Friday, July 3, 2015

Douglas Edmund Jerrold

   
[1] “Incidents of the Texas contest — Sketched by Douglas E. Jerrold,” Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, 21 Feb 1874
     
by Robert J. Kirkpatrick
        
DOUGLAS EDMUND JERROLD was the second son of Douglas Jerrold, the well-known 19th-century dramatist and wit, perhaps most famous for his association with Punch between 1841 and his death in 1857, and for his editorship of Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper between 1846 and 1857. His first son, William Blanchard Jerrold, succeeded him in this latter role, and became a well-known journalist and writer in his own right. His third son, Thomas Serle Jerrold, also became a writer, albeit less successfully. Two of Jerrold’s grandsons, Evelyn Douglas Jerrold and Walter Copeland Jerrold, also became writers and journalists.

The life of Douglas Edmund Jerrold has always been shrouded in mystery. He hardly merited a mention in William Blanchard Jerrold’s biography of his father (The Life and Remains of Douglas Jerrold, 1859), although a later biography by grandson Walter (Douglas Jerrold: Dramatist and Wit, 1914) revealed Douglas Jerrold senior’s efforts to find a 21-year-old Douglas Edmund — known as Edmund or Ned within the family — a suitable job:

…as is so often the case with young men of no special natural bent, it was thought that he had best go into the Civil Service, or out to the Colonies and be forced by circumstances to find a bent.
The most recent biography of Douglas Jerrold senior, Michael Slater’s Douglas Jerrold: A Life (2002), is similarly lacking in information. Slater does remark that Edmund “was destined in due course to become the family’s problem child,” but as to Edmund’s career Slater could only unearth a request for information in Notes and Queries of January 1971, in which Gaines Kincaide, writing from Austin, Texas, claimed that Edmund had moved to Austin in the early 1870s with a theatre company that soon folded. He then went on to work as a political cartoonist for a Republican newspaper, the rival Democratic newspaper refusing to believe that he was Douglas Jerrold’s son. When the Republican newspaper folded, Edmund returned briefly to acting, although he remained known locally as an artist. Kincaide’s request for further information went unanswered.

HOWEVER, it is now possible to expand on Douglas Edmund’s story, thanks largely to online genealogy records and digitized newspapers, although gaps still remain. If any reader can add to what follows, then please do so!

Douglas Edmund Jerrold was born in London on 18 July 1828 and baptized in the parish of St. George, Bloomsbury, on 21 September 1828. He was educated, partly at least, at a school in Boulogne, a place his father often visited. When he came of age, his father, as mentioned above, tried to launch him on a career, pointing out in a letter to his friend, the biographer and critic John Forster, that Edmund was “healthy, strong and active; and rather of the stuff for the bush than the clerk’s desk. His only wish is to be set on his feet somewhere abroad, and his expectation of official advantage very limited. I can vouch for his probity and steadiness of conduct.” (Quoted in Douglas Jerrold: Dramatist and Wit.)

It took around eight months, between May 1850 and January 1851, before a post could be found for him in the Commissariat Department (responsible for the provision of supplies for the army) at the Treasury, which he took up in January 1851.

At the time of the 1851 census (the entire family appears to be absent from the 1841 census, possibly away in France) he was living with parents at West Lodge, Putney, having begun his job as a clerk in the Treasury. On 27 March 1853 he married Caroline Stretton, the daughter of Charles Stretton (deceased) at St. Margaret’s, Westminster — he was living in Circus Road, Marylebone, at the time.

[2] 27 March 1853
Rather strangely, Walter Copeland Jerrold claimed in his biography of his father that Edmund was given a post in the Commissariat in Canada in 1852. He quoted the journalist George Hodder who attended a farewell ball for Edmund shortly before his departure:
[Edmund] being a young gentleman of somewhat graceful proportions, and not a little proud to exhibit himself to the best advantage, wore his uniform on the occasion, and was, of course, a very conspicuous object during the evening. In short, his glittering appearance was almost calculated to monopolize the attention of the lady visitors; and his father, being anxious that he should distinguish himself in some way beyond that of displaying his elegant costume, hoped, when his health was proposed, as it was in due course, after supper, that he might make a speech which would be considered “an honour to the family.” When Edmund rose, champagne glass in hand, to express his acknowledgements, he seemed so full of confidence, and presented so bold a front to the assembled guests, many of whom were standing in clusters around the room, that his father must have thought he had a son of whose oratorical powers he should doubtless one day be proud.

The young officer, however, had scarcely got beyond the words “Ladies and Gentlemen, for the honour you have done me” ere he suddenly collapsed and resumed his seat! Never was astonishment more strangely depicted upon the human countenance than it was upon that of Jerrold at this singular fiasco on the part of his hopeful son. He was literally dumbfounded, but at length he exploded with a sort of cachinnatory splutter — not to call it laughter — and looking round the room, in doubt as to where he should fix his gaze, he murmured, “Well!”
Nevertheless, Edmund was still in London in 1853, as evidenced by his marriage, and he did not acquire a passport until 13 August 1854. He then, however, moved to Canada more or less immediately — on 4 October 1854 he launched what appears to have been a very short-lived periodical, Douglas E. Jerrold’s Newsbag (the Toronto Public Library has only the first number HERE). Whether or not his wife moved to Canada with him is not known. Some American newspapers were later to report that he had worked for the British Commissariat for five years, but this seems to be incorrect — Gaines Kincaide stated in his Notes and Queries piece that the Canadian archives had no record of Edmund taking up his post.

In fact, Edmund may have returned to England very soon after arriving in Canada — Michael Slater states that he joined his father on Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper in 1855, although he had turned down the role of Paris correspondent.

[3] Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, 19 April 1856
However, if he did return to England it was only for a brief period — two years later he was in America, working as an artist — one of his sketches was published in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper on 19 April 1856. In 1857 he found himself stranded in Zanesville, Ohio, where he was able to obtain a commission to produce a copy of a Landseer painting from Joseph Crosby, an English grocer, which enabled him to pay his debts and move on. (The Times Recorder, Zanesville, Ohio, 1 January, 1928).

[4] Zanesville, Ohio, 1857
Within a short while he had built up a reputation as an artist, and several newspapers carried a brief report in April 1860 that he was visiting Charleston, Carolina, where he had “placed his drawings on public display.”

PRIVATE. His career then took an unexpected turn when, on 8 August 1862, he enlisted as a Private in the New York 8th Heavy Artillery Company. He was promoted to Corporal on 3 October 1862, and to 1st Lieutenant on 17 September 1863. He left the regiment the same day, and immediately joined the 3rd Regiment of the Maryland Cavalry, with whom he fought, as a Unionist, in the Civil War until he was discharged on 10 August 1864.

[5] Enlistment, 1862
He subsequently moved to Louisiana, where he married Alice V. Carradine (born in Mississippi in 1946) on 7 July 1865 in St. Tammany, which is where they settled for several years. At the time of the 1870 census, they were living in the 9th Ward in St. Tammany, with Douglas not having an occupation, and having had two children: Douglas, aged 3, and Georgiana, aged 1.

BIZARRE. In 1872 he launched a comic illustrated paper, Bizarre, in New Orleans (Chicago Daily Tribune, 21 July 1872, p.4), although how long this survived is not known, no copies appear to have survived.

In February 1874 he was in Austin, Texas (as stated by Gaines Kincaide), where he produced a series of drawings illustrating the contest between the Republicans and Democrats, published in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.

[6] Austin, Texas — Sketched by Douglas E. Jerrold, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, 21 Feb 1874
His last appearance in the American press appears to have been in the summer of 1878, when several newspapers reported that he was “ill at Greenville, Mississippi, and his wife and three children are in so destitute circumstances that he has appealed to the public for help.”

[7] Illness, 1878
NED. What became of him, and his family, after this is a mystery. One clue may lie in the marriage index for Louisiana, in that a Ned Jerrold married a Sallie Polk in West Feliciana on 12 December 1887 — Douglas Edmund was widely-known as “Ned”…

 ❦¡

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Krazy Kat in France




[Krazy Kat:] Why is “lenguage” “Ignatz”?

[Ignatz Mouse:] “Language” is, that we 
may understand one another.

[K:] Is that so?

[I:] Yes, that’s so.

[K:] Can you unda-stend a Finn, or a 
Leplender, or a Oshkosher, huh?

[I:] No.

[K:] Can a Finn, or a Leplender, or a 
Oshkosher, unda-stend you?

[I:] No.

[K:] Then, I would say, lenguage is, that 
we may mis-unda-stend each udda.

— Krazy Kat daily, January 6, 1918


Beware the little Bolshevik
Avoid the Sovietski
Like Ignatz Mouse he heaves a brick
At bourgeoise Krazy Ketski

The Quill [Greenwich Village], Vol. II, No.7, June 1918


“Krazy Kat, by Herriman, is, in the writer’s estimation, the greatest advance beyond nothingness on record.” [Harold Philips, well-known authority on Swiftian satire, who is not feeling so good today, anyhow, thank you, regards that last paragraph as “a befamixing humdinger.”] — ‘Who Is Your Favorite Comic Artist?’ in The Washington Times, Jan 13, 1922


“…who ducked the missile that came like a toss from Ignatz Mouse toward the head of Krazy Kat failed to identify the culprit…” — Chicago Daily Worker, 1926


“A jazz band of colored Macy’s employees vied for honors with several other musical detachments, including a clown band of other Macy employees, a military band of 75 pieces, a fife and drum corps, and a bugle corps. The comic supplement section of the parade represented a number of the familiar “funny sheet” characters, including Mutt and Jeff, Krazy Kat, Ignatz mouse, and Silk Hat Harry.” — ‘Santa Claus Heads Parade of Macy’s’ in the New York Daily Review, Nov 28, 1926


“Hey, E.E. Cummings, you can’t do that to this cartoon! Krazy Kat is no Republican propaganda. We don’t accept your active argument for passivity, your palming off some fillossiffical-idealism on us, your old love will find a way business and the meek shall inherit the earth stuff.” — ‘Hey, E.E. Cummings, don’t do that to Krazy!’ by Ad Reinhardt, in the daily newspaper PM, 1946
         
by John Adcock

NO OTHER comic strip in the history of humankind has been the subject of so many different interpretations as Krazy Kat. The slapstick triage of Krazy Kat, Ignatz Mouse, Offissa Pupp and the inanimate brick had appeal for children and adults, capitalists and Bolsheviks, the working classes and the halls of academia.

Adding new aspects to this search for meaning was the discovery that the birth certificate of writer-artist George Herriman identified him as “colored” which subjects the entire oeuvre to a search for racial identifiers. He is reported to have 
used the terms “creole” and “negro blood” to describe himself; his parents were listed as “mulatto” in 1880. (For further reading see Thomas Inge’s Was Krazy Kat Black? HERE and cartoonist Karl Hubenthal’s rebuttal HERE.) Was Krazy Kat Negro?… One might well ask Was Ignatz Mouse Jewish? Or; was the “kopp” Irish? There are no easy answers.

There was a time when Platinum Age comic strips — pre-1938 works — seemed to have sloped down the memory hole and were remembered only by the parents, who had gobbled them up on first appearance, and a few besotted collectors such as August Derleth and Bill Blackbeard. Most North American comic strip enthusiasts of the 60s discovered Krazy, Ignatz and Offissa Pupp through the 1969 Krazy Kat book produced by Woody Gelman and his Nostalgia Press for Madison Square Press/Grosset & Dunlap, a book which conquered Europe at the same time. A hardback book selling for $7.95. It had a foreword by Barbara Gelman and it reprinted the introduction by E.E. Cummings from a similar book collection (with different images) of the same title, published by Henry Holt and Co. in 1946. A hardback book for $3.75.

MEANWHILE the only American comics available in book form in France were Flash Gordon and Prince Valiant, published respectively in 1968 and 1970 by SERG, a non-profit organization animated by the same people who had made the seminal exhibition ‘Bande dessinée et figuration narrative’ at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, in Paris, in 1967. In Italy, the fat Italian magazine Linus began reprinting Krazy Kat strips, in Italian translation, as early as 1965. Linus inspired a French cousin, Charlie mensuel (they shared the same covers), which disseminated comics culture through France from February 1969 to February 1986. Georges Wolinski, the second and principal editor, from 1970 to 1981, opened its columns to Krazy Kat, leading to protests from some of its readers. But for the most part the French reader had to wait until the 1980s to read the Futuropolis Krazy Kat books in native French language.

Recently, another French publisher Les Rêveurs has published three fat volumes of Krazy Kat Sundays, translated into French by Marc Voline, with the fourth and last volume still in production. The Les Rêveurs Krazy Kat volumes use the same boards as the recent Fantagraphics books but there’s a big difference. The covers on the Fantagraphics volumes were designed by Chris Ware, a fantastic artist whose work in this context seems discordant, like it was composed with a mechanical drafting set. Herriman’s style was the exact opposite. He drew in a loose scratchy scribble with an abundance of crosshatching comparable to free-form music — like ragtime or jazz. Very wisely Les Rêveurs chose their cover designs to highlight the enigmatic art of George Herriman.   

MARC VOLINE writes to Yesterday’s Papers —
French Krazy Kat volumes are more than just reprints of the Fantagraphics editions. In order to contextualize, and fill — as well as I could — the double time-gap (one century!) and space (an ocean!) for French readers, I substantially expanded Ignatz Mouse’s debaffler pages. Thus it may be of some interest to Americans who read Rabelais’ language, and even to those who don’t: if they miss the additional debaffling, they’ll at least partake in the lyrics of all the songs uttered by Krazy and his fellow Coconinians.” [Editor’s Note: Songs from the comic strips are treated in the endnotes for the years 1925-44 of the Sundays.]
I asked Voline for details of his work as a translator. Was Krazy Kat his first venture into translating comics?
“After having spent three first semesters studying History at Paris 1 Sorbonne University, and having just begun working as a journalist (in the cultural field), my first translation in 1977 — I was 20— was a literary one: three Chesterton short stories. From the Other Stories section of the 1922 collection The Man Who Knew Too Much (The Garden of Smoke, The Five of Spades, The Tower of Treason), published as a little book under the French title of the latter: La Tour de la Trahison. The following year, for a literary review, I translated a small text from a big Krazy Kat fan: Gertrude Stein. Since then, I translated works by Jack London (To Build a Fire), Thomas de Quincey (The Avenger), Giovanni Papini (Gog), Jeff Noon (Vurt, Pollen)…
My first venture into translating comics occurred in 1982 when I was writer-editor at Métal Hurlant, a comics monthly created by Mœbius and Druillet (you may remember its American edition, Heavy Metal). My first two translations from English were Mike McMahon’s Judge Dredd and the Hernandez Brothers’ Love and Rockets. Then I began translating Lorenzo Mattotti and other Italian artists from the Valvoline group.From 1984, I was comics editor at Albin Michel publishers. There I translated strips, which are amongst the most demanding — and rewarding! Harvey Kurtzman’s Jungle Book, ten volumes of Tales from the Crypt (mostly Jack Davis, plus some Wally Wood and Reed Crandall), and eight volumes of Scott Adams’ Dilbert. As a writer, I worked on comics and children’s books with comic strip authors like Yves Chaland, Jean-Louis Floch, Max, Tramber… All of Métal Hurlant extraction.
My first brief round of Krazy Kat translating was in 1996, for a short lived comics tabloid weekly called Strips, edited by artist Placid. Actually, the Strips magazine episode wasn’t my first foray into Krazy’s wonderland. Translating and publishing Krazy Kat had been a personal obsession for a long time! I first ordered Krazy Kat strips — through Opera Mundi, the distributor of King Features Syndicate in France — in April 1974, for a fanzine I was planning, and, as attested by the fact I still received the KFS microfilm catalog in 1982, I must have nurtured the same project when I was a Métal Hurlant editor at Les Humanoïdes Associés publishers. The more recent Krazy Kat venture began as a project with Jean-Louis Gauthey, of Cornélius publishers (who published Crumb and Burns in France). But being a perfectionist, Jean-Louis was quite reluctant in view of the poor quality of some of the material (obvious in the Les Rêveurs volume 2, for the years 1930-34), and he eventually renounced it. As for the genesis of the Rêveurs edition, I told it in a June 2012 interview with the comics site Du9, whose English translation — with a few mistakes — you’ll find HERE.
Les Rêveurs is the creation of two friends, the comic artist Manu Larcenet and Nicolas Lebedel, who is the acting editor. Manu Larcenet conceives and colors the Krazy Kat covers (“his great pleasure”). As for the inside layout of this series, the title pages are those of the first volumes of Fantagraphics, the rest of the books contain layouts by graphic designer Camille Aubry.

A BETTER LOOK. The French volumes are nearly twice the size of the Fantagraphics editions (26,5 x 37 cm, or 10 5/8 x 14 3/4 inches) which makes for easier reading and allows for a better look at the fine feathered and crosshatched ink-lines as in the originals. The first volume features 273 pages, the second 264, and the third 272. Krazy Kat kompletists will want to own both publisher’s worthy efforts.


     
Vol. 1 [1925-1929] Articles and Notes Krazy Kat & Années Folles by Marc Voline L’homme Derrière le Chien, Derrière la Souris, Derrière la Chat – George Herriman 1880-1944 by Bill Blackbeard Le Bouffon de Cour, Hearst, Herriman et la mort du nonsense by Ben Schwartz Krazy Notes 1926-1929 [Similar to the ‘Ignatz Mouse Debaffler Page’ in the Fantagraphics volumes] by Bill Blackbeard and Marc Voline
Vol. 2 [1930-1934] Articles and Notes Le Baron et le Duc by Bill Blackbeard Krazy Notes 1930-1934 by Derya Ataker, Bill Blackbeard and Marc Voline
Vol. 3 [1935-1939] Articles and Notes Krazy Kolors of Kokonino by Marc Voline Krazy Notes 1935-1939 by Marc Voline

Friday, May 29, 2015

DAILY MIRROR — Comic Strip Images, Part 1


[1] The Cost of Living by W.K. Haselden, April 6, 1915.
      
by John Adcock
   
 T  HERE is very little information to be found on British newspaper comic strip history. Hugh Cudlipp devoted a few chapters to the Daily Mirror titles in his 1953 book Publish and Be Damned! The astonishing story of the Daily Mirror, and in his 1962 book At Your Peril; a mid-century view of the exciting changes of the press in Britain, and a press view of the exciting changes of mid-century. George Perry and Alan Aldridge included a chapter on British strips in The Penguin Book of Comics, a widely read and reprinted book of 1967.
 
[2] Denis Gifford in 1976.
   Denis Gifford — British cartoonist-historian — provided the most thorough background in his little book Stap me! The British Newspaper Strip (1971) and contributed columns to Maurice Horn’s The World Encyclopedia of Comics (1976). Finally John Allard, a one-time cartoon editor of the Daily Mirror, published a thorough 6-page account of Daily Mirror strips in Denis Gifford’s Comic Cuts (the Association of Comics Enthusiasts’ newsletter) Vol. 13, No. 6 (No 118) (Oct/Nov 1990).

[3] Introducing Pip, Squeak and Wilfred in The Children’s Mirror, by Uncle Dick and Austin B. Payne, May 12, 1919.
   Pip, Squeak and Wilfred was written by Uncle Dick (real name Bertram J. Lamb) and drawn by Austin B. Payne, “an old Comics Cuts man from Wales.” The strip debuted on May 12, 1919. From 1938 it was written by Don Freeman. Hugh McClelland took over as artist in 1953. McClelland was the first head of the Daily Mirror strip department and creator of the comic strip Jimpy. 

[4] July 8, 1930.
OVERSEAS. When Pip, Squeak and Wilfred: Their "luvly" Adventures was published in the United States in 1921, available through E.P. Dutton & Co. for one dollar(the British edition was issued the same year by Stanley Paul & Co., London, the American edition is still unknown in the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, almost a century later) the advertising blurb read,

Uncle Dick and the cartoonist A.B. Payne, in daily ‘comics’ have so appealed to children — and their elders — that when this series was first brought out in book form, the first day’s sale was 100,000 copies. A second hundred thousand was sold within three weeks, and nearly four hundred thousand to date in England.”E.P. Dutton advert

[5] by Harold C. Earnshaw, July 8, 1930.
   The Pater, a strip by Harold Cecil Earnshaw (1886-1937), made its debut on December 10, 1928, and ended on February 28, 1931. There is a brief, moving profile on the too short life of Harold Earnshaw who was Mabel Lucie Attwell’s husband, HERE. The artwork for this series bears a close resemblance to that of John Miller Watt, the artist of the popular comic strip Pop (1921-1949) which ran in the Daily Sketch newspaper.

[6] by Dart, Nov 21, 1931 (debut strip).
   Tich was a comic strip written by Frank Dowling and illustrated by “Dart.” The original “Dart” was a man named Martin, although it is uncertain if this was a surname or a last name. Tich ran in the Daily Mirror from November 21, 1931, to November 25, 1933. The second “Dart”, Stephen Phillip Dowling (1904-1986), fell into strip work in a startling manner, as related to Denis Gifford in a 1976 interview,

[7] by Dart, July 29, 1932
“It started by my going riding with a friend who did a strip called Tich in the Daily Mirror, the ideas for which were supplied by my brother Frank. Coming back from this event, rather full of liquor, unfortunately there was a car accident, and the artist, Martin, died. And so I had to step into his shoes and was plummeted into the strip business in a rather shaky condition, having gone through the roof of a car! Tich ran for some years.” — Ally Sloper, No. 1, 1976

[8] Jane’s Journal by Pett, the first Jane strip, Dec 5, 1932.
   Jane is probably the most famous British comic strip character. She became widely known around the world for her skirt-dropping exploits during World War II. She appeared in overseas newspapers and in troop journals like The Maple Leaf — begun in Italy in 1944, ended in Germany in 1946 — and the American-based Stars and Stripes.

[9] An ‘au revoir from Jane’ by Pett. It is to the 200,000 Canadian readers of The Maple Leaf that Jane bids farewell, in March 1946.
JANE started with the longer title Jane’s Journal – The Diary of a Bright Young Thing on December 5, 1932, with William Norman Pett as its sole author, signing as ‘PETT.’ The strip’s title changed to simply Jane on April 1, 1938. Don Freeman wrote it from December 1938. Michael Hubbard took over the drawing, in print from May 1, 1948. The final episodes were written by Ian Gammidge until Jane was discontinued on October 10, 1959. 

[10] Home Notes by [?], a one-shot, July 29, 1932.
[11] Jane’s Journal by Pett, Mar 11, 1935.
[12] by Fitz, a one-shot, Mar 11, 1935.
[13] Pip, Squeak and Wilfred by A.B. Payne, Mar 11, 1935.
[14] Our Weekend Guests by W.K. Haselden, Nov 21, 1931.

CONTINUED IN OUR NEXT:
Ruggles and Belinda Blue-Eyes…

Meanwhile, any additional information is welcomed, especially missing names of WRITERS and ARTISTS, gathered in our DAILY MIRROR comic series index, compiled by Leonardo De Sá, spanning the years 1919-2014, HERE.

  

Friday, May 22, 2015

Original Art from the “Sloperies”


[1] Ally Sloper in Close-Up. William Baxter original, 
ink on lightweight paper, 1886.

American publisher Bill Leach has been collecting Ally Sloper original art since the 1980s. His mother’s maiden name was Sloper, so “what started out as a minor interest has become a major addiction.” Along with Dennis Cunningham, founder of Weirdom fanzine, later Weirdom Illustrated, Bill Leach ran the graphic print shop Grafitti Graphics in Clearlake, California, from 1977 to ’87.

In 1986 Leach bought all of the Rich Corben art Cunningham had in his possession and republished Corben’s Tales from the Plague, originally published in Weirdom Illustrated no. 13 in 1969. Corben supplied a new cover and “I got Corben to use my face on the torch wielding maniac, so I have that on my resume now!…” With Barry Cunningham, brother of Dennis, he published four issues of County Comix in 1981-82, featuring Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, and Clearlake titles.


[2] Heads of the People. Full-page William Baxter cartoon, Ally Sloper’s Half-Holiday, Oct 23, 1886, one of his last for the paper.
ABOUT 150 years ago, Judy (subtitled: ‘or The London Serio-Comic Journal’) began to be published in London, its first issue was dated 1 May 1867, its last 23 October 1907. The comic character Ally Sloper F.O.M. (Friend of Man) came into the world on 14 August 1867 in a comic page with the strange title “Some of the Mysteries of Loan and Discount,” by author-artist Charles Henry Ross.

FUN. Then, in 1870, the comic journal Fun, rival to the weeklies Punch and Judy, was bought by the Dalziel Brothers, a long-established family firm of wood-engravers, the largest in London at the time. The firm was started in 1840 by the two brothers George (b.1815) and Edward Dalziel (b.1817). In 1872 the Dalziels also purchased the title Judy. Edward’s son, Gilbert Dalziel became its business conductor. In 1883 Charles Henry Ross sold all rights to his Ally Sloper character to Gilbert Dalziel of Dalziel Brothers, who then launched Ally Sloper’s Half-Holiday with proprietor W.J. Sinkins on May 3, 1884. This publication ran until September 9, 1916. It was revived unsuccessfully in 1922 and again in 1948. The address of its editorial offices was given as “The Sloperies,” 99 Shoe Lane, EC. The first years, primary art was by William Giles Baxter or W.G.B. (1856-88), who drew Sloper in 1884-86. He left at the end of 1886 to work on a different project, but then died in mid-1888, alcohol was given as the cause. According to Bill Leach, William Fletcher Thomas (1862-1922) had been drawing Ally Sloper’s Half-Holiday covers even before Baxter, and took over full time in late-1886 upon Baxter’s leave. 


NO FUN. The Dalziel Brothers who bought those magazines in the 1870s, saw their wood-engraving business dwindle during the 1880s photomechanical reproduction revolution, and went bankrupt in 1893.    

[3] “May Your X-MAS Day Be Happy, and Your Bills Be Light.” Original William Thomas art, 1899.
[4] Bill Leach with the William Thomas original.
[5] The “Sloperies” – Editor’s Bell. Sloper and Freedom. Original William Baxter art, 1880s, 32 x 25 cm.
[6] “Billstickers will be prosecuted!” Original William Baxter art, Christmas 1880s, 33 x 27 cm.
[7] The Eastern Crisis. – Grease: Its Use and Abuse. Full-page William Baxter strip of cartoons, Ally Sloper's Half-Holiday, Feb 6, 1886.
[8] A Cabinet Council at “The Sloperies.” Full-page William Baxter cartoon, Ally Sloper’s Half-Holiday, Aug 21, 1886.
[9] Turning over a New Leaf. William Baxter cover, Ally Sloper’s Half-Holiday, Jan 2, 1886.
[10] Our Contempo-Raree Show. Businessman Gilbert Dalziel pictured by Houghton, FUN, May 21, 1895.
[11] Bound volume, Gilbert Dalziel’s signature, 1886.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Death and Mr Pickwick – a novel


    
“MY DEAR CHARLIE, – There has been going on for years an attempt on the part of Seymour’s widow, to extort money from me, by representing that he had some inexplicable and ill-used part in the invention of Pickwick ! ! ! ” — writer  Charles Dickens in a letter to his son, dated April 4, 1866
     
by John Adcock
    
BRITISH literature in serial form goes back as far as the 17th century but serial novels entered the mainstream in February of 1836, when a young Charles Dickens (24), a reporter on the Morning Chronicle, agreed to write the text to accompany comic prints by the illustrator Robert Seymour. Four hundred copies of the first instalment were printed and appeared on March 31, 1836, under a very long title — The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club containing a faithful record of the Perambulations, Perils, Travels, Adventures and Sporting Transactions of the Corresponding Members, edited by “Boz” the name under which Dickens rose to fame — with four illustrations by Seymour, published by Chapman and Hall in London.

Pickwick Club sales were slow at first, on April 20 illustrator Seymour (37) placed the muzzle of a fowling piece into his mouth and blew out his brains after the second number of the series, but despite this inauspicious start Pickwick recovered and went on to become the most beloved character in English fiction. Now, nearly 180 years later, Death and Mr Pickwick tells of the “creation and afterlife” of Dickens’ most popular novel.

PLOT AND STORY. The narrator is a hack writer employed by a collector of Pickwickian texts and illustrations to write Death and Mr Pickwick under the pseudonym Inscriptino. The collector uses the pseudonym Mr. Inbelicate, referring to a printer’s error in the first edition of The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club.

Caricaturist Robert Seymour is pictured as a gay married man who suffers from a melodramatic depressive nature. The suspense builds to an excruciating pitch as Dickens and his collaborators shoulder Robert Seymour into second place status on Pickwick, steal his original characters, and spend the rest of their lives covering up the theft. Charles Dickens, John Forster, and Chapman and Hall are not presented in a sympathetic light.

Scenes shift as we observe the celebrated men of the period mingle in gin-houses, highway inns and print-shops. Among the characters are Thomas Rowlandson, illustrator of The Tour of Dr. Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, Pierce Egan, author of Life in London, George Cruikshank, illustrator of Jack Sheppard, the engraver George Adcock, Rudolph Ackermann, William Heath, Gilbert à Beckett, Robert William Buss and “Phiz” (Hablôt Knight Browne). The caricaturist’s wife, Jane Seymour, is one of the strongest female characters.

AUTHOR. Stephen Jarvis, the English author of Death and Mr Pickwick – a novel, a book of 800+ pages based on the life of caricaturist Robert Seymour, builds a splendidly satisfying story from the rubble and romance of obscure episodes in the history of illustrated British literature.

Death and Mr Pickwick – a novel,
Available May 21, 2015, from
Random House (UK) and
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (US)

            
See the Sketches by Seymour HERE.


READ ALL REVIEWS!
Jarvis’ novel is already praised as  “…a phenomenon itself…”

★ Peter Kemp in The Sunday Times, May 17 HERE.
(this TST review is only available to subscribers 
but also pasted into author Stephen Jarvis’ facebook page HERE.)
★ Lucasta Miller in The Independent, May 17 HERE.
★ Nicholas Dames Was Dickens a Thief ?” in The Atlantic, May 20 HERE.
Kirkus Review, May 15 HERE.
Publisher’s Weekly, June HERE.
 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Illingworth’s Genius on VE Day 1945

    
1945 [1] Illingworth’s VE Day cartoon, Daily Mail, 8 May.

TODAY is the day of Victory Europe in England, VE Day 70. Seventy years ago Hitler and the Nazis were defeated by the Allies, and London went out on the street again free. World War II was finally won. 

L.G. ILLINGWORTH, Welsh-born staff artist of the Daily Mail, published a memorable cartoon that day. He had drawn war cartoons for years, especially in Punch and the Daily Mail, and he knew long before that liberation day would come. 

1945 [2] It’s all over… The VE Day front-page of the London Daily Mail, No. 15,290 of Tuesday 8 May, price: one penny. Illingworth’s large cartoon is on the reverse, on page 2.
Enjoy Illingworth’s wartime genius!

1944 [3] Christmas 1944 in the US. Americans are busy shopping. By Illingworth, 23 December.
1945 [4] The war in Poland. By Illingworth, 15 January.
1940s [5] Leslie Gilbert Illingworth (1902-79), a little self-portrait.
1939 [6] “Why not an offensive today?…” By Illingworth, 2 November.
1939 [7] “Why so startled, Fuhrer? Don’t you recognize one of your first members of the party?…” By Illingworth, 10 November.
1940 [8] Neutrality. By Illingworth, 22 January.
1940 [9] A surprise for breakfast. By Illingworth, 27 January.
1940 [10] Careless listening costs lives. By Illingworth, 27 March — “with apologies to Fougasse.”
1943 [11] The Dogs of War. By Illingworth, 2 September.
1943 [12] Where is Hitler? By Illingworth, 15 March.
1943 [13] Donkeys spread rumours. By Illingworth, 11 September.
1944 [14] Here lies the German general staff. By Illingworth, 6 October.
1944 [15] Hitler’s special excursion to victory. By Illingworth, 31 July.
1950s [16] Leslie Gilbert Illingworth, self-portrait on scraperboard.
1970s [17] Little self-portrait.

The genius of Illingworth is best illustrated in the 4,563 cartoons held in The National Library of Wales (most of the pictures shown above come from it), an incredible collection, for the larger part original art, HERE — just start searching for ‘Illingworth.’

See Tony Robinson’s Victory in Europe, a brand new documentary on Discovery Channel, HERE.

And see VE Day in numbers, HERE.


Thanks to Huib van Opstal,
and to Brian Hughes from
Surbiton, Surrey (1937-2010),
who cut out and saved Illingworth’s 
Daily Mail’s VE Day cartoon
as a young lad.