VIP!

Another find from a corner of the closet. According to the cover blurb, this book is the first published collection of cartoons by Virgil Partch, who identified himself on his cartoons as VIP. ‘Funny Cartoons by VIP’ is a book I discovered and read when I was a young kid.

Partch was, perhaps, the first humor cartoonist whose work forced me to ponder his drawing style. As a kid, I found the ugliness of his characters off-putting. All unibrows and overbites. They weren’t appealing to me in the way that ugly monster drawings (Ed “Big Daddy” Roth) were; these characters were urbane and adult, and I wasn’t interested in considering adults in that way. I would have just turned away, but the gags made me stick around. They were so crazy and uninhibited. And too, too funny! I’d never seen understatement welded to explosive, over-the-top bombast before, as in the cartoon below:

I used to visit Gasoline Alley cartoonist Dick Moores during the summer for several years, and we had a discussion or two about Partch. Moores and Partch were old friends, having both worked for Disney early in their careers (maybe I dreamed it, but I seem to remember Dick telling me that Partch ghosted Gasoline Alley for a time — hard to wrap the mind around that). Of his gag cartoons, Dick said that VIP often drew his characters with six or seven fingers per hand to compensate for the Disney years when he was forced to draw characters with three fingers and a thumb.

In later years Partch did a syndicated strip, Big George, which was VIP toned down for general consumption.

Most of the drawings in ‘Funny Cartoons by VIP’ originally appeared in TRUE, the Man’s Magazine. The book collection was published by Gold Medal Books, Fawcett Publications, Inc. in 1954.

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