Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Vintage Mags: a look back at old magazine covers, through 1979


Do Democrats have the skill to trump Trump at the ballot box?

I try not to rant too often about the worst president in American history. What does it accomplish, really? Nothing. But sometimes I can't resist, despite the pointlessness of it all.

Donald Trump is like an iceberg. What we see is a looming, frightening spectacle. Lies, lies and more lies. Corruption. Nepotism. Incompetence. Clownish idiocy. Inconsistencies. Ignorance. Malice. Narcissism. Embracing despots. Attacking democratic institutions. Separating children from their parents, and then, with a straight face, blaming the other party for his own policy.

But that's only the tip of the iceberg. Behind the scenes, beneath the surface, this monster probably is even more menacing than we already realize, as hard as that is to imagine.

I'm not a Democrat, but I sincerely hope the Democrats get their act together, this year and in two years. Not because I believe in the Democratic Party, but because the alternative is so much worse. On the national level, there's no hope for the Republican Party, at least not in the near future. It's a collection of craven cowards.

Still, I'm not optimistic. The Democrats seem to have a knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The two-party system is not serving us well.

Today in the history of the American comic strip: June 19

American cartoonists and writers may not have invented the comic strip, but some argue that the comics, as we know them today, are an American creation. Clearly, the United States has played an outsize role in the development of this underappreciated art form.

6.19.1923: Moon Mullins debuts, under the stewardship of Frank Willard. The strip remained in syndication until 1991.

6.19.1978: Garfield, arguably the world’s most famous cat, makes his first appearance in print, courtesy of creator Jim Davis.

6.19.2015: Ben Schwartz writes an article for The New Yorker about Frank King’s Gasoline Alley, headlined “An old comic strip about modern fatherhood.”

6.19.2018: National Public Radio’s All Things Considered runs a story on the growing popularity of Wallace the Brave, a three-year-old strip by Will Henry of Rhode Island, who set the cartoon in the fictional coastal town of Snug Harbor. The NPR report said the comic is about “a boy who's less depressed than Peanuts character Charlie Brown,” and kinder than Calvin of Calvin & Hobbes.


Most of the information listed here from one day to the next comes from two online sites -- Wikipedia, and Don Markstein's Toonopedia -- as well as 100 Years of American Newspaper Comics, edited by Maurice Horn. Note that my focus is on American newspaper comic strips (and the occasional foreign strip that gained popularity in the United States). Thus, comic books and exclusively online comics are not included here.

"What is art but a way of seeing?" Saul Bellow

“Claude Monet Painting by the Edge of a Wood,” 1885, John Singer Sargent 

Movie Posters: Two adults, please, and a large buttered popcorn!


Editorial cartoonists: keeping the legacy of Thomas Nast alive

Clay Bennett

Journalist H. L. Mencken and the presidency of Donald J. Trump

"As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

 July 26, 1920
H. L. Mencken, Baltimore Evening Sun
 ~ ~ ~
June 19, 2018
 Another great and glorious day with a downright moron adorning the White House.