Billy Debeck put soooo much effort into this sheet music cover (above). It's as if the act of drawing was a sheer delight to him and he couldn't bring himself to stop.
A beautiful girl strokes an old man's beard (above) and he's in seventh heaven. Can any other graphic art portray happiness as well as cartoons can ?
I stole this (above) from John K's blog (original clippings from Marc Dekter). Milt Gross never seizes to amaze. The people are funny, the spaces are funny, and the character relationships are funny...but he doesn't stop there. When you enlarge this you'll see that the whole strip is a celebration of the simple fact that rooms and staircases exist. You can spend years cultivating an awareness of little things like that in a Tibetan monastery, or you can read Milt Gross for a nickel. Gross make us glad to be alive by celebrating the commonplace.
Haw! For Opper (above) everyone has a uniform including hobos, and when you wear the uniform of that profession or personality type then you act accordingly. We want to play roles and the uniform gives us an excuse.
Goldberg, like Gross, is capable of expressing profound loving relationships between people. Here (above) the wife threatens the husband with a rolling pin, but you get the feeling that the real reason he gives her what she wants is because he loves her. She's fat and plain-looking but he loves her anyway, and she loves him. Cartooning is an incredible medium. It can express the deepest emotions with just a few lines.
Bud Fisher (above) celebrates open space and, amazingly...the nature of chairs (!). Fisher made me realize what a chair is for. They're obviously for comfort but they're also for reflection, which we apparently have to do frequently. We sit and think about everything we just saw, then after a minute we pop up, ready to see new stuff. We walk around seeing more things, then we plop down and think about the new stuff we just saw. It goes on and on like that. Apparently the indoor world is so strange and unnatural that we have to spend part of every day talking ourselves into accepting it.
Here (above) Herriman's characters gather outside the mysterious wall. Cartoon characters can't bear to stand around randomly. When there's nothing to do they organize themselves into a group pattern. The closely-knit clump of creatures walks from place to place, occasionally releasing one of their own to perform a real-world task. When the task is done the lone creature returns to the clump.
Here's (above) a couple of Herrimans stolen from Mark Kausler's site. According to Herriman we love to sit in containers and put everything, including ourselves, on top of mounds. How would we know that if it weren't for cartoons?