July 26th, 2008

The Zombie

"About The Author"

July 25 -  Hmm.  Last entry, I mentioned that artist John Garvin's new book, The Landon School of Illustrating and Cartooning, had a thirty page preview posted on-line (side-note to myself; YOU MUST GET THAT BOOK!).  Even though I described it as "invaluable," it wasn't the basis for my research into C.N. Landon.  It probably should have been, though.  Now that I've read all of it, it is FULL of information that took me weeks to research.  And, of course, the preview includes information both in addition and contrary to what I've already posted.  Sigh.  It's the Crusty Bunker mis-bloggings all over again.  Here, for example, is what Mr. Garvin wrote "About The Author"...

Charles Nelson Landon was born in Norwalk, Ohio, in 1878.  Beginning in 1900 he spent twelve years with The Cleveland Press, producing -- according to his own promotional materials -- more than 10,000 drawings "including cartoons based upon politics, news events, sports and many other types of comics."  Assignments included travel to the major political conventions to create caricatures.  During his last five years at the Press he managed the art department, which is where he learned to develop new talent.  Later he became the art director of the Newspaper Enterprise Association, one of the largest syndicates of its day.  And later still, the art editor of Hearst's Cosmopolitan in New York City.  In 1909 Landon founded The Landon School of Illustrating and Cartooning.  Landon was a member of the Newspapers Cartoonists' Association of Cleveland, and published at least one book -- a signed, limited edition portfolio of caricatures titled Clevelanders: "As We See 'Em" in 1904.  Roy Crane remembered Landon as a "pipe-voiced man who favored selected sartorial elegance like celluloid cuffs and spats."  Landon died in Cleveland on May 17, 1937, at the age of 59.  He is buried in his hometown at the Woodlawn Cemetery.

So, according to Mr. Garvin's research, Mr. Landon did not "retire" after leaving his position at the Cleveland Press, as I asserted a few days ago.  He instead changed jobs, eventually achieving a much more prestigious career than I had earlier intimated.  That makes sense.  I wondered how the correspondence course alone could have been that profitable for that long.  Oh, and Mr. Garvin has Mr. Landon founding his "school" in 1909, not 1908 as I'd found.  Maybe the course itself predates the "school" by a year (another side-note to myself; YOU MUST GET THAT BOOK!).  One thing that I can speak to with some "authority," though, is the "born in Norwalk, Ohio" part.  In a fit of crazy curiosity, I actually contacted Norwalk's Firelands Historical Society Museum, who referred me to the town's historian, Henry Timman.  Although he'd never heard of C.N. Landon, Mr. Timman was able to confirm some of my research, including that Mr. Landon is, indeed, buried next to his mother in Norwalk's Woodlawn Cemetery.  He could not find, however, any evidence of C.N. Landon having actually been
born in Norwalk.  In fact, he instead found that Landon's father, E.R. Landon, had applied for U.S. citizenship in the early 1880's (when Charles would have been about eight).  That paperwork said that E.R. was coming from Canada, and was originally from England.  It's possible that the official birth records of C.N., and of his sister for that matter, have just been lost, or were never recorded in the first place.  It's also conceivable that there may have been a real reason why Charles Landon may have told people he was not just from Norwalk, but born there as well; it's possible that he was not actually a United States citizen.  Of course, not yet having read The Landon School of Illustrating and Cartooning
, it's also possible that this has all already been covered by Mr. Garvin (repeating side-note to myself; YOU MUST GET THAT BOOK!).  Excited by a new bit of local history to discover, Mr. Timman is continuing to look into the situation, promising to send an update soon with whatever information he can find.  So, the story of Charles N. Landon today remains something of a mystery.  In John Garvin's book Preface, he even states...

We’re still missing important biographical information on Landon and logistical information on his course. Did the course end with his death? How many students did he teach? It is my hope that the first edition of this book will stir up some interest and help bring to light more details from Landon’s life.

And so it has.  I will, of course, pass on my research (and Mr. Timman's) to Mr. Garvin (probably when I finally GET THAT BOOK!).  In that Preface, he also added "A second edition can hopefully fill in some of the gaps," so I hope that what I found will help do just that.  In fact, I hope that these last few WOMP-Blog entries will also shake some more information out of the dusty pages of the past.  If any of you out there have some further info about any of this, please let me know (especially if you know of someone else who took the Landon Course, even if that cartoonist, like Buford Peer, is not "famous").  As more trickles in, I will post it here for you, but, for now, I've come as far as I can with the C.N. Landon story.  I hope that I didn't bore you too much with it...but at least you were warned!  Let me get out of here for the night, after posting your Platinum Age Comic Book Characters of The Day for - July 24 - Skippy Skinner, and July 25 - The Brownie Clown from Brownie Town!

The charcater on the left is the Brownie Clown