Integrative Arts 10

Artists Biographies Part 1


Hearst’s Paper NY Journal Editor Rudolph Block suggests Rudolph Dirks adapt Max und Moritz by Wilhelm Busch

Rudolph Dirks (1877 - 1968)- The Katzenjammer Kids
Katzenjammer Kids
One of the founding fathers of American cartooning, Rudolph Dirks was hired by William Randolph Hearst in 1897 to create a new feature to compete with rival Joseph Pulitzer's successful comic features. The result, based on Wilhelm Busch's MAX AND MORITZ, was entitled THE KATZENJAMMER KIDS, and starred the equally mischievous Hans and Fritz. Dirks was the first newspaper cartoonist to regularly use speech balloons and the comic strip panel format, innovations that are now standard practices in the field. In 1912, after taking some time off, Dirks was fired by Hearst, who brought in Harold Knerr to draw THE KATZENJAMMER KIDS. Dirks went on to win a famous court battle to continue his creation under the name THE CAPTAIN AND THE KIDS, which he did until his son, John, took over in 1958. During WW1- Nationality of the kids was changed to Dutch

R.F. Outcault (1863 - 1928)- The Yellow Kid in Hogan’s Alley
Yellow KidRichard Outcault is credited with the creation of the first newspaper comic strip superstar -- a nightshirted street urchin known as the Yellow Kid. The Yellow Kid, who debuted in the NEW YORK WORLD in 1895, was the first successful character to appear in color, with a regular supporting cast, in a continuing titled series, with the written word integrated into the picture. The combination of these important elements in Outcault's creation dramatically proved that comics could sell newspapers. The Yellow Kid's success launched a publishing war between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, giving birth to the term "yellow journalism." In 1902, Outcault further distinguished himself by creating a second successful comic feature, BUSTER BROWN, which he produced until 1920.
Study Points - First true American Strip - Featured in Pulitzers Papers - Hearst tries to Buy Outcault out and did, Pulitzer retains copyright of title. Outcault changes name to Yellow Kid
Outcault also creates Buster Brown which paves the way for later strips like Dennis the Menace
 
FREDERICK OPPER (1857 - 1937)
Starting his career in the 1870s as a magazine illustrator, Frederick Burr Opper was the chief political cartoonist for PUCK when William Randolph Hearst hired him in 1899 to draw comics for the NEW YORK JOURNAL. A year later, Opper introduced the immortal slapstick clown, Happy Hooligan, who starred in his own strip until 1932. During that time, the prolific Opper also created a number of other features, including ALPHONSE AND GASTON and MAUD THE MULE. He also turned out a daily political cartoon for Hearst papers. During the 1920s, Opper was known as the "dean emeritus" of American cartooning for his talent and longevity in the field. He is still regarded as one of the founding fathers of the art form.
 
Winsor McCay (1869 - 1934) - Little Nemo in Slumberland
Little NemoLITTLE NEMO IN SLUMBERLAND is universally acclaimed as one of the true inspirational masterpieces of comic art. The fantastic imagery and superb draftsmanship that Winsor McCay lavished on his brainchild has rarely been equaled in the art form. He created numerous other memorable features including DREAMS OF THE RAREBIT FIEND, HUNGRY HENRIETTA and LITTLE SAMMY SNEEZE. McCay was also an early pioneer in the field of animation, producing the historic film, GERTIE THE DINOSAUR, in 1909. Late in his career this prolific and versatile artist went on to become an influential editorial cartoonist for the Hearst newspapers, while continuing his comic strip andanimation. McCay penned his own epitaph when he wrote, "Simply, I could not keep myself from drawing."
Study Points - Heavy use of Surrealism
 
Visit a wonderful page dedicated to Winsor and Little Nemo
 

Bud Fisher (1885 - 1954)- Mutt & Jeff 1907
T
he first successful daily comic strip, MUTT AND JEFF, initially appeared under the title A. MUTT on the sports pages of the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE on November 15, 1907. By 1915, when MUTT AND JEFF creator Bud Fisher left the Hearst papers for the Wheeler Syndicate, the strip had become a national sensation, inspiring a series of animated cartoons and making Fisher the highest paid cartoonist in he country. While talented assistants continued the strip during the 1920s and 30s, Fisher pursued a colorful high-spending life style, hob-nobbing with actors and writers and providing numerous scandals for the newspaper gossip pages. In 1934, Al Smith took over MUTT AND JEFF, while Fisher loosely supervised until his death in 1954.

George Herriman (1880 - 1944) - Krazy Kat
Krazy KatIn 1924, Gilbert Seldes, the noted art critic, praised the comic strip KRAZY KAT as "the most amusing, fantastic and satisfactory work of art produced in America today." George Herriman, the modest creator of this poetic masterpiece, responded to Seldes by complaining that, "now I've got an inflated 'mouse' -- a 'kop' busing with Ego -- and a 'kat' gone clean Kookoo -- on my hands." Although Herriman was, and still remains, the darling of the intellectuals, his strip -- which first appeared regularly in 1913 -- was never a commercial success. By 1944, it could be found in only 35 newspapers. Fortunately for future generations of comic lovers, Herriman's greatest fan was his publisher, William Randolph Hearst, who put aside financial considerations and allowed one of America's truly gifted graphic geniuses a forum to express his unique fantasies.
Study Point - existential questioning of dominant ideology
 
Chic Young (1901 -1973) - Blondie
BlondiePerhaps the most successful comic strip of all time, BLONDIE was created by Murat (Chic) Young in 1930. In the early years, Blondie Boopadoop, a bird-brained flapper, was pursued by Dagwood Bumstead, a tycoon's bungling son. When Dagwood married Blondie in 1933, his father disinherited him. He was condemned to a life of middle-class drudgery, chasing buses, getting chewed out by his boss and grabbing lunch in a greasy diner. The Bumstead family has delighted generations of readers, inspiring film television and book adaptations. The strip won Young the Reuben Award as the best cartoonist of the year in 1948. Today, Chic Young's son Dean and artist Stan Drake continue BLONDIE which remains among the very top strips in the comic business.
Study Point - Girl strip to domestic strip
 
Frank King - Gasoline Alley
Under Construction

GEORGE McMANUS (1884 - 1954) Bringing Up Father

Bringing Up FatherLegendary for his difficulties in meeting deadlines and for his uncanny resemblance to his main character, George McManus was also among the most prolific of the early cartoonists. The most notable of his many experiments on the comics pages were: THE NEWLYWEDS, one of the first family features; ROSIE'S BEAU, a prototype of the popular pretty-girl strip; and SPARE RIBS AND GRAVY, a classic of pure slapstick. The stars of these pioneering creations were ultimately overshadowed by the popularity of Maggie and Jiggs, the chief protagonists of BRINGING UP FATHER, which debuted in 1913. Maggie and Jiggs, rags-to-riches Irish immigrants, were the first in a long line of squabbling couples in t he eternal battle of the sexes fought out on the funnies pages.

THOMAS NAST (1840 - 1902)
When the father of American political cartooning retired at the turn of the century, a newspaper correspondent wrote: "The pressures of the great issues of the Civil War raised up a Lincoln, a Grant and a Nast. Lincoln broad in love, firm in purpose; Grant brave and unyielding; Nast an inspired artist to encourage the hearts of the rulers and the soldiers of the people." This was a fitting tribute to the man who created or popularized the visual symbols of the Republican elephant, the Democratic donkey and Uncle Sam, and who brought the powerful Boss Tweed and his infamous Tammany Ring to justice. But Nast's creation of the modern image of Santa Claus still remains his most fondly remembered contribution to our culture.

Harold Gray (1894 - 1968) Little Orphan Annie

Little Orphan AnnieThe feisty, red-headed Little Orphan Annie first appeared in the funnies August 5, 1924. She's gone on to become one of the most popular cartoon characters of all time. Harold Gray's creation inspired movie adaptations, a radio serial and an award-winning stage play. Frequently using the strip to express his conservative political views, Gray is still regarded by both his critics and his fans as a master storyteller and a creator of powerful characters. Orphan Annie and her wealthy benefactor, Daddy Warbucks, were more than just vehicles for Gray's gripping tales. Over the course of the last seven decades, they have transcended newspaper ink to become heroic figures in the legacy of modern American Mythology.

Study Points - Moves from girl strip genre to adventure genre also moves to radio and theatre.


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