Wednesday, June 19, 2024

 

Selling It: National Health Agencies PSAs for 1964

 








The National Health Agencies was an umbrella organization for medical charities. It was created in the mid-1950s along with several other umbrella organizations to raise money from government employees. It was created to simplify fundraising from these employees, who had before been bombarded with many campaigns for many different organizations. In practice, of course, it just created a new layer of bureaucracy in which money intended for charitable purposes was swallowed by middlemen. Unlike the more familiar United Way, which was eventually disgraced by financial scandals, as far as I know the NHA was never outed for hinky finances. The NHA was eventually renamed Community Health Charities, and then all these organizations were further conglomerated as Combined Federal Campaigns.

Cartoonists and their syndicates were sometimes tapped to do PSA art for charitable organizations, and in the 1964 NHA fund drive many contributed panel cartoons. Above are some of the panels produced for that drive.

Here's an easy quiz for you -- just name all the characters above. I can't imagine Stripper's Guide readers not acing this quiz, but in case you're stumped just hover your cursor over the image that has you beat, and read the file name, where all will be revealed.

Labels:


Comments:
It's rare for PSAs to ever be original artwork, The ones King Features produced years go were also existing material, usually random panels from already published strips from somewhere in the last few years before. Sometimes they seemed rather poorly chosen and the new word balloons had to really contort to make sense in the context of the charity's message.
 
Post a Comment

Monday, June 17, 2024

 

Obscurity of the Day, Revisited: Terry and Tacks

 



Well, once again your senile ol' Stripper cleaned up some mouldy oldies for Obscurity of the Day only to find out that it already got featured here, in the case of Terry and Tacks a decade and a half ago. Oh well, as the popular saying goes, a happy life depends on a new dose of Terry and Tacks every decade or so.

So let's see if I can tell you anything about the strip that wasn't covered back when my blog was just a wee little infink. Hmm...

Okay, here's sumthin ... Joe Farren pretty much disappears off my radar after the 1910s, and it turns out that's because he got a job in the New York Times art department in the 1920s -- no series comics coming out of there of course. And a decade later I found a sports cartoon penned by his kid, Joe Farren, Jr. Who he was working for I dunno, looks like a grade-Z syndicated thing, an evergreen panel about Joe Louis. 

Factoid the second ... I think I've now nailed down the reprint runs of Terry and Tacks in the World Color Printing sections. How about July 15 1923* to March 15 1925**, and October 6 1929 to June 22 1930***. Dates have been 'normalized' to Sundays as some of these papers printed their Sunday sections on other days.

* Source: Pomona Progress

** Source: San Luis Obispo Tribune

*** Source: Mexico Intelligencer

Labels:


Comments:
The February 11, 1964 New York Times has a very brief obituary for Farren, Sr., which mentions "Terry and Tacks." It notes he did work for the Boston Post, Boston Globe and Boston Herald, the last-named being a sports cartoonist. Joseph A., Jr. is mentioned as having survived him.
 
Post a Comment

Sunday, June 16, 2024

 

Wish You Were Here, from Rose O'Neill

 

Here's another Rose O'Neill card, published by Gibson Art Company. As usual, no copyright dates on these cards. This one was postally used in 1922.

Labels:


Comments:
Happy Easter, Allan!
 
Post a Comment

Saturday, June 15, 2024

 

One-Shot Wonders: Professor Jyblitts by Walt McDougall, 1903

 

Walt McDougall, one of the greatest of the pioneering American newspaper cartoonists, was a bit of a one-shot wonder factory. After his very productive 1890s work in New York, most of it one-shots, he left for Philadelphia where he began a long run of one-shot comics for the Philadelphia North American. Here is one from 1903, appearing in syndication at the St. Paul Dispatch

The book text can be hard to read on this smallish image. In panel one it says "Animal Curiosity". In panel two "They will pry into things in which they have no concern." In panel three the back of the book has the title "Animal Curiosity Vol. 2." In panel four, "...become intrusive at times." In panel 5 "...this proved by facts."

Labels:


Comments: Post a Comment

Friday, June 14, 2024

 

Obscurity of the Day: The Clown Folks

 

Perhaps the most daunting job you could ever have as a newspaper cartoonist is to be chosen as the  replacement for Winsor McCay. And that's the thankless task tackled by Ap Adams* when Winsor McCay jumped ship from the Cincinnati Enquirer. McCay had drawn the minor classic A Tale of the Jungle Imps for the Enquirer for a little less than a year before the inevitable happened and he was summoned to the big time in New York City. 

Faced with an empty page of their Sunday comics, which were a combination of syndicated and local content (two pages versus one page), the Enquirer picked "Ap" Adams out of the art bullpen and handed him the reins to the local page on November 15 1903.  Initially he collaborated with "Felix Fiddle", the writer of the Jungle Imp tales, whose real name was George Randolph Chester. The first few episodes of The Clown Folks were very prose-rich productions, just like the Imps tales. Then 'Fiddle' decided to change over to a more normal comic strip approach, with one line descriptions under each panel. 

I'm guessing that Adams decided that Mr. Fiddle's services were of dubious use when he was writing just a few short captions, and on the Sunday page of January 24 1904 the name Felix Fiddle is dropped for the remainder of the series. Neither Fiddle nor Adams was at this point very adept at comic strip writing, so Enquirer readers probably didn't notice much difference. 

What Adams lacked in writing chops he made up for with lovely art. It wasn't good enough to make anyone forget McCay, but it was delightful on its own terms. While The Clown Folks didn't last long, ending on April 19 1904, Enquirer readers would enjoy the delightful art of Adams on a succession of Sunday strips lasting until late 1908.

* I have seen Mr. Adams' full first name given as Apworth, Anthorp, and Apthorp. I have no idea which is correct.

 

 


Labels:


Comments:
Another reason to fear clowns.
 
I did locate his death certificate. He died July 16, 1952 in Renovo, PA, and it lists his full name as William Apthorp Adams, born November 2, 1871 in Cincinnati, occupation, retired artist and newspaperman. (Father, Michael Cassley Adams, mother Frances Hall.) His obituary in the July 19, 1952 Philadelphia Inquirer has "William A. Adams" in the headline, but William Apchorp [sic] Adams in the text. His grave marker (which lists his vital dates as 1872-1952) lists his name as William Apthorp Adams. His 1918 draft card (occupation, cartoonist, living in Brooklyn) lists his name as William Apthorp Adams, born November 2, 1872. His October 5, 1896 marriage record in Hamilton County lists his name just as William A. Adams. I say go with "William Apthorp Adams" as his full name.
 
Thanks EOCostello!
 
Post a Comment

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Frank Willard



Frank Henry Willard was born on September 21, 1893, in Anna, Illinois, according to his World War I and II draft cards, and Who’s Who in Chicago, Volume 4 (1926). His parents were Francis William Willard and Laura Kirkham.

The 1900 United States Census counted Willard and his parents in Anna, Illinois on Jefferson Street. Willard’s father was a dentist.

In the 1910 census, Willard, his parents, sister and maternal grandmother lived on High Street in Anna. Who’s Who said Willard graduated from Union Academy of Illinois in 1912, and the Academy of Fine Arts, Chicago, in 1913. 

Oakland Tribune, 1/2/1916

Willard was profiled in The Quill, August 1938. He described his early life and career.
“Nothing much happened there. Got tossed out of the local high school for something or other and was promptly placed in a now defunct institution—Union Academy. After being a sophomore for several years, they decided that the only way of getting me through school was to give me the old heave-ho. Which they did to our mutual delight. After all, I do not think a college education would be a great help in making Moon. …

… “My father had moved to Chicago back in 1909 [sic] for business and social reasons. And since my dough was running low, I thought it would be a good idea to do the same, as I was always very fond of eating.

“I told him I was going to be a cartoonist but he didn’t believe me and neither did anyone else … Then the World War broke out in August, 1914. I noticed they had no cartoon on the front page of the Chicago Tribune, so I went home and drew one.

“Mr. Beck, the managing editor bought it for $15.00 and ran it on the front page. So I got out a pencil and figured if you could make that sort of dough drawing, why work for a department store for eleven bucks a week, and hurried across the street and quit my job. Mrs. Woodrow Wilson died the next day so I made another cartoon about that. Then Mr. McCutcheon, the real cartoonist, came back and there wasn’t much need for my talent.

“Mr. James Keeley over on the Herald talked to me for five minutes and said, ‘Boy, you haven’t enough brains to be a political cartoonist!’ I said how about a comic artist. Mr. Keeley said, ‘Well, maybe you’re dumb enough for that. So he gave me a job. Did a kid page called, ‘Tom, Dick and Harry’ and another called ‘Mrs. Pippins Husband,’ and a so-called humorous cartoon.

“America got into the war. I got into the first draft. Was a pretty punk soldier, had a pretty good time. Out outfit built roads and did no fighting. And we thought they’d left us in France for a souvenir when they finally shipped us home in July, 1919. …
On June 5, 1917, Willard signed his World War I draft card. His address was 5312 Drexel Avenue in Chicago. Willard was a cartoonist at the Chicago Herald. He was described as stout build, medium height, with gray eyes and dark brown hair.

Who’s Who said Willard was with the Chicago Herald from 1914 to 1918. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Mr. & Mrs. Pippin ran from April 1, 1917 to April 28, 1918. Willard drew at least one Charlie Chaplin’s Comic Capers on June 27, 1915; did a week’s worth of strips, November 16 to 23, 1919, for Frank King’s Bobby Make-Believe; assisted Billy DeBeck, in 1920, on Barney Google (according to Alberto Becattini). 

Willard enlisted on October 3, 1917 and started at Headquarters Company, 343rd Infantry, 86th Division. He was transferred to Company A, 311th Engineers, 86th Division, May 1918. Willard served with the Allied Expeditionary Forces from September 21, 1918 to July 2, 1919. 

According to the 1920 census, Herald cartoonist Willard lived with his parents in Chicago at the same address. 

Willard’s move to King Features Syndicate was reported in the Fourth Estate, August 7, 1920. 
Frank Willard, western cartoonist, has joined King Features Syndicate. He has created a new comic strip entitled “Outta-Luck” which will be generally syndicated throughout the United States and Canada. 

The title of Willard’s new comic was suggested to him in France during the war when he was with the 343d Infantry. It was the common expression of doughboys covering a multitude of various unfortunate things that happened them from missing mess to missing mail. Returning to America Willard found an infinite number of humorous situations in civil life where somebody was correspondingly “Outta Luck.” So he sat down and pictured them.

He is a graduate of the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, and for five years his comic drawings appearing in the Chicago Herald and other western papers have been exceedingly popular.
The same information was in the Editor & Publisher, September 25, 1920. 

Who’s Who said he worked at King Features Syndicate from 1920 to 1923. 

Willard’s cartoons appeared in Green Book Magazine, February 1920. 

Who’s Who said Willard married Priscilla Alden Mangold, of Anna, Illinois, on June 11, 1921. They had two children, Priscilla Alden and Frank Henry. 

In The Quill, Willard said
“Then I got a job with King Features Syndicate. Did a very appropriately named strip called ‘The Outta Luck Club,’ which was just that. At the same time doing the Penny Ante series and about everything but carry water for the elephants.

“Perley Boone, a pal of mine, told me that Mr. Patterson was looking for a new comic for the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate and to see Mr. Arthur Crawford, who told me to see Mr. Patterson. After talking to me a few minutes, Mr. Patterson said I should do a roughneck strip. There never had been a roughneck, low life sort of strip and he thought it might be a good idea. And, incidentally, he’s given me plenty of ideas since. [A violent version of the story was told in The Art of the Funnies: An Aesthetic History (1994).] 
The comic strip Moon Mullins was born. American Newspaper Comics said the series began on June 19, 1923. Willard was assisted by Ferd Johnson beginning in August. By 1933 Johnson was drawing the strip and, by 1943, also writing it. Toppers included Kayo and Kitty Higgins. The series ended in June 1991. 

The Sarasota Herald, February 21, 1930, reported Willard’s purchase of a home. The 1930 census (enumerated in April) said Willard and his family were residents of Sarasota, Florida at 2600 Indian Beach Drive. Also in the household were two servants. Willard was a self-employed cartoonist. 

News of Willard’s divorce was reported in the Sarasota Herald (Florida), October 15, 1932.

Who’s Who in Chicago and Vicinity (1936) said Willard married Marie O’Connell, of Springfield, Missouri. Editor & Publisher, January 14, 1933, noted the marriage. 
Frank H. Willard of Sarasota, Fla., and Chicago, widely known as the creator of the comic strip “Moon Mullins,” and Miss Marie O’Connell, of Springfield, Mo., were married at Tampa, Fla., January 7.
The Chicago Daily Tribune, January 17, 1933, published a photograph of the bride. 


Who’s Who in American Art, Volume 1, 1936–1937, listed Willard’s office at 431 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, and home at 1900 Oakmont Avenue, Tampa, Florida.

The 1940 census said the couple lived in Beverly Hills, California at 723 North Roxford Drive. They had a chauffeur and maid. In 1939, Willard earned over $5,000. 

On April 27, 1942, Willard signed his World War II draft card. His address was 907 North Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills, California. His description was five feet eight inches, 170 pounds, with hazel eyes and brown hair. 


In the 1950 census Willard and his wife were Los Angeles residents at the El Royal Apartments, 450 North Rosemore. 

Editor & Publisher, July 10, 1954, said July 5th was “Moon Mullins day” in Anna, Illinois. 

The Los Angeles Times, January 11, 1958, reported Willard’s heart attack. 
Frank H. Willard, 64, creator of the comic strip Moon Mullins, is critically ill at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital.

Willard suffered a heart attack in 1954, another in 1956 and had a stroke Dec. 27 at his Beverly Hills home. His wife, Marie, has been constantly at his side at the hospital since his admission there Tuesday night. ...
Willard passed away on January 11, 1958, in Los Angeles. His death was reported in numerous publications including the Los Angeles Times, January 13 and January 16, 1958; Evening Star (Washington DC), January 13, 1958; Sarasota Herald-Tribune, January 13, 1958; Editor & Publisher, January 18, 1958; Time, January 20, 1958, and the California Herald, February 1958. Willard was laid to rest at Anna Cemetery

Willard’s daughter passed away on January 14, 1970. (There was a Priscilla Willard who was a comic book artist in the 1940s. It’s not clear if she was Willard’s daughter.) His first wife passed away on August 5, 1983. His son passed away on March 13, 1988. His second wife passed away on December 28, 1994. 


Further Reading
100 Years of Progress: The Centennial History of Anna, Illinois
Biographical Sketches of Cartoonists & Illustrators in the Swann Collection of the Library of Congress (2014) 
Comic Strip Artists in American Newspapers, 1945–1980 (2003) 
Harv’s Hindsights, Frank Willard and A Touch of Moonshine
Syracuse Libraries
Heritage Auctions, original art
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, December 25, 1989, Dizzy Dean Meets Moon Mullins 
Grand Comics Database
Encyclopedia of American Family Names (1995) 

Labels:


Comments:
Do you mean to say that Moon Mullins was produced in its entirety for almost all of his run by Johnson, and not Willard? Is Willard another of those missing-in-action cartoonists, like Pat Sullivan and Bud Fisher? I am disillusioned! I have always been fond of Moon Mullins, and have pictured a "roughneck" Frank Willard chomping a cigar as he toiled over the drawing board. Instead, he may have been sipping a pink martini over at the Country Club.
 
And Willard also did the Sunday version of "Eddie's Friends' in 1922.
 
Post a Comment

Monday, June 10, 2024

 

Firsts and Lasts: Kitty Higgins Less Than Dramatic Entrance and Exit

 

Comic strip fans like to talk about records, and the discussion of the longest lasting series is a favourite. We tend to ignore toppers when having these discussions, though, and of course there's a good reason for that -- without the main strip there's no need for a topper, so they are automatically disqualified from being the longest running series. 

But what is the longest running topper? this can be a tough question in and of itself, because the longest running series were still being produced into the 1960s and even 1970s, but they appeared in vanishingly few papers. Some, I'm convinced, were produced but never ended up being printed anywhere. 

By the 1960s the third page strip was the de facto standard, and that format almost never included a topper. By then you would generally only see a topper on some tab or half-page formats. So few papers used these formats, especially for strips that used toppers, which practically begged to be cut down, that tracking the toppers becomes next to impossible. In fact, for my research I've often had to base my end dates on original art, which is often the only place you're going to see toppers of these late years. 

The Sunday strip of Moon Mullins added its topper Kitty Higgins* around the same time as the other Chicago Tribune strips. The first strip, seen above, ran on December 14 1930. The strip was quite obviously an afterthought, with the gags (even the very first) being real mouldy oldies. No doubt production of this strip was by Frank Willard's assistant Ferd Johnson, and neither of these guys wasted too much brain juice on the feature. Although the first strip was done in a two-tier format, it would quickly settle down into a one-tier affair for its many years underneath the main strip (yes, they're still called toppers when they run at the bottom of the page). 

The Chicago Tribune-New York News Sunday strips hung onto their toppers much longer than the products of other syndicates. Most of their A-list strips kept doggedly including toppers into the early 1970s, even though they were used by maybe one out of a hundred papers that ran the main strip. For the longest time I thought Kitty Higgins ended in 1973, because that was the last year that it appeared in the Editor & Publisher Syndicate Directory. It wasn't until recent years that I saw the original art for the May 26 1974 strip, which included the topper and so upgraded the end date to sometime after that. 

Finally I found a newspaper online that actually ran Moon Mullins consistently as a tab in 1974, the Elizabethton Star. The last Kitty Higgins I can find is the release of September 1 1974. The September 8 issue, sadly, is missing the comics section, but on the 15th the topper is gone, and Kitty is co-starring in the main strip -- perhaps she had an appearance contract? 

What is either the final or penultimate Kitty Higgins is here, from digitized microfilm:


That gives Kitty Higgins a forty-four year run, a very impressive accomplishment, especially considering that no one, including the creators, really cared much about the strip for that whole time. Does Kitty get the crown as longest running topper? I can think of one or two toppers which might just possibly edge it out. What do you think?


* Technically that was not Moon Mullins' first topper, but that's a tale for another day.

Labels: ,


Comments: Post a Comment

Sunday, June 09, 2024

 

Wish You Were Here, from John T. McCutcheon

 

Here is card #14 in the McCutcheon "A Boy In ..." series, which Eddie Campbell tells us totalled 32 different cards. Copyrights on these cards seem to refer to original appearances in newspapers, and this one apparently ran in 1905. The copyright on the reverse is 1906, and since they're all divided-back cards they were likely actually published in 1907 or later.

Labels:


Comments:
Hi. This query is irrelevant to your post, I'm afraid. Karen Green sent me - I'm trying to source a good quality pic of Helpful Hanry, a strip cartoon character created by one JP Arnot. Said to be an influence on Oliver Hardy's screen persona, and I'm making a video essay about Laurel & Hardy...
 
That's a pretty rare card. It would seem McCutcheon printed them himself.
 
"Helpful Henry" was a Hearst strip (International features) by Arnot of 1922-23.
Henry's fat, but he doesn't have much else to do like Oliver Hardy.
If you see Ollie's earliest efforts, going back to the "Plump and Runt" and Billy West comedies in the 1910s, you will see that he had many of his unique mannerisms, like the fussy finger movements and the weary look to the viewer for sympathy even then.

 
Thanks. Frustratingly, I don't know the source for this Helpful Henry attribution. If it came from Hal Roach I'd probably dismiss it as a fabrication (if you live to be 100 and keep doing interviews I guess you have to keep finding stuff to say). I've seen a couple of the strips and there doesn't seem to be much connection. Still, I'd like to get a good big image...

 
Mark, believe it or not, the sleep-indiucing Helpful Henry lasted five years, finally succumbing to death by boredom in 1927.

I have answered Mr. Cairns privately.
 
Post a Comment

Saturday, June 08, 2024

 

One-Shot Wonders: Got What They Weren't Looking For by Skeets (?), 1901

 

Sometimes One-Shot Wonders aren't wonders for the art or the gag, but for where they appeared. Here is one of the premier expressions of that last classification. Got What They Weren't Looking For ran in the short-lived Boston Herald tabloid comic section of 1901. I have been seeking examples of this section for decades with no luck at all, and then finally a few months ago one appeared on eBay. Happy? You'd have thought I found a gold bar selling for a buck.

The section ran for less than six months and offered up a lot of pretty amateur material. There were a few series, but most of it was one-shots like this. This strip is a pretty fair representation of the level of art and humour you could 'enjoy' throughout the section. The signature of the cartoonist is very hard to read -- I'm guessing maybe it is Skeets?

Labels:


Comments:
It's pretty terrible. Please, sir, may I have some more?
 
Post a Comment

Friday, June 07, 2024

 

Toppers: Public Enemies Through the Ages


 Imagine you are a criminal in the 1910s or 20s. You are really in the catbird seat, because whenever you rob or kill someone, your successful escape from the area is practically assured by having a car, even if it's a lowly tin lizzy. In those days if a policeman discovered your crime even just moments after you left, you are practically uncatchable. The police officer can find a telephone or a call box to report the crime to headquarters, and he might even know what kind of car you drove, but then what? Yes, some cops did have cars, so they could chase you, but assuming they were out on patrol and not lolling around the stationhouse, there is no way for headquarters to tell them to look for your Model T with license plate thus-and-such. 

The reign of terror would finally be over for you, you rotten criminal, when in 1933 the Bayonne New Jersey police force was the first to use a two-way radio link-up between the station and their cars, which came to be known as radio cars. (Detroit had a one-way version in 1928, but it was not nearly as effective in crime-fighting as the two-way version). Now when you committed a crime, the word was out to the entire force of radio cars as soon as the crime was reported, and if they knew where you were, or knew what you were driving, well, your chances of getting away with it just went to bad odds. 

This incredible and impressive use of new technology came at a moment in American history when crime was rampant, so the two-way radio quickly became well-known and the roll of captured criminals a long one. Police "radio cars" were quickly incorporated into all popular media, including comic strips. 

Artist Charlie Schmidt and writer Edward Sullivan came up with a kid detective strip Pinkerton Junior, debuting on August 7 1933 in the Hearst-owned Boston Daily Record where both of them were editors. The strip was popular enough that news of it filtered through the Hearst organization, and it was decided that it might succeed in national syndication. However, what appealed to the syndicate were the radio car cops who co-starred with Pinky. The strip was renamed Radio Patrol when national syndication began on April 10 1934, and the new technology was now the acknowledged star of the show.

Radio Patrol is the very first adventure strip to star uniformed cops, says Ron Goulart, and I'm inclined to agree. There were lots of earlier cop strips, but they were generally played for laughs. When it came to adventure, the police detectives seemed to have cornered the early adventure strip market. So Schmidt and Sullivan had a unique tiger by the tail. Strangely, though, Radio Patrol never did all that well in syndication, appearing mostly in Hearst-owned papers. It wasn't for lack of quality, either, because both the art and storytelling were firmly in the grade of B to B-, no classic but eminently serviceable. 

Anyway, all this discussion was to get to the one and only topper that ever ran with the Sunday Radio Patrol, and it came and went so quickly you'd need a radio car to chase it down. The reason for the lack of toppers is that Radio Patrol was only available in half or tab format, eliminating the need for Hearst-required toppers on the full size. Tabs did often use toppers, but they were not an absolute requirement, and so Schmidt and Sullivan generally eschewed their use except for the short experiment that was Public Enemies Through the Ages

The criminal history strip Public Enemies Through The Ages began on May 26 1935*, about six months after the Sunday page itself had been added, and the first story reached back a thousand years to tell the tale of Hassan Sabbah, leader of the Order of Assassins. His reputation these days is pretty thoroughly scrubbed of wrongdoing (see the Wiki write-up), but the Radio Patrol version of his life story is of a bloodthirsty criminal mastermind. The story was well-told but I imagine of very limited interest to readers of Radio Patrol. Well, readers didn't have to put up with it for long. While still in the middle of the Hassan Sabbah bio the topper vanished, last appearing on July 6 1935**. The tabloid Sundays reverted to offering the whole page to the stars of the show, and no other topper was ever used again for the life of the Sunday page, which ended in 1946. 

* Source: San Francisco Examiner

** Source: Honolulu Advertiser

Labels:


Comments:
Radio Patrol was one of several Hearst strips to become a Universal serial. Was there a package deal between the studio and the syndicate?

Anyway, the 1937 Radio Patrol serial is available on DVD from VCI. While not as outrageous or silly as Flash Gordon, it's affable fun. Every episode begins with an unidentified kid gawking at an awkward pasteup of Radio Patrol strips. Here as in some others, chapter recaps are presented as comic strips.
 
Post a Comment

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

 

Obscurity of the Day: Robin Hood

 



We've covered some of the series that were rushed into print when Hearst decided to experiment with tabloid Sunday comics in 1935, and here's one of the most obscure of the bunch. Bearing some hallmarks of a series that was produced in a hurry, Robin Hood nevertheless had a lot going for it. Charles Flanders was a terrific adventure strip cartoonist, but he's obviously not up to his usual level of work here. The art rather reminds me of Dick Calkins on a time-reversed Buck Rogers -- very stiff, flat and tableau-like. But I suppose you could make a case that Flanders was trying to evoke the sort of art that was produced in the medieval period, and if so, I'd say he rang that bell.

The story is of course just a rehash of a few episodes in the Robin Hood legend, and so readers don't need a lot of blah-blah-blah to follow along. As befits a Sunday-only strip featuring a well-known character, the story progresses at a breakneck pace and the action is non-stop. You'd almost swear it was influenced by Errol Flynn's The Adventures of Robin Hood, but that movie was still three years away from hitting the theatres.

Robin Hood was a fun strip, but it evidently was only there to take up space while other projects were developed. The strip ran less than three months, from March 24 to June 16 1935*. 

* Source: All dates from Jeffrey Lindenblatt based on New York Journal and New York American.

Labels:


Comments:
This must have only been in the NY American. I've never seen or heard of it before-and I was the archiver for King Features Syndicate for decades-so, congrats.
The Hearst tab-only fiasco of 1935 required a lot of new titles, I suppose this was considered an attraction of the new size tab size Puck section, appearing only in the Hearst chain. But all these new strips were inconsistent in quality,(ever see "Pebbles, the Stone-Age Kid?") and were apparently too many to appear in all the papers. Most of America never saw a lot of these new ones.
Rose O'Neill's revamped Kewpies strip I've only seen in the Boston Advertiser, Dr. Seuss's "Hadji" was in the Seattle Post-intelligencer, but I never saw it anywhere else.
Most of these new titles didn't even last as long as the Tabloid experiment. The only one of them that ever became a success and joined the regular line up was Mandrake the Magician.


 
https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/complete-puck-comic-section-1935-1865576272 appears to show Robin Hood in a tabloid/Puck issue from the Chicago Herald-Examiner (see third image).
 
Robin Hood ran only 1935-03-24 to 1935-05-05 in the New York American.
 
According to Lindenblatt's indexing, the rest of the run was in the Journal.
 
Post a Comment

Monday, June 03, 2024

 

Obscurity of the Day: Children's Letters to God



Among his many other projects inside and outside of the world of comics, Stu Hample hit some minor paydirt with a paperback book titled Children's Letters to God, published in 1967. The book, which he claimed was a compilation of real children's letters, offered material to elicit laughs, occasional tears, but mainly supplied lots and lots of treacle. Art Linkletter had been mining this sort of material for years, but Hample managed to piggyback on the "kids say the darnedest things" gravy train successfully by throwing in a religious component.

The book soon spawned a second collection, but of more interest to us is that it was adapted into a daily cartoon panel by Hample, sold to King Features and began syndication on June 24 1968*. The feature was never a big syndication success, but evidently did manage to attract enough clients to make it a worthwhile effort. Unlike the books, the newspaper feature made no claims to being real letters -- points to Hample and King for not breaking a commandment for the newspaper version, at least.

After three years of making up letters to God Hample felt his creative well starting to run dry. On March 22 1971** the title of the feature was changed to just Children's Letters, and the the kids could now freely write to non-dieties, though God still remained a favourite pen pal. 

The necessarily rather repetitive material seemed to be on the way to going on forever, but luckily Hample found a better star on which to hitch his wagon. In 1976 he began development of the Inside Woody Allen comic strip, which promised far greater rewards than he could hope for by scrawling yet more faux children's letters. The feature was retired on January 17 1976***.

Thanks to Mark Johnson, who supplied the syndicate proof sheet for the very first week of the feature.

* Source: King Features Microfilm Catalog

** Source: Muncie Evening Press

*** Source: York Dispatch

Labels:


Comments:
MAD parodied this with "God's Letters to Children." I remember a couple of them: "Yes, I am always watching you, but that is no reason not to take a bath:" "Yes, I am everywhere, but that was not me you saw on the subway."
 
And lest we forget, Michael O' Donoghue's "Children's Letters to the Gestapo" (NATIONAL LAMPOON, September 1971).
 
When he changed over to celebrities instead of deities, the "kids" that wrote them were writing the same exact thoughts for them as well. This was pretty evidently a novelty with very limited range of possibilityies, writing, or huomour-wise, though it had an impressive burst of licensing when it was new. It even had a TV special.
Obviously, the Woody Allen strip was a more interesting concept, but it never really worked well. In my old KFS blog, I was denied the use of that one.
 
Post a Comment

Sunday, June 02, 2024

 

Wish You Were Here, from Reg Manning

 

 

Here's a Reg Manning 'Travelcard', this one published in 1942 and designated #18. They were called Travelcards because there are fill-in-the-blanks on the reverse for the sender to enter the date and time and where they were at that moment on their journey. Manning's Travelcards were printed by Curteich out of Chicago, and distributed throughout the southwest by Lollesgard Specialty of Arizona.

Labels:


Comments: Post a Comment

Saturday, June 01, 2024

 

One-Shot Wonders: Willy the Human Omelette by Syd B. Griffin, 1897

 

Just when you thought you'd seen every possible gag played out in a comic strip, here comes Syd B. Griffin with one so outlandish, so weird, that I bet it is that rarest of birds, a unique gag never seen before or since. 

He Would Steal Eggs, or Willy the Human Omelette ran in the New York Journal comic section of May 9 1897.

Labels:


Comments: Post a Comment

Friday, May 31, 2024

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Wayne Boring


Larchmont Times 8/10/1950

Wayne Douglas Boring was born on June 5, 1905, in Verdi, Minnesota, according to his World War II draft card. His middle name was recorded on Virginia marriage and divorce certificates, and in The Who’s Who of American Comic Books, Volume 1 (1973). His parents were John Harmon Boring and Lena Hansen who married on October 18, 1893 in Verdi. One of Boring’s pen names was Jack Harmon. Another was Val Rogers which may have been based on his older brother, Roger Valan Boring.

The 1910 United States Census said Boring was the youngest of four brothers. Their father was a retail general store merchant. The Borings were residents of Verdi. They were listed in the 1915 South Dakota state census. In the 1920 census, Boring, his parents and two brothers lived in Watertown, South Dakota, at 520 Maple Street. 

In Amazing Heroes #41*, February 15, 1984, Richard Pachter said 
Boring attended the Minneapolis Institute of Art after high school and studied anatomy at the Chicago Art Institute with J. Allen St. John, the illustrator of the original Tarzan stories.
Boring’s veteran’s file, at Ancestry.com, said he enlisted in the Marine Corps on July 19, 1924. His assignments were found in muster rolls at Fold3.com. Boring traveled to Parris Island, South Carolina. From July to September 1924, he was at the training station. In September and part of October, Private Boring was attached to the rifle range. Sometime in October and through December, he was court-martialed. 

From January to May 1925, Boring was assigned to the field music detachment. In July and part of August, Boring was attached to the rifle range. Later in August, he was with the Naval Ordnance Plant in South Charleston, West Virginia. From September 1925 to February 1926, Corporal Boring was at the Naval Ammunition Depot in St. Julien’s Creek, Portsmouth, Virginia. For the rest of the year, he was at the Naval Ordnance Plant or Naval Ammunition Depot.

On November 3, 1926, Boring married Helen Saunders Lapetina in Norfolk, Virginia. The 1927 Norfolk city directory listed them at the Parkwood Court Apartments.

During the first four months of 1927, Boring was stationed at the Naval Ordnance Plant. In May his new assignment was the Eighty-Third Company, Third Battalion, Sixth Regiment Provisional Regiment, Third Brigade. In June Boring sailed across the Pacific and was part of Casual Company Number One, Marine Detachment, American Legation in Peking [Beijing], China. In November Boring was attached to the Fifth Company Engineers, Third Brigade, U.S. Marines in Tientsin [Tianjin], China. In December he transferred from Peking to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Fourth Regiment, Third Brigade, at 116 Sinza Road in Shanghai, China. 

(Information about the China Marines is here, here and here.) 

In early February 1928, Boring was aboard the USS Chaumont bound for San Francisco, California. From February to mid-March, he was at the Navy Yard in Mare Island, California. Boring was discharged on March 13, 1928.

According to the 1930 census, Boring and Helen lived with his in-laws in Norfolk, Virginia at 114 Church Street. Boring was a display man at a department store. The Norfolk city directories, from 1930 to 1934, listed Boring at 3719 Granby. His employer was the Virginia Electric & Power Company. In 1936 Boring’s address was 767 West Ocean View Avenue. The 1937 directory said he resided 3511 Omohundro Avenue and worked at the Virginia Pilot newspaper.

The Larchmont Times (New York), August 10, 1950, profiled Boring and said
... A native of Watertown, S. D., where his father was postmaster, he is a graduate of the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Chicago Art Institute where he studied illustration. He spent four years in the Marines in the Pacific from 1924 through 1928, and has worked as artist and layout man for the advertising department of the New Orleans Times-Picayune and for a department store in Norfolk, Va., switching later to the Virginia Electrical and Power Company as art director where he handled advertising brochures and newspaper advertisements. He then went to the Virginian Pilot and Norfolk Ledger-Dispatch, doing layouts, headings and signatures.

Ambitious to be a short story writer, he took a course at Wil­liam and Mary but he’s been too busy to get around to it seriously.

It was this urge to write, however, that was indirectly responsible for his drawing Superman. Intent on writing during his spare time, he would pour over Writers’ [Writer’s Digest] magazines in an attempt to learn a short-cut to success, and one day came across a “cartoonist wanted” advertisement. Boring answered the ad and contacted Jerry Siegel who had an idea to sell comics to a magazine. Siegel and his partner, Joe Shuster, had not yet dreamed up the Superman idea.

“I  think there was only one Comics Magazine on the market at that time in 1937 or 1938,” Boring muses. “And that was Action Comics.” [Superman appeared in Action Comics #1, June 1938.]

In his spare time, Boring began to put Siegel’s stories into picture strip form. The first one they tried was “Slam Bradley” who was an ordinary fellow, goodlooking and strong and with a resemblance to Superman, but who wore civilian clothes—no uniform. Two pages per month were sold to “Action Comics.” After that came “Spy” and one called “Radio Squad,” each story running about two pages each month. Two or three other ideas flopped. 

Then one day Siegel from his home in Cleveland sent Boring a story about a fellow called “Superman.”

“It was new and fresh as an idea then and it still is today,” Boring said, recalling Siegel’s enthusiasm for it.

But it was hardly received with enthusiasm by the syndicates. Siegel and Shuster had quite a time selling it in the beginning. It looked crazy, they were told. A man who flew would be laughed right out of the market. Besides, the artists would run out of material in a week, it was said.

Despite that, Siegel knew he had a good idea and took it to every syndicate at least three times. He finally sold a story to good old “Action Comics.” The results were electrifying. Kids began to ask for it by the thousands and circulation of the magazine jumped overnight, just how high no one seems to know. “Before long millions of kids were screaming for this big strong guy,” Boring recalls with a smile.

In 1940 [sic] Siegel took it to Mclure [sic] Newspaper Syndicate and Boring quit his job in Virginia and moved to Cleveland to draw the syndicated strip for “Superman” at the resounding salary of $50 per week. ...
Boring probably saw the October 1936 issue of Writer’s Digest that published the following.
Publication Enterprises Co. is in immediate need of contacting artists to work upon comic and cartoon strips. While at this time our greatest need is for artists to work upon illustration story strips, we would also be pleased to consider the work of cartoonists.

We work on a 50-50 basis, doing the continuity and selling ourself. Artists sending in samples of their work are asked to enclose envelope and return postage if they care to have their work returned.

Publication Enterprises Co., 
10622 Kimberly Avenue, 
Cleveland, Ohio. 
Jerome Siegel, President.
In Amazing Heroes, Boring said 
“I carried the magazine in my back pocket for a couple of weeks until I dropped them a line. And I got an answer back. I sent some samples of my work.”
At the time, Boring had a full-time job. The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, November 10, 1938, printed a Sears, Roebuck and Co. advertisement that announced its contest winners. One of the three judges was Boring who worked at Rice’s Fashion Corner

In American Newspaper Comics (2012), Alberto Becattini said Wayne Boring ghosted Toledo, Ohio artist Elmer Woggon’s Big Chief Wahoo around 1938. The Superman comic strip was distributed by the McClure Syndicate and debuted on January 16, 1939. Initially drawn by Joe Shuster, the strip was ghosted by Boring, Paul Cassidy, Paul Lauretta, Jack Burnley and others. Boring was credited as artist beginning July 1948 to May 1, 1966. During the series run a number of artists ghosted for Boring. 

7/27/1948

In The Funnies: 100 Years of American Comic Strips (1994), Ron Goulart said 
The initial dailies look to be the work of Shuster himself, but a number of other artists drew the feature in the funnies. They included Paul Cassidy, Dennis Neville, John Sikela, and Wayne Boring. Boring would inherit the strip in the late 1940s when Siegel and Shuster were legally separated from their creation.
Boring has not yet been found in the 1940 census. His wife and eight-year-old son, Wayne Jr., were in Norfolk, Virginia at 3904 Holly Avenue. 

Boring signed his World War II draft card on October 16, 1940. His address was 10609 Euclid Avenue, Room 306, and employed by Joe Shuster at the same address. Boring’s description was five feet seven-and-a-half inches, 140 pounds, with blue eyes and blonde hair.


It’s not clear how long Boring stayed in Cleveland. The 1941 and 1943 Norfolk, Virginia city directories were not available at Ancestry.com. The 1942 directory listed Boring’s wife at 3904 Holly Avenue. Commercial artist Boring had a listing in the 1944 directory at the same address.

The Larchmont Times said
In 1942 Boring with his wife Lois moved to Larchmont Acres where they have lived ever since.
Records at Ancestry.com said Boring and his first wife, Helen, divorced in 1947. He married Lois Frances Anderson in Staunton, Virginia on March 8, 1948. 

In Superman: The Complete History, the Life and Times of the Man of Steel, Les Daniels said 
By 1948, Wayne Boring had given the Man of Steel a new look ... Superman was drawn in a more detailed, realistic style of illustration. He also looked bigger and stronger. “Until then Superman had always seemed squat,” Boring said. “He was six heads high, a bit shorter than normal. I made him taller—nine heads high—but kept his massive chest.”
Alter Ego #142, September 2016

The 1950 census said Boring and Lois were residents of Mamaroneck, New York at 816A Richbell Road. His occupation was cartoonist. Boring’s ex-wife and son were at the same address in Norfolk, Virginia. In 1954 Wayne Jr. graduated from Virginia Military Institute and became a doctor.

Boring was one of eight cartoonists featured in Coronet, June 1954. 

The Danbury News-Times (Connecticut), February 15, 1957, said
Mr. and Mrs. Wayne D. Boring moved here recently from Larchmont, N. Y. into the Thomas Stout house at Washington Park estates.
The 1958 through 1966 Ridgefield, Connecticut directories listed Boring at 10 Lincoln Lane. The Wilton Bulletin (Connecticut), September 21, 1960, said 
Mr. Boring and his wife, Lois, (no relation to Lois Lane) have lived here since 1956, moving from Larchmont, N.Y. He does all his work at home, rarely traveling to the offices in New York.
Wilton Bulletin 9/21/1960; reprinted in 
Hidden History of Ridgefield, Connecticut

In 1966 Superman editor Mort Weisenger fired Boring for unknown reasons. 

In American Newspaper Comics, Alberto Becattini said Boring assisted on Rip Kirby from April to June 1966, and August 14 to September 2, 1967; produced art for August 7–12, 1967 and September 4–16, 1967. Vic Forsythe’s comic strip, Joe Jinks (retitled Davy Jones beginning June 12, 1961), was drawn by many artists including Boring who did the daily strips from March 31, 1969 to June 1971. On Prince Valiant, Becattini said Boring assisted from 1968 to 1971

The Danbury News-Times, April 19, 1969, profiled Prince Valiant artist, Harold Foster, and said
... Wayne Boring of Ridgefield inks in the background after the owner completes most of a strip.  ...
In 1972 Boring drew a three issues of Marvel Comics’ Captain Marvel, #22, 23, and 24, and a story in Creatures on the Loose #19. He drew Thor #280 which was published in 1979. 

At some point Boring moved to Pompano Beach, Florida and worked as a part-time security guard. In 1983, he was a guest at the OrlandoCon

For DC Comics from 1984 to 1986, Boring contributed to All-Star Squadron Annual #3, Superman #402, Action Comics #561 and #572, Secret Origins #1, and All-Star Squadron #64.

Boring passed away on February 20, 1987, in Pompano Beach, Florida. Obituaries appeared in Amazing Heroes #119, June 15, 1987 and The Comics Journal #116, July 1987. 

Boring’s father passed away on August 5, 1945; mother on April 5, 1957 (South Dakota Death Index); second wife Lois on November 10, 2001; and first wife Helen on November 23, 2001. 

* Boring’s age was misstated as 66. He was 78.


Further Reading
Grand Comics Database, Creator, credits
Lambiek Comiclopedia
Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999
The World Encyclopedia of Comics (1976)
The Encyclopedia of American Comics (1990), pages 44 and 45
Superhero Comics: The Illustrated History (1991)
DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World’s (1995)
Comics, Between the Panels (1998)
Superman: The Complete History, the Life and Times of the Man of Steel (1998), pages 44, 47 and 74
Our Hero: Superman on Earth (2010), pages 92 and 93, 127 and 128
Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster—The Creators of Superman (2013), pages 173 and 207
Biographical Sketches of Cartoonists & Illustrators in the Swann Collection of the Library of Congress (2012)
Comic Book Historians, Joe Shuster’s Favorite “Ghost”: Wayne Boring 

Labels:


Comments:
The Larchmont Times article quoted here contains a few errors:

Action Comics was not the only comic book being published at the time;

Slam Bradley and Spy appeared in Detective Comics, and Radio Squad in More Fun Comics, all before the debut of Action Comics in 1938.
 
Post a Comment

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

 

Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The 300 for 2000 -- Results

In this year’s survey we lost only one paper and again it is a newspaper publisher who had a morning and evening paper closing one of them. This time it was the Indianapolis News. So the total papers reviewed for this survey is 253 papers.

The biggest mover in the Top 30 was Baby Blues, which moved up 3 spots from 23 to 20. With the end of the original Peanuts, the most popular strip in the last 20 plus years falls to number 2 tying with the most popular previous strip Blondie. Garfield now has the number 1 spot all to itself and I don’t think we are going to have a challenger in the future.

Arlo and Janis re-enters the Top 30 while Mary Worth falls out of the Top 30. With Mary Worth falling out of the Top 30 this means that all Top 30 strips are either sitcoms or gag a day strips.

Title (253 Papers)

Rank

Rank Change

Papers +/-

Total Papers

Garfield

1

Same

0

223

Blondie

2

Up 1

1

210

Peanuts

2

Down 1

-13

210

For Better or For Worse

4

Same

1

205

Beetle Bailey

5

Same

2

184

Dilbert

6

Same

4

182

Family Circus

7

Same

7

164

Hagar The Horrible

8

Down 1

4

161

Cathy

9

Same

-4

145

Doonesbury

10

Same

-2

143

Fox Trot

11

Up 2

8

110

B.C.

12

Same

0

107

Hi and Lois

12

Down 1

-1

107

Frank and Ernest

14

Down 1

-2

100

Wizard of Id

15

Same

0

99

Zits

16

Up 1

16

97

Born Loser

17

Down 1

0

90

Dennis The Menace

18

Down 1

2

83

Shoe

19

Same

-4

72

Baby Blues

20

Up 3

10

68

Marmaduke

21

Same

1

64

Sally Forth

22

Down 2

-1

64

Mother Goose and Grimm

23

Down 1

-2

59

Non Sequitur

24

Same

0

54

Close To Home

25

Down 1

-3

51

Ziggy

26

Same

-3

50

Mallard Fillmore

27

Same

-3

48

Rose is Rose

27

Up 2

6

48

Jump Start

29

Down 1

4

47

Arlo and Janis

30

Returning

2

43

 

The average number of comic strips per paper went up to 18.41 from last year’s average of 18.18, a pretty big gain and perhaps helps to explain some of the strong debuts we saw.

On the Universal comic section there are big changes:

Top 2 – 190 (Down 19)
Top 3 – 173 (Down 9)
Top 4 – 153 (Down 4)
Top 5 – 124 (Same)
Top 6 – 101 (Up 13)
Top 7 – 87 (Up 16)
Top 8 – 70 (Up 7)
Top 9 – 57 (Up 1)
Top 10 – 44 (Down 4)
Top 11 – 23 (Down 10)
Top 12 – 14 (Down 9)
Top 13 – 11 (Up 4)
Top 14 – 4 (Down 2)
Top 15 – 4 (Same)
Top 16 – 4 (Up 1)
Top 17 – 1 (Down 1)
Top 18 – 1 (Same)
    

Here are the rest of the strips that made this year’s survey:

42 – Crankshaft (+5), Mary Worth (0)

39 – Luann (+7)

36 – Funky Winkerbean (+4)

35 – Herman (0), Rex Morgan (-2)

34 – Barney Google and Snuffy Smith (-2), Mutts (+1)

32 – Lockhorns (0)

30 – Alley Oop (+2), Pickles (+5)

28 – Curtis (0)

25 – Grizzwells (0), Kit N Carlyle (0)

23 – Boondocks (R)

22 – In The Bleachers (-2), Marvin (-2)

20 – Geech (-1)

19 – Eek and Meek (0), Judge Parker (0), Real Life Adventures (-4)

18 – One Big Happy (0), Robotman (0), Rubes (-7)

16 – Andy Capp (-9), Gasoline Alley (-1), Overboard (-1)

15 – Bizarro (-2), Crabby Road (-1), Sherman’s Lagoon (+3)

14 – Big Nate (0), Grand Avenue (R), Pluggers (+1)

13 – Adam (0), Betty (+1), Drabble (0), Get Fuzzy (R), Rugrats (-6), Stone Soup (-1), Tank McNarama (-3)

12 – Fred Basset (0), Heathcliff (+1), Mark Trail (0), Piranha Club (-2)

11 – Buckles (0), Phantom (0), Tiger (0)

10 – Berry’s World (0), Hocus-Focus (-1), Lola (R), Nancy (0), Speed Bump (0), Sylvia (0)

9 – Agnes (R), Dunagin’s People (-1), Middletons (0)

8 – Apartment 3-G (0), Gil Thorp (0), Herb and Jamaal (+2), Mr. Boffo (-2), Rhymes with Orange (+1), Zippy (0)

7 – Amazing Spider-Man (-2), Brenda Starr (0), Dick Tracy (-1), Duplex (0), Heart of the City (+5)

6 – Against The Grain (-1), Buckets (0), Committed (+1), I Need Help (-1), Off the Mark (-1), They’ll Do It Every Time (-1)

5 – Archie (0), Ben (0), Bound  & Gagged (-4), Citizen Dog (-1), Dinette Set (+2), Fusco Brothers (0), Grin and Bear It (0), Kuduz (-1), 9 Chickweed Lane (+1), Our Fascinating Earth (+1), Safe Havens (0), Strange Brew (+1), Tumbleweeds (0)

4 – Crock, Horrorscope, Mixed Media, Momma, Ralph, That’s Life, Twins

3 – Ballard Street, Comic For Kids, Cornered, Donald Duck, Liberty Meadows, Love Is, Reality Check, That’s Jake, Willy N Ethel

2 – Animal Crackers, Better Half, Between Friends, Bobo’s Progress, Broom Hilda, Chubb & Chauncey, Clarie & Webber, Fair Game, Meg!, Mickey Mouse, New Breed, Norm, On The Fastrack, Over The Hedge, Quigmans, Redeye, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, Second Chances, Steve Roper and Mike Nomad, Tarzan, Warped

1 – Best Years, Big Picture, Bottom Liners, Cats With Hands, Do Not Distrub, Ffram.com, Flight Deck, Good Life, Graffiti, Laffbreak, Little Orphan Annie, Loose Parts, Mandrake The Magician, Meehan Streak, Meet Mr. Lucky, Modesty Blaise, Nest Hands, Offline, Out of Bounds, Pooch Café, Raising Hector, Top Secret, Trudy, Tundra, Tuttle, Two Toes, Zorro


Labels:


Comments: Post a Comment

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

 

Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The 300 for 2000 - Biggest Winners and Losers

The biggest gainer in 2000 was cartoonist Jerry Scott who had a one-two punch with a combined total of 26 papers added. Zits gained the most with 16 papers and Baby Blues, which gained 10 papers was the #2 gainer. Another big gainer was Fox Trot with 8 papers and Luann with 7 papers. Here is the list of all the strips that gained at least 5 papers during the past year.

Zits – 16
Baby Blues - 10
Fox Trot - 8
Family Circus – 7
Luann - 7
Rose is Rose – 6
Crankshaft – 5
Pickles – 5
Heart of The City - 5

The biggest losers did not happen until the first Monday of 2000. That is when the most successful strip of the second half of the 20th century, Peanuts, came to an end. Well, it did not really come to an end but went into reruns  In what was then a rare move, instead of ending the strip the syndicate started offering reprints from the year 1974. After that client papers had two options; they could run the older strips that were 4 panels long or the newer strips that were at most 3 panels long. Not all the current clients wanted reruns so 13 papers decided to drop the strip. But the vast majority signed on – that 13 paper drop represents only about 6% of Peanuts clients. And once syndicates realized that newspapers and readers would accept reruns, the practice started to flourish – a big blow to young cartoonists hoping to crack newspaper syndication.

Another big loser again was Andy Capp with a loss of 9 papers. Here is the complete list of strips that lost 5 or more papers.

Peanuts – 13
Andy Capp - 9
Rubes – 7
Rugrats – 6

On the story strip front the adventure strips and soap strips lost only 2 spots this year. This year we had the debut of the last pure adventure strip Zorro which only got 1 paper. Ten years from now we will have the debut of another adventure strip, Rip Haywire, but that falls in the category of comic adventure like Alley Oop.

Adventure (-2)
Alley Oop – 30 (+2)
Mark Trail – 12 (0)
Phantom – 11 (0)
Amazing Spider-Man – 7 (-2)
Brenda Starr – 7 (0)
Dick Tracy – 7 (-1)
Mickey Mouse – 2 (0)
Steve Roper and Mike Nomad – 2 (0)
Tarzan – 2 (+1)
Little Orphan Annie – 1 (0)
Mandrake The Magician – 1 (-1)
Modesty Blaise – 1 (0)
Zorro – 1 (+1)

Ended
Rip Kirby – 2


Soaps (-2)
Mary Worth – 42 (0)
Rex Morgan – 35 (-2)
Judge Parker – 19 (0)
Apartment 3-G – 8 (0)
Gil Thorp – 8 (0)

Labels:


Comments:
At least some of the 13 papers that dropped Peanuts in 2000 after the last strip ran just got the Peanuts reruns back by 2022-2024. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Milwaukee Journal are 2 examples.
 
The only reason that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had the Peanuts returned was because Lee Enterprises in 2022 decided that all of the newspaper that they own run the same comic page and Peanuts was one of them the other strip included Garfield, Baby Blues, For Better or For Worse, Pearls Before Swine, The Argyle Sweater, Close to Home, Pickles, Crabgrass and Luann.

The Milwaukee Journal is part of the Gannett papers and this past year they were all ordered to pick comic from a list of only 34 and one of them is the Peanuts.
 
Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]