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Newsweek, 1954 - Fellowship cartoon

Newsweek, 1954 - Fellowship cartoon

Feb 17, 2017

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.

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Feb 18, 2017
(edited)
Urulöké,

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 :)
Feb 19, 2017
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?
Feb 20, 2017
Definitely M. Simont. I will look to see if the full name is called out anywhere.
Feb 20, 2017
(edited)
Interestingly Newsweek, at least the US version are doing a special Tolkien edition at the moment.

https://onnewsstandsnow.com/collection ... 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.

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Feb 20, 2017
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 lotrproject.com included in it as well (hopefully with permission).

It is 99 pages, $10.99
Feb 26, 2017
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.
Feb 26, 2017
(edited)
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?
Feb 26, 2017
(edited)
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.
Feb 26, 2017
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.
Feb 27, 2017
(edited)

Urulöké wrote:
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.


No, I was not suggesting that the illustrator read the review before drawing the cartoon, I think the illustrator read the book and used his imagination to draw the picture of what an Orc looked like.

Though I do think, that in 1958, the review and illustration from the 1954 Newsweek may have impacted the first film treatise of the book.

I also think that Zimmerman looked at whatever was available about the book when developing the first film treatise and this would have included US published reviews.
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