Drawing Power: A Compendium of Cartoon Advertisingby Rick Marschall, Warren Bernard
Fantagraphics’ new imprint Marschall Books presents Drawing Power, a lively collection of mass market print advertising from the 1890s to the recent past, starring both cartoonists and cartoon characters. While critics debate whether comics is high art or low art, the fact is that the comic strip was born as
A unique mix of comics, pop culture and Americana.
Fantagraphics’ new imprint Marschall Books presents Drawing Power, a lively collection of mass market print advertising from the 1890s to the recent past, starring both cartoonists and cartoon characters. While critics debate whether comics is high art or low art, the fact is that the comic strip was born as a commercial medium and was nurtured by competition, commerce, and advertising. Drawing Power will be the first book-length examination (and celebration) of the nexus of art and cartoons. It will focus on the commercial roots of newspaper strips; the cross-promotions of artists, their characters, and retail products; and of the superb artwork that cartoonists invested in their lucrative freelance work in advertising. Drawing Power is cultural history, chronicling a time in popular culture when cartoonists were celebrities and their strips and characters competed with the movies for the attention of a mass audience.
The book will examine cartoonists as public personalities, and their advertising efforts from the first heartbeat of the comic strip as an art form. Here are surprising and familiar examples of products, accounts, memorable ad campaigns, and examples of widely known catch-phrases. Examples of individual cartoon ads through the years include:Yellow Kid advertisingBuster Brown Shoe campaignsDr Seuss’ “Flit” cartoons and his longtime career hyping motor oilWWII adsPepsi and Pete by Rube GoldbergThe best-looking comic strip ads ever: Milton Caniff and Noel Sickles (under pen names!) depicting characters’ personal crises relieved by a coffee substituteLittle Orphan Annie’s famous Ovaltine campaign, and Mickey Mouse as pitch-manPeanuts shilling Falcons and B.C. shilling Dr. PepperDagwood selling atomic energyand virtually every super-hero trafficking in the mortal realm to shill every product imaginable
A special section will showcase ads that featured cartoonists themselves as hucksters; can you believe The New Yorker’s urbane Peter Arno selling, not nightclub cocktails, but working-class beer? Walt (Pogo) Kelly selling cement?
The Washington Post
- Fantagraphics Books
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 9.50(w) x 12.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Meet the Author
Rick Marschall, called by Bostonia Magazine “perhaps America’s foremost authority on popular culture,” has written or edited more than 60 books. He co-founded Nemo: The Classic Comics Library and Hogan’s Alley magazines and is President of
Rosebud Archives. He has taught comics history at the School of Visual Arts and Rutgers University. His biography of Johann
Sebastian Bach will be published by Thomas Nelson in 2010.
Warren Bernard is Executive Director of the Small Press Expo (SPX) independent sequential art festival, and is a comics-focused writer and historian. He co-authored the Eisner Award-nominated book Drawing Power, and has extensively researched and written about the 1950s Juvenile Delinquency / Senate Comic Book Hearings. A contributor to more than a dozen books, he often provides rare materials from his own extensive collection. Both the Library of Congress and the Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS) have hosted his lectures. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland.
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