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Here's a fascinating lesson in screwball cartooning by screwball master Virgil Partch (who signed his cartoons VIP).
Virgil Partch (1916-1984) hardly needs an exhaustive introduction or background article on this blog. His work is all over the Web, and there's an excellent Wikipedia article on his life and work here.
Working within the critical and historical framework I'm developing for the genre of Screwball Comics, I'd place Partch at the start of the Modern Screwball category. Partch's cartoons began appearing in magazines in the early 1940s. From the start, he had both a distinctive visual style, and a screwball sensibility, pushing the gags several notches further in absurdity than most cartoonists of the time. Often, the extremism of his cartoons was the gag, as we see in this 1945 Collier's Weekly cartoon:
|Collier's Weekly - February 17, 1945|
Partch also delighted in literally illustrating idioms and popular sayings such as "if looks could kill," or "don't count your chickens before they hatch." Here's a couple of examples:
|Collier's Weekly - March 10, 1945|
|Collier's Weekly - May 13, 1955|
Partch was one of those cartoonists who make it look easy, but as his lesson below, from the 1950s Famous Artist Course shows, he put a lot of thought and care into these refined, simple screwball cartoons.
Partch's work continues to find an audience today. Because most of his work is not topical, and relies, in the best screwball tradition, on visual puns and a carefully cultivated silliness, a 21st century reader can connect as immediately and completely with his cartoons as readers did fifty years ago.
Keeping My Head On Straight (imagine the cartoon VIP could have done for that one!),