“Say, Aint You Fellas Gonna Work?!”
by BK Munn
Journeyman cartoonist Lou Skuce (1886-1951) has one of the most distinctive styles of pre-war Canadian cartoonists. Strong compositions, a flowing line, and bold-yet-warm Art Deco-style lettering. Add to that a memorable name and a signature character (he often signed his work with a cartoon goose, Lou Skuce/”Loose Goose”), and there is no mistaking a Skuce cartoon. Primarily an internationally known sports cartoonist, Skuce was a fixture on the Toronto newspaper scene, working for most of that city’s dailies at one time or another during the first half of the 20th Century, and equally adept as art director, adman, illustrator, comics journalist, gag cartoonist, and comic stripper, as we can see from his stabs at producing strips for U.S. syndicates.
Seemingly not one to pass up any paying cartoon work, Skuce showed up to lend some professionalism and style to the issues of Bell Features’ various titles, contributing covers, filler pages and illustrations to Joke Comics and Wow Comics beginning in 1941. The work is breezy and dumb, with some Norman Rockwell-ish, sub-J.R. Williams small-town saccharine, mixed with casual racism, topical humour, cute grotesques, and some striking colour pieces.