Sunday, September 18, 2022

The Duke and the Dope ala Ken Hultgren!

Good afternoon, Kids! So nice to visit with you all again!

Ken Hultgren had a very successful and varied career in the arts, working at a very high-level wherever he hung his shingle.

He began, like so many illustrators before him, in animation. In the early 1940s, he became one of the great “animal artists” at Disney. By the late 40s, Mr. Hultgren had branched out into comics, working for Sangor Studios (Ha Ha and Giggle Comics). He famously illustrated such titles as The Duke and the Dope (enjoyed below) and Robespierre.

Throughout the 1950s and thereafter, he did a little of everything, working in comics, animation, and newspaper strip work.

His beautiful artwork is on good display here in this tale from the halls of injustice, featuring the pair of friends, the Duke (ever scheming) and the Dope (ever innocent). This story comes from Giggle Comics No. 20 (June, 1945)

Coming up next, the work of Bob Wickersham (Bob Wick)!

I will see you all again very soon. Until then, I hope you are all warm, safe, and happy!

--Your friend, Mykal

Friday, May 13, 2022

Dan Gordon's SuperKatt!

Good afternoon, Kids! So nice to visit with you all again!

Dan Gordon remains a favorite cartoonist of mine, so it’s always a good day when I can share some of his work. It seems many comic book artists from this era (40s/50s) had animation backgrounds, but Mr. Gordon’s directorial background with various animation studios was very extensive. Most notably, he directed several Popeye shorts for Famous Studios which were known for their frenetic action and fast pace. It was this breakneck sense of movement that Mr. Gordon carried onto his storytelling and comic book work for Giggle Comics in 1944.

Superkatt was Mr. Gordon’s best-known reoccurring creation in Giggle Comics, a character intended to poke gentle fun at the emerging costumed superhero genre. Pure fun, the character is a simple housecat (albeit a talking one) who wears a diaper, a baby’s bonnet, and a bowtie to fight minor, local injustice.

So, let’s enjoy Mr. Gordon’s glorious, lush work! This story comes from Giggle Comics No. 20 (June, 1945)

Coming up next, the work of Ken Hultgren!

I will see you all again very soon. Until then, I hope you are all warm, safe, and happy!

--Your friend, Mykal

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Ben Levin's Aunty Spry!

Good afternoon, Kids! So nice to visit with you all again!

Today we have a cartoonist all-but completely forgotten by time (but not here at the Big Blog), 1940s cartoonist, Ben Levin. Despite much searching, I have not been able to turn up any biographical information. He was an active cartoonist for comics throughout the 1940s and early 50s, however, and his work was always very loose, rubbery, and appealing.

One of my pleasures in hosting the Big Blog is to archive and bring to light the work of artists increasingly lost to the past. This lively story - from Jingle Jangle Comics No. 13 (February 1945) – features Aunty Spry, who was a reoccurring character in Jingle Jangle and always illustrated by Ben Levin.

Isn’t it pleasant to imagine the kids in early 1945, reading this comic book story in their rooms or perhaps stretched out on a rug in the living room while their parents listen to the radio. WWII would end before the year was over, but their parents would still be concerned with gas rationing. And so was Aunty Spry. So much so she suggests that she and her young charges walk to the rodeo rather than use gasoline by driving!

Let's wrap things up with a couple of full-page ads from the same issue. Man, I love the ad pages from this era of comics!


Coming up next, a Superkatt story from Dan Gordon!

I will see you all again very soon. Until then, I hope you are all warm, safe, and happy!

--Your friend, Mykal

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Of Unicorns, Moonlight, and Shadows! More George Carlson

Good morning, kids! It’s going to be a good day today because on this glorious day we have some more George Carlson lunacy to enjoy (and the description of lunacy is particularly appropriate for today’s outing as moonlight factors much into the story).

This story is entitled, “The Moon-Struck Unicorn and the Worn-Out Shadow!” I think this will give a fair indication of the tone and temper of the tale, which is chocked-full of Mr. Carlson’s giddy anarchy.

What I love about Mr. Carlson’s work – every panel is so stuffed with imagination and toss-off bits of dialogue and cartooning; one could read the story a dozen times and find something new in every reading. Just like any sampling of great literature. This comes from Jingle Jangle Comics No. 13 (February 1945).

Let’s throw in some of the full-page ads from this comic just for the heck of it. The advertising pages in this era were often works of art themselves!
Coming up next, a last tale from Jingle Jangle featuring the (sadly) forgotten work of cartoonist Ben Levin!

I will see you all again very soon. Until then, I hope you are all warm, safe, and happy!

--Your friend, Mykal

Thursday, February 17, 2022

George Carlson and the Absurd Prince!

Good morning, kids! Today we are going to enjoy a story from the 1940s published during WWII. The artist is another one of my favorites, master of the absurd, George Carlson.

Mr. Carlson’s stories always tetter on some brink of joyous anarchy, his realities always shifting and mercurial; his characters always innately happy and fearless. Indeed, nearly every panel in a Carlson story has some brilliant, surreal flourish – a flower and pot running aimlessly across the floor or perhaps an anchor in a birdcage.

Oh, yes. I nearly forgot to mention: His artwork is beautifully drawn and colored, and his layouts bristle with a genius (round panels, overlapping action, etc.) far ahead of its time. Such a visual treat is Mr. Carlson.

Today’s story features his best-known comic book creation, The Pie-faced Prince of Pretzleburg. This comes from Jingle Jangle Comics No. 13 (February 1945).

Isn't George Carlson great! I knew you would love him.

Sometimes I like to post an advertisement along with the story from the same comic book just to supply a kind of historical context (history seen through the prism of advertising). I love this War Bond advert from a vew months before V-E Day (Victory in Europe).
Coming up next, more George Carlson!

I will see you all again very soon. Until then, I hope you are all warm, safe, and happy!

--Your friend, Mykal

Monday, February 7, 2022

The Blankety Blank Piggy Bank!

As promised, my friends, another great story by Howie Post from Devil Kids Starring Hot Stuff No. 54 (May 1972)!

Today's story from Mr. Post features a ravenous piggy bank imbued with supernatural, gluttonous powers by Seymour the Sorcerer! I know, I know, it sounds crazy! But watch how the ingenious Mr. Post makes it work.

I love this story! In this tale, Howie Post puts on full display his great skill at character creation. Each character is so unique and well-developed. The aforementioned Seymour the Sorcerer is a fine example, but even better is Hot Stuff's Uncle Smokey. I love Uncle Smokey and relish every appearance. He's so hot-headed, but he loves his nephew!

I just adore Howie Post! Next up, a real treat. The Big Blog is going back in the archives to the 1940s and the great work of George Carlson. If that name is unfamiliar to you, kids, you are in for a treat!

I will see you all again very soon. Until then, I hope you are all warm, safe, and happy!

--Your friend, Mykal

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