Gustave Verbeek


Gustave Verbeek

Gustave Verbeek (sometimes spelled "Gustave Verbeck") (1867, Nagasaki, Japan - 1937, New York City, New York) was a newspaper cartoonist in the early 1900s.

Verbeek was of Dutch ancestry, but was born in Nagasaki, the son of Reformed Church in America missionary Guido Verbeck. He grew up in Japan, but went to Paris to study art. He worked for several European newspapers, creating illustrations and cartoons. Around 1900 he moved to America, where he produced weekly comic strips for newspapers. In the 1920s he started concentrating on engraving and painting. [http://www.nonsenselit.org/nec/verbeek.html Nonsenselit biography] ]

Comics

Verbeek's first strip was "Easy Papa", a fairly conventional strip about two mischievous kids and their father, reminiscent of "The Katzenjammer Kids". It appeared in "The New York Herald" from May 25, 1902 through February 1, 1903. [http://strippersguide.blogspot.com/2006/12/obscurity-of-day-easy-papa.html Stripper's Guide] ]

Verbeek is most noted for "The Upside Downs of Little Lady Lovekins and Old Man Muffaroo", a weekly 6-panel comic strip in which the first half of the story was illustrated and captioned right-side-up, then the reader would turn the page up-side-down, and the inverted illustrations with additional captions told the second half of the story.

The two main characters were designed such that each would be perceived as the other character when upside down, which facilitated the storytelling. The most famous and frequently-reprinted panel from "The Upside Downs" depicts, in one orientation, Muffaroo in his canoe being attacked by a fish, close to a tree-covered island. When inverted the image shows Lovekins in the beak of a giant roc. Muffaroo's canoe has become the bird's beak, the fish has turned into the bird's head, the island has become its body and the trees its legs. Finally, Muffaroo has turned into Lovekins.He created a total of 64 comics for The New York Herald, they ran from October 11, 1903 to January 15, 1905.

Verbeek's longest-running strip was "The Terrors of the Tiny Tads", published from 1905 to 1914. This strip features a group of unnamed children who encounter a variety of strange creatures based on inventive word combinations. For example, they find a "hippopautomobile" (a hippopotamus with seats in its back as in an automobile), a "pelicanoe" (a pelican in which a rider could sit and paddle like a canoe), and a "samovarmint" (a samovar for serving tea with the head and claws of a wild animal).

He created a short-lived strip in 1910 called "The Loony Lyrics of Lulu". These strips are about a girl who encounters imaginary creatures and writes (inoffensive) limericks about them.

References

External links

* [http://privatewww.essex.ac.uk/~alan030/GL/Verbeek/ Some examples of "Upside Downs" strips]
* [http://www.planetperplex.com/en/gustave_verbeek.html More examples of "Upside Downs" strips]
* [http://www.toonopedia.com/upside.htm Toonopedia entry for "The Upside Downs"]
* [http://members.shaw.ca/bradyung/verbeek.html Tribute strip by Brad Young]
* [http://www.muppetlabs.com/~breadbox/books/verbeek.html List of strips and collections]
* [http://www.nonsenselit.org/nec/bink.html Examples of "The Loony Lyrics of Lulu"]
* [http://www.nonsenselit.org/content/view/75/65/ Article about Verbeek's engravings]


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