Saturday, February 24, 2024


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


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

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

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


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


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Shorty Shope

(An earlier profile was posted in 1919.) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shope was mentioned in The Federal Illustrator, Spring 1935. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Wednesday, February 21, 2024


Mystery Strips: Misery Is...


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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Monday, February 19, 2024


Obscurity of the Day: The Roosevelt Bears



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Source: San Francisco Call.

** Source: Chicago Daily News.

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


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


Wish You Were Here, from Charles Dana Gibson


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


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Saturday, February 17, 2024


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


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

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


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

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Friday, February 16, 2024


Toppers: Otis


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, February 14, 2024


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Odin Burvik

(An earlier profile was posted in 2015.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1927 Pikes Peak Nugget yearbook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Obscurity of the Day: Jungo


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

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

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

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

* Source: Memphis Commercial Appeal

** Source: Cleveland News


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

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

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Sunday, February 11, 2024


Wish You Were Here from Buster Brown


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


Are you sure they're even trying to pass it off as Buster? The boy has different style and colour hair, the suit is something Buster never wore, and a giant Chihuahua is a poor stand-in for Tige.
Yes, on the reverse it is clearly marked "Buster Brown Valentine Series 8".
This must be the alternate universe Buster.
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Saturday, February 10, 2024


One-Shot Wonders: Rules and Regulations for 1897 by Archie Gunn


Should have run this for New Year's, but naturally it caught my attention too late. Here we have a lovely but unsigned cover by Archie Gunn. Gunn takes a moralizing attitude toward his New Year's resolutions, while in the surrounding cartoons by (I think) Mark Fenderson we get resolutions in a more humorous vein. 

This is the cover for the New York Journal's American Humorist section of January 3 1897, only the twelfth issue of Hearst's color comics section.


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Friday, February 09, 2024


Obscurity of the Day: Dr. Peach and her Modern Methods


I really relish old strips that comment on social changes, and so a strip about a female doctor from 1908 is the sort of thing that gets me all a-twitter. And as social commentary regarding the liberation of women, Dr. Peach And Her Modern Methods is interesting, but boy oh boy, the gags are awfully lazy. Hy Gage, who could do better, seemed to think that his gags were of secondary importance, and that the beauty of this lady doctor, her tight dresses and her frequently uncovered legs, were entertainment enough. 

In its short life the strip went through three distinct phases. The first has the gags revolve around men going ga-ga over being attended to by a gorgeous lady doctor.  The second has a very athletic Dr. Peach running a sort of sanatorium for weak and overweight men, and focuses often on a Mr. Butterfat, who as you can see above, eventually shares billing on the strip. This second phase of the strip allows Gage to dress Dr. Peach in revealing athletic wear as she leads her patients in various workouts. Perhaps this was all a bit too racy, because phase three sent the strip back to its original milieu.

To his great credit, Hy Gage did not seem to have any inclination toward making fun of the concept of a lady doctor. Dr. Peach is always professional in the strip, never the butt of the joke. And that is pretty impressive. The very first American woman doctor, Elizabeth Blackwell, graduated medical school just over a half-century earlier, in 1849, and she treated only women and children in her practice. It wasn't until a few decades later that women began to take on other specialties, and by 1908 they were still a rarity. In fact, I find a statistic that in 1914 only 4% of medical students were women, and you can bet most of them specialized in women's health. 

The home paper of Dr. Peach and her Modern Methods was the Philadelphia Evening Telegraph. The Telegraph had a long string of interesting weekday strips in the 1900s, some obtained through syndication and others apparently homegrown. At this time Hy Gage was in the bullpen that produced the Philadelphia Press's colour sections for Sundays, but I can find no documentation that the two papers were linked. On the other hand, you'll note that the above strips are copyrighted to one J.W. Lang; he is known to have been the head of the North American's syndication service in this era, so there may be some sort of tangled web between all these papers that I frankly do not understand. Oddly, I have seen Mr. Lang's copyright only on this and one other strip, certainly not the entire output of either paper.

In my book I cited start and end dates for Dr. Peach based on my spotty collection of Evening Telegraph bound volumes (I offered them as May 25 to September 24 1908). However, I was evidently missing important source material in this regard, because I can find the strip starting in syndication as early as April 21 in the Pittsburgh Press. Unfortunately it turns our that the Philadelphia Evening Telegraph for these interesting years does not seem to exist on microfilm, so there is a sad research dead end there. If I had known that fact many years ago when I was clipping strips out of my Telegraph bound volumes and then reselling them to other collectors, I certainly would have instead preserved them intact. Of course this all transpired before you could just check the interwebs and easily know who had what on microfilm.

Syndication dates for weekday strips of this era are not to be trusted, so at best we can confidently say that the strip began on or before April 21. Since in syndication I see the strip petering out in early October, I'm fairly confident that my September 24 end date, however, is sound. 



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Wednesday, February 07, 2024


News of Yore: Murder and Suicide Edition

 Mark Johnson sent me these gruesome little news stories years and years ago. They just bubbled up to the top of the stacks today. Enjoy .... ?

Cartoonist Held On Manslaughter Charge

May 25 1923: Ogdensburg Republican-Journal

Norwalk, Conn. May 23 -- Clifton Meek, a resident of the Silver Mine artists' colony and widely known cartoonist, is under arrest here on a charge of manslaughter his automobile having struck and killed Mrs. Josephine Barlow of this city late last night on the Danbury-Norwalk road. Meek said the woman walked in front of the car.

Indict "Bud" Fisher Butler

Sep 14 1929: Yonkers Herald

Carmel, NY, Sept. 13 -- James Bell, negro butler for Harry Bud Fisher, the cartoonist, was indicted for murder in the second degree here late this afternoon by the Putnam County Grand Jury. 

Bell was charged with shooting and killing Frank Candee, a white man, superintendant of the Fisher estate at Lake Mahopac, on July 13. A subpoena for Mr. Fisher to testify before the Grand Jury on the case was issued, but Sheriff Secord was unable to locate him. 

Bell will be arraigned before County Judge Joseph P. Shea here on Monday to plead to the indictment.

Cartoonist Suicide; Leaves Tragic Note

Apr 4 1932: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Cleveland, Oh., April 2 (AP): Leaving a tragic note to his estranged wife, Loron A. Taylor, 32, commercial artist and creator of the comic strip, "Mom 'n' Pop" shot himself to death in an obscure house today. Taylor had been separated from his wife since August. In his pockets was a letter addressed to her, written Monday. It read:

"Dearest Edna -- I will make an effort to see you tomorrow. However, if I fail you will be informed of what happened. Know that my parting thoughts were of you, that the loneliness I suffered after we parted had a great bearing on this climax. Inevitable, however, owing to financial obligations, etc. As the doughboys used to say, 'He went West.' And in my 32 years of varied experience I have learned that life isn't worth a damn. With all my love, Loron."

Cartoonist's Wife Commits Suicide

December 10 1929: Ogdensburg Republican-Journal

 Hastings on Hudson, NY, Dec. 10 (AP): Apparently despondent over the death of her daughter, Marjorie, 14, who died last August of sleeping sickness, Mrs. Frank Moser, 41, wife of a New York cartoonist, committed suicide late yesterday by gas asphyxiation in her Hollywood Dr. home here, according to police. 

 Creator of 'Skippy' Attempts Suicide

Dec 19 1948: Rochester Democrat-Chronicle

New York (UP) -- Percy Crosby, 57, cartoonist who created "Skippy," slashed his wrists and chest Friday in an apparent suicide attempt, police reported yesterday. His condition last night was reported as "fair" at Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital. Police said Crosby had entered Doctors' Hospital Thursday, where he was said to be "suffering from depression." After he was injured he was transferred by a private ambulance to Bellevue, police said. 




Oh, thanks! That was cheery.
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Monday, February 05, 2024


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Lawrence Nadle

Lawrence Malcolm Nadle was born on September 29, 1913, in Manhattan, New York, New York, according to the New York, New York Birth Index at and his World War II draft card which had his full name. Nadle was occasionally misspelled Nadel.

Nadle’s paternal grandfather, Julius Nadle, submitted a naturalization petition, dated August 11, 1900 (at The petition said he was born on August 26, 1859 in Russia. On August 1, 1887, he arrived in New York City. Julius was naturalized on August 22, 1900.

The 1900 United States Census recorded Julius (a tailor), his wife, Johannah, and three sons, Joseph (age 15; Nadle’s father), Alexander (age 8) and Henry (age 6), in Manhattan at 242 East Houston Street.

The same address was in the 1905 New York state census. Joseph was a salesman.

On February 8, 1910, Joseph and Anna Gerler obtained, in Manhattan, marriage license number 3680. They married on February 15, 1910. 

The 1910 census counted the couple in Manhattan at 202 East Seventh Street. Joseph was a ribbon salesman.

The 1915 New York state census said one-year-old Nadle, his parents and four-year-old brother, Martin, were Manhattan residents at 1968 Seventh Avenue. His father was a ribbon buyer.

On September 12, 1918, Nadle’s father signed his World War I draft card. His address was 3 West 116th Street in Manhattan.

The same address was on the 1920 census. In the household were Nadle (age 6), his parents, and brothers, Martin (age 9) and Henry (age 2).

In Alter Ego #72, September 2007, Nadle’s son, Ken, wrote about his father and two uncles, Martin and Henry. 
... Larry distinguished himself as being a good writer when he was just nine. He won a story-writing contest and had his picture in the newspaper. He never went to college. Instead, he teamed up with his best friend, Jack Arnold (who later directed the movies The Mouse That Roared and The Creature from the Black Lagoon), and they performed an acrobatic/tap dance/comic routine in vaudeville. ...
In the 1925 New York state census, the Nadle family were Bronx residents at 643 Southern Boulevard. Nadle’s sister, Jean, was a year old.

The 1930 census said the Nadle family lived in the Bronx at 2105 Walton Avenue. Nadle’s brother, Martin, was a newspaper cartoonist. The name of Nadle’s high school is not known.

Nadle’s father passed away on October 9, 1935. 

Around 1932, Nadle married Sylvia Resnikoff (1914–1998). 

According to the 1940 census, Nadle, his wife and four-year-old son, Bruce, were Bronx residents at 2819 Morris Avenue. Nadle was manager of retail men’s clothing store. He had four years of high school and earned $2,150 in 1939. 

On October 16, 1940, Nadle signed his World War II draft card. His address was updated from 2819 Morris Avenue to 521 West 112th Street. His employer was H. Lowenthal, 114 East Fordham Road in the Bronx. Nadle’s description was five feet nine inches, 180 pounds, with brown eyes and hair.

Ken Nadle said
... it was also Martin who opened the door for Larry to get some writing assignments with King Features Syndicate. ...
In the mid-1940s Nadle entered the comic book field at National Comics. 

Nadle was mentioned in The Exhibitor, March 9, 1949. 
The other day. Paramount’s Sid Mesibov, company promotion director, asked if we wouldn’t like to look at a comic book. We agreed to witness the latest in the field, “Miss Beverly Hills,” which has to do with a non-existent girl and her adventures in Hollywood, on the motion picture sets, on location, etc. We weren’t very surprised to see that Alan Ladd and his latest release, “Whispering Smith,” had received more than a fair share of publicity in the first issue. Forthcoming issues also are to feature Paramount and its stars.

After laying the preliminary groundwork, we were whisked over to the editorial offices of the National Comics Publications, where, after bowing three times in the direction of a huge oil portrait of “Superman,” we were introduced to Larry Nadle, editor, “Miss Beverly Hills,” and others of the 30 different books put out by the organization, which has a circulation of some 60 million people. He told us how well the initial combination of a fan magazine plus a comic book had been received by some million readers, and we read a portion of the 4,000 letters received from readers from 8 to 50. Especially commendable were those which praised the book for providing proper reading for all audiences, and for the way that Hollywood was treated.

Paramount thinks that much value for the company, its films, stars, and, finally, for exhibitors, can be gained through this promotion, and we agree. Some gal, that “Beverly Hills.”
The 1950 census counted Nadle, his wife, and two sons, Bruce and Kenneth, in New York City at 45 Park Terrace West. Nadle was an editor and writer at a publishing company. 

Editor & Publisher, November 22, 1952, reported the upcoming I Love Lucy gag-a-day comic strip from King Fea­tures Syndicate. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Nadle and Bob Oksner teamed up, under the pseudonym Bob Lawrence, to produce the I Love Lucy comic series which ran from December 8, 1952 to June 4, 1955. Editor & Publisher, January 24, 1953, said the series incorporated the real-life birth of Lucy’s son. 


The Nero Wolfe comic strip ran from November 26, 1956 to July 13, 1957. In American Newspaper Comics, Alberto Becattini said Nadle wrote three weeks of the series. Ken Nadle said
... But if there was one thing he did that most impressed me, it was ghosting the syndicated strip Nero Wolfe. The creator of the famous detective character was also impressed. I have a letter from Rex Stout to my father stating, “Today I received the text for the 6th, 7th, and 8th weeks of the third daily sequence, have read and enjoyed it...”
Art Direction, June 1957, identified the people involved with the School of Industrial Art’s new location. The group included “Sol Harrison, Natl. Comics Publications”,  “Lawrence Nadel, art editor Superman DC Comics” and “Arthur Weiss, Terrytoons”.

Nadle passed away on December 26, 1963, in Lynbrook, New York according to the obituary in Newsday, December 27, 1963. He was survived by his wife, three sons, mother, and siblings Martin and Jean. The New York Times printed an obituary on December 28. 

Nadle was laid to rest at New Montefiore Cemetery. (Find a Grave has the wrong date.)

Further Reading
Grand Comics Database, Larry Nadle and Lawrence Nadle
Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999
Todd’s Blog, The DC Comics Offices 1930s–1950s Part 2DC Comics’ 1945 Christmas Party photograph includes Martin and Larry Nadle


Thanks for researching and writing this. What a terrible shame he died so young; his career really seemed to be thriving.
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