Monday, March 01, 2021

 

Obscurity of the Day: Jesterday

 




Mario Risso, who took credit simply as 'Mario' on this panel, sold the historical humor series Jesterday to Iowa's Register & Tribune Syndicate. I can't say I'm a fan; I've seen this sort of thing done better. Risso's cartooning is fine, but the gags fail to do much tickling of my funnybone. 

Jesterday was a real throwaway sort of feature, so of the few client papers that bought it I imagine quite a few used it ROP. However, I did manage to find a few papers that ran it consistently enough to formulate some possible start and end dates, to wit, August 4 1975* to March 6 1976**. Wouldn't surprise me to learn that the feature ran out its one year contract, but finding it actually running anywhere that long I've come up dry. 

Risso would later make a return to the funny pages with the strip Father's Day, and author and illustrate a number of books.

* Source: Jackson Sun

** Source: Minneapolis Tribune

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Sunday, February 28, 2021

 

Wish You Were Here, from August Hutaf

 

August Hutaf did a whole series of postcards about apples, one of my favorite subjects. These were put out by the A.B. Woodward Company in 1907. I wonder how many people even know what a russet apple is these days?

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Saturday, February 27, 2021

 

Herriman Saturday

 

January 9 1910 -- Boxer Jim Jeffries is touring the country, putting on theatrical shows of fisticuffs for the throngs of fight fans who want to get a glimpse of him before he goes up against Jack Johnson in July. Herriman speaks for his fellow Angelinos who pine for the return of their local hero.

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Friday, February 26, 2021

 

Obscurity of the Day: Gimpey

 


Here's one of those kid strips from the 1900s that number in the hundreds. This kid is named Gimpey, and if he's not careful he's going to lose his star status to this Judge Sobersides joker who is horning in on the fun. 

Gimpey ran as an occasional feature of the Boston Globe Sunday comics sections from March 5 1905 to February 4 1906*. The strips are signed Williams, and I have long believed that they are by O.P. Williams; the art style is right, and he was in Boston, where he would later cartoon for the Herald and the Traveler. Oddly, though, Alex Jay didn't seem to find any mentions of his being at the Globe for his Ink-Slinger Profile. I'm sticking with the ID, though, until proven wrong.


* Boston Globe index by Dave Strickler.

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Hello Allan-
I've very seldom come across Boston Globe material syndicated to other papers. When I have, it's just about always Billy the boy Artist. A sure way of identifying early syndicates is the type font, which almost always used by the client as offered by the syndicate. The font used here is rather distinctive, so I'm guessing that would be a sure indicator of a Globe strip if there have been other instances.
If Williams set out to do a knockoff of "Jimmy the Messenger Boy", He improved on it.
 
Hi Mark --
Just to be clear, there's no question about it being a Boston Globe feature. That is definite. What I was questioning is my ID of "Williams" as O.P. Williams, who is not definitely known to have worked at the Globe.

--Allan
 
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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

 

Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The Three Hundred for 1982 -- Rankings

Between 1981 and 1982 we lost information on 3 papers, but 3 papers returned which makes us even. The total is still 286 papers. All the 3 papers lost did not have online information for January 1982 or even the last day of 1981. They were Battle Creek Enquirer (MI), Daily News (Huntingdon, PA) and Intelligencer Journal (Lancaster, PA). All these three papers will be back for the 1983 results. The three papers that have returned are the Courier (Waterloo, IA), Del Rio News Herald (TX) and Globe-Gazette (Mason City, IA).

Four strips entered (or re-entered) the top 30 this year: one new strip (The Muppets), For Better or For Worse, Herman and Gasoline Alley, which squeaked in despite not gaining any papers. Three strips dropped out; Berry’s World, Bugs Bunny and Steve Canyon. Garfield made the biggest movement, up 11 spots to crack the Top 10. The top 14 strips all gained papers. The Top 8 stayed in the same spots but next year there will be lots of movement,  because Doonesbury starts its 22-month sabbatical, which will make for quite a shake-up.

TOP 30

Title

Place

Rank Movement

+/- Papers

Total Papers

Peanuts

1

Same

+1

202

Blondie

2

Same

+1

192

Beetle Bailey

3

Same

+3

177

Doonesbury

4

Same

+4

123

Hagar the Horrible

5

Same

+7

119

Wizard of Id

6

Same

+5

104

Andy Capp

7

Same

+4

101

B.C.

8

Same

+3

97

Family Circus

9

Up 1

+6

91

Frank & Ernest

10

Down 1

+2

90

Garfield

10

Up 11

+41

90

Hi & Lois

12

Same

+3

83

Born Loser

13

Down 2

+1

82

Dennis the Menace

14

Down 1

+2

81

Mary Worth

15

Down 1

-3

75

Shoe

16

Same

+5

73

Muppets

17

Debut

 

70

Barney Google and Sn

18

Down 3

-1

69

Rex Morgan

19

Down 1

-2

55

Nancy

20

Down 3

-7

52

Amazing Spider-Man

21

Down 2

-5

51

For Better or For Worse

21

Entering

+8

51

Marmaduke

21

Down 1

-2

51

Herman

24

Entering

+10

50

Winthrop

25

Down 2

+2

49

Eek and Meek

26

Down 5

-3

46

Alley Oop

27

Down 4

-2

45

Archie

28

Down 5

-4

43

Dick Tracy

28

Down 5

-4

43

Gasoline Alley

28

Entering top 30

0

43

Priscilla’s Pop

28

Up 2

-2

43

 

 Here are the rest of the features, ranked by number of papers.

# of Papers

Feature (paper gain or loss)

42

Heathcliff (+2)

41

Tank McNamara (-3)

40

Funky Winkerbean (-3)

39

Berry’s World (-7)

38

Bugs Bunny (-8)

36

Judge Parker (-6)

35

Tumbleweeds (-5), Ziggy (+7)

34

Tiger (-6)

33

Cathy (+4), Short Ribs (-6), Steve Canyon (-14)

32

Buz Sawyer (-3)

30

Captain Easy (-1)

27

Our Boarding House (-4)

25

Phantom (-1)

24

Apartment 3-G (-4)

23

Crock (+1)

22

Broom Hilda (-2), Kit ‘N’ Carlyle (-2), Lockhorns (-1), Mark Trail (-2), Redeye (-5), Steve Roper and Mike Nomad (-1)

21

Goosemyer (-5), They’ll Do It Every Time (-7)

19

Latigo (-2)

18

Levy’s Law (+1)

17

Kudzu (R)

16

Donald Duck (-6), Dunagin’s People (-2), Fred Basset (0), Hazel (0)

15

Bloom County (+9), Momma (-2), Ryatts (0)

14

Grin and Bear It (-6), Kerry Drake (-4), Rip Kirby (0), Small Society (-11)

13

Heart of Juliet Jones (-5), Mr. Tweedy (0), Star Wars (-16), Winnie the Pooh (-9)

12

Better Half (+1), Duffy (R), Gil Thorp (+1), Little Orphan Annie (+1)

11

Dallas (R), Far Side (+6), John Darling (-6), Motley’s Crew (0)

10

Fletcher’s Landing (0), Joe Palooka (0), Miss Peach (-4)

9

Agatha Crumm (-5), Brenda Starr (-1), Dondi (0), Graffiti (-1), Henry (-3), Le Grand Chef (R)

8

Catfish (-1), Love Is (-2), Pavlov (+1)

7

Animal Crackers (-1), Drabble (0), Ferd’nand (-2), Laff-A-Day (0), Moose Miller (-1), Ripley’s Believe It Or Not (0), Sam and Silo (-3), There Oughta Be A Law (0), Willy ‘N’ Ethal (R), Winnie Winkle (-2)

 6

Barbara Cartland’s Romance (0), Ben Swift, Retired (R), Ben Wicks (+2), Charmers (-2), Flash Gordon (0), Flintstones (-5), Gordo (-1), Guindon (+3), Hocus-Focus (+1), Lolly (+1), Nubbin (0), Trim’s Arena (+2), Wee Pals (-1)

5

A Little Leary (+1), Boner’s Ark (0), Citizen Smith (0), Girls (-3), Lone Ranger (R), Rafferty (+4), Scamp (0), Smithereens (+3), Smith Family (0), Star Trek (-4), Superheroes (-8), Wingtips (R)

4

Amy, Belvedere, Big George, Eb & Flo, Incredible Hulk, It’s Just A Game, Moon Mullins, Mr. Abernathy, Mutt and Jeff, Neighborhood, Our Fascinating Earth, Outcasts, Ponytail, Quincy, Scoops, Trudy

3

According to Guinness, Benji, Bringing Up Father, Buck Rogers, Carmichael, Charlie, Downstown, Eggheads, Graves Inc, Health Capsules, Johnny Wonder, Mickey Mouse, Playing Better Golf with Jack Nicklaus, Rivets, Sporting Life, Strictly Business, Travels With Farley, Word-A-Day, Wright Angles

2

Brother Juniper, Dr. Smock, Father’s Day, Flop Family, Gumdrop, Hang in There!, Hubert, Inside Woody Allen, Laugh Time, Mandrake the Magician, No Comment, Popeye, Pot Shots, Selling Short, Simpkins, Time Out

1

Adam’s Apple, As You Were, Benchwarmer Sports Trivia, Bernie, Brick Bradford, Ching Chow, Country Parson, Dr. Kildare, Figments, Funny Business, Hello Carol, Idea Chaser, Laffbreak, Little Woman, Lookin’ Fine, Luther, Mark Trail’s Outdoor Tips, Men and Women, Miles to Go, Modesty Blaise, Murphy’s Law, My Grandma, Norbert, Prime Time, Salt Chuck, Secret Agent Corrigan, Sonny Pew, Stan Smith’s Tennis Class, This Funny World, Vidiots, Word Play

 As always, if you would like the complete listings for the year (showing each title and which papers ran it) in a Word file, just send Allan an email with your request.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

 

Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The Three Hundred for 1982 - Biggest Winners and Losers

As with the previous year, Garfield continues its rise to becoming one of the most successful strips of all time. From January 1980 to January 1981 Garfield gained 28 papers to reach a total 49 papers, which is the highest gain which we have seen so far. Now from January 1981 to January 1982 Garfield shattered its own record with an additional 41 papers!

No other feature would come near that; the next highest was Herman with a gain of 10 papers. Newer strips like Bloom County, For Better or For Worse, Bloom County, Shoe and Far Side all had nice increases. Here is the rundown:

The Biggest Gainers

  1. Garfield – 41
  2. Herman – 10
  3. Bloom County – 9
  4. For Better or For Worse – 8
  5. Hagar the Horrible, Ziggy – 7
  6. Family Circus, Far Side – 6
  7. Wizard of Id, Shoe – 5

The biggest losers are story strips, long-running strips and recent strips continuing their downward trend from last year. The biggest drop was again Star Wars which lost 21 papers in the previous survey. This year the strip lost 16 more papers making a 37 paper drop in the last two years. Steve Canyon who had been averaging a loss of 6 papers per year lost a new high of 14 papers during the past year.

The Biggest Losers

  1. Star Wars – 16
  2. Steve Canyon – 14
  3. Small Society – 11
  4. Winnie the Pooh – 9
  5. Bugs Bunny, Superheroes – 8
  6. Nancy, Berry’s World, They’ll Do It Every Time – 7
  7. Judge Parker, Tiger, Short Ribs, Donald Duck, Grin and Bear It, John Darling – 6
  8. Amazing Spider-Man, Tumbleweeds, Redeye, Goosemyer, Heart of Juliet Jones, Agatha Crumm, Flintstones, Incredible Hulk – 5

 Among the story strips, only Annie managed to buck the downward trend, gaining a single paper. The only other ‘gainer’ was Lone Ranger, which was a new strip. Here is the breakdown:

 

The total spots now given to story strips is 429, down from 510 which is a 16 percent drop from last year.

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Note: The section on story strip listing is about adventure strips only. Since we are in the return of adventure strip years (1977-1985). Soap style strips are not listed. There downward trend happen years later.
 
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Monday, February 22, 2021

 

Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The Three Hundred for 1982 - Rookie Features

This is now the fifth year we have covered and again we have lots of new features debuting;  the highest we have ever had since we started this journey. Our big rookie is The Muppets, which ended the year with 70 papers. As with the previous rookie winners this strip would only last a short time. In this case it would be five years. You can see why newspaper editors would have thought that this strip would bring in all types of readers from the young to the old. The Muppets had a successful TV series and a recent successful movie but could not hold the readers in a gag a day strip format.  

The remaining rookies for 1982 had some success and of course some that would disappear in the blink of the eye. Coming in second was a strip that could still be running today if the cartoonist Doug Marlette did not die in an automobile accident;  that would be Kudzu which debuted in 17 papers. Others that had good starts were Duffy with 12 and Dallas with 11. Willy ‘n Ethel is the only debut that is still running today, though it is now self-syndicated.

 Here are the top rookie strips:

  1. The Muppets (King Features) – 70
  2. Kudzu (Chicago Tribune – New York News Syndicate) – 17
  3. Duffy (Universal Press Syndicate) – 12
  4. Dallas (Los Angeles Times Syndicate) – 11
  5. Le Grand Chef (Chicago Tribune – New York News Syndicate) – 9
  6. Willy ‘N Ethel (Field Enterprise) – 7
  7. Ben Swift (United Feature Syndicate) – 6
  8. Lone Ranger (New York Times Special Features) – 5
  9. Wingtips (Universal Press Syndicate) – 5

 Other new strips that debuted in less than 5 papers – It’s Just a Game, Benji, Eggheads, Father’s Day, Adam’s Apple*, Miles to Go, Sonny Pew and Vidiots.

 Here is how the debuts since 1977 stand as of 1982:

  1. Garfield (United Features Syndicate) (1978) – 90
  2. Shoe (Chicago Tribune – New York News Syndicate) (1977) – 73
  3. The Muppets (King Features) (1981) – 70
  4. Amazing Spider-Man (Register and Tribune Syndicate) (1977) – 51
  5. For Better or For Worse (Universal Press Syndicate) (1979) – 51
  6. Kit ‘N’ Carlyle (NEA) (1980) - 22
* Adam's Apple debuted in 1980, but didn't make it onto the 300 until now

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Saturday, February 20, 2021

 

Herriman Saturday

 

January 7 1910 --Ad Wolgast is set to face George Memsic tonight at the Naud Junction boxing arena. Herriman suggests in this sports editorial strip that Ad, who is the heavy favorite, just might lose and then all his plans for continuing his climb up the boxing ladder will be in a shambles. 

As it turns out, Wolgast will beat Memsic tonight, making him the winner of his last nine bouts. It will not be until a few more fights down the road when Wolgast's luck will run out.

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Friday, February 19, 2021

 

Obscurity of the Day: Dijever

 



Before creating the long-running Our Own Oddities for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Sunday comics section, Ralph Graczak was the illustrator of a weekly feature titled Dijever. The feature asked readers to submit puns which Graczak would illustrate. The idea was to complete the phrase "Did you ever ..." with a term, usually two words, where the meaning changes if you treat one of the words as a verb. Look at the samples to get the idea of how it worked. It was a cute idea, and Graczak did his best to eke out a little extra humor from the illustrations.

The feature ran on a Saturday kids page called the Weekly Whizzer, debuting with the page of June 18 1938. Graczak made it a bit less than a year before the Dijever feature was canned in favor of new contest. The last panel ran on March 4 1939. 

This is one of those features that I have trouble with. Is it worthy of inclusion in my listings? If Graczak himself were penning the puns, then no problem. But since he was just illustrating reader submissions that sort of makes this an 'activity feature', which my self-imposed rules disqualify. Yes, I know, if that's the worst problem I have, then things are looking pretty darn bright...

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I note that while he invites reader submissions, offering $1 for each they use; that none of these examples list a submitter. I had always thought that part of the appeal of these sorts of contests were getting one's name in the paper.

Steven R
 
Good ppoint Steven, but if memory serves the contributor names were listed in text. That Whizzer page had so many contests going on I seem to recall they had a boxed area just to list off the winning names.

--Allan
 
Hello Allan-
This reminds me of Bil Keane's "Sideshow" which was an assortment of play-on-words gags just like these, in fact he often used the tag line "PUN-ishment inflicted by Bil Keane" in the feature, which was usually a rectangle attached to the Sunday FAMILY CIRCUS in the 1960s. They too, were mostly sent in by readers, whose name and city were included, and I think they might have got a small dollar prize. They were pretty bad; gags like a pig in an apron posing like Jolson, "PURE MA HOG ON KNEE"... or Karl Marx's grave, "ANOTHER RED PLOT". I knew Keane, slightly. He loved this kind of stuff. He said he dropped "Sideshow" because after a while, reader contributions were slacking off, and too many repetitons among the ones that did.
 
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Monday, February 15, 2021

 

Toppers: Nicodemus O'Malley

 

Unlike most cartoonists working for King Features, Ad Carter, the creator of Just Kids, seemed to know almost exactly what he wanted to do when the syndicate decreed that all Sunday pages would have topper strips added. On May 16 1926* Just Kids gained a topper that would last until the strip eschewed toppers altogether almost two decades later. 

The topper was titled Nicodemus O'Malley (originally titled Nicodemus O'Malley's Uncle for the first two episodes) and it took one of the minor players from the main strip and simply moved him into a starring role on Sundays. Nicodemus was a younger kid than the rest of the gang, always getting into scrapes and trouble. His uncle was there to keep him in line and offer sage advice. 

The relationship is a little murky. Nicodemus was, as best I can tell, the nephew of Mush Stebbins, the star of the main strip. Oddly, though, when Mush played the wise uncle in the topper, he was fitted with a bowler hat and never that I've seen referred to by name. Maybe this was a different uncle than Mush? I dunno. 

It's relationship to the characters in the main strip notwithstanding, the dynamic between the two was very much like that between Skippy and Sooky in Percy Crosby's Always Belittlin', a topper strip to Skippy that debuted about six months after Nicodemus O'Malley.  

The tiresomely fomulaic strip had little to recommend it until a decade later, when suddenly Ad Carter woke up to the fun he could have if he injected a fantasy element. On March 29 1936** the strip was retitled Nicodemus O'Mally and his Pet Whale Palsy-Walsy, taking little Nicodemus to the seas, riding on the back of his new-found friend all over the world. The strip finally gained visual interest, a sense of fun, and much better gags. I hope it is not too much of an insult to Ad Carter, but it makes me wonder if this burst of creativity speaks to a ghost coming on board. 

In the 1940s topper strips started to fall out of favor with newspapers. They had the excuse of wartime paper shortages, but the primary reason was that those third-page holes made good spots for advertising. Ad Carter, probably recognizing the futility of putting a lot of effort into toppers, dropped Palsy-Walsy and the whole fantasy element on August 18 1940***. The topper remained, but went back to its boring old self, now with a slightly more mature Nicodemus and no uncle in sight. The topper drifted along for almost two more years, appearing in fewer and fewer papers, until Carter decided to give up on toppers altogether. The last Nicodemus O'Malley topper ran on April 19 1942***. 


* Source: Columbus Dispatch

** Source: Sandusky Register

*** Source: Montana Standard

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Hello Allan-
Mush was originally the star of his own series, "Our Friend Mush" in the waning days of the Philadelphia Inquirer syndicate. Do you think there was any problem with, at the time, confusion over who owned the character? I know that eventually, the strip reverted to using his name, as in your post of 14 March 2006:

https://strippersguide.blogspot.com/search?q=our+friend+mush
 
Hi Allan. I just discovered your site today through a link on Reddit. Very fascinating and engrossing and I'll admit I've fallen down a real rabbit hole here.

Having said that - I was wondering if you knew of a strip (or longer comic) I saw as a kid in 1975. It appeared in some kind of "annual" or a yearbook that my ma picked up at maybe a garage sale in Nashville that summer, for something to entertain me at the hotel we stayed at that summer. Anyway, one particular comic stayed with me, and it involved a girl who...excuse my hazy memory ...was sort of a detective? Our heroine was decidedly frumpy, a bit chubby, possibly bespectacled, and, what I remember most - rode around on a penny-farthing bicycle. Her name may have even BEEN Penny Farthing. It was drawn in the semi-realistic, linear comic style common to the late 60's/early 70's, and if I recall correctly, colored in a two-tone (black lines with brown or sepia coloring) print. Unlike my other childhood books, this one unfortunately disappeared somewhere, likely recirculating back into the realm of garage sales. Again, apologies for the foggy memory, but the one element I can definitely ride on is the Penny Farthing.

Thanks for the cool site, and I hope you can help. It's a mystery almost 50 years in the making.
 
Hello Allan,
The description that e r offers, the "annual", the coloring, and the character all point to some British publication, wouldn't you say?
 
I definitely agree that it sounds like one of those British comics. ER needs to find someone who is into that stuff; I'm definitely not.

--Allan
 
Thanks, guys. Agreed about the British "annual" thing - I've seen them and they're dreadful.
 
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Sunday, February 14, 2021

 

Wish You Were Here, from Charles Schulz

 

Hallmark published quite a few Peanuts postcards. This one is marked 204-1 on the back. The cards are undated, but I'm guessing, what, 1990s? Good gag card to send to a recalcitrant correspondent!

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Saturday, February 13, 2021

 

Herriman Saturday

 

January 7 1910 -- Herriman illustrates a most odd report from the University orf Missouri, in which the boys claim to be growing their beards so as not to be attractive to the girls. This decision apparently made in order to promote higher levels of scholarship from the ladies, who otherwise are overcome by the mere sight of the rapturously handsome faces of the boys. 



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Wednesday, February 10, 2021

 

Toppers: Fold-A-Way Bucktoy

 

Here's the very first Buck Rogers topper (we've covered quite a few of them on the blog), this one a cut-out feature called Fold-A-Way Bucktoy. According to Buck Rogers expert Eugene Seger, this panel feature ran on the Sundays numbered 119 through 147. That translates, for papers running the strip on time, to July 3 1932 to January 15 1933. 

According to my ghosting credits, all these Sundays would have been ghosted by Russell Keaton.

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I loved, and still love, the idea behind Bucktoys, those cut-out "movies" on the Popeye Sunday pages, and similar experiments in interactivity. As a kid, I once hoped to find a little tiny binder sized to hold the Crimestopper's Texbook pages. But cutting things out of newsprint except to collect was usually an exercise in futility. It was too limp to play with, and pasting onto stiff paper never quite worked out. Cereal box cardboard was vastly preferred for such things.
 
Hello Allan, DBenson,
I think it was a standard part of cut outs, at least in the case of most paper dolls, that an accompanying instruction to paste them on cardboard first, would be present. It would seem one would have to, lest the side flaps would be useless for making them stand.
On the other hand, the "Mechanical" creations like "Wimpy's Who's Zoo?"" would be unworkable with any backing.
 
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Monday, February 08, 2021

 

From the Archives Sub-Basement: Katzenjammer Kids - Foxy Grandpa Crossover

 

A February 23 1902 Hearst comics section shows us what sort of shenanigans could happen when cartoonists worked alongside each other in newspaper bullpens. Such crossover strips would eventually become very rare, but in the 1890s and 1900s these treats happened more frequently.

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Comments:
Allen, if I have this right, Hearst had only very recently moved to poach Schulze and his strip from the New York Herald. Could this "crossover" appearance of the Katzenjammers have been a sort of promotional stunt, welcoming Grandpa and "Bunny" to the Hearst papers?

-- Griff
 
Good catch Griff, yes, this was only Foxy Grandpa's second week in the Hearst section!

--Allan
 
Hello Allan, Griff,
This is also one of the only times Foxy made it to the cover, mosly he was an inside half page, and eventualy, only seen in the extra comic page that might go in the back of the magazine section.

 
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Sunday, February 07, 2021

 

Wish You Were Here, from Grace Drayton

 

I love these Grace Drayton cards from Reinthal & Newman; this particular series has wonderful gags, so unexpectedly earthy in light of those cherubic little Campbell's Kids. 

This card is undated, but postally used in 1916. The card was mailed in Scotland, and I love the similarly earthy message written in a childish scrawl; "Thank you very much for the nice rock. With love from May." I'm sure the recipient, Miss Muriel Perry, was delighted that her gift of a rock was well-received.

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Saturday, February 06, 2021

 

The Return of Herriman Saturday

 

About a year and a half ago I had to discontinue our weekly Herriman Saturdays because my LA Examiner source material got packed away in a box 2000 miles away, prepped for the big move. When everything made it to my new home base and unpacking began, I soon realized that the stack of Herrimans was playing a pro game of hide-and-seek. So, here we are a year later and I just uncovered the stack in a totally unexpected box of miscellany. Well, better late than never! 

As you probably do not recall, Herriman Saturday went on hiatus just as we got started on 1910, Herriman's last year at the LA Examiner. However, for our first new post, we're going to turn back the clock to 1908, because in that stack I discovered a giant full-page cartoon by Herriman that got filed out of order. So ....


April 20 1908 -- Herriman offered up a bonanza of cartoons to welcome the Great White Fleet to Los Angeles, among which was this full page of vignettes about the visiting gobs. A few notes on the subject matter:

* in the upper right you see a sailor saluting a handbill depicting 'Bob Evans'. It's not that he's a big fan of fried mush and other down-home heart attack food, but doing what comes natural when he sees the Great White Fleet's Admiral Robley D. Evans

* upper left, "Charley Noble" was the slang term for a copper smokestack over a ship's kitchen. Why this sailor addresses his horse that way I cannot guess. 

* middle top, a pier head is the outer edge of a pier or dock.

* left side, 3rd cartoon down, Herriman shills for a favorite Spanish (that is Mexican) restaurant that serves fiery spiced dishes of chili con carne. The restaurant has been tentatively IDed by others as "The Spanish Kitchen", and operated by Ismael (here corrupted as Ysmile) Ramirez.  

* right side, 3rd cartoon down, Jeff is of course boxer Jim Jeffries, who figures in hundreds of Herriman cartoons, but you can be forgiven if you forgot that after this long layover.


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Friday, February 05, 2021

 

Obscurity of the Day: Hamlet

 


Answering the question on everyone's mind, "If pigs could be part of human society, would they be a lot like grown-up Charlie Browns?", Steve Stinson's Hamlet set out to provide the answer and it is a resounding "Yes!". The strip about a depressed porker, syndicated by Iowa's Register and Tribune Syndicate, found very few takers, so few that I can find no papers online that ran it. My files confirm that the strip did indeed make it into a paper somewhere, but more than that I cannot say. It began sometime in 1984, and may not have made it out of that year. Can anyone provide specific running dates?

Stinson tried out a number of newspaper features in the 1980s, and believe it or not Hamlet is the one with the highest profile.  He later got into writing and drawing children's books and paints some pretty cool artwork. Go check out his website.


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I remember seeing "Hamlet" listed in the Editor & Publisher Syndicate Directory back in 1984, so I have been familiar with this comic strip for a long time, although I have never actually seen episodes of it before.

I have no idea what newspapers it appeared in, nor its start and end dates, either, although apparently, it did run in October 1984, from seeing the dates on the samples. If it only ran for about one year, it likely did so anywhere from fall 1983 into spring 1985.

Around that time, one comic strip that was a favorite of mine, "Dick And Jane," (also distributed by The Register And Tribune Syndicate) ran around this same time, and was just as short-lived. It also didn't seem to have much for takers, either. My recent guess is that "Dick And Jane" more likely ran in suburban newspapers, as it did not seem to appear in very many big major newspapers.
 
Was it in the LA Times?
It rings a bell, and I was living in LA at the time.
 
Ichecked the LA Times for Oct 1984, it's not there. -- Allan
 
Hello Allan-
I used to have access to many of the leftover files of the Register & Tribune files, which were transferred to King Features when we absorbed them in the 1980s. Not one page of this one was kept!

 
@John Lund: There was a post here about "Dick and Jane" a few years ago (http://strippersguide.blogspot.com/2016/01/obscurity-of-day-dick-and-jane.html) which listed some newspapers it was published in.

I can confirm that "D&J" ran in the Tampa Tribune. I even wrote a letter published in the Tribune criticizing the strip.
 
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Wednesday, February 03, 2021

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Dick Bibler


Richard Neil “Dick” Bibler* was born on June 14, 1922, in Elkhart, Kansas, according to his World War II draft card which included his full name. In the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Bibler and his parents, Marcus and Elva, resided in Elkhart. His father was a dentist.

According to the 1940 census the Bibler family had increased to six with the addition of three daughters. Bibler worked as a waiter at a lunch counter.

During World War II Bibler enlisted on May 16, 1942 in the Army Air Corps. He assigned to the Seventh Army Air Force. In March 1944 he was admitted to a hospital to treat impetigo contagiosa.

Bibler contributed cartoons to the Brief, a weekly magazine of the Seventh Army Air Force in the Pacific Theater. The magazine also published Kin Platt’s cartoons









 


Discharged from service Bibler enrolled in the University of Kansas. One of his classmates was Paul Coker. Bibler graduated with the class of 1950. 



1949 Jayhawker yearbook
 
1950 Jayhawker yearbook

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Little Man on Campus appeared in college newspapers as early as 1946, first in the Daily Kansan, and continued into the 1950s. The panel ran in some mainstream newspapers in the 1960s.

The Daily Collegian, November 17, 1955, said

Presently, Bibler is an assistant professor in the art department at Humboldt State College, Arcata, California. He admits to a “beautiful blonde wife,” two daughters, and a son. He notes proudly that his son is already scribbling cartoons about guys flunking biology.
Bibler was an art instructor at the Monterey Peninsula College in California. He was profiled in the school newspaper, The Word, on November 3, 1967. 



Bibler passed away May 24, 2013, in Monterey. An obituary appeared in the Monterey Herald, June 15, 2013.
Richard N. Bibler died peacefully in his sleep May 24, 2013. He was a retired Art professor of 30 years at Monterey Peninsula College and creator of Little Man on Campus cartoons. Richard is survived by his children, Ms. Susan Gardner, Dr. Mark Bibler and Ms. Ellen Milinich. His ashes will be placed in the cemetery in Monterey.
He was laid to rest at the Monterey City Cemetery.  


Further Reading and Viewing
Daily Collegian, November 17, 1955
Utah Communication History Encyclopedia
Visual Humor
The Daily Cartoonist

• Not to be confused with Richard C. Bibler who was mistaken for Richard N. Bibler in Artists in California, 1786–1940 by Edan Hughes.


—Alex Jay

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Monday, February 01, 2021

 

From the Archives Sub-Basement: A Couple of Interesting Mexican Newspaper Comics

 Working away at organizing the boxes and boxes of miscellany here at the Archives, I came across a few Mexican Sunday newspaper comics sections. Of course most of the contents are translated US comics, but each section had a little homegrown content. I decided I had to share a few items with you. First, here is the cover feature of El Heraldo de Mexico for May 18 1980, titled Johnny Galaxy:


I had this one pegged for a foreign import, but clicking around the web I'm not so sure anymore. Seems like this feature appeared in various comics anthologies in various countries, and that the ultimate origin of the strip is surprisingly murky. One website suggested that it was produced by a Spanish comics publisher. I don't know if they mean in Spain, or perhaps in Mexico? In any case, it certainly seems odd that a Spaniard of any country would name his hero Johnny, right? Anyone have any wisdom to share about this feature?

Second, I was pretty blown away by the delight ful art on Chicharrin y el Sargento Pistolas:



These strips from 1984 Sunday sections of an unknown paper may be badly colored and suffering from bleed-through, but I really like the artist's energy. I was very surprised to find that the creator, Guerrero Edwards, started this strip around 1936, and did it into the 1990s. Wow, we're talking about a record run! Hard to imagine art that fresh and joyful could come from a cartoonist by then in his 80s. I found one short bio of the cartoonist online here, which I ran through Google translate:

Born in Pachuca on December 30, 1903, Armando Guerrero Edwards, was the creator of emblematic comic strips, published for decades in the Mexican press, such as Chicharrín and Sargento Pistolas, which were distributed over 66 years.

There is not much information about the cartoonist Armando Guerrero, it is known that he entered a contest organized by the newspaper El Universal, and although he did not win the first prize, he was among the first twenty finalists, some of his works were published.

It would be from 1926 that he began to publish more constantly: Life and miracles of Pinolillo and Nacho Naranjas, Aventuras de Pirrucha and Ranilla.

His most memorable creation was Chicharrín y el Sargento Pistolas, which was published in the evening of Excelsior Últimas Noticias. The strip showed the adventures of a mischievous boy and an abusive cop.

Despite the fact that its purpose was not to generate criticism, as its successors would do with political cartoons, but simply to entertain, at that time it laid the foundations for comics in Mexico; later Rius, Fontanarrosa, Magú, among other moneros and caricaturists would arrive.

José Luis Diego Hernández “Trizas”, president of the Mexican Society of Cartoonists, during the presentation of an edited volume on Guerrero's work, commented: “Don Armando was the creator of characters that became icons in our history, Chicharrín and Sergeant Pistolas have remained in the collective memory, they have made several generations of Mexicans laugh ”.

Armando Guerrero deserves to be remembered as one of the pioneers of Mexican comics and a pillar of the national graphic culture. Chicharrín y el Sargento Pistolas was published from 1936 to the 1990s. Armando Guerrero Edwards died on September 25, 1995.


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Hello Allan-
Johnny Galaxy was originally a comic book put out by the Spanish publisher Selecciones Industradas in 1959, created by José M. Beá (Born in Barcelona in 1942). Like many series, it was soon published in multiple languages by multiple publishers throughout Europe in the 1960s and even as far afield as Australia. It would seem that Mr. Galaxy's adventures have been over for many years, though, and some kind of cat expert is using his name all over the internet now. Beá is quite prolific, doing mostly horror titles, some, like Vampirella in the US.

 
In fact European comics from the 30s through the 50s often gave their characters exotic English names like Johnny, Bill, Larry, and Jack. This sometimes led to odd combinations like the French hero Teddy Ted (his first and last name).
 
A couple of years back I sat waiting for someone in the entry court of a large Brazilian supermarket. Of roughly 300 people who walked past me, most wearing message T-shirts, ALL of those T-shirts were in English. Many are incorrect, but nobody notices. Last month I saw a "Keep on Raveing" message.
 
Hello all-

The most preposterous misuses of English must be from the hands of the Japanese, who will make incoherent word couplings for anything from grocery store products like "Dessert Rythm"" Tooth Paste, to Tee shirt/ ball cap mottos like "The Pig Is Full Of Many Many Cats" or "Round eyed LAD dwarf bravery THIS percieve". Maybe it's Zen, or something.
This, and the American sounding names in Eurocomics, stems from the fact that for over a century, our popular culture has had an impressive presence. Our Movies, music and even comics were eagerly accepted by the world, who for the most part, were fascinated by it and us. It would seem only natural that their own creations might try to assume even a tiny bit of American style glamour and adventure.
 
And then there's the French comics character, Buck Danny. After all these years, I still don't know if his creators meant his name to be Buck Danny or Danny Buck. Ya know, like Canyon Steve and Hazard Johnny. Or Mouse Mickey and Duck Donald.
 
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Saturday, January 30, 2021

 

Wish You Were Here, from Jim Davis

 

Here's another Garfield card put out by Argus Communications sometime in the 1980s. This one was initally to be P2121 in their series, but that code got Xed out and replaced by P2120. Sure glad we have that all cleared up.

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Friday, January 29, 2021

 

Obscurity of the Day: It All Depends



 

You've got to give Bill Sakren points for  sticking with it. After George Matthew Adams syndicated his pantomime strip Mortimer Mum in the 1930s, you'd figure Sakren would strike out in a different direction. Well, he didn't, but he did wait over a decade and a half before dipping his toe in a second time. 

It All Depends, Sakren's second pass on a pantomime feature for George Matthew Adams, is a very cute idea. The panel shows a pair of characters in a situation and the thoughts going through their heads. Of course each character sees the situation in very different ways. Writing gags for pantomime features can be a real struggle, but this one, it seems to me, offers an unending well of good gags. 

Unfortunately we'll never know how deep Sakren's well was, because the feature did not last long. I can trace it from January 7 1952* to September 26 1953**. It was as fresh and funny on the end date as it was at the beginning, but the Adams syndicate just couldn't seem to get it in many papers. Sakren would get a few more features syndicated, but none that met with anything more than modest success.


* Source: Troy Times-Record

** Source: Allentown Call

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These are great!
 
Hello Allan-
This feature reminds me of the Bob Barnes two-panel Register & Tribune series "Double Take" that ran from 1951-57. Another was the less successful 1950-52 Dille panel, "Viewpoint/It's All In The Point of View" by Dave Gerard that you covered back in 2006.
 
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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

 

Obscurity of the Day: It Can't Be Done

 




Strips in which the title is also the punchline were popular, or perhaps I should just say often seen, in the 1900s to 20s. They fell out of favor as cartoonists began to come into the mindset that they could be stuck doing the same strip for years and years. Once they realized what a corner they could paint themselves into this genre pretty much died out. 

Starting in 1911 Vic Forsythe began pumping out a lot of material for the New York Evening World, eventually settling on the long-running Joe's Car/Joe Jinks strip that would keep him busy through the late 1930s, and other cartoonists gainfully employed for decades longer. Before that Forsythe peppered the Evening World with a number of other strips, including It Can't Be Done, one of those Title = Punchline things. It ran from November 25 1912 to December 30 1913.

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Monday, January 25, 2021

 

Obscurity of the Day: Ye Getting of Ye Goat

 


What are the chances that I'd stick my hand into the vast bag of obscurities and pick out another Ed Carey strip after doing one just last week? Just goes to prove that the laws of probability sometimes offer us tremendous coincidences. 

Last week's Carey obscurity was not one of his best by a long shot, but today's obscurity is, in my opinion, a delight. In Ye Getting of Ye Goat, penned for the New York Evening Telegram, Carey shows us various annoying dolts and some outright scoundrels getting their comeuppance. The cute kicker is that Carey turns the phrase "getting one's goat" into a literal event in the gags. 

Ye Getting of Ye Goat first ran in the Evening Telegram on December 27 1910, then 11 more times in February through early April of the next year. The final strip, which was also Carey's swan song at the paper, ran on April 14. 


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Saturday, January 23, 2021

 

Wish You Were Here, from Cobb Shinn

 

Here's a Cobb Shinn postcard, postally dated 1913, from an unknown maker. Shinn's postcard work is generally crude like this (though I like the framing), but he produced bajillions of them.

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Hello Allan-
Yes, this is pretty poor. I always find it interesting that in an age that produced such high quality painting, sculpture and architecture and most magazine and advertising art seemed absolutely indifferent to further down mass culture graphic art in things like post cards and comics.
The great and the incompetent were side by side, without any problem. Publishers printed them, and people bought them.
 
The more times I read this caption the less I understand it. "I can't believe that I'm seeing you?" "I can't believe the way you look?" "When I look at you I doubt myself?" And why is the righthand figure crying? Which character is speaking, anyway? In the words of Superman, "Wha--?"
 
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Friday, January 22, 2021

 

Magazine Cover Comics: Dimples' Day Dreams

 

Here's one of Nell Brinkley's magazine cover series, this one under the King Features brand. Dimples' Day Dreams ran from March 4 to May 20 1928.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

 

Obscurity of the Day: The Troubles of Dictionary Jaques

 



Ed Carey managed to escape from McClure Syndicate around 1909, finding some takers for his wares in the higher-class precincts on the New York World and Evening Telegram. But for whatever reason, by late 1912 he returned to the fold as one of McClure's headliners. Being a headliner can be nice, but McClure at this time, struggling to find a market for the now out of fashion boilerplate Sundays, made him a big fish in a very small pond. 

Carey decided not to bring back Simon Simple, his old McClure standby, but instead a new creation, The Troubles of Dictionary Jaques. However, the new strip is pretty much just Simon Simple with a French accent. Jaques (yes, he consistent spelled the name that way, not Jacques) adds on the additional conceit of trying to learn the ins and outs of English by misinterpreting dictionary definitions. 

Carey still offers superb art, but the strip just doesn't seem to have the energy of his earlier efforts. It's no wonder, then, that the strip was retired after less than six months. It ran from November 3 1912 to April 20 1913*. Carey then runs under my radar until mid-1914, when he returned to McClure for another go-round.


* Source: San Francisco Chronicle

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