Maples, an artist of immense imagination and skill, served as editorial
cartoonist for the FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM from 1954 until his
death in 1981 following a heart attack. Known for his "witty drawings"
and "playful style," Maples produced more than 7,000 cartoons over
this twenty-seven-year period, becoming well-respected and widely
recognized. Betty-Joan Campbell Maples, his wife, once declared,
"People didn't always agree with his opinion, but he could get a
laugh out of most of them." And Glen Dolan, Maples's long-time colleague
at the STAR-TELEGRAM, contended, "His cartoons reveal no killer
instinct. His pen is not a broad sword. It tickles more often than
it pricks." Maples addressed international, national, state, and
local issues, and he "drew with the same intensity from the beginning
of his career until his death." Born in 1925, Maples grew up near
attended Fluvanna High School in Scurry
County, served in the U.S. Navy during World
War II, and studied art at McMurry College, the Dallas Art Institute,
and the American School of Commercial Art. Before being hired by
the STAR-TELEGRAM, his editorial cartoons appeared in both the ABILENE
REPORTER-NEWS and the SNYDER DAILY NEWS.
Collecting some of Maples's best work and placing each illustration
in historical context, Devin McCue's terrific new book provides
a fascinating overview of the cartoonist's career. McCue divides
his study into seven sections: Introduction, The Cold War, Fort
Worth, Politics, Sports, Vietnam, and Uncle Sam. "Maples's cartoons
were delivered to thousands of households every week, tickling the
funny bones of all who saw his work. As his reputation for humor
and skillful presentation grew," McCue asserts, "so did his reliability
as a trustworthy source of information." Maples's illustrations
offered "a credible window through which his viewers could see current
events. His drawings served as a synthesis of the day's news-a way
to learn what was happening in government, politics, or foreign
THE STAR OF THE TELEGRAM will appeal to many readers, particularly
those interested in life, culture, politics, and journalism during
the latter half of the twentieth century. Students of Fort
Worth history will also appreciate McCue's insightful study
of the legendary Cowtown cartoonist.
Review by Dr.
Kirk Bane, Central Texas Historical Association
Note: The Harold Maples Editorial Cartoon Collection
is housed in the Mary Couts Burnett Library on the campus of Texas
Christian University in Fort Worth.