Showing posts with label genius. Show all posts
Showing posts with label genius. Show all posts

Saturday, June 17, 2017


One of my favorite newspaper cartoonists of the WWI era was the great Rube Goldberg. Unfortunately for Rube he's mostly remembered for the "Rube Goldberg Device" where a chain of events eventually causes a bucket of water to tip over and fill the thirsty man's glass. That's all clever and appealing but it's not the man's best work. If you've only seen the inventions, then read on. You're in for a treat! Be sure to click to enlarge!

The poses in "I'm Cured" (above, topmost) are terrific, especially the running pose on the upper right corner. When I first saw it I was so inspired by the jacket that I ran out to a thrift shop and bought one just like it. The thing rides way up in the back and when I raise my hands up the jacket shoulders stay up there, even after I put my arms down again. What a find! I still have it.

And how do you like the thinking poses on the strip above? That's how I feel when I'm thinking. I feel smarter just looking at it.

Aaaah! Refreshed at the fountain of Goldberg! For me these four panels (above) are art, suitable for a museum. I love the running poses on the bottom! Rube's universe is all about ordinary people. Not handsome men and beautiful women, just ordinary people doing the best they can.

Rube, who was tall himself, did great tall people. I love the placement of trees (above) behind the guy.

How do you like the arms on the woman above? The simple staging, deliberately stiff pose, and obsessively horizontal lines in the shadows make the picture even funnier.

That's Rube on the lower left. Goldberg always said that he had a great childhood and this photo bears that out. But where's his mother?

Friday, March 23, 2007


Did Rube Goldberg work in a primitive style!!??? Absolutely not!!!!!!! He was working in a deliberately comedic style, one of the most sophisticated and effective styles in all of cartoon history!
Poor Rube is always lumped together with Bud Fisher's "Mutt and Jeff" (the long, narrow strip above). Fisher was a funny and creative artist in his prime but he was never as funny, as innovative or as warm and "human" as Goldberg.

Goldberg had more in common with Milt Gross (no example here). Both were funny as hell and both seemed to love the people they were making fun of. I don't know about you but I find Goldberg's bottom two pictures of couples (above) to be extremely tender and appealing at the same time they're caricatured. Bud Fisher couldn't touch stuff like this.
So, is Goldberg's style primitive? No!!! If the purpose of a cartoon is to get laughs then this style is shockingly efficient. The audience is already smiling before they read the caption. If any style can be called primitive it's the modern style (with very notable exceptions), which simply doesn't deliver the comedic goods.
One last look at Goldberg (above) ...(Sigh!) and I turn you back to the modern comedic style below.
Note: I know the guy who did the color drawings above. He's a talented guy and he'd probably jump at the chance to work on something genuinely funny.