Comics Legend Rube Goldberg

Rube Goldberg      There is a wealth of entertaining comics besides the X-Men. One of the greatest comics creators was also a founding father of the art form. 

      Rube Goldberg was born in 1883. At twenty-one (1904), his sports and editorial cartoons were already being published in various California newspapers. Before he would lay down his pen, he would create dozens of Sunday and daily comic strips, found the National Cartoonist Society and the Famous Artists Cartoon School, and leave a legacy that remains unequaled today. 

      Boob McNutt (1915-’34) is his best remembered Sunday-only strip. It began as a showcase for low-brow humor based on societal observation, and evolved into a comic adventure.

Window Washer
    Passing man (A) slips on banana peel (B) causing him to fall on rake (C).   As handle of rake rises it throws horseshoe (D) onto rope (E) which sags, thereby tilting sprinkling can (F).  Water (G) saturates mop (H).  Pickle terrier (I) thinks it is raining, gets up to run into house and upsets sign (J) throwing it against non-tipping cigar ash receiver (K) which causes it to swing back and forth and swish the mop against window pane, wiping it clean.
    If man breaks his neck by fall move away before cop arrives.

      Most of his short-lived strips were full of kinetic energy and drawn in a scratchy style that added much visual humor to his observations about life. But his amazing inventions based on a falling domino flow of action and reaction remain unique to this day.

      As example, a boy throws a ball that bounces off a man’s head and breaks an aquarium suspended from the ceiling.  Its water pours down a sluice that turns a waterwheel that animates a knife that cuts a string suspending a boot.  The boot kicks a frog....etc. and etc. and etc.

      Rube Goldberg won the Pulitzer prize in 1948 and helped produce the first issue of Feature Funnies in 1937. He died in 1970.

      His only comic book work was Side Show (1940-’44, Quality).

      Books by Goldberg included: Foolish Questions, Chasing the Blues, Seeing History at Close Range, Is There a Doctor in the House?, The Rube Goldberg Plan for the Post-War World, Rube Gold-berg’s Guide to Europe, How to Remove the Cotton from a Bottle of Aspirin, and I Made My Bed.

      The work of Rube Goldberg is highly recommended for all ages.

      Some older comics are expensive or difficult to locate.  Price guides or comics dealers help. Comics shops, conventions, mail order companies and trade journals are good sources. Prices vary; shop around.  

       Review by Michael Vance


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