Tuesday, July 22, 2008

3 magazine illustrations by Abner Dean (1960)

Cartoonist Abner Dean's ►
illustrations below ▼ appeared in the
April 30th, 1960 issue of the
Saturday Evening Post accompanying a short story, 'Life Among the Pioneers', by author
H. Allen Smith.

"A famous humorist reports on the living habits of America's twentieth-century frontiersman - - the wily suburbanite."

Illustrations and cartoons by Abner Dean (1910-1982) began appearing in magazines like Esquire and the New Yorker in the 1930's.

A comic strip,
'Funny Side Up', ran as a filler page in comic books and briefly in newspapers in the 1940's.

Dean was adept at producing work in a different styles, depending upon the medium, but what you would typically see in his advertising art, magazine illustrations and 'gag' cartoons were all markedly different from the 'trademark' look he became known for in most of his books.

Beginning with 'It's a Long Way to Heaven' in 1945 and the books that followed, Dean's standard approach cast naked 'everyman' characters in odd, existentialist one-panel allegories usually set against starkly surreal backgrounds.

Steeped in the psychological and often a dark-tinged cynicism with regard to the battle of the sexes, Dean's panels tended to point out the foibles and absurdities of the human animal.

The Dean books all have a unique charm and need to be seen.
Unfortunately they're out of print as of this writing. As more folks continue to discover his work, perhaps some of it will be gathered for a new collection. Here's hoping.

Meanwhile, some links for more info and examples of Abner Dean's work around the web - -

- A very detailed and informative article; 'Abner Dean Made This: An Appreciation'
at The High Hat

- A Flickr gallery: 'Abner Dean Illustrates 1984' - - Images from a Life magazine look at Orwell's book in 1949. ►

- 'Abner Dean Fascinates Me' at
Sovereign Liege includes a few images and lots of recollections and comments.

- A nice little gallery posted in a subsection of Kevin Huizenga's supermonster

- 2 1930's Ry-Krisp ads at Blog Flume


Anonymous said...

Wow! I never knew Dean illustrated 1984! I've long been a fan of his but you've provided a lot of art I'd never seen before. Thanx!

Ken Parille said...

If you are interested in Dean, I wrote an essay on his work and career that appears in the current issue of Comic Art 9 [http://www.comicartmagazine.com/archive-issue9.php]. It includes over 40 color illutrations, begining with a drawing he did when 16 and working its way till near the end of his career. It also includes what I think are the first published excerpts from his letters.

The In Crowd said...

Hi K. - -

Thanks so much for including the link to Comic Art 9!

That magazine just gets better and better...

I've seen your article and had debated about mentioning it, but was thinking I should restrict links to online content easily available to all.

THANK YOU for giving the opportunity to change my tune - - and for spreading the word on Abner Dean.

I've been enjoying Blog Flume, too...

Ken Parille said...

Glad you like it -- I have been working on a bibliography of Dean for a while and hope to get it online at some point.

Freshly-stirred links