Super I.T.C.H » Blog Archive » Closing Out James G. Blaine’s “Tattoed-Man” series, 1884
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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Closing Out James G. Blaine’s “Tattoed-Man” series, 1884

Election’s done, but I’ve a few “Tattooed Man” cartoons not yet shown, to run. So let’s get them out of the way.

Those of you who have been visiting this site, already know what these are about. But, for anyone just now stumbling in… James Blaine was the G.O.P. nominee for President in 1884. He was widely regarded — even amongst many Republicans — as highly corrupt & arrogant, and as a flagrant, blatant liar. In 1884 (and many years after), party bosses rather than the people via primaries, chose who got to run for office. The people only had their say (on those chosen by the bosses) on Election Day itself.

Blaine’s known defects, led not only to his being the first post-Civil War Republican nominee to not win the White House (with enough Republicans voting Democrat in protest, to assure his loss) — they also gave us Puck magazine’s Tattooed Man satire, a series of twenty-two cartoons, running in the magazine’s 1884 issues, depicting Blaine as being tattooed from head-to-toe with his more well known instances of corruption and lying. You can click on the phrase “Tattooed-Man”, to see our prior postings of these cartoons. Or, you can click here to read an excellent article by Harlen Makemson of Elon University, titled One Misdeed Evokes Another: How Political Cartoonists Used “Scandal Intertextuality” Against Presidential Candidate James G. Blaine.

Above, by artist Bernhard Gillam, from the front cover of the October 22nd, 1884 issue of Puck, we have A Preliminary Set-To, showing Democratic nominee Grover Cleveland jumping into the ring, after Blaine (nearly knocked out), had a fight with the Ohio Secretary of State (shown knocked out in the background). N.Y. Tribune editor Reid (the paper was a blatantly partisan Republican Propaganda mouthpiece, twisting and inventing “facts”, just as Fox News does today), is shown holding Blaine up, while Blaine’s running mate, Senator John Logan, attempts to revive Blaine with a bottle of “Monopoly Mixture”.

Click on the above & below pictures, to enlarge the cartoons, plus see the entire cover image.

Next, we have a sequence of Puck covers, all of them by Gillam, each building upon the other, and all of them based upon a popular print of the day, showing a boy and his dog. I don’t personally know what that original print was, but, anyway, above is a similarly themed picture, by artist Livingston Hopkins, titled When My Ship Comes In. It first appeared in the children’s periodical, St. Nicholas, and then was later reprinted in the (New York) Daily Graphic of January 20th, 1879.

Below, the cover sequence. First, from July 2nd, 1884, we have “Me and Jack”, showing tattooed Blaine, with his V.P. running mate John A. Logan, as Blaine’s dog. Logan’s nickname, from Civil War days, was “Black Jack”.

Next, from November 19th, 1884 — post-Election — we see Blaine & Logan’s campaign plank broken, with both dumped into the water. Artist Bernhard Gillam
, who began the Tattooed Man series, and drew the majority of the cartoons in it, makes a rare appearance in his own cartoon, peeking out from the bushes to spy on the fallen pair.

Finally, from June 10th, 1885, we have “Waiting”. Logan sits alone, atop a makeshift repaired plank, his career saved by his re-election to the Senate, with him now supposedly waiting for his turn to run for President, in 1888. James Butler (as a bullfrog) sits nearby.

Doug Wheeler

ElectionComics NYPuck NYDailyGraphic


Doug

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