Raymond Crawford Ewer was an early 20th century newspaper and magazine cartoonist, best-known for succeeding George Frink on the 'Slim Jim' strip in 1911. Ewer applied the same humor and inventiveness as his predecessor, but used a more experimental drawing style. He toyed around with panels, lay-outs and the Sunday page format as a whole, like the early grandmasters Lyonel Feininger and Winsor McCay.


Editorial cartoon from the San Francisco Call, 22 June 1907

Born in Napa County, California, the artist started his career in 1907 as a staff cartoonist for the San Francisco Call. In the following year he started making some kids' and activity features for the McClure Syndicate, of which the paper doll feature 'Kid Cut Ups Puzzle' lasted the longest (from January through August 1909). The title was changed throughout its run to 'Mother Goose Cut Up Puzzle' and finally 'Mother Goose Puzzles'. Ewer's strip 'Things As They Ought To Be' ran from January to April in that same year, and 'Those Ridiculous Questions' from January through June. William F. Marriner continued the latter from September to November 1909. The feature was largely based on Rube Goldberg's hit panel 'Foolish Questions' (1908) in The New York Evening Mail. The concept was later also used by Al Jaffee for his section 'Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions' (1965) in Mad Magazine.


Those Ridiculous Questions

Between 1910 and 1914, Ewer was associated with World Color Printing, a company which produced Sunday comics sections for mainly rural newspapers. His first feature was 'Brown - City Farmer' (May-November 1910) before he was handed Frink's 'Slim Jim and the Force' Sunday page. The comic dealt with the extremely tall and thin tramp Jim, who continues to outwit the three police constables known as The Force. Ewer produced his high quality version of the feature from January 1911 until January 1914, and then Stanley Armstrong took over until 1937. Raymond Crawford Ewer was furthermore a cartoonist for the satirical weekly magazines Judge and Puck, and an illustrator for magazines like The Masses and Vanity Fair. He passed away from tuberculosis on 22 June 1915, at the age of only 26.

Slim Jim, by Raymond Crawford Ewer
Slim Jim (1912)

Ink Slinger profil on the Stripper's Guide

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