Monday, May 28, 2012

Sports editorial comics

I am still amazed at how the world works, maybe it's just a matter of paying attention. I came across this article in the New York Times online "Lost Occupation, Lost Art as Sports Cartooning Dies" written by Rich Sandomir on the decline of newspapers using sports cartoonists. I grew up reading the NY Daily News and probably received most of my sport education from the Bill Gallo and Bruce Stark drawings. I was aware of the Willard Mullins covers from the New York Mets yearbooks, which I still have!

The line from the article "With the stroke of a pen, they animate the page, maybe in a way that even photographs could not," Larry Merchant former NY Post sports columnist...

A day after reading this, my wife and I were going through a box of old photos from her parents house and mixed in was a newspaper sports page from 1934. On the page was a drawing by Gus Edson of light heavyweight boxer Bob Olin, who in 1934 lost twice to Lou Brouillard. The cartoon easily captures the huge effort Olin had to make to earn the title fight.  Olin would finish his career with a record of 55-27-5 (25 KO)...

Edson would also draw the comic strip the Gumps, created by Sidney Smith in 1917 and co-creating the comic strip Dondi with Irwin Hasen...

Before the days of internet access, whenever I used to travel (mostly soccer tournaments) I would pick up local newspapers to see what comic strips they were carrying, and if they had a sports cartoonist. I would try to write to as many as possible, with little success. As time went on I found less newspapers carrying sports cartoons, and the comic strips were getting smaller. I for one still enjoy the sports cartoon and hopefully the newspaper publishers will see the beauty of sports cartoons and start including more of them in their on-line editions...


This also provides me the opportunity to share a recent purchase, a multicolored sketch of Moon Mullins by Ferd Johnson.
Created by Frank Willard in 1923 the comic strip ran until 1991. The strip depicts the lives of lowbrow characters who reside in a boarding house, the central character being Moon Mullins a would-be prizefighter strapped for cash and a penchant for gambling and the horses...

Other sports related comic strips have also been published in the newspapers including Joe Palooka, created by Ham Fisher in 1921; All In Sport by Chet Adams 1940s; Cleats by Bill Hinds 2001; Tank McNamara by Hinds and Jeff Millar 1974; Out of Bounds Don Wilder and Bill Rechin, 1986;

Although not central to the story line sports were always a big part of Peanuts, Frazz, Shoe and the Wizard of Id

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