Friday, July 23, 2010

Harry Maguire (1832-1916)

Henry Carlton (or Calton) Maguire was, along with Robert Prowse senior, the most indefatigable illustrator of penny dreadful and boys story papers of the eighteen sixties, seventies and eighties. “Harry” Maguire led a double-life, one as a respectable illustrator of music sheets (c.1860-1885), and one as a provider of thrilling woodcuts for penny dreadful and boys’ story papers.

According to his baptismal certificate Maguire was born on 24 July1832 (He seems to have shaved a few years off his age in various census reports) in Marleybone, Middlesex, London. Harry was the son of Henry Calton Maguire (1790-1854) a member of a well known Irish family of painters, etchers and lithographers working in London, and Eliza Bussman. The father, born in Dublin, produced lithographs for sheet music and was also a well-known water-colourist and book illustrator. After the death of the elder Maguire, Harry junior continued in the sheet music business producing lithographs for the songs of Arthur Lloyd, the Great Vance, Nellie Power and Harry Rickards. Maguire married Catherine Laura Pope in January 1860. She died in March 1889 without having borne him any children.

Harry Maguire sidelined drawing woodcut illustrations for the penny dreadful trade. His earliest known penny dreadful employer was the Newsagent’s Publishing Company at 147 Fleet-street. Maguire illustrated Vane Ireton St. John’s The Wild Boys of London; or, the Children of the Night, published on July 17 1864, The Work Girls of London; their Trials and Temptations in 1865, and The Boy Pirate; or, Life on the Ocean a Novel, also in 1865. In October 1867 he illustrated The Boy Detective; or, the Crimes of London.

In 1867 Maguire was employed by William Emmett Lawrence illustrating serials in the Young Englishman’s Journal which began on 13 April 1867. For the first seven issues the Young Englishman’s Journal was published by John Millbank Crisp of Temple Publishing Company, 45, Essex Street, Strand. Temple had been an early penny dreadful rival of the NPC. The first serial to feature Maguire’s woodcuts in the Young Englishman’s Journal was Willie Gray; or, the Wreck of the Polar Star. In number 8 appeared George Emmett’s famous serial Boys of Bircham School, partially illustrated by Maguire. His prolific woodcuts were used as illustrations to serials by Captain Mayne Reid, Charles Stevens, Vane Ireton St. John, Percy Bolingbroke St. John, and William Stephens Hayward. Henry Carlton Maguire became a member of the Society of Arts in 1869 while living at Brook villa, Earlsbrook-road, Redhill. According to one relative Henry also gave elocution lessons to actors and taught fencing to military officers.

In 1870 Charles Stevens Alone in the Pirate’s Lair was issued in penny parts. Pirate’s Lair was reprinted from The Boys of England, where it had been the opening serial for the first issue on 27 November 1866. Frank Jay says that most were illustrated by “an artist named Hebblethwaite, who could draw as well with his left hand as with his right,” but the 1870 parts work was illustrated by Harry Maguire.

The Young Englishman’s Journal was incorporated into The Sons of Britannia on 14 Mar 1870. Maguire continued drawing the cover serials and was so popular that his name was used in advertising material for the various Emmett story papers and penny parts. The 1871 census listed Maguire under the name Henry Maguire. He was described as an artist living in Islington with his wife Catherine (born in 1835), a nephew and a niece. In this census Annie Savory, who Harry was later to live with in a common-law situation, is listed as "artist's wife" and is living with daughter Kate and a servant.

Maguire was the most frequent contributor of illustrations for The Sons of Britannia. He seems to have been a favorite with George Emmett and illustrated all of his employers’ titles including Tom Wildrake and the famous Shot & Shell series. The Sons of Britannia’s last number was No. 394 on September 15, 1877 and the paper was to have been incorporated with The Champion Journal, which I have not been able to trace. Maguire also contributed to The Boys’ Standard, published by William Lucas then Charles Fox, which ran from 6 November 1875 to 7 March 1881. Its only speculation but I think in the eighties Maguire may have contributed full-page woodcuts for Charles Fox penny dreadfuls of Spring-Heeled Jack, Cartouche, and Sweeney Todd. The style is quite different from his early work, and unsigned, but there are a few resemblances to his sixties and seventies work.

Harry Maguire is recorded in the 1881 census under the name Henry Carlton, living at 13 Avenue Road, Wanstead, Essex, with Annie Savory and the following children; Kate (born 1870) Annie (born 1872) Henry (born 1874) Jenny (born 1877) Lody (born 1879) and Sarah (born 1881.) All the children were registered with the surname Carlton. Harry Maguire is described as an "artist and draughtsman (with "E & M" in brackets.) He married Annie Savory, with whom he had had a long-standing relationship, in July 1889 - i.e. after she had borne him 9 children. The other children were Mabel and Emily - presumably there was another who died in infancy.

By the time of the 1891 census Maguire is listed as married to Annie, aged 42, also born in Marleybone. Their home was at 1 Zetland Villas, Lewisham, and was described as a “lithographic artist.” The couple had seven children: Harry, born in 1874 in Tottenham, described as an artist’s pupil, Kate (born 1870, Islington), Annie (born 1872, Islington), Jane (born 1877, Brighton), Lody(?) (born 1880, Brighton), Mabel (born 1882, Leytonstone) and Emily (born 1883, Leytonstone).

The last work by Harry Maguire that I could find was the school story The Lambs of Littlecote by his old mate E Harcourt Burrage. The Lambs of Littlecote was published by the Aldine Publishing Company in 1894, and must have been one of the last penny dreadfuls published with wood engravings. By 1895 the photo process engraving sent the woodcut the way of the dinosaur. Maguire supplied the first 13 illustrations before the job was taken over by Robert Prowse junior.

In 1901 he was recorded as Henry C. Maguire, watercolour artist. He was a widow now and resided at 141 Bensham Lane with his son Henry Terrence, a photo process etcher, and a daughter, Mabel. By 1911 Harry was living with his son’s family at 1 Preston Road, Upper Norwood. Henry is now called Harry Carlton Maguire, and described as an artist. His son, now known as Harry T., was a process engraver. He and his wife Lilly had two daughters, Nora and Kathleen. Harry J.’s sister Annie Josephine, also a process engraver, shared the house with the couple.

Henry Carlton (or Calton) Maguire died April 1916, at Homelands, Park Place, Eltham, Lewisham. He was buried on 17 April 1916 at Norwood Cemetery.

*Thanks to Robert Kirkpatrick for his contribution of census material.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gag Cartoons

Original artwork by 3 gag cartoonists: Dell, Engel, and Lubnay. Thanks to Don Kurtz.

*Update: Actually Dell, Bill Wenzel and George Ludway. See comment!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

All Star Western

I began collecting DC comics All Star Western in 1955, when superhero titles were on the wane, and was a regular reader until its demise in 1961. The western comics were not signed in the fifties but I did recognize the work of one of the star artists, many years later revealed to be Gil Kane, from an earlier fascination with Rex the Wonder Dog, a tree-climbing horse-riding, car-driving canine hero based on Rin Tin Tin.

All Star Western began with no. 58 (April-May 1951), making use of the title of the discontinued All Star Comics, home to the long-running series Justice Society of America. The great artists and writers on All Star Western, as well as the Julius Schwartz science-fiction titles, would also be the crew responsible for DC’s later return to superheroes with The Flash (Carmine Infantino) and Green Lantern (Gil Kane).

All Stars’ most prolific contributing writer was Robert Kanigher along with John Broome and Gardner Fox. The stories were as gimmicky as the corresponding science-fiction titles. The first major feature was the Trigger Twins, a buckskin duo, one brother a milquetoast Clark Kent type, the other equivalent to a gun-toting Superman. The stories were drawn by Gil Kane and Carmine Infantino. Among the artists who contributed for the next ten years were Carmine Infantino, Gil Kane, Alex Toth, Ross Andru, Irwin Hasen, Howard Sherman, Leonard Starr, and Dan Barry.

All Star Western was canceled with no. 119 (June-July 1961) in the middle of a two part story featuring Johnny Thunder and a beautiful masked gunwoman named Madame .44. I had been a little upset by the fact that Johnny Thunder had changed his marvelous fringed jacket for a red shirt --much more upsetting was the demise of All Star Western, one of the best drawn comic book westerns of the fifties.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Comics of World War II

During World War II a lot of comic strip heroes fought the Axis. Captain Midnight first appeared on radio and made his debut in the comic books in Dell’s The Funnies no. 57 in July 1941 by artist Robert Brice. In 1942 Midnight changed publishers to Fawcett, home of Captain Marvel, and made his appearance in a Chicago-Sun newspaper strip signed Jonwan. Two more strips from 1942 were Race Riley and the Commandos by Milburn Rosser and Captain Yank by Frank Tinsley which originally ran under the title Yankee Doodle. In these samples from 1943 Lt. Dick Calkins Buck Rogers took on the Shintos, a super race whose uniforms were decorated with a backwards swastika. Don Winslow of the Navy was by Frank V. Martinek and the comic book was also produced for Fawcett comics. Russell Keaton’s Flyin’Jenny also had a Fawcett connection in the person of artist Marc Swayze, who pens a regular column for Alter Ego called “We Didn’t Know it was the Golden Age.” Last we have the marine Stony Craig by Frank H. Rentfrow and artist Bouchard.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

More Vernon Greene

Sherri, of Vancouver, Washington, has sent me some interesting scans concerning Vernon Greene, who took over Bringing up Father in 1954. Vancouver is a fairly large city on the North bank of the Columbia River. Battle Ground borders Vancouver on the north east. I grew up in Trail, British Columbia, on the Canadian side of the Columbia River, but I only made it as far south as Spokane myself.

Recently Sherri purchased a little memory book of Battle Ground High School Class of 1926 (Vernon Greene’s Class). Inside there is an undated newspaper clipping (from approx. June 3rd 1929) about Vernon; who was leaving for a new position at the Toledo News Bee. You can see from the school page that his nickname was “V.V.” Greene's high school graduation was on May 27, 1926.

Sherri thought the Greene image of the moustachio’d older man might be that of a school official. The original owner of the memory book was Adelma Peterson. The Greene comic strip below was from the Canadian Star Weekly for 14 April 1956. Thanks Sherri!