'Masters of the Gags': cartoonist visions of war and peace, 1941-1945©

Coatney, Caryn Michelle ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3615-0126 (2018) 'Masters of the Gags': cartoonist visions of war and peace, 1941-1945©. In: 2017 Annual Conference of the Australian & New Zealand Communication Association: Communication Worlds: Access, Voice, Diversity, Engagement – An Introduction (ANZCA 2017), 4-7 Jul 2017, Sydney, Australia.

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Despite their communicative power, cartoonists have often been viewed as the detached outsiders of the newsroom. This paper contributes to the relatively new area of research into cartooning as a significant, enduring aspect of journalism. It is the first study to focus on the caricaturists’ editorial clout in visualising post-imperial communities while defying isolationist politics during the Australian-US alliance in World War II. This case study fills gaps in the research by revealing the wartime caricaturists’ forgotten role in strengthening Australia’s international alliances. Overseas, such illustrators represented a wide range of politically aligned publications including the liberal PM’s Dr Seuss, the Saturday Evening Post’s Norman Rockwell, and the conservative London tabloid, the Daily Express’s Sidney Strube. In Australia, newsroom humorists included Bohemian artists Norman Lindsay and George Finey, the Bulletin’s John Frith, the Daily Telegraph’s Will Mahony, The Sun’s Stuart Peterson, and Kate O’Brien, creator of the Wanda the War Girl comic strip. A new analysis of this often overlooked archival material shows how the cartoonists initiated journalistic techniques to engage public support for Australia’s increasingly assertive, independent foreign policies. This humour strategy aided the Australian Prime Minister John Curtin in winning public confidence in his leadership of the nation’s war. The newsroom artists mostly benefited from the government’s relaxation of censorship rules, contributing to a flourishing era of Australian cartooning. Their images signified a symbolic geography that transcended imperial divisions and involved more diverse voices in participating in international affairs. This lost conception of cartooning as a journalism profession can provide fresh insights into tracing the industry’s developments. The paper indicates that the hidden value of cartoonists is deserving of higher status and just rewards.©

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: This work is licensed under the Creative Commons attribution - Share Alike 3.0 Australian License.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication (1 Jul 2013 - 28 Feb 2019)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication (1 Jul 2013 - 28 Feb 2019)
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2018 00:53
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2021 05:07
Uncontrolled Keywords: journalism; editorial cartoons; World War II; John Curtin; Dr Seuss; Norman Rockwell; Sidney Strube; Norman Lindsay; George Finey; John Frith; Will Mahony; Stuart Peterson; Kate O'Brien; Wanda the War Girl
Fields of Research (2008): 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1903 Journalism and Professional Writing > 190301 Journalism Studies
Fields of Research (2020): 47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4701 Communication and media studies > 470105 Journalism studies
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
Funding Details:
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/32742

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