Axel-In-Charge: Unmasking the "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Each day this month I will be profiling a notable political cartoonist. Since the choices are vast, I’ve decided to slim the numbers down a bit and eliminate living cartoonists. Perhaps I will do a current political cartoon stars in the future.
Here‘s an archive of the artists mentioned already.
Today we look at a fellow who at least one historian termed “the dominant cartoonist of the western world.”
David Low was born in New Zealand, and began working as a cartoonist there at the Canterbury Times in 1910 at the age of 19. He quickly moved to the bigger papers of Sydney, Australia.
He drew attention for his political cartoons there, most notably the following mocking of then-Prime Minister of Australia, William Hughes, in 1916.
He eventually had a book of cartoons made which drew the attention of folks in London, and beginning in 1919 until his death in 1963, Low worked in England, most notably for the Evening Standard from 1927-1950. The Evening Standard was a fairly conservative paper, but Low agreed to work there if he was not censored, and for the most part, he was not.
Although he had his moments…
Low worked for many decades as a political cartoonist, so he has a lot of great cartoons to show, so forgive the general look at his work you’ll see here.
Low was most famous for his attacks on Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, leading to his work being banned in both countries.
Low was aware of Hitler early on, satirizing the upstart as early as 1930…
The Nazis, in 1937, even cited British anti-Hitler cartoons (specifically Low’s) as a problem between the two countries, diplomatically.
Low came up with a gag strip called Hit and Muss…
but after official complaints, he changed it to “Muzzler.”
You could tell what Low felt about the state of the world in the late 30s, as seen with his depictions of French/British diplomacy as compared to German/Italian as well as how Japan reacted to the League of Nations…
Low’s likely most famous cartoon is a depiction of the relationship between Hitler and Stalin in 1939…
Pretty brilliant, eh?
Once the war looked likely (and especially when it began), Low began taking on a bit more of a patriotic feel to his cartoons – they’re still absolutely stunning pieces of work…
(this one is when the Germans drove the Allies to Dunkirk – at this point, Hitler seemed impervious, almost as though he was working with the Devil).
Low became a knight in 1962, one year before he passed away, a legend of British cartooning.
Thanks to the British Cartoon Archive for the images.
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