(Click any for bigger. Above: ad drawing for Charlie's Café.)
I love seeing the early, pre-fame work of well-known cartoonists. It's fascinating to see them groping for a style. These drawings were executed by Mort Walker, later the creator of Beetle Bailey, Hi and Lois, Sam's Strip, and others, for his college magazine, the Missouri Showme, when he was a student at the University of Missouri in 1947-8.
(Ad drawing for Charlie's Café.)
He's got a way to go, however. For instance, I find his failure to cut out the feet and bucket from his Zip-a-tone, above, to be almost inexcusable.
Another hallmark of student work is experimentation with technique and style. Above, he's used horizontal lines in an interesting way. Below, in both drawings, he's using white paint to achieve certain effects. On the left he's experimenting with a modernist faux-woodcut style in a drawing which reminds me very much of Wanda Gag's work.
Walker was familiar with modernism, and even did a spot-on Picasso parody (with a REALLY dirty "cherry" joke) for the cover of the magazine, a transgression which earned him a suspension as editor.
(Ad for Sampson's Grill.)
You can read more about Mort Walker and the Missouri Showme at the link above, at Mort Walker's website, at the Columbia Daily Tribune, and at UM's website.
More in a day or two!