Monday, May 18, 2009

Leslie’s Weekly, 1917-07-12

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Up tonight, an issue of Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly, a magazine I really don’t know too much about beyond the fact the magazine carried a number of famous patriotic covers by James Montgomery Flagg during WWI. Here’s the wiki for Leslie's.

When the original Frank Leslie died in 1880, his wife took over until she sold the magazine to the Judge publishing company in 1889. Michael Ward has some nice Leslie's covers up at his awesome site, which you can see HERE. Even if you like what I’m doing with my scans but don’t see yourself taking the time to scan entire magazines, you can send this site your covers. A single gathering place for cover art offers great possibilities for preserving American art and illustration.

But back to our cover artist, James Montgomery Flagg, no doubt most well known for his Uncle Sam - I WANT YOU!. I have to admit I don’t really care for the stern nature of his Uncle Sam, but there is no debating the power or weight in his eyes and features. At his peak, Flagg was supposedly the highest paid illustrator in America and his career spanned decades and all manner of publications. Bud Plant has a nice page featuring a good bio and some of his more playful work on his superb illustration site here.

Flagg gets a whole page devoted to his art in this issue of Leslie's. He was selling a lot of posters for Judge and helping the war movement at the same time.

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This mag is almost all WWI material, and no wonder, this is the height of America’s mobilization to war. After pussyfooting around for long enough, Americans are finally setting foot in Europe. Having witnessed the US in my lifetime jump into one country after another, I’ve always wondered at how hesitant we were to get involved in the world wars, but hopefully I’ll never have to know the anxiety of watching the big boys start lining up against one another

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After looking at many photos of young men about to be sent into bloody battle and reading of news from the trenches, it was nice to instead ponder a miracle food, the banana. Self-packaged, cheap, and yummy, truly a wonder…

Anywho, enjoy the scan which you can find Here. I’m not 100% happy with my work on this issue because I think I weakened the font in making this dirty old mag presentable. Yet, scanning old paper is a balancing act, and you just can’t trust a scanner that thinks they get it right every time. There’s only another some 3500 issues of this mag on which to further experiment, heh heh. Cheers!

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