Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ha Ha Comics No. 17, February 1945
W/ Jim Tyer, Ken Hultgren, and Irving Dressler

Today, let's enjoy the work of Jim Tyer, Ken Hultgren, and Irving Dressler (with just a splash of Dan Gordon tossed in for good measure) - all appearing in a 1945 issue of Ha Ha Comics.
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The wondrous animation Jim Tyer contributed to Terrytoons in the late 1940s and 1950s (featuring headliners like Mighty Mouse, Heckle and Jeckle, & Gandy Goose and Sourpuss) pulsate and tremble as though the screen were suddenly given a jolt of electricity. Mr. Tyer's earlier comic book work is equally vibrant and unique. A fine example: This Pete Parrot outing.

Few cartoonists did more work in the Funny Animal Golden Age than Ken Hultgren who, like Tyer, was perhaps first and foremost an animator; albeit for Disney. I love his Bully the Bulldog character in this Robespierre story.

Irving Dressler is the cartoonist for this oddball (and slightly disturbing) tale starring Red Rabbit. Mr. Dressler would go on in future decades to animate many Popeye cartoons, vintage early 1960s.

Finally, here's a quick shot of Dan Gordon's artwork in this black and white inside front cover.


  1. As much as I would generally balk at swearing on a kids comics blog, "damn" the artwork on these stories is good.

    This is what cartoons USED to look like. I miss this kind of stuff!

  2. Chuck: We'll allow it this one time only because, considering the artwork, your moment of enthusiasm is understandable ;-)

  3. wOw ! What an issue ! My favorite is the Parrot Pete story by Tyer; his sharp inking and explosive gesturing sure looks familiar to this Mighty Mouse fan. What strikes me about the Hultgren story is the camera-angle choices, very conservative yet effective, and also his earthy inking style. The third story is like a throw-back to the rounded animation of the 20's & 30's, and Dressler's usage of blacks is masterful. Thanx for keep the kid in me alive on these 21st century Saturdays, Mykal !

  4. Lysdexicuss: Great stuff, right? I love the Tyer, too. He was really something. I've been collecting the Terrytoon cartoon sets from Jerry Beck's site (see sidebar)just for his great animmation.

    I also really loved the look of that Dressler. You are so right about the 30s style. I haven't been able to find much from that artist or from Tyer; which makes this post a real treat for me.

  5. I enjoyed the squishy artwork on all 3 of these stories. Thanks for sharing them!

  6. How can you help but love comics like this? The stories have this wonderful wonky logic that makes me smile.

    Love seeing more and more of KH's work. Until a few years ago, I only knew him from his "Ho to Draw Animals" book. One of the best ever, BTW...

  7. Bill: Without doubt I'll post some more Hultgren in future. This was a great issue, for sure.

  8. Love this! Brings back so many memories of hunting through my Dad's stuff- My grandparents would probably be considered hoarders today- but how much fun I had exploring!

  9. I'm glad you enjoyed in, Ms. Maven! You grandparents had (or have) great taste!

  10. Wow, that Red Rabbit story is just pure WTF, and the character design is extremely hideous and really ugly, i mean it's so lousy, Red Rabbit, the ears and face look like a Donkey than a rabbit, not to mention he barely shows any buck teeth, I'd take that Irv Dressler wasn't really that strong and was even more weak an artist, similar to William Henning, who also gets the more or less same reception in terms of art and animation.

    The Jim Tyer page however, is fantastic, kinda reminds me of Felix the Cat slightly (making sense that he later went to work on the late 1950s Felix cartoon, which however, stinks), and his inking is really bold and snazzy, reminds me of Milton Knight a bit, and Petey the Parrot looks like a cool character in the same vein as Screwy Squirrel and Woody Woodpecker and even Daffy Duck (who's kind can be seen in real life which is called a Mallard), in fact, speaking of Daffy, i think Tyer (after being sweeped off Famous exactly in favor of Tom Johnson, not because of the stagnant lowbrow conservatism by hack directors like Seymour Knietel, a decent animator by the way, and Izzy Sparber) would work WAY much better working on Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies than at Terrytoons, just like how Carlo Vinci worked way more better and shined higher and better at MGM
    (it's too bad Carlo came in the last few years when the MGM cartoon department was closing), Terrytoons' cartoons were extreme stagnant junk, hack written and yes badly animated monstrosities, what's even more interesting is that Paul Terry himself KNEW IT, basically, by comparison, with Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies you had a humongous load of much more solid and better drawn characters like from the Aforementioned Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig, Foghorn Leghorn, Slvyester, Hubie and Bertie, Pussyfoot, Marc Anthony, Bugs Bunny, Pete Puma etc, from the Afromented Jim Tyer, you had great people like Bob McKimson, Virgil Ross, Ben Washam, Ken Harris, Art Davis, Emery Hawkins, Bobe Cannon, Don Willaims all given their chance to massively shine and stand out with great producers like Leon Schlesigner and executives like J.L Warner, all without the ridiclious money worrying, obessing, and extreme greediness that Paul Terry had, plus you had Friz Freleng, Bob Clampett, Frank Tashlin, Chuck Jones and Tex Avery (from Lantz and later MGM) and others, and when the films can be seen going from directorship, diffrences in skill, style and craftsmanship are all readibly noticeable, by comparision, the Terrytoon directors were Connie Rasninski, Mannie Davis, Eddie Donnely, Art Bartsch, and Winfield Hoskins (formerly from Disney, i think, but the only credits i have of him is the Popeye cartoon where Pappy is in a nightclub) and going from spotting directorship in craftsmanship, style and stuff, ALL you see is pure stagnancy and extreme blandness.

    And the Ken Hultgren piece is just as good, now the animal and small construction books he put out all make sense, Hultgren's Cat and Dog drawings in this one are really stunning and beautiful, there's also a bit of Dan Gordon if one looks deeply close enough, plus his construction and structure is extremely solid and firm, and all the depth and forms are extremely in place and fit perfectly.

  11. Mufasa: Great info, thanks for commenting. I kinda liked the rabbit, though! ;-)

  12. These comics are really nifty! The Pete Parrot comic was absolutely hilarious, and I just LOVE Clarence the genie! And the Robespierre comic was mighty sweet, too! (I noticed that some of the cats in that comic had bandages on their bellies. Perhaps they're King Hippo's pets? Hmmm....)


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