Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Milt Gross, 20th Century Renaissance Man

There used to be a great magazine called "Cartoonists Profiles"

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that featured articles about every imaginable kind of cartoonist. Mike Fontanelli brought over this issue which featured an article about Milt Gross who was not only a top cartoonist, but a playwright, a gag man for Charlie Chaplin, an animator and a hundred other things.

He was all these things and more in an age of giants - During America's Golden Age - when it seems almost everyone was talented and no one could have imagined that popular amateurism was mere decades away.

Look how cool his early "Mutt 'N' Jeff" style was! Totally different than his own personal style that came a bit later.

These strips below are courtesy of Marc Deckter

who spends every red cent I pay him on great old comic strips.Marc told me he bought a bunch of Gross strips from 1930 and 31 and that they were among his best.
Here's 3 of them and they are beautiful all right.

Look at the great mood in this last one! I love all his compositions. So clever. Every shape he draws is beautiful.

Thanks Mike and Marc for giving me an easy post to do!


HemlockMan said...

I think I had a few issues of that magazine. The Valiant cover looks familiar. When I was younger I used to buy and sell the heck out of fanzines.

I did not know that Milt Gross worked for Charlie Chaplin.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff! I didn't knew that about Chaplin, but the tought of him lying down scared of who might be after the door sure made me laugh... Also, Milt Gross is brilliant, and it's just one of many cartoon heroes I would've never heard of if it wasn't you and your blog, Mr. K.

My drawings also have been improving since I took your Preston Blair lessons... I was lucky enough to find an online version of the whole book, translated to portuguese!

Anyway, thanks a lot for what you're doing, and I hope to see George Liquor on TV soon!

Sandy Pants said...

Wow! I'm glad my friend pressured me to start reading this blog. Now I'm going to start searching for more stuff from Milt Gross. Genius!

Elliot Cowan said...

I used to get this magazine.
It was incredibly right wing, if I recall.
They didn't like your Ren and Stimpy show at all.
My favorite section was Ask Leo, where readers would ask a man in a wig about 2B pencils and which sharpeners were best for cartoonists.
I recall someone asked him why there weren't many female cartoonists and he said it was because women weren't that funny, and proof of this was that there weren't many female cartoonists.
Obviously there were complaints about this because in the next issue Leo said something like "Some people may disagree with me but it's my column, so shut up".

Mitch K said...

The first time you posted a Gross strip, I thought "Ehhh...," but now, I completely get it.

The compositions in that last one is awesome, and the comic is really funny. Gross comics are awesome!

mrmonkey23 said...

Hi John... thanks for the great blog.

I've been posting a lot of really old comic strips I scan on my site in a section called the Crumbling Paper Index I thought you may be interested in...

There is a Milt Gross Count Screwloose sunday I scanned there along with a whole lot of other old stuff. Have fun!

Matt Aucoin said...

Dear John K,

This post, like all of your post, was excellent and informative. I always check out your blog for inspirations.

I've been trying to locate your cartoon, Weekend Pussy Hunt, and can only find the first episode at, where can I get my hands on the other episodes?

You keep writing, I'll keep reading.

Bob said...

Hey John, i haven't been on your blog in awhile and i read that you wanted to comment on some of the work that people submitted on your blog about George Liquor's layout poses/ storyboards. You can use my stuff as an example if you like and thanks for all the posts I got a lot of reading to do.

Sandy Pants said...

Elliot: not to toot my own horn but I personally think I'm hilarious. That guy sounds like a douche and sadly people STILL think like him today.

Will Finn said...

Thanks Mike, Marc and John. Always delightful to see new Milt Gross, given that what is generally available is merely the tip of the "Gross-berg".

I don't know why someone doesn't do a book about him.

John_Fountain said...

Hey, John...

What are your thoughts on George Herriman's 'Krazy Kat'?

As a fan of old comic strips myself, it never fails to amaze me how Herriman could essentially repeat the exact same premise with the most predictable ending over and over again and still make it positively surreal and brilliant and funny.

Or maybe it's just me.

pumml said...

Hi John,

I took a couple shots at one of the Milt Gross backgrounds you posted awhile back, painted up in HB style. If you have any feedback, I'd be grateful.

Here's the link