Ace Reid (March 10, 1925 – November 10, 1991)was the creator of the cartoon Cowpokes and Western humorist. Cowpokes, at one time, ran in over 400 weekly newspapers across the United States.
He produced many popular cartoon books and calendars during his lifetime.
He was born on March 10, 1925 at Lelia Lake, Donley County, Texas (near Amarillo). He was the son of Asa E. Reid, Sr., and Callie Miles Bishop. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Electra, Wichita County, Texs, where he grew up ranching and cowboying.
During World War II, he served as a Machinist's Mate in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific aboard the USS Lanier (APA-125). It was on board the Lanier that "Cowpokes" was born. "The Sorry Salt" was a cartoon he drew for the ship's newspaper. After the War, "The Sorry Salt" became "Jake," his primary character.
On September 11, 1949, in Dallas, he married Madge Parmley, daughter of the doctor in Electra, T. H. Parmley. They moved to Kerrville, Kerr County, Texas in 1952. Ace’s first cartoon appeared in West Texas Livestock Weekly that same year. Two years later, their son and only child, Stan, was born.
Ace and Madge were living in Kerrville at the time of his death on November 10, 1991. Madge, still lives in Kerrville and has kept Cowpokes going ever since Ace's death.
From the jacket notes on COWPOKES WANTED,
a book of cartoons published in 1964.
Reared as a cowboy, Ace Reid received his training
on 4,000 acres of old pasture and sorta studied in the school
of hard knocks under very, very droughty conditions.
After years of shocking wheat, breaking horses and fixing fences
on his father's ranch in Electra, Texas, the 6-footer decided it was
easier to draw cowboys than to be one.
Remembering the drought, Ace says he was 21 years old before
he saw a fat cow. This may explain the lean animals and the hungry
look on the faces of Jake and Zeb, his favorite Cowpokes characters.
The characters are earthy people which everyone who knows
a little about farms or ranches will recognize as authentic, since
Reid knows what he's drawing about. Therefore, it's not surprising
to hear, "seen the same thing happen," or "gosh, that looks just like
the man who lives down the road a piece."
Ace Reid and the Cowpokes Cartoons
University of Texas Press
By Ace Reid Foreword by Pat Oliphant Introduction by Elmer Kelton
Folks across the West know a cowpoke named Jake.
A good-hearted guy, he's always up to his eyebrows in debt or drought
or prickly pears looking for them dad-blamed ole wild cows.
In fact, he's so real a fella that it's hard to believe that Ace Reid made him up.
This book brings together 139 of Ace Reid's popular "Cowpokes" cartoons,reproduced in large format to show the artistry and attention to detail that characterized Reid's work. Grouped around themes such as work, weather, bankers, and friends, they reveal the distinctive "you might as well laugh as cry" sense of humor that ranch folks draw on to get through hard work and hard times.
In the foreword, Washington Post cartoonist Pat Oliphant offers an appreciation of Reid's "Cowpokes" cartoons, noting that "Ace's work has a magic of its own, and it owes nothing to anyone else." Reid's longtime friend Elmer Kelton recounts Ace's life and career in the introduction, describing how a shy boy who grew up on ranch work transformed himself into an artist-entrepreneur who never met a stranger and who made ranch work the subject of his real love, cartooning. This collector's volume belongs on the shelf of everyone who loves the "Cowpokes" cartoons, knows a fella like Jake, or enjoys the dry wit of the American cowboy.
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