Category Archives: Screwball

Screwball Sunday: I Vote For Rube Goldberg—Three Election Cartoons

 Rube Goldberg had a lot to say about American elections. His biting wit and loopy cartooning brought welcome smiles and a dash of truth about the unavoidable nuttiness of politics. Later in his career, he left humor comics behind to enjoy a long career as a Pulitzer-Prize-winning political cartoonist. Here are three rare Goldberg gems […]

Screwball Sunday: Vot It Iss—Jimmy Swinnerton’s “Professor Knix”

Professor Knix by Jimmy Swinnerton (July 3, 1904) People stop me the street. They knock on my front door and politely inquire. A few poke their heads through my bedroom window late at night when I am sleeping. I think I once heard the question emanating from deep within my bathroom plumbing. “What other cartoonists […]

Screwball Sunday: The Plop Thickens—George Swanson’s $alesman $am

Say “howdy” to Sam Howdy! Our previous last two Screwball Sundays have shared recently discovered vintage essays by George Swanson on screwball cartooning (see here and here). Today we share three prime examples of $alesman $am in 1924, when Swanson’s cartooning reached its peak of manic intensity. There’s never been a comic strip quite like […]

Screwball Sunday: George Swanson on Screwball Cartooning, Part 2

In the fall of 1930, George “Swan” Swanson wrote and illustrated this essay on what he called a “bang finish,” but which is more commonly known as a plop take. Arguably, in Swan’s hands, the plop take – where a character flies out of the last panel – ascends to an art form in itself. […]

Screwball Sunday: George Swanson on Screwball Cartooning, Part 1

In the fall of 1930, George “Swan” Swanson wrote and illustrated an illuminating essay on comic exaggeration in cartoons. His pointers succinctly outline his methods and provide insight into the art of over-the-top screwball cartooning. His lessons work as well today as they did 90 years ago. Chapter 12 in LOAC’s Screwball! The Cartoonists Who […]

Screwball Sunday: A Crazy Cat in George Herriman’s 1903 Jolly Jackies Farce

“Kitty! Kitty!” by George Herriman, September 6, 1903 Freshly hired as a staff cartoonist at the New York World, George Herriman scored an early success with his January-to-November 1903 Sunday series, Two Jolly Jackies, about the misadventures of two sailors on shore leave. “Jacky” was a popular term for a sailor, coming from “Jack Tar,” […]

Screwball Sunday: A Double Bill: Holman’s “Smokey” and “Spooky”

Smokey Stover and Spooky, August 8, 1936 For a while, Bill Holman’s silent Spooky topper strip enjoyed as much space as his top, um, Bill-ed star: Smokey Stover. Readers in 1936 were treated to two fine comics, each a celebration of nutty, over-the-top comedy. Today’s Screwball Sunday comic comes from Smokey Stover’s first year of […]

Screwball Sunday: Ving Fuller’s Doc Syke Meets a True Son of the Beach

Doc Syke – July 8, 1945 I have a friend who is a family doctor and we occasionally meet for coffee. Once, in perhaps a not-so-subtle hint, he told me how acquaintances tended to solicit free medical advice, to his great annoyance. After silently changing my mind about asking him to look at a little […]

Screwball Sunday: Professor Hamsniff Goes One Down and Two Across in Ahern’s “Squirrel Cage”

The Squirrel Cage July 4, 1937 by Gene Ahern Poor Ches and Wal. When they aren’t torturing each other with corny and surreal jokes in the panels of Gene Ahern’s sublimely ridiculous comic strip, The Squirrel Cage, Ches and Wal are deeply annoyed by the presence of other eccentrics in their proximity. Usually their foil […]