by BK Munn
What a pleasure it is to pick up a random issue of a Canadian magazine from the 1950s and immediately be plunged into a lost world of illustration, graphic design, and comics.
The weekly Maclean’s, a sort of combination Saturday Evening Post and Time magazine, was the top of the line in terms of terms of illustration. Painted or cartoon covers, tons of interior photos and illos, and cartoons, cartoons, cartoons. This issue, from September 1, 1953, is a case in point. Multiple cartoons by the mid-century stalwarts who defined the look of the magazine: George Feyer, James Simpkins, and Peter Whalley, with several additional cartoons and advertisements by other, lesser known journeymen.
Feyer was essentially the staff cartoonist for the magazine at this point, responsible for spot illos livening up the letters page (including a letter from Group of 7 painter AY Jackson), and gags, gags, gags. The Jasper cartoon by Simpkins appeared weekly, but in a feature article about Jasper National Park, the creator of the park’s then-unofficial mascot is not mentioned. I’ve included most of the comics content from one issue here (after the jump) to give a sense of what a typical issue from this period looked like.