Today, the cartoonist Sam Henderson is here with a review of a retrospective of the work of the mid-century gag cartoonist he says he’s more often compared to than anyone else, Vip: The Mad World of Virgil Partch. Here’s how Sam starts:
A doctor has his nurse hand him instruments to operate on a set of paper dolls. A man working out in a gym crashes through a wall when the springs on his weightlifting machine backfire. A man working in the basement says to his kid, “Run up and ask Mother to turn off the iron”—as a hot iron burns through the ceiling dangling by its cord. None of these descriptions do the work justice, or even make any sense when described. But the work is familiar to you, whether you know it or not.
One of those cartoonists whose works I spent my twenties tracking down in countless dusty old used-book bins, Virgil Franklin Partch a/k/a VIP has now had his work collected in Vip: The Mad World of Virgil Partch. It’s one of many coffee-table books being printed now collecting rare out-of-print artifacts which, if I had known back then that they would be reprinted eventually, I might not have wasted all that time trying to find them.
—News. The South Carolina House of Representatives doubled down on their decision to cut funding to two colleges for recommending books with gay-themed subject matter (including Fun Home).
—Misc. Michael Dooley at Print revisits the time when a Jonah Hex miniseries prompted Edgar and Johnny Winter to sue DC Comics. Dangerous Minds revisits the illustrations William Steig made for the controversial psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich. Paolo Patricio explains how to make panel grids fast.
—Reviews & Commentary. Dooley also alerted me to this website hosting a pdf of Ariel Dorfman & Armand Mattelart’s classic 1970s critique of imperialistic content in Disney comic books, How to Read Donald Duck. Rob Clough continues his month of daily short reviews, and Tom Spurgeon seems to be similarly inspired lately. MariNaomi sort of reviews Diane Obomsawin’s On Loving Women, in comics form.