Friday, January 24, 2014
Get the cover to cover hi-res scan here.
A gorgeous watercolor by Sidney Delevante - this poor centaur can't quite find the right shoes. "Haven't You a Size Smaller?" My otherwise-sensible wife (and who am I to point fingers with boxes of old magazines about) loves shoes, so I never tire of jokes about girls and their footwear.
I couldn't find much information about Delevante. He did a number of covers for Judge in this period and would go on to become an art professor at Cooper Union. I've seen his illustrations in Life a bit earlier than this issue as well as some adwork he did for French's Mustard in the late 20s.
I hadn't planned on scanning this issue for you all but happened to have it out along with the Musical Number from last post, so, adoring the cover, I went ahead and did a quick scan. I'll write a short post on Dr. Seuss and his work for the magazine in the late 20s and early 30s next time, but for now I'm just going to put up some of the highlights from today's ish. There's no use of color printing on the interior pages that helped to make the last issue so charming, but there's still all sorts of fun cartoons and content.
R.B. Fuller, Who Says Figures Don't Lie? ha
Prarie Papa. I can't quite make out the artist's signature.
Flapper with dog from Carl Anderson.
Milt Gross' Bringing Home the Bacon
I love this. It's funny what people will ask of certain professions they won't ask of others. From a fantastic artist, Jefferson Machamer. I've got a nice cover he did for College Humor I'll post when I get to that title.
More Machamer. Illustrating theater reviews by George Jean Nathan, more famous for his work with H.L. Mencken on one of the most notorious magazines of the day, The American Mercury.
Like those New York World FUN sections I posted recently, Judge invites you to scribble in their magazine and finish a Milt Gross cartoon in a contest. I love when magazines invite the reader to doodle. The previous week's answers (an ad on the same page announces the beginning a weekly crossword puzzle starting with the next issue):
Advertising spotlight - before the behemoth that is Amazon, there was the Sears catalog which was hugely influential in creating a national retail market, especially in rural America.
I recall a few of the more famous delta bluesmen got their first guitars from this catalog. Harry Crews (RIP) even credits the catalog as wellspring for his imagination. From an interesting documentary from 2003, Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus, here's Crews (who I plan to write a bit about in an upcoming post on cockfighting magazines) elucidating his interaction with the Sears Roebuck catalog:
Enjoy the issue! Back next time with a post on Dr. Seuss in Judge, a post likely to surprise those unfamiliar with Seuss' early work as well perhaps my personal take on Seuss' overwhelming popularity in school and library programs.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Judge 2211 (1924-03-15.Leslie-Judge) (Darwination).cbr
Get the full hi-res scan here.
Aloha, scanlovers, hot off the press, a hula-dancing beauty painted by Sam Brown shimmies across a cover here at Darwin's digital newsstand today on a classic issue of Judge, a long-running humor magazine that had a fertile period in the 20s and featured many of the great artists and writers of the day. Published by the Leslie-Judge company, Judge had outlasted its progenitor, Puck, and had moved away from scathing political satire towards maybe something more similar to the first incarnation of Life magazine. I haven't researched any numbers regarding circulation in the 20s, but, judging from the number of existing issues I see on eBay, I think it sold fairly well. Jack over on the Enoch Bolles writes that Judge was a sinking ship and had trouble paying its contributors, but I think that regardless of how they paid the help (stiffing writers and artists and juggling debts was simply a way of doing business for some unscrupulous publishers and editors), Judge still managed to publish and move a lot of copies of an excellent mag. But enough of these generalities - on with the show! This Musical Comedy Number features many great artists like James Montgomery Flagg, Milt Gross, Robert Patterson, John Held, Jr., and Ralph Barton and as well as other figures from the worlds of comedy, music, and literature such as George M. Cohan, Irving Berlin, W.C. Fields, Al Jolsen, and Fanny Brice.
Adam and Eve, Yes We Have No Bananas, James Montgomery Flagg. So much material for comedy in that Garden. And nekkidness -
Held's Follies - Disclosing the American Girl. A fun illustration from John Held, Jr.. I'll be putting up more of his mid to late 20s work when I get into the meat of my ever-continuing series on the birth of the girlie pulp. He could really capture something about flapper girls.
An intricate cartoon from Jack Farr. Love the complexity of the architectural lines as well as his faces.
Lazy by Irving Berlin, sketch by James Trembath.
A regular artist in Judge, Milt Gross always exudes energy and exasperation in his art. His fantastic He Done Her Wrong was reprinted by Fantagraphics and is an early example of the graphic novel after the woodcut novels of Lynd Ward and Frans Masereel.
Logo and editorship for the ish
The centerfold from Ralph Barton. A Short History of the Chorus Girl. I've always wanted to see the edition he illustrated of Anita Loos' Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Barton drew for Judge and Life and would go on to become an advisory editor shortly after this issue at The New Yorker for Harold Ross (who worked at Judge briefly in this period before deciding to start his own, more urbane magazine).
Gertie has a lapse of memory. By Robert Patterson
An Irishman's Petting Party by Donald McKee. Oh, us Irish...
W.C. Fields yuks it up on the following two pages
Shooting Big Game in Nebraska Pg 1
Shooting Big Game in Nebraska Pg 2
At Donny Brook Fair, Donald McKee, again in a violent mood.
A few of the ads. Purportedly the magazine was having a hard time generating advertising revenue. With ads for companies like these, it's no wonder. I really like the graphics that can be found in some of these little classified-sized ads.
One last cartoon, Judge spreading chaos per usual, Art Helfant.
Enjoy the magazine!
I'm still working through and replacing all my dead links but should hopefully be caught up soon. I've got a follow-up post planned that came out of this one and have some other fresh scans to get to as soon as I have the gumption as well. Back with more toe-tapping scans next time...
Saturday, December 21, 2013
OK, scanlovers, Old Man Winter makes a habit of toying with my holiday travel, and this year is no different. I thought I'd make use of the extra down time and get a quick post up of some New York World FUN sections to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the crossword puzzle. Today, Google has even honored the puzzling pastime with a special logo:
Wikipedia has an image of the first word-cross ever, invented by Arthur Wynne, a journo from Liverpool, and published in the New York World on December 21, 1913.
I've seen a good number of press pieces on the anniversary. Here's just a couple of examples:
From NPR, a piece on the puzzle and a reworking of the first crossword ever. Snarky commentary in the comments section included. If reading the average comments section on any given news article on the internet doesn't destroy your faith in humanity and the life-changing potential of the internet, then you're reading better webpages than I am, nyuk nyuk
An article from the Express in the UK that gives a little more information. The author points out that we Americans didn't appreciate the puzzle but that it blossomed in the UK and that English crosswords are just so much better than American crosswords. Those limeys are a hilarious breed, I swear.
Anyways, I don't actually have the FUN section with the first crossword, but I do have scans of some sections from the approximate time period and want to dispel the notion that the Fun section can exactly be equated with what we know as the comics section (per that Express article and others I've seen) because it is a different bird altogether that mixed jokes, cartoons, various types of puzzles and advertising in something very different from what we think of as the comics today.
The New York World was published by Joseph Pulitzer from 1883 until his death in 1911 (control passed to his sons). Pulitzer pushed progressive causes like tenement reform and sought to engage readers from the lower classes. This push to increase his readership base led Pulitzer in 1895 to purchase a four color press and launch a color supplement featuring Richard Oucalt's Yellow Kid whose adventures took place in and appealed to the dwellers of New York's mean streets. The Yellow Kid is where we get the term yellow journalism wherein sensationalism and profits take precedence over proper journalism. And yet the Yellow Kid was simply an appreciated slice of life for many New Yorkers. Modern critics might levy charges of caricature, racism, classism, yada yada at the Yellow Kid, but I suspect that the little urchins of New York might have liked seeing characters they recognized and could sympathize with.
Anyways, let's jump to 1912 and take a look at a couple of these FUN sections which are almost completely devoid of what we today recognize as a comic strip. FUN sections appealed to all readers,as many of the jokes and puzzles certainly don't seem to be aimed at children. Big thanks to McCoy (brother, where art thou?) who did these edits for me back in 2010. As per usual, he makes fragile, yellow, and tattered paper look newsstand fresh. Let me also get the mandatory PC apologies out of the way and say that these papers in places perpetrate the racial stereotypes of the day as do almost all humor publications of the era. It is what it is. Every vintage periodical is a little time machine that takes us to what can be disorienting environs. The past is a strange place that makes us richer for having visited. Try and enjoy these sections in spite of any offended sensibilities, eh?
I've got two sections from 1912 to share that were in a 16 page format and then one section from 1914 by which point the section had moved to an 8 page format. I didn't know anything about these when I picked them up to scan except for the fact that newsprint erodes and that they looked like a worthwhile project. The 1914 issue is about 6 months after the first crossword and shows the solution to crossword #22.
On to the samples! Grab the full scans for the entire experience...
Fun Section 1912-03-31 (N.Y. World)(D&M)
Get the full hi-res scan here.
The cover is by Herb Roth. 15 years after the Yellow Kid and the street scamps are still clowning on the dandies. April Fool's issue.
I must be getting old because these days I'm cheering for the old man over the pranksters. Get off my lawn!
"A Cruel Revenge" by William Stennigans. That'll learn 'im!
One of the puzzle pages that would spawn the crossword. Note also the classified ads, one for a predecessor to viagra. One day, they'll cure baldness. One day.
The FUN section also had a focus on baseball. I wonder if there are any alive that could still solve this puzzle. Probably not.
Faces from faces, man. A doodling experiment.
Our next issue. Fun Section 1912-04-28 (N.Y. World)(D&M). Again a cover from Herb Roth.
Get the full hi-res scan here.
I'm not exactly sure what this cartoon means, between the devil and the deep blue sea? By Jack Callahan. Sometimes it's hard to "get" the jokes in vintage pubs, as we don't connect with a joke's context.
Scamps + baseball. Whatever happened to pick-up neighborhood sports? The X-Box? We still get some nice pick-up games at the Y. No baseball, though. Herb Roth's take on a pick-up game and neighborhood slang.
Again, the a puzzle page. Ads, too, stop smoking tobacco now, circa 1912.
And the cue to doodle. I like these.
Lastly the 1914 issue. Since it's only 8 pages, I'll put the whole thing up for the websurfers. I also want to show all this stuff in a total context, as I haven't really included any text gags yet, and I'd like to emphasize that these aren't your daddy's funny pages. Note the answer to the previous week's crossword (#22) on page 7. It looks like they've moved away from some of the larger cartoons along with the loss in pages. Love the cover. From Gus Mager.
Fun Section 1914-06-07 (N.Y. World)(D&M)
Get the full hi-res scan here.
There you have it, the publication that brought the world the crossword...
Merry Christmas, everybody. I'll catch you on the flipside, hopefully still sane after a sojourn in the holiday looney bin, perhaps around New Year's...
Friday, December 20, 2013
Get the full scan here.
I feel a wee bit of remorse for teasing H.P. Lovecraft in my last post about his prudish attitude toward Brundage, so I thought I'd make a quick post tonight of one of my earliest scans, Ec'h-Pi-El Speaks - An Autobiographical Sketch by H.P. Lovecraft, the longest autobiographical piece that Lovecraft ever wrote.
Of all the weird fiction authors, Lovecraft has had the most influence on his peers as well as upon myriad popular and fringe cultures. There's the direct influence upon other Weird Tales authors of his circle as well as his influence on future weird writers like Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. There's his influence on film directors like Sam Raimi and Guillermo Del Toro as well as his influence on F/X design in artists like H.R. Giger (Alien, Aliens) and John Carpenter. His movies are difficult to adapt, but many have tried - I like Dagon (2001) the best of those I've seen so far. There have been countless comics adaptations including the recent Alan Moore interpretation Neonomicon/The Courtyard which plays reverently and irreverently with the Lovecraft Mythos while simultaneously teasing at the man's peculiarities (I think it's great comix. Be warned, though, it's not everyone's cup of tea. Lovecraft himself would be aghast). Classic metal musicians like Black Sabbath or the band that took his name, H.P. Lovecraft, based music on his work, just as current metal bands continue to do so like Electric Wizard or Blood Ceremony who released one of my favorite albums of this year, with a very Lovecraftian title, The Eldritch Dark. Some have even gone so far as to attribute the whole manga obsession with tentacles to Lovecraft, but I don't think he'd want credit for that :D
Since reading Joyce Carol Oates' selection of Lovecraft stories (a good place to start), I've been slowly working through his complete works. In some ways, I think HPL succeeds in spite of his prose which can be at times rigid, unpoetic, and repetitive (and at other times brilliant) because of the manic dread he almost never fails to instill in the reader. Most of the time I have no idea what I'm to be scared of (anticipation and atmosphere is 95% of good horror), yet I'm scared nonetheless. Lovecraft liked to write at night and suffered night horrors, and I think it is his uncanny ability to transmit his own anxiety to his characters and the reader that makes his stories so disturbing. He has an intense interest in modern science that exists alongside a determinedly old-fashioned sensibility. Any student of American Literature will quickly see obvious ties to Poe as well as Hawthorne and Charles Brockden Brown in terms of ancestral guilt and cursed bloodlines along with a concern with the supernatural.
Ec'h-Pi-El Speaks was published by Gerry de la Ree in an effort to separate Lovecraft's original self-examination of 1929 from August Derleth's 1933 work "Some Notes on a Nonentity" in which Derleth expands some of Lovecraft's original thoughts. The book was printed in a small pressing of 500 and has some interesting qualities. The first is the strange parchment paper it is printed on. I'm not sure I own any other books printed on this stuff. A second interesting characteristic to note is the strange singe mark at the right side of the title page. This page is about a half inch skinnier than the rest and seems to have been exposed to some sort of flame for the charred effect. Spooky, very spooky. And lest I forget to mention, Ec'h-Pi-El Speaks is accompanied by unpublished illustrations from Virgil Finlay, who I believe is the best of the Weird Tales illustrators (followed by Hannes Bok and Lee Brown Coye) and more than worthy of his own entry at some later date.
Since it's a short pamphlet (16 pages, I must not have scanned the inside front cover when I scanned this more than 6 years ago - these days I would scan the blank page to fully represent the publication), I'll go ahead and post it all here for web surfers who do not care to download the full scan (though I always recommended grabbing the actual scan for higher resolution images). I've typed about the man enough. It's time to let him speak for himself!
A Winter snowstorm is messing with my holiday plans, so perhaps I'll eke in another post tomorrow regarding the 100th birthday of the crossword which has been getting much mention in the press. I'd like my readers to be able to see what the publication that started it all actually looked like...