Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Godfrey Cambridge comics story, with artwork by Mort Drucker and Neal Adams, 1967

I've always loved the old 1960's stand-up comedy albums of the late Godfrey Cambridge, and have appreciated his performances in films, as well.

But of course I debated whether or not it was a good idea to post the 'Godfrey Cambridge Rent-A-Negro Plan' comics pages here, if for no other reason than the humor being pretty seriously dated.

The easy deciding factor was the artwork in the piece having been supplied by two giants of comics art.

Mort Drucker is known primarily for his years of caricature-driven artwork for MAD Magazine. Drucker's artwork had been a big influence upon Neal Adams, who was still a young hotshot in the late '60's when his artwork revolutionized the look and possibilities of super-hero comics.

There's not too many examples out there of the two artists collaborating. These pages appeared originally in Godfrey Cambridge's 1967 book, 'Put-Ons and Put-Downs', but they appear here as excerpted in an issue of Cavalier magazine published that same year.

The 'Rent-A-Negro Plan' material is adapted from an earlier recorded stand-up routine of Cambridge's, which is also included here (below).

Looking at the artwork, there doesn't seem to be too much of Neal Adams' style evident. My assumption is that he's inking Drucker's strong pencils. There are just a few places where I think I recognize Adams' hand, looking much closer to the cartoony work he did for DC Comics around '67 - '68 in a few issues of their 'Adventures of Jerry Lewis' or 'Adventures of Bob Hope' comics, and less like his grim and 'realist' Batman, Deadman, Green Lantern/Green Arrow, X-Men, etc.

(Click either on images or page numbers to open an awkwardly HUGE version on a new page)

(page 1)

(page 2)

(page 3)

(page 4)

There are a couple of interesting pieces written about Mort Drucker to be found at the 'Illustration Art' blog, both here, and here.

(click for audio)

From the 1964 LP 'Here's Godfrey Cambridge, Ready Or Not...', Listen to:

Irresistible Me
The Rent-A-Negro Plan
Arthur Uncle

(click for audio)


Anonymous said...

According to my old Neal Adams Checklist, Adams drew pages 10-16 and pages 21-46 of the original Cambridge book.

Tho Adams can do a dead on Drucker imitation(see the McCloud parody he did in Crazy Magazine), there are usually some panel layouts or stock gestures that give it away as being by Adams.

I see no such give-aways in the four pages from Cavalier magazine. They look like pure Drucker to me.

Maybe these four pages are pages 17-20 of the book.

Anonymous said...

I have had one of God's records for years, a rather scratched up noisy Radio Station copy of Them Good Ol' Cotton Pickin' Days Is Over. Good to know someone else remembers this man's work. Too bad there's no film or video of the man doing his act. Very funny. I recently had a chance to convert the LP to a more listenable CD without all the pops and skips. Very entertaining.

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