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Scott Brown

Cartoonist

by

Christopher A. Kuntz

Scott Brown: Cartoonist is not just a fascinating biography of a mid-twentieth century cartoonist deserving of wider acclaim, but it’s also a heartfelt love letter to family and family history, a glimpse into the surprisingly vast world of Ohio cartooning tradition, and an exciting read full of everything from cats with gold teeth to weather-predicting turtles.

Ben Towle, five-time Eisner-nominated cartoonist & Professor of Illustration at The Columbus College of Art and Design

Scott Brown was a Mansfield native son who came of age in the Great Depression. He flavored the lives of generations of Mansfielders with cartoons and humor from behind the soda fountain of the family’s drugstore on Helen Avenue. His work appeared in national magazines. But he also freely shared his humor about his neighbors and the interesting people around him, Mansfield people, with whoever walked through the shop door. Brown had a love of history, the humorous side of history. His grandson Christopher Kuntz has brought it all together with a huge sampling of Brown’s illustrated humor alongside the history of his Ohio family.

When Scott Brown’s widow, Ann, prepared to move out of her home on Rae Avenue in Mansfield in 2002, she donated the cartoonist’s lifetime accumulation of artwork and related material to several local museums. This made it possible now, twenty years later, for Kuntz to deliver about the most entertaining family history one could imagine. Kuntz took aim at understanding his Ohio ancestors in terms of the events and conditions that surrounded them. He conveys this from the time they came to the region after the War of 1812 up until his last memory of his grandfather in 1982. This parallels the lives of many of our pioneer families, told by someone who clearly sought and found his piece of Richland County history.

Alan Wigton, President, Richland County Historical Society

Scott Brown: Cartoonist is a great read! As someone who grew up in a Mid-Western rural community during the 1950s, I loved the verbal pictures painted by author Chris Kuntz of life in Ohio during the 1800s through the mid-1900s as he traces the lineage of his grandfather, the subject of the book. The story of Chris’ grandfather working in his small-town soda shop by day and drawing cartoons at night captures the essence of a bygone era—and of a unique individual. As the book’s title suggests, Scott Brown’s first love was creating cartoons—and we have a front-row seat in watching him develop and hone his innate talent as the book progresses. The book is peppered with cartoons, collected from museums and family archives, that are enlightening and entertaining—a commentary on humor, politics, and everyday life from the perspective of a creative individual watching the foot traffic in his soda store and on the street in front of it. In fact, in looking at a few of the cartoons, I found myself saying “Aha—that’s where that cartoon came from!” Chris Kuntz’s writing flows beautifully and honors the memory of his grandfather in a wonderful manner. And not far into the book, I was lusting for a chocolate ice cream soda like the ones my hometown drug store used to make. Kudos to Dr. Kuntz for sharing the story of an “every-day man” who was far from ordinary—just like those chocolate sodas of yesteryear.

Major General Richard R Paul

Scott Brown:Cartoonist packs a tremendous amount into a quick, enjoyable read – the perfect companion to our modern lives short on time, long on need for inspiration. The book celebrates the genius of the titular Scott Brown, an accomplished mid-20th century cartoonist, artist, and astute observer of human nature, all packaged into the unassuming proprietor of Brown’s Soda Shop, the proud Mansfield, Ohio, home of the largest, coldest and best chocolate soda on Route 30 (including all detours). The meticulously researched illustrated biography sets the context with vivid stories of the Ohio frontier, generations of the Brown family, and our emerging hero, Howard Scott Brown, prolific artist and soda shop philosopher. Scott Brown: Cartoonist sports a treasure trove for a broad swath of readers. Aspiring and accomplished artists will savor the more than 100 full color illustrations of cartoons, drawings, paintings, linocuts, and sculptures that complement an insider deep dive into the roots of creative inspiration and artistic prowess. History and genealogy buffs will light up with the lively prose of a kindred soul, author Christopher Kuntz, M.D. Kuntz adeptly weaves numerous nuggets of expansive research into a cohesive, compelling narrative of not just human survival, but human thriving, and delight. Moreover, the book ignites the spark of the artist, historian, and humanist in us all, emboldening us to seize the day, every single day, to garner the magic and awe embedded in the ordinary; to create, share, and celebrate the meaning and richness in our own unique life stories.

Sally Geisse

In Scott Brown: Cartoonist, Chris Kuntz traces the Brown family before immigrating to America, and presents their struggles and movement in Ohio. The story’s star is his grandfather, Scott Brown, a genius cartoonist, artist, and weather predictor. A must-read for Brown descendants, and a great read for others who are not.

Robert A. Carter, Ohio Historian

Scott Brown: Cartoonist is more than just a biography, much more. The titular subject was a nationally recognized cartoonist, living a quiet life in a small town, but a keen observer of the human state.   This wonderful book begins by reflecting on the family origins which shaped his personality and skills.

The early chapters trace the family history as the Brown family migrated into the Ohio Valley, establishing themselves as farmers, then merchants. The genealogy is handled in a most artful fashion, dealing with each family by describing the idiosyncrasies which contributed to their personalities and how they shaped each successive generation. Most genealogy books are dry listings of generations, descendants, and dates. These people come to life as they are described as people with personalities and quirks. The family chart appears at the end of the book for those who like typical genealogy formats.

Scott Brown is followed as he developed his Cartoonist skills, and how he maintained a “normal” life as proprietor of a Soda Shop and Pharmacy, following in his father’s business. He can be seen interacting with his environment, and observing all that occurred around him. His ideas for cartoons came from his recognition of what he saw and heard every day in the Soda Shop. His cartoons are included to show how he interpreted events around him.   He had a great eye for recognizing the interesting actions of people around him. His work is a perfect example of Americana. For people who grew up in the mid portion of twentieth century, it reflects life as we knew it.

The author obviously did detailed research, as shown by the excerpts from publications of the era, as well as sensitive inclusion of family memories of Scott and his ancestors. The details included, as well as a good selection of Scott’s cartoons and historical documents, make this an engaging read. Hard to put it down.

Frank Victor, MD

In the portrait of his grandfather Scott Brown, Chris Kuntz delightfully mingles Ohio history with art and cartoons created by Brown which appeared in the local newspaper and national magazines. We recommend making a chocolate soda, another creation of Scott’s, to sip as you read and enjoy this book.

The author portrays lines of emigrants and pioneers who come to this country and forge new lives at the frontier of America, building families, homes, and communities. He focuses on his grandfather, Scott Brown, who becomes a prominent citizen of his community, making a living by running a drug store with a soda fountain, renowned for his chocolate sodas. His true passion was art, which he created prolifically after hours, and examples of his paintings , drawings, and cartoons are beautifully displayed in the book. It also contains observations and reminiscences by his daughter Barbara, our friend, herself a prize-winning poet.

We would heartily recommend this book.

Tom and Nancy Fiene

Chris Kuntz loving biography of his grandfather was a joy to read.

The biography combines the history of his family’s journey to Ohio in the late 1800s, the story of Scott Brown’s life, and many of his wonderful cartoons and drawings. The writing draws you into the story of the family’s journey to the woods of Ohio in the 1800s.

The picture painted of the family’s early life on the frontier in Ohio is engaging, introducing you to the trials of frontier life and the quirks that made these individuals interesting and helped them to survive. You are introduced to Scott Brown, a boy who had a passion for drawing and was a keen observer of human nature. His drawings are woven into the story and illustrate the life of the town and place that he lived. Running a Soda shop in Mansfield gave Scott Brown a front row seat to life in small town America. He used this vantage point to document the everyday occurrences that define a moment in time in mid twentieth century America. It is a wonderful, well-written story with a collection of drawings. I highly recommend Scott Brown: cartoonist.

Martha Spieker