Sunday, June 04, 2023


Wish You Were Here, from F.M. Howarth


Here's yet another card in the Hearst Little Arsonist Series of 1906. This one is by F.M. Howarth and features his Lulu and Leander characters.


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Saturday, June 03, 2023


Herriman Saturday: May 28 1910


May 28 1910 -- A new city ordinance has been passed which is intended to prohibit outdoor fires anytime except between 6 and 9 AM. Intended, yes, but that's not quite what the ordinance text says. Rigorously interpreted, the badly written new law includes all fires, interior and exterior. Herriman, of course, gleefully delineates some of the creature comforts Angelenos will no longer be able to enjoy.


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Friday, June 02, 2023


Obscurity of the Day: Phipps


Joseph Farris will long be remembered as a prolific gag cartoonist, whose work appeared in just about every venue that bought cartoons during his long working life. As the proud centerpiece to this career were his many contributions to The New Yorker, even some covers. 

As with many gag cartoonists, the teetering tower of cartoons in his reject pile undoubtedly led to the creation of his first newspaper-syndicated feature, Farriswheel, a gag panel with no continuing characters which had an eight year run in the 1970s. For his second and final foray into the newspaper world, however, he went a different direction by coming up with a character named Phipps. Phipps is an everyman sort of fellow who seems to be on the wrong side of middle-age. I suspect that Phipps was intended to be in his mid-60s, which happens to be the same age Farris was at the time. 

The daily panel/Sunday strip debuted on October 2 1989* through the auspices of NEA, and probably represents Farris looking for a steady paycheck since most of his magazine clients were dead or on life support by this time. The new feature was a pantomime, which Farris probably chose based on the fact that international sales of silent strips are generally stronger. The gags are frankly not overly strong and the Phipps character is generic, offering no hook for readers. I suspect that the thinking was that by simply featuring a senior citizen, matching the dominant readership of newspapers, papers would flock to the feature. This strategy had already proven to be misguided, as shown by strips like Ben Swift. Apparently NEA hadn't gotten the memo. 

Phipps ran until October 2 1992*, cancelled after a three year run that never saw the vast NEA client base embrace the feature.

* Source: All dates from the United Feature internal records.


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Wednesday, May 31, 2023


Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The 300 for 1993 -- Results

In the heyday of newspapes many cities had two papers published by the same publisher, one for the morning and one for the evening; in most cases they would have different comics in the two papers. A good sign that a paper is in trouble is when suddenly both papers start running the same comics in both editions. This is what happened in Spokane Washington with the Chronicle. The Chronicle stopped publishing on July 31, 1992. The Pittsburgh Press, which ended a few days earlier, shut down because of a strike among other factors. So for this year’s  survey we are down to 263 papers. 

This year we have a lot of movement in the Top 30 with the end of Herman. Funky Winkerbean returns to the Top 30. With Calvin And Hobbes gaining 4 papers it is moving closer to the top, rising  from #4 to #3. Blondie takes another hit, dropping to position #4 – just last year the strip dropped from #2 to #3. Far Side moves into the Top 5 with its 12-paper gain. Beetle Bailey falls to 6th. Cathy enters the Top 10 knocking Family Circus to 11. Sally Forth, Fox Trot and Arlo and Janis all move up 3 places.



Rank Change

Papers +/-

Total Papers











Calvin and Hobbes


Up 1





Down 1



Far Side


Up 1



Beetle Bailey


Down 1



Hagar The Horrible





For Better or For Worse







Down 1





Up 1



Family Circus


Down 1



Wizard of Id







Up 1



Frank and Ernest


Up 1





Down 2



Hi and Lois


Down 1



Born Loser





Dennis The Menace










Mother Goose And Grimm


Up 2



Andy Capp


Down 1



Sally Forth


Up 3





Down 1



Mary Worth


Down 2



Fox Trot


Up 3



Barney Google and Snuffy Smith





Arlo and Janis


Up 3



Rex Morgan


Down 1








Funky Winkerbean






Since Calvin and Far Side moved up the Universal Section gains more papers in the 3rd and 5th positions.
Top 2 – 198 (Up 1)
Top 3 – 177 (Up 10)
Top 4 – 156 (Up 3)
Top 5 – 134 (Up 9)
Top 6 - 115 (Up 13)
Top 7 – 86 (Up 6)
Top 8 – 66 (Up 3)
Top 9 – 53 (Up 5)
Top 10 – 47 (Up 11)
Top 11 – 35 (Up 5)
Top 12 – 27 (Up 2)
Top 13 – 22 (Up 2)
Top 14 – 7 (Down 11)
Top 15 – 6 (Up 1)
Top 16 – 3 (Same)
Top 17 – 1 (Same)

The Galveston Daily News (TX) again won this year’s most universal comic section newspaper.
Here are the remaining results of the 1993 Survey.

34 – The Lockhorns (+1), Winthorp (0)

33 – Gasoline Alley (-4)
32 – Alley Oop (+1), Eek and Meek (+3)

29 – Tank McNamara (-3)

27 – Grizzwells (-3)

25 – Rose is Rose (-3)

24 – Geech (-5), In The Bleachers (-6)

23 – Crankshaft (+2), Kit N Carlyle (-4), Real Life Adventures (+17)

21 – Farcus (+15), Luann (+3)

20 – Berry’s World (+4), Curtis (+2)

19 – Jump Start (+1), Non Sequitur (R), Snafu (-4)

17 – Nancy (-3)

16 – Amazing Spider-Man (-1), Robotman (-1)

15 – Apartment 3-G (+1), Bizarro (+3)

14 – Ernie (+2), Mark Trail (-1), Phantom (-1), Tiger (+1)

13 – Adam (+1), Fred Bassett (-2), Overboard (+4), Tumbleweeds (-1)

12 – Archie (-1), Dilbert (+6), Dunagin’s People (+1), Walnut Cove (0)

11 – Dick Tracy (-3), Drabble (-1)

10 – Baby Blues (0), Gil Thorp (+1), Herb and Jamaal (+2), Sylvia (+3)

9 – Bound & Gagged (R), Brenda Starr (+1), Buckets (-3), Close To Home (R), Pop Culture (R), Rubes (+1)

8 – Broom Hilda (-2), Kuduz (0), Momma (0), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (-6), They’ll Do It Every Time (0)

7 – Big Nate (+1), Comics For Kids (R), Crock (0), Dave (R), Donald Duck (-1), Grin and Bear It (+2), Middletons (-1), Mr. Boffo (-4), One Big Happy (0), Steve Roper and Mike Nomad (0), Willy N’ Ethel (-2)

6 – Betty (+2), Fusco Brothers (0), Hazel (-1), Horrorscope (0), Mickey Mouse (-1), Pogo (-8), That’s Jake (0), Zippy (-1)
5 – Francie (+2), Hocus-Focus (-2), Motley’s Crew (0), Word For World (0)

4 – Animal Crackers, On The Fastrack, Redeye, Sherman’s Lagoon, Trudy

3 – Agatha Crumm, Better Half, Chubb & Chauncey, Ducking Out, Guy Stuff, Heart of Juliet Jones, Little Orphan Annie, New Breed, Off The Leash, Pickles, Rip Kirby, Single Slices, Small Society, Sports Hall of Shame, Winnie Winkle

2 – Bent Offering, Catfish, Curious Avenue, Ferd’Nand, Flintstones, Laff-A-Day, Leescapes, Love Is, Moose Miller, Our Fascinating Earth, Potluck, Quality Time, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Ryatts, Silbling Revelry, Smith Family, Suburban Cowgirls

1 – Ballard Street, Belvedere, Ben Wicks, Bringing Up Father, Duffy, Family Business, Flash Gordon, Graffiti, Just Add Water, Kaleb, Laffbreak, Meet Mr. Luckey, Miss Peach, Modesty Blaise, Out of Bounds, Outcasts, Pete & Clete, Pitts, Play Better Golf With Jack Nicklaus, Popeye, Pop’s Place, Quigmans, Stan Smith Tennis, Tom and Jerry, What A Guy, Wild Life, Wit of the World, Zero

As always, if you would like a Word document with the complete list, which includes every paper that runs every feature, just send a request to (let me know which year(s) you would like).


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Tuesday, May 30, 2023


Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The 300 for 1993 -- Winners and Losers

 The daily panel Herman ended on July 26, 1992, freeing up 52 slots in our papers for other features. This is a preview of what will happen in an even bigger way in the comics landscape in January 1995 when Far Side ends. Not surprisingly, the top three gainers are all daily panel strips. Real Life Adventures gained 17 papers, Farcus gained 15 and Far Side gained 12. Also, like last year, girl power is still strong with For Better or For Worse gaining 11 papers and Cathy gaining 7. Here is the breakdown of the big gainers this year:

Real Life Adventures – 17
Farcus - 15
Far Side – 12
For Better or For Worse – 11
Cathy – 7
Sally Forth – 6
Fox Trot – 6
Dilbert - 6
Arlo and Janis - 5

The strips that are losing papers this year are a mix of new strips and veterans. In the new strip category Pogo loses 8 papers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles loses 6 papers. On the veteran side the biggest losers were Wizard of Id with 8, Family Circus and Shoe with 7. Here is the breakdown:

Wizard of Id – 8
Pogo - 8
Family Circus – 7
Shoe – 7
Hi and Lois - 6
Marvin – 6
Heathcliff – 6
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - 6
Andy Capp – 5
Geech – 5

Adventure strips of course continue their downfall this year with a drop of 9.3%. Of course, the big loser was Turtles losing 6 papers. The Popeye daily in 1992 went into reruns. 

Alley Oop – 32 (1)
Amazing Spider-Man – 16 (-1)
Mark Trail – 14 (-1)
Phantom – 14 (-1)
Dick Tracy – 11 (-3)
Brenda Starr – 9 (1)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – 8 (-6)
Steve Roper and Mike Nomad – 7 (0)
Mickey Mouse – 6 (-1)
Little Orphan Annie – 3 (-2)
Rip Kirby – 3 (0)
Flash Gordon – 1 (0)
Modesty Blaise – 1 (0)
Popeye – 1 (0)

Again, the Soap Strips continue their slow decline, but with this year showing little movement, down just 1.2%. 

Mary Worth – 54 (-1)
Rex Morgan – 43 (-2)
Judge Parker – 24 (-1)
Apartment 3-G – 15 (1)
Gil Thorp – 10 (1)
Heart of Juliet Jones – 3 (0)
Winnie Winkle – 3 (0)


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Monday, May 29, 2023


Jeffrey Lindenblatts Paper Trends: The 300 for 1993 -- Rookies

 The top 3 rookies for 1992 are still being syndicated today. The hottest rookie debut is Non Sequitur with 19 papers. When we get to 1995 Non Sequitur would be available formatted as either a panel or a strip. The panel version was offered to gain papers because of the end of Far Side that year. We will be keeping an eye to see which version papers will carry.

The next three big debuts all start off in our survey with 9 papers. Two of them are still being published today; Bound & Gagged and Close To Home. The third, Pop Culture, started with 9 papers but would last only for a few years as a daily (a similar Sunday feature was revived later, as Biographic). The next two both started with 7 papers. One is the comic strip Dave. The other is not really a true rookie;  Comics For Kids started as a Sunday-only feature in 1989, but added a daily in 1992 to get into our focus.

Here is the complete breakdown for the Rookies of 1992:

Non Sequitur – 19
Bound & Gagged – 9
Close To Home – 9
Pop Culture – 9
Comics For Kids – 7
Dave – 7
Ducking Out – 3
Guy Stuff – 3
Curious Avenue – 2
Leescapes – 2
Quality Time - 2
Just Add Walter – 1
Pete & Clete – 1
Pitts – 1
Zero – 1


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Sunday, May 28, 2023


Wish You Were Here, from Rose O'Neill


Here's a Rose O'Neill Kewpies card from the Gibson Art Company of Cincinnati. Sorry, I'm just a little late for Easter. The Gibson Art cards are undated, but this one was postally used in 1922.


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Saturday, May 27, 2023


Herriman Saturday: May 28 1910


May 28 1910 -- The local Democratic Party got together to choose candidates for county offices, and a few bits of minor drama played out -- candidates who didn't want to be, non-candidates who did want to be, you know the drill.


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Friday, May 26, 2023


Firsts and Lasts: Hawkshaw the Detective Debuts on Sunday


Gus Mager had quite the little cottage industry going with his 'monk' characters. He started drawing weekday strips for the New York Evening Journal starring human-monkey hybrids in 1904. At first they skewed toward apedom, but later the 'monks' became more and more human, until new readers would no doubt be wondering about the point of the title. No matter, because the strips were a real hoot, starring a cast of characters named for their dominant characteristic -- you had Tightwaddo the cheapskate, Coldfeeto the timid guy, Boneheado the dummy, Braggo the ... well you get the idea. 

In December 1910 a new pair of characters was added to the list, a brilliant detective named Sherlocko and his faithful companion, Dr. Watso. No internet points at all for being able to decode this not exactly sly take-off  on Mr. Conan Doyle's famed creations. This wasn't by any means the first appearance of a super-sleuth in newspaper comics, which is hardly surprising because Sherlock Holmes was all the rage in this era. What Mager brought to the party, oddly enough, was an obviously great respect and enthusiasm for Holmes. While there was plenty of funny stuff going on in the Sherlocko strips, the simian detective himself played things straight -- his preternatural ability to find and interpret clues was handled with surprising fidelity to the original.

The new character was a hit, and became a fixture of Mager's 'monk' strip. Things went along their merry way until early 1913, when Mager decided to leave the Hearst stable in favour of the rival Pulitzer organization. One of the carrots held out to Mager was that his star character would be given the red carpet treatment, moving to a full page Sunday strip. At Hearst, Mager had pretty much been frozen out of the prestigious Sunday paper, appearing with only a few fill-in strips back in the mid-1900s. 

The first Sherlocko the Monk Sunday appeared in Pulitzer's Funny Side Sunday section on February 23 1913, as seen above. But you'll notice one big difference -- our heroes are no longer Sherlocko and Watso; they are now Hawkshaw and the Colonel.Also note that the name changes were obviously made at the last minute -- the new names are shoehorned into the word balloons, obviously replacing the original ones.

In Bill Blackbeard's introduction to the Hyperion Press book Sherlocko the Monk 1910-1912 he posits that the Conan Doyle estate might have served Pulitzer with a cease and desist order just before the new Sunday feature debuted. I disagree -- it seems to me that if the Conan Doyle estate was going to object to the obvious copy of their characters they would not have waited over two years to do so. My guess, rather, is that in the legal tradition already established by Buster Brown, it was assumed (or ordered) that Mager could take his characters with him to a new syndicate, but the name was not allowed to go with it. The last minute nature of the change makes me think that a cease and desist letter was probably received from the Hearst organization just shy of press time, and therefore the awkward looking change.

Why 'Hawkshaw' though? Although anyone could be forgiven for thinking that Mager might have actually coined the term for a detective, he actually appropriated it from a detective in the 1863 stage play The Ticket-of-Leave Man. Apparently though the play was critically panned it was an audience favorite and was constantly revived during the Victorian era, and the name Hawkshaw became synonym with detectives. 

The newly minted Hawkshaw the Detective had a long run in the Pulitzer Sunday section, ending its first run in 1922. The strip was then revived in 1931 to become the topper to the Pulitzer strip The Captain and the Kids, which ironically enough, was also a feature stolen from Hearst and renamed due to legal wrangling.Thus it continued until 1947, making a tremendous nearly half-century run and Gus Mager's contribution to the history books. 


Hello Allan-
It would seem that Blackbeard information is not a reliable source. though the man had long runs of hundreds of newspapers, Especially, it seems, Hearst ones, he didn't really do the scholarship, his ability to research them consisted of often just making up the most interesting story. Emphasis on MAKING UP.
We had several heated go-rounds together when I called him on it.
In 1913, Conan Doyle was very much alive; Don't know if Pulitzer comics saw much play outside of the US, or comic strip satires were seen as having any possible threat to the Sherlock Holmes brand, such as it was. Doyle did almost no licensing, I believe he purposefuly resisted it.
Your speculation that the change was to avoid possible infringement of the Hearst version sounds right. perhaps Mager was happy to ditch the tired simian componant anyway.
Howdy, Alan,
I happened to find an earlier cartoon by Mager in the Jul/4/1905 Pensacola Journal (chronicling america id sn87062268) in which a character stated that he was "Hawkshaw the Detective." The cartoon was titled Ruffles the Monk, but of course Mager's titles varied widely at that time. I cannot tell whether this was a recurring character with a different identity. The phrase "I am Hawkshaw the Detective" seems to have been sort of a general catch phrase in that period, probably due to the play.
(Bob Harris)

A quite different looking Hawkshaw made regular appearances in Mager's Mufti the Monk strips of late 1907.
"Ruffles" is a play on Raffles, a popular fictional burglar of that era. ("Raffles The Amateur Cracksman"(1899) by E.W. Hornung)

On the off-chance that there's anyone who doesn't know this, I'll mention that Mager's practice of giving characters descriptive names ending in "o" inspired the Marx Brothers' stage names.
Jimmy Nervo of the English comedy team of Nervo and Knox, later to become part of The Crazy Gang, was also nicknamed after a running Mager "Monk" character.
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Wednesday, May 24, 2023


Obscurity of the Day: Chesty De Nut


Mark Johnson gets the big three cheers for discovering this obscurity, and for supplying the samples. Why is this one a big deal? Well, let's just say that if you had found early unknown work by Norman Rockwell, you'd be pretty excited. Now this strip isn't the work of Norman Rockwell, but it is from the pen of the science fiction magazine equivalent. The creator of this silly strip is none other than Frank R. Paul, dean of the sci-fi magazine cover artists. 

In 1915, when Chesty de Nut was in circulation, Paul was still just getting his feet wet in art. His first art gig was with the Jersey Journal starting in 1912, where he mostly worked uncredited but did have some editorial cartoons published under his signature.  By 1914 he was freelancing and one of his clients was Hugo Gernsback, who would eventually create the science fiction pulp genre. Gernsback's major weapon to attract customers were the mechanically and architecturally complex covers of Paul in all their splendidly bold, lurid and colourful glory. 

Chesty de Nut was distributed by National Cartoon Service, perhaps the epitome of an early hole-in-the-wall operation. They seemed to come onto the scene in 1915, and lasted probably until about 1918. Their idea was to sell comics in numbered batches, so that newspapers could use them when and how they liked. Their generally weak offerings must have been sold cheap because you rarely see them in anything but very minor papers. It certainly didn't help matters that National Cartoon Service sent out really bad quality plates which most of their clients didn't bother to improve. If you see a National Cartoon Service strip, it will usually be liver-spotted with those weird amoebas you get when plates aren't properly routered. Lucky for us, Mark Johnson found Chesty de Nut examples from a paper whose pressmen took a little pride in their product. 

As one of the early offerings of National Cartoon Service, the earliest I have found the large third-page strip appearing is in mid-1915, but a check of the copyright records indicates that the series was supposedly available starting on March 28. Those records also reveal that the numbering of the strip was to encompass #25-56, a total of 32 episodes. I haven't seen nearly that many, but I have encountered an example number #60, perhaps indicating that the copyright records aren't to be completely trusted, and one of the samples above may be #23, though the lettering is a bit hard to read.

Unlike many of the other National Cartoon Service offerings, which were passed along to even more hole-in-the-wall syndicators to be sold in reruns, I've not seen Chesty de Nut reappearing later. The latest examples I've found ran in 1917, while National Cartoon Service still seemed to be a going concern.


Lodges with crazy/dangerous initiations and degrees, fodder for comics, animated cartoons and films, were very much a real thing. The book "The Extraordinary Catalog of Peculiar Inventions" by cartoonist Julia Suits focuses on a company that provided the equipment, including several different devices for delivering electrical shocks and ancestors of the mechanical bull.
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Monday, May 22, 2023


Under The Radar: Good News Bad News


For most gag cartoonists who reach the peak of the mountain, selling regularly to The New Yorker, there is generally little interest in pursuing other venues. Henry Martin, though, who had over 600 cartoons published in The New Yorker between 1964 and 1999, perhaps facing down a big pile of very funny but rejected cartoons, decided he could add a daily cartoon for newspapers to his output. 

Scribners had just published a book collection of Martin's business cartoons, titled Good News Bad News, and that became the name and pitch for his daily cartoon, one that would be at home on  newspaper business pages. I doubt that Martin had to shop the concept around very long, and he soon signed a contract with the Chicago Tribune - New York News Syndicate. The book was published in 1977 and the panel cartoon made its newspaper debut on March 13 1978*.

The daily cartoon was never a huge seller, but then not terribly many newspapers have ever jumped on the business cartoon bandwagon. For the newspapers who did have the smarts to pick up Good News Bad News, they offered their business section readers consistently and genuinely funny gags with a distinctive New Yorker flavour. Perhaps some smartly wry Henry Martin cartoon even kept a few businessmen from jumping out the high-rise window on a bad business news day. 

Good New Bad News went out of business as Martin was beginning to retire from professional cartooning in general. It seems to have ended in February 1993**.

 * Source: Dave Strickler's LA Times index.

** Source: Hackensack Record, which did not run it every day

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Sunday, May 21, 2023


Wish You Were Here, from Little Nemo


Here's another card from the Litte Nemo series from Raphael Tuck. Can you identfy the original scene from the Little Nemo comic strip?


I think this is entirely in the artist's imagination. As far as I can tell, this never appeared in a comic.
I kinda wondered, because I don't remember the kids ever doing any actual smooching in the strip. So our anonymous artist took it upon him/herself to come up with something original!

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Saturday, May 20, 2023


Herriman Saturday: May 27 1910


May 27 1910 -- Here's a pretty pointless story about a new chief of police who got lost looking for the identification department in LA's apparently rather labyrinthine headquarters. Apparently in those days the headquarters building also housed the jail, and he eventually asked a prisoner for directions. That's the sum of the story, for all it's worth.


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Friday, May 19, 2023


Firsts and Lasts: Ernie Debuts


One of the best strips (in my humble opionion) to debut in the latter quarter of the 2000s was Ernie. Above find the first week of the strip, published the week of February 1 1988. The strip never got the sort of tremendous fan following it deserved, but it lasted for thirty years so it obviously kept readers happy in the places it did run. 

A strip about a bunch of losers and cads living in a dark world of stupidity, callousness, ennui and casual violence may not seem like a great launchpad for daily fun, but creator Bud Grace takes such naked glee in putting his characters through this hellish world that unless your disposition is so incurably sunny that you consider Hallmark Cards a harsh dose of reality, you're going to laugh along with him. 

If you missed out on Ernie (later renamed The Piranha Club) during its initial run, the good news is that Grace has recently self-published the entire run as a series of downright cheap books. Check them out here on Grace's website.


I recall that "Ernie" was downright popular overseas, especially in Scandinavian market, which likely helped keep the strip going for 30 years.

I personally loved the comic, having read it every day in Japan in the Daily Yomiuri newspaper. I'm glad that Bud Grace has reprinted the entire run. The strip barely got any reprints during its original run, so better late than never.
FWIW, I loved it too.

Hello Allan-
On 6 September 1998, Grace showed his cartoon self being outwitted by Ernie's scheming Uncle Sid, and forced to hand over control of the strip, who changed the name in favour of his lodge, which is filled with other low life leeches and con men.
Not just one of the best strips of the last etc., as you say. I'd call it the last strip (probably ever) in the tradition of the golden age of comic strips, and with the artistic and comedic chops that go with it.

Thanks for the tip about the reprints!
I'm about four years into the reprints. The San Jose Mercury News had the strip when it debuted and eventually dropped it, for reasons unknown; I would later find it here and there on the net. Indeed, great stuff.
As an expression of the human condition, "urk urk urk" should rank with "Aughh!"
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Wednesday, May 17, 2023


Obscurity of the Day: Pete and Pinto, The Cowkids of O-Joy Ranch


Martin Branner should have been playing the ponies in 1919-20, because he sure seemed to have the golden touch. In 1919 he was contracted to produce a daily strip, Louie the Lawyer, for Bell Syndicate, and then in spring 1920 he sold a Sunday page, Pete and Pinto, to the New York Herald

Evidently not content to have two syndicates as customers, he then sold a pretty girl strip to the Chicago Tribune. That strip, of course, was Winnie Winkle, and Branner soon dropped these other two strips to concentrate all his efforts on that one, which would end up being his life's work and even outlast him. 

Pete and Pinto, The Cowkids of O-Joy Ranch, was a Katzenjammer Kids copycat with the minor twist that the action happens on a ranch out west. The gags are pretty much the standard fare, with the two rotten kids playing really nasty gags, mostly on the Chinese cook Ching. The art was the typical nice Branner crisp art -- perhaps a little bloodless and stilted (a little reminiscent of Charles Kahles) but very inviting on a large colourful Sunday page. 

Pete and Pinto debuted in the New York Herald on May 23 1920*, a mere four months before Winnie Winkle made her bow in the Chicago Tribune. Between the Herald and the Tribune, it was no secret which was the star onto which you'd want to hitch your wagon. The Herald was at this time owned by Frank Munsey, notorious for dropping comics as non-essential features when he wasn't killing newspapers entirely. Inevitably the Herald lost out and the last Pete and Pinto ran on December 5 1920*.

* Source: Ken Barker's New York Herald index in StripScene #20.


Hello Allan-
Could this series be part of what could be called a syndicate within a sydicate? It seem to me the very temporary merging of the NY Sun with the Herald which lasted less than a year, had several new strips to offer under the "Sun-Herald Corporation" name.
Another one I recall was "Percy and His Bride", an update on the Hall Room Boys, with Percy on his honeymoon, with Ferdie hanging around as friend of the family.
If I'm not mistaken, "Billy Bunk" by Inwood was another. They all came and went when the Sun took a Heraldechtomy at the end of 1920 or early in 1921.
Above by Mark Johnson.
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Monday, May 15, 2023


Obscurity of the Day: Movie Fan


This fun little single-column panel about movies and moviegoing is so far believed to have had a very short run, but my information on it is far from complete. What I can tell you is that the panel was signed by Al Zere, and ran in the San Francisco Chronicle, the only newspaper I've so far found running it, from December 1 1924 to January 10 1925, just over a month. 

But my guess is that the run was longer. It was distributed by Philadelphia's Ledger Syndicate, and though I did not catch it running in their papers, it was listed as available in the very first Editor & Publisher Syndicate Directory, which came out in October 1924. That would seem to indicate that the run began before the Chronicle picked it up. In that E&P listing it is credited to John Bach, who has several other credits with the Ledger in this era. So did John Bach start the feature and it was taken over by Zere? Without finding earlier examples, I dunno. 

A weird thing about Movie Fan is that there was a strip that went by this same name back in 1921, also distributed by Ledger Syndicate, and also with a very short life. That strip was credited only to "Beeze" -- is that Bach and Zere working together under a cobined pseudonym? To play that old sad song once more, I dunno. 

If anyone finds a longer run of Movie Fan, please let me know!

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Sunday, May 14, 2023


Wish You Were Here, from J.R. Williams


This is card W522 from Series 1 of the Standley-May Out Our Way postcard series. Amazing that Williams allowed this misfire to be used as a postcard -- just look at the right front leg on that bear!


That was my first thought as well.
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Saturday, May 13, 2023


Herriman Saturday: May 27 1910


May 27 1910 -- In a momentary respite from Fight of the Century cartoons, Herriman travels to Venice to look in on the training camps of Owen Moran and Frankie Burns, who are set to meet in the ring in August.


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Thursday, May 11, 2023


Comics of the Paramount News Feature Service: All the Rest

 We've now covered all the longest running strips from PNF, but there were others. Some of these outliers we've documented to run at the beginnings of the syndicate, in summer 1927, others have been documented running at the supposed end, in summer - fall 1928. One thing is certain -- the running dates we can cite for them are merely those we've found in the vanishingly few papers documented to have run the syndicate, and it is safe to say that those dates we've documented are not the last word. 

My wild guess is that the strips we'll discuss today were probably all originally produced and originally distributed at the beginning of the syndicate's short lifespan. Why the syndicate would have lost a whole crop of strips after a short run I have no idea, and that problem may mean that I'm totally wrong. Or maybe these strips are actually part at the beginning and part at the end -- a few creators dropping out after seeing that the syndicate was not a paying proposition, and others coming in at the end trying to save the sinking ship. 

An odd feature of these strips is that they did not appear in the later reprint era. Maybe there were just too few episodes to bother, I dunno. Many of the strips at the end of the run may have actually been in the first reprint run -- most of them can be found with that mysterious Rialto N.F. syndicate stamp.

So for what it's worth, here are the rest of the PNF strips. For some I cannot even offer you samples; they were documented years ago on microfilm where photocopies were not available. 

Big Benny

This strip is documented by Jeffrey Lindenblatt to have run July 22 to August 19 1927 in an unknown paper. That's a mere five week run, but we do actually have four very blurry samples, rerun in 1928 with that Rialto N.F. stamp. The strip is about a boxer and his manager, and was credited to someone named "Burchit". Despite the unusual name, I cannot find any other trace of this artist:

Fat Burns

Documented by Jeffrey Lindenblatt to have run July 22 to September 9 1927, this one is by Frank Ward, which makes me wonder if this is the same person as Jack Ward of Flaming Youth (or a brother?). Here is the only sample I've been able to track down:

Hard-Hearted Hanna

This strip can only be documented at the end of the syndicate's life, running from July 19 to September 6 1928 in the Philadelphia Tribune. This strip is credited to Frank Little, also of the Flaming Youth strip; why our sample strip, a 1930 reprint, is credited to "St. Elmor" I have no idea. This is the only sample I could dig up which is one of the rare examples where the characters were shaded to appear black, for publication in a black paper::

Jo-Jo The Hop

Here's a strip with a title that would have raised eyebrows. A 'hop' or 'hophead' was slang for a drug addict. However, our strip is about a hotel bellhop, also known (I gather) by the shorter term 'hop'. Jeffrey Lindenblatt found this one running at the beginning of the syndicate, from July 22 to August 19 1927. The creator, who is only known as 'Howard', is probably the best artist at the syndicate. His work seems to be inspired by Rea Irvin or Gluyas Williams, and you can't go far wrong with them as your inspiration!


This strip was discussed in the post about The Gang, as a possible part of that series. But it is by a different creator, has a different look, and other than having the main character named Mickey, really no particular resemblance. For that reason, I generally assume it is a separate series. Jeffrey Lindenblatt documented a run of just three weeks, from August 26 to September 9 1927, with a byline to 'Ned'. I, on the other hand, can find the two samples shown below, but they are credited to Dick Kennedy. Which makes for an even more tangled web, because we know of a different series by Dick Kennedy, The Whole Dam Family:

Spike and Sam

And now we come to the dregs of the PNF, strips for which I can offer not even a single bad microfilm copy. Spike and Sam was documented only at the end of the syndicate's life, running July 12 to September 6 1928 in the Philadelphia Tribune. It was credited to Frank Little, who also worked on Hard-Hearted Hanna and Flaming Youth

Sweet Adeline

This one was documented by Jeffrey Lindenblatt, running September 16 to November 30 1927, but missing a significant number of weeks during that run. It's another Frank Little strip. 

The Whole Dam Family

Not surprising that it's hard to find this one in many papers; the gag of a family with the surname 'Dam' is off-colour adjacent, and was already a very old gag by the mid-20s. This one was credited to Dick Kennedy. Jeffrey Lindenblatt documented this one running August 26 to September 9 1927, just three strips. 


And that about does it for the Paramount News Feature Service. Just another in the long list of hole-in-the-wall syndicates that was born with the certainty that weekly papers were underserved and constitiuted a cash cow just waiting for a smart entrepreneur to milk it. 

It goes without saying -- but I'll say it anyway -- if you find any run of PNF material or other records that add to our information on this syndicate, we'd love to hear from you!


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Wednesday, May 10, 2023


The Comics of Paramount News Feature Service: Hamm and Beans

Hamm and Beans is a buddy strip featuring a skinny tall fellow (Beans) and his short, fat pal, Hamm. For whatever reason, Hamm often got short-shrift in the strip, leaving Beans to appear alone. The strip was mostly about dating, and pretty much tilled the same fields as PNF's Flaming Youth strip, which we covered earlier, but in this case with consistent characters.

Based on our best sources, the strip began on September 16 1927* and ended on June 28 1928**. The strip was bylined by Gus Standard throughout the run, but some later strips were signed by "Vin". Here are some signed by Standard:

And here's a selection by "Vin":

As you can see, there's not a tremendous difference in style between Gus Standard and "Vin". The "Vin" strips, though, I have only seen in the reprint runs of the strip, so maybe I failed to notice the signature change in the original runs I've checked, or there is a longer original run than what I've seen. 

As discussed in the Flaming Youth post, both it and Hamm and Beans were combined under the umbrella title of Drugstore Cowboys for the reprint runs.

* Source: Norfolk Jounral and Guide

** Source: Philadelphia Tribune

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Tuesday, May 09, 2023


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Pete Hayes

Peter Joseph “Pete” Hayes was born on March 1, 1902, Brooklyn, New York, according to his World War II draft card. 

The 1905 New York state census said Hayes was the third of four children born to Timothy, an Irish immigrant, and Elizabeth. They were Brooklyn residents at 206 Bridge Street. In the 1910 United States Census, the Hayes family lived at 281 Gold Street in Brooklyn. Hayes father was a compounder of liquor. The 1915 New York state census recorded a new address, 184 Duffield Street, for the Hayes family. 

According to the 1920 census, Hayes was a newspaper artist. He lived with his parents and siblings at 359 Jay Street in Brooklyn. Information about his art training has not been found.

Hayes drew an unknown number of strips for Sam Iger’s Paramount Newspaper Feature Service. Hayes’ strips were reprinted in the Drugstore Cowboys series. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said the Paramount Newspaper Feature Service also distributed Iger’s The Gang, Larry Silverman’s In Jungle Land, Geoff Hayes’ After the Honeymoon, Gus Standard’s Ham and Beans, Louise Hirsch’s Charlie Chirps and Tessie Tish, Jack Ward’s Flaming Youth, and Frank Little’s Spike and Sam

Roanoke Rapids Herald (NC) 2/23/1933

Roanoke Rapids Herald (NC) 3/9/1933

The 1930 census counted Hayes, his parents and siblings in Brooklyn at 162 Wyckoff Street. Hayes was a newspaper cartoonist. His father passed away on February 12, 1938. 

The 1940 census said Hayes worked at the Journal-American newspaper where he earned $2,000 in 1939. His highest level of education was the 7th grade. Hayes lived with his widow mother at 137 Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn. 

On February 16, 1942, Hayes signed his World War II draft card. His address was the same. Hayes worked in the art department of the New York Journal-American. He was described as five feet ten inches, 140 pounds, with hazel eyes and brown hair. 

It’s not clear what became of Hayes. There was a “Peter Hays” who passed away on January 3, 1947 in Brooklyn. The 1950 census counted a “Peter Hayes” who was about the same age, single and born in New York but employed as a longshoreman who lived in Manhattan at 264 West 19th Street.


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Monday, May 08, 2023


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Reginald Greenwood

Reginald Eric Greenwood was born on December 31, 1899, in Elkin, North Carolina, according to his North Carolina World War I service card and World War II draft card which had his full name. 

The 1900 United States Census said five-month-old Greenwood was the only child of Claude, a merchant, and Annie who lived with her parents in Knobs, North Carolina. 

The 1910 census said Greenwood, his parents and sister, Sadie, were Knobs residents on Main Street. His father was the manager at a pin factory. The household included Greenwood’s aunt and cousin. 

According to Greenwood’s North Carolina World War I service card, he enlisted at Columbus, Ohio on July 30, 1916. He was a musician who served with the 23rd and 50th Infantries. His ranks were musician third class, February 1, 1917; musician second class, July 1, 1918; private first class, May 12, 1919; and corporal, April 6, 1920. Greenwood was honorably discharged on July 29, 1920. He did not serve overseas. 

In the 1920 census, Greenwood was a Manhattan, New York City resident at 400 West 57th Street. His occupation was artist.

The New York, New York Marriage License Index, at, said Greenwood and Beatrice Tallon obtained, in Manhattan, marriage license number 34065 on December 11, 1925. In Queens, they were married on December 31 which was his birthday. The Newtown Register (New York), January 30, 1926, reported the wedding. 
Mis Beatrice Sutcliffe, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Sutcliffe, 37-60 Ninety-fifth street Elmhurst, an artist’s model, and Reginald E. Greenwood of Elkin, N. C., a Manhattan artist, were married recently by Supreme Court Judge Burt Jay Humphrey.

The couple are now on an extended trip through the southern states.

The bride was given in marriage by her brother, Edwin J. Sutcliffe, and Miss Elizabeth Papashone was bridesmaid. Seventy five guests attended the reception that followed the ceremony.
Greenwood contributed (probably in the late 1920s) an unknown number of strips to Sam Iger’s Paramount Newspaper Feature Service. His strips were reprinted in the Drugstore Cowboys series which also had art by Pete Hayes. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said the Paramount Newspaper Feature Service also distributed Iger’s The Gang, Larry Silverman’s In Jungle Land, Geoff Hayes’ After the Honeymoon, Gus Standard’s Hamm and Beans, Louise Hirsch’s Charlie Chirps and Tessie Tish, Jack Ward’s Flaming Youth, and Frank Little’s Spike and Sam

Galien River Gazette (Three Oaks, MI) 101/10/1940

The 1930 census counted illustrator Greenwood, his wife, twelve-year-old step-son Robert, and mother-in-law Evelyn Sutcliffe, in St. Albans, Queens, New York at 115-20 209th Street. 

Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists said Greenwood contributed to several pulp publications. 

The 1940 census said Greenwood was divorced and a self-employed commercial artist. His highest level of education was the third year of college. He lived in St. Albans at 191-13 114th Drive. 

On February 15, 1942, Greenwood signed his World War II draft card. His address was the same. Greenwood worked for the newspaper syndicate United Feature Service. He was described as five feet ten inches, 180 pounds, with gray eyes and brown hair. 

United Feature Service signed Greenwood to take over Jack Sparling’s Hap Hopper, Washington Correspondent. Greenwood produced just week’s worth of dailies which were published June 7 to 12, 1943. 

Greenwood passed away on May 25, 1943, in Manhattan. His wife (they had separated) provided information for the death certificate. His occupation was a newspaper artist who lived at 344 East 48th Street. He died at St. Vincent’s Hospital. 

The Charlotte Observer, (North Carolina), May 29, 1943, published an obituary. 
Elkin Funeral for N. Y. Man
Reginald E. Greenwood, Cartoonist of King Syndicate to Be Buried at Old Home 
Elkin, May 28.—Funeral services for Reginald E. Greenwood, 43, native of Elkin, who died Tuesday in a New York hospital of a heart illness will be conducted at the First Baptist church of Elkin Saturday afternoon by Rev. Grover C. Graham and Rev. Stephen Morrisett. Burial will be made in Hollywood cemetery.

He was a son of the late Claude Greenwood, prominent merchant and manufacturer and Mrs. Annie Booth Greenwood, now of Landrum S. C. 

Mr. Greenwood, a talented cartoonist, had been in New York many years and was associated with King syndicate in recent years. 

He was formerly a member of Elkin First Baptist church and it was his request that his body be brought to Elkin for final rites. 

The only immediate survivors are his mother and one sister, Mrs. John King of Statesville. Friends of his boyhood to serve as pallbearers are W. M. Allen, George Royall, J. O. Bivins, Edworth Harris, Hugh Royall, Grady Harris, Robert Kirkman, and Earl C. James.
An obituary, with errors, appeared in Editor & Publisher, June 12, 1943. 
Reggie Greenwood, Cartoonist, Dies 
Reginald Greenwood, newspaper artist for many years, died of a heart attack at St. Vincent’s Hospital, New York, on May 25, after a two weeks’ illness. At the time of his death he was a staff artist for the New York Journal-American, and also had been engaged to draw the “Hap Hopper” strip for United Feature Syndicate. He had drawn a week’s strip when he was stricken. 

Greenwood was born in Landrum, S. C., [sic] the son of a newspaperman [sic]. He served as an officer in the Second Division during World War I, and was wounded in action. Following the war he served with the Recruiting Service on Governors island, N. Y., and was a major when he left the service. Later he made a tour of the world, and his travels gave him a good background for his work when he resumed his art career in New York.
The birthplace is incorrect and Greenwood’s father was a merchant. His reported military service differs significantly from his North Carolina service card report. 

Greenwood was laid to rest at Hollywood Cemetery


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Sunday, May 07, 2023


Wish You Were Here, from Cobb Shinn


Here's a postcard by Cobb Shinn, one of the very ugly cards he produced in great quantity during the postcard boom of the 1900s-10s. This one doesn't credit a maker, and was postally used in 1911. I have lots of Shinn cards, but I think I'll keep most of them to myself, unless there are some dissenting opinions out there. Do you like this postcard? I guess maybe if you thought of it as a statement in modern art, or something ...


It's hideous, but it's great. Please post more of them.
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Saturday, May 06, 2023


Herriman Saturday: May 26 1910


May 26 1910 -- Pretty obvious gag here, Jim Jeffries has finished his big rejuvenating meal, and he's now ready for a "large black." What bothers me about the cartoon (other than its smug race-based gag) is that Herriman had a superb ear for slang, but this is distinctly tinny. If we're talking about coffee, I never heard of ordering a "large black" to get a cuppa joe. Or maybe he's referring to some other period end of meal delicacy I've never heard of?


"Café Fistiana", read in reverse on the window, is a nice touch, though.
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