Artzybasheff Is the Name, Ridicule Is the Game

What do you get when you mix a Russian born fanciful, farcical, fabulist illustrator together with The Wickwire Spencer Steel Company. Well if its 1944 and the illustrator is Boris Artzybasheff you get a corporate paean to the end of Nazi German, Imperial Japan and Fascist Italy aggression called “Axis in Agony,” a booklet of drawings that answers the questions of “How to present the brutishness of the Axis . . . its craven cowardice . . . its mounting terror as final defeat becomes more imminent . . . How to present War – the war, every war – in all its vicious, un-glorious reality . . .”

The result are needle sharp satiric images, rendered with precision and conviction, no faltering with his line, not wavering with his shades of gun-powder gray. These are images that exhibit how the artist so totally reviles his prey and so effectively and memorably decimates them with ink and pencil. (Note how cleverly he gets Wickwire Spencer Steel into the Axis busting picture.)

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