R. C. HARVEY, whose visage appears in a mug shot with his signature rabbit, is an award-winning cartoonist as well as a comics chronicler. He’s drawn in all the medium’s forms—comic strips, magazine gag cartoons, and comic books as well as editorial cartoons. His longest stint at professional work was several generations ago (1978-1983), when he freelanced magazine cartoons.
Harv has been writing about cartooning for over forty years, beginning with a column in the fondly recalled Menomonee Falls Gazette (a weekly newspaper of comic strips) in the fall of 1973. Doc Harv (Ph.D. in English literature) has produced fourteen books about cartooning and cartoonists. He collected three volumes of Cartoons of the Roaring Twenties (1991-92) about magazine cartooning and has authored The Art of the Funnies (1994), an aesthetic history of newspaper comic strips, and its sequel, The Art of the Comic Book (1996), plus several biographies—Accidental Ambassador Gordo: The Comic Strip Art of Gus Arriola (2000); Meanwhile: A Biography of Milton Caniff, Creator of Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon (2007); The Life and Art of Murphy Anderson (2003), which he ghosted with Anderson. His most recent book is Insider Histories of Cartooning: Rediscovering Forgotten Famous Comics and Their Creators (2014).
All of his books that have not sold out (most of them) are described (and sold) at his website, RCHarvey.com, where he also conducts a fortnightly magazine of comics news and reviews, cartoon history and lore, Rants & Raves, where editorial cartoons are regularly showcased. Starting in 1999, it may be the Internet’s longest-running online periodical on comics and cartooning.
Harvey has contributed numerous cartoonists’ biographies to Oxford University’s American National Biography (both online and in print) and has written over 150 short biographies of cartoonists in his Gallery of Rogues: Cartoonists’ Self-caricatures (1998). And his book about the infamous feud between Ham Fisher (Joe Palooka) and Al Capp (Li’l Abner) has appeared in serial form in the online Comics Journal (Hubris and Chutzpah: How Li’l Abner Kayo’d Joe Palooka and Both Their Creators Came to Grief ).
Harv was associate editor for comic strips at the earliest incarnation of Inks, a short-lived scholarly journal about the arts of cartooning (a title lately revived). He also curated a comic art exhibition for Seatle’s Frye Art Museum (September-November 1998) and assembled a book from the show, Children of the Yellow Kid: The Evolution of the American Comic Strip (1998). He published regularly in Cartoonist PROfiles, the profession’s most venerable publication, until it ceased, and in Comic Book Marketplace, until it ended, and he continues producing articles for The Comics Journal (mostly in its online version, although since the print manifestation is about to be re-born in 2019, he’ll probably appear in it, too).