Carl George Buettner was born May 26, 1903 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His father, Karl Georg Büttner, was born in 1863 in Germany and in 1891 came to America and settled in Minnesota. His mother, Minnie Neumann, was born in 1866 in Germany and came to America in 1884. His parents met and married in Minneapolis in 1897 and had two children, Louise Wilhelmina Buettner (b.1898), and Carl George Buettner (b.1903). The family lived in a modest home at 1515 Lyndale Avenue North.
Although Carl Buettner sometimes used Von before his family name, this was only a playful affectation. The use of Von in a German family name indicates a member of nobility. The German monarchy was abolished in 1919, along with all privileges of nobility, after which time the use of Von became an anachronism. The Buettner family were skilled laborers. The father worked as a factory machinist at the North Star Shoe Company, at First Avenue North and Fifth Street.
In high school Carl Buettner won several awards for shorthand. One award was a free correspondence course in lettering from The Federal Schools of Minneapolis. He took the course in 1919 and then proceeded to take other courses in art, graphics, and cartooning. In 1925 he was hired as a teacher at the school.
In 1926 he joined the art staff of Fawcett Publications, located in Robbinsdale, a suburb of Minneapolis. He contributed many cartoons to Captain Billy's Whiz Bang, Smokehouse Poetry, Jim Jam Jems, and other Fawcett joke books. These digest-sized magazines contained suggestive and irreverent humor, and were widely popular during the Post-War era of Prohibition.
Carl Buettner's cartoons for Fawcett Publications typically featured sensuous flappers in alluring attire discussing suggestive topics. His lyrical drawing style influenced fellow staff-artists at Fawcett, including future pulp artists Norman Saunders, Allen Anderson, and Ralph Carlson.
Carl Buettner signed some of his work "CB," however most was left unsigned. In 1934 he created several full-color covers for a large-format Fawcett humor magazine entitled HOOEY.
In 1934 Fawcett began to shift their executive operations to New York City, where Buettner was sent as an art director. While in NYC, he began to clandestinely sell freelance interior story illustrations to Fawcett's arch rivals, Paul Sampliner and Warren Angel, for their pulp magazines Saucy Stories and Saucy Movie Tales. Carl Buettner's impressive cartoons for these pulp s featured full nudity, which was a "sophisticated" development over the comparative innocence of Capt. Billy's "hayseed humor." Several of Carl Buettner's saucy cartoons were chosen to be recreated as painted covers of the magazines. These were assigned to Buettner's old pal from Fawcett, Norman Saunders, who had also moved to NYC to start his freelance art career. In order to avoid burning bridges with Fawcett, these covers were signed with a fictitious name, "Carl Blaine," which was combined Buettner's first name, "Carl," and Saunders' middle name, "Blaine."
In 1937 Carl Buettner left the pulps and moved to California to work as an art director at Walt Disney Studios.
In 1938 Carl Buettner married and began to raise a family.
In 1938 he left Walt Disney and joined the Hugh Harmon & Rudolph Ising animation studio.
In 1938 Carl Buettner took over the syndicated comic strip Charlie McCarthy along with the cartoonist Chase Craig (1910-2001). Together they also created another comic strip, Hollywood Hams.
In 1942 Buettner and Chase joined Western (Whitman) Publishing Company as art directors. During monthly meetings, Carl Buettner would enact new stories for the art staff in order to gage reactions. As a result of his antics, these routine meetings became popular with the staff.
Along with his editing, Carl Buettner also wrote and penciled many Walt Disney comics during the 1940s. He also created sensational comic book covers that influenced the young Walt Kelly (1913-1973), who soon learned to imitate his art director's graceful style of drawing lines.
Carl Buettner also produced comic books on Gene Autrey, Roy Rogers, Tarzan, Joe Carioca, Bucky Bug, Dumbo, Bambi, Woody Woodpecker, Bozo the Clown, and The Seven Dwarfs.
Carl Buettner died at age of sixty-two in Los Angeles on January 21, 1965.
© David Saunders 2009