Back in 2008, Mike Lynch posted a bunch of cartoons that he had scanned from Ever Since Adam and Eve, edited by Alfred Andriola and Mel Casson, who dedicated the book to the National Cartoonists Society. Here are the links:
Featured artists include Alfred Andriola, Stan and Jan Berenstain, Walter Berndt, Milton Caniff, Irwin Caplan, Al Capp, George Clark, Chon Day, Gregory D’Alessio, Harry Devlin, Rube Goldberg, Harry Hanan, Al Hirschfeld, Hank Ketcham, Frank King, George Lichty, Marty Links, Kate Osann, Russell Patterson, Alex Raymond, Carl Rose, Charles Schulz, Ronald Searle, Barbara Schermund, Noel Sickles, Otto Soglow, Henry Syverson, J. W. Taylor, Hilda Terry, and Mort Walker.
Quite a few heavy hitters in there, I think you’ll agree. But of all the cartoons and drawings from Ever Since Adam and Eve that Mike posted, here’s the one that interests me most:
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The artist is Gregory d’Alessio, and the model is his wife, cartoonist Hilda Terry, whose work has been featured several times here at RCN:
In addition to being a syndicated cartoonist, a painter, and an influential guitar music enthusiast, Gregory d’Alessio was vice-president of the Art Students League in New York from 1937 to 1944 and was an instructor in drawing at the League from 1960 until his death in 1993 at the age of 88. D’Alessio’s wife of 55 years, Hilda Terry, also became a regular instructor at the League in the 1980s (after her “retirement”), teaching a class in drawing twice a week, and continued in that capacity, near as I can tell, pretty much right up until her death in 2006 at age 92.
A reader by the name of Tim recently posted to say that he would love to see more of Hilda Terry’s “Teena” here at RCN. Well, Tim, today is your lucky day! Because just this morning I scanned ten more “Teena” Sunday strips for your (and my, and everyone else’s) reading pleasure. And here they are (with more to come at a later date, if reader response is good — 😉 ):
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Now I’m no expert in publishing, but I have long thought that the good folks at Drawn & Quarterly ought to make a concerted effort to acquire the rights to reprint “Teena,” from start to finish, in a series of archive collections. Because it seems to me that Hilda Terry would fit in perfectly on D&Q’s current author list alongside John Stanley, Kate Beaton, Tove Jansson, Doug Wright, and Lynda Barry. And I’m almost certain that cartoonist and comics historian Trina Robbins would jump at the chance to assist with (or edit!) such a project. So hop to it Chris Oliveros! Make it happen!
Although it ran in newspapers for twenty years, 1944 to 1964, “Teena” is one of the forgotten comic strips of the 20th century, but thanks to Hilda Terry’s light touch and her understanding of how teenagers exist in the world — her lanky young characters, even when seated, are constantly changing positions, twisting, stretching their legs, putting their feet up, gesturing, and so on — it still has a freshness that some other, more celebrated strips, do not. Yes, Terry’s visual style in these early “Teena” Sundays is strongly reminiscent of the work of Gluyas Williams, but it wasn’t long before she developed a much looser style that was all her own. What follows is a sequence of strips that ran on four consecutive weekends in April 1949; the strips were scanned, by me, from Terry’s self-published autobiography, Strange Bod Fellows, so the repro quality is not the best:
It’s amazing to me that such charming, attractive, readable work is not available in affordable reprint editions. Yes, the gender divisions light-heartedly depicted in these particular examples are a little out of date; nonetheless, it seems to me that “Teena” would have tremendous appeal to fans of Little Lulu, Archie Comics, Harvey Comics, Nipper, Blondie, etc. — all of which have experienced a recent resurgence of interest and are in the process being systematically reprinted for new generations of readers.
For those unfamiliar with Hilda Terry’s career, here it is in a nutshell:
Hilda Terry was born on 15 June 1914. In addition to drawing “Teena” for twenty years, Terry sold numerous single-panel cartoons to The Saturday Evening Post, The New Yorker, and other coveted markets. In 1950, she became the first woman allowed to join the National Cartoonists Society, which up until that point had only allowed male cartoonists to join, and she became a vocal advocate for other women to follow in her footsteps. She was a pioneer of early computer animation. She received the Animation Award from the National Cartoonists Society in 1979. She taught at the Art Students League well past usual the age of retirement. She was elected to the Friends of Lulu Women Cartoonists Hall of Fame in 2001. She died 13 October 2006, at the age of 92.
“If you do a comic strip, you don’t want it to be forgotten.” — Hilda Terry, MoCCA 2006, as reported by The Beat.