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Newsweek, 1954 - Fellowship cartoon

17 Feb, 2017
2017-2-17 9:31:39 PM UTC

I thought some of you would enjoy this cartoon in the Nov 29, 1954 edition of Newsweek with the release of Fellowship of the Ring.

1_58a76bb95561c.jpg 1093X735 px
18 Feb, 2017 (edited)
2017-2-18 2:01:52 PM UTC

Did they review the book as well?

Love the illustration, and it does look like the illustrator had read the book, which for the US release was about 1 month earlier, but had a very vivid imagination on what Goblins/Orcs/Cave Trolls looked like :)
19 Feb, 2017
2017-2-19 11:04:40 PM UTC
Nice find! I reckon this might be the earliest Tolkien-inspired cartoon in print.

Is it possible to identify the name of the cartoonist? To me, it appears to read "M. Simont", thus likely being Marc Simont. Perhaps it's easier to read the letters in your original copy, Urulöké?
20 Feb, 2017
2017-2-20 1:06:42 AM UTC
Definitely M. Simont. I will look to see if the full name is called out anywhere.
20 Feb, 2017 (edited)
2017-2-20 1:42:10 PM UTC
Interestingly Newsweek, at least the US version are doing a special Tolkien edition at the moment. ... kien-the-mind-of-a-genius

If anyone gets a copy, would be interested to know if it has anything you think is of interest in it.

10_58aaf2f9e6674.jpg 798X1024 px
20 Feb, 2017
2017-2-20 7:40:45 PM UTC
I have a copy (actually a lot, I am sending a stack to someone in Germany to distribute to people there as well).

It reads like a collection of wikipedia articles (none are attributed to authors), but has a lot of nice photographs in it (about 30% from the movies or other media properties, the rest of locations, Tolkien himself, some other family, WWI, etc.). It has some of Emil's work from included in it as well (hopefully with permission).

It is 99 pages, $10.99
26 Feb, 2017
2017-2-26 12:16:49 AM UTC
Trotter - There is a full review of The Fellowship of the Ring in this edition (1954) of Newsweek. It actually calls out "the terrible feathered orcs (see cut)" [referring to the cartoon reproduced in this thread]. So someone misread something, or the first impression of FOTR refers to "feathered orcs" and this is the first I am hearing of it. I don't have a first impression copy, sad to say.

There is a tiny second cartoon with the review as well, that is unattributed (same style as the main cartoon, so presumably still M. Simont).

No indication of who wrote the review, or further details on the cartoonist. The book section editor is Kermit Lansner.
26 Feb, 2017 (edited)
2017-2-26 7:59:15 AM UTC
I think they must have misread "the terrible feathered orcs (see cut)".

Tolkien clearly had no intention that Orcs had feathers. In Letters #210 from 1958, about Z(immermans) film treatment of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien wrote

"19. Why does Z put beaks and feathers on Orcs!?"

I wonder if Z got the idea of feathered Orcs from the Newsweek review and the illustration?
26 Feb, 2017 (edited)
2017-2-26 4:20:53 PM UTC
Trotter - are you saying the illustrator read the review before drawing the cartoon?

Thanks for the second reference to "beaks and feathers", there was something in the back of my mind but I couldn't find anything. That second mention seems like too close to the mark to be completely coincidence, in my mind. I don't feel like a book review in Newsweek would have such a large impact years later, though it is certainly possible. Perhaps there is something deeper going on that bears investigating further.
26 Feb, 2017
2017-2-26 10:12:58 PM UTC
Thanks, Urulöké, for the additional details! I'd say we can fairly safely conclude that the cartoonist was Marc Simont -- I've had a look at other illustrations by him, and the resemblance in style is quite striking. And it's unlikely there were several cartoonists bearing the name "M. Simont" around at the time.
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