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Product image The Spindrift Cartoons: 1943 (Boardman Comics Monographs Vol. 1, No. 3)  ~  Book ~ edited by Matthew H. Gore. Boardman Books, 2008. Trade paperback, color covers, black and white interior. This is a brand new book! Suggested retail is $19.95.

Dozens of vintage cartoons. The cartoons in this volume are all reproduced from the pages of The Spindrift of the U. S. Navy Pre-Flight School and were originally published between January 1st and October 29th, 1943. Petty Officer Third Class Theodore W. Drake was the one-man art department for The Spindrift. He provided both cartoons and spot illustrations for every issue while he was stationed at the Iowa City Pre-Flight School. While material by a few other cartoonists sometimes appeared, the bulk of the work was by Drake.

Ted Drake (September 2, 1907 - May 25, 2000) is probably best remembered for his sports art. As the creator, in 1964, of the iconic Notre Dame Leprechaun and, in 1966, the logo for the Chicago Bulls Basketball team, Drake's place in the history of graphic design is assured. He had long working relationships with the Wilson Sporting Goods company, Notre Dame University, and the Professional Golf Association.

Drake was born in Goshen, Indiana, and spent most of his life in the Elkhart area. Although Drake had no artistic training, his friend Jack Mabley got him assigned to a Navy public relations office during World War II. Drake's natural ability to cartoon soon had him noticed and drawing for his county.

After the war, Drake became the staff artist for the Kukla, Fran, and Ollie TV show. Similar styles are reflected in his war years cartoons.

The print run is limited.


Matthew Gore has done fans of comic art a great service by reproducing over 50 pages of Drake's cartoons from The Spindrift, a Navy newsletter from the 1940s.  It's hard to understand why Drake didn't work more frequently as a cartoonist after the war, since he had such a natural gift for it.  Even though he never had any formal training, Drake illustrated Navy life with the sureness of a pro, in what was his first job as an artist.

In addition to illustrations for articles and poems from servicemen, Drake also created standalone cartoons, including an ongoing character, "Hemroid" - a "pre-gremlin" (since the pre-flight cadets apparently weren't yet worthy of the full-fledged gremlins they would later encounter).

Even more fascinating is the editorial content of many of the cartoons.  Besides painting a vivid picture of life in the Iowa City training camp, the illustrations and their accompanying articles reflect the prejudices commonly accepted at the time.  A poem signed only "Swiped" tells a none-too-flattering story about infidelity among blacks and is illustrated with typical "Sambo" characters.  Another poem describes the enemy as "that nigger in the wood pile." And a cartoon of the school's "society" includes an effeminate cadet who replies, "Yesss, dear" to his commander's "Saturday Night Room Check," making it clear what he's hoping for that evening.

A fascinating historical document in addition to being a visual treat!

(Webmaster, The Unofficial Kuklapolitan Website)

Our Price: $14.95
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