Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Arnold L. Hicks

Arnold Lorne Hicks was born on April 24, 1888, in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. The birth date is from his World War II draft card and the Social Security Death Index. The birthplace was recorded on 1915 and 1939 border crossing manifests.  

In the 1901 Census of Canada, twelve-year-old Hicks was the third of seven children born to Gilbert and Alice. His father was a carriage maker. The family resided in Moncton. 

On April 19, 1907, Hicks married Jennie R. McLeod in Moncton. 

The 1911 Census of Canada recorded Hicks, his wife, and two sons, Clarence and Walter, in Montreal at 73 Mitcheson. The self-employed artist worked in the printing industry.

In February 1915, sign painter Hicks crossed the border at Rouses Point, New York on his way to New York City to visit his friend, Edward Patterson at 69 Amsterdam Avenue, according to a passenger manifest at

Hicks’ third place poster design was printed in a 1916 issue of The Poster

On November 15, 1919, Hicks crossed the border at Port Huron, Michigan. The artist was headed for Chicago. 

The 1920 United States Census counted Hicks as an advertising artist who roomed at 636 Buckingham Place. 

An advertisement illustrated by Hicks appeared in Fort Dearborn Magazine, November 1922. 

Printers’ Ink, June 14, 1923, reported Hicks’ staff job. 
Harry C. Maley Company Augments Staff
William C. Faul, William E. Prickett, and Arnold Lorne Hicks have joined the Harry C. Maley Company, Chicago advertising agency. Mr. Faul, who will be art director, was formerly with the Ethridge Company, and the Wm. H. Rankin Company. Mr. Prickett, formerly with Critchfield & Company, Chicago advertising agency, becomes an account executive. Mr. Hicks joins the art staff. 
Hicks’ illustrations appeared on the covers of California Safety News, September 1924 and The Insurance Field, April 16, 1925. He was the artist of the Monarch Coffee advertisement published in The Saturday Evening Post, November 28, 1925. 

Hicks explained how to make scooter and fire engine in Child Life, November 1925. 

At some point, Hicks was granted a divorce. He remarried to Esther Marion Ames in 1927. Earlier in 1924, Hicks illustrated her book, Tinker Town Tom. She also worked at Child Life magazine. Later, he illustrated her 1929 book, Twistum Tales

The couple was counted as Yonkers, New York residents in the 1930 census. Their address was 710 Warburton Avenue. Hicks was a commercial artist and his wife an advertising magazine manager. 

He illustrated his wife’s 1932 book, Patsy for KeepsThe American Girl, September 1932, featured Hicks’ painting on its cover. He also contributed covers to several pulp magazines during the 1930s. 

According to the 1940 census, Hicks, his wife and mother-in-law lived in Mount Vernon, New York at 590 East Third Street. He was a lithograph artist. In this decade, Hicks also found work in comics

Hicks signed his World War II draft card on April 26, 1942. The freelance artist’s address was unchanged. His description was five feet five inches, 150 pounds, with brown eyes and hair. 

Editor and Publisher, March 1, 1947, announced the launch of the New York Post Syndicate’s Illustrated Classics series which was produced by the Gilberton Company. Hicks was one of four artists named. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said James Fenimore Cooper’s The Spy was drawn by Hicks and ran from July 20 to August 10, 1947. The comic book version was published in 1948. Harry Glickman and Hicks adapted George Eliot’s Silas Marner which started on November 9 and ended November 30, 1947. The comic book was published in 1949. 

The Knickerbocker News (Albany, New York), August 1, 1947, reported Hicks’ promotion. 
Art Director Named by Advertising Agency
Appointment of Arnold L. Hicks as art director of Nolan and Twitchell Advertising Agency, Albany, was announced today by Paul S. Twitchell, president.

Mr. Hicks has done advertising art work for Wilson Sporting Goods, New York Telephone, Westinghouse and Gillette Razor companies and was commissioned by the Federal Government to paint a series of murals on the U.S. postal system.
His promotion was an item in Advertising Age, August 4, 1947. 

The Chatham Courier, July 8, 1948, reported Hicks’ award. 
East Chatham Artist Takes Popular Award in Albany Art Show
Arnold L. Hicks, well known East Chatham artist, captured the popular award in the fourth annual “Greenwich Village” art exhibit held at Albany last week.

Mr. Hicks’ portrait of his granddaughter, Christy Nelson, age 8, was chosen by the public as the outstanding canvas at the exhibit.

Mr. and Mrs. Hicks have resided in East Chatham a little more than  a year. Their daughter is Mrs. Steve Nelson, also of East Chatham.
The 1950 census said Hicks and his wife were Chatham residents. He was employed at a commercial advertising agency. 

Hicks’ move was noted in the Chatham Courier, August 10, 1950. 
Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Hicks have sold their home on the Chatham-East Chatham road and have moved to Schodack.
The 1952 Albany, New York city directory listed Hicks as an art director at Nolan & Twichell Advertising Agency. He resided in Slingerlands, a hamlet in Bethlehem. 

Radio Daily-Television Daily, May 21, 1952, reported Hicks’ new job. 
Woodward & Voss, Inc., Albany ad agency announces appointment of David L. Sprung as account executive, Arnold Hicks as commercial artist and David Deporte as copy and layout specialist.
Hicks soon moved to Florida. The 1954 DeLand, Florida city directory listed him on Deerfoot Road. The artist worked for Exhibit Builders. 

Hicks passed away on November 1, 1970. He was laid to rest at DeLand Memorial Gardens

Further Reading
Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists


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Monday, March 20, 2023


Obscurity of the Day: Jennifer


The Christian Science Monitor had sort of a mini-golden age of comics in their staid pages during the 1940s. Well, maybe not quite gold, but at least high end aluminum foil. These were the years when Adventures of Waddles, The Bells, and other fine strips ran regularly there. Amid the many new features that came and went in this dcade was Jennifer, a strip (or sometimes panel) about a pig-tailed little girl who thinks rather grandly of herself.  As with most CSM strips, it wasn't a daily, but just ran a few times per week. It first appeared on November 25 1944 and ended July 26 1946. 

The strip is bylined to Isabelle Grover. I can find not a peep about her on the 'net. That might just be me not searching well enough, or that old single/married name bugaboo. Another possibility is that the creator used a pseudonym -- some artists who worked for the Christian Science Monitor felt it prudent to keep their real identity a secret rather than to be known for practicing Christian Science. 

UPDATE: Paul DiFilippo sends a short article from the Oakland Tribune, January 13 1948 with a mention of Isabelle Grover, so it was apparently not a pseudonym. Oddly it mentions her character Jennifer as if ythe feature is still running. Thanks Paul!


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Sunday, March 19, 2023


Wish You Were Here, from Grace Drayton


Here's card #500 from Reinthal & Newman, featuring a Drayton cherub who has a very healthy appetite. She's ready to chow down, so hop to it mom.


She reminds me of the old Campbell's Soup kids.
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Saturday, March 18, 2023


Herriman Saturday: May 20 1910


Halley's Comet is finally reaching the general environs of the Earth, and while some ordinary people are up in arms at the scary prospect, the scientists are happy to explain that everything is going according to predictions.


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Friday, March 17, 2023


Firsts and Lasts: The Final Spat of Mr. & Mrs.


Mister & Mrs. is a truly odd success story, a strip that survived for over forty years with essentially no fan base that I am aware of, or, for that matter, that I can imagine. 

The strip debuted in 1919, helmed at first by the great Clare Briggs. Mr. & Mrs. sure didn't have much of the touch of greatness that Briggs could impart, though. The strip was about a bickering couple, Joe and Vi Green, and was quite depressing in its horrifically negative view of marriage. The couple were constantly at each other's throats and honestly seemed to be just one more fight away from either divorce or even homicide. The regular tagline of the strip, in which the couple's young son meekly whispers to the adult combatants, "Papa love mama?", heartbreaking as it is, seems to say it all. 

Why would anyone want to read this? If the reader is unmarried, this strip is scary enough to make them swear off the institution. If happily married, it's a horror show of what could eventually be. If unhappily married, a confirmation that this is a perfectly normal situation, not one that will ever likely improve. 

But what do I know? People read and seem to love Andy Capp and The Lockhorns, which are more of the same. So perhaps there's some weird fascination, a "there but by the grace of God go I", that draws an appreciative audience. 

My guess is that Briggs had little to do with the Sunday strip; he probably took primarily a supervisory role once the ball was rolling. When he unexpectedly died in 1930 the strip was taken over by a series of lesser creators, without even the guidance of a brilliant manager. The new creators seemed content to continue the formula as long as the paychecks kept coming. 

The last creator was Kin Platt, whose work on the strip began as artist only, from scripts by Arthur Folwell, in 1948. Platt's work at the outset was marginally attractive, but by the mid-50s was looking so crude and slapdash that you might think he was a doddery octogenarian; he was actually just in his 40s. 

Folwell dropped out in 1957, and the daily strip (added after Briggs' death) was dropped in 1958, but Platt kept up the Sunday until September 22 1963. You might expect that Platt would have finally given readers what I'm sure they were hoping for all those years, a nice day in divorce court for Joe and Vi. But no, he elected to end the strip  with a breaking of the fourth wall episode, and some final bickering from Jo and Vi before they went forever back in the inkwell.


I recall seeing Kin Platt's names in 1960s cartoons, mostly a few Terrytoons (he wrote several episodes of "Deputy Dawg" for them), as well as Hanna-Barbera's "Top Cat". I didn't know he was a comic artist, too.
Mr. & Mrs. was invariably a miserable bore, always just wasting space a better strip might occupy. It seemed to be quite apropriate that it was the lead strip to the NY Herald-Tribune's boring comic section of their boring syndicate. Of course, I mean the late twenties to late forties era. In the 1950s, they really tried to turn things around, yet hung on to M&M, so the only reason possible was that it had to have a sizable fan base who wanted to see it no matter how bad it got.
Maybe marital strife fascinates some folks. Other people's, even make believe ones, social agony is quite interesting to the busybodies of the world, that's why there's soap operas. Unhappy couples seems to be niche comedy genré, look at The Bickersons or the Honeymooners.
Recalling Li'l Abner's "Jack Jawbreaker" story, reprinted near the end of this article about a Capp exhibit:

The article says it's Capp railing against the treatment of Superman's creators, but it's focused tightly on newspaper comics so inspiration was probably closer to home. The evil syndicator rips off strip creators at every turn, finally by selling it to newspapers cheap -- if they buy an expensive feature by his own mother.

Is it possible Mr. & Mrs. served a similar function, a property owned outright by the syndicate (or an executive) that had to be bought to get more popular titles? Did every paper that bought it print it?
There's at least one collection of Mr. and Mrs. out there, from the Briggs era: Whitman published it in 1922. I own a copy, and you can see the cover if you do a simple google search.
To DBEnson -- intriguing observation, but the NYHT didn't really have anything to use as a cudgel -- King Features they were most definitely not. Sad to think, but Mr & Mrs might well have been one of their most popular features. Guessing The Timid Soul Sundays/Webster dailies might have been their #1 seller in the 30s-40s, but Mr & Mrs was right up there.

To EOCostello -- yes, and of all the platinum books out there, the Mr. & Mrs. is the one most often seen in really nice clean condition (mine was practically mint). Almost as if no one bothered to crack 'em open more than once.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2023


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Harley Griffiths

Harley Morris Griffiths was born on June 25, 1908, in Brooklyn, New York, according to his transcribed birth certificate at and World War II draft card. His parents were Harley Bradley Griffiths and Mary Marquerite Mulcahy who lived on Carlton Avenue in Brooklyn. 

In the 1910 United States Census, Griffiths, his parents and three-month-old brother, Edgar, were Buffalo, New York residents at 166 Fourteenth Street. His father was a piano salesman. 

The 1915 New York state census recorded Griffiths, his parents and three siblings, Edgar, Gloria and Muriel, in Brooklyn at 137 Sixth Avenue. 

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, October 3, 1917, published a death notice for Griffith’s father. 
Griffiths—On October 3, 1917, Harley Bradley Griffiths, beloved husband of May Mulcahy Griffiths. Funeral from his late residence 28 St. Mark’s place, at the convenience of the family. Interment Cypress Hills Cemetery.
According to the 1920 census, Griffiths mother was head of the household that included her four children, brother, Thomas Mulcahy, and three sisters, Helen, Dorothy, Loretta. They lived in Brooklyn at 397 Flatbush Avenue.

In 1925 New York state census, the Griffiths family resided at 127 Sixth Avenue in Brooklyn. Griffiths’ mother was a telephone switchboard operator. 

The 1930 census said Griffiths was a designer who worked in manufacturing. He lived with his mother and two sisters in Brooklyn at 209 Underhill.

A death notice for Edgar Griffiths appeared in the Brooklyn Eagle, February 5, 1935.
Griffiths—On Sunday, Feb. 3, 1935, at 349 St. John’s Place, Edgar Charles Griffiths, beloved son of Mary M. And the late Harley Bradley Griffiths and brother of Harley M., Gloria J. and Muriel J. Griffiths. Funeral Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.; solemn mass of requiem St. Teresa’s R. C. Church. Interment in St. John’s Cemetery.
On April 5, 1937, Griffiths enlisted in the New York National Guard. He was assigned to Company M, 107th Infantry. 

Griffiths contributed spot illustrations to the magazine, The Sign, including the issues dated August 1939, October 1939, and March 1943.

The 1940 census said the Griffiths made their home at 349 St. Johns Place in Brooklyn. Griffiths completed four years of high school was a designer of light fixtures. 

Griffiths signed his World War II draft card on October 16, 1940. His address was the same. He worked at the Lovis Smith Company. Griffiths was described as six feet, 165 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair. 

The Brooklyn Eagle, June 27, 1943, reported Griffiths’ engagement. 
Miss Maher to Wed on July 10
Is Bride-Elect of Westerner
Mrs. Francis Langford Maher of 395 Clinton Ave. announces the engagement and approaching marriage of her daughter, Miss Elizabeth Maher, to Harley Griffiths of Coronado Beach, Cal.

Miss Maher, daughter of the late Francis L. Maher, is president of the Alumnae Association of the College of New Rochelle, She is also a graduate of St. Angela Hall and received her Masters Degree from Fordham University.

Mr. Griffiths is the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Harley Bradley Griffiths of Brooklyn. He is a graduate of. St. Augustine’s Academy and attended Pratt Institute and the National Academy of Design. Mr. Griffiths is associated with Consolidated Aircraft Company in San Diego, Cal.

The wedding will take place on July 10. 
On July 7, 1943, Griffiths and Elizabeth Maher obtained, in Manhattan, marriage license number 15367

Their marriage was covered in the Brooklyn Eagle, July 11, 1943. 
Cathedral Is Scene of Miss Maher’s Bridal
Miss Elizabeth Maher, daughter of Mrs. Francis Langford Maher of 885 Clinton Ave. and the late Mr. Maher, was married yesterday to Harley Griffiths, son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Harley Bradley Griffiths of Coronado Beach, Cal. The ceremony was performed in the Lady Chapel of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Manhattan, by Monsignor Joseph F. Flannelly and a reception followed at Sherry’s.

Miss Maher was attended by her sister, Mrs. Edward T. Kelly of Kew Gardens, and Mrs. Amedeo Giorando of Manhattan. Francis L. Maher gave his sister in marriage. The bride wore a gown of white satin made with a sweetheart neckline. Her tulle veil was fastened by a braided satin cap and she carried her mother’s prayerbook with a marker of white orchids. The attendants wore turquoise blue crepe gowns and carried bouquets of pink delphinium and wore headdresses of similar flowers and blue tulle. White stock and blue delphinium decorated the chapel. 

William E. Frost of Forest Hills was best manned the ushers were Dr. Edward Brennan of Brooklyn and Ensign Daniel Sullivan of Cedarhurst.

The bride received her education at St. Angela Hall and the College of new Rochelle and received her masters degree at Fordham university. She is president of the Alumnae Association of the College of New Rochelle. The bridegroom attended St. Augustine’s Academy, Pratt Institute and the National Academy of Design. 

Following a trip to Canada, the couple will reside in Allentown, Pa.
Most of Griffiths’ comic book work was published in 1946 and 1947 by EC and Gilberton. Editor and Publisher, March 1, 1947, announced the launch of the New York Post Syndicate’s Illustrated Classics series which was produced by the Gilberton Company. Griffiths was one of four artists named. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Griffiths drew Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables which ran from September 14, to October 5, 1947. The comic book version appeared in 1948. 

Griffiths was listed in the Official Directory, American Illustrators and Advertising Artists (1949). 
Harley Griffiths
386 Weaver St. 2-1150
Larchmont, N. Y.
In 1950, Griffiths, his wife and five children lived in Mamaroneck, New York, at 386 Weaver Street. He was a commercial artist working for a department retail clothing store. 

The Herald Statesman (Yonkers, New York), April 25, 1986, said
Mr. Griffiths exhibited his work at galleries in Larchmont, Pelham, New York City and Nantucket His shows included the annual show of the Greenwich Art Association and the 50th annual show of the Hudson Valley Art Association. 

For more than 25 years, he was a commercial artist and illustrator for B. Altman & Co. He retired in 1975 and became a free-lance artist. Mr. Griffiths lived in Larchmont for 46 years and spent most of his summers on Nantucket. In Larchmont he was a parishioner of St. Augustines Church. Mr. Griffiths was a member of the Nantucket Artists Association and the National Arts Club of New York. 
Griffiths passed away on April 24, 1986, in New Rochelle, New York. He was laid to rest at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery


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Monday, March 13, 2023


Obscurity of the Day: Scroogie


In the 1960s and 70s, Tug McGraw was a star relief pitcher for the Mets, then the Phillies, and a gregarious colorful character embraced by baseball fans. He chose to parley that goodwill into, of all things, a daily and Sunday newspaper comic strip. 

The strip was titled Scroogie, starring (who else?) a major-league relief pitcher, playing for the Pets. Scroogie's main co-star is Tyrone, his best buddy and outfielder. Other characters include Homer, a dimwitted slugger; Millicent Cashman, owner of the team; and Royce Rawls, a starting pitcher. Many characters were loosely based on McGraw's real-life teammates, and real player names were often dropped for gags in the strip. 

The strip, which was syndicated by the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate, offered a somewhat different take on the world of pro sports owing to a creator who was actually experiencing that world from the inside. The strip was much more realistic than old-school baseball epics like Ozark Ike. Gags often target the fans, managers and owners, and predictably there's a lot of material about the existential dread of a relief pitcher, the perennial hero or goat in every appearance. 

The real problem with any baseball strip, though, is what to do in the off-season. Options are slim -- you can either ignore reality and have your team blithely playing away in January, or you can find other things for your characters to do from November to March. Scroogie gave its characterts an off-season, and filled much of the time with what players do on their vacations. Scroogie and Tyrone also took a shot at playing pro football, a ridiculous contrivance also favoured by other sports strips in the past.

Although Tug McGraw conceived the strip and tried to keep a hand in it, the day to day creation of Scroogie was handled by the uncredited writers Dave Fisher and Neil Offen, and the credited artist Mike Witte. The strip debuted on March 17 1975* (just in time for spring training) in a pretty healthy number of papers. The other shoe fell, though, when the baseball season was over and papers inevitably started dropping the strip. With two writers, an artist, a syndicate and a pro baseball player all on the payroll, the strip soon failed to pull its weight. Scroogie was retired after just over two years, on April 24 1977**. The final Sunday strip (with a very funny gag) is our bottom sample. Oddly enough, McGraw made claims that he was going to revive the strip, self-syndicated. As far as I know this never came to pass. What did come to pass, though, is that McGraw had some costumes created of the characters and booked actors to wear them for personal appearances for several years after the strip ended:

Mall appearance in Allentown, March 1979

During its short life Scroogie appeared in two paperback collections, Scroogie (Signet, 1976) and Hello There Ball (Signet, 1977).

Oh, and why name the strip's main character Scroogie? That's baseball jargon for a screwball pitcher, an infamously tough pitch for pitchers to master, and when thrown correctly, for hitters to hit. Tug McGraw was a screwball pitcher, one of the best.

* Source: Editor & Publisher, February 15 1975

** Source: Oakland Tribune


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Sunday, March 12, 2023


Wish You Were Here, from Little Nemo


What an odd little snippet of poetry in this Little Nemo Valentine's postcard issued by Tuck:

Though, princess,

Nemo's far away.

He'll love but you,

For aye and aye.

I sure don't get that 'aye and aye' business, but a quick Google reveals that the phrase has currency in other poems as well. Basically it seems like it's a fancy way of saying 'forever'. Who says comics don't teach you stuff.

Anyway, the game with these Little Nemo cards is to find the source of the scene in the original McCay Sunday strips. Can you find it?


This one is real simple, since it is only one week after the last one. November 10, 1907.

An easy win for Brian. Thanks!
"Aye and Aye" would seem to be an alternate of "Bye and Bye", maybe in Scots dialect. Archaic terms, you may be sure, but my grandmother used to often use "Come bye and Bye" for "forever" or even "eternity", as heard in the hymn, "In The Sweet Bye and Bye."
The Scottish National Dictionary has, as the first definition of the word "aye" the following: "Always, ever, continually, on all occasions." (See: In this context, as Mark Johnson says, above, it could be taken to mean "forever and ever."
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Saturday, March 11, 2023


Herriman Saturday: May 19 1910


May 19 1910 -- Halley's Comet is now passing close to Earth, and some people are blaming it for all sorts of imagined effects.


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Friday, March 10, 2023


Obscurity of the Day: Slang How It Looks


After stints at a number of papers in San Francisco and Chicago, including the Chicago Tribune, Pete Llanuza seems to have had a short stop-over at the Trib's sister paper, the New York Daily News. His only known cartoon series for them is the awkwardly titled Slang How It Looks, a small panel cartoon illustrating slang phrases taken literally. It only ran in the Sunday paper, and even then seems to have missed the occasional week. It ran from May 1 to July 10 1921.

If this was actually done while Llanuza was on staff at the Trib, it does not seem to have been used in the flagship paper.


An ancestor of Paul Coker's HORRIFYING CLICHES in MAD!
And way before that, Leet was doing the same thing, single column literal expressions, on the NEA syndicated ed page in ca. 1907. It's obviously a series, but if I recall right, they were just there, hanging out in the vicinity of Everett True or Mr. Skygack, without any title.
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Wednesday, March 08, 2023


Jeffrey Lindenblatt’s Paper Trends: The 300 for 1991 — Results

 This year no papers that we surveyed went out of business or merged with another paper, but we still have some missing information on 5 papers making the total for this survey is 268.

In the Top 30 spots,  Calvin and Hobbes continued its climb moving one spot from number 5 to number 4 knocking Beetle Bailey down one spot to 5. This is the second time since we started this survey that Beetle Bailey has moved down one slot. Cathy had the biggest movement, up 3 spots from 15 to 12. This year no new strip entered the Top 30.




+/- Papers

Total Papers
















Calvin and Hobbes


Up 1



Beetle Bailey


Down 1



Far Side





Hagar The Horrible










Family Circus





For Better or For Worse





Wizard of Id







Up 3





Down 1





Down 1



Frank and Ernest


Down 2



Hi and Lois


Up 1



Born Loser





Dennis the Menace





Andy Capp












Up 1



Mary Worth





Mother Goose and Grimm







Up 1



Barney Google and Snuffy Smith


Down 1



Sally Forth


Up 2



Rex Morgan


Down 1





Down 1



Arlo and Janis





Funky Winkerbean


Down 1



 Again this year the Universal Comic Strip is getting stronger. The biggest movements are the top 4 to top 8 strips appearing in more papers. This year's Universal Comics winner is the Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, NJ) which ran the Top 16 strips.

Top 2 – 185 (Up 1)
Top 3 – 164 (Up 1)
Top 4 – 148 (Up 14)
Top 5 – 124 (Up 16)
Top 6 – 100 (Up 16)
Top 7 – 78 (Up 12)
Top 8 – 62 (Up 19)
Top 9 – 48 (Up 5)
Top 10 – 37 (Up 3)
Top 11 – 26 (0)
Top 12 – 21 (0)
Top 13 – 17 (0)
Top 14 – 15 (Up 10)
Top 15 – 12 (Up 7)
Top 15 – 1 (Down 4)

Here are the remaining strips that appeared in the Top 300 papers, ranked by newspaper count and noting increase/decrease:

39 – Gasoline Alley (0), Winthorp (-1)
36 – Fox Trot (+1)
35 – Alley Oop (-2)
33 – Heathcliff (+1), The Lockhorns (-1)
32 – Eek and Meek (-3), Grizzwells (+3), Tank McNamara (-4)
28 – Geech (0), Judge Parker (+1)
26 – Dick Tracy (+4), Rose is Rose (0), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (R)
23 – Berry’s World (-3), Kit N Carlyle (-2), Nancy (0)
22 – Snafu (-3)
21 – Crankshaft (0), In The Bleachers (-5), Robotman (+16)
19 – Curtis (-1), Pogo (-13)
18 – Amazing Spider-Man (0)
17 – Luann (-2)
16 – Apartment 3-G (-7), Phantom (+2), Tiger (-5), Tumbleweeds (-1)
15 – Broom Hilda (-1), Fred Basset (0), Mark Trail (0)
13 – Jump Start (+7), Kuduz (0), When I Was Short (R)
12 – Adam (+1), Archie (0), Drabble (0), Dunagin’s People (+2), Ernie (-6)
11 – Donald Duck (+1), Mr. Boffo (-2), Safe Havens (0), Willy N’ Ethel (+1)
10 – Bizarro (0), Brenda Starr (-1), Crock (0), Gil Thorp (0), Rubes (+4), Steve Roper and Mike Nomad (0)
9 – Hazel (0), Herb and Jamaal (+1), Mickey Mouse (+7)
8 – Baby Blues (R), Hocus-Focus (+1), Momma (0), Zippy (0)
7 – Batman (-8), Middletons (-2), Suburban Cowgirls (R), They’ll Do It Every Time (-1)

6 - Animal Crackers (-1), Fusco Brothers (+1), Horrorscope (R), Little Orphan Annie (-1), One Big Happy (+2), Phipps (-5), Redeye (-1), Sports Hall of Shame (+5), Sylvia (+1)

5 - Bent Offerings (0), Dilbert (+1), Duffy (+2), Francie (-1), Grin and Bear It (-1), Love Is (+1), Motley’s Crew (-1), New Breed (-2), Off The Leash (-1), On The Fastrack (-2), Overboard (R), That’s Jake (-1), Trudy (0), Word For Word (-3)

4 - Moose Miller, Rip Kirby, Small Society
3 - Agatha Crumm, Better Half, Catfish, Chubb & Chauncey, Counter Culture, Dillon, Heart of Juliet Jones, Long Overdue, Miss Peach, Our Fascinating Earth, Pickles, Play Better Golf With Jack Nicklaus, Ryatts, Smith Family, Stanley Family, What A Guy, Winnie Winkle

2 – Airwaves, Alex, Ben Wicks, Boner's Ark, Bringing Up Father, Flash Gordon, Flintstones, Good News Bad News, Graffiti, Ophelia & Jake, Pavlov, Phoebe’s Place, Popeye, Queen of the Universe, Quigmans, Sibling Revelry, Single Slices, Warp Factor, Wit of The World

1 – Belvedere, Dad’s-Eye-View, Defunitions, Family Business, Ferd’Nand, Henry, Jasper, Kaleb, Laff-A-Day, Laffbreak, Modesty Blaise, Moon Mullins, Normal, Outcasts, Out of Bounds, Pop’s Place, Potluck, Pot-Shots, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, Sam and Silo, Stan Smith’s Tennis Class, Strahle’s Bailiwick, Tom and Jerry, Wild Life, Willie, Yecch Is

You may request Jeffrey Lindenblatt's complete list, in DOC format, of every paper that ran every feature mentioned in this set of posts. Just write to and let me know what year(s) you want.


I presume the "Tom and Jerry" strip is from the one syndicated by Editor's Press Service? I was told they only distributed it to non-US papers, but apparently at least one US paper DID run it???

Hi Brubaker -- While EPS did generally only sell internationally, I have also seen their Flintstones strip in a few US papers. Why these exceptions? Dunno.

Was the Flintstones strip a continuation from the McNaught Syndicate run, or a separate thing?
Unclearn. From 1981 -1987, the strip carried no syndicate stamp. In 1987 the EPS slug was added.
"Unclear", that is.
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Tuesday, March 07, 2023


Jeffrey Lindenblatt’s Paper Trends: The 300 for 1991 — Winners and Losers

You could call 1990 a throwback year, or say it continues  the status quo. First the status quo: Calvin and Hobbes continued its growth, adding 23 papers, making it the biggest winner of the year. Another big gainer was The Far Side with 13 added papers and Cathy with 12. With the end of NEA's Bugs Bunny strip on the last day in 1989, we also had a newer NEA strip, Robotman, gaining papers.

As for the throwbacks, in 1955 some King Features sitcoms strips abandoned the light continuituy format and became just gag a day strips. One of these strips was more of an adventure comedy strip and became a gag a day strip. In 1990 the strip decided to return to its root and became an adventure comedy strip again, though not every day. What they did was run a 3-to-4-week adventure story and then run a week of gag strips. This new format gained them 7 new papers that year. The strip was Mickey Mouse.

Here are the strips that gained 5 or more papers:

Calvin and Hobbes – 23
Robotman - 16
Far Side – 13
Cathy – 12
For Better or For Worse – 8
Hagar The Horrible – 7
Jump Start – 7
Mickey Mouse – 7
Sally Forth – 5
Sports Hall of Shame – 5

As in previous years the big rookies from last year followed that up with big losses the next year: Pogo with 13 and Batman with 8. Also, we have a big drop for a soap strip; Apartment 3-G lost 7 papers.

Here are the big losers this year:

Pogo – 13
Batman - 8
Apartment 3-G – 7
Ernie - 6
In The Bleachers – 5
Tiger – 5
Phipps – 5
Good News Bad News – 5

With the introduction of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the return of Mickey Mouse, the adventure strip category has its first gain in over 10 years with an 18.3 % gain from last year.

Alley Oop – 35 (-2)
Dick Tracy – 26 (4)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – 26 (26)
Amazing Spider-Man – 18 (0)
Phantom – 16 (2)
Mark Trail – 15 (0)
Brenda Starr – 10 (-1)
Steve Roper and Mike Nomad – 10 (0)
Mickey Mouse – 9 (9)
Batman – 7 (-8)
Little Orphan Annie – 6 (-1)
Rip Kirby – 4 (0)
Flash Gordon – 2 (0)
Popeye – 2 (0)
Modesty Blaise – 1 (0)
Secret Agent – 0
Tim Tyler’s Luck - 0

The soap strip category had a drop of 6.8% mainly because of papers dropping Apartment 3-G:

Mary Worth – 57 (-2)
Rex Morgan – 46 (-3)
Judge Parker – 28 (1)
Apartment 3-G – 16 (-7)
Gil Thorp – 10 (0)
Heart of Juliet Jones – 3 (0)
Winnie Winkle – 3 (0)


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Monday, March 06, 2023


Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The 300 for 1991 -- Rookies of 1990

 Last year Creators Syndicate premiered the new version of the comic strip Batman, piggybacking on the  successful movie series. That strip  debuted in second place in our rookie survey from last year. Well, this year Creators tried again and this time they did even better, giving the syndicate its first rookie win. The strip was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with 26 papers. This is also the first time since 1979 that a story strip was the top rookie strip --  the last was Star Wars.

Syndicates and newspapers think that these sorts of strips will bring in more kids to reading newspapers. With Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles they upped the ante by encouraging reader participation; first having the Sundays and later Saturday daily strips displaying reader submitted drawings of their favorite Turtles. This may have helped the strip a little bit, but it only lasted for six years before going into reruns, which lasted at least another 5 years.

Coming in second with 13 papers is When I Was Short, by Michael Fry and Guy Vasilovich and syndicated by King Features. This strip would only last 2 years. Fry would have greater success with the strip Over the Hedge which will start 5 years later.

Creators also takes the third spot with Jerry Scott and Rick Kirkman’s Baby Blues, which debuts with 8 papers.

Here are the rest of the rookies from this year:

Suburban Cowgirls – 7
Horrorscope – 6
Overboard – 5
Pickles – 3
The Stanley Family – 3
Airwaves – 2
Alex's – 2
Phoebe’s Place – 2
Queen of the Universe – 2
Warp Factor – 2
Wit of The World – 2
Dad’s-Eye-View, Family Business, Jasper, Normal, Potluck, Strahle’s Bailiwick, Wild Life – 1

Let’s take a look at the top five strips of 1991 that debuted in past decades:

Before 1950:

Blondie (1930) – 217
Mary Worth (1934) – 57
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith (1919) - 51
Rex Morgan (1948) – 46
Gasoline Alley (1918) – 39


Peanuts (1950) – 218
Beetle Bailey (1950) – 189
B.C. (1958) – 108
Hi and Lois (1954) - 107    
Dennis the Menace (1951) – 86


Family Circus (1960) – 144
Wizard of Id (1964) – 124
Born Loser (1965) – 95    
Winthrop (1966) - 39
Eek and Meek (1965) – 32


Garfield (1978) – 211
Far Side (1979) – 176
Hagar the Horrible (1973) – 167
Doonesbury (1970) – 149
For Better or For Worse (1979) - 137


Calvin and Hobbes (1985) – 198
Mother Goose and Grimm (1984) - 56
Sally Forth (1982) – 48
Marvin (1982) – 43
Arlo and Janis (1985) - 41

Interesting that over thirty years later, only four of these top 5 features have ended (not counting those in reruns)!


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Sunday, March 05, 2023


Wish You Were Here, from J.R. Williams


Here's another Out Our Way postcard published by the Standley-May concern. This one is coded Series 1 W524. 

Although I think I get A gag here, the one I'm reading depends on readers being familiar with the Buddhist/Hindu belief in reincarnation. That seems somehow less than likely, for the readers or the cowboys in the cartoon. So is that THE gag, or just one I misinterpreted?


I'm with you. A past lives reference is what came to my mind as well, but perhaps he's referring to this mess versus all his previous messes.
My take is that it is a longstanding article of near-death experiences, that when confronted with what one expects to be the moment of their imminent demise, he sees highlights of his life flash before him.
Obviously they dodged the death,to be able to tell the tale. It's commonality through human history is dispersed through all cultures and religions, and It would seem unlikely that Williams had anything as wieghty as an understanding of Karma, or Hindu philosphy on his mind.
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Saturday, March 04, 2023


Herriman Saturday: May 20 1910


May 20 1910 -- On May 19 Herriman published a cartoon, "If Jack Johnson Wins", showing the Black folks enjoying the high life. Today he offers his impression of what happens if Johnson loses -- empty pocketbooks due to all the lost bets.


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Friday, March 03, 2023


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: R.H. Webb

Robert Hayward “Bob” Webb was born on April 23, 1914 in Yonkers, New York, according to his World War II draft card. However, his Social Security application had the year 1915, and the Social Security Death Index had the birth date as April 12, 1915. 

Curiously, Webb was not counted with his parents, Thomas and Sarah in the 1920 United States Census. They were Bridgeport, Connecticut residents at 475 Colorado Avenue. Webb’s father was an engineer at a machine shop.

The 1930 census recorded Webb and his parents in Bridgeport at 694 Courtland Avenue. His father was employed as a mechanical engineer at a brass company. 

In 1937, Webb was a student at Pratt Institute. The 1937 yearbook, Prattonia, listed his address as 694 Cortlandt [sic] Ave., Bridgeport, Conn. The Illustration II X class photograph pictured him with future comic book artists Lillian Chestney, Charles Cuidera, Gerald McCann, and Samuel Weissman

Webb graduated from Pratt in 1939. The Brooklyn Eagle (New York), June 8, 1939, listed the graduates and several of his Pictorial Illustration classmates went into the comic book field: John E. Ayman, William T. Bossert, Lillian Chestney, Charles Nicholas Cuidera, Philip J. Dring, Charles Mazoujian, and Stanley M. Zuckerberg

The 1940 census said Webb lived with his parents at the same address. He was a self-employed artist. 

On October 16, 1940, Webb signed his World War II draft card. He resided in Brooklyn, New York at 45 Cambridge Place. Webb’s employer was [Will] Eisner & [Jerry] Iger Associates. (Many of his credits are at the Grand Comics Database.) Webb was described as five feet four inches, 162 pounds, with blue eyes and blonde hair. 

Richmond Times-Dispatch (Virginia), September 2, 1941, reported Webb’s engagement. 
Lynchburg—Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Marshall Panck have announced the engagement of their daughter Ethel to Robert Hayward Webb son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Miller Webb of Bridgeport, Conn. and brother of Mrs. Charles E. Warner of Lynchburg. They will be married in early fall.
They married on September 20, 1941 in Lynchburg, Virginia, according to the marriage certificate at 

Webb pencilled the Classic Comics/Classics Illustrated adaptations of Richard Henry Dana, Jr.’s Two Years Before the Mast (October 1945); Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (December 1945); and Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island (February 1947). Editor and Publisher, March 1, 1947, announced the launch of the New York Post Syndicate’s Illustrated Classics series which was produced by the Gilberton Company. Webb was one of several artists whose work was syndicated. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Webb drew Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped which ran from March 30 to April 20, 1947. The script was by John O’Rourke. The comic book version appeared in 1948 and Webb’s art was praised in Robert Louis Stevenson Reconsidered: New Critical Perspectives (2003). The New York Post, March 26, 1947, said: 
…‘Kidnapped,’ the first in a series of ‘Illustrated Classics’ in striking four-color comic strip form will be presented in four installments, four full pages each on successive Saturdays as an extra attraction of the Post’s brimful week-end edition.
New York Post 3/28/1947

New York Post 3/29/1947

Kidnapped original art courtesy of Heritage Auctions

A Century of Women Cartoonists (1993) said Ann Brewster inked Frankenstein1941 Pratt graduate, David Heames, inked Two Years Before the Mast and Mysterious Island. The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Third Series, Volume 1, Part 1B, Number 1, Pamphlet, Serials and Contributions to Periodicals, January–June 1947, had this entry: 
Stokes, Manning L.
Mysterious island, by Jules Verne, adapted by Manning L. Stokes, illustrated by Robert Hayward Webb and David Heames. [New York, Gilberton co., 1947] 55 p. col. illus. 26cm. (Classic comics. Feb. 1947. no. 34) © publisher; 11Mar47; AA53546.
Webb drew the strip The Hawk which was credited to Rod Maxwell, a pen name. Jerry Iger’s full name was Samuel Maxwell Iger. Writer Ruth Roche used several pen names including Rod Roche. It was syndicated by Phoenix Features, a continuation of sorts of Eisner & Iger Associates and Lincoln Features. The Hawk appeared in the weekly Illinois newspaper, Wood River Journal, which printed six numbered strips at a time from March 27 to June 5, 1947; 66 strips were published out of an unknown total. Some original art is at Heritage Auctions

Wood River Journal, 3/20/1947

Webb worked in the comics industry for nearly thirty years. Webb had a notable run illustrating Sheena, Queen of the Jungle stories. An overview of his career is at Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999. Classics Illustrated: A Cultural History said 
... After leaving the comics field, he turned to boatbuilding and later roared with laughter as he told Hames Ware, “I used to draw boats, and now I build them.” 
Webb passed away on September 11, 2000 and his last known residence was Capitol Heights, Maryland, according to the Social Security Death Index. An obituary was published in The Independent (Maryland), September 13, 2000. (Enter keywords Robert H Webb La Plata MD in the RootsWeb search box.) Webb was laid to rest at Presbyterian Cemetery

(An earlier profile appeared in 2013.)


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Wednesday, March 01, 2023


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: August M. Froehlich

August Maria Froehlich was born in Bohemia, Austria, on February 4, 1880, according to his World War I draft card. It’s not known where Froehlich had his art training. 

A family tree at said Froehlich married Charlotte Gertrude Schultz in 1904. Their son, Heinz/Henry, was born later that year. 

On October 21, 1909, Froehlich and his wife were aboard the steamship Amerika when it departed Hamburg, Germany. They arrived in the port of New York on October 31. 

Froehlich has not yet been found in the 1910 United Staes Census. 

Froehlich tried vaudeville as reported in Variety, September 2, 1911. 
August M. Froehlich, cartoonist of the Staats Zeitung, is going into vaudeville, offering comedy cartoons and finishing with an artistic painting On a glass transparency. He is under the direction of Paul Durand.
On May 12, 1912, Froehlich’s son arrived from Germany. 

Tägliche Omaha Tribüne (Nebraska), March 8, 1913, printed an illustration by Froehlich. 

The 1915 New York state census recorded the Froehlichs in Staten Island on Centre Street. Froehlich’s occupation was artist. 

On September 12, 1918, Froehlich signed his World War I draft card. His address was 79 Locust Avenue in New Dorp, (Staten Island), New York. He was described as medium build and height, with brown eyes and hair. Froehlich was an artist at the Einson Lithograph Corporation in New York City. 

In the 1920 census, Froehlich’s Staten Island address was 2671 Amboy Road. The 1920 New York, New York city directory listed Froehlich’s studio at 116 West 39th Street, room 422. He resided in Staten Island. 

The 1925 New York state census counted the Froehlichs in Manhattan at 44 East 88th Street. The artist’s son was an auto mechanic. 

Film Daily, February 28, 1926, listed Froehlich as an Universal Pictures employee. The magazine celebrated Carl Laemmle’s 20th anniversary as president of Universal Pictures. 

According to the 1930 census, the Froehlichs resided in St. Albans, Queens, New York at 188-05 Mangin Avenue. Froehlich was a commercial artist in the moving picture industry. 

Motion Picture Herald, January 15, 1938, reported a slight change in Froehlich’s employment. 
With the closing of Morgan Lithograph Corporation office attached to Universal, August M. Froehlich, art director, and Ben Wells, poster artist, will join the regular Universal art staff. Mr. Froehlich has been with Morgan for 20 years, while Mr. Wells has served the company for 50 years and has been attached to Universal since its inception. …
Froehlich’s Fifth Avenue Girl, 1939, RKO

The 1940 census said Froehlich had moved from St. Albans to Sunnyside at 45-08 40th Street. The self-employed artist earned $2,500 in 1939. 

On April 26, 1942, Froehlich signed his World War II draft card. His home was in Northport, Suffolk County, New York at 176 Laurel Avenue. His description was five feet five inches, 140 pounds, with brown eyes and gray hair.

Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said Froehlich’s comic book career began around 1939 with the Eisner & Iger Studio. 

Editor and Publisher, March 1, 1947, announced the launch of the New York Post Syndicate’s Illustrated Classics series which was produced by the Gilberton Company. Froehlich was one of several artists whose work was syndicated. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Froehlich drew Man in the Iron Mask, which ran from January 25 to February 15, 1948. The script was by John O’Rourke. The comic book version appeared in 1948. Harry Glickman wrote and Froehlich drew Toilers of the Sea, which ran from February 22 to March 14, 1948. The comic book version appeared in 1949. Heritage Auctions has some of Froehlich’s Classics Illustrated original art. A checklist of Froehlich’s work is at the Grand Comics Database

The date of Froehlich’s passing is unclear. In Classics Illustrated: A Cultural History, William B. Jones said “… August M. Froehlich, an older artist who died in 1949 shortly after completing his last Classics Illustrated assignment.” The year is incorrect because Froehlich and his wife were counted in the 1950 census. The Social Security Applications and Claims Index, at, said a claim was made on August 31, 1950. Froehlich’s surname was inexplicably misspelled and there was no death date. Apparently the claim was made to either register for Social Security or begin receiving benefits. Froehlich and his wife have not been found in the Social Security Death Index.

In the New York, New York Death Index, at, is an “August Froehlich” who passed away on September 10, 1951 in Manhattan and is a good match for the artist. 

Further Reading
Lambiek Comiclopedia


For what it's worth, a Charlotte Gertrude Froehlich was naturalized in September of 1941, listing an address in Flushing (different from the 1940 and 1942 address); born in 1884, which means 20 at marriage if she's the same one as listed in the draft cards. Interesting, if it's her, that she waited as long as she did.
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