Should cartoonists credit their sources?

Steve Bell sends up David Cameron's immigration strategy in the Guardian (21 October p29)

Steve Bell sends up David Cameron’s immigration strategy in the Guardian (21 October p29)

To address the question posed by the headline, in the cases discussed here, my answer is Yes. So, congratulations to Steve Bell, the Guardian‘s political cartoonist, for crediting Alfred Leete in this cartoon last month.

This image is, of course, a parody of Leete’s famed Your Country Needs You magazine cover for London Opinion at the outbreak of the Great War in 1914. It’s the most influential magazine cover yet seen and is copied or parodied, knowingly and unknowingly, an untold number of times each day all over the world.

All too often, cartoonists demonstrate their lack of knowledge, or meanness of spirit, by not crediting their direct rip-offs. So brickbats to Peter Brookes of the Times in August for his Leete parody below. No doubt he would defend the borrowing, but why not credit the source? As Bell demonstrates, it is easily done. There’s a double brickbat here in the centenary of the start of the Great War. For Leete joined the Artists’ Rifles and went to the front at the age of 33. Furthermore, his image became the famous recruiting poster and has been credited with being the face of Lord Kitchener’s volunteer recruitment campaign. Leete later gave the artwork to the Imperial War Museum, where it can be seen to this day.

Peter Brookes political cartoon in the style of Alfred Leete from the Times (August 5)

Peter Brookes political cartoon in the style of Alfred Leete from the Times (August 5)

The Times cartoonist of today established his name with a cover for Oz, of all places, back in the 1971. Brookes copied a cover by Peter Driben for US title Beauty Parade (February 1949) for the Oz ‘Young love’ cover (issue 37, September 1971). For that one, he signed himself ‘Peter Hack-Brookes’.

Peter Hack-Brookes cover for Oz from September 1971 - a copy from a US magazine cover from 1949

Peter Hack-Brookes cover for Oz from September 1971 – a copy from a US magazine cover by Peter Driben from 1949

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One Response to “Should cartoonists credit their sources?”

  1. Christmas in magazines: 1904-1980 | Magforum blog Says:

    […] Peter Brookes has a long, clever history of reinterpreting magazine covers and paintings in his cartoons and illustrations. This 1980 Listener cover takes Bruegel’s Hunters in the Snow and replaces the hunters with a BBC detector van and a team of men setting out to identify houses where the TV watchers had not paid their BBC licences. The Listener was published by the BBC and the cover can been seen as taking a dig at the corporation because the detector vans were disliked (and possibly ineffective). In 2016, the Guardian said on its Facebook page: […]

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