Drawing Power: A Compendium of Cartoon Advertising

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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?

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Editorial Reviews

Chris Mautner - Robot 6
“The best thing about the book is the art, which shows classic characters like Little Nemo and the Yellow Kid hawking all manner of suspect gee-gaws.... Plus, there’s a nice selection of Mr. Coffee Nerves strips at the back, and I’m always a sucker for that guy.”
Rob Hardy - The Dispatch
“Now a good-looking, large-format book shows much of the history of advertising cartoons… Many of the cartoons in this colorful collection are handsome, and in hindsight, many are… silly… It is, however, all part of the enormous fun of this volume.”
Dana Jennings - The New York Times
“Herein you’ll find Peter Arno, the sophisticated New Yorker cartoonist, endorsing Rheingold Extra Dry Beer; Mickey Mouse and pals flogging just about everything under the sun except, maybe, mousetraps; and Krazy Kat selling Gulfsteel Nails. They are all Joe Camel’s ancestors.”
Michael Taube - The Washington Post
“Rick Marschall and Warren Bernard’s Drawing Power is a provocative visual examination of the wonderful world of cartoon advertising.... Marschall and Bernard have mixed an unusual batch of artistic and economic history. After reading this book, you’ll never look at comic strips and capitalism the same way again.”
The Christian Science Monitor
“Popeye hawking newspapers? Donald Duck selling gasoline? You'll find them and a whole cavalcade of comic strip characters in Drawing Power: A Compendium of Cartoon Advertising… A great treat for fans of comic strips, Americana, and ephemera.”
Lida Tsene
“Drawing Power: A Compendium of Cartoon Advertising is a book that will surely pique the interest of those involved in the communication sector, but also all who are drawn to pop culture.”
Michael Taube
…a provocative visual examination of the wonderful world of cartoon advertising…Marschall and Bernard have mixed an unusual batch of artistic and economic history. After reading this book, you'll never look at comic strips and capitalism the same way again.
—The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781606993996
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
  • Publication date: 8/31/2011
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 1,248,200
  • 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 has contributed to more than a dozen books on cartoons and comics, drawing upon his extensive collection. He has lectured on cartoons at the Library of Congress, where he assists in the cataloging of their holdings.

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