Sunday, July 30, 2006

Life Drawing Sunday VIII: Gus Dirks

<Life cover, September 19, 1901

Some of the little information there is to be found on Gus Dirks is conflicting. He was the older brother of the better-known Rudolph Dirks, though he was born two years after him. He either followed or led his brother to New York from Chicago.

Soon after his arrival in New York his drawings began appearing in Puck, Judge and Life. His work fell into a curious cartoon sub-genre, a fantasy view of the insect world, that seems to have been popular at the turn of the last century. Albert Blashfield and Harrison Cady also mined this territory. Dirks' cartoons, particularly for Judge, which allowed him to use color, were very popular and brought him to the attention of the Hearst syndicate, where he created the "Latest News from Bugville" strip.

Sometime in June of 1902, at the age of 23, Gus Dirks took his own life. The only mention of this I've been able to find is a small comment from the June 13, 1902 edition of the Los Angeles Times:
Gus Dirks, the brilliant young artist, whose work is familiar to American magazine and newspaper readers, worked himself to the suicide point and lies dead in the great metropolis. The strenuous life these days is wearing on the young and old alike.

I don't know if there was ever any mention of this made in Life itself; the issues I have from 1902 run only through June 26th. That issue has two Dirks drawings in it, but there is no mention of him or his death in the text of the magazine.

All of the following drawings are from that first half of 1902. Unless Life kept a large inventory, this is likely the very last work he did for the magazine.

March 13, 1902

March 27, 1902

April 24, 1902

May 15, 1902

May 22, 1902

May 29, 1902

June 5, 1902

June 5, 1902

June 19, 1902

June 26, 1902

June 26, 1902

Updated 8/01 to correct some text and add two more drawings.

Monday, July 17, 2006

A Robert Clampett Cartoon (and a Story)

From The Junior Times, May 16, 1926.

by Robert Clampett, Glendale

(Here is a prizewinning story in our literary division.—Aunt Dolly.)

Monday—I just finished a book called "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" bing about a detecktiff. Me thinking wot great fun it would be, me bing a detecktiff. This morning I finished my plans, so me and Luke are now open for bizzness. We took Luke's old piano box and painted a sine on the big side saying—"Spud and Luke Detecktiff Agency." We thot of moving the box to my front lawn, wich would be a good location for our offiss. But Mom wasn't exactly so keen on tbe idea. She giving us a warning wot we shouldn't put it there.

Wich we didn't.

Tuesday—Today we got our first call for bizzness bing "Pug Morgan" asking us if we could trace his baseball bat. I quick offered him a seat, bing a soap box, and asked him for the detales of the case. Him saying wot he left his bat all nite on his frunt lawn and he found it gone next morning. Me telling him I would quick send my best "bat tracer," Inspektor Luke on the trial, but we would need 10 cents to cover our expenses. Him running home fast and returning with a dime.

Wednesday-This morning Luke and me started on the trail of the bat thief. But the weather bing slitely warm compeld us to spend our dime on a strawberry ice cream cone with a cherry on top, apeece. We then played football at Hogan's lot the rest of the morning. This afternoon we thot we had better do our dooty, bing to try and find the bat.

Wich we did, without any luck.

Thursday-We kept up the search today looking every place imaginable. On the way home this noon for lunch we passed Kress's 5 and 10 cent Store. Suddenly Luke jumped up in the air yelling, "A clew, im hot on the sent. Do mine eyes fool me? No, aha! im rite." Him acting regular Sherlock Holmes fashion. My saying, "Wot's up?" "The bat has been found by my gengoowine detecktiff ability," He said. "Wot kind did Pug say his bat was?" "A Kress's special." Me ansering. "Aha, rite I am," said Luke, as he pointed to a bat lying on the counter." So Luke goes up to the lady behind the counter saying, "Where on earth did you find Pug's bat?" And he took the bat starting to walk out. "Whot's the idea?" Asked the floorwawker. "Gimme that bat." "It's Pugs." I sed. The floorwalker informed me differnt, telling us never to come in the store again.

Wich we wont.

Friday—This morning Pug Morgan came in asking wot news we had of his bat. Me saying we couldn't find a trace of it, bing a very diffkult job. "Oh, that's all rite," he sed. "You just gimme my dime back and we'll let it go." I sed, "Ah-er-we-ah-spent the dime, or find me a new bat." So you better eether gimme back my dime, or find me a new bat." So we sed we'd find him a bat, that bing eezyer than to get a dime. Bing that Luke's pop and mine is rather tite.

Tonite I started to kind'a hint to pop. Me saying, "Pop do you know where one can find a bat free of charge?" Pop saying, "Sure, there's quite a few places. You can usually find them in a haunted house or, Ah! I know, you mite find some at the ol' deserted chapel on the hill. Me saying, 'Thanx, and going off to bed with big plans for Saterday.

Saturday—Today Luke and me started off for the old deserted chapel. Luke bing overjoyed sinse we knew a place to find a bat. It was neerly noon when we reeched our destination. Me starting to go in but finding it all dark made Luke go in first. The chapel was second hand bing full of cobwebs and having a bunch of little black birds flying around the walls. Luke said "I don't see no bats." Me saying. "Rite you are, let's beet it." So out we ran quick, making me feel good to be out of the chapel, it bing rather spooky.

So off we started home, me getting home late for dinner. When I went to the table pop sed, "Ware on earth have you been all afternoon?" Me saying, "To the chapel to find a bat." "Well ware is it?" He asked."There wasn't any there," I ansered. "I'll bet you ten cigars to a toothpick there must be." He sed.

Me taking up the bet.

Sunday—Today bing Sunday, pop had a vacation. After churtch me, pop, and Luke started off for the chapel, so pop could prove he was rite about the bet. When we arrived I wawked in bravely sinse pop was there. "Now," I sed, "Show me a single bat." "There." He sed. "A whole pile of 'em, one-two-three-four—Why there must be a half-dozen." Luke saying, ''Where?" "There." Sed pop. And he pointed to the ceeling. I sed, "I don't see a single one." "Yee gods! Are you blind?" He asked. Me saylng, "Nosir, but all I can see on the wall is a bunch of spider webbs and black-see-gulls."

"Seegulls!" he yelled. "Well some kind of bird." I sed. "Son, would you mind trotting home as fast as your legs can carry you and looking up bat in the dicktionary." "Nosir." I sed.

Wich I did.

From The Junior Times, April 15, 1928. Spelling and punctuation errors are as written. Mostly. I probably added a few of my own, bing a diffkult job to transcribe. There's also a typesetting error in paragraph 8 which is left as published.

More info on The Junior Times can be found in the comments section of this post the Animation Guild blog. Other contributions to The Junior Times from soon-to-be-great animators can be found at Animation Blast (Ed Benedict) and Blackwing Diaries (Fred Moore, under the influence of John Held, Jr.)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Life Drawing Sunday 7: T.S. Sullivant, 1894

The instantly recognizable Sullivant style is still in development in the first half of 1894, but several of the drawings hint at what is to come. The oversized head and the oddly constructed animal appear among much more conventionally expressed cartoons. There is also a drawing of Old Testament characters, which would over time become one of Sullivant's main subjects, along with cavemen, animals and Hibernian louts.

March 8, 1894

March 22, 1894

March 29, 1894

March 29, 1894

March 29, 1894

April 12, 1894

May 17, 1894

May 24, 1894

May 31, 1894

June 14, 1894

June 14, 1894

June 21, 1894

June 28, 1894

Monday, July 03, 2006

Life Drawing Sunday VI: Fourth of July

F.T. Richards, June 28, 1894

Michael Angelo Woolf, June 28, 1894

Hy Mayer, June 28, 1894

Percy Crosby, July 6, 1922

B. Cory Kilvert, July 5, 1923

Charles Forbell, July 5, 1923

Gluyas Williams, July 5, 1923

unknown July 3, 1924

Gluyas Williams, July 3, 1924

Charles Sykes, July 3, 1924

Ellison Hoover, July 3, 1924

Percy Crosby, July 3, 1924