'Lord Longbow' (5 December 1914).

Hugh Rankin was an American newspaper cartoonist and pulp magazine illustrator. After drawing 'Lord Longbow' (1909-1915) and several other features for the Chicago Daily News, he became a notable illustrator for the fantasy horror pulp magazine Weird Tales.

Early life
He was born in 1878 in Loda, Illinois, as Hugh Doak Copp. His mother was Ellen Rankin Copp (1853-1901), at the time a famous sculptor from the Chicago area. She was noted for sculpting 'Pele, the Goddess of Fire', a work based on a romantic Hawaiian legend, and with its twenty-five feet high presented as the largest figure ever built by a woman. Hugh too showed artistic talents. When he was eight years old, he modeled a swan from memory. Later, Hugh and his mother lived estranged from his father, and by the 1890s, the young man went by his mother's maiden name, Rankin.

Newspaper cartoonist
Residing with the Rankin family in Indianapolis, Indiana, was the newspaper cartoonist Arthur Sinclair Covey. In the early 20th century, both Hugh Rankin and Arthur Covey moved to Ohio, where they became cartoonists for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Rankin began his career with features like 'Mother Goose Magic Pictures' (6 April-20 July 1902), 'Don Quixote in Ohio' (21 June-16 August 1903), 'Kenilworth DeDoghouse' (27 September-8 November 1903) and 'Three Little Men of the Woods' (24 April 1904-9 April 1905), as well as several one-shot Sunday comics.


'Lord Longbow' (21 November 1914).

Chicago Daily News
In 1907, Rankin moved to Chicago, working for the Chicago Daily News until 1915. As a staff cartoonist, he first took over for Richard Thain on 'The Absent-Minded Man' (25 September 1907 until 18 January 1908) and most notably on 'Lord Longbow', which he drew in alternation with Thain between 29 January 1909 and 23 August 1912). This irregularly appearing strip told the alleged heroics of the blowhard Lord Longbow, in the tradition of Baron Munchausen, using both speech balloons and text captions. From August 1912, Rankin continued the feature in his own until the end on 25 January 1912.

Affiliated with the Chicago Daily News between 1907 and 1915, Hugh Rankin worked on a great many weekday humor features. Most of them appeared irregularly, and lasted only a couple of months or weeks. Some even appeared only two or three times. In 1908, Rankin originated no less than nine features: 'Ambitious Inbad' (AKA 'Inbad the Elephant', 18 February 1908-12 February 1909), 'Hypno And His Art' (AKA 'Professor Hypno', 15 May-26 August 1908), 'A Circus Snake Story' (1 July-22 December 1908), 'Jungle Jollity' (8-27 July 1908), 'The Bug Hunters' (18 August-19 November 1908), 'Doing Business With The Heathen' (13-26 October 1908), 'In Gnome Man's Land' (29 October-24 November 1908), 'Joshua Gump' (AKA 'Studying A Profession', 20 November-14 December 1908) and 'Those Awful Whiskers' (AKA 22 December 1908-2 March 1909). In the following year, he created 'Aunt Jemina' (21 January 1909-15 February 1911), 'In Holland' (11 March-17 June 1909), 'The Mind Reader' (6-14 May 1909), 'Buying a Dog' (AKA 'Mister Flamme', 7 July-22 December 1909), 'Getting His Nap' (AKA 'Mister Snoozer', 13-27 August 1909) and 'The Rivals' (28 September 1909-10 February 1910). Later Chicago Daily News creations by Rankin were 'The Universal Bird Call' (AKA 'Mister Fluttershot', 28 November 1910-10 January 1911), 'Breaking Into Jail' (7-20 February 1911) and 'Hoodoed Kelly' (24-30 May 1911). Some of the later strips were also syndicated to other newpapers.


'Hoodoed Kelly' (17 June 1911).

Magazine illustrator
Around 1917, Hugh Rankin moved from newspapers to magazines, making cartoons and illustrations for Cartoon Magazine. His artwork also appeared in the book 'Through the Ages with Father Time' (Wells & Company, 1922) by Roy Rutherford Bailey, and on advertisements for Elgin Watches. In 1927, editor Farnsworth Wright hired Rankin as an interior illustrator for Weird Tales, a pulp magazine with fantasy and horror stories. Rankin worked for the title until the mid-1930s, signing his art with either "Hugh Rankin", his initials "HR" or the pseudonyms "Doak" and "Quindaro". During this eight-year period, Rankin illustrated a great many stories, including several by 'Conan the Barbarian' and 'Solomon Kane' creator Robert E. Howard, who was a great admirer of Rankin's work.

Later years and death
In the mid-1930s, Hugh Rankin moved to Los Angeles, California, where he continued to work as a commercial illustrator and artist for youth-themed books. He passed away in 1956. Although he was actually buried at Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, his name was engraved on his mother's gravestone in the Atlanta Cemetery in Loda, Illinois.


Hugh Rankin illustration for the Robert E. Howard story 'Beyond the Black River, part 2' (Weird Tales #35).

Ink Slinger profile on the Stripper's Guide

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