[CARTOONS, COMIC STRIPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS]. An extensive collection of original cartoons, comic strips and illustrations, approximately 400, mostly first half of- to mid-20th Century, acquired by Charles E. Sigety en bloc from Morris Weiss (1915-2014), American comic book and comic strip artist and writer. Weiss was active from the 1930s through the mid-1970s, working on many strips but most renowned as the creator of the teen-comedy character “Margie” for Timely Comics (1940s predecessor to Marvel Comics), and for being the final cartoonist for the Mickey Finn comic strip. Many of the comics in the collection are inscribed to Weiss from the artists.
THE AMERICAN NEWSPAPER COMIC STRIP (LIKE JAZZ AND THE MOVIES) IS A MAJOR INNOVATIVE AND CREATIVE CULTURAL ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE UNITED STATES, ONE THAT HAS SPREAD AROUND THE WORLD" (The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics, ed. Bill Blackbeard and Martin Wilson, 1977).
A VERITABLE WHO’S WHO OF TWENTIETH CENTURY COMIC ART
Few genres have blended humor, satire, political activism and cultural commentary as succinctly -- and with as much populist influence -- as American comic strips and cartoons. The present collection shows all of these facets, from some of the masters of the art. Inclded are a vast range of artists and styles, with highlights of the popular strips including: “Beetle Bailey” by Mort Walker; “Berry’s World” by Jim Berry; “Blondie” by Chic Young; “Dumb Dora” by Chic Young, Paul Fung, Bill Dwyer; “The Family Circle” by Bil Keane; “Hi and Lois” by Mort Walker; “The Lone Ranger” by Charles Flanders; “Louie” by “Harry Hanan”; “Prince Valiant” by Harold R. Foster”.
Illustrations and cartoons are included by: Winsor McKay (editorial cartoon for New York American); Dick Cavalli; Wally Bishop; Al Capp (early Li'l Abner cartoons); Robert L. Ripley (Believe It or Not); Ham Fisher (Joe Palooka); Bud Fisher (Mutt & Jeff); Ernie Bushmiller (Fritz); Milton Caniff (Terry and Steve Canyon); Al Smith (Mutt & Jeff); Gary Trudeau (Doonesbury); H.H. Knerr (Katzenjammer). A selection of sporting cartoons include Burris Jenkins, Jr. (Schmeling losing in his disputed decision), Carey Orr (Dempsey training for championship fight with Georges Carpentier) and two by Willard Mullin.
Among a selection of the cartoons that have been framed are many personally drawn for and inscribed to Weiss, including those by: Peter Arno, Milton Caniff, Percy Crosby, Al Posen and Walter Hoban. For a full listing of the collection, please contact the department.
A profile of Morris Weiss from 2006 reveals his legacy: "'I've had a very interesting life,' he says, and he is not being immodest. 'I wonder if there's anyone alive who has met as many of the great cartoonists as I have — Charles Dana Gibson, Winsor McCay, James Montgomery Flagg?... I was a night owl. I would work all night with a cup of coffee, a cigarette and the radio playing. I'd call up Milton Caniff at 3 a.m., and we'd talk and talk. He was another night-bird'... [Weiss] lived and worked in one of the great realms of imagination, cartooning, at a time when people followed comic strips as passionately as they watch TV nowadays" (Michael Browning, " Before Charles Schulz Drew, Morris Weiss filled the Funnies," in: Palm Beach Post, 8 January 2006).