What the Cartoonists are Doing, August 1916 (Vol.10 No.2)

[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.]

While on tour with the Friars, Reub Goldberg was interviewed for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The creator of “I’m the Guy,” and “Father Was Right,” after drawing a picture for the newspaper, was asked to define the difference between the humor of American and European publications.

“ There isn’t any,” he replied.

“All really successful cartoonists,” he continued, “work on the same foundation. All take the manners and foibles of their countrymen, exaggerate them, show the grotesque and ridiculous in them, induce their readers to laugh at their own shortcomings. In other words, the successful cartoonist of every nation ‘kids’ his public about himself.

“To illustrate: The funniest figure in French comics today is the French soldier. The cartoonist makes his baggy trousers baggier than ever and his lop-sided cap more lop-sided than ever. The things are absurd enough as they are and the cartoonist merely reveals the absurdity by emphasis.

“It’s the same way over here and everywhere else. The cartoonist makes people laugh at their own follies and if he can do so without leaving a sting he is successful.”

Cartoon drawing, as Goldberg explained it, is a very serious, thoughtful business. The picture must be grounded upon human nature. It must tell a story. It must have a little sugar-coated philosophy under the surface. Most of all, it must have a “punch,” something that will stick in the reader’s memory after the laugh has died away. Before he begins to draw, Goldberg says, he constructs a scenario, builds the stage and creates parts and actors. There must be nothing haphazard about it. This is why very few of the suggestions that burden a successful cartoonist’s mail have any value.

Illustrative of what he meant, he cited one of his own cartoons which had won great popularity. The picture began with a boy working in the can-opener department of a hardware store. He determined to know more about can-openers than anybody else in the world and accomplished his desire. He became the can-opener magnate of the country. Bank directorates were offered him, colleges he had founded gave him degrees, he was lauded until he even forgot what a can-opener looked like, and then, when he died, the best thing anybody could think to say of him was that he had been an amazingly good can-opener man.

“It has a joke and a laugh and a bit of slang that the newsboy can get,” the cartoonist commented, “but I think that also below the surface it has considerable philosophy for the man who wants to dig it out.”

from the Waterloo Courier
Every cartoonist of course has a different idea of the president, and caricatures him in a manner to bring out what he conceives to be his strong points or his foibles, depending upon the policy of the paper which prints the cartoon. Thus Darling of the Des Moines Register depicts a squabby, undersized Wilson with a long drawn out, bespectacled and pedagogical face, and an ill-shapen frock coat floating in the breeze.

On the other hand, John T. McCutcheon of the Chicago Tribune idealizes the president. In the early days of the administration when the Tribune was more friendly toward Mr. Wilson than it is at present, McCutcheon conceived this stately and dignified figure of the president, showing strength of purpose, depth of thought and breadth of vision in every line of his face, in fact every inch a president. Now since the opinion of the Tribune of Mr. Wilson has undergone considerable change, it is to the credit of this noted cartoonist that he has retained the same representation of the president to criticize him that he used before to praise. There is the same stateliness and dignity about the portrait, but the desired effect is secured by deft work on the presidential countenance. The old show of strength is not so much in evidence. There is instead the look of sad perplexity and deep disgust with life. The president is represented not in vindictive wrath over the indignities on the border but he is stirred sufficiently to ask Carranza’s permission to punish the perpetrators. The effect is all the greater in that the figure of the president is dignified. It stamps McCutcheon as a master cartoonist .

William C . Morris, who three years ago was doing cartoons for the Spokane Review, is rapidly making a name for himself in New York. His work in Harper’s Weekly was attracting national attention at the time that historic magazine was approaching its finish. Since the demise of Harper’s Mr. Morris has been publishing his cartoons in Puck and The Independent . Some of his full-page designs, satires on national and international events, show striking originality and boldness of conception .

The proprietors of the Ohio State Journal are congratulating themselves on the work done by Harry Westerman at the Chicago and St. Louis conventions. Mr. Westerman’s portraits of the republican and democratic leaders were finely executed in the artist’s happiest style, and there was no cartoonist at either convention that turned in nearly the amount of sketches as the gentleman from Columbus. Much of his work was done in crayon, and in addition to the portraits Mr. Westerman furnished a number of “lightning” cartoons, each hitting off some timely phase of the situation.

Lieutenant Phil Rader, a former San Francisco cartoonist, but now a member of the Royal Flying Corps, stationed in England, has been teaching young Englishmen aeronautics. One of his recent pupils was Vernon Castle, the dancer, who, according to Rader, “is shaping up very well as a service pilot.”

Speaking of his experiences, Lieutenant Rader writes: “I am doing a good deal of flying, although rainy weather has hampered us a good deal. Had a rather exciting experience when I got lost in a blinding snowstorm and had to make a forced landing on the side of a hill in the dark. Didn’t ‘bust’ anything, however.”


J . H . Richmond, formerly a cartoonist on the Des Moines News, was found dead in his home in Cedar Rapids on May 10.


Those who have enjoyed Helena Smith Dayton’s “caracatypes” in Cartoons Magazine will have an opportunity this month of seeing them go through their paces on the screen. How anyone can animate a clay figure is beyond most of us, but seeing that we ourselves are only animated clay, doubtless Mrs. Dayton finds it easy. The little figures are said to be very lifelike and funnier than Charlie Chaplin . One of the lady figures even goes so far as to chew gum.


Jay N. Darling, cartoonist of the Des Moines Register and Leader, was selected as commander in chief of the preparedness parade held in that city on June 3. His first official act was to bar all “pussy footers.”

Zim’s “Homespun Phoolosophy,” which has been appearing regularly in Cartoons Magazine, has been published by the author in book form. The volume is entitled “A Jug Full of Wisdom,” but much of it, according to Zim, is not wisdom by a jugful. It contains about sixty pages of “phoolosophy,” with a few odd sketches and homespun observations thrown in for good measure. The genial sage of Horseheads has thousands of admirers, not only in Chemung County, N. Y., but in Elmira, and other large cities, and this by-product of one of America’ s most famous car toonists will be welcome everywhere.

Jean Knott, author of the “Penny Ante” cartoon series, was sued for a divorce by Mrs. Elizabeth E. Knott a few hours after Knott had severed his connection with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and departed for New York to fill a $12,500 a year contract with the Hearst Newspaper Syndicate.

Knott’s “artistic temperament” is mentioned in the divorce petition.

There is one child, a daughter, five years old. Her custody is sought by Mrs. Knott, who also wants alimony proportionate to Knott’ s new salary.

Mrs. Knott charges that her husband is possessed of a violent temper, frequently quarreled with her over unimportant matters, and when she tried to calm him he told her to “shut up.” She asserts that he often refused to speak to her for weeks at a time.

Since January 5 last, Mrs. Knott says, she and her husband have been living apart in their apartment. When he came home she said he would eat at the same table with her but refused to talk to her.

The defendant is a member of the Sunset Inn, Country and Oasis clubs and the Missouri Athletic Association.


Fred Myers of the National Feature Syndicate of Indianapolis is receiving congratulations on the arrival at his home of a seven-and-a-half pound baby girl .

Sidney Smith of the Chicago Tribune’s staff of “comickers” certainly started something when he inaugurated his “Light Occupations” series. As a result he doesn’t have to work any more, except to draw an occasional “Doc Yak.” The first two or three of the “Light Occupations” pictures he thought up himself. Then the voluntary humorists began helping him out. Each mail brought hundreds of suggestions, which is even more than B. L. T. gets for his column. Sid didn’t know there were so many ideas in the world, and to show that they are not easy to think of, here are some of them:

“Sawing Off the Corners of a Square Meal,” “Looking for the Engine on the Train of a Woman’s Dress,” “Drilling Ink Wells,” “Making a Chain Out of Golf Links,” “Fishing with a Hook Worm,” “Keeping the Chili Sauce Warm,” “Cutting the Bangs Off Firecrackers,” “Blushing at the Legs of a Table,” “Watering a Sawhorse,” “Shaving the Neck of a Bottle,” “Beating Eggs with a Horsewhip.”

By giving the local humorists full play, Sid manages to get in several hours of golf a day, or to run up to Lake Geneva occasionally in his motor.

“The Good Fairy”, 1916


He is known to the public only as the “Good Fairy,” the little plaster sprite who holds out his arms to you as entreatingly as did Peter Pan. But to the inner circle he is John T. McCutcheon Raleigh, the little nephew of John T. McCutcheon of the Chicago Tribune, the namesake of the cartoonist, and the inspiration of the statue. It was his fairylike body and impish spirit that suggested the figure to his mother, Mrs. Jesse McCutcheon Raleigh, who has given to the world this little emblem of good cheer.

Ralph C. Faulkner, who does a cartoon act in vaudeville, appeared before an audience in San Antonio, Texas, recently, and was received with open arms. Faulkner was born in San Antonio, and used to play football on the local high school team. Since leaving his native town he has had an adventurous career in Mexico and South America. He was shipped out of Mexico City as an express package after having drawn a cartoon of Diaz for El Diario. Bearing a striking resemblance to President Wilson, Faulkner makes up as the chief executive for his stage performances, and uses cartoons to illustrate his monologue.

When Bud Fisher, of Mutt and Jeff fame, was out frolicing with the Friars he associated with a fellow actor who had only recently become a proud father. They were in Atlantic City and stopped at a lunch counter along the Boardwalk after the performance.

The actor took out his watch and looked longingly at a photograph pasted inside. He was away from home and lonely for the kiddie. Finally he put his watch away and looked into space. A waiter approached. “Do you wish anything else?” he asked.

It did not jar the actor out of his dream for he looked up with a simpering smile and prattled: “Dimme ittle jink of wa-wa.” Then he rushed out in search of an ocean breeze to fan his flushed brow.


After a delay caused by litigation, a bequest made by an unknown admirer of E. A. Bushnell has found its way into the pockets of the artist. Mr. Bushnell received the news about a year ago that a wealthy old lady in the Middle West had died and remembered him handsomely in her will. She had been prompted to do this merely because she liked Mr. Bushnell’s cartoons. The artist, who is now in Brooklyn, N. Y., was forced to discontinue his cartoon service owing to illness, but is now planning to resume his work.

Gustav Kahn, in Le Mercure de France
His art is graphic; he writes rather than depicts; his prime object is to argue; his productions are not violent, they are just. A German would regard his treatment as paroxysmal; the French do not. If one cannot look with serenity upon the tragic pages to which Raemaekers owes his renown, one may reflect calmly on his methods. Attention is given, perhaps, to the setting, but the stress is laid upon the total effect. Caricature, as it was conceived by the greatest polemics of the pencil, a Daumier, for example, exerts no influence on this art. It is not caricature, for there is no violent facial deformation, mirthful or depreciatory. What is presented is the acute stage of a situation.

Is Ramaekers’ art entirely individual? No, we find the same aim, the same bent in Hermann-Paul’ s drawings of the war. Must we admit that the very tragedy of the subject, in its manifold aspects, deprives the critic, and the artist, of any desire of artistic exaggeration? One does not caricature such situations, indulge in irony upon the perpetrators of such actions, the per sonages of such dramas. Caricature has abdicated before a direct attack of the subject; the artist’s reflections are sad, bitter; buffoonery of any sort finds no place here.

Simple, strong phrases are needed to interpret the great drama; the draftsman seeks to reproduce the most statuesque, the most salient, suggestive, of those phrases; to mark clearly the chief point of the drama is his first, his abiding care.


A writer in the New York Evening Post complains about the representation of Uncle Sam in newspaper cartoons, and deplores the effect they must have on the people.

“It is wrong,” he says,” to believe that the American public is unable to appreciate artistic things. To keep before its eyes these odious, badly drawn images of an old crank dressed like a clown, the invention of some English cartoonist, who was anything but sympathetic toward Americans, is an insult to its taste, and must have a bad effect on the attitude of many toward the country.

“’Marianne,’ ‘Michel,’ and ‘John Bull’ are not served up every day in almost every daily paper; they remain the property of the comic weekly publications, and appear in such clever execution that they do not offend. It is hard for me to believe that an artist, or rather illustrator, with any patriotic ideals, could lend himself to such work as we see here.”

In 1904 the cartoon entitled “He’s Good Enough for Me,” drawn by the late Homer Davenport, and showing Uncle Sam endorsing Roosevelt, was published in the New York Evening Mail. It attracted wide attention at the time. A few weeks ago Robert Carter in the New York Evening Sun adapted the cartoon to the political situation as it existed, or seemed to exist, on the eve of the Chicago convention.

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