“The Liquor Drought.”


“The Liquor Drought.” (Among Us Mortals, 06/16/1944)
by W.E. (William Ely) Hill (1887-1962)
18.5 x 15 in., ink on board
Coppola Collection

W.E. (William Ely) Hill (1887-1962) was known for his masterful black and white Sunday page, “Among Us Mortals,” sometimes referred to as the Hill Page. Please see the Gallery description for more about Hill.

In this June 16, 1944 edition, titled “The Liquor Drought.”

“Homer is making the biggest kind of a hit with Lois by ordering champagne cocktails. She doesn’t know they’re the cheapest drinks in the Happy-Day bar and Grill.”

 

“Landscape Sunset” (2019)


“Landscape Sunset” (2019)
By Neil Carroll (1996-)
6 x 6 in., oil on canvas
Coppola Collection

Carroll is a self-taught painter from London. He has been painting in oils since 2011, and doing it full time since 2017. He has developed a strong impressionist style layered onto a bold realist foundation.

I liked the Rothko sense of these horizontals.

 

“Seein’ Stars” (March 27, 1941)


“Seein’ Stars” (March 27, 1941)
by Frederic Seymour “Fred” or “Feg” Murray (1894-1973)
11 x 14 in., ink on board
Coppola Collection

A bronze medalist from the 1920 Olympics, Murray became a sports and “Hollywood gossip” cartoonist. The “Seein’ Stars” feature ran daily from 1933-1941, although the Sunday strip continued to 1951. My two examples are lined up with my WW2 interests. The other one features an actor who plays Hitler.

This edition features a profile of George E Stone (1903-1976), who portrays Hirohito (although the character’s name was Suki Yaki) in “The Devil with Hitler” (1942). The plot is a burlesque farce: In the pits of Hell, the board of directors decides to replace Satan with Adolf Hitler. Satan persuades them to give him 48 hours to save his job by getting Hitler to perform a single good deed.

 

“Joe Kennedy says…”


“Joe Kennedy says…” (January 24, 1941)
by Mischa Richter (1910-2001)
11 x 14 in., ink and wash on paper
Coppola Collection

Mischa Richter (1910-2001) was a well-known New Yorker, King Features, and PM newspaper cartoonist who worked for the Communist Party’s literary journal “New Masses” in the late 1930 and early 1940s, becoming its art editor in the 1940s.

Just before that time, he worked in the WPA art project as a mural painter in New York. He then turned to cartooning, doing editorial and humorous cartoons for the daily newspaper, PM, and then becoming art editor for the New Masses.

The New Masses (1926–1948) was an American Marxist magazine closely associated with the Communist Party in the US. It succeeded The Masses (1912—1917) and later merged into Masses & Mainstream (1948—1963). With the coming of the Great Depression in 1929, America became more receptive to ideas from the political left and the New Masses became highly influential in intellectual circles. The magazine has been called “the principal organ of the American cultural left” from 1926 onwards.

In 1941 Richter began his longtime affiliation with the New Yorker, as well as producing daily panels, “Strictly Richter” and “Bugs Baer” for King Features. In the 1970s and 1980s, Richter did numerous drawings for the OpEd page of the New York Times.

Although he was FDR’s ambassador to the UK, Joe Kennedy was an isolationist and increasingly at odds with FDR as it became clear that the US would eventually become involved with the war in Europe. FDR kept Kennedy in the UK, out of reach of the public eye in the US.

Shortly after FDR’s re-election in November 1940, Kennedy was brought back to the US and was a public critic of the President. He was vocal about Churchill, FDR, and even Eleanor Roosevelt, and famously declared “democracy was finished in England.” The two men continue to fall out. In January 1941, FDR met one last time with Kennedy, dissuading him from publically opposing the lend-lease program.

The drawing depicts two P.O.Ws stating “Joe Kennedy says the people of Europe are asking what they’re fighting for.”

“Seein’ Stars” (July 21, 1941)


“Seein’ Stars” (July 21, 1941)
by Frederic Seymour “Fred” or “Feg” Murray (1894-1973)
11 x 14 in., ink on board
Coppola Collection

A bronze medalist from the 1920 Olympics, Murray became a sports and “Hollywood gossip” cartoonist. The “Seein’ Stars” feature ran daily from 1933-1941, although the Sunday strip continued to 1951. My two examples are lined up with my WW2 interests. This one features an actor who plays Hitler, the other an actor who plays Hirohito.

This edition recounts the travails of an actor who played Hitler in a movie called “Man Hunt.” Carl Ekberg (1903-1976) was typecast as Hitler, which must have been internal information as he only ever acted in uncredited roles. The first time he played Der Fuhrer was in the movie referenced here (“Man Hunt,” June 1941 release), and then again in “Citizen Kane” (September 1941 release), which, all things considered, is pretty cool. He portrayed Hitler twice again in 1942 (“The Wife Takes a Flyer” and “Once Upon a Honeymoon”), and German soldiers 15 more times between 1943-48. That was it for his filmography until he played Hitler one more uncredited time in 1966 (“What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?”).

Bloom County (May 14, 1981)


Bloom County (May 14, 1981)
by Guy Berkeley (Berke) Breathed (1957-)
7 x 18 in., ink on paper
Coppola Collection

The second appearance of Michael Binkley, and the first in a full character reveal.

While he was an ink-slinging student at UT-Austin, Breathed got noticed by The Washington Post, and he was recruited to do a nationally syndicated strip. A 1987 Pulitzer winner, he is known for Bloom County, Outland, and Opus.

Bloom County premiered on December 8, 1980 and ran through August 1989. It was revived in 2015.

Steve Dallas and Michael Binkley were both introduced in May 1981.

Binkley is the first recurring child character, after Milo Bloom, to appear in the strip.

As seen here, Binkley (who first appeared May 14 and gets his first name on May 18) originally appeared as a player on Milo’s elementary school football team. The coach is Major Bloom, who uses the team to live out his fantasy of being a great military commander. Binkley is originally depicted as a stereotypical nerd; he is much smaller than the other children and has thick glasses, bad skin, and messy hair. He has about 8 total appearances in May, and then a week later (June 8, 1981), the more familiar poofy-haired version of the character appears for the first time.

We presume these two Binkley’s are the same character, although a kid who looks like the one depicted here shows up once, on June 23.

See the additional images and judge for yourself.


May 12, 1981 (2 days before)


May 14, 1981 (as printed)


June 8, 1981


June 23, 1981

“Bringing Up Father” (July 28, 1942)


“Bringing Up Father” (July 28, 1942)
by George McManus (1884-1954) and Zeke Zekley (1915-2005)
23.25 x 5.75 in., ink on paper
Coppola Collection

In 1904, young George McManus was hired by Pulitzer’s New York World as a cartoonist. While he was there he created such strips as The Newlyweds, which comics historians consider the first family comic strip. In 1912, William Randolph Hearst hired McManus away to start a comic strip about a guy called Jiggs, a lower class man who came into a lot of money. With their new wealth, Maggie, Jiggs’ wife, wanted to enter the upper crust of society but Jiggs just wanted to hang out with his old friends at the local bar playing cards and pool and eat his simple favorite foods. This is the classic strip Bringing Up Father.

McManus had masterful line work with a strong deco feel to his designs. Over time, he developed the recurring motif of animating the background paintings in certain panels, and this is generally delightful.

The whimsy in the funny papers often sits in sharp contrast to the news of the day.

Earlier in July (July 4), the mass murder, by gassing, of Jews held at Auschwitz had begun. The Soviets had begun to press the Germans on the Eastern Front (Stalingrad) and the Italians at El Alamain (North Africa). On the 28thh, Stalin, seeking to reinforce the patriotic Soviet spirit, issued the famous Order 227. It’s key phrase “Not one step back!” would become a rallying cry throughout the rest of 1942 and into 1943.

“In Bed with a Cold.”


“In Bed with a Cold.” (Among Us Mortals, 01/09/1944)
by W.E. (William Ely) Hill (1887-1962)
19 x 13 in., ink on board
Coppola Collection

W.E. (William Ely) Hill (1887-1962) was known for his masterful black and white Sunday page, “Among Us Mortals,” sometimes referred to as the Hill Page.

In this January 9, 1944 edition, titled “In Bed with a Cold.”

“The wife won’t allow him ”to get up, even to shut the radio off. He wanted the 12 o’clock news, but that’s done with, and he’s having to listen to Elspeth May Doolittle’s daily chit-chat for the busy housewife, rife with choice recipes and friendly gossip.

“Don’t You Know There’s A War On?”


“Don’t You Know There’s A War On?” (Among Us Mortals, 11/14/1943)
by W.E. (William Ely) Hill (1887-1962)
26 x 19 in., ink on board
Coppola Collection

W.E. (William Ely) Hill (1887-1962) was known for his masterful black and white Sunday page, “Among Us Mortals,” sometimes referred to as the Hill Page.

In this November 14, 1943 edition, titled “Don’t You Know There’s a War On?”

“The little wife has brought husband’s size 16 shirt for the laundry man to see the terrible shrinkage. And what’s he going to do about it? The laundry man knows his business and just says “Lady, don’t you know there’s a war on?”

“Wartime Vacationists”


“Wartime Vacationists” (Among Us Mortals, 08/16/1942)
by W.E. (William Ely) Hill (1887-1962)
22 x 17 in., ink on board
Coppola Collection

W.E. (William Ely) Hill (1887-1962) was known for his masterful black and white Sunday page, “Among Us Mortals,” sometimes referred to as the Hill Page.

In this August 16, 1942 edition, titled “Wartime Vacationists.”

“War is hell for a girl who used to ask bevies of picked males for week-end vacations at daddy’s country place. This year – what with the draft, defense jobs and gas shortages – there just aren’t any male visitors. Has to do the best she can with 14 and 15-year-old local talent. And that ain’t hay.”