Friday, November 16, 2018


Wish You Were Here, from Charles Dana Gibson

Here's another in the Detroit Publishing Company's C.D. Gibson series, this one #14009. This is another card from this series in my collection that has a blank back -- misprint, off-print, who knows? Who cares?


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Thursday, November 15, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Frank V. Martinek

Frank Victor Martinek was born in Chicago, Illinois, on June 15, 1891, according to his World War I and II draft cards and a 1920 passport application. However, the birth year in Social Security Death Index is 1895, and the 1900 U.S. Federal Census said 1894.

In the 1900 census, Martinek was the oldest of two children born to Frank and Mary, both Bohemian emigrants. The family resided in Chicago at 2622 Fifth Avenue.

According to the 1910 census, the Martinek family of four and a servant lived in Chicago on West 38th Street. Martinek’s father was in the restaurant business.

The State (Columbia, South Carolina), October 12, 1942, published a brief profile of Martinek and said:

With a job as copy boy on the old Chicago Record-Herald, Martinek began his adventurous career. As a cub police reporter he met Mrs. Mary Holland, celebrated woman detective, who schooled him in scientific criminal identification. He studied finger-printing and left newspaper work to become identification inspector for the civil service commission.

Unable to stay at a desk, Martinek answered the call of excitement and took to sea and then found himself in many far corners of the earth as a soldier of fortune. In 1917, he organized the physical, chemical and photographic laboratory for the office of naval intelligence in Washington and was commissioned an ensign….
On June 5, 1917, Martinek signed his World War I draft card which had his full name and home address, 3431 Lowe Avenue in Chicago. His occupation was identification inspector for the city of Chicago in its service commission. His description was medium height and build with dark brown eyes and hair.

Martinek was aboard the U.S.S. Albany, in Vladivostok, Siberia, when the 1920 census was enumerated in March. His stateside address was 2212 Addison, Chicago.

Finger Print Magazine, November 1920, published additional information about Martinek and excerpted a paragraph from his letter written in Siberia.

On August 10, an emergency passport was issued to Martinek by the American Consulate in Vladivostok. The passport said Martinek left the U.S. in October 1918 and was stationed with the U.S. Asiatic Fleet. When Martinek signed the passport, he was a U.S. Navy Lieutenant aboard the U.S.S. New Orleans. Bound for the U.S., Martinek intended to visit the following countries: China, Japan, Honk Kong Strait Settlements, Egypt, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The District of Columbia, Compiled Marriage Index, at, said Martinek married Victorine A. Carrick on December 24, 1920.

Martinek worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1921 to 1925 as listed in the Society of Former Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s membership directories for 1949 and 1950.

A passenger list at listed Martinek aboard the S.S. Cerro Ebano that sailed from Aruba, Dutch West Indies on May 4, 1929. He arrived at the New York City port May 11. Martinek’s address was 1400 Lake Shore Drive, Chicago.

In the 1930 census Martinek and his wife resided in Chicago at the Double Apartment Hotel Building on 3270 Sheridan Road. Martinek was a vice-president at an oil company.

Coulton Waugh wrote in his book, The Comics (1947), that Admiral Wat T. Cluverius, Commandant of the Great Lakes Naval Training Station, told Martinek about the recruiting difficulties in the central section of the country. Martinek pondered the challenge and took his book creation and hero, Don Winslow, and turned him into a comic strip.

“One day two artists came into my office,” he [Martinek] writes. “Leon A. Beroth sand Carl E. Hammond. Why they came, I cannot explain, but it seemed that Providence was getting us together. I asked them if they would be interested and they said ‘Yes.’ We organized. I became the creator and producer, Leon Beroth the art director, and Carl Hammond the layout and research man.”

Colonel Frank Knox, who was shortly to become Secretary of the Navy, became interested and helped sell the idea to the Bell Syndicate….

“Three years ago,” Commander Martinek wrote in 1945, “Carl Hammond, our layout and research man, went into war work, being single and within draft age. Leon Beroth and I have carried on ever since….

“Every Saturday I write the week’s daily strips and Sunday page, and each week I send the typewritten continuity to Mr. Beroth [in Thompson Falls, Montana], and he interprets it pictorially and returns the art work for approval. It works very satisfactorily—somewhat by remote control.”
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Don Winslow of the Navy ran from March 5, 1934 to July 30, 1955. Beroth was followed by John Jordan. Spun off from the successful comic strip were a movie serial and comic book appearances.

The 1940 census said Martinek and second wife, Clara, made their home in Tucson, Arizona, at 80 North Stone. Clara did research work on a newspaper strip.

Martinek signed his World War II draft card on April 27, 1942. His home was in Chicago at 4940 East End Avenue. His employer was the Standard Oil Company, 910 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago.

The same address was found on passengers lists from 1953 (Honolulu, Hawaii) and 1955 (Buenes Aires, Argentina).

The Society of Former Special Agents produced a publication called The Grapevine, and in its February 1949 issue printed this item: “Frank V. Martinek — creator of Don Winslow of the Navy — has done it again. He has created a new strip, ‘Tip Horn’ Cowboy Detective.”

Martinek passed away February 22, 1971, in Tucson, Arizona. He was laid to rest at All Faiths Memorial Park

—Alex Jay


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Wednesday, November 14, 2018


Toppers: Bos'n Hal

The Don Winslow comic strip began in March 1934, sailing into newspapers under the command of writer Frank Martinek and artist Leon A. Beroth. Martinek created the strip in order to publicize the U.S. Navy, hoping that the glorification it received in the strip would lead to more recruits signing up for the service.To that end, Winslow engaged in dramatic adventures against spies and saboteurs all over the world, just exactly like the typical Navy recruit would.

The strip, distributed by Bell Syndicate, enjoyed a very good launch and it wasn't long before Winslow's adventures were the the subject of Big Little Books, radio shows, movie serials and comic books. Naturally a Sunday page needed to be added to the mix, and it debuted on April 21 1935*. As was the case with a few other Bell strips, the Sunday page was divided in half, with the topper equal in size to the main strip. Martinek came up with a separate Sunday adventure hero named Bos'n Hal, Sea Scout. I haven't seen the earliest Don Winslow Sunday pages, but I presume that Bos'n Hal started at the same time as the main Sunday strip (can anyone lend a hand on that important point?).

A Sea Scout is apparently a special sort of Boy Scout who specializes in boating activities. Although Hal looks considerably older than Boy Scout age, I gather that's how he started out. It wasn't long before Hal made it out to sea as an observer on a Navy ship, and from that start his adventures began. Unlike Winslow, who mostly kept evil-doers at bay, Hal's adventures tended to be lighter fare centered on treasure hunting and exotic locales.

Although Martinek was credited for writing the strip, most of the material was apparently written by Carl Hammond through 1942. Hammond was semi-officially credited as the "layout and research" man, although he never got a byline on the strip itself. As for the art, Beroth was apparently assisted by Ed Moore, and the pencilling on Bos'n Hal was turned over to him entirely, according to Ron Goulart. This most likely would have been from 1938 (when Moore stopped assisting on Dan Dunn) until 1940 (when Moore got his own sea-faring strip, Captain Storm).

The Bos'n Hal topper was cancelled with the Sunday of December 15 1940**, probably because Ed Moore was leaving. The decision seems to have been made pretty quickly, because the final Bos'n Hal strip offers up the ultimate groaner of a conclusion. Hal is drowning as a volcanic island sinks under the sea, and then he wakes up and is told that all of his adventures have been a dream.

Stayed tuned for Alex Jay's Ink-Slinger Profiles of the Don Winslow creators, coming up this week and next.

* Source: Jeffrey Lindenblatt based on Brooklyn Times-Union.
** Source: Arizona Republic.


That final Bos'n Hal strip reminded me of the last Ace Drummond strip that came out earlier of the year!!! That one also ended up in a dream!!!
Good point. I'd forgotten about that, but here it is:

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: Natural Selection

When a heart problem induced Dr. Scott Henson to retire from medical practice in his 40s, he made a less than obvious choice for a new career - cartoonist. Henson came up with a cartooning pseudonym -- Russ Wallace* -- and took his considerable cartooning skills to the Charleston Gazette, where he was offered a job as their editorial cartoonist. Henson/Wallace's style owed a lot to the likes of Jeff MacNelly, but his work was so strong that the term 'derivative' seems unfair.

Despite his medical condition, Wallace was not content to be 'just' an editorial cartoonist, but took on another major assignment when he succeeded in getting a daily and Sunday panel cartoon titled Natural Selection accepted by Creators Syndicate in 2000**.  The new panel offered edgy gags that owe a little to Gary Larson, as well as another of henson's cartooning heroes, Charles Addams.

Henson gave up the Sunday version of Natural Selection on December 29 2002, but the daily continued in a small but respectable number of papers until June 30 2007 (with reprints distributed until July 28 2007)***. It is unclear if the plug was pulled on the panel due to low sales or if Henson's health had become too much of an issue. Henson died in June 2012 at age 52.

* Henson chose this name as an homage to  Alfred Russel Wallace, who discovered the concept of natural selection independently of Charles Darwin in the 1850s.

** Specific start date is unknown. St. Louis Post-Dispatch starts it on November 6, but promo article they ran that day sort of says it was already in syndication by then.

*** Source: D.D. Degg


Small correction: my mentioned of the ending of Natural Selection
noted "the panel's > penultimate < cartoon of July 27, 2007."

My other mention of the panel:
by Russ Wallace
2000 (?Autumn?) - June 30, 2007
Creators Syndicate
[reprints ran July 2 - July 28, 2007]

I wrote to Henson/Wallace during the middle of his comic's run. He was evidently jumping in on his cartoon career despite his health, because he told me he was trying to get a second comic syndicated, about talking dogs.

He said a syndicate was interested, but it never got off the ground for some reason.
Sorry DD, fixed that date. --Allan
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Monday, November 12, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: Lucky Mike / Mike and the Major

T.S. Allen did very well with his various kid strips and panels, but by the late 1900s he'd lost favor at the major New York papers and was reduced to selling his wares at the likes of NEA and the Philadelphia Press.

One of his last series is Lucky Mike, produced for the Philadelphia Press from March 15 1908 to February 19 1911. It concerns a street urchin kid, which is practically required in an Allen strip, but this kid has been adopted into a well to do family.  Mike's main foil in his new family is 'the Major', a grandfatherly type who tries to be a mentor to the kid with uniformly unfortunate results.

The Major became a billed co-star after May 30 1909, when the title was changed to variations of Mike and the Major. In 1908-09 Lucky Mike was licensed by the Press to McClure Syndicate, which ran it in one of their readyprint sections.

Allen seemed to be serving up some sort of bizarre slang in that second example above -- can anyone decode the meaning of "VENT DUBS" and "CHACK VAULTEP"?


It's a little tough to make out on the printing, but I think the Major is saying he used to be a "crack vaulter" himself -- that is, someone who used to be really good ("cracking") at jumping over fences.
I concur about "crack vaulter." As for vent dubs, it's marbles-playing slang! See at link:

Hello Allan-
According to Cole's notes, Lucky Mike debuted a week earlier than you. Here's the breakdown for that section:

John-Poor John. By Hugh Doyle (1/2) (Blind Man's Bluff)
Mrs. Rummage-The Bargain Fiend By hy Gage (1/2) (Locked in Ice Box)
Hairbreadth harry, The Boy Hero Drawn by C.W. Kahles(1/2)(Ice from Harry's truck helps Belinda escape from Rudolph & Hounds)
Lucky Mike-He's Adopted! Drawn by T.S. Allen (1/2) (debut- couple "adopts" newsboy right off the street)

He used the actual PRESS files. I notice the second week, the size was only (1/4), to accomodate a premium promotion ad.
Thanks Chris and Paul for untangling that obscure marbles jargon and bad lettering!

Mark, my start date is from the Press microfilm at the Philly Free Library. My indexing notes for 3/8 have Harry, Rummage, Poor John plus the McClure strips Wags and Bub. Then on the 15th Mike is added without losing any other strips. Unfortunately I wasn't marking strip sizes so I don't know how it fitted in. Was the microfilm missing a page?

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Saturday, November 10, 2018


Herriman Saturday

October 15 1909 -- Another Baron Mooch strip that is in my 'to be published' pile, so I guess it was missed in Bill Blackbeard's book. My copy of the book is inaccessible right now, so if anyone has a copy, I'd love to hear whether this one appears or not.


Hello, Allan! You've got another "exclusive," chum--the book excludes the strips for both 10/15 and 10/16!
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Friday, November 09, 2018


Wish You Were Here, from Charles Lederer

Here's a Charles Lederer card, published in 1906 by the Monarch Book Company of Chicago.


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Thursday, November 08, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Bearden

Romare Howard Bearden was born on September 2, 1912, in Charlotte, North Carolina. His birthdate is from the Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, Birth Index, at, and the Social Security Death Index. When Bearden was drafted in World War II his birth year was recorded as 1912. Some publications and web sites have the birth year as 1911. His Social Security application had his birthplace. Bearden’s parents were Richard Howard Bearden and Bessye Johnson Banks.

Bearden’s father signed his World War I draft card on September 30, 1918. His address was 173 West 140th Street in Manhattan, New York City. He was employed as a buffet porter and steward on the Canadian Pacific Railway. A second, undated draft card had the address 231 West 131st Street in Manhattan and his job as dining car waiter with the Atlantic Coast Line rail company.

Bearden and his parents have not yet been found in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census.

The 1925 New York state census said the family were Manhattan residents at 173 West 140th Street. Bearden’s father was an inspector. The household included a maid who was a seamstress.

In the 1930 census, the Beardens and three lodgers resided at 154 West 131 Street in Manhattan. Bearden’s father was a health department inspector and mother a newspaper writer.

New York Age, February 27, 1932, reported Bearden’s college publication role.

Romare Howard Bearden son of Howard and Mrs. Bessye Bearden of 154 West 131st street, New York City, has been elected art editor of the Beanpot, humor magazine of Boston University where young Bearden is a student in the sophomore class. In his freshman year young Bearden was pitcher on the baseball team.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Bearden drew Dusty Dixon, in March 1933, for the Stanton Feature Service. No newspaper has yet been found that ran more than the two strips shown above, though printing dates vary widely. 

In Art in Crisis: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Struggle for African American Identity and Memory (2007), Amy Helene Kirschke wrote 
[Bearden] spent his first two years in college at New York University, graduating with a bachelor of science in education in 1935. He started drawing cartoons in college and became the art editor of the New York University student magazine Medley and the school newspaper's principal cartoonist. Bearden was part of a relatively new and small group of black cartoonists that was forging new territory in illustration. The work of E. Simms Campbell (who he met in Boston), Ollie Harrington, Miguel Covarrubias, Honore Daumier, Jean-Louis Forain, and Kathe Kollwitz would greatly influence him. His early cartoons, along with those he did for the magazine College Humor, established Bearden’s lifelong interest in social realism and social commentary through art. He also contributed cartoons to the nationally circulated Baltimore Afro-American, the urban League’s Opportunity magazine, and Collier’s. His early published comic strips included Dobby Hicks (which has been compared to the strip Henry), which was followed by Dusty Dixon, a more evolved strip. He felt neither strip was the ideal place for his social commentary and sought a better way to communicate his view of the black condition. His developing interest in identity, in his southern heritage, and in the issues of the people of the black diaspora, which became a dominant theme of his work, found their early expressions in his political cartoons of The Crisis. These political cartoons led him to pursue a career as a politically engaged artist.
The strip Dobby Hicks mentioned above has not yet been found  in any newspaper.

The Negro Star (Wichita, Kansas), December 1, 1933, published this item, “Mr. Romeo [sic] Bearden has designed a new Christmas Seal for the NAACP. He is a young artist and cartoonist of New York.”

In the New York Amsterdam News, March 19, 1988, Mel Tapley wrote

…Romare flirted with songwriting and might even have been a major league pitcher, having been on Boston University’s varsity baseball team, before he transferred to NYU. He’d even hurled a couple of summers for the Boston Tigers, an all-Black team. Twenty of his songs were recorded, among them “Seabreeze,” that featured Billy Exkstine and Oscar Pettiford…. 
…[In the 1930s Bearden] enrolled at the Art Students League, having soon decided that he preferred life of an artist to teaching math. George Grosz was his instructor and introduced him to the work of Kathy Kollwitz and Honore Daumier—all recorders of social protest….
The Detroit Tribune (Michigan), July 9, 1938, said Bearden was a pallbearer at the funeral of James W. Johnson.

According to the 1940 census the Beardens lived at 50 Morningside Avenue. Bearden and his mother were deputy inspectors with the health department. His father was a public works inspector.

During World War II Bearden enlisted on May 7, 1942 in New York City. Tapley said “…Bearden, who during World War II was in the Army and became a sergeant, 372nd Infantry Regiment, studies in Paris under the G.I. Bill. The 372nd, [John A.] Williams pointed out, was an outfit that won hundreds of medals fighting with the French army.”

According to the Detroit Tribune, June 13, 1942, Bearden had a full-page illustration in the June Fortune Magazine

Washington—(ANP)—Another striking blow at discrimination against Negroes in war industries, the Army and the Navy, was delivered by an organ of big business this week when Fortune magazine attacked such racial restrictions in a 10 page article in its June issue.

Entitled “The Negros War,” the article, which strikes out boldly against discrimination, is graphically illustrated with drawings by Charles “Spinuky [sic]” Alston. A full page frontispiece showing unemployed Negro workers standing near a defense plant was drawn by Romare Bearden….
Bearden’s mother passed away September 23, 1943. Her death was reported two days later in New York Age. At the time Bearden was a sergeant in the Army. His father was a Board of Health inspector who resided at 351 West 114th Street.

New York Age, February 5, 1944, reported Bearden’s upcoming exhibition.

Miss Carrese Crosby, former publisher of books and magazines in Europe, is sponsoring an exclusive exhibition of the works of Sgt. Romare H. Beardcn, of the 372nd Headquarters Company, in the G Place Gallery, Washington, D. C. from Tuesday to February 15th. The artist-soldier left Saturday accompanied by bis father, R. Howard Bearden, to attend the preview on Sunday.
A new art center in Harlem was reported in the New York Age, February 17, 1951.
Harlem’s newest cultural center, the LETCHER Art Center located at 2368 Seventh Ave., has brought together some of the country’s leading artists. Aside from Ohio-born Evelyn LETCHER, whose husband, Henry M. directs the three art centers established in D.C. by this talented duo, the center has recruited the services of Charles S. CARTER, Marc K. HEINE and Vivian S. KEYES, instructors to commercial art, ceramics and arts and crafts, respectively. The board of consultants reads like a “Who’s Who” in the world of art, with Elton FOX, Jacob LAWRENCE, Grayson WALKER, Romare H. BEARDEN aad Charles “Spinky” ALSTON making up the brilliant panel.
The New York, New York, Marriage License Index, at, recorded the issuance of a marriage license to Bearden and Nanette Rohan in 1954.

In the Amsterdam News Tapley said

…In the late Sixties, however, Bearden, [Norman] Lewis and [Ernest] Crichlow started the Cinque Gallery, which is still operating.

Cinque in Black history was a slave who ld a mutiny aboard a slaveship, piloted it to freedom, but then stood trial for the revolt.

…The initial goals for Cinque Gallery were: to provide a showcase for promising artists; share the collective experience of the founders with the newcomers; and to assist these discoveries in “getting their hands in.”
The Museum of Modern Art exhibition “Romare Bearden: The Prevalence of Ritual” was from March 25 to July 9, 1971. The following year “The Prevalence of Ritual.” was at the Studio Museum in Harlem. The Amsterdam News, July 22, 1972, covered the exhibition and said Bearden’s
first one-man show was in 1940 at the studio of Ad Bates in Harlem. He was founder of the Spiral Artist Group, an organization formed primarily to deal with the problems of Black artists in America. He was also one of the founders of the CINQUE Gallery in New York.

He was appointed art director of the Harlem Cultural Council in 1964, a position he still holds. In 1969, he co-authored with Carl Holty in a book titled “The Painter’s Mind” and in 1970 was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship to write a history of Afro-American art. Bearden has shown in many group exhibitions and had in­ numerable gallery and museum shows in he U.S. and Europe over the last thirty years.

The 1964 collages, called “Projections,” marked a major breakthrough in his art. Since then Bearden has been working exclusively in collages.
Bearden passed away March 12, 1988 in New York City. The New York Times, March 13, 1988, said Bearden suffered a stroke at New York Hospital.

Further Reading
National Gallery of Art

—Alex Jay


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Wednesday, November 07, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Frank L. Stanton Jr.

Frank Lebby Stanton Jr. was born on May 5, 1895, in Atlanta, Georgia according to his World War I draft card which also had his full name.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census Stanton was the second of three children born to Frank, an editor and poet, and Leona. The family were residents of Atlanta at 422 Gordon Street.

The 1910 census recorded the Stantons at 300 Lee Street in Atlanta. Stanton’s father was the editor of a daily newspaper and his mother an advertising writer.

John Canemaker, in his book Winsor McCay: His Life and Art (2018), said Stanton met Winsor McCay. 

In an interview in 1911 in Atlanta with a fifteen-year-old aspiring cartoonist, Frank L. Stanton, Jr., McCay discussed the problem of earning a living when starting out in “this cold, cold world.” He advised the boy that “determination is the main thing…push yourself. If you go out with the idea that you’re not going to make good, you never will.”
The 1913 Atlanta city directory listed Stanton and his father at 675 Highland Avenue. In the 1915 directory, Stanton’s occupation was cartoonist.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Stanton drew Illustrating Webster, from June 25 to October 31, 1914, for the New York World. In 1916 Stanton produced Oh, Yes for the J. Keeley Syndicate.

On June 5, 1917, Stanton signed his World War I draft card. He was promotion manager at the Atlanta Georgian. He was described as medium height and build with brown eyes and dark brown hair, and had a lame left leg.

The Editor & Publisher, August 18, 1917, covered the convention of circulation men in Atlanta and said

In the official programme, which is a work of art, and which will be preserved as a permanent souvenir of the nineteenth annual convention by its members, many attractive illustrations appear. The covers are ornamented by a clever design, the work of Frank L. Stanton, Jr., in which a watermelon figures alluringly, pictured in its native lair and in its just-so coloring of green.
According to the 1920 census, Stanton lived with his parents at the same Highland Avenue address. He worked in the newspaper circulation department. The 1920 city directory listed his job as manager of the subscription department.

Stanton was a cartoonist in the 1921 city directory. The following year, Stanton’s directory listing said he was an advertising writer for the George Muse Clothing Company.

The Haberdasher, January 1922, featured several clothing advertisements including two from George Muse Clothing Company, numbers two and seven.

The Clothier and Furnisher, November 1922, reproduced a letter by Stanton. I believe the company logo is on the letterhead. A profile of Stanton, at the Robert W. Woodruff Library, Emory University, said Stanton “created the logo the company has continued to use.”

The Clothier and Furnisher, March 1925, explained how Stanton’s advertising campaign revived sales at George Muse Clothing Company.

The Atlanta Constitution, October 20, 1925, noted Stanton’s wedding, “Society is interested in the wedding of Miss Dorothy Popham, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Popham, and Frank L. Stanton, Jr., which will be solemnized at 8:30 o’clock this evening at the home of the bride’s parents on Peachtree road, the Rev. Father Hasson performing the ceremony.”

According to the Bulloch Times and Statesboro News, May 16, 1929, Stanton was elected to honorary membership in Pi Delta Epsilon, a journalistic fraternity; see page two, column one.

In the 1930 census Stanton lived in Atlanta at 1789 Peachtree N.W.. His house was valued at $55,000. He was an advertiser for a retail clothing store.

Fairchild’s List of Store Executives (1930) listed Stanton in two George Muse Clothing Company positions, sales manager and advertising manager.

Advertisement in 1931 Forum, Fulton High School, Atlanta

Stanton passed away January 17, 1932. The headline in the Macon Telegraph, January 18, 1932, read “Frank L. Stanton, Jr., and Wife Killed in Crash”. Their daughter survived unhurt. The Associated Press report said, in part:

…Mr. Stanton was born here, the son of the beloved Georgia poet laureate whose Mighty Lak a Rose and other poems made him internationally famous. The elder Stanton was for many years a daily contributor to the editorial columns of the Atlanta Constitution and young Frank furnished much of the “atmosphere” for his father’s noted works.

The younger Stanton attended the Atlanta schools and the Chicago Art institute. He returned to Atlanta to become connected with the George Muse Clothing company and was soon made advertising manager, Later he was elected a vice president.
The Telegraph, January 19, 1932, said Stanton and his wife were laid to rest
…at West View cemetery, and the couple will be buried side by side.

Investigators today said Stanton, son of the late poet laureate of Georgia, probably gave his life in an effort to save his wife. It was believed their automobile struck a bridge near Perry and caught fire in the crash. Mrs. Stanton probably was killed instantly and her husband saved himself and their five-year-old daughter, but was burned fatally in attempting to rescue his wife.

The child was not injured.

Stanton was the “sweetes’ little feller” in his father’s famous poem Mighty Lak a Rose
A photograph of Stanton and his daughter is here and here.

—Alex Jay


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Tuesday, November 06, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: Illustrating Webster

Frank L. Stanton Jr. came to the New York World with a fun concept -- cartoons illustrating in a humorous way the definition of obscure words. The World bit and began running the panel cartoon Illustrating Webster on June 25 1914, but Stanton must have been shopping them around for awhile, because the first ones include a hand-written copyright year of 1913.

The same concept would spawn several similar features, some long-lived, later on, but Stanton's version didn't stick. It only ran on some occasional weekdays in the Evening World through October 31 1914.

Stanton only managed to sell one additional feature that I know of, and that was to the J. Keeley Syndicate of Chicago two years later. It's too bad because his cartooning style was pleasing enough, and he had a good sense of humor. Stanton stayed in the publishing game, but mostly as a publisher of little-remembered magazines.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the sample.


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Monday, November 05, 2018


Stripper's Guide Q & A: Sharing Old Comic Strips with the Masses

Received an interesting question from a fellow who is new to the hobby of comic strip collecting. He's working on gathering together a complete run of the Oaky Doaks daily, mostly from online sources.

Q: I was thinking of creating a free little blog with the strips I've already compiled and cleaned up; or, if it's better, uploading them to the ILoveComix archive. Is that frowned upon in the hobby though?  Even if I can't find good copies, I hope to compile a full run of Oaky Doaks and hopefully bring the title out of obscurity a little for anyone who'd like to view it--but I don't want to do anything as a new guy that isn't the norm. If everyone has a pet project like this, collecting and keeping secret a run of obscure strips, I don't want to step on that I suppose. 

A:  First of all, my compliments on your good taste. I love Oaky Doaks, and if I had the time I'd be gathering the strip myself.

Let's start by looking at your question strictly from a legal standpoint. To create a website that offers a substantial run of any strip, the first thing you should consider is whether you will run afoul of copyright laws. Caveat emptor on what follows because I am not an attorney.

Under current law it is my understanding that anything prior to 1923 (maybe 1924 now) is always fair game. Obviously Oaky Doaks doesn't qualify. There is a rule, though, for works published from 1923 to 1963, which covers the whole run of Oaky Doaks, that copyrights must have been renewed in order to stay in force. The renewal is supposed to occur sometime in the 27th or 28th year after publication. If the copyright on the Oaky Doaks strips was not renewed, theoretically you are free to reprint them at will.There are online sources for searching these copyright renewals, but they are by no means perfect or exhaustive. Proceed with caution. A copyright attorney may be needed to perform a more definitive search.

Another option for checking copyrights is to simply ask the entity that held them. If they tell you they no longer hold that copyright, you are again free and clear. In the case of comic strips, it may be worthwhile to get that release from both the syndicator and the estate of the creator, in case the renewal that you couldn't find was in a different name than the original copyright.

Okay, now let's be realistic. Do most people jump through all these hoops to put some comic strips on a website? No. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't. And if they forgo all these checks, they should know that they are opening themselves up to a cease and desist letter, or at worst a full-blown lawsuit. It doesn't happen very often, but it can happen.

That brings us to Steve Cottle's ILoveComix archive. While I applaud the concept, I have found the interface impenetrable so that I don't really know what he's put together there. Maybe I'm just too dumb to figure out his site. Anyway, I see that he's offering subscriptions for a monthly fee, but without knowing if that gets you a better interface, or what is actually available, I just can't open my purse.  I do get the feeling that he is on pretty thin ice, copyright-wise, and that makes me uncomfortable ... but I guess that's his problem, not mine.

Seems to me that if you are going to go to all the trouble of finding and restoring all these strips, you don't want to hide them behind someone else's paywall or oddball website design. You should either benefit yourself, or if your desire is just to share, do so freely and openly in a format in which fans can easily take advantage. As long as you are comfortable that the lawyers won't be nipping at your heels, go for it!

As to comic strip collectors secretly amassing fabulous runs of comic strips that they won't share, I certainly wouldn't put it that way. There are several reasons I and many other collectors don't upload massive amounts of old comic strips. First is the legal problem that we just discussed. Second, the investment of time would be substantial and I for one am too busy with the Stripper's Guide project, which has different aims than sharing long runs of strips. Third is that when a collector pays good and often substantial amounts of money for their strips, they may consider that an investment. Once most comic strips are reprinted the resale market for the original tearsheets basically goes into freefall, leaving that collector with a lot of practically worthless paper. For instance, my Li'l Abner and Little Orphan Annie daily strips, numbering in the many thousands, are almost better used as kindling for the fireplace than trying to sell them.


Oaky Doaks, if I remember correctly, was put out in the days when the Associated Press had a cartoon division. Still they're still around and rich, that is a risk factor; compare with some of the more obscure syndicates that may have vanished decades ago, leaving little or no trace (and who probably didn't do the renewals).

The complete daily run of Oaky Doaks in currently available through the many newspapers on The Sundays version is also available except for the last Sunday from 1956 because the Baltimore Sun ran the Sundays for many years.
Re: Oaky Doaks. The most recent copyright notice I can find is for 1943; no renewals (after 28 years) are listed for any Oaky strips. It is therefore public domain. The Library of Congress comes to the same conclusion ("No copyright information found with item.") on a display of one image, and so does the Digital Comics Museum, which is listing 1935-39 on their site with the disclaimer.
Re Steve Cottle's ILoveComix: As I've said many times, if you go to the correct link -- NOT the one you gave in the article -- there is no sign in required unless you want to take advantage of features that offers. Use and navigation should be straight forward; and. after the first screen, there is always a download button located in the upper right
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Saturday, November 03, 2018


Herriman Saturday

October 14 1909 -- A bit of history was made in California yesterday as the first woman has been called to serve on a jury. Before you start thinking that this is an important sign of emancipation, here's the problem -- it was all a mistake, and both the court and the woman called are in a tizzy. She initially refused to serve, then changed her tune and said that she would serve but would insist on the innocence of anyone she was called to judge. The court wants no woman jurors, and is trying to figure out how her name ended up in the pool.

A month later she ended up being called for a trial, and was challenged by attorneys on the basis that she's a woman. The judge would not remove her on that basis alone, so one of the attorneys used up a peremptory challenge to remove her. As far as I know, that's the end of the story of the first woman juror in California.


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Friday, November 02, 2018


Wish You Were Here, from Dwig

This very fancy Dwig card, which is embossed and surrounded with metallic inks, is from a series in which pretty girls figure prominently (natch) and messages are shown in mirror image. The high-class card makes you think it'll be a Tuck production, but there is no publisher credited. Just that little fellow with the smock displaying the Swiss cross, and an American flag in one hand and a beer stein in the other. The reverse does tell us that this is from Series 30, but that's it. No copyright on the card, but based on others in the mirror series it is from the 1907-1911 period.


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Thursday, November 01, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: George F. Kerr

George F. Kerr was born on March 13, 1870, in Brooklyn, New York, according to a passenger list The 1900 U.S. Federal Census has his birth date as March 1870 and age 30. However, I believe the birth year is incorrect and is, in fact, 1871. The 1870 census was enumerated in early June and Kerr was not listed with his parents, John and Mary in Brooklyn. The first time Kerr appears in the census was 1880, which was enumerated in early June, and he was nine years old. Kerr was 39 in the 1910 census which was enumerated in late April. Similar results are in the 1920 and 1940 censuses.

In the 1870 census, Kerr’s parents were in the household of William Schilling, his maternal grandfather. Kerr’s father was a bookbinder. They resided in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The 1880 census said Kerr, his parents and seven-year-old brother, Albert, were still part of the Schilling household. Their address was in Brooklyn at 104 South 3rd Street.

Kerr’s early life and career were mentioned in The Illustrated American, October 14, 1898, and said in part:

Mr. Kerr became an artist for the very good reason that he had to earn his living and naturally went to work to earn it in the most congenial manner. His father, a business man, died when he was ten years old, and he became a general utility, or devil, which ever you may like to call it, at a printer’s. Then he went and occupied a similar position at Tiffany’s jewelry store, subsequently doing some designing work for a firm of lithographers. Mr. Kerr studied at the Academy of Design and at the Art Students’ League, and has been through his novitiate on the World, the Herald, a newspaper syndicate, and is now working on the New York Sunday Journal. He thinks his partly illustrative work—such as picturing incidents in children’s fairy stories, for instance—is best for him.

An early work by Kerr was a contest drawing submitted to and printed in The Press (New York, New York), March 23, 1890. Kerr won second prize.

Regarding Kerr’s early newspaper days, the Herald Statesman (New York), October 23, 1953, said

Mr. Kerr first illustrated feature stories for the old New York Herald and then became the first artist employed by William Randolph Hearst when the latter bought the New York American. For about 30 years he was the illustrator of the American Weekly, national Sunday supplement of the Hearst newspapers. He also did cartoons for editorials by Arthur Brisbane of the American.
Kerr’s art gained much attention. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 17, 1892, praised his work in New York Herald.  According to the Herald, February 17, 1894, Kerr had wash drawing in the Salmagundi Club’s Black and White exhibit.

The New York, New York, Marriage Index, at, said Kerr married “Marie L[ouise]. Steutlle” on June 1, 1893 in Brooklyn.

The 1900 census said artist Kerr and his wife, Louise, had a son, Jerome, and two servants. Their home was in Brooklyn at 755 Ocean Avenue. In the 1905 New York state census, Kerr had a second son, Eric, and the house number was 473.

in 1904 Kerr was a regular contributor to Haper’s Bazar. He illustrated stories in the July, August, September, November and December issues, and two covers (below).

 Haper’s Bazar 7/1904

Haper’s Bazar 10/1904

Kerr illustrated Curtis Dunham’s The Golden Goblin in 1906. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 30, 1906, praised Kerr and the book illustrations.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 19, 1907, reported Kerr’s divorce proceedings.

In 1907 Kerr provided the art for Dunham’s The Amazing Adventures of Bobbie in Bugaboo Land. The book received a favorable review in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 22, 1907.

The New York Sun, January 20, 1909, said Kerr’s divorce was finalized. 

Justice Carr in the Supreme Court, Brooklyn, yesterday granted Mrs. L.M. Kerr a decree of absolute divorce from George F. Kerr, the artist, of 743 Ocean avenue, the custody of her two children and $60 a week alimony. The suit had been pending since May, t907. Violet E. Mayho [sic], an artist’s model, was the corespondent in the case.
Later in 1909, Kerr married Virginia Mayo in New Jersey according to the state’s marriage index at

Caleb Lewis’s Almost Fairy Children, illustrated by Kerr, was published in 1909.

According to the 1910 census, Kerr, his wife and mother resided in Brooklyn at 743 Ocean Avenue. Kerr was a self-employed magazine illustrator.

Details of Kerr’s divorce were published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, October 10, 1910.

On September 20, 1911, Kerr and his wife returned from a trip to Cuba.

American Art Annual, Volume 12 (1915) included Kerr in its listings, “KERR, George, Art Department, “N. Y. Journal,” New York, N. Y. I.—Member: SI 1913.”  The same information was repeated in volume 14.

In a 1971 issue of Films in Review, a profile of Walter Lantz said “When he was 15 Lantz got a job as copy-boy at William Randolph Hearst's ‘New York American’ and was soon made jack-of-all-jobs in its art department, the staff of which then included George Kerr and Willy Pogany. ‘They let me do an occasional lettering job,” Lantz says, “and gradually let me draw some of the characters in their comic strips.’”

Mary Frances Blaisdell’s Bunny Rabbit’s Diary was published, with art by Kerr, in 1915.

The 1920 census recorded Kerr, his wife and servant in Mamaroneck, New York at 11 Pryor Lane. Kerr was a self-employed illustrator.

Kerr visited Cuba again in 1926. He returned to the port of New York City on July 20. The passenger list said his address was the Hotel Gramatan, Bronxville, New York.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Kerr drew Frolics of Florabel, from May 2, 1926 to April 17, 1927. It was quickly followed by Kerr’s Florabel Flutter’s Abroad, which ran from May 8 to October 16, 1927. Both series were written by Berton Braley,

Kerr has not yet been found in the 1930 census.

Kerr had an entry in the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works of Art, Etc., 1939, New Series, Volume 34, Number 3, “Kerr, George F.* 7375; Radio funnies, the greatest comedy and drama of the air, ( C) 1 c. Aug. 18, 1939; G 33636.”

In the 1940 census, Kerr’s home was in Yonkers, New York at 1 Bronxville Road. The artist and his wife lived alone.

Kerr contributed comic book artwork to Dell in the 1940s.

Kerr passed away October 21, 1953, in Yonkers. The Herald Statesman said Kerr

died Wednesday at his home, 1 Bronxville Road, after a long illness. He was eighty-four and had been blind for the last few years.

In the children’s book field, Mr. Kerr was known particularly for his illustrations of the work of Thornton Burgess in “Peter Rabbit” and “Mother Westwind.”…He did a number of unsigned “Raggedy Ann” comic story books for the Dell Publishing Company.

Mr. Kerr was an honorary member of the Society of Illustrators in New York, having been one of the first in the organization early in the century when Charles Dana Gibson was president. He had been a member of the Artists and Writers Association and the Dutch Treat Club. He was an alumnus of Cooper Union.

Further Reading
Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists
Lambiek Comicloedia

—Alex Jay


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Wednesday, October 31, 2018


Magazine Cover Comics: Frolics of Florabel

Here is the magazine cover comic Frolics of Florabel, which ran at the rate of one or two per month from May 2 1926 to April 17 1927. This is a rare one since it was distributed by Johnson Features, a not particularly successful syndicate which was one of those formed by William H. Johnson in the years after he left the Hearst fold. The syndicate offered a weekly magazine cover service (and probably the insides as well) and interspersed this running feature with various one-shot covers.

Rare is the occasion that I compliment newspaper poetry, but Berton Braley was a cut above the norm. Not only was his verse actually funny on occasion, but he had a good sense of rhyme and meter. A less complimentary opinion I have to offer for the work of George F. Kerr on this feature, which offers bland and uninspired art. Kerr could do better, and usually did when he was working on Hearst material, which was his real bread and butter. Alex Jay will show you some much better Kerr work tomorrow.

The Florabel character was soon revived in a second series in which her adventures going abroad are chronicled. We'll cover that series one of these days.


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Tuesday, October 30, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Donald F. Stewart

Donald Farquharson Stewart was born on March 4, 1880, in Fletcher Ontario, Canada. The birthplace was found in Who’s Who in America, Volume 23 (1944). The birth date and full name were recorded on Stewart’s World War I draft card. The 1900 U.S. Federal Census had his birth as March 1900. A copyright catalog had the birth year 1880 and full name.  However, Stewart’s World War II draft card had the year 1881 and Who’s Who had 1882 and said he attended high schools in Chatham, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan.

In the 1900 census, Stewart, an artist, was the youngest of three siblings whose mother was a widow. Who’s Who said Stewart’s parents were John Grasic Stewart and Elizabeth Maitland who were identified as Scottish emigrants in the census. Stewart emigrated in 1898. The family resided at 194 Field Avenue in Detroit.

Who’s Who said Stewart married Mary Etta Mclntyre on June 23, 1902.

According to Who’s Who, Stewart was an artist and writer for American Boy Magazine from 1900 to 1903 and the Detroit Free Press from 1903 to 1906. Stewart produced The Adventures of Inventor Wheelz and His Wonderful Dummy for the Free Press from February 22 to March 15, 1903.

Stewart’s Prohibition Cartoons was published in 1904.

According to the 1905 New York state census, cartoonist Stewart, his wife and five-month-old daughter were Brooklyn residents at 520 Quincy Street.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 20, 1906, said Stewart was president of the Oliver W. Stewart Political League whose “aim is ‘the development and practice of the rule of civic righteousness.’”

The Eagle, May 22, 1906 said “‘Cartoons’ was the subject for discussion at the meeting of the Oliver W. Stewart League, held last night in Hart’s Hall, Broadway and Gates avenue. Donald F. Stewart, the cartoonist, gave an interesting chalk talk on ‘The Making of a Cartoon.’” The Brooklyn Daily Standard Union, May 27, 1906, gave a lengthy description of Stewart’s talk.

Cartoons Interest Bushwick’s Temperance Advocates.
“The Making of a Cartoon” was the subject of a very interesting talk by Donald F. Stewart, cartoonist, formerly of the Detroit “Free Press,” at a meeting of the Oliver W. Stewart Political League, in Hart’s Hall, on Monday night.

The league is composed of many persons of the Bushwick section of the borough, and is devoted to the spread of temperance and the downfall of the saloon, though not pledged to total abstinence. Illustrating his talk with pictures, drawing with crayon as he went along, Mr. Stewart gave some inside facts in a cartoonist’s busy life that make interesting reading.

“The idea of a cartoon,” he said, “was inspired generally by something observed by the cartoonist in the editorials or news columns of his own paper. Sometimes, after having prepared a cartoon to fill the space set aside for his work, something important happens that calls for him to get up something entirely different In the space of twenty minutes. This happened when I was on the “Detroit Free Press,” after Senator Tillman had made a venomous attack on Booker T. Washington in a Detroit hall one night. Mr. Washington was expected to speak in the same hall the following night, and being human, though black, he was expected to reply to Tillman in much the same manner.

“Anticipating such a result I had prepared a cartoon in advance showing the sable philosopher pouring the vials of his wrath on the Pitchfork Senator, with Tillman writhing on the ground, and Washington standing above him pouring out upon him the contents of an enormous bottle. Twenty minutes before the paper went to press copy came in from the reporters, wherein it was stated that Washington had declined to say anything about Tillman more than he knew Tillman to be as much of a gentleman as he hoped he was. Senator Tillman had the right of every American citizen to press his opinion; that he had the right to reserve his, and that he intended to exercise that right.

“I was hustled out of my bed by a telephone message, and when I reached the office I was told to make another cartoon to suit the new conditions. The city editor, nervously puffing a big, black cigar, walked up and down my office, and I followed in his footsteps. Five, ten, fifteen minutes passed. Five minutes more and the paper would go to press without my cartoon. Suddenly a brilliant thought struck the city editor, and acting on that thought, the contents of the vials of wrath were changed into coals of fire. It was one of the very best cartoons I ever drew and I have an autograph letter from Booker T. Washington commending me for the inspiration.”

Cartoonists, he said, were a jolly and a sad lot; generally a hard-worked man who had original ideas, but who must adapt himself to the policy of the paper, and to frequently draw what he himself does not believe.
Whos Who said Stewart contributed to the New York Globe from 1906 to 1907 then the Detroit News from 1907 to 1909. In 1909 he was the founder and manager of Stewart & Stewart Engraving & Electrotyping Company.

The 1910 census recorded Stewart, his wife daughter and son in Detroit at 320 Garland. Stewart was a self-employed engraver.

Who’s Who said Stewart was naturalized in 1912. Beginning in that year Stewart was editor and publisher of Day’s Work.

On September 12, 1918, Stewart signed his World War I draft card. The editor and publisher of Day’s Work Publishing Company resided at 635 Cadillac Avenue in Detroit. He was described as tall, medium build with brown eyes and gray hair. Who’s Who said Stewart was associated with Boni & Liveright starting in 1918.

Day’s Work published the Manual of American Citizenship in 1919.

In the 1920 census, Stewart, a writer, was a lodger on Griswold Street in Detroit. Stewart returned to New York City.

Who’s Who said Stewart was with the American Viewpoint Society, a department of Boni & Liveright, from 1923 to 1924. However, Stewart was the editor of We and Our Government, an American Viewpoint Society book, which was published in 1922.

Beginning in 1924, Stewart was editor of the Loyal Order of Moose (L. O. O. M.) publications such as Mooseheart Magazine.

Stewart was a New York City resident in the 1925 New York state census. The editor, his wife and daughter were at 395 Fort Washington Avenue in Manhattan. Five years later, Stewart’s Manhattan address was 105 Pinehurst Avenue. He was a newspaper editor.

Stewart was a witness in the trial of Pennsylvania Senator James J. Davis who was accused of operating an illegal lottery. The Eagle, September 20, 1932, said “…On the witness stand throughout the legal duel was Donald F. Stewart, editor of the Moose Magazine. Stewart, a small, waspish man, with clipped, gray mustache, horn-rimmed spectacles and pink shirts, was the Government’s first witness yesterday….”

After the 1930 census, Stewart moved to Washington, D.C. His home address in the 1940 census was 2440 16 Street. Stewart was a magazine editor. The same address was written on his World War II draft card which described Stewart as five feet eleven-and-a-half inches and 162 pounds.

Stewart passed away October 30, 1945, in Aurora, Illinois, as reported in many newspapers including the Buffalo Evening News and Kingston Daily Freeman which said

Donald F. Stewart, 63, publicity manager of the Loyal Order of Moose and editor of the Moose Magazine since 1924, died last night at Aurora, Ill.

Stewart, who spent his lifelong career in newspaper, magazine and publishing work, was a native of Fletcher, Ontario.

For several years he maintained a summer residence at Woodstock and was well known in this city and Ulster county.

One daughter, Mrs. Dorothy Stewart Dean, survives.

Funeral arrangements and place of burial were not announced in the story carried by The Associated Press.

—Alex Jay


Desperately tryying to contact Allan Holtz regarding an article he wrote about my grandfather. Also have some artwork my grandfather and great grandfather did that I would like him to look at.
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Monday, October 29, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: Adventures of Inventor Wheelz and his Wonderful Dummy

Groundbreaking comic strips can sometimes be found in the darndest places. Here we have a very early quasi-robot comic strip from 1903, long before the term 'robot' even existed. While others usually called them mechanical men in those days, cartoonist Donald F. Stewart more modestly called his a dummy. However, he's a wind-up mechanical man and that makes him a robot in my book.

Stewart was a cartoonist for the Detroit Free Press, and as far as I can tell this is the only comic strip series he ever penned for the newspaper. The series ran for four episodes from February 22 to March 15 1903, the entire run of which are displayed above. The first episode gives the inventor the name Wheels, then switches to Wheelz for the balance of the series.

There's an unfortunate repetitiveness to the strips, in which each week the dummy attracts the ire of a half-witted cop, and hijinks ensue. This is much like the later robot strip  Percy - Brains He Has Nix, which usually followed the same formula.


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