Chapter 41. A History of the Comic Strips and the Underground Comix


Comic books have been the central staple of U.S. youth culture for nearly a century. As visual communication of cultural phenomena, they can tell us a great deal about what is considered to be important in the American culture, and how these values are manifested in various symbols, characters and events. They have been of fundamental importance in both shaping and reflecting the country's political, social, ethical and even sexual mores ever since Tarzan, Dick Tracy, and Flash Gordon made their first appearances in the early 20th century. But, the first originators of this particular art form were European, artists like Rudolphe Töpffer and Wilhelm Bush.

Rudolphe Töpffer created the first comic strip in Switzerland in 1827, he went on to publish seven graphic novels. Ten years later, he published "The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck", which is considered to be the earliest known comic book. It became the first comic book published in the United States in 1842, "The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck". Each of its forty pages had several picture panels, which used captions instead of word balloons. Töpffer's pictures carried relatively little of the narrative. However, the images did add a great deal to the humor. In his Essay on Physiognomics in 1843, Töpffer has offered the following theatrical approach to creating comics:
"To construct a picture-story does not mean you must set yourself up as a master craftsman, to draw out every potential from your material — often down to the dregs! It does not mean you just devise caricatures with a pencil naturally frivolous. Nor is it simply to dramatize a proverb or illustrate a pun. You must actually invent some kind of play, where the parts are arranged by plan and form a satisfactory whole. You do not merely pen a joke or put a refrain in couplets. You make a book: good or bad, sober or silly, crazy or sound in sense."

In 1865, Wilhelm Bush, a German poet and artist, who published caricatures in the newspaper Fliegende Blätter, created comics called "Max und Moritz" which became very popular. Inspired by the work of Rodolphe Töpffer, Max und Moritz developed into one of the most appreciated comics of 19th Century, narrating the misadventures of the two opportunist characters that often were seeking sadistic adventures. Among Bush's other comics were Drei Bilderbogen (1860-62), Bilderpossen (1864), Die Kühnen Müllerstöchter (1868), Pater Filuzius (1872), Die Fromme Helene (1872), Dideldum (1874), Flipps der Affe (1879), Mahler Klecksel (1884), Von mir über mich (1879), Eduards Traum (1891), Der Schmetterling (1895), and others.Drei Bilderbogen (1860-62), Bilderpossen (1864), Die Kühnen Müllerstöchter (1868), Pater Filuzius (1872), Die Fromme Helene (1872), Dideldum (1874), Flipps der Affe (1879), Mahler Klecksel (1884), Von mir über mich (1879), Eduards Traum (1891), and Der Schmetterling (1895).

Nevertheless, the origin of the comics, an icon of American culture, could be traced back to the comic strip which appeared by the end of the nineteenth century. In 1892, James Swinnerton published the very first newspaper comic strip, The Little Bears and Tigers, run by the San Francisco Examiner. Later on men like Richard Felton Outcault, William Randolph Hearst, Joseph Pulitzer, James Swinnerton and Rudolph Dirks, in their attempts to attract readers to the Sunday edition of their local newspapers invented the modern comics. In Down Hogan's Alley , Richard Outcault who was an illustrator with The World, published by Joseph Pulitzer in New York in 1895, created the first comic strip. The so-called Yellow Kid was a bald impish gap tooth street urchin wearing a nightshirt and with a playful grin, depicted in a one black and white panel, but shortly afterwards his frock was printed in yellow.

The Toast Master, 1897

Feudal Pride in Hogan's Alley, 1894

The Little Bears , drawn by James Swinnerton, appeared shortly afterward in William Randolph Hearst's Journal American , which gradually evolved into the Mr. Jack a very successful comics featuring a bachelor tiger. And finally came Swinnerton's most famous character, Little Jimmy , which had two decades of good long run starting from the heyday of the humor strip in the 1920's.

However, it was Rudolph Dirk who created cartoon panels' dialogue in "word balloon", indicating the speaker. Dirk's Katzenjammer Kids , which appeared on December 12, 1897 in the Journal American, also was the first comic strip that combined both the internal dialogue and panelized continuity, which later on became the standard form of the modern visual narrative strip.

The comic strips soon became very popular and newspapers across the country clamored for artists. The competition culminated in the famous Yellow Wars when Hearst and Pulitzer began poaching each others artists and editorial crew en-masse to gain circulation. Of course, there were no shortages of bad stories or mediocre cartoonists, however there was also the brilliant Krazy Kat.

Krazy Kat, created by cartoonist George Herriman, and published daily in newspapers between 1913 and 1944, has been praised by many as a canonical work of modernism for its sheer aesthetic achievement, narrative inventiveness, and cultural significance. George Herriman was born in a light-skinned, Creole African-American family in New Orleans, Louisiana, though the family moved to Los Angeles six years later. He moved to New York City in 1900, and his first cartoons appeared in Judge magazine the following year, succeeded soon after by his first newspaper strips. The artistic quality of his work was soon noticed and as early as 1902 there were praises like “Art combined with poetry,” from Bookman. Krazy Kat was a significant piece of cultural work on race/gender relations that had a major influence on the work of other artists. Many have written about it including E.E. Cummings and Bill Waterson.

Herriman's Krazy Kat was influenced by Outcault's Pore Lil' Mose, a strip which after giving up his Yellow Kid in 1901, Outcault was creating for the Herald. It was the the first comic that featured a sympathetic African American as the main character. The plot was taking shape in Cottonville, Georgia, but Outcault soon moved the narrative to New York City, where Mose's race in the alien environment of New York turns him into an outsider confronted by the increasing disparity between rural and urban American life. For Mose the farm country is representing the Old Country in Africa. In 1910 Herriman, whose short-lived 1902 strip Musical Mose was clearly derived from Outcault's Pore Lil' Mose, created The Digbat Family a strip about the plight of apartment dwellers in which the protagonists are constantly harassed by their upstairs neighbors, whom neither the Dingbats nor the readers ever see. Their narrative took up most of the main strip at the top of a shorter strip at the bottom, which narrated the story of an irritable mouse Ignatz, who tormented the Digbats’ wacky black cat. In 1913 Herriman renamed the top strip The Family Upstairs, and at the same time, the cat and mouse strip was spun off into Krazy Kat. Krazy was a black cat. Herriman used the black Krazy and the Jewish Ignatz who are relocated to the desert of New Mexico, to sarcastically highlight various immigration issues and fulfilment of Manifest Destiny in its American context.

As Elisabeth Crocker has argued “Herriman couched his assertions about the socially-constructed nature of categories like race and gender, as well as categories such as class, age, ethnicity, and occupation, so deeply in the sophisticated allegory of his comic strip, however, that few readers noticed them.” In one of his most metaphysical pictures Herriman presents Krazy as saying to Ignatz: "I ain't a Kat, and I ain't Krazy's wot's behind me that I am . . . it's the idea behind me, 'Ignatz' and that's wot I am." and Krazy is pointing towards the blank space behind him, which supposed to define for the reader his existence or the "idea". According to John Alden Carpenter, in his foreword' to his ballet, Krazy Kat is a combination of Parsifal and Don Quixote, the perfect fool and the perfect knight. Ignatz is Sancho Panza, who loathes the philosophic ramblings of Krazy; and interrupts with a well-directed brick the romantic excesses of his companion. He "has no time" for foolishness; he is a realist and Sees Things as They ARE. "I don't believe in Santa Claus," says he; "I'm too broad-minded and advanced for such nonsense."

William Randolph Hearst loved Krazy Kat, which according to one newspaper editor was “weird stuff" that "nobody can understand”). He took it out of syndicated comics and included it into his nine papers. In spite of persistent angry letters of complaint from readers, and objection of local editors, Hearst who understood the significance of Krazy placed it in the New York Journal’s drama & art section, rather than with the other comics. He gave Herriman a lifetime contract, which was the reason the strip continued for over 30 years.

The convergence of the science fiction and comic strip began with Buck Rogers in the 25th Century A.D, based on a story by Phillip Nowlan which under its original title Armageddon 2419 A.D. appeared in Amazing Stories Magazine in 1928, and was noticed by John Flint Dille, a comic strip syndicator, who bought the rights and hired Richard Calkins to illustrate it into a comic strip. Nowlan's, Dille's and Calkin's efforts combined to produce what was to become an important part of American pop culture. The comic strip itself ran for 38 years. Like Rip Van Winkle, Buck awakens 500 years in the future, finding America has been destroyed by Mongolian armies, led by devilish Kane. Buck and his companions the beautiful Wilma and Dr.Huer start a battle to liberate the country.

Other early comic strips of note were, Tarzan, Dick Tracy, and Flash Gordon. In 1911, Edgar Rice Burroughs created Tarzan, the quintessential jungle man. Tarzan of the Apes was rejected by every major American publisher before being published in the October 1912, issue of All-Story Magazine. Illustrated by Harold Foster in 1929 and later by Rex Maxon; Tarzan of the Apes was an immediate and phenomenal comic strip success. Dick Tracy that premiered in the Detroit Mirror newspaper, part of the Chicago Tribune Syndicate on October 4th, 1931. Originally named Plainclothes Tracy was later renamed to Dick as the term was also slang for a detective. Creator Chester Gould was one of the first to introduce violence in the strips , that with names like Flattop Jones, Mumbles, Splitface, and Splitscreen were precursors to super villains of today's comics. Few comic strips have captured readers' imaginations like Flash Gordon." Originated in 1934 by legendary comic-strip artist Alex Raymond, Flash has set the standard for science-fiction adventure, even inspiring such modern-day classics as "Star Wars." The adventure of this intergalactic warrior, with his beautiful companion Dale Arden, and smart scientist, Dr. Hans Zarkov survived for more than 70 years.

In 1938, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, two teens from Cleveland, Ohio created a superhero with remarkable abilities, surpassing both Flash Gordon and the character in Philip Wylie's famous novel Gladiator. Superman was actually an alien from the planet Krypton, that according to Action Comics #1, could "leap 1/8 of a mile, hurdle a twenty story building, raise tremendous weights and run faster than an express train". The young creators could not sell the story to any newspaper editor. However, when they showed their sketches to Max Gaines, the publisher of All American Comics Company, a part of DC Comics, he said that Sheldon Mayer over at DC, who was about to launch a new comic title, may be interested. Mayer was indeed interested and bought all rights to its publication for $130. The first issue was an immediate hit,and the competition quickly began to respond by creating other superheroes.

Before World War II, Superman fought "a never-ending battle for truth and justice." but after the lessons of World War II, particularly in the gas chambers of Europe, Pa Kent was telling the young Clark he must always use his powers "in the interests of truth, tolerance and justice." Then during the cold war, the phrase codified in favor liberty and democracy: "a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way." However, in 2011 Superman decides it's time to become a global citizen in the 900th issue of Action Comics.

“I'm tired of having my actions construed as instruments of U.S. policy,” says the superhero after both U.S. and Iranian officials criticize him for attending a peaceful anti-Ahmadinejad protest in Tehran.

"I stayed in Azadi Square for 24 hours. I didn't move. I didn't speak. I just stayed there," Superman tells a U.S. national security adviser, who fears the hero has gone rogue. Iran's government, meanwhile accuses him of acting on behalf of the U.S. President, and calls his protection of the million-strong protestors an act of war.

By the time the WWII started, the number of superheros had mushroomed, as it appeared that no amount of supply can satiate the great demand for comics. Some of the issues could quite frequently outsell news stand magazines like Time and Newsweek. It is reported that Captain Marvel sold over 2 million copies per month at it's peak and other titles commonly sold close to a half million or more copies. With the start of the war, all superheros enlisted to fight the Nazi's. One of them Captain America, created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, attacked Hitler even before the US entry in the WAR.

Captain America #1, MARCH 1941

Hitler hanging from Superman's right hand, with Japan's wartime leader, Tojo, hanging from his left, Superman #17, July 1942

The golden age of superheroes came to an abrupt end after the war. The GIs were returning, picking up their interrupted lives, marrying and starting families. They were now more interested in Walt Disney's family friendly comics. Even the teen idol Archie had a better sales figures than superheros. Demand for Crime Does Not Pay of Lev Gleason, a small publisher, was also steadily rising, which by 1947 encouraged the competition to come up with an array of crime comics, such as True Crime, True Western Crime, Women Outlaws, and so on.

In 1956 Showcase Comics premiered publishing adventures of firefighters, scuba divers and the like.
The company began to introduce new heroes such as Adam Strange, Space Ranger and Green Lantern. It also revived some of the DC's heroes such as Challengers of the Unknown, with their own title, in 1958, Flash Gordon, with his own title, continuing the numbering from the defunct series, in 1959. Green Lantern got his own title in 1960. The Justice League of America was formed by the Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter and Aquaman made up the core of this team, joined by even Batman and Superman at some point. Their popularity was so great that DC gave the group their own title a scant six months after they first appeared in Brave and Bold #28.
As can be expected the quality of graphic design was not very high at the best of times and the highly artistic designs were not evenly distributed among various comics. The main focus of many comics were the Good Girl Art, a sexist approach to the objectification of the women, who were depicted with large breasts, scantily dressed and showing as much cleavage as possible.

Good Girl Art

In the early 50s the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency had released an alarming report on the impact of comics, and a number psychologists including Frederic Wertham in his book Seduction of the Innocent argued that comic books are in part responsible for the degradation of the American youth, enticing them towards criminal activities, and discouraging them in pursuing academic achievements, and promoting the use of drugs. The backlash was severe as many schools and PTA groups burned comic books, and many cities and even store owners refused to display them. The result was devastating for publishers, and by 1955, most of them either had sharply downsized their operations or exited the industry. The Comics Code Authority introduced restrictive rules and regulations forbidding things like scantly clad women, successful criminals, horrific blood scenes, and words like weird, horror and terror. The beneficiaries were publications like Mad magazine which went on to become one of the most influential and popular humor magazines, and companies like DC, and Dell, that had adhered to high ethical standards, not any one of their titles was affected by these rules.

Batman was created by the artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, which first appeared in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939). The original concept of Batman was developed by Kane, who was inspired by Sherlock Holmes, Zorro, a Leonardo Da Vinci sketch of a bat-winged flying machine. He sketched an early version of the character. Taking his idea to writer Bill Finger, and they further developed the concept. Finger felt the original Bat-Man looked too much like Superman with a mask and bat-wings. He recommended replacing the Da Vinci-inspired wings with a cape, giving him gloves, changing the character's bodysuit from red to gray, and encouraged Kane to replace the character's domino mask with a more bat-like hooded cowl, complete with "ears" which would make the character distinguishable even in silhouette. Batman was a success, and soon after, National suggested that character receive a youthful sidekick for which the name Robin was suggested by Jerry Robinson. Finger went on to write many of the early Batman stories, including making major contributions to the character of The Joker, as well as other major Batman villains. After the backlash of the mid-1950 against comics, Batman's more violent and darker character were abandoned in favor of his more positive qualities. Partly to counteract Wertham's claims about Batman and Robin's homosexuality, various female characters were introduced in the late 1950s, including Vicki Vale, Batwoman, and Batgirl. These characters provided "love interests" for both Batman and Robin.

Atlas Comics, formerly Timely Comics, changed themselves into Marvel Comics, and created an all-new bunch of superheroes starting with the Fantastic Four. Unlike the conventional superheros, the Fantastic Four had normal lives. and did not have secret-identities. They were members of a super-team, something that had been rarely seen before in comics. Then came the Hulk, Thor, Spider-Man, and the X-Men. All of which were done by the top-notch talent of the time, including Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, and Steve Ditko. Spider-Man also proved to be an important evolution in comics. Unlike Superman, he was a nerd and a student. He had no money to get gadgets like Batman and thus had to make his own. He is now considered one of the most popular characters in comics.

The Revolution of Underground Comix

In the late 20th century the revolutionary artists of the Underground Comix, altered the nature of comics perhaps for ever. The unconventional but popular art of these artists was coalescing to define a new representation of realism. The genesis of this movement stemmed from the socio-cultural tensions of the 1960s, which were the age of youth, as 70 million children from the post-war baby boom became teenagers and young adults. The movement away from the conservative fifties continued and eventually resulted in revolutionary ways of thinking and real change in the cultural fabric of American life. No longer content to be images of the generation ahead of them, young people wanted change. The changes affected education, values, lifestyles, laws, and entertainment. The new approach of comic books, movie posters, trading cards, surfer art, hot rod illustration, and so on was creating an unconventional art form that could not be accommodated easily into the academic vision of fine art. This subversive art found its most diehard adherents in some of America's most invective and hideous underground artists, illustrators such as Robert Crumb, Gilbert Shelton, Robert Williams, and Victor Moscoso.

One of the early revolutionaries was Robert Crumb, who in the spirit of the era, was experimenting with drugs including LSD and as a result had some so-called bad trips. He began drawing comics as a young boy in the 1950s. Universally acknowledged as the founder of the underground comics scene (often called "comix" to denote adult-themed comic books), Robert Crumb gained cult popularity for his pioneering Zap Comix, and stardom with the 1994 Terry Zwigoff documentary Crumb. Soon after he left New York's "East Village Other", a Greenwich Village newspaper, for which he was creating various strips, and illustrations, and moving to San Francisco in 1966, his work became a smash hit. He made quite a name for himself as the comic world's favorite enfant terrible; with characters like acerbic guru Mr. Natural and the ever-frisky Fritz the Cat, as he relished in the lewd. In spite of his poorly executed expressionism that at times tended towards abstraction, it was his harsh social criticisms of those who cannot face the true reality of themselves, and try to resort to all kind of excuses to hide behind the truth that struck a favorable chord with his viewers. As a response to the “family values” learned at the hands of a brutal father and amphetamine-addicted mother, his criticism of the contemporary American family in his Joe Blow comic series, in which he was alluding to an incestuous undercurrent, was particularly harsh. At the same time some of the crumb cartoons, such as Mr. Natural gets the bum's rush was sophisticated and philosophically thought provoking. One of Crumb creation, Zap number 4, was prosecuted for obscenity and after going through numerous appeals finally was ruled obscene and banned, after a long trial.

Best known for the creation of The Fabulous Freak Brothers, Gilbert Shelton was another pioneer of the Underground Comix movement. Born in 1940 in Houston, Texas, Shelton began his career in comic art doing strips for Boy Scout publications. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social sciences in 1961. After relocating to New York and finding a job as editor of automotive magazines, he began to send some of his drawings to various publications. One of his ctrations was Wonder Wart-Hog, a parody of Superman in the form of a pig which first appeared in Bacchanal, a short-lived college humor magazine, in the spring of 1962. In the summer of 1968, he moved to San Francisco and founded Rip Off Press which published THE FABULOUS FURRY FREAK BROTHERS. It became an overnight national phenomenon through syndication in dozens of underground newspapers and magazines. A spin-off strip, Fat Freddy's Cat, appeared in 1969.

One of the originators of Zap Comix, Robert Williams pursued a career as a fine arts painter some years before joining the art studio of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth in the mid-1960s. He joined the defiant, anti-war movement of early underground commix, and in 1968, participated in the opprobrious San Francisco group that published Zap Comix. In early punk rock art shows of after-hours clubs Williams was known as "artist's artist," His unique style was an imaginative admixture of underground comix and fauvism colors. Later on Williams moved to paintings. His neo-expressionist style is bold thoughtful and at the same time enigmatic.

In 1968, Victor Moscoso became a leading artist for Robert Crumb's legendary Zap Comix. Born in Spain, but growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Moscoso attended Cooper Union before transferring to Yale. At Yale, he studied with the modern colorist Joseph Albers, whose color theories were an important influence on the development of the psychedelic poster. In 1959 Moscoso moved west to attend the San Francisco Art Institute, and after receiving his MFA, he stayed at the Institute to teach lithography. Meanwhile, he also accepted commissions as a freelance graphic designer. In 1966, he began designing the psychedelic posters for the Family Dog, the promotional collective that organized drug intensive dances at the Avalon Ballroom.While working in comics, he also designed magazine cover art, billboards and album covers for Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir and Herbie Handcock.

Go to the next chapter; Chapter 42; The Swiss Grid System -- and the Dutch Total Grid

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  • Will Eisner Comics and Sequential Art Poorhouse Press 1985 ISBN 0-9614728-0-4
  • Will Eisner Graphic Storytelling Poorhouse Press 1995 ISBN 0-9614728-3-9
  • Gary Groth & R. Fiore The New Comics Berkley Books 1988 ISBN 0425113663
  • Maurice Horn ed. The World Encyclopedia of Comics Avon 1977 ISBN 0877543232
  • Scott McCloud Understanding Comics - the Invisible Art HarperCollins 1994 ISBN 0-613-02782-5
  • Roger Sabin Comics, Comix and Graphic Novels: a History of Comic Art Phaidon 1996 ISBN 0714839930
  • Coulton Waugh The Comics The Macmillan Company 1947 ISBN 0878054995
  • Richard O'Brien The Golden Age of Comics, Ballantine Books, 1977. ISBN 0345255356

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Chapter 40; A history of Caricatures, and Political Cartoons

Table of Contents:

Introduction: The birth of Caricature

The history of Caricature, as part of a discipline in modern graphic design, may be traced back to the cultures of ancient Egypt, Greek and Rome and in the middle ages to  Leonardo da Vinci's attempts to comprehend the concept of ideal beauty, by analyzing "the ideal type of ruggedness".
An Egyptian funeral boat
An Unfortunate Egyptian Soul

Caricatures are designed to oversimplify and exaggerate each subject's distinctive features, while still maintaining a recognizable likeness, in order to convey a visual message. According to Thomas Wright, a message has been conveyed to us from the distance of the ages by an Egyptian image in which a small boat with provisions that runs into the back of a larger funeral boat, upsetting the tables of cakes and other supplies. Thus this scene has the characteristics of a caricature.  Wright, provides other Egyptian examples in which animals are employed in occupations usually reserved for humans which appear to be humorous , and he discusses examples of the ancient Greeks who were especially partial to representations of monsters, frequently using their images in their ornaments and works of arts.
The Egyptian God Typhoon

A Greek Gorgon
The Roman Sannio, from an engraving in the "Differetatio de Larvis Scenicis" by the Italian antiquary Ficoroni, who copied it from an engraved gem. He wears the Foccus or low shoe peculiar to the comic actors.

In particular, Greeks adapted the figure of the Egyptian god Typhoon to represent their Gorgon, as the above images show the Greek Gorgon was a rather close emulation of Typhoon. The image of  Typhoon with its broad, coarse, and frightful face, lolling out his large tongue , appeared frequently on the Egyptian monuments. According, to Pliny in his "Natural History" among the pictures exhibited in the Forum at Rome there was one in which a Gaul was represented, "trusting out his tongue in avert unbecoming manner". Perhaps  by using a Gorgon-type caricaturization, Romans were trying to exhibit their displeasure with Gauls. The Roman popular character Sannio, or buffoon, whose name is derived from a similar Greek character and who was employed in performing burlesque dances, making grimaces, and in other acts calculated to excite the mirth of the spectators, was another example of these ancient caricatures.

An artist studio in Pompeii

The Oldest drawing in British Museum, 1320 AD. Two demons tossing a monk headlong into a river.
Luther Inspired by Satan

In the Middle Ages religious anxieties were mixed with carnivals, festivals and enjoyment of the ludicrous. A manuscript from this time provides an example of two demons playfully tripping a monk and throwing him into a river. According to James Parton, "Reformation began with laughter, which church itself nourished and sanctioned ... upon edifices erected before the year 1000 there are few traces of the devil, and upon of those of much earlier date none at all; but from eleventh century he begins to play an important role". Artists competed with each other to give the devil the most hideous looks, and as time passed he looked more and more ridiculous. However, Luther spoke of the devil very seriously, as he thought that devils are present everywhere and in every action. People laughed at clergy, "the clergy, self-indulgent" in the words of Parton "preached self denial; practicing vice, they exaggerated human guilt. " Parton writes " among the curiosities which Luther himself brought from Rome in 1510, was a caricature suggested by the Ship of Fools, showing how the Pope had fooled the whole world with his superstitious and idolatries. ... Luther himself was a caricaturist ... The famous pamphlet of caricatures published in 1521 by Luther's friend and follower, Lucas Cranach, contains pictures that we could easily believe Luther himself suggested."

The Pope Tossed into Hell, Lucas Cranach, 1521

Between 1490 and 1495 Leonardo da Vinci (1452- 1519) developed his habit of recording his studies in meticulously illustrated notebooks. His work covered four main themes: painting, architecture, the elements of mechanics, and human anatomy. It appears that as much as he was interested in the human anatomy, through his sketches of various facial characteristics he was also interested in understanding of the human emotions and the impact of the ravages of time on the battered faces of various characters. These sketches which are collected into various codices and manuscripts, are indeed real precursors to modern caricatures.

Study of Aesthetics in Five Rugged Heads, Leonardo da Vinci c.  1495

The parable of the blind, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1568
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1520?-1569), who was from Flanders introduced his imaginative symbolism mixed with a subtle sarcasm in his paintings of various biblical parables and other metaphors, such as the Parables of Blinds, in which a blind is leading the others. His composition, and exaggerations of various human sensitivities are truly stunning and anticipates the best today's political cartoons.

The Drunken Silenus ("The Tazza Farnese"), ca. 1597–1600

By the end of the 17th century, Annibale Carracci had raised the status of the caricature up to a high art discipline. His exaggerated visual narratives were later followed by many caricaturists of the 18th century.

Political Cartoons

In political cartoons the intriguing conceptual complexity of historical events, within a cultural context is presented with stark, simple imagery and witty, sarcastic statement, that when carefully analyzed lead to discovery of many important historical facts that offer authentic and accurate insights into the various cultural biases, human right issues, public anxieties, and democratic wishes of a particular age. They shed light on enigmatic causes of historical events and describe the trajectory of a civilization through time towards achieving humanistic ideals . Since the early eighteenth century, political cartoons have opened a sharp visual communication window into the past. The key to the caricature is an exaggeration of those aspect of a narrative that the artist wants to highlight. The personage of a tyrant, a charlatan politician or a corrupt clergyman in the hands of an artist turns to a revealing caricature that no amount of censorship can cover up. In this regard political cartoons have become a unique visual communication device since the 17th century, providing political editorials and socio-cultural commentaries. The main aim of this visual communication is to shape public opinion by using a verity of artistic, cultural, and psychological techniques, including resorting to nationalism, symbolism, hyperbolic suggestions, labeling, analogy, and irony. But, most often, they use sarcastic metaphors, satirical comparisons, and over the top description of reality to simplify complex political events so that the general public can comprehend their significance, from a particular perspective.

Perhaps the first political cartoonist was the Dutch artist Romeyn de Hooghe (1645-1708), who at the service of William of Orange, later King William III of England, repeatedly caricatured James II and Louis XIV, sometimes using pseudonyms on his most audacious images. He painted, engraved, sculpted, designed medals, enameled, taught drawing school, and bought and sold art as a dealer, but above all he was a graphic designer who etched allegories and mythological scenes, portraits, caricatures, political satires, historical subjects, landscapes, topographical views, battle scenes, genre scenes, title pages, and book illustrations.

Louis XIV as Apollo led by Madame de Maintenon, Romeyn de Hooghe,  etching from 1701 

Political cartoons played a significant role in the French Revolution and later on during the Napoleonic era. Revolutionaries used cartoons to highlight the lavish lifestyle of Marie Antoinette, often depicting her in obscene and unflattering situations. Under the censorship of Louis XIV of France, the caricaturists could not depict the sacred person of the king. However, the opponents of the Sun King, who were constantly at war with him, in coalitions that generally grouped the United Provinces, England, and the Hapsburgs; resorted also to political cartoons as a potent weapon. In this cartoon the king's image is not distorted or deformed. The caricature style of depicting an enormous head on a small body was not yet in fashion, however, it is rather clear that it is the staging of the event that is supposed to communicate with the viewer. The Sun King is represented as a sad, gloomy, and pathetic sun. His private life and his  many mistresses are the subject of ridicule. Here the young Madame de Montespan, who was the most celebrated maîtresse en titre of King Louis XIV, is especially  jeered for her bizarre relationship with a middle aged king who is depicted preying  on Madame de Maintenon. The eclipse of 1706 in this regard provides a relevant backdrop to the sarcastic message. This celestial phenomenon is foretelling the imminent demise of the Sun King.

From the French Revolution until the Great War: A Narrative of History in Cartoons

The farmer crushed by "Taille, Impots et Corvee"; by tithe, taxation and statute-labour. Coloured engraving.

The Third Estate, the clergy and the nobility shouldering the national debt. French Revolution. Engraving; 1789.

Marie-Antoinette was cruelly lampooned throughout her life in France. This anonymous cartoon from around 1791 blames the unfortunate queen for her alleged infidelity, the scandal provoked by her alleged greed in the affaire du collier or the necklace affair, the doomed flight to Varennes and counter-revolutionary intrigue. The image depicts her carrying the Dauphin, her eldest son, and Louis XVI, followed by her daughter Madame Royale and the King’s aunt Madame Elisabeth, leaping to safety from the Tuileries. The royal couple are both holding the broken scepter and are encouraged by the King’s brother, Comte de Provence (left), holding a purse full of money. Beneath are references to the Queen’s alleged sins.

Luis looks at the empty chests and asks “Where is the tax money?“ The financial minister, Necker, looks on and says “The money was there last time I looked." The nobles and clergy are sneaking out the door carrying sacks of money.

"The Awakening of the Third Estate," an aristocrat and clergyman are horrified to see a man casting off the shackles of his class.

Confiscation of Churches Lands

The runaway royal family busted by French democrats.  Louis and extravagant Marie Antoinette were apprehended in Varennes, just miles from the Austrian border. Some say the strong scent of the queen's perfume gave their whereabouts away.

Edmund-Burke, Radical Arms, The conclusion of the French Revolution

James Gillray, "The Zenith of French Glory - the Pinnacle of Liberty.(Louis XVI) Religion, Justice, Loyalty and all the Bugbears of Unenlightened Minds, Farewell!", February 12, 1793. Etching

A French Gentleman of the Court of Louis XVI ; A French Gentleman of the Court of Egalité, James Gillray, 1799.  
A sarcastic treatment from England of French manners that contrasts the weakness of the old regime with the vulgar arrogance of the new revolutionary regime. The engraver also seems to be pointing toward two entirely different views of masculinity.

In England, James Gillray (1757-1815) adopted the caricatural style of Bruegel, to create   caricatures of his contemporary statesmen that today can be categorized as  political cartoons in which his wit was directed not only against the political and legislative abuses of his time but also against the morals of the royal family. Gillray initially supported the French Revolution, and it's principles of liberty , but when the revolution turned violent particularly during  the work of the Terror he turned against, nevertheless later on he turned against the tyrannical regime of Napoleon Bonaparte, describing him as "Boney the carcase-butcher" in a number of offensive images.

 "Plumb Pudding in Danger",  James Gillray,  1805. 
William Pitt and Napoleon dividing the world between them. Pitt takes the ocean: symbolically, his fork resembles a trident. Napoleon takes Europe, with the exception of Britain, Sweden, and Russia.  At Trafalgar, the Royal Navy ensured its maritime supremacy for the rest of the war by destroying a combined Franco-Spanish fleet. At Austerlitz, Napoleon crushed an Austro-Russian army to become the master of Europe for the next seven years.

George Cruikshank (1792 - 1878) was at his best when he was dealing with socio-cultural issues. His most celebrated of social cartoons were his Monstrosities, which were published annually from 1816 to 1828. As the conservative Victorian era began (1837) most forms of satirical art grew to be unfashionable. George Cruikshank thus turned his talents to the illustrated book, including Dickens's Oliver Twist, which bear testimony to his artistic talent.

Trial of Napoleon Bonaparte, George Cruikshank,  1813

This caricature sneers at Napoleon Bonaparte leaving his army on its horrendous retreat from Moscow and for his betrayal of the ideals of the French Revolution.

The inconveniences of a crowded drawing room", George Cruikshank, 1818

Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827) preferred to deal with socio-cultural issues and satirize morals. Rowlandson worked with Tobias George Smollett, whose radical books resulted in him being sent to prison for libel. Some of Rowlandson's political cartoons also got him in trouble and he was accused by his critics of being "coarse and indelicate".

Hodges Explanation of a Hundred Magistrates, Thomas. Rowlandson, 1815,
A yokel in a long smock stands before three elderly Justices of Peace. One of the justices says, How dare you Fellow to say it is unfair to bring you before one hundred Magistrates when you see there are but three of us.

The yokel tugs at his hair and replies, Why please your Worship you mun know – when I went to school they taught I that a one and two O’s stood for a hundred – so do you see your Worship be One and the other two be Cyphers!

The "Citizen King" and the Royal Pear: The case against Charles Philipon

After the Revolution of July 1830 Charles Philipon (1800-1862), a caricaturist and a talented journalist , founded La Caricature, the first modern illustrated satirical weekly paper. During four years of its publication, the paper was constantly prosecuted, fined, and censored. In 1832, before La Caricature's closure Philipon started a daily paper, Le Charivari , which printed a new drawing every day. Philipon frequently criticized King Louis-Phillipe the "Citizen King" whose pear-shaped head he exploited to the full in the Poire Royale or the Royal Pear series. He wound up in jail several times. The pear quickly became the commonly-recognized symbol of Louis-Phillipe and his entire regime. At the time, in France calling a person a pear was tantamount to calling him a buffoon. As part of his defense, Philipon sketched a series of drawings that transformed the king’s head into a pear. He explained that if the king’s face resembled a pear, then all pears should be subject to a fine. The sarcastic tone of Philipon’s argument was lost on the judge who charged Philipon with a fine of two thousands francs and six months in jail. But the artist was unrepentant and on November 17, 1831, three days after the trial, La Caricature published an account of the proceedings, and in the following week, Philipon published the drawings from the trial as a lithograph. However, the issue was seized by the government.

Charles Philipon's account of the court proceedings with respect to his portrayal of King Louis-Phillipe as a pear.

Here is a translation; THE PEARS , Made in the Paris Court of Assizes by the Director of LA CARICATURE. Sold to pay the 6000 francs fine of the newspaper Le Charivari. At the request of a large number of subscribers, we present today in Le Charivari, the pears which served as our defense in the case where La Caricature was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment and a 2,000 francs fine. If, to recognize the monarch in a cartoon, you do not expect it to have a resemblance, you will fall into the absurd [?]. Look at these shapeless sketches, to which I limited my defense.
[Beneath the 1st drawing] This sketch looks like a Louis-Philippe, do you condemn it?
[Beneath the 2nd drawing] Then we must condemn this one, which resembles the first.
[Beneath the 3rd drawing] Then condemn another, which resembles the second.
[Beneath the 4th drawing] And finally, if you are consistent, you can not absolve this pear, which resembles the preceding sketch.
Thus, a pear, a bun, and all the grotesque heads in which chance has maliciously placed this sad resemblance, you can inflict on the author five years imprisonment and a fine of five thousand francs!! Admit it, gentlemen, this is a peculiar freedom of the press!!

Gargantua, Honoré Daumier , 1831

One of the most important political cartoonists in Philipon's paper was Honoré Daumier (1808-1879). In late 1831 the publishing business La Maison Aubert submitted one of his cartoons "Gargantua" to the "depot legal" for publication and put it on display in the window of the shop. It was soon seized, along with other prints done by Daumier, by the Paris police. They ordered the owner of the publishing house to destroy the lithographic stone and all the remaining proofs. In February 1932 Daumier, the owner of the publishing house, and the printer, were all brought to trial for arousing hatred and contempt of the king's government, and for offending the king's person. In the trial the argument was over whether "Gargantua" represented the king personally or if it was a symbolic representation of the king's swollen budget. All three of the men were convicted, but only Daumier served a prison term.

Philipon's example was followed all over Europe. In 1841 Punch, in Britain was established which introduced cartoonists such as John Leech (1817-1864) and John Tenniel (1820-1914), Harry Furniss (1854-1925). (Edward) Linley Sambourne (1844-1910), Bernard Partridge (1861-1945), and, Leonard Raven-Hill (1867-1942). In 1848 Kladderadatsch was established in Berlin followed by Die fliegende Blätter in 1845, and later on Punsch and Simplicissimus, in Munich. Simplicissimus introduced cartoonists like Olaf Gulbransson, Bruno Paul, Thomas Theodor Heine, and Blix

The capitulation of Sedan, Napoleon III, Wilhelm I of Prussia

Since 1866, when Prussia had defeated Austria and won the leadership in Germany, Napoleon III of the Second French Empire had longed to crush Prussia, which he considered an upstart power. Meanwhile Bismarck, the chancellor of Prussia, felt that a war was necessary to unify Germany
The Franco-Prussian War, waged between France and the German states under the leadership of Prussia, from July 15, 1870, dramatically changed European history. The rapid and overwhelming victory of Prussia in this conflict made possible the creation of a unified German Empire. Prussian would first fight and destroy the armies of the emperor Napoleon, then the newly raised armies of the Third republic. The war also marked the final step in Germany's rise to the position of a major continental power . Napoleon III surrendered to Wilhelm I, king of Prussia, on Sept. 2, 1870, after the battle at Sedan. The battle marked the decisive defeat of the French in the Franco-Prussian War and led to the fall of the Second French Empire, which was replaced by the Third Republic. As part of the settlement, the territory of Alsace-Lorraine was taken by Germany, which would retain it until after World War I. The war provided a rich range of characters for the caricaturists of that era.

The capitulation of Sedan, Honoré Daumier, 1870

Louis Bonaparte Napoleon III and Wilhelm l of Prussia, 1870. The two are depicted  as drunken buffoons, betraying the moral and spiritual ideals fought for in the French Revolution.
Un Bain de Sang! Napoléon Charles Louis De Frondat, 1870
The German Emperor, Wilhelm I, sitting in a tub of blood with the head of the French Emperor Napoleon III. The title reads; Bloodbath, you see it will drown both of us!

Alexandre Dumas, André Gill, Cover of La Lune, December 2, 1866

Dumas' caricature is from The Man of the Day series by André Gill, who became known for his work for the weekly four-sheet newspaper La Lune, edited by Francis Polo. Gill worked for La Lune from 1865 to 1868. When La Lune was banned, he worked for the periodical L'Éclipse from 1868 to 1876. Gill also drew for famous periodical Le Charivari. In 1823, Alexandre Dumas, who was of a mixed race aristocratic background, became the clerk of the Duc d`Orléans -- later King Louis Philippe, because of his elegant handwriting. But, he was liberal and had republican sympathies, as he greeted the Revolution of 1848 with enthusiasm and even ran as a candidate for the Assembly. After the coup d'état in 1851 and the seizure of power by Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, Napoleon III, Dumas escaped to Brussels, as he was not looked upon favorably by the newly elected President. Dumas supported Victor Hugo who was also a liberal opponent of Napoleon III and was exiled by him.
Le Chevalier de la Mort (The knight of death), caricature of the German Kaiser Wilhelm 1871. The objects of quite a number of biting caricatures by French artists were the Prussian efforts to become one of the Great Powers in Europe and Bismarck's endeavors to unite the German Reich. The goals of the German politicians were to be revealed with physiognomic and phrenological means.
L'Homme A La Boule, Jules Renard, 1871. Count Otto von Bismarck balances on a the world with one spurred foot entering France, and wearing only his underpants which are marked with the German imperial eagle.

Bismarck offers slices of Africa to European powers at the Berlin conference.
Dropping the Pilot, Sir John Tenniel, Punch, March 1890. German Emperor Wilhelm II looks anxiously at the departing of his Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. The reference to Bismarck as a "pilot" was from an earlier cartoon "The Champion Pilot of the age" from the Puck magazine in which, the cartoonist Joseph Keppler depicted Bismarck on a ship, having brought it out to the high seas. In the background, the cartoonist depicted the French ship of state in distress. This symbolized Bismarck's accomplishment of forming the German Kaiserreich by means of the Franco-Prussian War.

Abdul Aziz Sultan of Ottoman empire. Girls on his knees. 'Ote-toi de la que je m'y mette'. Vanity Fair,  1869.
Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister. (Later Earl of Beconsfield). 'He educated the Tories…', By Singe,  Vanity Fair, 1869.

Leopold II, King of Belgium, holding bags of money! 'With France and Prussia pressing on each side', By Coide, Vanity Fair, 1869.

Thomas Nast, Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War

Some of the most recognizable cartoons were published in Harper's Weekly, a New York City periodical that also featured sketches of war scenes and famous personalities - as well as news and serialized literature. Among its illustrators were Winslow Homer (who also worked for the Illustrated Times) and Alfred Waud. The leading illustrator of Harpers Weekly was Thomas Nast. Nast was the most influential American caricaturist in the mid- to late 19th century. Specializing in political cartoons. He was a staunch opponent of slavery and throughout the Civil War produced patriotic drawings urging people to help crush the rebels. Abraham Lincoln is reported to have said: "Thomas Nast has been our best recruiting sergeant. His emblematic cartoons have never failed to arouse enthusiasm and patriotism." Nast was also the artist who created the traditional image of Santa Claus and the Republican party's elephant symbol.

The pedlar and his pack, or the desperate effort, an over balance, James Akin, 1812. The editor of Philadelphia Democratic Press, John Binns, who had published handbills accusing candidate Andrew Jackson of arbitrary executions and other violent acts supports a load of coffins on his back, along with the figures of Henry Clay and incumbent President Adams.

Black Recruit and Abraham Lincoln, London Punch, 1862

We Accept the Situation, Thomas Nast for Harpers Weekly, 1867, An emancipated black voting for the first time versus a resentful, disenfranchised former Confederates.

Theodore Roosevelt and Anti-Third Term Principle, This cartoon satirize Roosevelt's reversal of his anti-third term promise and his assumption of leadership of the Progressive Party. Both La Follette and Roosevelt lost the Republican nomination to the incumbent, Taft, who still controlled the national convention delegates. Roosevelt, however, had swept 9 of the 12 states with primaries, including Taft's home state of Ohio. 1912

The US President Tuft Handing the Problematical Mexican Situation to His Succesor Woodrow Wilson, Louis Glackens. 1913

Louis Raemaekers and the Great War

Dutch artist Louis Raemaekers (1869–1956) has been called the Great Cartoonist of the Great War. According to president Theodore Roosevelt; The cartoons of Louis Raemaekers constitute the most powerful of the honorable contributions made by neutrals to the cause of civilization in the World War. Born in Roermond, in the Netherlands, Raemaekers, unconvinced by reports of German atrocities in invaded Belgium, crossed the border and returned home outraged. In the early years of WWI, Raemaekers, critical of the United States’ neutrality, in a number of drawings clearly asked for U.S. intervention. His scathing anti-German political cartoons gained rapid fame at home and abroad. By October 1917 more than two thousand newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic were printing his drawings on a regular basis . Raemaekers’s often provocative work resulted in his government’s threatening to place him on trial for jeopardizing Dutch neutrality. After the armistice, Raemaekers used his art to champion the League of Nations and, later, to sound the alarm against German and Italian fascism.

Will they last, Louis Raemaekers, c. 1915, Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II, the subject of Raemaekers’s many barbed caricatures, put a bounty on his head.

China imperialism cartoon-while Emperor Guangxu helplessly looks on, China as a pie is about to be carved up by Victoria (British Empire), Wilhelm II (German Empire), Nicolas II (Russian Empire), Marianne (France), and Meiji (Japanese Empire)

Political cartoon by Frederick Opper from Puck magazine showing Queen Victoria and her family panhandling from John Bull on the steps of Buckingham Palace.

Ilych Lenin ridding the world of monarchs, capitalists and clerics, Viktor Deni, 1919

The Gap in the Bridge, by Leonard Ravenhill, in the British magazine Punch 1919
This cartoon is critical of America. Although President Wilson had been the originator the the idea of a League, now America is refusing to join -- in spite of the USA being the 'keystone'.
 Woman’s Vote, William H. Walker, 1920. In the first presidential election in which they could vote, women were wooed by both major parties.
A bread line or a run on a bank? Chester Garde, 1931.
Hoover, facing harsh criticism from the American public for his policy inaction, reluctantly established the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC), in 1932,  which provided loans to failing banks, and through the additional power of the Emergency Relief Act, the RFC was authorized to provide loans to state governments for unemployment relief. But, these efforts were too late to stop the economic downslide of the country. He was overwhelmingly defeated by Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1932 presidential election. For the rest of the depression, though, Hoover attacked every substantive measure for relief and what he saw as radical influences in Washington.
“A Scene from the ‘Good Old Days.’” from Brennessel, the Nazi humor magazine, January 1934. Marx is portrayed as a theoretician that leads German workers into a ruinous path.

Hoover Prosperity, Tulley, ca. 1932.  A sarcastic interpretation of Herbert Hoover’s contention that prosperity was just around the corner.

Mephisto to Faust: You Can Trust me, Louis Raemaekers, 1939, A sarcastic interpretation of the Non- Aggression Pact of 1939 signed in August with a secret agenda between Stalin and Hitler.

Constitution of the United States Canceled, Greaves , 1940. F.D.R.’s pursuit of a third term suggested that he acts like a king who considered himself above the law.

Herbert Block, The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1963. When U-2 spy planes sent by the CIA revealed that Soviet missile sites were under construction in Cuba, it led to a serious threat of nuclear war and tense negotiations between Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.

Conrad, Nixon drills a hole in the wall of the Democratic headquarters and claims that he’s from the phone company. Los Angeles Times, 1972. “Watergate was a godsend to political cartoonists,” said Philadelphia Inquirer cartoonist Tony Auth.

Conrad, President Carter acting as Sisyphus, 1978. The cartoon portrays Carter attempting to push a giant boulder composed of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin up a mountain, referring to Carter’s struggles in brokering a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.

Paul Conrad, Los Angeles Times (February, 1987).
The Iran-Contra affair was a constitutional crisis that embroiled the Reagan administration in its last two years (1986-88), raised the prospect of Ronald Reagan’s impeachment, clouded the presidency or George H.W. Bush and contributed to keeping it from extending to a second term. The scandal entailed illegal funding and arming of Nicaragua’s right-wing contras fighting the leftist Sandinista regime as well as illegally trading arms with Iran. Cartoon is inspired by Bernard Gillam and his attacks on James Blaine in 1884.

"What do I do now?" Oleg Lukianov, 1989 
An interpretation of the different policies of previous Soviet leaders and president Gorbachev.

Mikhail Gorbachev and a shattered hammer and sickle, Edmund Valtman, 1991
Bush's Last Year as President, Mont Wolverton, 2007

Wall Street Bailout, Pat O'Connor, Los Angeles Daily News, 2008

President Bush's Term Comes to an  End, Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News, 2008

The sub-prime mortgage crisis of 2008

President Obama and the problem of Taliban, Nate Beeler, The Washington Examiner, 2011.

Financial Bailout of Greece by Eu, Arend van Dam, Netherlands, 2011

Frederick Deligne, Global Financial Crisis, Nice-Matin, Nice, France, 2011

Michael Ramirez, American Debt Crisis, 2009,

Michael Ramirez is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1994 and 2008, and a three-time Sigma Delta Chi, Society of Professional Journalism Award winner.

Tom Janssen, the European debt crisis, Dutch Cartoonist, 2011

Martin Rowson, Barack Obama and John Boehner's slow-moving attempt to find a compromise on debt ceiling, 2011, Guardian

Warren E. Buffett, the billionaire investor known as the Oracle of Omaha, in an op-ed titled Stop Coddling the Super-Rich, published on August 14, 2011 in the New York Time, made a strong case that he and his mega-rich peers should be paying more in taxes

OUR leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched. While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks... My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice. Warren E. Buffett, Stop Coddling the Super-Rich, August 14, 2011

Uncle Sam bewildered in between the Tea Party, on the right, and Occupy Wall Street, on the left, movements, Kal, 2011. Kal finds the both movements loud and confusing for poor Uncle Sam.

The Tea Party demand vs Occupy Wall Street demands, Vines, 2011. It appears that Vines is more sympathetic towards the Tea Party's single demand.

An unsympathetic view from the right suggesting Occupy Wall Street would lead to communism.

Slippery Slopes, gives a cynical warning, Occupy Wall Street soon morphs into Occupy Private Ownership.

Time to Take Occupy Wall Street Seriously, Cam, 2011. Cam warns that if the movement is not taken seriously heads may role by guillotine.

An interesting take on the issue, a mea culpa admission.

"I liked it when it was Egypt, but not here," a play on the hypocrisy of men in suits

“The Calendar of a Condemned Man.” a German propaganda cartoon in Lustige Blätter, 1941. Churchill crosses out the names of English cities as the gallows waits behind him.

Nazi propaganda cartoon, Brennessel, 1938.   Mars is speaking to the "warmongers" Eden and Churchill, who had been objecting to Chamberlain's appeasement policies.  This was Brennessel's last cover cartoon featuring Churchill before closing down in that year.

“American Candelabra,” an anti-Semitic propaganda cartoon in Lustige Blätter, 1942. Roosevelt is portrayed as the upholder of the Jewish Interests

The Russo-German Pact, A Japanese perspective.

A soviet propaganda cartoon depicting Uncle Sam exploiting South Americans, Israelis and others.

A Cold War Soviet propaganda cartoon showing Uncle Sam triggering a ring of nuclear bombs, while the loudspeaker announces that “Soviet Union offers to stop nuclear weapon tests”.

  • Parton James, Caricature and other comic art in all times and many lands, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1877.
  • Wright Thomas, A history of caricature and grotesque in literature and art, London, Chatto & Windus, Piccadilly, 1875
  • Kris, E. (1934). The Psychology of Caricature. The International Journal of Psycho-Analysis
  • Kris, E. and Gombrich, E. (1938). The Principles of Caricature. British Journal of Medical Psychology,17
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