| Although initially I believed
Shel had worked for the Torch from approximately 1950 to 1952–his years at
Roosevelt–it seems that was not completely the case, as the archives only
yielded material from the 1950-51 calendar year. The Torch rotated between
several cartoonists, and Shel’s first appearance (the above cartoon) was
not until the November 27 issue,
He was only 20 years old at the time, but the subversive humor that would be a trademark of Shel’s later works–especially the cartoons–was already in evidence. The professor is upset that the student is smoking, while completely oblivious to the more blatant flouting of decorum rules (and in my usage of that particular phrase, perhaps I am being just a little coy myself. But I digress.) It may not be the funniest or sharpest of material, but the cartoon gets the point across and is still quite clever. In terms of the style, it seems to me–though I am no expert at cartooning–that Shel was more deliberate in his depiction of the caricatures, and used a heavier pen, perhaps several of them. While he was a Roosevelt student, he also took night classes at the Art Institute of Chicago, located right across the street from the Roosevelt campus. Thus it seems to me that he was applying the lessons he learned at the Institute more than developing a distinctive style. Still, there are flashes of what would be seen later in his Army cartoons and in those published in Playboy–the set of the eyes, the downward slope of the noses, the slightly wide-eyed expressions. However there is considerably more detail in this, and his other cartoons at the time, than there would be in later years. Still, there is absolutely no question of Shel’s talent–it was already there, in spades. Although I did not copy any of the works of the other Torch cartoonists, those lacked whatever spark permeated Silverstein’s works. Which, for me, was extremely exciting, as I had not expected to see much of that spark at all.
(From the February 12, 1951 edition)
To the best of my knowledge, only six Silverstein cartoons made it into the pages of the Torch during his time with the paper. The dates were as follows: November 27, December 11, and December 18, 1950; January 8, February 12, and February 19, 1951. In the final issue of that year, the Torch published its favorite cartoons of that year, and two of Silverstein’s made the cut. No cartoons were found at any time past 1951, which suggests that he was likely no longer a contributor. If anyone knows different, or if perhaps I missed some later material, let me know.
He didn't just draw cartoons . . . ===>