Humor behind Barbed Wire

Monday, August 18, 2014

Like many community newspapers, the Topaz Times ran a weekly comic. Its first cartoonist was Bennie Nobori, and his main character was a boy named Jankee (probably a take on Yankee). That was also the name of the comic. You can see Bennie and Jankee in the photo at the top of this post.
Bennie Nobori used daily life at Topaz as the subject for his cartoon. The residents ate together and did not have refrigerators or cooking stoves in their rooms. So if they didn’t want to eat the food in the mess hall, they had limited options. And the cooks must have served a lot of fish, because that’s the topic of two separate comics.
Here is the one from the January 30, 1943 issue.

And here is the one from the March 27, 1943 issue.

Residents weren’t allowed to take their pets with them when they left home, but a few people managed to obtain new pets after they arrived at Topaz. So the cat in the comic is uncommon but not unlikely.
Here is one more comic that shows life in Topaz. This one is from the April 10, 1943 issue of the Topaz Times.
 Could you maintain your sense of humor behind barbed wire?
The photograph at the top of this post shows cartoonist Bennie Nobori drawing Jankee. The picture was taken by Francis Stewart on March 11, 1943 as part of the photographer’s official duties as an employee of the United States government. Because it is a government document, the photo is in the public domain.
All editions of the Topaz Times are also in the public domain.

1 comment:

Tisha Carper Long said...

Hi Kathryn - I'm researching images for the new Topaz Museum. We'd like to use the comic here about the scorpions. Can you point me to a hi-res version, or alternatively, can you scan it for me in hi-res? We are a nonprofit 501(c)3 educational organization - please let me know what you would charge. I'm Best wishes, Tisha

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