Cole’s Envelopes

Cole Johnson sent me mail packages of old comic strip material on a regular basis. If this weren’t enough of a huge favor, he often added to that Christmas-morning style fun at the Holtz household by illustrating the envelopes.

Cole had an amazing ability to ape the comic strip art styles of the 1890s-1910s, and I often told him that he should get into the business of drawing up fake Rudolph Dirks Katzies strips — he could have made a bundle! Cole’s envelope cartoons often illustrate, with his trademark sardonic wit, the old time cartoon characters in decidedly untraditional ways. Some of those cartoons would need footnotes for the gags to be understandable outside our circle.

I saved every envelope he ever sent, but unfortunately the vast majority are buried in a storage facility right now (the Holtz household is in the throes of a move). Luckily I had a stack of Cole’s correspondence still at the house because I haven’t yet done all the necessary research associated with it. So here are some samples of Cole Johnson’s wonderful sense of humor. The odd blank areas are where the post office defaced his cartoons with their labels and stamps.

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