Stan Cross was born today in 1888. American by birth, Cross immigrated with his family from Los Angeles to Perth in 1892. Cross achieved fame as an Australian strip and political cartoonist with work in Smith’s Weekly, The Herald and Weekly Times. Cross is famous for his iconic 1933 “For gorsake, stop laughing: this is serious!” cartoon as well as creating the forerunner newspaper cartoons that spawned long running strips the Wally and the Major and The Potts. The Australian Cartoonist association of which Cross was a founding member and served as president for 1931 - 1954 named their annual awards the Stanleys after Cross.
Stan Cross portrait by Tony Rafty Source: http://nla.gov.au/nla.pic-vn4305899
Above cartoon and text below from introduction to Winks, Stan Cross' precursor strip to Wally and the Major, from the Adelaide Advertiser Tuesday 16 April 1940:
Stan Cross' Tonic - New Strip Will Be Gloom Antidote
To help Pop In chasing away gloom there will be a new daily strip cartoon in "The Advertiser" from next Saturday onwards. Stan Cross the Australian artist, has created an essential Australian family whom he has called Winks. For years Stan Cross has been depicting Australian life as he sees it, and hen-pecked father, whom you see here escaping from a motor car is one of eight characters. Whether Mother, the commander-In-chief of the family, or Wally, Father's old crony, becomes your favorite, you will find Stan Cross's tonic a a sure antidote to wartime worrying.
Winks daily strip from the Courier Mail (Brisbane) Sat 6th July 1940.
Above: Stan Cross Illustrations circa 1920's
Stan Cross obituary from The Canberra Times, June 19, 1977.
Stan Cross Dies at 89
SYDNEY: Stan Cross, one of Australia's most famous cartoonists, died at Armidale on Thursday, aged 89. Mr Cross died in a nursing home after a brief illness. He is survived by a son, Stephen, a grazier of Guyra, near Armidale, and a daughter, Mrs Lorraine Boric. His wife died in 1972, Mr Cross is best known for his two comic strips 'The Potts' and 'Wally and the Major' He drew probably the most famous cartoon in the history of Australian comic art. A worker, clinging to a girder on a high building, is pleading to a worker hanging on to his trousers, to stop laughing. The caption is, "For gorsake stop laughing, this is serious". Mr Cross was born in Los Angeles in 1888 and came to Australia in infancy. He grew up in Perth and for a while worked in the State's railways as a cadet. He graduated as an art student in 1912 and went to London for a few years before returning to Australia and drawing for Smith's Weekly, now defunct. He drew several long running strips including You and me which was taken over by Jim Russell in 1940 and renamed 'The Potts'. Mr Cross left Smith's Weekly in 1940 and joined The Herald, Melbourne, where he launched the strip 'Wally and the Major'. He retired about 10 years ago and lived in Sydney.
Minicomics Impresario Andrew Fulton is currently running subscriptions for the Minicomic Of The Month Club 2015 season. For the third year running Andrew has curated a lineup of a dozen Australian and New Zealand cartoonists who will provide monthly minicomics as is the fashion through the National mail service. After years of pleading with Andrew , I'm very proud to be involved this year with my powerful minicomic Mere and Mary the first in this year's line up. I asked Andrew a few questions about minicomics via the powerful communication system of email.
MATT EMERY: I've heard different views on this but how do you define a minicomic?
ANDREW FULTON: I try not to be a Definer, Matt, I try to be an Everything is Fluid kind of guy. Basically though, a minicomic is the perfect nugget left behind when you strip out all the unnecessary horseshit from a Graphic Novel. It is the exact right amount of comic and not a single bit more.
EMERY: In a day and age where it is commonplace for cartoonists to devote years to creating five hundred page doorstops, do you have any advice to quell this epidemic? For instance would Craig Thompson's Blankets have been more effective as a Minicomic?
FULTON: The only real advice is "Hey, don't do that", but no one will listen. It's been a while since I looked at Blankets, but it wouldn't have been any less true as a Minicomic, right?
EMERY: Every year the roster of artists is announced for minicomic of the month, I discover artists I've never heard of before, how do you go about finding the roster of artists?
FULTON: It tickles me that you say that, that's for sure part of the fun. I spend a lot of time sifting through the internet looking for people. I try to pay attention all year round, but it ends up being a panicked dash in the last couple of weeks before I have to announce. I'm really not that much of a hustler so it can be hard, it's always daunting to reach out to people I don't know personally, but it seems important enough to not just go back to the same few faces, especially in a scene like Australia that can tend to be pretty small to begin with. I try to not just look at "comic people", but illustrators and artists a little more generally. Which isn't to say it's super out there, it's mostly the kind of narrative cartooning I tend to be into. I've only ever had 2 people give me a straight-up "no" which is pretty great.
Powerful interior art in an Andrew Fulton Minicomic
EMERY: Can you talk a bit about the Minicomic of the week digital comics giveaway you run on caravanofcomics.com ? Is this a never ending programme of free Minicomics?
FULTON: The Caravan of Comics giveaway is kind of a sister project to this one. I've of thought about offering a digital option to the Minicomic of the month club, but it has never felt quite right. I am interested in digital comics and ebooks though. Living out here in Australia, as stamps get more and more expensive, it seems important to get my head around what they are and how they work, see if anyone actually wants them. The two projects also share a sort of "audience building" mission, to try to get comics in front of more people, to cross-pollinate readerships, if there isn't maybe a less-daft sounding way to say that. It's set to end when I don't have any more to put up, which is actually next Tuesday unless I get my act together. I've been a little distracted.
EMERY: Give me some straight talk on why folk should sign up for the 2015 - 2016 Minicomics of the month club?
FULTON: The straightest talk I can offer you is these comics are going to be great, they are going to surprise you. And 12 comics for $32? To your house?
A Powerful Minicomic by Sam Emery
The Australian published The World's News featured articles, stories and cartoons for a lengthy publication history of 2819 editions from 1901 until 1955. I've found very little evidence of the New Zealand edition save a hand bound collection of the editions featured below. Possibly the New Zealand edition was identical to the Australian edition save a title and price being stamped on the covers? New Zealand born Illustrator Maurice Bramley provided many covers and interior illustrations for the World's News in the 1940's and 1950's.