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By the mid-1930s, Abner Dean (1910–1982), né Abner Epstein in New York City, had reached the pinnacle of his profession, and begun to make rewarding inroads into other pursuits and endeavours. Fruitfully and prolifically published in most of the top magazines of the era (and top era for magazines), such as The New Yorker, Life, Esquire, Coronet, Time, Newsweek, Collier’s, Look, Ladies’ Home Journal and so forth, he’d also scored in the advertising field (most notably through a fifteen-year association with Aetna Insurance).
Yet he was restless; he bristled at the limitations, conventions and formulae of the era’s gag cartooning world and had something grander in mind and up his sleeve. We’ll get to that.
But first, here’s a sampling of what Abner accomplished as a commercial illustrator and cartoonist early in his career.
Incidentally, what little remains publicly known about this once-famous man is the fruit of diligent research conducted by the eclectically erudite Ken Parille. As usual, we stand on the shoulders of giants. Thank you!