Friday, November 21, 2014


Above: Roy Williams in a photo from The Mickey Mouse Club TV series. More at The Mickey Mouse Club Cast Web site here.

"Here's a great big guy that spends his days wearing a mouse hat and drawing cartoons for kids. What do you suppose he thinks of when the kids are asleep?"

I don't know a lot about The Mickey Mouse Club. I didn't watch it growing up. I did know there was a large guy who smiled a lot on the show. His name was Roy. He was an animator and a gag guy for Disney. This is a collection of his gag cartoons, copyright 1957 by Bantam Books.

I got as big a kick out of the fun hyperbole on the book as I did the cartoons.

Above: Roy's dedication page, in Roy's handwriting.

In 1925 Roy was hired by the Hyperion Studio after a short conversation with someone he took for the office boy (it was Walt). This was the beginning of Roy's lifelong personal loyalty to Walt Disney. Walt paid for Roy's training at the Chouinnard Art School, and took him on in the Art Department. As Roy's skill and experience grew, he was moved to the Animation Department, first as an in-betweener, then as a full-fledged animator. Roy's strength was judged to be as a story and gag man, and by the start of the fifties he had moved away from animation.

-- a snippet of Roy's bio from The Mickey Mouse Club Cast Web site. Now you know why he dedicated the tome to Walt.

A lot of the gags in the book are just zany. His line work is very breezy and bold. There's an ease to the line that comes with lots of years of drawing behind him.

Some of the ideas here are tinged with some sad truths, like the cartoon above. Both men look nonplussed about this chance encounter.

Some are racist, bad puns in today's light. As you can see, most of these are in the "stand 'em up, shoot 'em down" school of composition. The figures are posed in full view, usually in an establishing shot of sorts, with some locale details here and there.

OK, like the one above. I always admire wordless gags, but it took me a few seconds to notice the wee size of the shoe to get the gag here. Their clothes, the framed windmill, are all the clues to where these people live.

I thought a lot of these gags would look fine in Collier's or the Saturday Evening Post. So far as I can tell, none of the cartoons in this book had been published previously.

The above cartoon, with the fellow doing the double-take, exhibits Roy's animation drawing ability. The fellow's left leg, jutting out, askew, is a nice touch. (Dig the pedestal ash tray.)

What's interesting is that none of the cartoons are signed. Every gag cartoonist from the period signed their work. I liked the above gag a lot.

A lot of his gags depend on his drawing ability. The bold lines would be a big plus in today's market where print cartoons are usually shrunk mercilessly.

Like I said, some of the gags are just odd.

... And some are prescient today. Again: the clothing, the doorway -- these are all the clues to where we are -- something we must know to get the cartoon.

What an evil grin on the policeman's face!

Related: Roy Williams risque cartoons at Arflovers.

-- Originally published 4/9/08.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


NEW CARTOON LAUGHS, a Fawcett Gold Medal Book (you can tell because there's a little drawing of a gold medal that they gave themselves with the 60 cent price in the corner), is a 1970 collection of gag cartoons that originally appeared in TRUE Magazine. Virgil "VIP" Partch draws the "Your place or mine?" cartoon cover of this naughty tome. Contents copyright 1970 by Fawcett Publications, Inc.

Here's VIP with a multi-panel cartoon:

Sid Harris's washes are so painterly:

Chon Day's cartoons are some of my favorites. His clean line style is his trademark.

VIP has a number of these "wandering in the desert" cartoons in the book.

Ed Arno is another master of line and shape.

The look of serious purpose on the bear's face in this great Don Orehek cartoon made me laugh out loud.

An early Sam Gross special! One of my favorite cartoons of his.

And here's Geroge Booth with another one of my favorites.

Jack Tippit's cartoon maybe would not be published today.

Gallagher poses a usurpation of the power structure at Camp Wah Ha Nee Nok!

Bill Hoest had a wonderful way with wash -- and he could draw cute cartoon girls. He was a favorite of Hugh Hefner's.

Chon Day with a gag that shows us that some things do not change!

Brian Savage with a particularly pointed barb.

I'm closing with Chon Day, since I laughed out loud at this one!

-- From November 9, 2011

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Silent Penultimate NANCY Panels by Ernie Bushmiller

Here are some silent penultimate comic strip panels from Ernie Bushmiller's NANCY strip. These are the next to last panels that are devoid of text.

Pulled out of any context, these become moments of zen comic art.

 NANCY is copyright United Media. The strips are from Brian Walker's landmark book THE BEST OF ERNIE BUSHMILLER (Comicana Books, 1988), which used a silent penultimate panel for its cover.

Related post: 1969: All of the PEANUTS Silent Penultimate Daily Panels 

Mr. Bushmiller in his later years, from the back cover of THE BEST OF ERNIE BUSHMILLER. From the collection of James T. Carlsson.

Related: 1969: All of the PEANUTS Silent Penultimate Daily Panels

-- This entry originally appeared on March 5, 2012.