Archive for the ‘cartoons’ Category

Collectors come out for £2,700 Oz on eBay

March 31, 2014


Oz magazine first issue

Oz magazine first issue January 1967

Underground magazine Oz is one of the most collectable titles – and proved the point in March when half-a-dozen bidders took their offers up from the £999 starting price to £2,728 in just nine bids. The set included all 48 issues ‘in exceptional condition’ of a magazine that sparked the 1972 Oz trial and introduced Felix Dennis to the magazine world.

A copy of the Oz first issue on its own went for £895 – well above the £650 one sold for back in 2007. Several others issues fetched up to £220.

Another title that attracts collectors is trendy cycling title Rouleur, with a set of the first 43 issues selling for £1000 as a buy-it-now.

Part works aren’t usually big sellers but a James Bond collection with models cars fetched £691. Buying it new would have cost £7.99 x 132, more than £1000.


Strand magazine from April 1904 with Sherlock Holmes

Strand magazine from April 1904 with Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes in the Strand is a long-standing attraction for collectors and a set of the first seven volumes of the magazine fetched £545. Mind you, unbound copies fetch far more, and this single issue of the April 1904 Strand with a Holmes story fetched £443.

The first 50 issues of the Face were priced at £500 and the seller took an undisclosed offer.













Louis Wain – cats, frogs and his sister

March 27, 2014
Felecie Wain illustration from Home Notes - Louis Wain's mother

Anthropomorphised frogs from Home Notes by Felecie Wain – Louis Wain’s sister







Louis Wain became famous to Victorians for his humanlike – anthropomorphised – animal drawings, particularly cats, which were widely published, as magazine illustrations, books and cards. He was ‘the man who drew cats’. The image above is from a children’s page in C. Arthur Pearson’s popular women’s weekly Home Notes in 1899, at a time when the prodigious Wain contributed at least a drawing an issue to this magazine alone. However, it is by ‘Felecie Wain’, Louis Wain’s sister, who was also known as ‘Felice’.

Frog tableaux were popular at the time and Dickens had a small statue of sword-fighting frogs on his desk as Gad’s Hill when he died.

According to a Margate newsletter, Wain moved to the neighbouring seaside town of Westgate in 1894 with his four sisters and mother at the suggestion of Sir William Ingram, who lived there and owned Illustrated London News (founded by his father in 1842). Wain’s wife had recently died and Ingram also owned Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, where Wain had worked since 1882. The newsletter shows photographs of Wain’s homes and the graves of both his mother and Felecie.

The image below is a drunken Wain cat held by the V&A Museum.

Louis Wain cat out on the razzle

Louis Wain’s ‘Hallo there! We won’t go home till morning’ showing a cat out on the razzle



Louis Wain, schizophrenia and cats’ eyes

March 22, 2014
Louis Wain's schizophrenic cats eyes from Home Notes 1899

Louis Wain’s schizophrenic cats eyes from Home Notes 1899

Louis Wain was famous to Victorians as ‘the man who drew cats’. There is a theory that Wain had schizophrenia and that the development of the illness can be seen in his cat drawings. It was not until 1924 that his sisters had him committed to a mental hospital, but this rarely seen sketch from the popular women’s weekly Home Notes in 1899 shows that he had a thing about cats’ eyes even at the height of his powers.

Eagles, comics and magazines at the V&A’s NAL

May 21, 2012

Comics blog Cor Blimey! has visited the Eagle-era comics exhibition at the V&A and his review starts off cool but warms up.

The Eagle exhibition was mounted by Marc Ward of the National Art Library, which is housed at the V&A – but, despite its size, is easy to miss! The NAL has a very easy to search catalogue - you can just search on periodical names for example – which is useful not only for planning what to see but also for checking dates, publisher (even if they do not have a particular item).

They have complete runs of magazine such as Vogue and while it’s biased towards fashion and design titles, has issues across a range of areas, including international titles It’s a reference only collection but worth becoming a reader if they’ve got what you want.

As an example, I was in there a few weeks ago to look at Dazed & Confused. I could check what the NAL holds and a search on the main V&A website showed that Nick Knight had donated a selection of his photographs and I could look at them too – including prints of Aimee Mullins from the Fashion-Able issue. Tip: search on the surname. And, of course, the NAL holds a copy of last year’s Dazed history published by Rizzoli by Jefferson Hack with Kate Moss on the cover.

Shortlist hits 200 with Steadman / Depp cover

November 3, 2011
Ralph Steadman cover for Johnny Depp interview talking about Hunter S. Thompson in Shortlist's 200th issue

Ralph Steadman cover for Johnny Depp interview talking about Hunter S. Thompson in Shortlist's 200th issue

Free city men’s weekly Shortlist is celebrating its 200th issue with a Johnny Depp article promoting a film adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary. On the cover is an exclusive (to all 523,665 copies) Ralph Steadman cover. Steadman was the Gonzo artist who illustrated several of Thompson’s articles and books, such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Spot the difference – FT and Punch

September 5, 2011

Catching up on reading at the weekend and this FT Magazine looked so familiar:

FT Weekend Magazine with tennis champion Kim Clijsters on the cover

FT Weekend Magazine with tennis champion Kim Clijsters on the cover




















And then I remembered  this one:

From Punch 155 Dec 1954: 'Her' a magazine spoof with spot colour by Norman Mansbridge

From Punch 15 Dec 1954: 'Her' a magazine spoof with spot colour by Norman Mansbridge





















Must be something about the eyes, the position on the page and that shade of red!

It was part of a 5-page skit on women’s magazines by Norman Mansbridge in Punch. Perhaps not an everyday name now, but he was a Punch cartoonist before and after the war, a navy war artist, and later cartoonist for the Daily Sketch. He retired from there to add another string to his bow – cartoon trips for Fleetway and IPC comics, some of which ran for 20 years – among them ‘Fuss Pot’, ‘Tough Nutt and Softly Centre’ and ‘Mummy’s Boy’.

Tripewriter genius of Private Eye at the V&A

June 24, 2011

Private Eye at the V&AThe world of print is dragging my time away from the online side at present, delving into the archives at the National Art Library at the V&A for a book on the history of magazine design (1840 to today) and a section on magazine history for The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain. Also, moving a collection of several thousand magazines has really tested my back in the past few days!

But I note that the V&A is hosting a 50th birthday celebration exhibition for Private Eye in October. There’s one not to be missed. Great journalism (with all its carbuncles), biting cartoons – and at the cutting edge of technology using Letraset, typewriter-produced text [though its enemies might describe it as tripewriter] and offset-litho printing in 1961. Its mode of production would be adopted 15 years later by the Punk fanzines. The magazine has its own page on the event, Private Eye at 50: Making an exhibition of ourselves.

The displays will no doubt focus on the cartoonists – Willy Rushton, Ralph Steadman and Gerald Scarfe to name three – and Private Eye’s bubble covers. But will it give a chance to air photos of old men wearing white vests? Dust off the Fergus Cashin rug? Will Gnitty become a household name? And one for a BBC Radio 4 series – how would the magazine landscape have looked if Private Eye had taken up the offer to write the news pages for Michael Heseltine’s Town?

You know something is doing well when it is hated as well as loved. Such was the venom with which the Eye is (or was) held that the likes of Jeffrey Bernard, Derek Jameson, Clive Jenkins, Ken Livingstone, Spike Milligan, Austin Mitchell, Michael Parkinson, Lady Rothermere and Mary Whitehouse backed the criminal Robert Maxwell in Not Private Eye and his fight to bring Richard Ingrims and pals down. Yet thousands of people rode to the rescue when court fines in losing libel cases to St Jammy Fishfingers and the Bouncing Czech threatened to bring it down.

There’s always someone writing ‘why I’m cancelling my subscription’ (there’s a typical one in Gerald Scarfe’s Drawing Blood, though it might be about a cartoon in the Sunday Times) or ‘why I don’t read you any more‘ letters. And that’s exactly as it should be.

Birthday honours for the magazine world

June 11, 2011
Radio Times Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice Jennifer Earle

Colin Firth and Jennifer Earle from 'Pride and Prejudice' on the cover of 'Radio Times'

Some gongs for faces in the magazine world this morning (though not many). Top of the list is Helen Alexander – who becomes a dame – and recently stepped down as CBI president. She was chief executive of the Economist Group for 11 years and is chair of trade magazine group Incisive Media. Alexander followed Marjorie Scardino into the Economist job after ‘Marge in charge’ took over as chief exec of Pearson (and also follows Marge in becoming a dame). The Financial Times (a Pearson company) has reported that Alexander would love to chair a FTSE 100 company (Pearson is one of them), ‘one day’ but ‘I don’t think it is necessarily the right next step’.

Telegraph fashion journalist and US Vogue contributor Sarah Mower is awarded an MBE , as is Clive Collins, cartoonist and illustrator who contributed to Punch from 1964 to its closure, before becoming the Sun‘s political cartoonist and later moving to the Sunday People and Evening Standard.

Jenni Murray, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, also becomes a dame.

One for the female viewership is a CBE for actor Colin Firth. Although The King’s Speech is on everyone’s lips at the moment, it was the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice that established his heart-throb status. Letters to the Radio Times said:

‘Colin Firth is the sexiest person on the screen … The scenes with Jennifer Ehle are truly erotic, and they hardly touch each other.’

Full list of Birthday honours

Pink Floyd cartoon: what’s it all about?

December 13, 2010
Pink Floyd Richard Right cartoon in the style of Playboy

Pink Floyd Richard Right cartoon in the style of Playboy

The more you look at this the more you see: Hugh Hefner, Charlton Heston, Rupert the Bear, they’re all obvious. But why is Charlton shouting ‘Annie Goni!’; who are the ‘wild bunch’ ‘packed lunch’ pair; and what about ‘The puppy ate the guppy’?

If anyone can translate Richard Wright’s ‘Rich right’ cartoon from ‘The Pink Floyd Super All-Action Official Music Programme for Boys and Girls‘, I’d be grateful.

Anna Chapman echoes a WWI spy

July 13, 2010

spy Anna Chapman

Sultry Anna Chapman and her fellow spies have been all over the news, as much for their ineptness as anything else. Their activities remind me of Schmidt the Spy, whose activities amused readers of London Opinion during the first world war. Schmidt was an invention of Alfred Leete, who created the world’s most famous magazine cover.

Like Bruce Bairnsfather’s Old Bill from Bystander, Scmidt was published in a booklet and then as a book, Schmidt the Spy and his Message to Berlin.

The work of both Leete and Bairnsfather can be seen at the Imperial War Museum in London. The museum holds Leete’s original artwork and the omnibus named after Bairnsfather’s Old Bill that took troops to the front in France. The character was so famous that the police were given the nickname after the war (many of them were old soldiers and sported moustaches) – which continues to this day with ITV’s The Bill.


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