Monday, July 12, 2010

Incidental Character Designs By Post

As has been pointed out and acknowledged, Warren Kremer created the Harvey comics house style that the other cartoonists followed. This makes it a bit hard to tell the different artists apart. All the main characters are basically the same design. Little Audrey is Casper with ears and clothes and hair. One way to tell the different artists apart is to look at the incidental characters in the stories. Each artist drew the non-regular characters more in their own styles.
Spooky is a generic Harvey character, but the ghost next to him is a very specific design.

Howie Posts's incidental characters are generally more specific and cartoony than the other cartoonists at Harvey.
They are also cuter; they have big heads in proportion to their bodies. Some of the Harvey artists draw really tiny heads and eyes - which isn't very cartoony.







This cover is likey by Warren Kremer. Good looking and well balanced.Here is a stark contrast between the Howie Post comic on the left and the other artist on the right. Bill White says it's Kremer, but then that makes me think someone else did the cover since that's in a different style.



22 comments:

K. Nacht said...

Love that scissor wielding ghost!

Roberto Severino said...

Marvelous drawings. It astounds me how Harvey Comics let each of their artists draw in their own styles as long as it still looked like the recognizable "house style" overall. That makes these comics really interesting to compare and contrast. Reminds me of the unit system at Termite Terrace.

I wonder if any of the modern animation studios even use units, especially on the TV productions.

RooniMan said...

Very insightful.

HemlockMan said...

I think I've mentioned this before, but Howie Post drew the HAPPIEST characters I've ever seen in cartoon comic books. Looking at them made me feel happy.

When I was a kid I was reading a LITTLE DOT comic and there was an Ernie Colon story in which Dot's father was leaning out of a window. The weird thing to me as a kid was that you could see his triceps! This was just plain weird. Very un-cartoony. What the heck were triceps doing in a LITTLE DOT comic story?

John A said...

Looks like those cops and robbers invading Audrey's world are on loan from Hanna-Barbera.

JohnK said...

70s Hanna Barbera

Pete Emslie said...

I particularly like the little rascal in the third sample. He looks like he could be the ghost of Johnny Carson.

C said...

The why-didn't-I-think-of-that ghost is so cute! I love cute spooky things.

Martin Juneau said...

It's a shame that those good Harvey comics series wasn't the premises of the original cartoons shorts series from Famous.

Well, they try to translated in the final Casper episodes from the Harvey comics but they ended in 1959 and Famous' Studios was condammned to take the UPA style but in a extreme way of flatness because the budget was very low.

Niki said...

I don't like how Ernie colon drew my Audrey, I have instant dislike of him!

Paul B said...

John! I got the Mighty Mouse dvd!
Hahahahahaha, do you really fell out while you were imitating Ralph?
Hahahahahha, that was ·%#@asd¬€¬! hilarious!

Brubaker said...

Incidentally, Howie Post used that bat on some of the "Honey Halfwitch" shorts he did for Paramount when he was in charge of their animation studio. His name was "Fraidy Bat", I believe.

Mark said...

These Harvey posts are really great. Thank you.

By the way, in case anyone is interested, Bud Plant has the two-volume COMPLETELY MAD DON MARTIN on sale for $49.99. Thought you folks might like to know if you didn't already.

http://budsartbooks.com/prod.cfm/pc/COMDH/cid/40

Bill White said...

The page you credit to Ernie Colon was drawn by Warren Kremer.

idrawtoons said...

Great post!
Nice 'lesson' in character design, I had never heard of Mr. Post but now I'm a big fan. Mr. Colon couldn't help but draw his characters and most of his backgrounds more 'realistic' which clashes with the Harvey characters. While technically accurate, it looks stiff and kinda bland.

Archie said...

Hey John, is there any chance you could have a quick peruse of my blog and tell me what you think on some of the drawings. There's a lot of stinky drawings on there. Any critique is more than welcome and greatly appreciated. THANKS!

http://cat-habits.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2010-02-19T12%3A27%3A00-08%3A00&max-results=7

Bill White said...

Warren did draw both the cover and the Audrey page. The differences in style are because they are from different time periods (Harvey reused covers and reprinted stories all the time, so it's hard to pin down specific eras). Also Warren inked his covers, and others inked the interior pages.

JohnK said...

Hi Bill thanks.

here's why I thought it was Colon:

I see that the guy in the bush looks like a character out of Stumbo (a Kremer human) -but the cops look like Ernie Colon characters because of their proportions-tall and skinny with tiny heads. Audrey also looks very much like the way Colon drew her (and Casper and the other similar designs)- he drew them with close set eyes and a bulbous protruding forehead.

By the way, who inked the stories? It looks like they may have had a small crew of inkers-most of whom inked in the same style, but there is one who is different. Maybe I'll post the one who has a different style later.

Thanks for your help!

GoldDarkShadow said...

Awesome Post. The Harvey in-house style went downhill in the late 1960's/early 70's. The characters that Ernie Colon drew look very unappealing to look at compare to the other Harvey artiest. I was going to say something else about how he draws them, but dont want to get in trouble for saying it on tis blog.

Bill White said...

A guy named Lee Donahue was one of the earliest inkers at Harvey and he set the inking style there. Helen Cason, Ruth Leon, Jacqueline Roettcher, Roberta Edelman and Frank Carin were the main inkers in the 50's, 60's and 70's. Of them, Jacqueline was the best. She might be the "different" one you noticed. Interestingly, they all were inkers at Famous Studios, which is how they came to work for Harvey.

BTW, Ernie Colon is still alive and well, and drawing comics. Ironically, today, July 13th, is his birthday. His stuff is as great as ever!

Mykal Banta said...

John: My two cents is that I believe the Little Audrey page was done by Ernie Colón. Tall, thin figures. Heavy eyebrows for Audrey. The posture particularly of those two cops, their legs, look like Colón. I don't think any of the Harvey artists did their inking on interior pages. According to Sid Couchey and Colón, the major Harvey artists, including themselves, seldom inked their own stories. "Harvey had inkers," said Couchey in 2002 interview in Comic Book Artist; and Colón recalls a stable of freelancers (Heather Carson among them) that Harvey farmed the inks out to. Colón doesn’t remember Kremer inking his own interior pages, either, but grants that he might have. Joe Rosen did nearly all of the lettering until the workload became too great (according to Colón) and then, again, Harvey began farming a lot of that out, too.

One reason that Colón's work looks so similar to Kremer’s is that Colón, in his early years with Harvey, consciously tried to make his work look like Kremer, whom he considered his mentor.

Later, his work on Richie Rich became very much his own - full of heavy shadow and much darker than any other Harvey artist.

Mykal Banta said...

John: as a post script to my earlier comment: with regard to inking, Howie Post said this in an interview with Chris Knowles and Jon B. Cooke in Comic Book Artist:

HP: “Only very rarely did I ink. I found myself inking only when scheduling was backed up because an inker was sick or something.

Q: Generally the inkers at Harvey were women?

HP: Yes, there were a couple of women, whose names have escaped me, I’m ashamed to admit; ask Ernie (Colan) for their names because he remembers the women! [laughter]. Both the women were great inkers.

Q: Did you have a favorite inker?

HP: No. Once I finished a job, I was off to other pursuits so rarely looked back at a job.