Thursday, May 02, 2013

Herblock, the master cartoonist

Where have all the editorial cartoonists gone? Gone to digital every one, to paraphrase the old song. In the golden years of editorial cartooning, the 20th century, just about every daily newspaper of any substance had to have a cartoonist. As with any craft, some of the artists were better than others. A man who got a lot of attention over many decades was Herbert Block of the Washington Post. His cartoons were so well done they earned him many awards, and a prominent place on the Nixon Enemies List,  a badge of honor for the time.

I found an early (1930) example of his original art at Heritage Auctions:

The Library of Congress has an excellent collection of his originals, including these. For more go to Library of Congress.

Herblock’s cartoons on guns show that the debate hasn’t much changed for decades. The mail order rifle Oswald bought brought about the end of buying firearms by mail. Despite the current refusal of the National Rifle Association to budge an inch on common sense laws on guns, I haven’t heard of anyone trying to bring that back.

Life for November 19, 1956, had an article on the hardworking cartoonist.

Herb Block, born in 1909, died one week short of his 92nd birthday in 2001.


Kirk said...

I was under the impression that gun control didn't emerge as an issue until 1968, following the MLK/RFK assassinations. This is the first I've seen it raise following the JFK murder. Herblock seems to have been ahead of the game.

Oh, wait, one other place, on the TV show GET SMART of all things, a joke that may very well have been inspired by the Herblock cartoon. Maxwell Smart and KAOS agent Zigfried are comparing weapons. Smart brags of owning a weapon that's the most deadliest gun on the planet.

"Did CONTROL [the CIA-like spy agency] issue that to you?" Zigfried asks.

"Naw" Smart replies. "I got it from a mail order house out of Chicago.

Postino said...

I think that the gun control legislation of the 1960s, and that began after the JFK assassination with laws again mail-order weapons, galvanized the then-placid NRA into political action.

In a previous post I mentioned the Black Panthers asserted Second Amendment rights in the late '60s, which caused the California legislature to pass more restrictive gun laws. The modern-day NRA is a group that has vowed never to let any more anti-gun measures pass, no matter what it costs society as a whole.

I didn't remember the Get Smart scene, but thanks for telling me, because any time I think about Don Adams as Maxwell Smart I start laughing.