Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: Dearie

When a cartoonist would set out to (or was commanded to) copy an existing hit strip, sometimes things went just a little awry. When Gene Carr decided to try his hand at a Buster Brown imitation with Dearie, for instance, things got a little out of hand.

Outcault's Buster Brown was hell on wheels behind an angelic facade, and Carr's Dearie took the idea and turned the control knobs up to eleven. Dearie goes right past rosy-cheeked cuteness into a kid who looks like he's auditioning for a drag show, and he's way past hell on wheels, he's a sadistic little freak who makes Alex from A Clockwork Orange seem positively well-adjusted. (In fairness to the strip, the example above is the most extreme of the short series).

The World syndicated this odd strip as the cover feature of their Sunday comics section from July 10 to August 28 1910*.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scan.

* Chicago Inter-Ocean


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Tuesday, June 19, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Clyde Ludwick

Clyde E. Ludwick* was born on September 28, 1885 in Texas. Ludwick’s birth date is from her gravestone; the birthplace is from the censuses; and her middle initial is from Seattle city directories. In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Ludwick’s parents, Oliver (1850–1939) and Ellen (1860–1938), were residents of Blanco, Texas.

In the 1900 census, Ludwick, her parents and two older siblings lived in Justice Precinct 4, Burnet County, Texas. Ludwick’s father was a farmer.

The 1903–1904 Austin, Texas city directory listed Ludwick, her sister, Forrest, and brother, Wayne, at 1401 East Second Street. Information about Ludwick’s art training has not been found. At some point, Ludwick moved to Seattle, Washington.

In the 1910 Seattle city directory, Ludwick was an artist at the Western Engraving Company. Her address was 4071 Second Avenue NE. The same address was recorded in the 1910 census which also said newspaper artist Ludwick and her dressmaker mother were roomers. The head of the household was a stenographer.

The 1911 city directory listed Ludwick at 4233 Thackeray Place. The house was owned by her father. According to the 1912 directory, Ludwick was a Seattle Post-Intelligencer artist who lived on “Blanchard corner 6th Ave”. The 1913 and 1914 directories listed Ludwick at 4233 Thackeray Place and a Seattle Times artist.

So far the earliest samples of Ludwick’s work were found in Times of 1912. In some Seattle publications Ludwick and Nell Brinkley were mentioned together.

Such was the interest in Ludwick’s work that readers demanded to know what the artist looked like. The Times complied and published two photographs of her in its October 3, 1913 edition.

The Seattle Star, January 26, 1914, printed a Bon Marche advertisement that featured “Clyde Ludwick” pennants. Ludwick’s last illustration for the Seattle Times appeared May 13, 1914.

Ludwick was not listed in the 1915 Seattle city directory. At some point she moved to California.

So far the earliest Ludwick art found in the San Francisco Chronicle was dated March 17, 1915. She contributed drawings until the last day of the year. Ludwick also contributed an illustration to the Los Angeles Herald, March 23, 1915. 

Ludwick was listed as an Express-Tribune artist, whose address was 451 South Figueroa, in the 1916 Los Angeles city directory. 

Ludwick produced another Easter drawing for the Chronicle on April 23, 1916. Starting in July her art was published by the Sacramento Bee through September 1916.

The September 9, 1916 New York Herald said Ludwick was one of four people who leased studio apartments at 64 West 9th Street. Ludwick was on the third floor. The same address was listed in the 1917 New York City directory.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Ludwick drew Once Upon a Time, from January 7, 1917 to January 27, 1918, for the New York Tribune.

Ludwick has not been found in the 1920 census.

Dry Good Economist, March 12, 1921, reported the National Silk Week. “…Gold, silver and bronze medals are to be awarded by the Silk Association of America for the best window displays made during National Silk Week….The board of judges in the contest consists of Albert Blum, M. D. C. Crawford, Stewart Culin, Herman Frankenthal, Julio Kilenyi, Clyde Ludwick, A.M. Waldron and L.E. Weisgerber.”

On June 10, 1921, Ludwick and Matthew Hubert Harcourt obtained a marriage license in Manhattan. According to census records, Harcourt was a widower and this was his second marriage. 

During June and July 1921, the New York Evening World published Ludwick’s New York Spooning Places.







Ludwick’s illustration graced the cover of the Sunday Eagle Magazine, March 11, 1923.

In 1925 Ludwick was a Portland, Oregon resident when she copyrighted this work: “Harcourt (Clyde Ludwick)* Portland. Or. 11332 Roses. Model of bust of girl with roses. © 1 c. Aug. 8, 1925; G 75237”.

Seattle Times 6/27/1936

Ludwick passed away November 21, 1927 in Tacoma, Washington. The following day an obituary appeared in the Seattle Times.

Mrs. M.H Harcourt Is Called by Death
Services for Former Staff Artist with The Times to Be Held Friday.

Mrs. Clyde Ludwick Harcourt of Seattle died in Tacoma last evening after an illness of several months. She is survived by her husband, Matthew H. Harcourt, Seattle hotel man; their daughter, Natalie, who is attending school in Highland, N.Y.; her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Oliver B. Ludwick of Steilacoom; her sister, Mrs. Louis Wire of Tacoma, and her brother, Wayne D. Ludwick of Los Angeles.

As Miss Clyde Ludwick, Mrs. Harcourt was a staff artist for The Times twelve years ago. She returned to her work with The Times last year but was forced to give it up because of ill health. Mrs. Harcourt, whose sketches were popular with Times readers, was a native of Texas. She lived for many years in New York. She was an active member of the Ladies’ Auxiliary of Hotel Greeters of America.

Funeral services will be held from Piper’s at 5433 S. Union St., South Tacoma, Friday afternoon at 2 o’clock. The Rev. Ralph Sargent of Lincoln Park Christian church will officiate.
Ludwick was laid to rest at the Tacoma Mausoleum.

Several months before her death, Ludwick applied for a patent for a mechanical manikin. The patent was granted September 25, 1928. Several mechanical devices used her work.

* There was another woman named Clyde Ludwick, who lived in Kentucky; her middle name initial was J. 1940 census records include scores of women named Clyde, many born between the 1880s and 1920s.

—Alex Jay


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Monday, June 18, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: Once Upon a Time

The idea of a fable, it seems to me, is to teach children a lesson but present it in a manner that entertains and stimulates their imagination. This is done by use of metaphor. That fellow Aesop showed future fableteers the way -- hide your message in an interesting drama using unusual characters; if the story is memorable, the message will sink in and take hold. You don't need to use a hammer to drive in this sort of nail; a feather will take awhile, but will be the best tool in the end.

Clyde Ludwick penned the fable series Once Upon a Time for the New York Tribune's Sunday comics section from January 7 1917 to January 27 1918*. Ludwick had an intriguing sketchy art style, but the fable-telling was utterly hopeless. Each episode presents a fable in which the message is delivered not just with a hammer, but like the bombing of Dresden. In the second example above, characters are named after the qualities they are to illustrate, leaving the reader no need to have any imagination whatsoever. And in case the reader is a complete and absolute blockhead, the message of the fable is spelled out as clearly as humanly possible on the right side of the title bar.

Tune in tomorrow for an Ink-Slinger Profile about Clyde Ludwick with an unexpected twist.

* Ken Barker's New York Tribune index


The strip actually ran until February 10, 1918
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Saturday, June 16, 2018


Herriman Saturday

August 6 1909 -- Jim Jeffries and Jack Johnson both tendered $5000 so-called 'forfeit deposits' against their planned upcoming bout. Johnson required as part of his tender that Jeffries and he get together to determine the details of the match. However, Jeffries was due to take a steamer to Europe, and there was a worry that the two fighters would not be able to meet before the sailing.

As it turns out, the two did miss each other. Jeffries reportedly waited until the last possible minute in New York, expecting Johnson to arrive at the last minute. What he didn't know (and neither did Herriman) was that Johnson had landed in a jail cell in London Ontario, charged with reckless driving after a car accident.


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Friday, June 15, 2018


Wish You Were Here, from Grace Drayton

Grace Drayton did a series of postcards for the firm of Reinthal & Newman, apparently in 1908 though this card is undated. It is a divided back card, and she used her married name of Weiderseim so that year certainly qualifies. This particular card is #177.

These cards by Drayton show a surprisingly pungent sense of humor (this one being my favorite of those I've seen). She is sometimes derided for the cloying sweetness of the Campbell Kids, forgetting that she was very much capable of less cutesy work.


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Thursday, June 14, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: Marvelous Fun and Games

Although Marvelous Fun and Games doesn't technically fall within the purview of Stripper's Guide (our bylaws, written by yours truly, exempt me from tracking activity features), two things make me give this one admittance onto our exclusive premises.

First, it is a Marvel Comics production, and so therefore of presumed interest to many collectors, and second, because this feature was created by Owen McCarron, a native and favorite son of Nova Scotia Canada, my newly adopted home. McCarron produced puzzles for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, and also did quite a bit of comic book work, often for Marvel Comics. McCarron was pals with Stan Lee, and talked him into the idea of combining his puzzle mania with Marvel's characters. The results would become the syndicated Sunday series Marvelous Fun and Games and the comic book series Marvel Fun and Games.

Not being a Marvel comics expert, I don't know if McCarron drew all the material for these features or if a lot of it came from model sheets. If McCarron produced it all, I have to say he was astoundingly good at staying 'on-model' for everyone in Marvel's cast of thousands. The puzzles and games in the feature were somewhat pedestrian, but they were obviously intended for a pretty young audience and were simplified to fit that demographic.

Marvelous Fun and Games was syndicated by Register & Tribune Syndicate to a fairly modest number of client newspapers. It debuted on September 10 1978*, and ended on November 16 1980* -- an end date that is pretty well certain because it literally has "FINAL WEEK" lettered on it!

* American Comic Book Chronicles:The 1970s by Jason Sacks and Keith Dallas
* from my files; tearsheet from an unknown newspaper


Man, I loved Owen McCarron's stuff. It was obvious he was an artist who really knew puzzles and Marvel history in equal measure, and as a big fan of both I was very impressed with his work. There were also a number of activity books of his Marvel puzzles which are a terrific find if you can locate them. It's a shame Owen's no longer with us.
Yeah, this looks like all Owen's work.
He was very good at what he did.
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Wednesday, June 13, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Claude Shafer

Winfred Claude Shafer was born in Little Hocking, Ohio, on January 7, 1878, according to a passport application, World War II draft card and Who Was Who in American Art 1564–1975 (1999). However, the Ohio Birth and Christening Index, at, said Shafer was born in Belpre, Ohio, which is 8 miles/12.9 kilometers west of Little Hocking. The index also had Shafer’s full name. An family tree said his parents were Henry W. Shaffer and Susan Lovisa Davis.

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census recorded Shafer, his parents and younger brother Francis in Parkersburg, West Virginia on Labrobe Street. The Cincinnati Post (Ohio), March 16, 1914, revealed some details about Shafer’s childhood, education and art training.

…At a very tender age Claude displayed signs of the drawing talent that has since won him recognition.

That boy was always a drawer. He took his parents by the hand and drew them from the family homestead, in Washington-co., near Little Hocking, O., Cincinnati.

He was then 4.

He has been drawing, here and there, ever since—salaries, and raises, and attention. And, of course, cartoons.

Well, to get back—one of the early achievements of young Claude in Cincinnati was to become a newspaper seller. You may recall him, darting about Peebles Corner, crying his wares—The Post.

At the age of 9, he entered art school. He was the youngest pupil. The teachers in the public schools paid his tuition because they recognized his ability, and wanted yto see it developed.

He attended the art school four years. After that he had to go to work. It was then he got the job as messenger boy. Then he entered the brick yard. Finally he was employed in a jewelry store, in the Arcade. he remained nine years.

…He has been a wage-earner since he was 13. And we forgot to mention that for five years, during which he grubbed during the day, he went to art school at night.
Cincinnati Curiosities said Shafer attended the Cincinnati Art Academy and his father died of cholera in 1892. Shafer’s passport application said his father died August 28, 1893.

The 1900 census said jewelry clerk Shafer was a Cincinnati resident. He and brothers Walter, Cleveland, Harry were in their mother’s household at 4120 Eastern Avenue.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Shafer produced the strip Old Man Grump, for the Cincinnati Enquirer, starting July 14, 1908.

Newspaper cartoonist Shafer, wife Kitty and mother-in-law Kate Wiederecht resided at 3626 Columbia Avenue in Cincinnati according to the 1910 census. The 1930 census said Shafer was 25 when he married.

Shafer illustrated a number of books including Dorothy (1906), Bill Johnston’s Joy-Book (1922) and the cover of Humor Among the Minors: True Tales from the Baseball Bush (1911).

Moving Picture World, December 1, 1917, said Universal Current Events, filmed 39 cartoonists, including Shafer. 

During World War I Shafer traveled to England and France. Attached to the passport application was a brief letter, dated July 17, 1918, from the War Department’s Office of the Chief of Staff, that said: “The War Department has no objection to Shafer, Claude of 1129 Delta Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio being sent for duty with the A. E. F., in connection with YMCA.”

Pennsylvania in the World War: An Illustrated History of the Twenty-eighth Division, Volume 2 (1921) published a photograph of Shafer entertaining the troops.

Shafer signed his draft card October 20, 1918. The Cincinnati Post cartoonist was described as short and stout with brown eyes and hair. One of Shafer’s war cartoons appeared in Association Men, January 1919. Two Shafer cartoons were included in the book, The War in Cartoons, A History of the War in 100 Cartoons by 27 of the Most Prominent American Cartoonists (1919), here and here.

Shafer’s address and household was unchanged in the 1920 census. According to American Newspaper Comics, Shafer drew The Doodlebugs for the George Matthews Adams Service, from 1923 to 1928.

Shafer and his wife returned from Europe on August 25, 1929. Aboard the S.S. Carmania, they departed from Havre, France on August 17. The couple’s address on the passenger list was 1232 Paxton Road, Cincinnati. The same address was in the 1930 and 1940 censuses and Shafer’s World War II draft card.

Claude Shafer’s Cartoon Guide of Ohio was published in 1939. Included with the book was a cartoon map of Ohio which can be viewed here.

Shafer passed away May 24, 1962, in Cincinnati. Several newspapers, including the New York Times, published the Associated Press report the following day.

Claude Shafer, cartoonist for Cincinnati newspapers for fifty-five years, died today at his home in the Hyde Park section. He was 84 years old.

Mr. Shafer went to work for The Cincinnati Times-Star in 1901. He moved to The Post the same year and worked briefly for The Enquirer twenty-five years later before returning to The Times-Star in 1926. He retired in 1956.

One of his most widely known cartoon characters was Old Man Crump [sic].

—Alex Jay


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Tuesday, June 12, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: The Doodlebugs

Claude Shafer was a longtime sports cartoonist for various Cincinnati papers, serving for over fifty years in total from the early 1900s to well into the 1950s. He created a mascot character for his sports cartoons called Old Man Grump, and tried to take that character into syndication as a comic strip in the late 1910s with no success. He later tried again with The Doodlebugs, and that was modestly popular enough to last for quite awhile.

The Doodlebugs was one of those 'panorama' cartoons that seemed to find an appreciative audience back in the day. Shafer's page-wide panoramas featured a cast of bugs and woodland creatures. Some of the bugs were of identifiable types, but most were Play-Doh blobs. The weekly cartoons typically had a seasonal or holiday theme, and the whole large cast would show up to toss off one-liners.

The feature was syndicated by the George Matthew Adams Service starting on July 29 1923* with an episode in which the bugs 'hatch out', and it was marketed as the main graphic attraction on a boys-and-girls page meant for a paper's black-and-white Sunday feature section. As far as I know The Doodlebugs was never offered or used in color comics sections. Although I offer the 1923 date as the start, I found a piece of original art at Heritage Auctions that had a note on it to appear on a Sunday date in 1918 (the note seems just slightly suspicious as a possible later addition), so it could be that Shafer produced the feature for a Cincinnati paper for a long time before it comes onto my radar.

The feature is hard to track because it did not merit its own listing in the E&P yearbooks; only the whole kids' page was listed. It seems like the Boys and Girls Page may have moved from George Matthew Adams to Associated Editors in 1927, but that is unclear. What is clear is that about this time the page started rerunning old episodes of the feature. Whether Shafer was personally involved with the feature after this, or if GMA sold off their inventory and someone in the Associated Editors offices chose the episodes to re-use I do not know. All I can say is that I have examples of the feature running as late as 1931*.

* Ft. Wayne Journal-Gazette
* New Orleans Times-Picayune


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Monday, June 11, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Johnny Devlin

John Daniel “Johnny” Devlin was born in Brooklyn, New York, on March 10, 1906, according to the New York, New York, Birth Index at His full name was published in a newspaper.

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census said Devlin was the youngest of four children born to James, an English emigrant and baker, and Sarah, a Scottish emigrant. The family lived in Brooklyn at 8 Hicks Street.

In the 1915 New York state census, the Devlins resided at 6 Poplar in Brooklyn. Devlin’s father was a shipping clerk.

According to the 1920 census, the Devlin family were residents of Richmond Hill, Queens, New York, at 115 Mills Street.

Newspaper artist Devlin and his parents, in the 1930 census, made their home in Freeport, Nassau County, New York at 68 West Seaman Avenue. The same address was recorded on a May 1931 passenger list when Devlin visited Bermuda.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Devlin ghosted Milt Gross’s Looy Dot Dope early in its run which began in 1925. Devlin created the Looy Dot Dope topper Colonel Wowser for United Features Syndicate. For the Frank Jay Markey Syndicate, Devlin drew Honey Dear that ran from December 6, 1937 to August 27, 1938. Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said Devlin assisted Rube Goldberg.

The Quality Companion: Celebrating the Forgotten Publisher of Plastic Man and the Freedom Fighters (2012) explained Devlin’s role with Goldberg.

[Publisher] Busy Arnold had arranged for his book to be filled, printed and distributed, but he still needed an editor to run the outfit and to maintain its…quality. Arnold had become good friends with the popular cartoonist Rube Goldberg and Busy credited the artist with helping him put together the first issues of Feature Funnies. Rube’s assistant, Johnny Devlin, edited the first few issues, but Rube had just begun “Lala Palooza” and he couldn’t spare Johnny for more that a few days each month….
Devlin’s comic book credits are at the Grand Comics Database.

The Nassau Daily Review (New York), December 18, 1934, published marriage license notices including Devlin’s: “John Daniel Devlin, 28, of 68 West Seaman avenue, Freeport, and Miss Margaret Mary Bice, 38, of the Nautilus beach club, Atlantic Beach.”

The 1940 census recorded newspaper cartoonist Devlin, his wife and daughter, Diane, in Brooklyn at 850 Lincoln Place. Devlin had four years of high school.

Devlin passed away April 1, 1942. An obituary appeared two days later in the Brooklyn Eagle

The funeral of John D. Devlin, 36, artist and cartoonist, of 62-14 18th St., Elmhurst, who died Wednesday after a brief illness, will be held at 9:30 am. tomorrow from the chapel at 38 Lafayette Ave.; thence to the R.C. Church of the Ascension in Elmhurst, for a final blessing.

Mr. Devlin formerly was a cartoonist on the old New York World and later drew the comic strip “Looy Dot Dope” for United Features Syndicate. Lately he had been associated with Rube Goldberg. He also drew for comic magazines.

Mr. Devlin is survived by his widow, Margaret Rice Devlin; two daughters. Diane and Mary Jane; his parents, James and Sarah Devlln; a brother, James, and two sisters, Mrs. George Thorne and Mrs. Frank Goonan.

—Alex Jay


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Saturday, June 09, 2018


Herriman Saturday

August 3 1909 -- Jim Jeffries has posted a 'forfeit deposit' of $5000 to basically guarantee that he is willing to fight Jack Johnson, and Jack Johnson has just replied with the same deposit. His, however, adds a stipulation that Jeffries must meet Johnson outside of the ring in the very near future to make specific plans for the location and details of the match. Both fighters have hectic schedules already and there is talk that they can't possibly meet within the specified period.


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Friday, June 08, 2018


Wish You Were Here, from Dwig

This Dwig postcard is from Tuck's Series #165, "Knocks Witty and Wise". There is lovely gold embossing on the frame of the card, which doesn't scan at all well unfortunately. I guess the fellow is meant to be a doctor, but his operating tools certainly don't inspire my confidence in his 'trimming' abilities.


The Tuck cards were considered the Cadillac of post card publishers, or as they were British, the Rolls-Royce. They were always on a better grade of stock, printed in high quality colors and had a lithograph look to them. The embossed frame is a typical extra touch.
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Thursday, June 07, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: Pink Panther

The heyday of making comic strip spin-offs of licensed characters was long gone by the 2000s, but a trickle of them continued. One that tested the waters was the Pink Panther. The character originated in an unusual way, as the animated intro to the 1963 movie The Pink Panther, starring Peter Sellers as the hilariously inept police detective, Inspector Clouseau. The Pink Panther was actually the name of the diamond that figured in the plot of the movie, but was visualized as an actual pink panther in the animated title sequence.

The movie was a big hit, and the animated character migrated to a series of theatrical shorts, and then to a successful Saturday morning cartoon series. The Saturday morning cartoons were very popular ion the 1970s, but by the end of the decade interest had pretty much run its course. A few attempts were made to revive the franchise with lukewarm success. The character remained alive in the popular imagination primarily as a series of TV ads for an insulation company.

Eric and Bill Teitelbaum, creators of the long-running business cartoon Bottom-Liners, were fans of the Pink Panther animated cartoons, and helped spearhead a drive to bring the character to the newspaper comics page. The owners of the franchise worked with the Teitelbaum's syndicate, Tribune Media Services, to come up with a version that was a Sunday-only strip format (though it was generally a single-panel).

The feature debuted on May 29 2005* (as Pink Panther, not 'The') in a very small number of client papers. My guess is that this modest rollout had a couple reasons: first, the character was really only iconic to the 40-and-over crowd, and second, the feature frankly didn't recapture the surreal comedy magic of the old cartoons. The muddy computerized color looked terribly out of place, and the gags were often based on subjects totally foreign to the 'classic' character -- online dating, for example. I also wonder if younger feature editors might have seen the promo material and were mystified why a character that hawks Owens-Corning Fiberglass insulation would merit his own comic strip. Buy an ad if you want in the paper, Owens-Corning!

Eric and Bill gamely kept with the feature, but it never gained any traction. Finally after four years of a completely cold reception the strip was cancelled, last appearing on May 10 2009**.

* Source:
** Source:


Did they license the character? Or were they hired by whatever company now owns it? If the latter, conceivably the owners paid to keep it alive as part of a bigger revival plan.

I always wondered about "Robotman", which existed as a line of toys and what looked like the pilot for a TV series as well as the comic strip, which was totally unrelated to the toys and show. In time the strip evolved into "Monty", and the former title character made his exit in a "Star Trek" parody.
That's an interesting question, Donald, and I don't know the answer. I read and listened to several interviews with the Teitelbaums, and they did not discuss that point.

There were attempts to bring "Pink Panther" to newspapers back when the cartoons were still being made. I've seen a few samples they did as part of the pitch, and I think I still have a copy of one of them somewhere. For whatever reason, those didn't take off.
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Wednesday, June 06, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Frank Walter

Harold Frank “Jerry” Walter was born on November 25, 1915, in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, according to his Social Security application which was transcribed at The same birth information was reported in the Post-Star, November 9, 2007. However, the Social Security Death Index has Walter’s birth month as October which may have been a clerical or typographical error.

Walter has not been found in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. A search at has links to travel records in Brazil for Walter and his parents who may have been out of the country during the census enumeration.

The 1930 census recorded Walter and his parents, Pliney and Clara, in Westfield, New Jersey at 307 Hazel Avenue. His father was a planning engineer of telephone equipment.

The Post-Star said Walter “graduated from Colgate University in 1937, where he was a member of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity. He also studied at the New School and at the Art Students League in New York City.”

According to the 1940 census, Walter was an advertising writer. He lived with his parents in Westfield, New Jersey at 731 Coleman Place. The Post-Star said Walter was “a copywriter at J. Walter Thompson, at McCann-Erickson and at BBDO.”

The New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, at, includes a “Harold F. Walter” who married “Ethelynde Stimpson” on October 2, 1940 in New York City.

The Evening News (North Tonawanda, New York), July 3, 1953, said “…Married shortly before Pearl Harbor, the Walters worked for an advertising agency before Mr. Walters [sic] became a navigator for the Atlantic Transport Command….”

The Post-Star said Walter “served for three years in World War II, as a 1st lieutenant, where he was a navigator in the Army Air Transport Command, stationed in Washington, D.C.”

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Walter and his wife produced Susie Q. Smith, which started as a panel in 1945 with the King Features Syndicate. The McNaught Syndicate continued the series as a strip on February 9, 1953. It ended November 28, 1959. The series was bylined “Jerry and Linda Walter”. The couple created Jellybean Jones for King Features which syndicated it from March 4, 1946 to 1949. The panel was credited to “Frank Walter”. For Newsday Specials, the Walters did The Lively Ones which debuted May 17, 1965 and ran into 1966.

Evening News 7/3/1953; Jerry and Linda working on Susie Q. Smith

In 1950 Walter illustrated an educational workbook.

The Post-Star said Walter wrote gags for stand-up comedians, and exhibited his abstract paintings at the Chase Gallery in New York City. Walter’s memberships include the “Cartoonist Society, Glens Falls Country Club, Hyde Collection, the Lake George Art Project, Southern Vermont Art Association in Manchester, Vt., the Society of Chambers in Woodstock, N.Y., Woodstock Art Museum and Woodstock Golf Club.”

At some point Walter and Linda divorced. Walter remarried to Clarice O’Hara.

Walter passed away November 7, 2007, in Glens Falls, New York. Walter was laid to rest at Pine View Cemetery

Further Reading
Post-Star, May 9, 2011
Cartoonist who left millions to charity moved to Queensbury from Woodstock

Daily Gazette, July 29, 2011
Queensbury cartoonist’s paintings to be auctioned

—Alex Jay


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Tuesday, June 05, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Linda Walter

Information about Linda Walter is scarce. What is known about her comes from several newspaper and magazine mentions.

Two 1942 issues of New Horizons named her. 

Page 42: Most appropriate reference was a cartoon drawn for The Saturday Evening Post by Linda Walter, whose caption pointed up the air-mindedness of the younger generation (see cut).

Page 70: Last month on page 10, New Horizons proudly displayed Linda Walter’s becoming cartoon reprinted from one of the Saturday Evening Post's April, ’42 issues. The cartoon depicted three youthful figures, one of whom is saying to the others: “Mayflower—Phooey…our uncle came over on the Clipper!”
Linda and her husband Jerry were Woodstock, New York residents. Linda was mentioned and pictured in the Kingston Daily Freeman (New York), July 16, 1947, “…Linda Walter, Woodstock, who, with her husband, Jerry Walter produces the widely-distributed cartoon series, Susie Q. Smith…”

Kingston Daily Freeman, June 23, 1948, reported the opening at the Woodstock Playhouse and said “The group exhibition by Woodstock’s cartoonists created much interest. Those represented in the in the lobby of the Playhouse are John H. Streibel, creator of the Dixie Dugan strip. Carl Hubbell, Jerry and Linda Walter; Jay Allan. David B. Huffine, and Edmund Good. Good formerly did Scorchy Smith, the Associated Press strip, but is now known for Breeze Lawson in the Sky Sheriff.”

Kingston Daily Freeman, June 11, 1951, noted “Expressions of appreciation were given to Mrs. Linda Walter, who has been teaching dancing and ballroom deportment at the school…”

Kingston Daily Freeman, September 26, 1951, said “At the recent annual meeting of the Woodstock Guild of Craftsmen the following officers for the coming year were elected: …Anita Stallforth and Linda Walter, house committee…”

The Kingston Daily Freeman, December 20, 1951, publicized the upcoming exhibit.

Illustrators’ Exhibit Is Scheduled Friday
Woodstock, Dec. 20—An Illustrators’ Exhibit will open Friday, Dec. 21, at the S S Sea Horse, with a reception from 6 to 8 p. m. Hot hors d’oeuvres will be served by C. J. McCarthy. The paintings, drawings and sketches of the following illustrators will be shown: Ethel Adams, Jay Allen, Charles W. Chambers, Heine Drucklieb, Harvey Emerich, Anton Otto Fischer, George Green, Gerald Green, Karl Hubbell. Dave Huffine, William H. MacReady, C. J. McCarthy, John McClellan, Joseph Morgan, John Pike, Pamela Ravenel, John Striebel, Dudley G. Summers, Harry Temple, Mark Von Arenberg and Jerry and Linda Walter.
The Kingston Daily Freeman, August 18, 1954, reported the benefit for the Woodstock Recreation Field. One paragraph included the following.
Silk Screen Tags
A colorful feature of the carnival will be the silk screened admission tags, designed by 18 famous artists, autographed and available for 25 cents apiece. Each one a collector’s item, entire sets may be purchased. The artists who are now working on the tags are as follows: James Turnbull, Howard Mandel, John Pike, Edmond Good, Karl [sic] Hubbell, Anton Refregier, Linda Walter, Dave Hufflne, Ethel Magafan, Edward Chavez, Miska Petersham, Lucil Blanch, Phoebe Towbin, Marianne Appel Mecklem, Reginald Wilson, Jay Allen, Edward L. Chase and John Striebel.
The Evening News (North Tonawanda, New York), July 3, 1953, announced the addition of Susie Q. Smith to its comics page and said about the creators:
Jerry and Linda Walter are an attractive young couple who can pinch-hit for each other in turning out the feature. Jerry normally dreams up the gags and Linda does the art work, but they can switch about when the occasion demands.

Married shortly before Pearl Harbor, the Walters worked for an advertising agency before Mr. Walters [sic] became a navigator for the Atlantic Transport Command. After the war, they dreamed up Susie and have had a highly popular gal on their hands ever since.

Jerry and Linda working on Susie Q. Smith

At the New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes recorded the issuance of a license to “Ethelynde Stimpson” and “Harold F. Walter” on October 2, 1940. (Jerry’s birth name was Harold Frank Walter.) Ethelynde could be Linda. Looking at census records, Ethelynde was born around 1918 in New Jersey and her parents were William and Ethelynde. They lived in New Castle, Westchester County, New York in 1920. The 1930 and 1940 censuses said Ethelynde resided in Cranford, Union County, New Jersey. According to the 1940 census, Ethelynde was a secretary at a welding and metal company.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Linda and Jerry 
(under the name Frank Walter) also created Jellybean Jones for King Features Syndicate and The Lively Ones for Newsday Specials.

The Times-Union, (Albany, New York), December 8, 2017, published the article “Woodstock Artists Cemetery good place to ponder art's power” which said in part, “…Look over there—the gravestone for Ethel Magafan Currie, American landscape painter. And there—actor Joseph Leon, Dr. Blackstock from "Sophie's Choice." And another—poet and cartoonist Linda Walter, who created “Susie Q. Smith” with her husband, Jerry….”

The Social Security Death has a “Linda Walter” who was born January 18, 1918 and died March 28, 2009. Her last known residence was Lake Hill, Ulster County, New York, which is about fives miles/8 kilometers west of Woodstock.

—Alex Jay


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Monday, June 04, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: Susie Q. Smith

We've discussed the Walters, the dynamic married cartooning duo, before here on Stripper's Guide. Both Jellybean Jones and The Lively Ones failed to make any impression at all on newspaper readers, but Susie Q. Smith, their most successful outing, actually did pretty well -- it is only an obscurity in that it has fallen off the cultural radar completely since its demise.

The Linda and Jerry Walter trilogy of syndicated features forms a neat triptych -- one about a little kid, one about a teenager, and one about senior citizens. Somehow the Walters failed only to hit on that middle part of life, adulthood.  The other interesting commonality is that all three features were daily panels (to which a glance immediately upward on this page would seem to disagree, but bear with me).

Susie Q. Smith, whose title was often abbreviated by lazy typesetters as just Susie Q, debuted with King Features on the first day of 1945, and garnered enough clients to be considered at least a modest success. The panel about a teenage girl hit all the familiar hot buttons -- dating, school, dealing with parents and siblings. What set it apart, at least slightly, was that it was unusually frank about Susie's romantic life. Susie and her pals are often depicted in the midst of communal make-out sessions, something you'd rarely if ever see in the typically modest teenage features like Harold Teen, Aggie Mack and the like. For some reason the newspaper comics page could not rise to the level of frankness of popular movies and radio shows, and teens in the newspaper were, other than Susie, almost embarrassingly unsexual.

In a very odd turn of events, in 1953 the Walters chose to leave King Features behind and hitch their wagon at the McNaught Syndicate. (King is notoriously lax about cancelling underperforming features, so I'd be surprised if the axe came down -- I'm convinced it was the Walters who made the move.) Rejecting the sales powerhouse of Hearst for the comparatively sleepy environs of McNaught seems strange, but the Walters shook things up in an even more unusual way by changing their daily panel into a comic strip at the same time. The combination of a new syndicate and a new format actually seemed to click with newspaper editors. The feature added clients and became more visible  in the next few years than at any other time in its history. Unfortunately for the Walters the honeymoon didn't last and clients began to fall away. Perhaps the juggernaut of the Archie strip, which tread the same ground but with considerably more pizazz, was too much competition. Susie Q. Smith was cancelled on November 28 1959


How common is it for a comic to switch from a panel format to strip format?

The only other example I can think of is "Andy Capp", although by the time the comic made it to the US papers it switched to strip format.
It's a pretty darn rare event, Charles. I have no simple way of looking that information up in my database, but I'd lay odds that if we limit our data set to normal syndicated features, the number would be in single digits.

Just checked "Walt before Skeezix" and noted that "Gasoline Alley" started as a panel and quickly began flip-flopping between panel and strip.

Also, it seems the majority of panels turn to strips on Sundays (a handful would do a few unrelated gags to offer a flexible format).
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Saturday, June 02, 2018


Herriman Saturday

July 16 1909 -- In Herriman's latest "Guess Who?", the roastee is Battling Nelson. He lost a bout against Ad Wolgast a few days back, and there are unfounded rumors that he's to be married. Apparently this future wedded bliss will include a decidely "krazy" looking kat in the household.

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Friday, June 01, 2018


Wish You Were Here, from Walter Wellman

Walter Wellman did a whole series of "Need a Doctor? Try Dan Cupid, M.D." postcards in 1908. This one is #1059. In each one little Dan Cupid prescribes a solution for romantic troubles of various sorts.


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Tuesday, May 29, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Fred Richardson

Detail of Walter Marshall Clute’s drawing of Richardson
which was exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago

Frederick “Fred” Richardson was born in Chicago, Illinois, on October 26, 1862. His birth information was found in several books: American Statesman (1907), Herringshaw’s National Library of American Biography, Volume V (1914), Who Was Who in American History, Arts and Letters, Volume 3 (1975), and Who’s Who in America 1908–1909.

In the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, Richardson was the youngest of two sons born to William and Belinda. His father was a “pork & beef packer”. Richardson has not yet been found in the 1880 census.

Who’s Who in America said Richardson’s education was in St. Louis, Missouri, and his art training at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts, and the Academie Julian, in Paris, France. The American Art Annual, Volume III (1900) said he was a pupil of Henri Lucien Doucet and Jules Joseph Lefebvre, in Paris. His painted work was exhibited in the Paris Salon, 1889.

The 1885 Lakeside Annual Directory of the City of Chicago listed Richardson at 174 West Jackson. Around 1885 Richardson resided in Kansas City, Missouri, according to the Philadelphia Times, July 10, 1887. 

“I have been in Kansas City about two years, and the arts have made tremendous strides in that time. When I went there the people hardly knew the difference between a water color and a grease spot, but now they can tell a Mysonyay from a Raphael or a modern school from an old master with their eyes shut. There are in Kansas City about fifteen artists and all are doing a rattling business. One of the queer things about the town is that the people will not patronize a studio. An artist must have an atalyay [atelier] if he wants to do business. A studio may be all right enough for [?] Joseph and Leavenworth and liberty, but nothing short of an atalyay [atelier] will catch on in Kansas City.”
Kansas City, Missouri: Its History and Its People 1808–1908, Volume 1, also mentioned Richardson’s presence:
About 1885, a group of artists who had rooms in the Deardorf building on the southeast corner of Eleventh and Main streets, at that time the studio quarters for the city, furnished the impulse which led to the earliest art organization. Mr. Fred Richardson, long connected with the Fine Arts Institute of Chicago, suggested the formation of a sketch club to consist of laymen and artists, meeting from house to house, to talk over art matters in general, and to judge pictures made by the members, in illustration of a subject previously given out….
The Kansas City Times (Missouri), November 21, 1886, noted the Sketch Club meeting, “The first regular meeting of the second year of the sketch club was held last Thursday evening. Mr. Fred Richardson was host and the subject ‘Bohemian Life.’”
The Midland Monthly Magazine, 11/1895; drawing
of Fred Richardson and William Schmedtgen

According to Who’s Who in America, Richardson was on staff of the Chicago Daily News for 15 years, and was an instructor at the Art Institute for seven years. 

Richardson’s drawings appeared in the March, April and May 1896 issues of The Chap-Book. Richardson was praised in the Inland Printer, November 1897.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Richardson produced two series for the Chicago Daily News. First was a full-page of comics, on various subjects, that ran from January 2, 1897–November 2, 1901. Next was Captain John Smith and Pocahontas Come to Life that ran from August 5 to September 17, 1907.
On January 2, 1897 Richardson married Josephine Welles in Chicago, according to the Cook County, Illinois Marriages Index at

Richardson was profiled in Brush and Pencil, March 1898. The Book of Drawings by Fred Richardson, published in 1899, was a selection of his work for the Chicago Daily News.

Artist Richardson, his wife, two sons, mother and a servant lived in Park Ridge, Illinois, as recorded in the 1900 census.

The Inland Printer, May 1901, said the composition classes at the Art Institute of Chicago were under Richardson’s direction.

In 1903 Richardson moved to New York City according to the New York Times, January 16, 1937. The 1905 New York state census said Richardson was a resident of Eastchester in Westchester County.

Richardson illustrated L. Frank Baum’s Queen Zixi of Ix which was serialized in St. Nicholas magazine beginning November 1904.

In 1906 Richardson’s illustrated column “Easy Lessons in Drawing” appeared in newspapers including the Willmar Tribune (Minnesota). Some of Richardson’s drawings were showcased in The Studio, January 15, 1906.

Who’s Who in America said he resided, in 1908, in Tuckahoe, New York.

Richardson was on the faculty of the W. Martin Johnson School of Art in New York City.

According to the 1910 census, Richardson was a widower in Illinois, Maine Township, Village of Park Ridge, on Grant Place.

The Inland Printer, January 1910, featured Richardson’s art in the article “The Art of Fable-Making”. Richardson illustrated the Volland Edition of Mother Goose

American Art Annual, Volume XIV (1918) had this entry for Richardson.

Richardson, Frederick, Century Assoc., 7 West 43d St., New York, N.Y.; Cliff Dwellers, Chicago.
I., P., T.—Born Chicago, Ill., Oct. 26, 1862. Pupil of St. Louis School of Fine Arts; Doucet and Lefebvre in Paris. Member: Century Assoc.; SI 1905.
Richardson has not yet been found in the 1920 census. Richardson was recorded in the 1925 New York state census. He resided in Bedford, Westchester County on Cherry Street.

The 1930 census said Richardson, his son, David, and housekeeper were in Lewisboro, Westchester County, New York on Spring Street.

The New York Times, July 17, 1936, said David died of a heart attack, at home in Bedford, on the 16th.

Richardson passed away January 15, 1937, in New York City. The following day his death was reported in the New York Times which said he had suffered from pneumonia and died at the Regent Nursing Home. He lived at 7 West 43rd Street. Richardson was a member of the American Federation of Arts and the Society of Illustrators, the Cliff Dwellers Club in Chicago, and the Century and MacDowell Clubs of New York. He was survived by his son, Alan Barbour Richardson, of 108 West 43rd Street. Richardson was laid to rest at Graceland Cemetery.

—Alex Jay


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Monday, May 28, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: Our Fascinating Earth

Robert Ripley sure did start something with Believe It or Not, and a favorite Ripley-style panel variant was to concentrate on interesting tidbits about the natural world. William Ferguson's This Curious World is the undisputed king of the sub-genre, but long after he retired, Philip Seff decided to take a whack at it with Our Fascinating Earth.

Seff did not really start out well by placing his new panel cartoon with Copley News Service, which  had near-zero success in selling their comics and panels to newspaper clients. Our Fascinating Earth was further hobbled by starting out as a thrice weekly feature (editors hate having to figure what plugs that spot in the other three issues each week).

The panel seems to have first appeared in October 1977. The art was initially supplied by John Petri Brownfield, a friend of Seff's, who chose to go by just 'John Petri' in the panel's credits. Brownfield didn't stick around for very long, and was replaced by David Baer II in July 1978. Baer seems to have been up for more work, because it was about this time that the panel frequency was increased to five times per week.

Seff and Baer were undoubtedly chafing at Copley's ineffective marketing of their feature, and in August 1979 they were able to sign a contract with a true big-time syndicate, Field Enterprises. At this time the panel graduated to a 6-times per week daily. Field also advertised a new Sunday version of the panel, but the offering doesn't seem to have been successful, as I've never seen a Sunday from the Field Enterprises stint.

Our Fascinating Earth only lasted for about two years with Field, and its next stop was a giant step down, to Syndicated Newspaper Service. This transition seems to have occurred around July 1981.Surprisingly, the panel actually seemed to gain clients with this new hole-in-the-wall syndicate. In fact, at the beginning of 1983, the panel actually gained a Sunday version that ran in several high-profile papers. Strangely, though, it only lasted a few months (at least that I can track). I can only find it running from January 10 to February 21. In a weird timeline, Our Fascinating Earth changed to a self-syndicated daily feature on February 1 1982, almost a year before the feature's former syndicate marketed that Sunday strip version. 

In May 1983, David Baer II left the strip and was replaced by Mel Chadwick, who was a principal in the design firm of Smith, Chadwick and Wellons. Three years later his partner, Chuck Wellons, would begin sharing credit for the art. It is unknown what the division of duties was, but they were definitely not above getting anonymous help. In a 1983 interview, Pam Densmore said that she contributed eight panels per month of the workload at that time.

With Seff, Chadwick and Wellons at the helm, Our Fascinating Earth proceeded smoothly year after year with a small client list until 2005. A few reprint books were published in the 1990s, and a website for the feature seemed to promise live-action educational videos and other products to come. Those plans probably dissolved in 2005 when Seff's wife Nancy passed away. She had shared credit on the reprint books, but not on the panels themselves. Philip Seff died in 2016 at age 92, having succeeded admirably in one of the toughest gigs around -- successfully self-syndicating a newspaper feature.


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