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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Focus on Cartoonists: Cartoons Magazine Centennial June 1913

With the June 1913 issue, Cartoons Magazine made its first major format change. Most immediately obvious, is its reduction in size — shown above, side-by-side, are the May & June issues. While Cartoons Magazine explained this change as having been requested by its readers, I’d far more believe it was because the smaller format was more acceptable to advertisers. Prior to this issue, Cartoons Magazine carried very little advertising; starting with June 1913, the front and rear pages each issue are pure advertising. In later issues, this will include ads for various Cartoon Correspondence Schools and upcoming & released issues of comic strip reprint collections. We’ll show those once they start appearing, but at this point, none of the advertising is cartoon-related.

Another major change, is that before June 1913, the only prose that appeared was that written by or about cartoonists (i.e., what we’ve been showing in our monthly Focus on Cartoonists posting) — almost every page 100% cartoons. With this issue, Cartoons Magazine goes to nearly the opposite extreme. Almost all the pages become predominantly prose, with one or two smaller cartoons inset within that text. The positive is that the text pieces explain the background events of what the cartoons are taking aim at. The negative, of course, is a dramatic reduction in the number of cartoons that appear, and the reduction in their size. And some of these cartoons, are ones that had appeared in prior issues — something Cartoons Magazine had never done before. There are a few instances in which a single cartoon occupies the full page, but even here, since the magazine’s dimensions have been reduced, so are the dimensions for the full-page cartoons. The whole result is a magazine that more resembles the “news with cartoons” pages of that days’ Review of Reviews magazine, than what had been before.

As 1913 moves forward, the repeating of cartoons will fade, and purely cartoon pages will increase, so that by the end of 1913, a happy balance between prose and cartoons will be achieved. But in June of 1913, I can’t imagine that readers of Cartoons Magazine were very pleased.

Click on the above & below pictures, to view them in greater detail, and be able to read them.

Below, the June 1913 issue added a new commentator on cartoon history, comics collector Mrs. D. Harry Hammer, whose dress and pose can’t help but remind me of Groucho Marx’s favorite comic foil, actress Margaret Dumont. For her opening article, Mrs. Hammer writes about early incarnations of Uncle Sam.

Cartoons Magazine‘s other comics historian — Henry C. Williamson — returns with an article about cartoonist Charles Nelan.

Beneath, the editors comment on some of the contents this issue.

This month’s short bio pieces, above, involve artists Ole May and Herbert H. Perry. Beneath, anecdotes from cartoonist studios, including one about Pennsylvania Governor Pennypacker’s attempts to censor cartoons.

Finally, a call out to readers. My run of Cartoons Magazine has some holes in it, and the first snag is coming soon — my copy of the July 1913 issue is coverless. If any reader out there has a copy of that cover they’d be willing to scan and email to me for use here next month, it would be greatly appreciated, and of course, you would be credited in that post. Please contact me first before sending a scan. I can be reached directly at: NeoVictorian@nycap.rr.com

Doug Wheeler


Doug

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