I started this blog to share comments on the cartoon books I have collected over the years. I believe I was nine or ten when I bought my first collection, something about ‘cartoons for men’ or something like that. It was at the corner Drugstore, in the Mission Hills shopping area in San Diego. The proprietor, Joe Saska, gave me the bent eye, but I told him I was a man, so he let me buy it. That would have been in 1949 or 1950. I believe this paperback collection survives, which unfortunately my “Mad” comic and “Panic” and other comic books which I had collected, did not. My mother threw them out when I was off and about some few years later. I had a complete collection of “Mad”, including a 3-D edition, along with a pretty good collection of “Panic” which included number one of that collection.
However, that is water under the Dam, so let us talk of collecting cartoon books. Over the years I have added to my collection, a book here, and a book there. In the last few years I have made an effort to try to enlarge it.
You can always search places like Abe books, or Powell’s, or any other online seller, but I prefer to browse bookstores and thrift shops.
Nowadays, when we go somewhere I keep an eye out for used book stores, Thrift shops, and yard sales.
If I know I will be in a town I do a search either by Google© or in the phone book to look for thrift stores, etc. I have found that the national thrift stores are usually fairly slim on their collections. I do not know why, but that is the way it is. What you want is some non-profit open odd hours staffed by volunteers. When you find one open, ask for cartoon books. They will usually immediately tell you that they do not have cartoon books. So then ask for the ‘humor’ section. Once their you will find your cartoons. The same is true of most used book stores. Or you may be directed to the children’s area, as that is where they think cartoons should live.
In any case, you are probably familiar with your collection, so look for something by a cartoonist you collect, but do not have, or anything that looks like a cartoon collection. That is how I discovered “Footrot Flats.” I found a single book in San Diego, and as I leafed through the cartoons I realized that by mid-book I understood the relationship of all the animals and what was going on I now have quite a collection of “Footrot Flats” and will do another post dealing with the now defunct Footrot Flats Theme Park, in NZ.
I do not let foreign language titles deter me from buying. Sometimes, half the fun is trying to figure out what is going on. See the books below
Actually, the following book is not really a ‘cartoon’ book in the same vein as the others, but I include it because I know the author, Robert Jan Schinkel, but not the illustrator, Peter van de Wiel. Van de Wiel’s illustrations, however, are worth the price of admission.
The next book I found in a dusty Durango shop (more later in this post). I remember I picked it up on the way in, and later, clutching it, stumbled out into the fresher air where I paid for it. So far, I have not spent much time paging through it, but see that it was copyright 1980 and this edition was published in 1989.
Of course, there are the familiar comic strips translated into other languages. Such as…
Since we all know what the characters do, it is not hard to understand the gag in the following cartoon.
OK, well, on to something a bit more visual. “Old Master ‘Q’ Magazine”, published I don’t know where and on very cheap paper.
I think Master “Q” is the one on the left, as he seems to be in most of the cartoons. However, I could be very mistaken. In any case, here is one of the cartoons. The panels are numbered, from upper right down then upper left down. Enjoy.
And, a cartoon from that book.
Well, as I said, not much dialog, but you can follow along.
A trip a few months ago, from my hometown in The Dalles, Oregon to Reno, NV describes how I look for books. We stayed in Klamath Falls, and located Goodwill, and some type of thrift store. Goodwill was a bust, but the thrift store was a jackpot. The next day we passed through Susanville, CA, and using my addresses from a web search, attempted to find two stores. We could not find either, but noted a thrift store in the general area, and upon entering were told that they had moved from one of the addresses we were looking for. Then the fun began, as there was less than perfect order in the collection of books. However, we did score a couple of interesting titles. While in the store we learned that the other address was an administrative office for the thrift. No one knew why it had been listed as a retail outlet. Unfortunately, it is not all that unusual to find a used book store gone, but thrift stores seem to say around. In this case, at least in the old neighborhood.
London, in the UK has several nice used book shops, but I think the economic reality of rising rents may put paid to them.
The Kings Cross area in Sydney, Australia had some great shops twenty plus years ago, but I do not know what it is like now. To visit those shops you had to be ready to sort through skin magazines to get to just plain cartoon collections. It was a chore, but I persevered.
Several years ago, in Inverness, Scotland, I came across a used bookstore in an old church. Books laid on the pews. Good selection. In Aberdeen I found a non-profit staffed with willing volunteers, who cheerfully loaded me down with many cartoon books.
On a just completed trip, the first part of this month, we were headed to Moab, UT then to Durango, CO, then on to various sites on our way to Las Vegas, NV, and finally to Reno, NV.
Moab is interesting, and I got two Pat Bagley books there. More on him and Moab in another post.
In Durango we found two really wild used bookstores a block or so apart. I took this panorama photo in the first,
well, maybe the panorama does not really show the character of the store. It certainly does not show the character who was hanging around outside, but, well, on to the next photo which might do a better job of showing the inside of the store. Definitely, my kind of place. Definitely.
I spent about half an hour pulling books out so that I could see the books behind them. Finally, I just emptied out all the books stacked in front, put them on the floor, then browsed the rear books. Then I checked out the ones from the floor as I put them back on the shelf. I really enjoy stores like this.
I had to leave the second store before I really had a chance to look at all the cartoon collections, as the dust was getting to me. I could not reach the top shelf where the oversize hardcover cartoon collections lived. I did manage to dislodge a book and the resulting avalanche and dust cloud put paid to my browsing.
In Reno, NV there are several used bookstores, the largest and to my mind the best, is Grassroots books. (www.grassrootsbooks.com / 660 E. Grove St.) We hit them on the way out of town at the end of their warehouse sale. $4.99 a bag for as many of the sale books as will fit in a bag. Such a deal. In the four days before the bag sale, the books were 99¢ each in the warehouse. We also picked up a few books at two other places.
So, that is how I add to my collection. I hope there are some useful tips in my ramblings.