Sunday, March 03, 2024


Wish You Were Here, from Rube Goldberg


Here's another postcard from Rube Goldberg's Foolish Questions series, also known as Samson Brothers Series 213. This is one of my favourites, the first time I read it I could have done a spit-take.


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Saturday, March 02, 2024


One Shot Wonders: The Incubation of Claude Murphy by Carl Anderson, 1897


Carl Anderson's famous creation, Henry, did not come to fruition until 1932 when he was an elderly man. Back in the 1890s he was a journeyman cartoonist whose newspaper work appeared mostly in the Hearst-owned New York Journal. In the 1900s he'd branch out more and have series accepted by quite a few syndicates. 

Back in the 1880's and 90s, chicken incubators were the subject of an inventor's race to come up with the best design. Here we see home inventor Mr. Murphy who has come up with his entry in the race. Evidently his version works like a charm based on its efficacy on his son, whose name is either Claude or Mickey -- apparently a miscommunication between the cartoonist and the typographers. 

The only problem with Mr. Murphy's invention is that it simply isn't an incubator. Incubators are for hatching out eggs. What he has created is a chicken BROODER. Being a chicken raiser myself, I can't let such an egregious error pass unremarked. 

This one-shot strip appeared in the New York Journal on March 14 1897.


Apparently the Incubator was a brand-new, exciting, imagination capturing invention in the late 90s. If one reads lots of comics of that era, it's very noticeable that Incubators are seen or mentioned all the time, often hatching out all kinds of humourously unnatural things.
Any specific reason why the "invinter" is Irish, other than making fun of the Irish in general?
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Friday, March 01, 2024


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Emidio Angelo

(An earlier profile was posted in 2019.) 

Emidio “Mike” Angelo was born on December 4, 1903, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, according to his World War II draft card and several volumes of Who’s Who in American Art

In the 1910 United States Census, the family name was recorded as Angelone. Angelo was the oldest of three children born to Stanley and Laurens, both Italian immigrants. The family were residents of Mahanoy, Pennsylvania at 216 East Centre Street. His father was a baker.

The 1920 census recorded Angelo as the oldest of six children. The family resided in Philadelphia at 1325 Garnet Street. Angelo was an assistant at a newspaper office.   

Angelo took the correspondence course of the Federal School which was based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He appeared in a Federal Schools advertisement published in Wayside Tales and Cartoons Magazine, November 1921. 


Angelo was mentioned in The Federal Illustrator, Winter 1926–1927. 

Who’s Who (1989) said Angelo studied at the Philadelphia Museum and School of Industrial Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA). The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 15, 1953, said he started at PAFA in 1924. The 1936–1937 Who’s Who said he was a pupil of George Harding and Henry McCarter. Angelo was awarded PAFA’s European Traveling Scholarship in 1927 and 1928.  

A passenger list, at, said Angelo arrived in New York city on September 20, 1927. He had departed Cherbourg, France on September 14. His address at the time was 1255 South 21st Street, Philadelphia.

Angelo shared his European experience in The Federal Illustrator, Summer 1928.

According to the 1930 census, Angelo’s mother was a widow who had seven children. The family lived at 1628 South 22nd Street in Philadelphia. Angelo’s occupation was commercial artist. 

The same address was in the 1936–1937 Who’s Who that said Angelo was a member of the Da Vinci Alliance and Fellowship of PAFA. His pen portraits from life included Mussolini, ex-Presidents Coolidge and Taft, William Jennings Bryan, Premier Dino Grandi, Rudolph Valentino and others. His cartoons were published in Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s, Life, Judge, Ballyhoo, College Humor, Sales Management, Bell Telephone News and the Public Ledger. He lectured on “Cartoons and Caricatures.”

Who’s Who (1989) said Angelo was the editorial cartoonist for the Main Line Times (Ardmore, Pennsylvania) from 1937 to 1954 and 1981.

The Inquirer, December 12, 1943, said Angelo joined the Inquirer staff and married Yolanda Marinelli in 1938. At the time they had a four-year-old daughter named Joya. Anthony A. Chiurco wrote about his uncle in Up from South Philly (2014) and said Angelo joined the Inquirer staff in 1937. The book has a photograph of Angelo. 

According to the 1940 census, Angelo, his wife and daughter lived in Philadelphia at 845 North 65th Street. The artist had two years of college and earned $4,500 in 1939. A 1940 photograph of Angelo, his wife and brother- and sister-in-laws is at the Archives of American Art

On February 16, 1942, Angelo signed his World War II draft card. His 845 North 65th Street in Philadelphia was crossed out at a later date and updated to 1510 Crest Road in Penfield Downs, Pennsylvania.  

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Angelo produced Funny Angles from January 1, 1945 to 1958. The panel was known later as Emily and Mabel. Vincent Schiller contributed to the writing.

The Inquirer, February 23, 1952, reported Angelo’s Freedom Foundation “third-place award for an editorial cartoon published last July 11 and entitled, ‘No Let-Up On Vigilance.’ He pictured Uncle Sam scanning storm clouds over Korea.”

The Inquirer, November 15, 1953, reported the annual PAFA exhibition and said 
This is the first year that humor, in the form of a gallery of original cartoons, has been included in these annual exhibitions. Angelo will speak particularly about this phase of the show.
In 1957 a collection of Angelo’s cartoons, The Time of Your Life, was published by the John C. Winston Company.

Who’s Who (1976) said Angelo received the Da Vinci Award silver medals in 1958, 1960 and 1968, and a bronze medal in 1961. He was awarded a gold medal from the Philadelphia Sketch Club in 1969. His memberships included the National Cartoonists Society and the American Editorial Cartoonists. He was the producer of the 1967 short color film, Alighier’s, The Inferno

Editor and Publisher, January 19, 1980, said 
Emidio Angelo, previously a political cartoonist, Philadelphia Inquirer, now draws for the Chestnut Hill Local, a weekly paper.
The 1989 Who’s Who said Angelo was an advance art class instructor at Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia. He received the Freedom Foundation Award in 1983. His mailing address was 419 Redleaf Road, Wynnewood Pennsylvania 19096.

Angelo passed away September 2, 1990. An obituary appeared in the Inquirer, September 5, 1990. 

Further Reading and Viewing
The Image of America in Caricature & Cartoon, caricature of Herbert Hoover
Editor & Publisher, February 18, 1950, Emily and Mabel to Hunt a Man Six Days a Week
Editor & Publisher, May 31, 1952, Two Humor Features From Inquirer Staffers


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Wednesday, February 28, 2024


Selling It: Mr. E.Z. Duzzit


It's a good thing that cartoonists sometimes got to sign their advertisment work, because I long ago waved the white flag trying to spot the art on many of these ads. Between Harry Haenigsen, Dik Browne, Gill Fox and the other cartooning luminaries who seemed to be able to nimbly ape just about any style, I'm lost. 

Here we have a 1943 ad for Duz Detergent, and it's boldly signed by Harry Haenigsen. If it hadn't been signed, Haenigsen would not have been my first guess. Frankly, Adolph Schus might have come to mind first. So thank you to the good folks at Duz who let Harry bask in the limelight. 

Although this ad seems like it would have been part of a series, this is the only installment of Mr. E.Z. Duzzit I've been able to find. I checked over on Ger Apeldoorn's blog, The Fabulous Fifties, because he is a real devotee of these comic strip ads, and it seems I've actually managed to find one he doesn't have over there! 

PS: Here's hoping that all is well with Ger. He hasn't posted in about three months. You out there, buddy? UPDATE: Ger says he's just fine, but busy with other projects right now.


Admittedly slightly off-topic, but this ad reminded me of a funny Fred Allen radio skit I heard years ago. Fred and Portland played a "realistic" morning show hosts--grumpy, half asleep, and bickering. They were sponsored by Little Panther Spot Remover and DUZNT.

"Other soaps brag about all the things that they do. Well, DUZNT duzn't do anything!"
October 27, 1946 Fred Allen Show. He was, for this skit, opposite Tallulah Bankhead, not Portland Hoffa. It's an absolutely brutal takedown of "Tex and Jinx," a morning show on NBC's local New York station, hosted by Tex McCrary and Jinx Falkenberg, which had a lot of advertiser plugs in it.
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Monday, February 26, 2024


Obscurity of the Day: The Adventures Abroad of Peleg Price, American


Cartoonist Frank Wing was a long-time fixture at the Minneapolis Journal, but gained national fame for his "Fotygraft Albums." These were a series of books of humorous 'photographs' -- actually vividly drawn wash cartoons -- with accompanying comedic comments by a family member who tries to explain them to the reader, who is supposedly visiting the home and looking through the family album. These books have aged surprisingly well, and I find them still quite funny. They're not terribly expensive on the used book market, and I think are well worth seeking out. 

Long before that, when the Minneapolis Journal was producing an in-house page of comics each Sunday, Wing lowered himself to creating a comic strip series for the one and only time in his life. Sporting the hefty title of The Adventures Abroad of Peleg Price, American, it chronicled the misadventures of Peleg Price and his uncle Imri, a pair of bickering rubes who take the Grand Tour of Europe. Wing drew the strip in a fabulous clean line style and the humour was the match for any New York comic-stripper of the day you might wish to name. 

The series began on December 12 1903 with Peleg and Imri saying goodbye to Wheat Corners, Minnesota. They made the whole tour, creating havoc in every European city they visited, and returned to America eight months later on August 20 1904, at which point the strip title changed to Peleg And Imri Return to America. After a few episodes in which they catch up on local doings, they got involved in a political primary campaign when Peleg is nominated to run for his (unnamed) party for Congress. Uncle Imri decides to run against him. On September 17 the strip title was updated once again, to The Campaign at Wheat Corners

On November 12 1904 Peleg wins the nomination of his party and the series comes to an abrupt end. The next week the Journal began running a page of Hearst-produced strips instead of their homegrown material.


Hark! Do I detect a Mr Dooley neologism?
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Sunday, February 25, 2024


Wish You Were Here, from Little Nemo

 This is our twelfth and (I think) final card in the Little Nemo series, published by Raphael Tuck. You know the game ... can you identify the Little Nemo strip from which the image was snatched? Or, is it an original penned right out of the noggin of the anonymous Tuck's artist? 

The other big question: we've published 12 cards here at Stripper's Guide, and I believe my cupboard is bare. Are there any others that we've missed?


Looking at this with sarcastic modern eyes: Nemo is appearing before an enthusiastic audience composed almost exclusively of pretty ladies, several of whom are proffering bouquets or waving lanterns with his name. Would-be valentines. But Nemo, looking coy and maybe even blowing a kiss, appears focused on the lone man holding up flowers. And he's holding hands with his buddy, the two of them in costumes Buster Brown would mock. Certainly no such subtext was intended, or subtext of any kind, this being well within the precious sentimentality of the strip and the era. But it does read funny now.
This is based on May 13, 1906.
Brian ... thanks for the ID!

DBenson ... strangely enough I am presently slogging my way through a couple of "scholarly" books on early comics, and the authors both do exactly what you're talking about -- treating 2% probabilty subtexts as if they are outright definitive subject matter. I think in academia the need to say something new and 'important' about these mouldy oldies is encouraging all sorts of ridiculous notions. As Freud said (or should have), "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

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Saturday, February 24, 2024


One-Shot Wonders: The Hickman Murder Trial by Willard Mullin, 1928


In the 1920s it wasn't too unusual in the more sensational papers to add graphic interest to news stories by covering them partially in comic strip form, like this example by a very young Willard Mullin. Mullin at this time would have been working for the Los Angeles Herald, a Hearst newspaper, but we see it here in syndicated form via the Denver Post. Mullin later became famous as a sports cartoonist, but this is before that became his specialty. 

The story being illustrated here is the William Edward Hickman kidnapping and murder trial. The 20-year old defendant kidnapped a 12-year old girl and murdered her in grisly fashion while attempting to extort money from her parents. Thankfully he was caught before he could make a habit of this activity. Based on his testimony he felt he was perfectly within his rights to perform such acts in his own self-interest, and seemingly would have continued his behavior in the future to finance himself.

Very Odd Postscript: As the rest of the world listened in horror to the details of this psycho's repugnant crime, he became a hero to a young nut named Ayn Rand. She greatly admired him for his unpitying selfishness, and wrote about her admiration extensively in her diary, terming him a "superman." Hickman would become an inspiration and basis for her inhumane philosophy.


I just got in a bound volume of internal, house magazines for Scripps-Howard covering this period. It was a period when the SH owned Rocky Mountain News was in a fierce battle with the Denver Post, so it's no wonder the Post went all Hearstian in this, with sex and violence.
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Friday, February 23, 2024


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Shorty Shope

(An earlier profile was posted in 1919.) 

Henry Irvin “Shorty” Shope was born on May 11, 1900, in Boulder, Montana, according to Shope’s birth certificate at His parents were Ira Daniel Shope and Emily Alvis Shope.

In the 1900 United States Census, month-old Shope was the youngest of three children. Their father was a stationery engineer. The family resided in Boulder. 

According to the 1910 census, Shope was the third of seven siblings. The family resided in township six of Jefferson County, Montana. Shope’s father was a farmer.

The Great Falls Tribune (Montana), November 23, 1977, said the family moved to Missoula, Montana when Shope’s father died.
It was there, in his formative years of 13 throughout 18, that he came under the influence of E.S. Paxson, painter of native Americans and the frontier West.

“He gave me my first lesson in anatomy and would correct and trim up my drawings, illustrated on the side of my paper and even let me watch him paint,” he later said….

His formal art education began in 1919, when he attended both Portland Art Academy and Reed College in Portland….
Shope graduated in 1932 from the University of Montana with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. The Missoulian Sun, September 4, 1966, said Shope met artist Charles M. Russell and studied with Harvey Dunn in New York City.

Shope was mentioned in the Missoulian newspaper on September 5, 1913“Irvin Shope, 13 years old and a nephew of Mrs. W. W. Wickes, was operated upon for appendicitis yesterday morning at St. Patrick’s hospital.” In the May 27, 1914 issue, Shope was one of several speakers in the Roosevelt School’s declamation contest. Shope was listed as an honor student in the February 23, 1917 Missoulian. Shope was a guest at the Christmas party hosted at the Wickes home. 

Farmer Shope signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918. His address was 425 West 5th Street in Missoula. His description was short, medium build with blue eyes and light brown hair.

The 1920 census said Fargo, North Dakota was Shope’s home at 1043 Tenth Street North. The head of the household was his widow mother’s brother-in-law, Carl Greenwood. Shope was unemployed.

In the 1920s Shope was a correspondence student with the Federal School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His art was printed in the school’s publication, The Federal Illustrator, Winter 1925–1926 and Fall 1926. 

In the department of Animal Drawings, Irvin Shope, with his “Stage Coach,” carried away the bacon, as the vulgar say. The picture is full of action. Shope is always good at that—so good that he sometimes, like that great original draughtsman of the moving horse, Frederic Remington, sacrifices drawing to movement. I have seen better things of his than this, yet it deserved a prize. The lad is, I think, very promising.
Shope was one of several artists who wrote about the late Charles Russell in The Federal Illustrator, Winter 1926–1927. 

Shope wrote about his painting in The Federal Illustrator, Summer 1927. 

The Poplar Standard (Montana), November 18, 1927, said 
Irvin Shope, of the State university, is exhibiting oil paints of Glacier national park and the Canadian rockies. He was formerly with the forest service.
Shope appeared in The Federal Illustrator, Summer 1928. 

Illustrator of Western Life Busy on Mural Paintings for Glacier Resort
Irvin Shope’s realism in picturing of Western life secured him a place among the prize winners with a pen line drawing nicely adapted to illustrative uses. 

Altho adept in drawing of horses and horsemen, Mr. Shope does not confine himself to drawing them.

“I have just pleased a young husband and was paid liberally for a portrait sketch of his pretty wife,” he writes in a recent letter which also reports good returns in a cover design for a catalogue, an illustration of a vicious broncho to advertise high power gas for a new Montana gas company; two pen drawings for decorative use in a new Spanish home in Los Angeles and another cover design for Triple-X.

The letter continues, “My old friend Justin and Company have asked me to do a painting to be used on a window card advertising their boots, giving me full sway as to subject.

“Then I have been doing some drawing to advertise a new lodge or dude camp just over the edge of Glacier park on beautiful St. Mary’s lake. I am going up there in June to paint a couple of large pictures for the lobby.

“Four years and some odd months of work under encouragement of the old Federal Schools has brought me thus far and now I suppose I can keep going alone but I still want a word from you now and again for a long time.

“I paid my last ten dollars in the first installment for the course and was Wass out of work too. The path between then and now has been rough but I’ll never regret the course I took nor cease to wonder what chance made me write to Federal Schools as I had no first hand information of you folks nor on one to ask who knew anything about you. I was lucky that’s all.”

The late Charles M. Russell gave Mr. Shope high commendation on early drawings in the course and assured him that he was on the right track studying with the Federal Schools.
The 1930 census listed Shope, his mother and three brothers in Missoula, Montana at 425 South Fifth Street West. Shope was a self-employed artist.

The Great Falls Tribune said Shope married Erva Vivian Love, on June 23, 1932 in Missoula. 

Shope received his University of Montana fine arts degree in 1933.

The 1934 Missoula city directory listed artist Shope at 517 Connell Avenue.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Shope drew Rusty Rawlins, Cowboy which was written by Glenn Chaffin. The McClure Syndicate strip began in late 1934 and ended in early 1936. The last three weeks were drawn by Tom Maloney.

Shope was mentioned in The Federal Illustrator, Spring 1935. 

The 1940 census recorded Shope, his wife and three daughters in Helena, Montana at 1337 9th Avenue. The advertising artist worked for the Montana Highway Department. The census said Shope had lived in Los Angeles, California in 1935.

During World War II Shope registered with the draft on February 16, 1942. The Helena resident was employed at the Montana Highway Department. 

1956 and 1964 Helena city directories said Shope’s occupation was artist whose address was 1337 9th Avenue.

The Missoulian Sun, September 4, 1966, said several paintings by Shope were to be exhibited at the Cowboy Hall of Fame. Shope was a member of the Cowboy Artists of America, Inc. Shope had three dioramas at the Charles M. Russell Historical Society Museum in Helena. Shope “painted many portraits of Indians, mainly from the Blackfeet tribe in Browning who adopted him as a ‘blood-brother’ in 1937 and gave him the name ‘Wolf Bull.’”

The Independent Record Sun (Montana), August 24, 1969, said between 1950 and 1965 Shope painted murals for the Highway Department, Western Life Insurance Company, First National Bank, Helena Junior High, St. Paul Fire & Marine Building, and the Federal Building in Webster, South Dakota. He contributed a painting every year to the Shedd-Brown Calendar Company starting in 1956. 

Shope passed away November 22, 1977, in Burlington, Massachusetts. The Great Falls Tribune said Shope and his wife were visiting their daughter when he suffered a stroke. He was laid to rest at Boulder Cemetery

Further Reading and Viewing
Montana Historical Markers
How About the Roads?: Montana’s Highway Maps 1934–2004
Montana’s Historical Highway Markers; cover art by Irvin Shope
Meadowlark Gallery; signature
Montana Historical Society, Museum Collections Online
Map: Montana Highway Dept. Frontier & Pioneer Montana, 1937
University of Montana; Irvin “Shorty” Shope Oral History Collection
Surveys and Surveyors of the Public Domain, 1785–1975, Photograph from an oil painting by Montana artist Shorty Shope


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Wednesday, February 21, 2024


Mystery Strips: Misery Is...


I have a batch of 1983 United Feature weekly syndicate books, and I found in one issue two weeks worth of a panel cartoon called Misery Is... by Scrawls (Sam C. Rawls). My run of the books is by no means perfect, but I cannot find this feature anywhere but in the May 16 edition, and I have other weekly books from April, May and June, though not all of them. 

In the May 16th book there are two weeks worth of the feaure, slated for publication in papers of May 16-21 and May 23-28.

This is obviously a very short run feature, and I have no printed examples in my collection. I cannot find any mentions of it in E&P or in interviews/articles on Sam Rawls. I checked the online archives of the Atlanta Constitution, where Rawls was the editorial cartoonist at this time, and a spot check did not find them running the feature. 

So this one is a misery, er, I mean a mystery. If anyone has a printed example, or knows of a run of it somewhere, don't keep it to yourself. Let's get this one into the books as a feature that made it into papers. 

UPDATE 2/23/2024: Paul Di Filippo sends me this article from the Palm Beach Post, dated June 1 1983:

In which the feature is announced to be set to appear "from time to time" in the paper's entertainment section (the section was titled "Poster" for some reason). After this big section-heading article announcing the feature I looked through the next two weeks of the section and found Misery Is appearing exactly zero times.


My off the cuff observation is that this is a pretty sharp parody of the long-running "Love Is..." comic strip, and may not have been intended as anything more than satire.
Hello Allan-

There's a faintly piscatorial pong about this one. Note there's no dates applied to them, for starters. Also, even as far at single column nuggets of philosophical wisdom panels go, or even knock-offs of Charles Schultz's "Happiness is" device goes...this is really startlingly poor.
This is not clever, or insightful or humourous, it's as stupid as calling it "This bad:"....
Misery is an ingrown toenail. Misery is blackouts. Really, they are. So what? That's it? It's almost like you, the late twentieth century American newspaper reader, are supposed to see a small panel cartoon and your proscribed Pavlovian reaction is to, if not laugh or even smile at it, just take it unconsciously as a piece of comedy, intended to be funny, never stopping to analyse whether it has any point to it at all, instead of an existential statement of fact that goes nowhere.
So what is, "Misery Is?" My guess- This is something the syndicate saw potential for in the name, id est, the trade mark. So if it appears in the weekly book, and it becomes theirs. The "weeklies" are what are entered into copyright for everything inside. It matters not if they ever actually syndicated it or developed anything further with it, they own the name "Misery Is."
I was going to suggest a parody of Charles Schulz's "Happiness is a Warm Puppy" and its successors, but that dates back to the early 60s. There were parodies in MAD and Li'l Abner, and Johnny Carson actually published "Happiness is a Dry Martini". One could argue "Love is..." was inspired by the Peanuts books, which included "Love is Walking Hand in Hand".
Mark, I sense you aren't a big fan of this panel. I suspect that if we apply your 'Pavlovian comedy response' test to a LOT of strips they'd be in the same bubble of the Venn diagram with "Misery Is". Anyhow, I REALLY like your idea that UFS was just trying to establish copyright. Brilliant thought, and I'm 100% on board. Even if it weren't true it really SHOULD be. --Allan
That's one of the functions of the weekly book. For years we'd put into ours, (King Features Syndicate) old material that would go out of copyright if we didn't establish it was still in use, and up and coming minor efforts by new cartoonists that may or may not get into papers...editor's choice, you know, and they might come and go with no set rules.
Very interesting, Mark! That must not have been an industry-wide phenomenon, as I went through 80-some years of the NEA books at OSU and don't recall seeing any items of this sort.

Question, though ... I used to be able to buy the NEA and UFS syndicate books through St Marks Comics in NYC, and I've heard that the CTNYNS books were sold at the newsstand in the Daily News building. So did King bother with the ritual of making their books available for purchase somewhere, and if they did, where was it?

I don't know how the public could access the KFS "Weeklies", subscription, I presume, because lots of people did get them. If you were in the newspaper trade, they'd be a familiar sight in editor's offices, and they've even been known to be used by salesmen to spark interest in our offerings.
There were, possibly still are, two weeklies, at least by our syndicate. The one with all the comics, as tall as a proof sheet, about 14", and a second, at 8" x 10", was the one for all the columns, puzzles, specialty items and the retread old stuff and the new obscurities. These came under the collective appellation "The Weekly Service" package. At one time, it meant material we'd set aside, with different rates, for the hundreds of small town once a week papers, and probably expanded to foreign sales, too.
My guess is that maybe UFS has/had a second weekly as well, and that somehow, "Misery Is" might have been a feature in that book, only accidentally appearing in the regular strip book that you have.
That the Palm Beach Post ran a news story about it, yet didn't use any of them, shows that at least it reached a level where some publicity was generated. Note, though, this is not created by UFS, because it comes off as a terrible feature, promising rather than laughs, a few seconds of unpleasant associations, pain, fear, or actual MISERY.
Why do editors dislike controversy in the features they pick up for their paper? They don't want to offend their readers. In this little article, the writer seems to be spending all the gags in some initial sample pages of "Misery Is", and each one makes the panel seems even more repellant. It's like telling the world this will be a feature that will surely offend all readers and editors alike.

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Monday, February 19, 2024


Obscurity of the Day: The Roosevelt Bears



As a Stripper's Guide reader you no doubt already know that it was Washington Star editorial cartoonist Clifford Berryman who started the whole teddy bear craze. He commented cartoonically on T.R. refusing to shoot a bear cub while hunting, associating him forevermore with a cute little caricature of a bear cub . Why this event stuck in the minds of the public and turned into a multi-billion dollar toy business that continues today well over a century later I don't fully understand. But it did, and it's kinda neat that it all began with a member of the cartooning fraternity. But the connection between T.R., bears, and cartooning didn't end there. 

In 1905 successful author Seymour Eaton was looking to expand his range beyond mostly educational literature. Three years after the original incident it was obvious that the bear cub meme had serious legs to it. He resolved to write a children's adventure starring a couple of bears. And just in case you didn't get the relationship, he made it easy for you to connect the dots by naming his characters the Roosevelt Bears. 

Eaton found himself a fabulous illustrator named V. Floyd Campbell who was at the time producing incredibly detailed illustrations and editorial cartoons for the Philadelphia North American. Between the quite sprightly verses penned by Eaton, and the superb illustrations by Campbell, they probably knew they had a hit on their hands. It was decided that in order to give the soon to be published book a built-in audience that they would first sell the feature as a serial to newspapers. The first episode of The Roosevelt Bears appeared in papers on January 7 1906*. Eaton took the copyright for the feature, but called himself "Paul Piper" for authorship. This might be because he was somewhat well-known as an educator and author of serious texts -- he didn't want readers to come in with preconceptions. 

The feature sold very well, and became somewhat famous as supposedly the only comic strip ever run by the New York Times. This has never really been true on several levels. First, calling The Roosevelt Bears a comic strip is a bit of a stretch, and second, back in those days the Sunday Times was surprisingly open to cartooning, and not just editorially. They offered entertainment cartoons on a semi-regular basis in their Sunday editions; perhaps rarely anything that could be considered a series, but I would lay a considerable bet that we could find a few short series if we got real serious about an indexing project. 

What is an interesting tidbit about the Times is that it appears that they probably syndicated the Eaton page, though they took no credit for it. The Times in their obit for Campbell said that he drew the feature for the Times. We know about the legendary fact checking of their obits, so I think that's a pretty strong case. 

While The Roosevelt Bears were busily making themselves famous all across the country, tragedy struck the creative team. V. Floyd Campbell contracted tuberculosis and died in April 1906. His giant shoes were filled on The Roosevelt Bears by Richard Keith Culver starting with the installment of May 20**.  Culver, of whom I know little, did the seemingly impossible and managed to almost equal Campbell's work. What little he lacked by comparison to Campbell in quality of detailed linework he amply made up for with a fine sense of animation to his work. 

The Roosevelt Bears comic page ended on July 22 1906**, and was issued in book form in November. Both the newspaper feature and book were so well-received that Eaton immediately began work on the further adventures of Teddy-B and Teddy-G***. In total there would be four newspaper series (which we will continue to cover here as time and inventory allow), and at least a half-dozen books in the series.

For more about the interesting life of Seymour Eaton, I recommend this wonderful essay by Philip Jordan that offers up lots of details.

* Source: San Francisco Call.

** Source: Chicago Daily News.

***  According to Eaton's verse, the B and G designations in the character names stood for Black or Brown and Grey or Grizzly.


A curious coincidence! I found a copy of the first Roosevelt Bears book in a consignment shop last week. It reprints the newspaper pages (including the first two you posted), with many drawings enlarged into full-page color plates. Campbell, not surprisingly, does some very nice painting!
One comic strip that the New York Times definitely did publish is "Boox" by Mark Alan Stamaty. From what I can find online, it ran monthly in the NYT Book Review section from 2001 to 2003.
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Sunday, February 18, 2024


Wish You Were Here, from Charles Dana Gibson


Hey, it's been a long time since we featured one of these Charles Dana Gibson cards from the Detroit Publishing Company. This one is #14045. Mr. Gibson's perspective on this illustration is suspect, I think. Our fair damsel sure seems like she's hovering about a foot too high for the shoreline. But maybe she mounded the sand under her bum.


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Saturday, February 17, 2024


One-Shot Wonders: Speaking of Easter Customs by Art Young, 1893


Here we have a back cover of the Chicago Inter-Ocean's Illustrated Supplement, the very first newspaper to print colour using high-speed presses. 

This Art Young page is from the Easter number of the supplement, published April 2 1893, and offers up some interesting Easter customs from around the world. I had never heard of "matching" (upper right), but I think he's perhaps talking about the Bulgarian custom of tapping Easter eggs together until one cracks. I don't find a reference to this tradition being called "matching", though, so maybe I'm guessing wrong?


Hi Allan,
my name is Claudio Marchiori and I’m writing from Bordighera, Italy. I am the President of the Salone Internazionale dell’Umorismo and I am looking for info regarding Bill who won a prize in Bordighera in 1970.
He designed the poster for the following year:
As I am writing a book on the Salone I am looking for info regarding those who won a prize and designed the poster. Unfortunately I could find very few info on him and I wonder if you could help me as it seems that you were in contact in 1917.
I appreciate any info you may share and look forward to your reply
All the best and greetings from Bordighera…
Claudio Marchiori
Presidente Associazione
Salone Internazionale Umorismo
sorry I mean 2017...
Hi Claudio --
If you provide me an email I can send you some info. See blog sidebar for my emailing info.

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Friday, February 16, 2024


Toppers: Otis


We've discussed Brenda Breeze before on this blog, tangentially and a long time ago. Back then it was mostly about the creator, who couldn't seem to quite decide whether his name was Rolfe Mason or Rolfe Memison. (We eventually got that squared away, but only sorta). Today we won't worry about Rolfe M. and his fluid surname. 

Brenda Breeze debuted as a Sunday-only feature for NEA in 1939, offering gags about a shapely blonde model. Being NEA, provider of Puritan fun to the button-down small-town papers, Brenda was a paragon of virtue and only showed off her cheesecake figure because, well, she was a model, after all. The girl was utterly chaste, the gags were reliably squeaky clean, and shame on you male readers if you ogled her. Later on Brenda changed careers and became a secretary so that modesty could be the firm policy at all times. It didn't seem to slow down the boss from chasing her around the desk practically every Sunday from then on, though.

When Brenda Breeze debuted she was formatted as a half-page or tabloid strip. It wasn't until 1943 when NEA bowed to the need for a third-page version and so added a one-tier topper. The original topper was quite unusual, but that's a story for another day. No, today we're concerned with the third and final topper for Brenda Breeze, Otis. Otis debuted on May 7 1944 and ran with Brenda Breeze right up to the bitter end of the main strip on October 21 1962*. Not that there were many papers printing the topper by that time, but old habits die hard.

Otis was a bird. Maybe a parrot? Maybe a crow? Gosh I really don't know. In any case he engaged in mostly pantomime gags, though I have caught the little dickens with a word balloon on rare occasions. I've also found Brenda herslf appearing as an unpaid extra in the occasional strip. The strip was perfecly fine, what more can you say? It reliably delivered a smile-inducing gag, providing you weren't old enough to have seen the gag done before. In other words, it appealed best to the under-10 set.

* Source: All dates from NEA archives at Ohio State University.

I'm curious about NEA being labelled as a "provider of Puritan fun." I seem to remember that in NEA's Captain Easy Leslie Turner gave us a good number of gratuitous lingerie shots. Darned nicely drawn they were, too.
Yes, but how many NEA clients did not run Wash Tubbs for years and years? It wasn't until the mid-30s or so that many of them begrudgingly added the strip to their papers. Because they didn't approve? Heck, I dunno.

On the other hand, Flapper Fanny was quite often dressed in a few strategically placed squares of Kleenex, so I guess point taken.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2024


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Odin Burvik

(An earlier profile was posted in 2015.)

Odin Burvik was the pseudonym of Mabel Glazier “Grace” Burwick, who was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado on September 17, 1904. Her full name was pieced together from census records and a family tree; the birth information was from her Social Security application (transcribed at Burvik’s parents were Odin Burwick and Della Marie Glazier. In A Century of Women Cartoonists (1993), Trina Robbins wrote “Another woman who took a masculine name was Mabel Burwick; at the start of her career, she changed her name to Odin Burvik.”

The 1905 Colorado Springs directory had a listing for her parents, Odin and Della, who resided at 128 West Mill. He was a driver at the Houston Lumber Company. The 1907 directory recorded them at 418 South Tejon and he remained employed at Houston Lumber. Iowa Gravestone has a photo of Odin’s gravestone, with the dates “1879–1908”, at the Holman Sergeant Bluff Cemetery in Woodbury County, Iowa.

In the 1910 United States Census, Burwick and her mother, a widow and dressmaker, lived in Colorado Springs at 914 Lake Avenue. Later, her mother remarried.

The 1920 census recorded Burwick and her mother and brother, Robert, who both had the Olesen surname, in Los Angeles, California at 6110 Moneta Avenue. She worked as a saleslady in her mother’s candy store. The whereabouts of her Danish step-father is not known. 

Burvik graduated from Santa Maria Union High School. The Los Angeles Times (California), June 13, 1925, said “the salutatory was delivered by Miss Mabel Burwick, a student who has carried away high honors in the art class as well as other studies.” 

The Federal Illustrator, Summer 1926, mentioned Burvik.
Believes in Fairies
Charlie Plumb believes in fairies, but he hasn’t a corner on this believing business because Mabel Burwick does too. “Do you believe in fairies?” She asks, “I do. I envy no one, not even Cinderella or Aladdin.

“Actually I am the happiest person I have ever known and it was through drawing that such friends came to me!

“You and your school deserve everlasting thanks for. Helping me discover the golden Aladdin’s lamp which needed but a little elbow grease and rubbing to bring me friends and happiness.”

Miss Burwick has gone ahead so rapidly that it is almost possible to believe that she did have a fairy godmother watching over her. She was art editor of the Breeze, a school weekly which won first place over fifty others at Stanford University. She has illustrated a text book on design and has done excellent work in the greeting card field.

She is now traveling in Europe with a friend made by her art ability. Doesn’t that almost take your breath away?

The 1926 Colorado Springs city directory listed Burvik, a student, and her mother at 304 East Monument. She studied at Colorado College. 

1927 Pikes Peak Nugget yearbook

In 1930 the Burwick family was in Minneapolis, Minnesota at 916 Seventh Avenue. The census had Burvik’s first name as Grace. She was a self-employed commercial artist and her mother was a school teacher. 

In June 1933, Burvik was aboard the steamship Paris when it departed from New York City. She arrived in Plymouth, England on June 16, 1933. Burvik returned on the steamship Ile de France which departed from Le Havre, France on September 13, 1933. According to the passenger list, she arrived in New York on the 19th; her destination address was the L.S. Donaldson Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

Burvik’s name appeared, as Miss Mabel Burwick, in an issue of the Bulletin, Volumes 23-24, 1934, from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts. She was in the Federal Illustrator, Spring Number, 1938. The Kingston Daily Freeman (New York), April 13, 1968, said she “…decided at the age of 12 to become a professional artist…Mrs. Waugh studied at Minneapolis and Chicago Art Institutes, and with Harvey Dunn at Grand Central Galleries in New York…”

The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 2, Pamphlets, Etc. 1940 New Series, Volume 37, Number 2 has an entry for her and John Charles Fabbrini. 

New York City was the home of the Burwicks in the 1940 census. They lived at 51 West 68th Street. Burvik was a freelance artist, who had two years of college; her brother was a hotel porter. The census said the Burwicks, in 1935, resided in Chicago, Illinois. 

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Dickie Dare, created by Milton Caniff, started on July 31, 1933 and ran to October 12, 1957. Coulton Waugh produced the strip from December 3, 1934 to March 26, 1944. His then assistant, Odin Burvik, drew the Sunday from April 2, 1944 to 1948, and daily from May 22, 1944 to March 6, 1948. She was followed by Fran Matera from March 8, 1948 to November 5, 1949. Waugh returned to the Associated Press series on November 7, 1949. 

In Waugh’s book, The Comics (1947), he explained how Burvik became involved with the strip.
…When the writer decided to turn finally to other matters, he had as assistant a determined young woman with an interesting Norwegian name, Odin Burvik. She could herring-bone up a hill on skiis as fast as he could roll down them, and she had one burning, devastatingly difficult ambition: to become a comic artist.

Knowing the stress and strain of strip-producing, the author decided to try her determination and gave her the most difficult assignments he could. “You can’t be sick; no holidays,” he said. She wonders now how she ever survived; but she learned so much in a single year as assistant, that when the big chance came in the spring of 1944, the Associated Press agreed to try her out. She won, and soon she was in full charge of “Dickie,” matching his bubbling energy with with the sense of life which gives her style its own special distinction.
Arts Magazine, Volume 20, Issue 6, 1946, said “…Coulton Waugh, son of the late Frederick Waugh of seascape fame, has long been the creator of a popular cartoon strip titled ‘Dicky [sic] Dare’…Not long back he decided that he wanted to give it up, and in due course, an open competition was held by the Associated Press to find someone to carry it on. One Miss Odin Burvik won. Miss Burvik was a former assistant of Coulton...Well…it’s still in the family…he married the girl!…” 

According to Who Was Who in America with World Notables (1976), Waugh married Elizabeth Dey Jenkinson on May 18, 1919; she passed away in 1944. He married Burwick on January 17, 1945. The Connecticut Marriage Record, at, said they married in Stamford.

The Newburgh News (New York), September 6, 1945, reported the marriage of Burwick’s brother, who “…at present is assistant to his sister, Mrs. Coulton Waugh, of Little Britain who draws a comic strip for Associated Press…” In Alter Ego #59, June 2006, Fran Matera explained how he took over the strip and who did the lettering.
…the Associated Press hired me to take over Dickie Dare. I went to see Coulton Waugh and his wife, Odin. Waugh was writing and doing a lot of the art, and his wife worked on it for a while, signing it ‘Odin.’ Her brother lettered. Gradually, both Coulton and Odin wanted to taper off…doing the strip so they could paint, and I took over. Odin’s brother continued to letter it, but he didn’t live near me, so I decided to take that over….
The 1950 census counted Burvik, her husband, daughter, Phyllis, and son, John, in New Windsor, New York on Jackson Avenue two miles right. Also living with them was the mother-in-law of Waugh’s first wife and two hired hands. 

Burwick devoted her time to painting. Parade magazine, January 12, 1958, had an advertisement for Art Instruction, Inc., which had a paragraph about her (below).

The Kingston Daily Freeman said, “…She gained her total knowledge of color and oil painting from working with her husband and the two often work together on a portrait. The almost life-size portrait of their daughter, Phyllis, is one example of this collaboration…” 

The Newburgh News, March 18, 1958, noted the upcoming lecture at Temple Beth Jacob Brotherhood: “…The program will feature a lecture discussion on ‘The History of Cartooning’ by Coulton and Odin Waugh, nationally-syndicated cartoonists and creators of ‘Dickie Dare’….” 

During the mid-1960s and 1970s, the couple produced the panel Junior Editors Quiz.

Citizen Advertiser (Auburn NY) 11/18/1969
Word balloons say: “Some may enjoy abstraction but
for me the things in nature are just—so beautiful or 
funny—that I can’t resist drawing them just as they are—”.

The Evening News (Newburgh, New York), June 11, 1964, published photos of Phyllis and her mother, and the November 6, 1983 edition has another photo. The Otsego Farmer (Cooperstown, New York), July 17, 1969, reported the upcoming exhibition at the Pioneer Gallery, whose members included the Waughs and their daughter.

Waugh passed away May 23, 1973, according to The New York Times. He was survived by his wife, Odin, son, John, daughter, Phyllis Goodman, and sister, Gwenyth Clymer. 

The Cornwall Local (New York), September 30, 1981, reported Burvik’s marriage.
Odin Waugh is wed to Hubert Buchanan
Odin Waugh of Jackson Avenue, New Windsor, and Hubert Buchanan of Pueblo, Colorado, were married September 13 at the the Bethlehem Presbyterian Church in New Windsor.

Over 100 friends and relatives attended the ceremony. The couple was received at a social hour after the ceremony in the Church hall.

After a trip to Torremolinos, Spain, the couple will reside at 209 West 19th St., in Pueblo, Colo.

Mrs. Waugh-Buchanan is a well-known local artist. Buchanan is retired from the New York Life Insurance Co. and also is an artist. He is president of the Pueblo Art Center in Colo.
The same wedding date was in Who’s Who in U. S. Writers, Editors and Poets, United States & Canada 1992–1993 which profiled Buchanan.

Burvik, as Odin Waugh, passed away in June 1998 according to the Social Security Death Index. The USGenWeb Project website, Welcome to the Orange County, New York GenWeb Site, has the Times Herald-Record Obituary Index June 1998. The entry has an error: “Burwick Glazier, Odin [Waugh, Buchanan] / Born 09/17/1904 / Birth Place Colorado Springs, NY / Died 06/17/1998”. She was born in Colorado state. 

Her mother passed away December 3, 1964, and brother on December 15, 2006. In The Comics, Waugh said
…The author would like especially to thank his research assistant, Robert Burwick, whose wide knowledge of the subject and sharp intelligence proved invaluable during the several years of hard work which went into the book….


Thanks for posting. Interesting life.
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Monday, February 12, 2024


Obscurity of the Day: Jungo


According to attorney John Duncan and syndicate president Arthur Lafave, what the newspaper world needed in 1954 was a funny strip to relieve the sameness and drama of all the story strips. What they produced as the miracle antidote to this sorry state was Jungo, a strip about a super-strong but very friendly ape who lives in the world of humanity. Why a gorilla, you ask? Duncan had a ready answer. Because in a zoo the gorillas "get the most response from the public." 

Armed wih this unassailable logic the syndicate and a lawyer who really wanted to be a cartoonist loosed Jungo on an unsuspecting world. Duncan produced a strip that was unrelentingly cheerful, casting the ape as a do-gooder whose enormous strength sometimes works out well, other times causes unintended mayhem. 

It's a perfectly decent idea, I suppose, except that Duncan immediately falls into a rut of about three basic gags, none of which is exactly holleringly funny. And Jungo the ape, not being one of those talking varieties native to Disney, has a one-note personality that wears thin very quickly. Duncan did provide Jungo with a human family to play against, and that could have offered a little more variety to the jokes. But Duncan seemed rather uninterested in them and they were not often seen. Maybe he was afraid he'd be classified as one of those awful story strips if some humans spent a lot of time jawboning in his strip. I dunno. 

Jungo debuted on February 8 1954* as a Sunday and daily strip, and the Lafave syndicate did manage to get it placed in a number of good-sized papers. But when the features editors saw that Jungo was an ape of limited comedic abilities the papers started jumping ship pretty quickly. The latest I am aware of Jungo running is February 27 1955**, just a little over a year after its debut. 

* Source: Memphis Commercial Appeal

** Source: Cleveland News


Am enjoying your Stripper's Guide, and thank you for your efforts. Could it be that this strip was in-part inspiration for Hanna Barbera's Magilla Gorilla Show? The design shares similarities.
The 1950s seem to have been a golden age for talking gorillas, for some reason. DC Comics were a major perpetrator, but I suppose others (Ready?) aped them.

As cartoon strips about talking apes go, Rudy is far superior to Jungo.
Magilla does wear a derby hat like Jungo, but that conceit seems like a traditional prop for strong man characters. That said, I imagine Duncan could have gotten a few bucks out of Hanna-Barbera for 'stealing' the likeness.

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Sunday, February 11, 2024


Wish You Were Here from Buster Brown


Here's a card from Tuck's Buster Brown Valentine Series 8. You'll note that they don't even bother to forge Outcault's signature on this one, so far off model it is. This particular one wasn't posted, but others in the series in my collection are postmarked 1909.


Are you sure they're even trying to pass it off as Buster? The boy has different style and colour hair, the suit is something Buster never wore, and a giant Chihuahua is a poor stand-in for Tige.
Yes, on the reverse it is clearly marked "Buster Brown Valentine Series 8".
This must be the alternate universe Buster.
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