Thursday, March 29, 2018

Blog Post No. 2500: E. Simms Campbell in Color—Esquire Cartoons from 1935

On Amazon, a seller has taken a number of issues of Esquire from 1935 and carefully removed full-page cartoons, of which there are many, selling them as individual cartoon "prints." We have already seen that some issues of the magazine had as many as four full page black and white cartoons by African-American cartoonist E. Simms Campbell and now we find the same for the color cartoons. His specialty was drawing attractive women, often in little or no clothing, but his range is surprisingly broad. Here are the 1935 color cartoons offered for sale on Amazon.

In April, we see a young couple for whom things already are not going well:
"Damn!  Can't you even cook?"
E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, April 1935, page 43

Campbell's "Harem Girls" were a popular recurring feature in Esquire. Here a bravura illustration entices us with...the merchandise.
"Sorry, buddy—you'll have to deliver them at the trade entrance[.]"
E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, April 1935

The information on the above issue date comes not from Amazon but from the Comic Art Fans site, which has the original art:
"Sorry, buddy—you'll have to deliver them at the trade entrance[.]"
E. Simms Campbell
Original art
 April 1935
The Illustrator in America, page 212
Ex-collection Walter Reed

A Pacific island cartoon has one of Campbell's better captions. The original artwork to this gag was sold at Illustration House on November 4, 2000. The date of the issue comes from there.
"You'd think the damn fools never saw baskets before[.]"
E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, May 1935, page 78

As already demonstrated, the "Harem Girls" series gave rise to some disturbing scenarios of how the women were regarded by the sultan as property. Was this ever funny?
If found, please return to Abdul Ullah
E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, June 1935, page 41

Oh, come on. You know what he means...
"It's nothing—just the usual reaction[.]"
E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, August 1935, page 173

Campbell's artwork gets the spelling of tattooing right, but the caption drops a t. What's fascinating, though, is how an African-American cartoonist treated racial humor in a magazine aimed predominantly at white men. One wonders to what extent Campbell created his own gags and whether gag writers were involved.
"—of course there's an extra charge for tat[t]ooing in reverse[.]"
E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, September 1935, page 41

Most juries don't want to be sequestered.
"Are you going to lock us up for the night, Your Honor?"
E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, September 1935, page 53

Not jailbait:
"That's just what I'm afraid of—that you are old enough[.]"
E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, September 1935, page 71

Cartoons about sexual assault are alarmingly common in men's magazines of this time period. Some cartoons, like this one, require the reader to figure out the line that precedes the caption.
"—but lady—I ain't got no sister[.]"
E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, September 1935, page 93

Gags about drinking to excess, even on the job, were also commonplace.
"Whom do you call in a case like this?"
E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, October 1935, page 65

The following cartoons are from 1935, but for now they lack an issue date.

"I don't see any parade[.]"
E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, 1935

Smart kids, those Esquire readers.
"They said they were developing some film[.]"
E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, 1935

The sultan needs some me time.
"Thank God for onions!"
E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, 1935, page 30

How about that? Unfortunate dialect features prominently in this one.

"What a coincidence—so youse from the south too?"
E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, 1935, page 34

What exactly has Mr. Jacobs been up to? We close with some revivifying humor...
"Tell me about Mr. Jacobs in the morning—you'll find
smelling salts and iodine on the table[.]"

E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, 1935, page 34

Note:  At post time, all of these cartoons are available for purchase on Amazon. Simply follow the aqua link below each image.

Youse know what? Attempted Bloggery has been looking at the work of cartoonist E. Simms Campbell (1906-1971) for a good few weeks now. Interested readers can help carry on this worthy endeavor by submitting high-resolution scans or photographs of original Campbell art or of obscure published works like these. I would be happy to add to this post additional color Campbell cartoons from Esquire issues dated 1935.

The Esquire cartoons in the latter part of this post have years and page numbers, but alas no month. Please help me out if you can. I am, after all, a stickler for these things.

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