s story. I like Ignatz’s defiant attitude toward Offissa Pupp’s royal assumptions as he finds that he is a Marquis. Does that make him a Don Marquis?
The Patrick strips this time are from 6-6, 6-7 possibly 6-8 or 6-9, 6-10 and 6-11-1966. There is at least one strip missing this week. Maybe one of my readers can supply it. Summers tended to be a little spotty with the newspaper, as Dad’s vacation time came around, the Post-Dispatch became scarce. Dad didn’t pick up a copy on his way home, he WAS home. Patrick beats Dagwood with his 24 decker peanut butter sandwich and apes Pigpen with mud puddle gags. Mommy is fully visible in the 6-10, a rare appearance.
Charlie Brubaker sent me this very early appearance of Patrick in an anthology strip called “Nibbles”, drawn by Mal Hancock, printed in an Ottawa paper. It dates back to 4-17-1961, so Patrick has been around for quite some time for a little-known character. The link doesn’t work too well, so here’s the strip:
Thanks Charlie, for finding this!
Listen my readers and you shall hear a Christmas tale from Bret Harte, author of “The Outcasts of Poker Flat” and “The Luck of Roaring Camp”. Bret was famous for his stories about the California gold rush of 1848 and ’49, and the story I’m reading here: http://www.archive.org/details/HowSantaClausCameToSimpsonsBar/ is a good example of his short stories. It’s called “How Santa Claus Came To Simpsons Bar”, and is a tough yet sentimental tale of “The Old Man” and his sickly kid. It has a lot of Wild West action in the second half, takes about 19 minutes to tell. It is an abridgement of the original story, printed in a book called “Christmas Tales For Reading Aloud”. I’ll try to post again before New Year’s. Thanks for Listening!