For those of you who don’t know Jim Ivey, here’s a capsule resume. Jim was a groundbreaking editorial cartoonist, internationally known for his unique style. He worked at the Washington Star, San Francisco Examiner, St. Petersburg Times and Orlando Sentinel, a distinguished career spanning over three decades.
In 1967 he opened the Cartoon Museum, a gallery and collector’s haven for cartooning fans, offering original art, books, comics, tearsheets and ephemera, even cartooning classes. It wasarguably the first establishment of its kind, and always unique in its scope and atmosphere.
In 1974 Ivey started the Orlandocon annual convention series, ostensibly a comic book convention, but actually far more eclectic and far-ranging, embracing all phases of the cartooning art. The roster of guests over the years was a who’s who of cartooning, most of whom were attracted by the presence of Ivey, one of their own — it was one of the few events, other than National Cartoonist Society events, where cartoonists could meet and enjoy each other’s company.
After many successful years of operation, both the Cartoon Museum and Orlandocon succumbed in the 1990s due to the comic book industry implosion. Though Ivey never focused exclusively on comic books, that portion of the business unfortunately financially overshadowed the rest.
Ivey is now in his eighth decade, mostly retired though he does do occasional freelance cartooning jobs. He tries to read a book a day, and keeps both his wit and drawing pen sharp through writing correspondence liberally peppered with cartoons.
Jim Ivey is a raconteur, bon vivant and a very dear friend. We have known each other for a quarter century now, ever since I wandered into the Cartoon Museum as a teen. Jim taught me his love of cartooning, just as he did for so many others, and with Stripper’s Guide I carry on in his footsteps. If you enjoy this blog, you have Jim Ivey to thank. He imparted to me a fascination with comic strip history, an appreciation for scholarship, and the importance to always remember that cartoons are supposed to be fun, so don’t get too all-fired serious about the whole thing.
Jim has agreed to allow me to share with you a big batch of photos from his scrapbook, which I think you’ll find are a darn sight more entertaining than those snapshots of Aunt Millie’s vacation you have to look through each year. The photos came to me in a big stack, in no particular order, and because I’m lazy, I’ll present them in no particular order. I’ll identify the culprits as we go along, and throw in some commentary which is 99% pure baloney. Here we go…
Will Eisner (right) lectures Jim Ivey on some fine point of graphic storytelling at Orlandocon 1979. Jim adopts Thoughtful Pose #3. With his back to us is local radio and TV personality Bill Berry, who hasn’t a clue what Eisner’s going on about.
Jim Ivey and C.C. Beck discuss the relative merits of cigars versus cigarettes at the first Orlandocon in 1974. C.C. seems to have Jim on the ropes in this debate, or is it just one too many vodka gimlets?
Three cartoonists from Red China make a pilgrimage to the Cartoon Museum in 1990. They tell Jim that they are the creators of the only science fiction comic book published in China. Ivey is in no position to dispute their tale.
Photo copyright Charlie Roberts, 1975.
Harvey Kurtzman in his studio, 1975. That impish grin is a direct result of how much he is paid to produce the page he’s pointing at.
Jim Ivey about to cold-cock Burne Hogarth with an Ignatz Award at the second Orlandocon in 1975. Ivey designed the award, a brick sporting a brass plaque, as an homage to some comic strip or something.
Comics historian and author Ron Goulart interviews Les Turner at Orlandocon 1974. Turner is telling Goulart about an idea he’s mulling over for a new comic strip he’s thinking of calling “Star Hawks”. Goulart takes copious notes.
The original sponsors of Orlandocon. From left to right, pulp illustrator Neil Austin, collector and dealer Charlie Roberts, film buff Rob Word, and Jim Ivey. Surrounding them is about $100,000 worth of original art, value then a tiny fraction of that. Among other items, there is a Little Nemo Sunday in the foreground, on the wall behind a Hogarth Tarzan, a Foxy Grandpa Sunday, a Krazy Kat Sunday, a Happy Hooligan Sunday, and a Segar Thimble Theatre Sunday.
Roy Crane and Hal Foster at Orlandocon 1974, looking understandably glum after being mobbed by Disney fans who think they’re Walt and Roy Disney. Well, it is Orlando after all.