Frank Beaven Tuesday Birthday Spanking

tuesday birthday spanking cartoon by frank beaven

Posted by the Web-Ed on 12/03/2010

The second of our three-part series on the work of Frank Beaven (1905 - 1975) features that old cartoon staple, the "birthday" spanking given on the wrong day - by pure accident, of course (we saw the same theme recently as done by Homer Provence). Like Homer (but unlike DeCarlo), Beaven shows us that the "birthday girl" is quite happy to get the spanking, birthday or not.

The same characteristics we mentioned last time are on display here as well: male with elongated nose (less apparent here because of the angle) and feet, female with pretty, delicate, pointed nose and well-rounded fanny. These are satisfying spanking cartoons, yet Beaven produced fewer of them (and is much less well-known) than the Humorama "Big Six": Bill Ward, Bill Wenzel, Kirk Stiles, Dan DeCarlo, Homer Provence, and George Morrice. In fact, we know of only four - the three in this series, plus a Secretary Spanking we posted earlier this year without knowing that Beaven was the artist. Part of the difficulty is Beaven's unusual signature (seen here just under the table), which is easily misread as "FE". In fact, Beaven used more than one! Now let's see how the truth came to light.


hardware cartoon by frank beaven

Frank Beaven hardware-themed Humorama cartoon.

A discussion arose on the bulletin board started by DRD as to who an unknown artist might actually be (see Who Is REKOJ?).   JimC joined in, and naturally we couldn't keep quiet. At left is the cartoon in question, and below is what we wrote there:

"I'm convinced that "REKOJ" is really Frank Beaven. The big clue is the address stamp in the "REKOJ" cartoon, the visible portion of which reads, "K BEAVEN" (in lower r.h. corner). We were lucky to get this, because with most of the Humorama cartoons I've seen, the stamp was on the back (presumably the artists did this so that Abe Goodman would know where to send the check!). It's reasonable to suppose that the only Humorama artist whose first name ends in "K" and whose last name is "Beaven" is Frank Beaven."

rekoj signature

Signature from the hardware cartoon.

rekoj stamp

Frank Beaven address stamp from hardware cartoon.

secretary signature

Signature from the secretary spanking cartoon we hadn't known was Beaven's. The "R" is so idiosyncratic we initially mistook it for an "F".


beaven cartoon from fun parade #80

Cartoon with Beaven's "Big F" signature that appeared in Fun Parade #80.

Here is another non-spanking cartoon of Beaven's. The style leaves no doubt as to the authorship; note again the long nose and feet of the man and the woman's sharply-pointed nose. Remarkably, Beaven used a third style of signature - a big "F". So why the artistic aliases?

Well, unlike Ward or Wenzel, Beaven did non-girlie cartoons for The New Yorker, The Saturday Evening Post, and similar places. These were rather staid organizations whose editorial staffs might well have been put off, and perhaps even scandalized, had they known that one of their contributors was drawing cartoons of sexy young women getting their bottoms smacked. We can hardly blame Beaven for being concerned about losing these outlets for his freelance work, or adopting pen names to hide his Humorama work from them.

The "RE" was still an unusual choice. Beaven apparently decided to use it as an abbreviated version of his "REKOJ" signature ("REKOJ" being "JOKER" spelled backwards, and Joker being one of the Humorama digests). Another possibility is that he wanted something less transparent than his intials "FB" and so chose the second letters of his names, fRank bEaven. Either way, the alias was obscure enough that no one would associate it with Frank Beaven.

So there you have it - another spanking art mystery solved!


03/15/2013 Update: We have two scans from different copies of Joker (April 1959), the digest in which the cartoon first appeared. The one at left was provided by Steve W. while the one below right is from our own collection.

beaven spanking cartoon from april 1959 joker

From the April, 1959 issue of Joker (Steve W.'s collection, click to triple-size).

spanking cartoon from april 1959 joker

From the April, 1959 issue of Joker (Web-Ed's collection, click to double-size).

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