13 December 2010

Some George Price

So here's some scans from a wartime George Price book. In my opinion, George "Geo" Price was one of the best draftsmen ever printed in the New Yorker (the gags appearing in this book had shown up in the New Yorker, Saturday Evening Post, Colliers and Life). Although his technique got very geometric in his later years, these 1940's cartoons showcase a great combination of liner fluidity and dynamic angles , reveling in environmental details other cartoonists would simply ignore.

Everything's funny with lab animals, apparently. The chimp in the chair is the main focal point in the piece, but I adore the loving attention given to the beakers, radio, lab equipment and hoses, yet none of them detract from the main focal point (chair).
Also, I love the secondary gag with the ape about to smash a heavy glass beaker over the guy's head, and how the composition leads the eye to ape one (chair), then directs to ape two (homicidal violence), which suggests a whole story taking place inside a single panel.

Death plants! Geo Price's love of detail wouldn't be so effective without an equal degree of restraint and control. See that roof? Compare the sparseness of the roof to the house's foundation, or the garbage on the ground, and how Price uses linear detail to lead the eye.

God damn, could he draw! The gag isn't that funny, it's just an excuse to see George Price do a boatload of animals and make it look easy.

If you look closer at the postman, he just tells a whole story on his own. The face alone kicks ass, but cover that up. You can still tell how seriously he takes his job, and how he feels about it. The proper posture betrays a certain pride in his work. But, his clothes are a little baggy, the bag hangs pretty heavy, all little clues that he's not very happy about it, and been delivering notices all day.

Another "George Price draws a whole freaking zoo" gag. This time, just birds.

Another "Storytelling Drawing". Price famously had an affinity for attractive clutter, particularly in his early work. But every bit of junk, piping , tire patches on the rubber swan, furthers and "plusses" the gag. Though this is a bit more complex and visually busy than many of Price's remembered contemporaries (and many gag cartoonists working today), no line, no mark on the page is wasted.

I really don't have much to add about this one except I just love the way he draws the folds in the carpet.

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