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
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
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.
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).
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
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.
fascinating historical document in addition to being a visual treat!
The Unofficial Kuklapolitan
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