Naughty Pete by Charles Forbell
Naughty Pete

Charles Henry Forbell was an early American cartoonist and advertising artist. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, and attended the Pratt Institute, before joining the art staff of the New York World, one of the Pulitzer papers. Around 1910, he began contributing cartoons to magazines like Life and Judge, doing cartoon series like 'In Ye Goode Old Days' (in Life), 'In Ancient Times' and 'Ancient Sources of Modern Inventions' (both in Judge) throughout the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s.

He has also created a couple of short-lived comic features, such as 'Inquisitive Willie' (11 September 1911 until 7 January 1912), 'Oh! Why Did I Do It? (29 December 1911 until 9 July 1912) and 'Tomorrow' (18 September 1911 until 22 January 1912) for Associated Newspapers. His most notable work in this new medium was however 'Naugthy Pete', which ran in the New York Herald from 10 August until 7 December 1913. Although consisting of only 18 Sunday episodes, this feature is considered Forbell's masterpiece because of its original coloring and inventive panel lay-outs. The complete run of the comic was featured in the compendium 'Forgotten Fantasy - Sunday Comics 1900-1915', which was edited by Peter Maresca for Sunday Press Books in 2011.

Naughty Pete by Charles Forbell
Naughty Pete

Among Forbell's later comic strips are features starring so-called flapper girls. These were 'Soosie the Shopper', which he made with a certain Floherty for United Publishers Corporation News Service from 6 April until 17 October 1925. By 1929, he returned to the newspapers with 'Cuddles, An American Flapper At King Arthur's Court' through Kay Features (1929) and Bell Syndicate (1929-1933). Apart from doing newspaper comics, Charles Forbell did much commercial work.

Soosie the Shopper by Charles Forbell

One of his most prominent productions was 'Mr Peanut', the Planters Peanut Symbol which is known around the world. Although he did not create the peanut man with hat and monocle, Forbell was asked to do the designs for the advertisements). For a Pea soup company, he designed two little elves, called Happy and Peawee, who are shown cutting a pea in half to make the famous soup. These figures were displayed in all restaurants owned by the company. For many years he was cartoonist for the Aetna Casualty and Surety Company of Hartford, Connecticut, and contributed drawings to the advertisements sent out by the Central Savings Bank of New York. A few months prior to his death, Forbell suffered a stroke, which left him without the use of his right hand.

comic artwork by Charles Forbell, circa 1928-1931
'Ancient Sources of Modern Inventions' by Charles Forbell, circa 1928-1931 for 'Judge' magazine, graciously provided by Margrett Forbell

The entire run of Naughty Pete on GoComics.com
Charles Forbell's Ink Slinger profile on the Stripper's Guide

Series and books by Charles Forbell in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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