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Cartoon County: My Father and His Friends in the Golden Age of Make-Believe
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Published:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2017
Status:
Available from OverDrive
Description

A poignant history of the cartoonists and illustrators from the Connecticut School
For a period of about fifty years, right in the middle of the American Century, many of the the nation's top comic-strip cartoonists, gag cartoonists, and magazine illustrators lived within a stone's throw of one another in the southwestern corner of Connecticut—a bit of bohemia in the middle of those men in their gray flannel suits.
Cullen Murphy's father, John Cullen Murphy, drew the wildly popular comic strips Prince Valiant and Big Ben Bolt, and was the heart of this artistic milieu. Comic strips and gag cartoons read by hundreds of millions were created in this tight-knit group—Superman, Beetle Bailey, Snuffy Smith, Rip Kirby, Hagar the Horrible, Hi and Lois, Nancy, Sam & Silo, Amy, The Wizard of Id, The Heart of Juliet Jones, Family Circus, Joe Palooka, and The Lockhorns, among others. Cartoonists and their art were a pop-cultural force in a way that few today remember. Anarchic and deeply creative, the cartoonists were independent spirits whose artistic talents had mainly been forged during service in World War II.
Illustrated with never-before-seen photographs, cartoons, and drawings, Cartoon County brings the postwar American era alive, told through the relationship of a son to his father, an extraordinarily talented and generous man who had been trained by Norman Rockwell. Cartoon County gives us a glimpse into a very special community—and of an America that used to be.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
11/21/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780374713041
ASIN:
B0713W58JZ
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Cullen Murphy. (2017). Cartoon County: My Father and His Friends in the Golden Age of Make-Believe. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Cullen Murphy. 2017. Cartoon County: My Father and His Friends in the Golden Age of Make-Believe. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Cullen Murphy, Cartoon County: My Father and His Friends in the Golden Age of Make-Believe. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Cullen Murphy. Cartoon County: My Father and His Friends in the Golden Age of Make-Believe. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 16:02:30
Date Updated:
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      • bioText: Cullen Murphy is an editor at large at The Atlantic, where he was the longtime managing editor, and he has also been an editor at large at Vanity Fair. He is the author of Cartoon County: My Father and His Friends in the Golden Age of Make-Believe (FSG, 2017) and is at work on a book on the fountains of Rome.
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Cartoon County
fullDescription

A poignant history of the cartoonists and illustrators from the Connecticut School
For a period of about fifty years, right in the middle of the American Century, many of the the nation's top comic-strip cartoonists, gag cartoonists, and magazine illustrators lived within a stone's throw of one another in the southwestern corner of Connecticut—a bit of bohemia in the middle of those men in their gray flannel suits.
Cullen Murphy's father, John Cullen Murphy, drew the wildly popular comic strips Prince Valiant and Big Ben Bolt, and was the heart of this artistic milieu. Comic strips and gag cartoons read by hundreds of millions were created in this tight-knit group—Superman, Beetle Bailey, Snuffy Smith, Rip Kirby, Hagar the Horrible, Hi and Lois, Nancy, Sam & Silo, Amy, The Wizard of Id, The Heart of Juliet Jones, Family Circus, Joe Palooka, and The Lockhorns, among others. Cartoonists and their art were a pop-cultural force in a way that few today remember. Anarchic and deeply creative, the cartoonists were independent spirits whose artistic talents had mainly been forged during service in World War II.
Illustrated with never-before-seen photographs, cartoons, and drawings, Cartoon County brings the postwar American era alive, told through the relationship of a son to his father, an extraordinarily talented and generous man who had been trained by Norman Rockwell. Cartoon County gives us a glimpse into a very special community—and of an America that used to be.

reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        July 24, 2017
        Vanity Fair editor at large Murphy (God’s Jury) captures a slice of American pop culture from the mid-20th century, when a prominent group of comic-strip and gag cartoonists, known as the Connecticut School, resided in the town of Greenwich, Conn. Murphy draws from his own life—his father was John Cullen Murphy, known as the illustrator of such strips as Big Ben Bolt and Prince Valiant—to paint a sprawling portrait of many of the scene’s luminaries, including Mort Walker (Beetle Bailey), Dik Browne (Hägar the Horrible), and dozens of others who were members of this group, examining their family and social lives, their work habits, their art techniques, and more. Having spent a good portion of his life among these people, even taking the writing reins of Prince Valiant after writer Hal Foster retired while his father still drew it, Cullen crafts an immensely evocative look at an art colony many don’t know existed. He writes with a personable mix of affection and realism that offers a vivid sense of what it was like to be in that crowd, and to be a working cartoonist in the decades following WWII. Particularly fascinating are the parts of the book on Cullen’s father’s experiences in the Army and on his father’s relationship with his mentor, Norman Rockwell. Color illus.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        September 15, 2017
        When the Mad men and other office warriors took the train to Manhattan in the 1950s, a smaller group of mild men stayed behind in suburban Connecticut, toiling over drawing boards and churning out newspaper comic strips in home studios. These professional and social cohorts, who self-mockingly deemed themselves The Connecticut School, were a curious mix of artistic bohemia and Eisenhower-era conformity. Murphy was in the midst of the scene as the son of John Cullen Murphy, illustrator of Prince Valiant and Big Ben Bolt. His memoir provides sharp but loving observations of the tight-knit clan that shared a strong commitment to family, a love of golf, and that early-'50s Clark Kent-ish look. He also offers a brief history of the comic strip and a profile of his father, emphasizing his WWII service. Nearly all the Connecticut School members are gone now, and newspaper comics, like newspapers themselves, are on the wane. Murphy's paean to this bygone era and endangered art form make the reader keenly feel what's been lost.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        September 15, 2017

        Murphy (The World According to Eve) recalls the heyday of comic strips in a tribute to his father, John Cullen Murphy, as well as other illustrators who lived in the Fairfield County, CT, area during the 1950s and 1960s. Trained by Norman Rockwell, John was among a group of artists who created strips like his own "Prince Valiant," Mort Walker's "Beetle Bailey," and Leonard Starr's "Little Orphan Annie." These comics, some enduring today, populated the pages of daily newspapers and magazines such as The New Yorker and the Saturday Evening Post. The author details how this group, known as the Connecticut School, flourished in suburbs outside of New York, selling their creations to large syndicates that distributed and licensed their work to publications around the country and throughout the world. VERDICT Amply illustrated with examples of work from John Murphy and other artists, this heartfelt look back at this still-beloved Sunday morning staple will be appreciated by readers nostalgic for the comic strips of their youth and for fans of contemporary graphic media. [See Prepub Alert, 5/15/17.]--Donna Marie Smith, Palm Beach Cty. Lib. Syst., FL

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        June 1, 2017

        Editor at large at Vanity Fair, Murphy recalls growing up with father John Cullen Murphy, who drew the keenly followed comic strips Prince Valiant and Big Ben Bolt. In the neighborhood: top comic strip cartoonists, gag cartoonists, and magazine illustrators.

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from October 1, 2017
        Part memoir, part cultural history, part treasure trove of drawings and photographs, many previously unpublished--and all thoroughly delightful as a celebration of the golden age of newspaper comics.Murphy (God's Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World, 2012, etc.) has distinguished himself as a journalist through his work at Vanity Fair and the Atlantic, but here he is very much his father's son--and collaborator. John Cullen Murphy drew the once-popular "Big Ben Bolt" strip and later took over the "Prince Valiant" strip, with his son helping on storylines for some three decades. Beyond that, the author "grew up in an unusual environment--not only as the child of a cartoonist and illustrator, but connected to a network of families where everyone's father was a cartoonist or illustrator." He estimates the group comprised more than 100 cartoonists, neighbors, and an extended social circle, all living near each other in Connecticut. Amid the suburban boom to which the artists contributed after returning from World War II--an experience that served as a common denominator and spawned "Beetle Bailey," "G.I. Joe," and more--Connecticut was the one state in that region that not only provided close access to the New York publishing world, but had no income tax. In the era before computers, artists working on tight deadlines relied on registered mail when they could and hopped aboard trains when the mail was too slow. Generally working in isolation, they "loved the camaraderie of the cartooning tribe, everyone slightly off register and anxious for company." There are stories of Murphy's father serving as the all-American-boy model for Norman Rockwell (who proved an inspiration and a patron), of the creators of "Superman," "Nancy," "Family Circus," and so many others, and of a feud with Al Capp, which resulted in a rival being dismissed by their guild's "hastily formed ethics committee" for "conduct unbecoming a cartoonist." The book is also an elegy for the era before comics went online or morphed into graphic novels, when a popular strip seemed to capture the entire nation's eyeballs.Fun to flip through; engrossing to read.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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A poignant history of the cartoonists and illustrators from the Connecticut School
For a period of about fifty years, right in the middle of the American Century, many of the the nation's top comic-strip cartoonists, gag cartoonists, and magazine illustrators lived within a stone's throw of one another in the southwestern corner of Connecticut—a bit of bohemia in the middle of those men in their gray flannel suits.
Cullen Murphy's father, John Cullen Murphy, drew the wildly popular comic strips Prince Valiant and Big Ben Bolt, and was the heart of this artistic milieu. Comic strips and gag cartoons read by hundreds of millions were created in this tight-knit group—Superman, Beetle Bailey, Snuffy Smith, Rip Kirby, Hagar the Horrible, Hi and Lois, Nancy, Sam & Silo, Amy, The Wizard of Id, The Heart of Juliet Jones, Family Circus, Joe Palooka, and...

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