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H M Bateman - Strip Cartoons               Page     <1    <2    <3    <4    5    >6    >7        


Bateman developed the strip cartoon to a degree that even Caran d’Ache had not imagined. His draughtsmanship – freed from the wood block that reproduced the French artist’s creations – was far more fluid, more energetic and expressive, his own appreciation of and delight in the absurd even more extreme. In cartoons like The One Note Man, Getting a Document Stamped at Somerset House, Something Wrong-The Plumber fixes It or The Possibilities of a Vacuum Cleaner the strips would cover three or four pages, something never seen before. These are the very best of British comic art, the most inventive, the most delightful - logical impossibilities that became instant icons of their time. His contemporaries understood this entirely, knew that they were witnessing something quite unprecedented. When The Tatler printed Getting a Document Stamped at Somerset House in 1923, it billed the cartoon as a “Masterpiece” - no other work was ever heralded in such a manner.

Getting a Document Stamped at Somerset House

Getting a Document Stamped at Somerset House (1)

The Tatler started to sell Bateman’s strip cartoons as little separate booklets, and flicking through their pages it is at once apparent how cinematic they are, how nearly they approach animation. No wonder Walt Disney was a great admirer. Though Bateman continued to produce original and new work in many different forms, and though his “Man Who...” cartoons are perhaps his most famous creations, his strip cartoons are, in many ways, the most extraordinary creations of his particular genius. They are as vivid today - absurdist pieces of theatre of astonishing design – as they were when they were created, nearly a century ago.

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