What The Cartoonists Are Doing, January 1915 (Vol.7 No.1)

[Cartoons Magazine, debuting in 1912, was a monthly magazine devoted primarily to reprinting editorial cartoons from U.S. and foreign newspapers. Articles about cartooning and cartoonists often supplemented the discussion of current events.

In November 1913 the magazine began to offer a monthly round-up of news about cartoonists and cartooning, eventually titled “What The Cartoonist Are Doing.” There are lots of interesting historical nuggets in these sections, and this Stripper’s Guide feature will  reprint one issue’s worth each week.]

A Tokyo correspondent to the American press sends the following interesting letter on the subject of cartoons in Japan.

“In no way is the striking difference be tween Oriental and Occidental methods of thoughts better indicated than by the cartoons which are now appearing in Japanese and American periodicals. Those who are interested in psychology will find these differences between American and Japanese brain-processes as reflected by the ‘funny men” a very interesting study.

“In the first place, the Oriental neither feels pain himself nor pity for the agonies of others as does the Aryan.

“American cartoons which have reached Japan appear to indicate an almost universal horror at the barbarities of the war, besides a keen sympathy with the sufferers on both sides in Europe.

“Japanese cartoonists have yet to indicate that that phase of the war has appealed to them. They remember well their own great and devastating struggle with Russia, yet no cartoon that has appeared in Japanese papers, and no expression of opinion by any of the papers has considered in any way the pitiful loss of life in Europe or has indicated that the horror of the war is appreciated.

“Instead, the cartoonists find in the battle scenes a vast field for humor, and as Japanese humor usually turns on something mechanical, the Tokyo and Osaka comic papers since the beginning of the war have devoted their pages very largely to picturing fantastic machines of war.

“For instance, a cartoonist shows a grotesque suggestion for bringing down German aviators flying over Tsingtau and spying out the positions of the Japanese troops. The Japanese soldiers carry strapped to their backs life sized pictures of comely Japanese girls doing the weekly wash. The German aviators, attracted by this sight, come down to investigate and are easily picked off by the Japanese sharpshooters.

” ‘Why not,’ says Osaka Puck, ‘send a lot of attractive geishas to Tsingtau. Put them out in full view of the German troops, and the latter will be so attracted by them that they will drop their weapons and fall an easy prey to the Japanese.’

“An accompanying illustration shows a line of palm-waving and graceful geisha girls storming a German trench, while the defenders are so stupefied by their admiration for this body of beauties that swords and guns are dropping from their hands.

“The magazine Rakuten suggests that dropping bombs at Tsingtau proved rather ineffectual. It draws pictures to suggest that the aviators pour out bottles of anesthetics, and when the enemy has fallen asleep descend, tie them up and lead them off to Japan as prisoners of war.

“Some of the comic artists’ efforts reflect strange ideas about the soul and the afterworld. A series of pictures show a couple of Japanese soldiers preparing to retire for the night, when they notice a lot of ghosts of German soldiers ascending to Heaven. They quickly throw their tent over the ghosts, thereby making an airship, with which they sail over the bay and destroy all German ships at anchor there.

“Another series pictures an ostrich which ate all of a private’s cartridges while the latter was at dinner. The private has no means of killing the ostrich and so recovering his ammunition, but he gets a powerful magnet which attracts the steel-tipped bullets in the stomach of the ostrich and so takes the bird to the camp.

“Another ingenious cartoonist thinks that aeroplanes might be used to sweep the land much as trawlers are used to sweep the sea for mines. A long net is fastened to two aeroplanes, so that it drags on the ground as the aeroplanes fly, and gathers up the enemy to be disposed of at leisure.

“The peace suggestions advanced by the United States have been almost universally derided by the Japanese papers, many of them insisting that the reason for the suggestions is that Germany is being worsted and America would stop the war in order to save Germany.”

The cartoons reproduced on this page are the work of Kuroiwa, cartoonist of the Yorodzu Choho, Tokyo, one of the most popular newspapers in Japan.

Mr. and Mrs. L. C. Phifer of Worcester, Mass., are receiving congratulations on the arrival recently of a bright-eyed seven-pound baby girl. Mr. Phifer is the cartoonist of the Worcester Telegram, and those who are familiar with his little crow, or “Phifebird,” which appears usually in one corner of his daily cartoon, will be surprised to know that it has been playing the role of stork.

In a recent letter to the board of trustees of the New York public library, L. Wiener asked that Harper’s Weekly be excluded from the files of the library because of its libelous cartoons of the kaiser.

He called attention to the fact that in a recent issue the kaiser was depicted as a wild boar trampling on children. He suggested that a censorship of magazines be established and all issues containing libelous and vulgar cartoons or articles be excluded from the public files.

The board, however, took the view that such magazines by printing such things hurt themselves more than the subjects they attack.

“R. C. B.” writes to the New York Tribune as follows:

“I hereby announce my candidacy for the office of President of the League – for – the – Suppression -of – the – Use – of – Variations – of – the – Watchful – Waiting – Idea – by – Depleted – Cartoonists – who – Otherwise – Would – Have – to – Draw – a – Skull – with – a – Helmet – and – Mustachios – and – a – Mess – of – Smoke – on – the – Horizon – and – Call – It – War – or – German – Culture.”


Roy W. Taylor, cartoonist, formerly with the New York World and Chicago Tribune, and more recently with the Philadelphia North American, died at the home of his mother, Mrs. A. L. Marshall, Washington, D. C.. Wednesday, October 21.


W. K. Patrick; cartoonist of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, has been elected president of the New Orleans Press Club.

Says the Beaumont (Tex.) Enterprise:

“It is worthy of note that for the first time in more than fifty years the president of the United States is not being caricatured in an offensive way. The first president to be caricatured offensively by an able cartoonist was Abraham Lincoln, whom Thomas Nast in Harper’s Weekly pictured in an exaggerated manner. Nast caricatured many able Americans, particularly James G. Blaine, in an offensive manner, and his offensive cartoons always hurt. Nast’s successors caricatured presidents until the assassination of McKinley, when public sentiment compelled the caricaturists to modify their cartoons of public men and particularly of presidents. Neither Roosevelt nor Taft escaped the caricaturists, however, but the caricatures of President Wilson have not been particularly offensive. The sheer greatness of the man abashes even the lawless cartoonist.”

To which the Dennison (Tex.) Herald adds:

“Cartoonists generally admit that the president possesses a physiognomy difficult to caricature. Many have tried it but signally failed to show up his features in the ludicrous manner in which his predecessors have been held up to the ridicule of the public. There is no question, however, that the popularity of Mr. Wilson with the whole people has had the effect of staying the hands of those whose business it is to destroy through the liberal use of the cartoonists’ pencil.”

How pictures, cartoons and illustrations in newspapers and other periodicals help to develop the artistic taste was told by Dean Fordyce of the University of Nebraska to a gathering of teachers recently in Omaha.

The address of Mr. Fordyce was a plea for more serious consideration of newspaper cartoons especially.

“A serious consideration of the illustrations appearing in our literature from day to day,” he said, “will do much to open our eyes to the value of the cartoon and the picture, in rendering more concrete the subjects illustrated and in developing in us the power to appreciate beauty everywhere.”


William J. Burns, the detective, has sued the Seattle Times for damages, basing his suit partly on a cartoon with the caption “Would Convict Christ,” which refers to the plaintiff’s connection with the so-called Oregon land-fraud cases.


We present herewith the annual Jungle Stew given by the Associated Cartoon Critters of America. The jungle stew was really a unique idea. It originated with Frank Hammond, cartoonist of the Wichita Eagle, whose mascot, as everybody knows, is “Hoots,” a corn-fed owl. Hoots gave the party, and invited the other birds and beasts.

The drawing, which at first consisted only of the kettle and the host, was sent from one guest to another, each being requested to fill in his place at the festive board. The “stew” covered the United States like a blanket. It traveled from New Orleans to Duluth, and from Worcester, Mass., to Portland, Ore. The guests include Mr. Patrick’s duck, the mascot of the New Orleans Times-Picayune; Mr. Burtt’s houn’dog, of the Knoxville Journal and Tribune; Mr. Gregg’s gopher of the Atlanta Constitution; Mr. Mulheim’s alligator, of the Florida Metropolis; Mr. Plaschke’s monk, of the Louisville Times; “Steve,” Mr. Schilder’s black cat, of the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette; Mr. Satterfield’s bear, of Cleveland; “Doc,” Mr. Bushnell’s lantern-eyed dog, of the Central Press Association; Will De Beck’s coon, of the Pittsburgh Gazette-Times; the “Phife- bird,” belonging to Mr. Phifer, of the Worcester Telegram; Mr. Handy’s bear, of the Duluth News-Tribune; “Polly” from Mr. North, of the Tacoma Ledger, and Mr. Reynolds’ tiger cat, of the Portland Oregonian.
“Hoots says he was never treated so cordially before,” writes Mr. Hammond, “and I have not been able to get a lick of work out of him since he returned. How would you like a taste of the stew? The jungle stew originated, as you doubtless know, from the foraging expeditions of the knights of the side-door Pullmans. This legend, while hardly appropriate to the present gathering, speaks for the informal nature of the function.”

The picture was en route for several months, and after being lost for some time in the wilds of Oregon, finally reached Wichita completed.

FIELD MICE AND GRASSHOPPERS “Hoots” per Frank Hammond. Wichita Eagle
SUCKERS A LA CREOLE “Quacks” per Mr. Patrick, New Orleans Times-Picayune
FRICASSEED COON Canine contribution per Ernest E. Burtt, Knoxville Journal and Tribune
GOPHER SOUP Contributed by Louis E. Gregg’s gopher, Atlanta Constitution
ALLIGATOR STEAK Contributed by Mulheim’s alligator, Florida Metropolis
STEWED MONK “Monks” per Paul Plaschke, Louisville Times
MICE ON TOAST “Steve” per Edgar F. Schilder, Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette
PICKLED LARKS’ TONGUES Satterfleld’s bear, Cleveland. 0.
MARROW BONES “Doc” per E. A. Bushnell. Cleveland. 0.
JES’ WIND By Will De Beck’s coon, Pittsburgh Gazette-Times
BIRDSHOT The Phifebird, per Luther C. Phifer. Worcester Telegram
BAKED ELEPHANT R. T. Handy’s bear, Duluth News-Tribune
FLEA EYEBROWS “Polly” per James North, Tacoma Ledger
SHIN BONES E. S. Reynolds’ tiger cat, Portland Oregonian

War, being founded, as Goethe said, on hatred, necessarily tends to blot out humor. This is what those must bear in mind who lament the coarsening and vulgarizing which have come over the comic papers of England, France, and Germany. In their dealings with the great conflict, lightness of touch disappears, and all that we get is a series of brutal strokes. One feels it in Punch. Its caricatures of Emperor William seems as if hacked out by the sword, and leave him little human semblance.

Similarly in the German paper, Ulk, the cartoons depicting French and English have a bestial quality that shows that so-called German culture is only skin-deep. At them one rather shudders than laughs. Their designers are evidently filled with rage and fear, making the artistic result terrible, perhaps, but never amusing. This extinguishing by the war of good-natured raillery and really witty characterization and attack, among the peoples involved, was inevitable. In a way, it is a good sign. It helps us to understand what war truly is. Only when we be come callous to its fearful aspects is it possible to jest about it. Still, it is rather a pity to see the humorists across the sea suddenly turn vitriolic. — Michigan Tradesman.

The Artists’ League and Cartoonists’ Club of St. Paul and Minneapolis has filed articles of incorporation. The object is to assist in the education of artists and cartoonists by the leasing of quarters for meeting purposes, artists’ research, and social purposes. The annual dues shall be not less than $25.

W.A. Rogers, “Modern German Gothic Art”


According to a British army officer in France, the cartoons of Mr. W. A. Rogers, of the New York Herald, have become very popular among the soldiers over there. One of his cartoons, entitled “Modern German Gothic Art,” depicting the Rheims cathedral as a Krupp gun, has been hung on the walls of several French garrisons.


At an exhibition of equal-suffrage cartoons, held at the headquarters of the Women’s Political Union in New York, the cartoonists of most of the leading New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Cleveland newspapers were represented. Boardman Robinson, now a free lance, Maurice Becker, and John Sloan, of “The Masses,” contributed several striking designs.

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