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Insider Histories of Cartooning - Rediscovering Forgotten Famous Comics and Their Creators

Insider Histories of Cartooning

Rediscovering Forgotten Famous Comics and Their Creators

By Robert C. Harvey
Hardcover : 9781628461428, 224 pages, 71 b&w illustrations, December 2014
Paperback : 9781628461435, 224 pages, 71 b&w illustrations, December 2014

From a cartoonist and a veteran writer on the history of comics, a joyous reclamation of cartooning geniuses


Many fans and insiders alike have never heard of Bill Hume, Bailin' Wire Bill, Abe Martin, AWOL Wally, the Texas History Movies, or the Weatherbird at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. And many insiders do not know why we call comic books “comics” even though lots of them are not at all funny.

Robert C. Harvey, cartoonist and a veteran comics critic, author of several histories of comics and biographies of cartoonists, tells forgotten stories of a dozen now obscure but once famous cartoonists and their creations. He also includes accounts of the cartooning careers of a groundbreaking African American and a woman who broke into an industry once dominated by white men.

Many of the better-known stories in some of the book's fourteen chapters are wrapped around fugitive scraps of information that are almost unknown. Which of Bill Mauldin's famous duo is Willie? Which is Joe? What was the big secret about E. Simms Campbell? Who was Funnyman? And why? And some of the pictures are rare, too. Hugh Hefner's cartoons, Kin Hubbard's illustrations for Short Furrows, Betty Swords’s pictures for the Male Chauvinist Pig Calendar of 1974, the Far East pin-up cartoon character Babysan, illustrations for Popo and Fifina, and Red Ryder's last bow.


"By focusing on the ‘forgotten’ famous comics, Insider Histories of Catooning is a significant contribution to the scholarship on comic strips. . . . This book is a must-have for the library of any comics historian or enthusiast."

- John Michael Vohlidka, Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Volume 8, Number 1, February 2017

"Bob Harvey is a triple threat in comics scholarship: an assiduous historian, a discerning critic, and a talented cartoonist. In this book he has hit a home run clear out of the park. Exploring little-known artists, characters, and obscure corners of cartooning history, these essays will challenge and correct many long-held assumptions about a beloved and now respected art form."

- M. Thomas Inge, author or editor of numerous books on the comics, including Will Eisner: Conversations, My Life with Charlie Brown, and Comics as Culture

"Insider Histories of Cartooning is a great resource from the original insider, R. C. Harvey. Bolster your understanding of comics history with the guy that knows it inside and out."

- Scott McCloud, author of Understanding Comics

"This book is an indispensable companion to Harvey's previous landmark histories, The Art of the Funnies and The Art of the Comic Book. Among its varied offerings are an updated timeline incorporating important comics research discoveries from the last twenty years, a thorough redefinition of comics terminology, and a selection of fascinating essays on some of the art form's pioneers, masters, and lesser-known talents. An eminent comics scholar and a gifted raconteur, Harvey's writing is both informative and entertaining."

- Brian Walker, cartoonist, historian, and curator