Sunday, February 14, 2016

Out Our Way by J.R. Williams - Cowboys

Anyone my age or older will recognize the name immediately.  The Out Our Way comic strip drawn by J.R. Williams ran in over 700 daily papers from 1922 until his death in 1957, over 10,000 cartoons.  I remember it from the daily papers which I would read whenever we visited people who could afford such a luxury.

J.R. Williams was a keen observer of humanity and drew much of his work from personal experience.  He was born in 1888 and worked several years as a cowboy, did a stint in the US cavalry, and worked in a big machine shop in Ohio, among other odd jobs too numerous to mention here. His cartoons reflect a way of life long gone, yet the human nature revealed is familiar to all of us of any age

Out Our Way was the cover name for several series of cartoons: Cowboys, Bull of the Woods, Why Mothers Get Gray, Heroes are Made not Born, and Born Thirty Years too Soon.

Leonard G. Lee, of Lee Valley Tools, is also the owner of Algrove Publishing, which published a collection of J.R. Williams' work in their Classic Reprint Series. I purchased the entire series of Williams' work when the books came out and have never regretted it. They are, like everything else from Lee Valley Tools, of the highest quality. The books are also available from Amazon and AbeBooks as well as Lee Valley.

There are four books in the Classic Cowboy Cartoon series, one of Cavalry. six of Bull of the Woods and one sampler of Out Our Way from the 20's, 30's and 40's.  The first volume of Bull of the Woods is sold out, unfortunately.  It was mainly cartoons from the war years, featuring among other war related issues, women moving into jobs in the machine shop which had formerly been an exclusive man's world.

Williams' biography in Vol 3 of Classic Cowboy Cartoons is far more detailed than Wikipedia.

These cartoons are just a sample from the four volumes of Classic Cowboy Cartoons.  If you Google [J.R. Williams Cartoon] Images you can see a large cross section of his work (but you may have to wade through some garbage).  His cartoons were THE most clipped and saved of all regular features. I will run a few from the Bull of the Woods series some other time.
















11 comments:

  1. Never seen them before. Thanks
    the Ol'Buzzard

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No dailies in your early life or didn't they run the cartoon?

      Delete
  2. I remember them well..loved them, even when I didn't get them(as a kid(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lot of things we had to get old to understand, didn't we?

      Delete
  3. Only have a vague memory. Of course, most of my memory is vague.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are too young, maybe, unless you saw them as reprints or something. I was 10 when Williams died in 1957.

      Delete
    2. Makes a difference. But it all evens out in the end. Now youa re young and I am old. My cousin is three weeks and three days older than me. Until we were about 20 she rode my ass cause she was older and more mature. My turn now. She is old and I am young

      Delete
  4. I've seen these in the Lee Valley catalogue and I seem to recall finding some in the attic of our old farmhouse, but he was before my time. Still, The Condolence Committee reminds me of my friends...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They were a good investment for me. I have had many hours of enjoyment, reading them over and over. Likely at least once or twice a year. He sure had an eye for details. I loved how he could draw a sleeping lazy dog.

      Delete
  5. Now that you mention it I remember those.

    ReplyDelete