Current Australian cartoonists are up there with the best minds and pens for political cartoons, commentary of events of the day and caricature.
Many Australians pat ourselves on the back for our national sardonic sense of humour, and admiration for home grown larrikins, but Australia could be at risk of forgetting its own wonderful background of early black and white cartoonists.
There was a tribe of early Australian single panel cartoonists who caught the moods of Australia’s ordinary people living through the tough times, from the 1920’s to the 1970’s.
I include cartoonists like Stan Cross, who produced long running strips such as Wally and the Major, and The Potts; and Emile Mercier who contributed joke drawings to the best read papers from the 1920’s.
Their work is rarely seen today. Most of these artists and their fans have grown old, and their grandkids are more interested in the violence of Spiderman, and Darth Vader. Their publishers have gone broke. It’s as if their work has dropped away like autumn leaves, only used as mulch for a different time. However, their work prepared the ground for great current cartoonists like Leunig
Their sense of fun is as valid today as it ever was. Their hilarity was not sardonic, not hurtful, not angry, not political. They got and gave chuckles along the vein of Dad jokes.
They captured Australian foibles, the way New Yorker magazine cartoons exposed a gentle American view of every day life.
This web blog is an attempt to keep at least some of their work available.