Sid Barron

 

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Sid Arnold Barron was born in Toronto on June 13,  1917 and from his obituary written by Tom Hawthorn for the Globe and Mail in 2006 (he died on April 29 in Victoria)  we learn that he was an illegitimate child of a Belgian officer billeted with his mother’s family. He was raised by his aunt and her family who moved the family quickly to Victoria, B. C. when Sid was just two and he grew up on Menzies St. where he developed a love for boats and the harbour. He did not learn the truth about his real mother until he was an adult. Sid also had a pronounced stammer and was treated for the speech disorder later in the United States.

He took classes from Allan Edwards (who also taught Pierre Berton) in the late thirties and then illustrated schedule cards for Union Steamships out of Vancouver as well as designing containers and neon signs but soon moved back to Toronto where prospects for illustration work seemed better.

In his mid-twenties he began working in the fledgling Canadian comic book industry for the last major publisher, Educational Projects out of Montreal which began publishing its main comic, Canadian Heroes Comics in October of 1942. Sid drew a variety of stories for this, almost entirely, non-fictional comic. He also illustrated some of the content of the only issue of Famous Adventure Stories No. 1, which was a Classics Comics type of a classic fiction anthology by the same publisher. Sid also did war illustrations for the Toronto Star during this time.

Canadian Heroes V. 3 N. 5
Canadian Heroes V. 3 N. 5

 

Canadian Heroes V. 3 N. 5 p. 31
Canadian Heroes V. 3 N. 5 p. 31

 

Canadian Heroes V. 4 N. 1 p. 11
Canadian Heroes V. 4 N. 1 p. 11

 

Canadian Heroes V. 4 N. 1 p. 34
Canadian Heroes V. 4 N. 1 p. 34

 

Canadian Heroes V. 4 N. 1 p. 52
Canadian Heroes V. 4 N. 1 p. 52

 

Sid's A Christmas Carol from Famous Adventure Stories
Sid’s A Christmas Carol from Famous Adventure Stories

 

Gulliver's Travels from Famous Adventure Stories
Gulliver’s Travels from Famous Adventure Stories

In 1958  publisher Stu Keate asked Sid to do cartoons for The Victoria Times  and he found himself on the west coast again. Then in 1961 by way of an introduction from Pierre Berton, Sid began working as a political cartoonist alternate and complement to Duncan Macpherson for  the Toronto Star and found himself in Toronto again. A year later he moved to Calgary to work for The Albertan while still selling material to The Star. In 1964 his work also began to appear in Maclean’s Magazine.

1972 Toronto Star
1972 Toronto Star

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1964
1964
Dec. 1970
Dec. 1970

 

His medium was black ink and crayon on commercial board and his subject matter dealt wittily, dryly,  and satirically with themes from daily life rather than the directly political. His cartoons were dense and packed with nuances and detail. Robert Fulford called him “…the poet of the mundane….”

Halloween 1970
Halloween 1970

 

July 1976
July 1976

His cartoons almost always contained his trademark, striped “puddy tat” somewhere in the lower vestiges of the piece, holding up a sign with a snide comment and often a old biplane sailing through the background trailing a “Mild, isn’t it?” banner.

The Barron Cat.
The Barron Cat.

 

January 1965
January 1965

 

Sid Barron quit cartooning in 1989 and moved to Coombs on Vancouver Island with his wife Jesi, herself an artist and whom he had married in 1975. There they both maintained successful artistic careers where both painted shore and nautical thees.

East End Wharf
East End Wharf

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Westbridge Fishing Fleet
Westbridge Fishing Fleet

Canada remembers Sid Barron as a war-time comic book artist, an editorial cartoonist, and a fine arts painter.

Untitled abstract work.
Untitled abstract work.
Victoria Inner-Harbour Parliament Buildings
Victoria Inner-Harbour Parliament Buildings
Girls on the Beach
Girls on the Beach

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This last graphic is a mixed media piece of Sid Barron by Nova Scotia artist Ken Flett entitled “Sprung from the Loins of Aunt Daisy” and refers to the fact that Sid Barron was raised by his Aunt thinking that she was his mother and only later discovered that the person he thought was his Aunt (Daisy) was, in fact, his biological mother.

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Ivan Kocmarek
Grew up in Hamilton's North End. Comic collector for over 50 yrs. Recent interest in Canadian WECA era comics.
Articles: 169

7 Comments

  1. Thank you. Keep on I could send you a cat drawing for you . I draw a lot of funny cart . Minky is her name. I will need an e mail address. Cheers Jesi

  2. Thanks for your supportive comment, Jessie. I would love to get a copy of a cat drawing, from you and I could add it to the post. My email is [email protected] .

    Ivan

  3. Once again, a excellent look into the lives of Canada’s unknown comic book artists from the golden age!! Thanks Ivan your articles are always informative and thought-provoking.

  4. Hay mom, that photo doesn’t look like Sid one bit! Not his nose or teeth! Where did it come from?
    We have lots of better pics of him than that one. (Small one at the bottom)
    But enjoyable to read with way .
    Susan

  5. Thanks for your comment about your father, Susan. I’m researching that war-time period of Canadian comics and would love to get a picture of Sid working at his desk or easel and one from that period of 1942-5 if you have one. I can also send you the full picture that I cropped for that last little photo to see if it’s really a picture of your father. Please contact me at: [email protected] if it’s possible that you can help me with my research at all. It would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again to you and Jessie for your kind comments.
    Ivan

  6. Susan,thanks for your email showing that the last picture was not of your father. I apologize for my slip up in research and Scott has removed it. Sorry again.
    Ivan

  7. I was completely addicted to the editorial cartoons in The Star, for years. Much later, when I found out that cartoonists sold their cartoons privately as well – who knew? – I found an address for him and wrote to ask how much they cost. By practically return mail, I got a big square package of 2 of those cartoons on spec – which itself was a keeper, as he had done so many cartoons about post offices and mail and parcels! And he put ‘Fragile!’ on the front! Just like in the cartoons…

    I framed the actual package as well as the cartoons., and will never part with them.

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