Patricia. Johnny Gruelle,
Creator of Raggedy Ann and Andy. 2nd printing.
Gretna, LA: Pelican
Publishing, 1998. ISBN 0-88289-908-2.
- Rhode, Michael. [review.] International Journal of Comic Art
4.2 (Fall 2002): 345-46.
was the first book of Hall's trilogy on cartoonist Johnny Gruelle.
published in 1993, Hall followed this biography with a book on his
merchandise (see IJOCA 3:1, Spring
2001 for a review) and most recently
with Raggedy Ann and Johnny Gruelle: A
Bibliography of Published Works.
Hall has worked hard to rehabilitate Gruelle's
reputation and to rescue him from both the obscurity of a career sixty
the past and the shadow cast by his creations who remain American
Attractively and extensively illustrated, Hall's biography is a
and uncomplicated one. As an outgrowth of her love for his characters,
definitely prejudiced in Gruelle's favor and was supported by his
caveat stated, I believe it is a valuable addition to the paucity of
cartoonist's biographies, especially ones designed for the mass market.
first chapter is a heartfelt introduction to Gruelle and his creations
makes it clear that this biography will be a friendly one. Gruelle was
1880 and his parents soon migrated to Indianapolis. Johnny's father,
Gruelle was a self-taught landscape painter who assisted his son's
become a cartoonist. By 1903, Gruelle was cartooning for the new Indianapolis
Star. While there, Hall notes,
"On a single day, it was not uncommon for the Star to feature three
or four different kinds of cartoons by Gruelle: a sports cartoon, a
masthead-headline illustration, or even a comic strip" as well as front
page editorial cartoons. Gruelle's versatility in comic art continued
throughout his career, and he regularly created new comic strips and
After Gruelle's "Mr. Twee Deedle" strip was collected by Cupples and
Leon in 1913, a new career as a book illustrator, and then author of
books began. By 1915, he had developed and trademarked Raggedy Ann. She
extremely well known and the merchandising of her and other of
creations became a significant issue in his career. Like the rest of
Gruelle suffered financially during the Depression especially with
over trademark infringement ownership of Raggedy Ann. Gruelle died in
his family kept his creations in the public eye until the present day.
essentially ends her book with Gruelle's death, but provides some brief
information on the family's continuing licensing of Raggedy Ann. She
with a concluding chapter examining Gruelle's influence and relative
Hall's persistence in examining Gruelle's life and career have made
worth acquiring for anyone interested in early twentieth-century
children's books or licensing.