FRED RHOADS 1921 – 20 February 2007

When I picked this book up, I selected it for the western cartoons, not knowing that the cartoonist was involved with numerous military themed cartoons, à la “Sad Sack”, and US Marine cartoons.  Rhoads was a US Marine in WWII, but drew Sad Sack, a US Army Private.  The series was created by George Baker.  Rhoads started  drawing the cartoon after the war, and for the following 25 years for Harvey Comics.  When that ended in 1977, he tried to collect back royalties from Harvey Comics, but was unsuccessful.  In an article from “The Los Angeles Times,” dated February 27, 2000, and carried in the South Florida “Sun Sentinel,” he said, the unsuccessful battle cost him his house, car and life savings.

I came across the following clipping stuffed in a “Sad Sack” book in my cartoon book collection.

If you would like to know more of this sad story,  here are a few links to follow.

However, this particular blog has to do with “Rhoads’ West,” a collection of western cartoons,  published in 1972 by Northland Press, Flagstaff, AZ.   I do not believe this publishing house is still in business.  The forward is by Ben K. Green, who was a Veterinarian, and short story writer.  Green died a couple of years after the book was published.

I find the introduction by Rhoads’ more interesting than the foreword by Green.

“ Although I only do humorous drawings of the dusty cowboys and earthy character out of the Old West, since I’m a cartoonist—it’s the one way I can express how stirring I feel those times really were…with all the shoot-outs, cattle rustlings, hangings, boozing, horse thieving, knifings, bank robbers, poison arrows, crooked sheriffs, rattlesnakes, bounty hunters, dandruff, card sharks, claim jumpers, bad breath, gold mine salting, dust storms, dance hall girls, blizzards, holdup men, back stabbing, athlete’s feet, and drunken brawls, there must have been some thing that kept these people going.  Maybe they had a sense of humor”

“P.S. Come to think of it, the West hasn’t changed much.”

I wonder if he might have been thinking of Harvey Comics in some of those descriptions.

As I said, this post is all about his western cartoons as presented in “Rhoads’ West.”  The book is dedicated to his son, Fred, “…who loves the old West if it was only air conditioned.”

But first, The dust jacket bio.

And the dust jacket blurb about the book.  Guess they thought that looking at the cartoons was not good enough to get you to buy the book.

So after reading the blurb you will buy the book without looking at the cartoons?

There is some beautiful artwork on the cover.  You do not know it is there because the dust cover obscures it.

I assume it was by Rhodes, but they do not credit it.

So, let us take a look at some of the cartoons.


A few days before I bought this book, either in Moab, UT or Durango, CO I took these photos somewhere north of Green River, UT.  Notice how clear the sky is.

This is the inlet side of a highway culvert.

And the outlet of the culvert.

It made quite a roar.

The following cartoon reminds me of some of the primitive roads into and out of Death Valley.


Definitely not PC.  However, that was then and this is now.  Speaking of now, I saw an article in the paper today about a school board refusing to allow students to use the name they had selected for their team.  Those rascals wanted to call their team the “Cougars.”  Gasp.  Seems that term might be offensive to middle aged women…

Well, onward.





And, on to the very last cartoon in the book.

I hope you enjoyed them.



About visualhumor

Enjoy viewing and collecting visual humor from around the world.
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