Soapy Sam: Howzabout More VARIETY in Comics?

Comic books have changed an awful lot since the forties. There used to be a lot more variety; not just a lot of different genres and different styles...there were lots of successful anthology titles that had five or six ongoing series running concurrently in the same book for years.
There was also more variety
among the individual stories in each book.
Today's "Exhibit A" is Soapy Sam the Snooper Man.

Soapy Sam. Dude's a window washer,
but he dreams of being a detective.
(Check out that flattened nose.Is that because
it's always pressed up against the glass?)
Take a look at these three pages
of pure cartoon weirdness!
This story appeared as some comic-relief filler
in a 1947 issue of Black Cat,
published by Home Comics, Inc. St. Louis, Mo.

As usual, CLICK on any one of the pages
to see a king-size comic book page.

As usual, CLICK on any one of the pages
to see a grande-size comic book page.

This story is signed "Jack Keeler." Jack Keeler!? Do you realize who that is?

Don't look at me...I have no idea!

And it's not for lack of trying to find out. Whenever I post one of these golden-age oldies, I try to find some background info to give it context. Can't find a blessed thing about Jack Keeler. I bet there were hundreds of guys that drifted in and out of the totally disreputable comic-book trade, worked under pseudonyms for a few years on a few obscure titles, then went back to earn a decent, respectable living as insurance salesmen or electrical engineers.

  • One of my favorite things about old comics is that they weren't afraid to mix up genres just to keep things fresh. In many crime and action-oriented comic books, they had these little one- two- or three-page fillers that sort of cleansed the palette in between the more serious stuff.

In this case, this goofy tri-page treat was sandwiched in alongside a Black Cat story by the awesome Lee Elias,

...and a pulse-pounding Danny Dixon...CADET adventure,

...and right after a single-page comedy strip
about a Miss Lonely-hearts called, "Getting Maisie Married."

After the Soapy Sam story comes a real oddball title: "His Honor and...The DEMON!"

Signed by long-time utility-player Bill Draut, this Batman-style story is about a judge who dresses up as a red devil at night and metes out vigilante justice on the underworld criminals that are beyond the reach of his courtroom!

This issue of Black Cat finishes off with more short comedic comics.

Real short.

Two half-pagers stacked one on toppa the other.

Meet Jobless Jerry and Crackpot Cornelius...

There's nothing more hilarious than being unemployed!

Not sure who did the Jobless Jerry strip, but Crackpot Cornelius was penned by gag cartoonist Art Helfant, who apparently drew tons of these comic book fillers during the 1940's and 1950's.
I dunno...maybe Helfant did them both. Click the image below for the macho-sized gag page.

Now THAT'S a comic book! Thrill, chills, jokes, even a classic "plop" panel at the very end of that last page.


Call me old-fashioned, but I like comics that are FUN!

If you're interested in seeing any of those other stories from this comic, just let me know and I'll post 'em right up! See You next time!

UPDATE: There's LOTS more comic book scans
to look at and download! Click HERE

  • ...And if you liked this post, please help me share it
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Bob Camp Shows You How to Draw Cartoons Better...or How to Draw Better Cartoons.

Bob Camp is a really swell guy.

When I got my first job in a cartoon studio, I didn't know jack about how to draw for animation. I was a comic book guy. Never really interested in animation up to that point because I had so many misconceptions about it. I (stupidly) thought that if you worked in animation, you had to draw the same picture a thousand times in row, moving each pose just slightly until you died from eyestrain and carpal tunnel.

Lucky for me, Bill Wray of The Ren and Stimpy Show liked my comics enough to talk with me about doing storyboards. He straightened me out a lot about the art and artistry of great animation (Thanks, Bill!). I didn't get that storyboard gig, but I did get the chance to work on the last season of Ren and Stimpy as a trainee in the character layout department. That's when I got the chance to work with the wonderful Bob Camp.

Bob Camp Ren and Stimpy Cartoonist How to Draw Cartoons
CLICK on the thumbnails above for some
groovy cartooning lessons from Bob Camp!

One of the coolest things Bob did in the studio was to have some informal drawing theory classes in the early morning before the start of the workday. I took a lot of notes, and I still refer to them today. Basic stuff...solid building blocks of character design and staging. The stuff most of us need to be reminded of all the time.

Anyway, I haven't seen Bob Camp in ages, but he's started his own blog over at

And he just posted a whole bunch of fantastic scans of some of his drawing theory lessons. If you like cartoony cartoons, and you'd like to learn how to draw better, Bob Camp's drawing lessons are a great place to start! Thanks, Bob!

MORE Alarming 1950's Kirby Sci-Fi Comics: The Last Enemy

Because YOU demanded it!
(Okay, it was only Martin who demanded it,
but I assume the rest of you out there feel the same way)
...MORE freaky rarely-seen Jack Kirby
science-fiction comics from the fifties!

Postapocalyptic anthropomorphic dogs , fox, bear and rat drawings by Jack Kirby

Like the previous Kirby story posted a little while back,
this story is from Alarming Tales #1, September 1957

Alarming Tales #1 cover by Jack Kirby shows man flying through city on a rocket-powed chair

Published by Western Tales, Inc. and Harvey Features Syndicate.
This story is one of five tales in this all-Kirby comic book bonanza.
If you get a chance to lay yer mitts on this comic book, get it!
It's a winner through and through!

As usual, CLICK on any one of the pages below
to see a large-size kooky Kirby komics page.

The Last Enemy comic book scans drawings by Jack Kirby Time Travel

As usual, CLICK on any one of the pages below
to see a large-size kooky Kirby komics page.

Alarming Tales Harvey Comics comic book scans drawings by Jack Kirby talking cartoon rats and tiger

As usual, CLICK on any one of the pages
to see a large-size kooky Kirby komics page.

The Last Enemy comic book scans drawings by Jack Kirby Time Traveler captured by talking rats

As usual, CLICK on any one of the pages
to see a large-size kooky Kirby komics page.

Alarming Tales Harvey Comics comic book scans art by Jack Kirby talking cartoon rats interrogate time traveler

As usual, CLICK on any one of the pages
to see a large-size kooky Kirby komics page.

Time traveler rescued by cartoon talking dogs, fox, bear

As usual, CLICK on any one of the pages
to see a large-size kooky Kirby komics page.

cartoon dogs, fox, bear talking animals in the future like in Kamandi by Jack Kirby

If you missed the zany Jack Kirby story I posted before, check it out here:

Jack Kirby Takes you to the Fourth Dimension

...and take a look at this very cool Jack Kirby Blog called the Kirby Museum. Lots of Kirby artwork to swim in!

UPDATE: There's LOTS more comic book scans
to look at and download! Click HERE

  • ...And if you liked this post, please help me share it
(Click one or more of the links directly below) Thanks!

How to be a Cartoonist by Hank Ketcham

How to be a Cartoonist cartooning job career professional draw cartoons Hank KetchamBrowsing around the various cartooning blogs, I stumbled across this delightful gem: A two-page article called, "How to be a Cartoonist" by Hank Ketcham. Thanks to Doug Gray at The Greatest Ape for finding this and posting it on his cool blog.

Click on either of the images to jump to the article on Doug's site. The images you'll find there are excellent high-resolution scans taken from a 1959 issue of the Dennis the Menace comic book.

How to Draw Cartoons be a Cartoonist cartooning job career professional hi-res comic book scansHis advice to would-be cartoonists is unsentimentally realistic, and inspiring at the same time.
"Many readers ask me how to become cartoonists.
I can tell them in one word -- practice.
That answer may seem too simple,
but basically it is the main answer."
Hank Ketcham then goes on to briefly recap the all the hard work and perseverence on his long road to success. He then closes with this:
"Sound like hard work?
Not if you love to draw --
and that is the first requirement.
Then all your practice will not be work,
but fun.

"You will get many rejections
and discouragements.
But if you love to draw,
and practice all you can,
chances are you will make the grade.

"At least you'll have fun trying!"

Hank Ketcham's drawings have been a huge inspiration to me ever since I rediscovered them in the 1980's. Ketcham is one of those geniuses of cartooning whose work is so ubiquitous, it's all-too-easy to take him for granted. Maybe it was Jaime Hernandez who turned my eyes back to Hank Ketcham's work. Jaime would often cite Ketcham and Dan DeCarlo as big influences.

I was lucky enough to meet Hank Ketcham in 1990-or-thereabouts, when his autobiography, "The Merchant of Dennis" was published.

Dennis the Menace Hank Ketcham book autobiography

I was working as a B. Dalton bookstore manager at the time, and he was signing promotional posters at the American Booksellers Convention at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Of course I was miserable working in the bookstore, and I was spending my spare time creating comic strips and sending them to all the newspaper syndicates hoping for "the big break." The last thing I expected to see at this all-work-no-play trade convention was one of my biggest inspirations!

Hank Ketcham cartoonist

After waiting in line for what seemed like hours, I finally met the man himself: Hank Ketcham. Literally shaking, I told him about my dreams of becoming a professional cartoonist. Of course he was very encouraging and next to his signature on the poster I got, he wrote the words, "Keep it up!" I'm pleased to say that I did keep it up, and I finally got my first full-time cartooning gig a few years later.

By the way: A new, long-anticipated book about the magazine cartoons of Hank Ketcham has finally been published by Fantagraphics Books. It's called Where's Dennis? The Magazine Cartoon Art of Hank Ketcham.

Where's Dennis the Menace early cartoons by cartoonist Hank KetchamIt is almost indescribably great. I always felt that the artwork in the first couple years of the Dennis the Menace daily comic strip was much less inspired than the beautifully quick and graceful pen lines of the late-fifties, sixties and seventies. So I wasn't expecting to be blown away by Ketcham's pre-Dennis work. Boy, was I wrong.

I was totally blown away by the artwork in this book. "Where's Dennis" has jumped right up to my short list of favorite cartoon books, along with Harvey Kurtzman's "Hey Look" and the Roy Crane collection from Luna Press, "Wash Tubbs and Captain Easy."

I wish I could find more images from the book to post, but trust me when I tell you that this 200-page book is filled with some of the most delicious cartooning you will ever see. Some of it's even in color! It totally bridges the gap between "sophisticated" magazine cartooning of the post-war "slicks" and the more conservative newspaper comic strip work that followed.

Thanks to Shane Glines and Alex Chun and Fantagraphics Books and the Ketcham estate for making this happen!

P.S.: There's a nice review of Where's Dennis? at the Comics Reporter.

PPS: All about Hank Ketcham's assistant/comic book ghost artist, cartoonist Al Wiseman.

Wally Wood Sure Knew How to Draw Sci-Fi Comics

Nobody knew how to draw bug-eyed monsters
better than Wally Wood.
These wonderful pages are from the 1950 Ziff-Davis
comic book, Amazing Adventures #1

Wallace Wood draws Buck Rogers style heroes battle Winged aliens

"Winged Death on Venus" was drawn by Wallace Wood during his peak years as a science-fiction comic book artist. But unlike his more famous stories for EC Comics, this tale is much more of an old-fashioned-style space opera, complete with the full assortment of monsters, aliens, beautiful women, rocket ships and ray-guns. The winged men in particular are a love poem to Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon of the late 1930's.

1950's Wally Wood comic book heroes fight creepy green aliens to survive on Venus

Alas, the resolution on the large-sized versions of these pages isn't as good as I would like, but they were the best scans I came across. As usual, CLICK on the images below to see the larger sized pages. Enjoy the Woodwork!

Buck Rogers type spaceman battles BEM monster with ray guns and blasters

1950's comic book space travelers journey to alien worlds in their retro spacecraft

Ugly space aliens take our heroes captive

 1950's Wallace Wood comic book space opera

 1950's Wally Wood comic book scans space heroes

 1950's Wallace Wood comic book heroes fight to survive on Venus

 Flash Gordon type heroes attacked by flying venusian men

 Buck Rogers style heroes battle Winged aliens

 Big Red gem jewel in the eye of a huge stone idol

Would you like to see more comic book scans like these?
Please cast your vote below by leaving a comment.
Thanks a lot...Sherm

UPDATE: There's LOTS more comic book scans
to look at and download! Click HERE
  • ...And if you liked this post, please help me share it
(Click one or more of the links directly below) Thanks!

RARE Old Cartoon Music Downloads - Popeye, Rocky & Bullwinkle, Quick-Draw McGraw and Huckleberry Hound and LOTS more!

Way Out Junk: Popeye the Sailor Man and His Friends

Wow! I just discovered another cool blog with TONS of oddball, long-out-of-print music downloads, and the first thing I see is this crazy Popeye record! Click on the record cover to get to the download page!

These records are like radio cartoons; Full cast and original soundtrack music and storylines created just for these records. Remember those? It's like animation for the blind.

He's also got this Rocky and Friends LP to download, and many more like Quick Draw McGraw and Huckleberry Hound!

When you check out this website, look around cause there's a lot of unusual tunes to add to your collection of eclectica. Oh, I'm tellin' ya --
DIG through the archives on this site because there is WAY too much stuff to hint at here!

Go see for yourself!

Click on the records to find the goodies!

Thanks Tony!

Each one of these records will take you to a different blog post on the "Way Out Junk" blog.

If there's more than one download link on the page, I recommend clicking on the second link of the set. When I tried to download these, sometimes one of the links was dead. But there was always an alternate link that did the job.

Get these while they last!

By the way, these are for the most part original cast members like June Foray, Bill Scott and Paul Frees (Rocky and Friends), Jack Mercer and Mae Questel (Popeye and Olive Oyl) doing the songs and stories on these records. This is primo stuff!

PS: There's even more of this kind vinyl cartoon rarities at WFMU and at a wonderful site about old kids' records called Kiddie Records. Isn't the internet great?