Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Wiliam Von Rlegen in College Humor, July 1937

William Von Riegen has two cartoons in the July 1937 issue of College Humor. The first takes place at that fraught moment in the wedding ceremony just after we hear the words "speak now or forever hold your peace."
"Yes, I have a word or two to say!"
William Von Riegen, College Humor, Vol. 5, No. 3, July 1937, page 36

Before objecting to this next one, remember that they are consenting adults:
"Will you promise to be a good girl, then?"
William Von Riegen, College Humor, Vol. 5, No. 3, July 1937

Note:  This number of College Humor resides in the Steven Boss humor magazine collection at Columbia University in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. I know. I was there. My thanks to Curator for Comics and Cartoons Karen Green who's there all the time.

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William Von Riegen

College Humor


Monday, May 22, 2017

My Entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #570

Lights! Camera! My entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #570 for May 22, 2017! The drawing is by Robert Leighton.

"Point taken, but I still prefer 'Psycho.'"

Note:  Last week, cartoonist Drew Dernavich sent us a corporate cannonball. My caption misfired. See how Contest #569 made a splash.

Click the aqua link to alight on Robert Leighton in the blog archives.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

William Von Riegen and Buford Tune in College Humor, May 1937?

Two unsigned cartoons from the May 1937 issue of College Humor could be the work of William Von Riegen. The cartoons are reproduced in a horizontal orientation and the signatures may very well have been cropped out of the image. The first deals with a surefire humorous scenario: the shy man who encounters a sexually assertive woman.

"You're not the aggressive type, are you, Mr. Walters?"
William Von Riegen [?], College Humor, Vol. 5, No. 1, Ma
y 1937, page 57

The second, which may not be by Von Riegen, may be taken as a commentary on some of the Hollywood sex scandals of the era, particularly those that may have involved aging child stars who continued to take on roles considerably younger than their chronological ages. The depiction here of an infant having an affair with a young woman is clearly meant to be ridiculous, but today it is hard to view this gag as anything but tasteless in the extreme.
"Just how far has your romance with young Robbins gone?"
Buford Tune, College Humor, Vol. 5, No. 1, May 1937, page 59

May 23, 2017 Update: I am now attributing the second cartoon to Buford Tune.

Note:  This issue of College Humor is in the Steven Boss humor magazine collection at Columbia University. The Rare Book & Manuscript Library is home to some 5,600 humor magazines and Curator for Comics and Cartoons Karen Green knows where to find them all.

Are these unsigned cartoons truly the work of William Von Riegen? The first seems very likely to be, the second less so, but, by all means, tell me what you think.

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William Von Riegen

College Humor


Saturday, May 20, 2017

William Von Riegen in College Humor, July 1936

A trio of cartoons by William Von Riegen in the July 1936 issue of College Humor are set in a theatre, in a restaurant, and in a tattoo parlor. Nevertheless, they do have one thing in common: in each of these disparate settings, the young woman knows how to leave the man speechless. Two of these men even have similar stunned facial expressions, while the gent in the theatre is left with his mouth fully agape. It's mildly surprising that, in a magazine catering to the college-age crowd, there is a disturbing age difference between the young woman and the considerably older man in two of these cartoons, yet it is the woman who is rather obviously playing the seductress in this pair of gags, and indeed perhaps less obviously in the tattoo parlor gag as well. The appeal of this genre then seems to be young, attractive women making themselves sexually available to either younger men like the sailor or even more aggressively to older men of doubtful physical appeal, provided of course that they're well off financially.

"What do you suggest we do now, Mr. Bromley."
William Von Riegen,
 College Humor, Vol. 2, No. 2, July 1936

"Let's go, Mr. Fenton—I want to show you my etchings."
William Von Riegen,
 College Humor, Vol. 2, No. 2, July 1936, page 47

"A fellow on the U.S.S. Lexington has my picture on his chest."
William Von Riegen,
 College Humor, Vol. 2, No. 2, July 1936, page 49

A fourth cartoon by Von Riegen mocks those soft, flabby types lacking in athletic prowess.
"And this is called the head-lock."
William Von Riegen,
 College Humor, Vol. 2, No. 2, July 1936, page 48

Note:  This issue of College Humor, indeed all the issues of College Humor which have appeared on this blog, may be found in the Steven Boss humor magazine collection at Columbia University. I spent an afternoon in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library over a year ago and I've been blogging about it ever since. Thanks as ever to Curator for Comics and Cartoons Karen Green,

William Von Riegen has been hiding in plain sight for years. His cartoons and illustrations appeared in many publications over some four decades. Today he's not very well-known. I'd be happy to review scans of published cartoons or original artwork in the interest of publicizing the work of this talented yet obscure cartoonist.

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William Von Riegen

College Humor


Friday, May 19, 2017

Morven Museum and Garden

Today we headed to the Morven Museum and Garden to catch "Bruce Springsteen: A Photographic Journey." The exhibition closes on May 21.


William Von Riegen: Second Thoughts?

William Von Riegen provided cartoons for a variety of markets including the men's magazine Esquire. In 1956, he created a color cartoon which leaves little doubt as to the woman's motivation for seeking marriage. But what of the man? His body language may express some actual tenderness. Von Riegen is skilled in the use of gesture, hands in particular.

"It's all right for you to take their disinheriting you lightly, but
I told all my friends I'm marrying a millionaire!"

William Von Riegen, Esquire, October 1956, page 24

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William Von Riegen



Thursday, May 18, 2017

Today's Walk: A Private Crossing?

On a trail that crosses private property, the owner of the land may grant permission to allow passage. This easement may be revoked at will by the property owner. Sidewalks in Manhattan are, of course, public rights of way, so it is unexpected, to say the least, to find a plaque declaring a patch of heavily-traveled sidewalk on Seventh Avenue to be private property. Yet such a plaque can be found directly across the street from the entrance to Penn Station. Is this a prank? Who would go to the trouble to cement it into the sidewalk?



William Von Riegen: The Last Time I Saw Them

William Von Riegen had a number of accomplished artistic styles in his arsenal, from loose and sketchy figure drawings to more finished and painterly illustrations. He thus could bring a very different look to his book and magazine illustrations than to his cartoons. The Last Time I Saw Them by Corey Ford and Alastair MacBain recounts stories of the Army Air Force's exploits during World War II. The book was published in 1946 with illustrations by Von Riegen, who here demonstrates a more sober and heroic tone than is seen in his typical magazine cartoons. Note the cover illustration's dramatic backlit figures and his effective use of the diagonal line of sight.

Corey Ford and Alastair MacBain, The Last Time I Saw Them
(New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1946)
Illustrated by William Von Riegen

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Corey Ford

World War II


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

William Von Riegen: Passing the Buck, Part 2

"This Funny World" was a single-panel newspaper cartoon published by the McNaught Syndicate between 1944 and 1985. Many cartoonists contributed to this strip, including William Von Riegen, one of whose original panels for the series discusses a judge passing the buck on the Constitution. The original artwork was sold on eBay in March for an embarrassing $5.49. After fifty years, the cartoon retains much relevance if not much monetary value.

"I just pass the buck to a higher court---
I don't know what's constitutional
or unconstitutional anymore!"

William Von Riegen, "This Funny World,"
February 17, 1967, McNaught Syndicate, Inc.

The artist seems to be writing "W. von Riegen" with a lower-case v. Yet his name always appears in print with a capital V.

William Von Riegen
eBay Listing Ended March 26, 2017

William Von Riegen
eBay Item Description

eBay Bid History
One bid. Count it.

The Morning News, Wilmington, Delaware
Friday, February 17, 1967, page 54

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William Von Riegen

McNaught Syndicate


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

William Von Riegen: Passing the Buck

Dick Buchanan has gone into his clip files and sent along two published cartoons by William Von Riegen from the 1950s. He writes, "I have absolutely no information on this guy other than his cartoons appeared from the late 1930s into the 1960s. He was a regular at Collier's and later Look, and illustrated magazine articles as well. Most of his gag cartoons were of the 'illustrated joke' variety."

William Von Riegen was born in New York in 1908 and studied with George Bridgman at the Art Students League where he later did some teaching. He lived in New Jersey for much of his career. According to his Ink Spill biography, Von Riegen's New Yorker work dates from 1937 to 1975.

"Don't try to pass the buck, Bronson! You were
the one who told me how good my idea was!"

William Von Riegen, Collier's, May 27, 1955

"I had a long talk with my father about girls. He doesn't
know anything about them either."

William Von Riegen, Look, July 22, 1958

Note:  My thanks to Dick Buchanan for forwarding these scans. He contributes regularly to Mike Lynch Cartoons, most recently here.

Biographical notes on the artist from artprice.com may be found here.

His figure drawings from Gene Byrnes's Complete Guide to Cartooning may be seen here.

A very brief biographical line appears on the The New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z of Ink Spill.

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William Von Riegen