01 1904 MINNEAPOLIS JOURNAL - US: The USA is beaming on the prospect of political Union in Latin America. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Monroe Doctrine established the concept of Uncle Sam's Back Yard. Coordinated political union and a federal structure would have been opposed instantly. A message of naive charm then. But worth a closer look - particular the fun had in meso-america with its wriggly bits and islands. What delicacy in tracing the umbilical- it has a sort of electricity to it as it enters Latin America.
How neatly Sam's tufty beard (shades of Sunny Jim of Force Flakes) becomes the landmass of Florida. National identity established with character hats. By Charles L.Bartholemew (BART).
|02 1904 Toronto World, a comment on the Panamanian Revolution and the impact for the United States, timed appropriately for Thanksgiving Day. Partially successful as a Turkey, but a better realisation of Sam with some hatching for definition. The whole idea is laborious and stretches the Map beyond its inherent elasticity.
03 1904 Chicago Herald Tribune, huge scale Russian peasant dominating Manchuria and trying to assess the distant opposition This was ultimately to end in the disaster of the Russo-Japanese War. Maps allow this simplistic definition of national boundaries without being trapped into excessive detail. The fragility of the international political scene is underscored by an old favourite -the Gunpowder Barrel. Without the writing on the side it may be interpreted as wine. An alternative approach is to attach an identifying label to it. Sometimes there is a fuse, usually spluttering towards the combustible material.The cliché here of imbalance and potential disaster has been successfully explored elsewhere, particularly by Daumier.
04 1904 wahre Jacob , an effective depiction of the exhausted Russian bear spanning the landmass as the heat of the Sun as a metaphor for the exhaustion of the powerful Russian forces to be sapped by ambition and over-reaching. Odd the combination of the abstracted sun's rays with heavy and professional hatching, with capable expression.
A comic Social Democratic journal in Germany that was selling over a quarter of a million copies by 1912.High standard of colour covers, several reproduced on the WWW.
|05 1904 Chicago Herald Tribune, and combining several favourite devices, the cartographic, the astronomic and the nursery rhyme. Shame that Fuji was not enough to indicate Japan but the curious concoction of Bear in the sky is most unusual. Does the outline suggest a Fur Hat on the Bear as well? Surely not . I admire the attempt to ground the letters spelling KOREA along the gradients of the peninsula - no ordinary feat this.
|06 1904 ULK (?) , and a marvellous rendition of the attack from opposite sides. With an issue of encirclement, the position of the persecuted nation can be made to look threatened and cause a fright to its citizenry. If the persecuted force is a powerful one (here the Vast Moujik) it is sometimes the Giant or Goliath peppered with peas. Here the weight of Russian power, despite the best of intentions, is neatly held in man traps to nose and toe. The characteristic attributes of Gnout (beating the lesser ones) and a bottle of Vodka complete the picture. Good painterly draftsmanship and a distinct sense of the mighty brought low. Publication and artist unknown.
07 1904 Fischietto, welcome to see an Italian view of the enormity of British power in a global sense. This is in the tradition of using the globe as a part concealment over which the monstrous and the powerful crawl towards you. Often used with a dragon or octopus to create a slithery threat. Marvellous here then the slavering English soldier in mess unifrm with other presences (German and Russian) in the background. The drawing of the hand is infirm. It has to encircle the globe and begin to dig in, adapting to the curvature. The artist (anon) is more interested in the finger joints than the nails and the point is lost. The magazine is a satirical political journal whose best times were during the Risorgimento.
08 1904 Minneapolis Journal, and a decent stab at the Atlas myth by BART (see above). A PUNCH version of this would have strained after the monumental. Here there are indications of a comic book style, with Atlas a cheeky chappie rather than Charles Atlas. The drawing style has more of Robert Crum than Bernard Partridge.
There is a decent rendition of Kaiser Wilhelm. It was perhaps a lack of confidence in the American audience that the crown had to have its luggage label. Odd landscape this in which the scene is set - with boulder and tufts. The shadow of the earth would have been used elsewhere to create scale. Here it is barely adequate - almost a seepage from the Kaiser's boot.
The myth of Atlas supporting the Globe (Human Destiny) is a constant visual motif and usually reminds us of the great sacrifices World Leaders make for us poor saps. It also can mean overweening ambition but so what. We all know that, and Atlas is best kept for Insurance companies and Arnold.
I am very fond of Maps in cartoons. Although it can be a sign of desperation, the transition from the two dimensional to the three dimensional can be an enjoyment for the brain. The writing of the names on the nations on the surface should not always be dismissed with contempt. It could be useful to be reminded from time to time by Big Letters on the ground.
The second reason I approve of the Map in the cartoon is that the very facts of geopolitical activity often challenge the Eternal Verities of the Mercator projection. I had never thought of Korea in that way (see above), as a tempting promentary between Russia and Japan. There are great benefits here for political education of the young.
|The third reason I approve of Maps in Cartoons is that the outlines can adopt interesting animal or human shapes. Sometimes this works as in Gillrays The United Kingdom emitting Bumboats, and sometimes it doesn't (see above 01 which teeters on the edge of the Absurd). The predisposition of the Map to accommodate promentaries and peninsulas gives the excuse for all manner of rudeness as well as the Italian Boot. Long may it continue.