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Today on the site:

Paul Tumey reviews Society Is Nix: Gleeful Anarchy at the Dawn of the American Comic Strip 1895-1915.

The greatest value of a book like Society Is Nix is that it gives us the work of forgotten cartoonists of the past who were so different — and so good — that they shock us into meeting their work in the moment, without any cultural preconceptions.

For example, consider Kate Carew.

Born Mary Williams, she traveled in the 1880s from California to New York City where she landed a job as a writer-cartoonist with Joseph Pulitzer’s newspaper, the New York World as a writer and cartoonist. Rewind that sentence. Think about it.

One of Kate Carew’s “Carewatures” – this time with John Barrymore and herself

A woman. Traveled across country (alone?) to the biggest, most vital city in the world at the time. Got a job on a paper run and staffed by men. Cartooned. She did all this in the 1880s through the early teens. American women got the right to vote in 1920. Got it? Okay, let’s go on.

Mary Williams adopted the name “Kate Carew” and wrote candid, witty interviews with luminaries of the day, including Mark Twain, Pablo Picasso, and the Wright Brothers. She adorned her interviews with her unique “Carewatures,” and often drew herself into the scene. Imagine Oprah Winfrey as a liberated woman caricaturist-interviewer in 1900 and you have an idea of who Kate Carew was.

Her sole comic strip was the splendidly idiosyncratic The Angel Child, which ran in the World’s color Sunday supplement from 1902 to 1905, and featured a spirited and independent little New York girl who is a forerunner of the famous Eloise.  A splendid example of The Angel Child can be found on page 99 of Society Is Nix: Gleeful Anarchy at the Dawn of the American Comic Strip 1895-1915, edited by Peter Maresca and published by Sunday Press (which is basically Peter Maresca).

Elsewhere:

More Jack Kirby — Steven Brower on “The Myth of the Jolly King”.

The End of the Fucking World, by Chuck Forsman, cartoonist and future TCJ-diarist, is getting the live action pilot treatment.

DragonCon co-founder Ed Kramer, dramatized in comic book form.

And Paul Karasik hits Vermont’s CCS for a master class.

 

 


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