Friday, January 22, 2016

Arty Farty Friday ~ Cartoonist Bill Mauldin

Bill Mauldin: "If I see a stuffed shirt, I want to punch it. If it's big, hit it. You can't go far wrong." Too many newspaper artists tended to "regard editorial cartooning as a trade instead of a profession. They try not to be too offensive", he said. "The hell with that." He frequently lamented that editorial cartoonists were too soft and that more of them needed to be "stirrer-uppers." Mr. Mauldin worked full time at being a stirrer-upper, and while he was on duty nobody was safe from his editorial brush.

The above, and following information, comes from a 2003 New York Times obituary by Richard Severo, honoring cartoonist Bill Mauldin. some early biographical detail is there too.

Bill Mauldin's best known cartoons feature Willie and Joe, two care-worn, weary and bedraggled World War II US infantrymen. After the war Mauldin worked as a syndicated cartoonist for more than 50 years, his aim "to caricature bigots, superpatriots, doctrinaire liberals and conservatives and pompous souls in whatever form they appeared". He won the Pulitzer Prize twice, once in 1945 for his World War II work, again in 1959 for his commentary on Soviet treatment of Boris Pasternak."

Besides segregationists, red-baiters and dictators, Mr. Mauldin used his pen to strike at the Ku Klux Klan and veterans' organizations that he thought were too far to the right. He later said he thought he had gone too far in his denunciations and "became a bore." Many newspapers agreed and began to drop his syndicated cartoons. His postwar book "Back Home" received good reviews. He also appeared in two 1951 war movies.

During the war, Mauldin was beloved by his fellow enlisted men, for lambasting their pet irritants: insensitive drill sergeants, palate-dulled mess sergeants, glamour-dripping Air Force pilots in leather jackets, and cafe owners in liberated countries who rewarded the thirsty G.I.'s who had freed them by charging them double for brandy. He was also much admired by his peers, fellow cartoonists.

For a good selection of Mauldin's Willie & Joe cartoons see THIS WEBSITE page and additional pages there.

A few of his cartoons on other topics - and these haven't dated much!

 After the assassination of JFK


Born on 29 October 1921 at 10:15 PM in Mountain Park, New Mexico. (Data from

Natal Scorpio Sun and Mercury are linked by harmonious trines to Uranus and Pluto - a circuit in Water signs ensuring there were strong elements of intensity and rebellion in his emotional nature. His rebel nature clearly shows through his cartooning - and in the quote at the top of this post, and this one:
"[Editorial cartooning] is essentially a destructive art. We are not pontificators, or molders of thought—or at least we shouldn't try to be. Ours is more the role of the lowly gadfly: circle and stab, circle and stab. Roughly put, our credo should be, if it's big, hit it."
― Bill Mauldin
Venus (planet of the arts) in one of its own signs, Libra, conjoins Jupiter (wide publication) and sextiles Neptune, planet of creativity and imagination - interpretation of that speaks for itself in his work.

All Mr Mauldin's natal planets lie within the span of just three zodiac signs, Scorpio, Libra and Virgo. Such a tight grouping signifies an individual with intense focus on a chosen path or career, often leading to success.


mike said...

Mauldin at the age of 24, was the youngest recipient to receive the Pulitzer Prize...quite an honor! I've always enjoyed witty editorial cartoons, as they deliver and solicit much provocation in one frame. I remember Mauldin's work from reading the newspaper in my childhood are drawn to comics and the editorial cartoon was very similar, though usually not overtly understood at that age. I remember both of my parents getting a good snort over the editorial pages. Both of my parents were born in September, 1921, so Mauldin was very much one of them, generation-wise. Mauldin's Vietnam editorials were more in alignment with the racial tension and anti-war faction of my generation and that's the era I remember his work.

His Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn in his third house indicates someone with an intense and unique communication style (Venus soft & appealing, Mars war & aggression, Jupiter jocular & expansive, Saturn structured & critical), particularly with Pluto squaring Venus and Jupiter, lending a piercing and satirical bite to unpleasant subject matter.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I didn't know of him at all (Britain enjoyed their own crop of cartoonists) but husband, who is a keen cartoon fancier, knew immediately of Mauldin's Willy & Joe series. WWII cartoons must have almost slipped from communal human memory by now, but will stand as an historic reminder that war, on the whole, ain't made up of colourful John Wayne-ish capers, but hard dirty, wearying slogging by ordinary men and women!

Thanks for the additional astrology points. His chart was a nice, snug fit. :-)

anyjazz said...

One of the best impressionist artists, I mean "cartoonists" ever. He had a keen political mind too.

Twilight said...

anyjazz ~ He'd be having a great time just now in this election cycle, were he still here and still cartooning !