Thursday, November 27, 2014


A Cornucopia of Cartoonist Self-Portraits

Alex Jay unearthed this great page from the Literary Digest issue of April 12 1919:

Let me see how many full names I can provide for you -- this is made tougher because my files are all in storage and unavailable at the moment, so I'll depend on memory and the web. Starting at upper left and going across and down:

Carey Orr (Chicago Tribune)
Clifford Berryman (Washington Star)
Jay N. "Ding" Darling (New York Tribune)
W.A. Rogers (New York Herald)
??? Morris (George Matthew Adams Service) -- not sure I've ever known this guy's first name
E.A. Bushnell (Central Press Association)
Maurice Ketten (New York Evening World)
E.W. Kemble (freelance)
Jean Knott (Dallas News)
Burt Thomas (Detroit News)
Rube Goldberg (New York Evening Mail)
Clare Briggs (New York Tribune)
Gaar Williams (Indianapolis News)
Guy Spencer (Omaha World-Herald)
Billy Ireland (Columbus Dispatch)
John T. McCutcheon (Chicago Tribune)
Oscar Cesare (New York Sun at this time?)
Otto Hartman (St. Louis Times)
R.O. Evans (Baltimore American)
H.T. Webster (New York Globe)
Eugene "Zim" Zimmerman (freelance)
C.H. Sykes (Philadelphia Public Ledger)
Lute Pease (Newark Evening News)
Ryan Walker (New York Call)
Daniel Fitzpatrick (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
??? McDowell (St. Louis Republic)
Doane Powell (Omaha Bee)
McKee Barclay (Baltimore Sun)
Jimmy Murphy (Chicago Herald-Examiner)
Harry Tuthill (St. Louis Star)
C.A. Bronstrup (San Francisco Chronicle)
Paul Plaschke (Louisville Times)
Kenneth Chamberlain (Cleveland Press)
A.B. Chapin (St. Louis Republic)
Tige Reynolds (Tacoma Ledger)
Nelson Harding (Brooklyn Eagle)
Edwin Marcus (New York Times)
Ted Brown (Chicago Daily News)
Milton Halladay (Providence Journal)
Harry Westerman (Ohio State Journal)
J. Campbell Cory (Denver News-Times)
Claude Shafer (Cincinnati Post)
Stuart (?) Morris (Seattle Post-Intelliencer)
William F. Hanny (St. Joseph News-Press)
Bob Satterfield (NEA)
Paul Fung (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
R.M. Brinkerhoff (New York Evening World)
Kemp Starrett (Philadelphia Public Ledger)
Ben F. Hammond (Wichita Eagle)
Fred O. Seibel (Albany Knickerbocker News)
J.H. Donahey (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
Tom (?) Thurlby (Seattle Times)

Hi Allan!

Great post! One quick correction: the Bronstrup pictured here is actually Gustavo Adolph (G.A.) Bronstrup, who drew for the San Fransisco Call in the turn of the century and later was on the SF Chronicle staff for decades.
I believe it is William Charles Morris (1874-1940), was with the Spokane Review around 1903-13.
Post a Comment

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Obscurity of the Day: Quality Time

Gail Machlis has a cartooning style that would look right at home in The New Yorker. Which isn't surprising, since that magazine was the goal of her cartooning ambition. However, when her cartoons returned from The New Yorker with rejection slips, she began sending them off to other markets. Machlis is a San Franciscan, so it was fitting that an editor at the San Francisco Chronicle took a shine to them.

In January 1989 Machlis' cartoons began appearing regularly in the Chronicle's Sunday Punch section. Two years later Machlis was offered a regular weekly spot, and she chose the name Quality Time for the feature. After another year and a half, the Chronicle asked if she'd like to enter full syndication. In October 1992 the now daily and Sunday Quality Time debuted, offering papers across the country sophisticated New Yorker-style humor.

The panel did not take off in sales by any means. Was the problem Chronicle Features' lack of marketing effort? Was it that feature editors didn't think their readership would take to the decidedly sophisticated low-key humor? I don't know, but Quality Time didn't sell to many papers, though it did have some high profile major, and well-paying, clients, to soften the blow.

In 1997 Machlis moved the feature from Chronicle Features to Universal Press Syndicate, in what would seem to be a good move. However, Universal didn't seem to be able to lend any new marketing clout, and the series was put out to pasture on August 1 1998.


I like it. Of course, I like New Yorker cartoons - was brought up on them, looking at 25 Years of the New Yorker book at a friend of my parents when we visited.
Post a Comment

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: John M. Grippo

John M. “Jan” Grippo was born in Beacon, New York, on December 15, 1906, according to Who’s Who in California, Volume 13. Grippo has not yet been found in the 1910 U.S. Federal Census.

According to the 1920 census, Grippo was the fifth of eight children born to Rocco, a foundry employee, and Veta, both Italian emigrants. His oldest siblings, James, and Louise, were also Italian natives. The Grippos resided in Beacon at 95 Newburgh Avenue.

In 1923 Grippo was awarded a scholarship to the New York School of Design, which he left in 1924. He attended Eastman’s College from 1925 to 1926.

The 1925 New York State Census recorded the Grippos in Beacon at 75 South Avenue. Grippo, his father and three older brothers all worked at a hat shop.

The 1979 International Television Almanac said Grippo was, from 1926 to 1928, a cartoonist with New York Herald-Tribune Syndicate, plus a commercial artist, caricaturist for Shubert shows, and cartoonist for national magazines.

The 1930 census said Grippo was unemployed. Later that year, Grippo and writer Evan J. David produced, for the New York Herald-Tribune Syndicate, the comic strip, Wanda Byrd, which ran from June 30, 1930 to June 13, 1931. 



Grippo quickly produced samples for more comic strips which were copyrighted in the Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works of Art, Etc. 1931 New Series, Volume 26, Number 4.
Grippo (John M.) [and] Greene (Preston) jr., Beacon, N. Y.
(Grippo ( John M.) Drawings:
Linda Dare, 1 — Who’s who. [Five characters : Linda Dare, Eddie Duer, Gunn brothers, Tattered Tobias] © 1 c. Sept. 21, 1931; G 7132.
—6—Tobias Patch. [Comic strip. four views. Men changing tire in first, two men in second, two men and girl in third, letter in fourth] © 1 c. Sept. 21, 1931; G 7129
—7—Lawyer’s letter. [Comic strip, four views. Lettering in first and third, girl and two men in second and fourth] © 1 c. Sept. 21, 1931; G 7128
—8—Mr. Dare decides. [Comic strip, four views showing people in room talking] © 1 c. Sept. 21, 1931; G 7133.
—10—Anchors aweigh. [Comic strip, four views showing two men hiding in life-boat on ship] © 1 c. Sept. 21, 1931; G 7131.
—12—Life of Reilly. [Comic strip, four views showing sailor and officer on ship] © 1 c. Sept. 21, 1931 ; G 7130.
Who’s Who said he was co-manager of former Light Heavyweight Champ Melio Bettina, from 1937 to 1938. Grippos’s brother, Jimmie, continued managing Bettina.

The Los Angeles Times, March 15, 1988, said Grippo moved to Hollywood in 1937. Grippo also changed his first name to Jan. Who’s Who said he was an agent from 1939 to 1951, as well as a magic technical advisor for various Hollywood studios. The 1979 International Television Almanac said Grippo was married to Flo Browne, who died in 1951.

Grippo has not been found in the 1940 census. During World War II, Who’s Who said Grippo, a volunteer for the Hollywood Victory Commission, entertained the Armed Forces and performed at the Hollywood Canteen. In 1945, Grippo formed Jan Grippo Productions which created and produced the Bowery Boys motion picture series starring Leo Gorcey.

According to Who’s Who, Grippo was a subject in the comics work of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, Feg Murray’s Seein’ Stars and Ernest Hix’s Strange As It Seems. Beginning in 1946 Grippo was a member of the Society American Magicians. In 1963 he was a charter member of the Academy of Magical Arts. 

Grippo married Paula Rice on December 12, 1966.

Grippo passed away March 12, 1988, in Los Angeles, as recorded in the California, Death Index at His death was reported in the Los Angeles Times. Grippo was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.


There's another Grippo strip at featuring the characters Judy and Scoopy in peril in a hot air balloon.
This was posted as part of a Ron Harris blog at talking about those fake newspapers that are produced for TV and movies. In the followups, Alfredo Castelli says this is “Captain Smith by K. Lentz” , but that is almost certainly wrong.
A second poster, K. A. Thacker [who I've been unable to track down] says its Judy Gallant [that makes sense] and that his father Josef Montiague wrote some of the copy and he owns some original Grippo signed artwork from it.
I've seen no sign of Judy Gallant nor that other fascinating strip Castelli mentions, Captain Smith – Space Adventurer, anywhere. = Art Lortie
Post a Comment

Monday, November 24, 2014


The (almost?) Complete Wanda Byrd, by Art Lortie

[Comics researcher and sci-fi fanatic Art Lortie offers a guest post today, about obscure aviation strip Wanda Byrd. But he doesn't just write about it -- he offers you a download of the entire run of the strip, which he laboriously gathered from online archives! He has gathered other interesting strips this way as well, so maybe if you give him some encouragement, he might contribute more of his material -- hint, hint. Thanks Art! -- Allan Holtz]

And it might even be complete! Its hard to tell! :)
Wanda Byrd was one of the first aviation strips, trailing only [I think] Tailspin Tommy (taxied down the runway 5/21/1928),  Skyroads (took off 5/20/1929) and Scorchy Smith (full of hot air on 3/17/1930). This can all be blamed on Charles Lindbergh, of course, who begat a whole slew of other flying fools like Smilin' Jack (10/1/1933), Terry and the Pirates (10/22/1934), Ace Drummond (2/3/1935), Barney Baxter (9/30/1935), Hop Harrigan (first in All American Comics #1, 4/1939) and Flyin' Jenny (10/1939); plus possibly a whole bunch more I've overlooked. But she was almost certainly the first female flyer! 
Some consider Connie (3/11/1929) an early aviation strip, and though I haven't read it in a while, I recall all she did was get all gussied up and go aloft on a date or something, never taking the throttle?
Wanda Byrd promos and strips start on June 30, 1930 from the Rome (New York) Daily Sentinel that I grabbed from the gawd-awful Fulton Postcards archive site.

The good thing about these early strips at Fulton, though difficult to find with that !@#$% search engine of theirs, are of great quality -- and freakin' HUGE! I actually shrunk them slightly to get down to a 4000-pixel width! Plus the Rome papers carried the individual strip chapter titles that I love so much!
Sadly the Rome well went dry on January 24, 1931 and I had to switch to a paltry 1200-pixel width (and no titles!) from the Harrisburg (Pennsylvania) Telegraph at I also had to use the Harrisburg paper as a fill-in around New Year's, 1931, when the Rome paper either didn't publish or it wasn't scanned by Fulton-folk.
Other papers I know that carried the strip are the New York Tribune [of course], the Minneapolis Journal and the Los Angeles Times -- none of which I have access to.
There's also some question as to when the strip ended. Harrisburg removed Wanda from their main strip page on May 23, 1931, but -- to their credit -- ran 2 additional strips buried amidst the whiskey and cigar ads on the 25th and 26th just so her faithful readers -- both of them! -- knew our heroes survived yet another fine mess they found themselves in!
But Jeffrey Lindenblatt in American Newspaper Comics says Wanda and her male companion, Chesty Cabot [nowadays that would be HER name!] fought the good fight in the Trib until June 13, 1931, a Saturday, which -- if the 15-day / 13 strip shift in its reported start date is real -- then I might actually have all the strips except 3-4!
All my Byrd strips are at
The Promos -- only because I forgot to add them to the main rar :( -- are separate at
Its not a great strip by any means, full of racial stereotypes, a plot ripped off from AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, and bad art -- but its historically important. Out of curiosity, I decided to find out something about the creators. And that turned out to be more interesting than Wanda and Chesty.
Writer Evan J David turned out to be the real deal. He was a former editor of Flying magazine who had a regular column there keeping the readers abreast of World War I aerial developments. In 1923, when his wife was unexpectedly dying, the combined resources of the civilian and military air forces [such as it was at the time] struggled to get him home in time. He had a later tragedy in the 1930's when he was the driver in a Massachusetts hit and run that killed 2 people, and seems to have gotten off by marrying the only other surviving witness, who then couldn't testify against him.
But he also wrote aviation fiction for many magazines and non-fiction on flight and Arctic exploration for the Saturday Evening Post which saw numerous reprints in Australia, who, according to articles I pulled at the Trove website, was considered the go-to guy for info on the fledging air industry.
The artist, John M Grippo, was a more difficult search -- but only because it was really Jack-of-all trades Jan Grippo hiding under a pseudonym. Yes -- THAT Jan  Grippo :)
Jan / John was born December 15, 1906 in Beacon, NY, and parlayed his training at the New York School of Design into an early career as a cartoonist for the New York Herald-Tribune Syndicate. He also worked on a strip called either Judy Gallant or Captain Smith - Space Adventurer that I've been unable to find under any rock. If it is indeed called Space Adventurer, you can rest assured I'll be bribing librarians from coast to coast to find it!
In 1937 he took Horace Greeley's advice and went west, to Hollywood, where between gigs as a stage musician [he taught Veronica Lake to do the card tricks in This Gun for Hire], he worked as an agent, with Billy Conn, the world light-heavyweight champion, and Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall of the Dead End Kids as his main meal tickets.
The Dead End Kids were hard-core street punks in the films Dead End and Angels With Dirty Faces, but Grippo decided they'd have more commercial success as comedic good-hearted kids who get into trouble. So he formed Jan Grippo Productions, sanitized and renamed the group the Bowery Boys and produced 24 successful films. He died March 12, 1988 at the age of 81.
Art Lortie, who is now working on the SF Barney Baxter, Tailspin Tommy, the African American space adventurer Neil Knight, the totally bizarre Peter Pat and a couple of my "SF in All the Wrong Places" entries, before returning (finally) to Brick Bradford.

A couple of corrections!
The revised Wanda file [Rev 1] is at;
Jon Ingersoll tells me the LA Times did not carry Wanda; and
Fortunato Latella sez CONNIE learned to fly in the first week of her daily strip (start date: March 11, 1929).
Oops. Murphy is alive and well and has rented space in my laptop. -- Art Lortie
Post a Comment

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


Comments: Post a Comment

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Herriman Saturday

Thursday, September 3 1908 -- Herriman draws some of the goings-on around Billy Papke's training camp. Papke's big title bout with Stan Ketchel is scheduled for next Monday.


Comments: Post a Comment

Friday, November 21, 2014


Sci-Friday starring Connie

Connie, June 6 1937, courtesy of Cole Johnson. 
Follow the Connie story every Friday here on Stripper's Guide.


Comments: Post a Comment

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Oscuridad del Día: Tito y Chita

My extremely limited Spanish language skills make learning anything substantial about Tito y Chita rather difficult.  I can tell you that the strips I have are from 1944, and appeared in a comic section that otherwise mostly ran translations of Mickey Mouse and Big Chief Wahoo. I don't know if the paper was in the U.S. or not, as there are no mastheads. I guess really all I can say is that the strip sure does look intriguingly bizarre, sort of a fairy tale about kids in a fantasy land of some sort. The art, by Hugo Tilghman, is delightfully goofy and goofily delightful. With the help of Google Translate, I have managed to halfway read a capsule bio of Mr. Tilghman, which mentions Tito y Chita, as well as another Sunday-style strip I have in this pile of Spanish comics, Dos Mexicanos en la Guerra. Seems they both ran in a paper by the name of El Universal, but additional searching seems to indicate that there are several Central and South American papers that go by that name. Sounds also like Tilghman died terribly young, at age forty.

The writer, Hipolito Zendejas, gets lots of hits in a Google search, but none that I could parse well enough to get any biographical info.

Anyone reading have enough command of Spanish to help out with background about this interesting strip?


This is from El Universal, of Mexico City. They produced their own stuff in addition to the translated word balloon U.S. comics in their Sunday section, which was rarely seen in Mexico.
Dear Allan Holtz -

I'll gladly translate anything you need. I am Spanish and a professional translator, too. Just send me an email with the links or the texts you need translated! I love your blog (and also purchased your book, of course).

Best from Madrid,

Antonio Iriarte

Post a Comment

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Obscurity of the Day: Galacto Guys

Launched by King Features on December 7 1992, Galacto Guys was a rare attempt at sci-fi comedy on the comics page. The simple plot concerns a pair of dim-witted space explorers, Lenny and Punky, exploring strange new worlds, meeting exotic aliens, and trying to sell them junk from their employer, an intergalactic trading company.

Given the small space in which cartoonist Steve Cole had to work, he opted for a simplified approach to the art which gets the job done perfectly, even if it doesn't bring Alex Raymond to mind. The strip is often quite funny, and since it treads very different ground from anything else on the comics page, tends to stand out.

So then why is it an Obscurity of the Day? I really don't know. It seems to me it had a lot of ingredients for potential success -- originality, simplicity, and an endless well of joke fodder.. But my impression is that the strip began with a tiny client list, and didn't gain any more with time. In fact, I've seen the strip in papers so rarely that I can only say that it presumably ended sometime in 1993, but you couldn't prove that by any paper I've reviewed. If anyone can supply a definite end date or suggest a paper that I should review to find it, I'd love to hear from you.

Galacto Guys is Steve Cole's only known newspaper comic. His primary profession was teaching, and I presume the strip was an experiment in changing the direction of his life that simply didn't pan out. In a 2010 interview with his alma mater, Northern Arizona University, he mentions a passing interest in art, but makes no mention of cartooning at all.


Here is the web page of a relative (son?) of Steve Cole. There is a pic of what appears to be a book collection of GALACTO GUYS, improbable as that might seem. Also a contact button!
Hi Paul --
Seems to be Steve's brother. The Galacto Guys item is not a book, but rather the syndicate promo (I have the same one).

Thanks for the clarification, Allan. I saw that press kit at Worldcat as an item in a few library holdings.

Hope Tom Cole can provide further info!
One strip that is popular with that style you mentioned is Tim Rickard's "Brewster Rockit", which marketed by the Chicago Tribune and appeared online on Go Comics:

Great strip, if you beleive it!!!
The final episode of Galacto Guys was Sunday, 5 September 1993.

Thanks Mark!!
Post a Comment

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


1942 Seasons Greetings from Christian Science Monitor

I suppose I should wait until closer to Christmas to post this, but I just discovered it, and I'm pretty excited. This page of greetings from the features staff of Christian Science Monitor, published in the December 21 1942 issue, features all sorts of neat stuff. We get self-caricatures of their daily comic strip crew: Richard  Rodgers (Diary of Snubs our Dog), Guernsey LePelley (Tubby and Buddy and Company), L.F. Van Zelm (News Item) and George Hager and Mrs. M.H. Dearborn (Adventures of Waddles). From Just for Fun, the multi-cartoonist gag panel, we get a delightful self-caricature of Gene Carr, a very hurried sketch from Reamer Keller, and we discover that cartoonist Corka is actually Jon Cornin and his unnamed wife (who turns out to be Zena Kavin). We also learn that the K. Parris behind the Facts and Figures panel owns a first name.


Comments: Post a Comment

Monday, November 17, 2014


Obscurity of the Day: Mr. Softleigh

Here we have one of T.S. Allen's rare outings that don't involve children. He was justly famous in his day for Just Kids and other series that feature rough-and-tumble young rapscallions. Seeing him draw adults, then, gives you a bit of a start.

Mr. Softleigh concerns the travails of a fellow who can't say "no" -- presumably his name is a reference to him being a 'soft touch'. The formula is pretty simple, but Allen handles it well enough. The series had a long run in the Philadelphia Press, from January 24 1909 to February 12 1911, but was also reused in McClure sections in 1909 (the Press and McClure seemed to have some sort of feature-sharing agreement).

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans!


Comments: Post a Comment

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


I remember the story you told, I believe about your brother [uncle?] who almost died and crawled to a bowl of bananas!
Post a Comment

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Herriman Saturday

Tuesday, September 1 1908 -- Stanley Ketchel and Billy Papke are in town training for their upcoming fight for the world middleweight championship, and Angelinos are going bonkers with anticipation. Unfortunately I cannot tell you exactly who Herriman has here dubbed Lord Fauntleroy -- presumably a fight promoter. But the message is clear -- this fight is so exciting, even the posters vibrate with nervous energy.


Comments: Post a Comment

Friday, November 14, 2014


Sci-Friday starring Connie

Connie, May 30 1937, courtesy of Cole Johnson. 
Follow the Connie story every Friday here on Stripper's Guide.


Comments: Post a Comment

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: R.M. Brinkerhoff

Green Book Magazine 10/1916

Robert Moore Brinkerhoff was born in Toledo, Ohio, on May 4, 1879. The birthdate is from his World War I draft card. In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, one-year-old Brinkerhoff was the youngest of two children born to Robert, an editor, and Flora. They resided in Toledo at 57 Michigan Street.

R.L. Polk & Co’s Toledo City Directory 1898 had this listing: “Brinkerhoff Robert M, student, bds 627 W Woodruff av.”

Brinkerhoff has not yet been found in the 1900 census. Biographical Sketches of Cartoonists & Illustrators in the Swann Collection of the Library of Congress (2012) said Brinkerhoff attended the Art Students League in New York from 1900 to 1901.

A 1903 Toledo city directory listed him as a manager at Rex Medical Company. Brinkerhoff and his father resided at 612 Virginia. Brinkerhoff was a cartoonist in the Toledo directories from 1904 to 1907 and, in each year, he was at a different address. In this period, Brinkerhoff married Jean C. Huston on June 8, 1905, in Chase City, Virginia, according to the Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia). Also in 1905 he studied in Paris at the Academie de la Grand Chaumiere, according to Biographical Sketches of Cartoonists & Illustrators.

Printers’ Ink, December 11, 1907, printed this item: “R.M. Brinkerhoff, newspaper cartoonist, has become editor of the house organ of the Toledo Computing Scale Company.”

The 1908 Toledo directory is not available. Cartoonist Brinkerhoof was in Cleveland according to the 1909 and 1910 city directories. The 1910 census recorded Brinkerhoff, his wife and son, Robert, in Cleveland at 3848 Prospect Avenue.

Brinkerhoff’s early life was told in Town, a weekly magazine supplement for a number of New York newspapers including the Schoharie Republican. The January 12, 1939 issue said:

Bob Brinkerhoff broke into the newspaper business at an early age. His father, R.A. Brinkerhoff, had, with Henry Chapin, founded a Toledo, Ohio newspaper. Bob started immediately after graduating from high school, going to work on the paper. He was by no means sure at this time whether or not he had really struck his medium. As a youngster in Toledo, he had been noted both for his talent at drawing pictures, and for his golden voice. Toledo churchgoers praised him so much as a boy soprano, singing in the choir, that he once thought seriously of making singing his career.
After a few years on the newspaper, young Brinkerhoff came to New York to study at the Art Students’ League, later returning to Toledo to join the staff of a different newspaper as a political cartoonist and general handy man for thirty dollars a week. Three years later his work came to the attention of the editors of The Cleveland Leader, and he went to work for them at twice his former salary.
At this time it happened that H. T, Webster, now one of the country’s most famous cartoonists, quit his political cartooning job on The Cincinnati Post to take a trip around the world. Brinkerhoff was called in to fill the important post, and when Webster later returned to Cincinnati, the two became fast friends. This coincidence probably determined Brinkerhoff’s future career. O. O. Mclntyre, famous columnist, was then a member of the Post staff. He and Webster and Brinkerhoff, all feeling the rumblings of ambition decided to try their luck in New York. That was in 1913. All three were determined to come to grips with destiny and pin her to the mat. All three of them did.
At first it wasn’t so easy. The two young artists made their home with Mr. and Mrs. O. O. Mclntyre. Brinkerhoff’s musical talent (he had studied singing while he studied art, winning a scholarship at the Cincinnati Conservatory) now became profitable, for he managed to pick up a few dollars solo singing in churches.
When Webster went to Associated Newspapers, Brinkerhoff went to the New York Evening Mail as political cartoonist. He remained there for more than three years.
The Buffalo Courier Express (New York), February 18, 1958, published a few more details about Brinkerhoff’s whereabouts:
…His father, R. A. Brinkerhoff, was a co-founder of the Toledo Post, which later merged with the Toledo News-Bee, and young Brinkerhoff went to work on the News-Bee when he finished high school.
He studied art in New York and Paris and later returned to the Toledo Blade as a political cartoonist. He moved on to the Cleveland Leader and Cleveland Post, and in 1913 came to New York as political cartoonist for the old Evening Mail.
Also in 1913, American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Brinkerhoff’s strip Citizen Fixit appeared in the St. Paul Pioneer Press from April 20 to July 6 1913.

Brinkerhoff contributed illustrations to a number of magazines including the Green Book Magazine: July 1915; February 1916; September 1916; October 1916 with H.T. Webster’s drawing of Brinkerhoff feeding his friends at his New York apartment; and February 1919.

Brinkerhoff’s marriage to Jean ended in divorce. He remarried in 1917. The New York Herald, March 4, 1917, reported the wedding.

Taxicab ‘Bandits’ Steal BridegroomRobert Brinkerhoff Released. Just in Time to Catch Steamship and Join Anxious Bride.
Passengers on board the United Fruit steamship Calameres stood at the rail yesterday afternoon and watched a white faced young man make a wild leap for the gangplank and just make it before the vessel pulled away from her pier in the Hudson river.
The pale faced young man was Robert M. Brinkerhoff, cartoonist who married at noon yesterday at the Majestic Hotel. After the wedding breakfast H. T. Webster and Ray, Rohn, fellow artists, lured Mr. Brinkerhoff to the lobby of the hotel, where a crowd of masked persons was in waiting. They seized the bridegroom and carried him out to a taxicab, which disappeared in the west drive of Central Park.
The bride, who was Miss Edna Patterson, singer, of No. 600 Riverside Drive, was waiting with friends for the return of the bridegroom. When it came time for the start to the steamship she became alarmed, and decided to go at once to the pier.
In the meantime the bridegroom was pleading wildly in the taxicab to he permitted to go to the pier. His watch surreptitiously had been turned forward an hour and he was in a panic.
All might have gone well, but the kidnappers had arranged to arrive just five minutes before the time for the vessel to steam. But then in front of No. 90 West street the taxicab broke down. The jokers, who were getting panicky by this time, commandeered another taxicab, which reached the pier just in time.
The bride was relieved, but she did not wave any farewells at the kidnappers, who slunk away sheepishly.
The New York Times said “…[Rohn] threw rice and old shoes at the couple at the pier…” and the couple “…sailed…for Havana, Cuba, to spend their honeymoon.”

Brinkerhoff’s best known strip was Little Mary Mixup. According to American Newspaper Comics it ran from January 2, 1918 to February 2, 1957. The Sundays included the topper, All in the Family. The creation of the strip was told in Town:

…At this point another transformation in Brinkerhoff's life took place. Brink had always considered himself a “real” artist. The comic strip was far, far beneath him. Besides his study of drawing at Toledo and New York, he had also studied for a time in Paris, Moreover, he had made something of a splash in New York with magazine illustrations and had tried his hand at painting. He would have been aghast at the suggestion that he do a comic strip. And he was, when the suggestion was first made to him by a colleague.
Will B. Johnstone, staff artist on the old Evening World, was the first to urge Brinkerhoff to forget his prejudice and try his hand at the strip after all. He did and was almost instantly successful in producing “Little Mary Mixup.”
…“Brink” thought little girls were ideal comic strip material, since he himself liked them, and he found that there was no little girl character in any of the current comics. So he captured the idea for his own. His nieces were the most convenient experimental material, and their antics were duly recorded by his facile pen. Thus was born “Little Mary Mixup.”
On April 12, 1918, Brinkerhoff signed his World War I draft card. He lived in Manhattan, New York City, at 50 West 67th Street, and was a staff artist at the Evening World. His description was medium height and build with blue eyes and blonde hair.

The Literary Digest 4/12/1919

Brinkerhoff and his wife were at the same address in the 1920 census.
Brinkerhoff resided in Stamford, Connecticut, at 142 Fifth Street, when he applied for a passport in the summer of 1924. He and his wife planned to visit England and France.

1924 passport photograph of Brinkerhoff and wife Edna

The couple returned to their Manhattan residence, at 50 West 67th Street, according to the 1930 and 1940 censuses and Brinkerhoff’s World War II draft card, which he signed on April 27, 1942.

The American Legion Monthly,February 1931, published Brinkerhoff’s thoughts on traveling by rail:

Then I asked R. M. Brinkerhoff, the comic strip artist, why he prefers to travel between New York and Middle Western cities on the New York Central Lines.
“In the first place,” he replied, “I hate mountains of any kind wherever found, and, moreover, since I have few acquaintances living at intermediate points on the New York Central I am less likely to meet people who would disturb my meditations as I sit and look out the car window.”

Town 1/12/1939; portrait by James Montgomery Flagg

The Town article revealed others aspects of Brinkerhoff and his work ethic.
Although Brinkerhoff works with terrible concentration, starting sometimes at six in the morning, and working with indefatigable zeal until his particular task is completed, he describes the turning out of six comic strips and a Sunday color page each week as “sometimes a worrisome job.”
Nevertheless the job fails to “worry” Brink. An inveterate traveler—he has been all over the world several times, and only recently returned from a long journey through the Orient, —he never permits his traveling to put him behind in his work.
Before starting his Oriental trip he put more than 100 strips in the hands of the syndicate that distributes his comics. This monumental amount of work he had accomplished by doing systematically one extra strip a week for the previous two years. Unlike most comic artists, Brinkerhoff has never been known to be a day late in delivering his drawings or other material.
Bob, who himself is large, able-bodied and a good boxer—though one would never suspect this last from a look at his cherubic countenance—is a lover of the great outdoors. He owns an island—“Brinkerhoff Island”—in Lake Meddybemps, Maine. And Brink says the whole island is cluttered up with beautiful nieces.
One of the most amazing characteristics of the man—amazing because he is a startling exception in this respect to the average run of comic artists—is his passion for doing work.
Once a literary agent suggested that he do a book of fairy tales. In four days the twelve stories were completed. In three more the illustrations were turned in—a good sized, illustrated book finished in a week. While doing his full stint at drawing Little Mary Mixup, he found time for illustrating, for writing his character into a novel and numerous stories and articles.
But “Little Mary Mixup” has always been Brinkerhoff’s chief interest and for all the favor she has won, it is his prime ambition always to have more and more readers love her as devotedly as he does the work of drawing her.
Brinkherhoff is married. His wife’s name is Edna, but she keeps this a deep, dark secret and since childhood she has been known familiarly as “Pat.” Mr. and Mrs. Brinkerhoff have one son, Robert, Jr., a graduate of Dartmouth and now in the business department of an advertising agency.
Brinkerhoff was listed in a 1953 New York City telephone directory at 50 West 67 Street. At some point, Brinkerhoff boarded a train and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota. A 1957 city directory listed his address as 2310 West 21st Street.

Brinkerhoff passed away February 17, 1958, in Minneapolis. His death was reported the following day in many newspapers including the aforementioned Buffalo Courier Express.

—Alex Jay


Comments: Post a Comment

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Obscurity of the Day: The Burtons

In 1944, Denys Wortman, the highly regarded cartoonist of Everyday Movies, fell ill and was unable to produce his daily panel cartoon. United Feature Syndicate decided to create a new panel as a temporary substitute, and offer it to clients so as not to lose his space. That panel was The Burtons, penned by United Features stalwart R.M. Brinkerhoff. Brink (as he signed this feature) was the creator of Little Mary Mix-Up, a Pulitzer/United Feature strip about a precocious little girl that had been chugging along with a decent but not impressive client list since 1918.

Brinkerhoff probably saw United's offer to create a new panel cartoon as a great chance to try out a more modern, relevant feature. While Little Mary Mix-Up had tried to keep up with the times by introducing continuities and light adventure, it just couldn't seem to break out of seeming old-fashioned. A lot of that had to do with Brinkerhoff''s art, which got the job done but certainly didn't impress anyone.

If The Burtons was Brinkerhoff's attempt to break out of his shell, I guess he needed a bigger hammer to crack that egg. The art was fussy, certainly no better or more stylish than on Little Mary Mix-Up. The subject family of the panel was a cast of tired cliches acting out gags that sound like klunkers Brinkerhoff cribbed from the Fibber McGee and Molly show.

When Wortman recovered enough to come back to the drawing board, he resolved not to push himself too hard, and brought back Everyday Movies at a reduced frequency of three times per week*. United stuck with The Burtons, offering it to Everyday Movies clients to fill out the other three weekdays. Evidently not many papers were impressed with The Burtons, because I cannot find it running anywhere after early March 1945, and I have yet to find a paper that purchased it to run as anything but a substitute for Everyday Movies.

* Wortman seems to have returned on October 21 1944, but some papers ran his panel sporadically for months before then (a mystery I have not yet solved).


Comments: Post a Comment

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Harry Palmer

Harry Samuel Palmer was born in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, on December 26, 1882, according to a family tree at Other records recorded his birth year as 1879 and 1881. The 1880 U.S. Federal Census recorded his parents, Don and Ida, and brother, Homer, in Mt. Vernon. His father was a “grocers clerk”. In 1895, Palmer was in the seventh grade.

In the 1900 census, Palmer’s mother was a widow. Palmer, his mother and brother, Charles, resided in Mt. Vernon at 300 13th Street. Palmer was a student and his birth year was recorded as 1881.

The Miami Daily News (Florida), August 18, 1955, said Palmer “studied art in Chicago, New York, Munich, Germany and Paris”. He illustrated news dispatches of the Spanish-American War, and “during the Boxer Rebellion he went to China to sketch the action there.”

A 1903 Memphis, Tennessee city directory listed Palmer at 59 Madison Street and his occupation as artist at the Commercial Appeal newspaper. In 1904, Palmer was in Denver, Colorado at 133 Grant Avenue and a Denver Post artist.

The book, New Mexico Territorial Era Caricatures (2014), mentioned the Las Vegas Daily Optic newspaper which published Palmer’s work. The February 12, 1906 issue said: “Mr. H.S. Palmer, the celebrated cartoonist and newspaper illustrator, late of the New York Journal and Pittsburg Press.”

It’s not clear if Palmer resided in Rock Island, Illinois in 1906. He produced a number of drawings, for the front page of the Rock Island Argus, under the title “Pen Pictures of Prominent People”. They appeared from September 8 to November 17, 1906.

Rock Island Argus 10/13/1906

Portland, Oregon was Palmer’s home in 1907. He was a cartoonist with the Telegram and resided at 415 Yamhill. New Mexico Territorial Era Caricatures said Palmer was in Boise, Idaho, to cover the sensational murder trial of William Haywood, in May 1907.

The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon) noted Palmer’s whereabouts on October 17, 1909: “Mr. and Mrs. Harry S. Palmer, of Seattle, who have been the guests of Mrs. Palmer’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. R.J. Campbell, left on Monday for New York, where they will reside.”

According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), Palmer’s first strip was He Just Couldn’t Help It, which ran twice in early November 1909. It was followed by Babbling Bess on November 11 and ended April 6, 1912. A third strip, Twas Ever Thus, ran from January 22, 1910 to April 8, 1911. All the strips appeared the New York World.

A follow-up article appeared in the April 24, 1910 Oregonian

Mr. and Mrs. Harry S. Palmer have returned after a year in New York, and are with Mrs. Palmer’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. R.J. Campbell. When in the East, Mr. Palmer connected with the New York World, doing illustrations and cartoons. Best known, perhaps, are the Babbling Bess series.
In the 1910 census Palmer and Lillian lived with her parents in Portland at 390 Clay Street. His occupation was newspaper cartoonist. At some point, Palmer returned to New York. The 1915 New York State Census listed Palmer, his wife, son, James, and mother in Manhattan, New York City on West 107 Street.

The New York Dramatic Mirror, August 5, 1914, reported Palmer’s move into animation.

Humorist with Horsley 
Harry Palmer, Newspaper Cartoonist, to Supply Material for One-Reel Comedies
Mr. Harry Palmer, author of “Babbling Bess,” the daily newspaper serial comics, has been placed under contract to David Horsley and commenced work for the Centaur Film Company this week. Mr. Palmer will make his headquarters at the Bayonne studio.
Arrangements have already been made through New York daily in which the drawings originally appeared to resume their publication in its columns and to have them appear simultaneously in fifty-one of the leading newspapers throughout the United States and Canada.
This is the first step in Mr. Horsley’s plan, recently announced, to produce seven one-reel comedies a week, and the only case on record of a prominent newspaper humorist conducting his entire campaign from a motion picture studio.
The film company had other plans for Palmer as reported in the New York Tribune, August 31, 1914:
War Artist for Films 
American Sent to Europe to Sketch Siege of Liege.
To act as war artist for an American moving picture concern, Harry Palmer, cartoonist and war correspondent, is now in Europe. He left here some time ago for Liege, and his first work for the Centaur Film Company is to be called “The Siege of Liege.” He will make 16,000 separate pen and ink sketches for each picture.
As soon as this picture is completed Mr. Palmer’s contract calls for his appearance at whatever big engagement is then in progress. He represented a syndicate of American newspapers during the Boxer uprising, and in the Spanish-American War did work for a number of magazines, and made a reputation for “getting his stuff home.”
The New York Clipper, October 31, 1914, reported what happened to Palmer’s project.
War Negative Stolen.
David Horsley is very much exercised over the loss of the original drawings and working positive of “The Siege of Liege,” which were stolen from the Centaur studios on Tuesday night Mr. Horsley expected to cause a sensation in the trade with the release of this picture. 
“The Siege of Liege” was in one reel, and is said to have been the only absolutely authentic picture of the European War thus far produced or received In America.
Mr. Horsley’s regret at the loss of this picture is heightened by the fact that Harry Palmer, the world famous cartoonist and war correspondent, who conceived and carried out the project, is now on his way back from Belgium, and is due to arrive in New York on Saturday.
Mr. Palmer made the original sketches—about twelve thousand of them—on and near the battle ground before Liege and Brussels—risking his life many times in the working out of his scenario. The sketches arrived at Bayonne early last week and were immediately photographed by a new process of Mr. Horsley’s invention, which was given its first practical application on this work.
Mr. Horsley was elated over the results and was counting heavily on the picture for one of his early releases. The negative, which was about 1,100 feet in length, and 1,000 feet of unassembled positive, the only print that had been made, had not been returned to the modern safety film vaults in the main building of the Centaur plant, where prints are customarily stored and guarded during the night, but bad been left in a new building which Mr. Horsley had built and equipped especially for the photographing of these pictures and similar ones to follow.
The Police Departments of Bayonne and Jersey City were notified of the robbery, and detectives were at once set to work in an endeavor to locate the missing film, while a liberal reward for its return, and no questions asked, has been offered by Mr. Horsley.
The Billboard, December 19, 1914, published the release date, December 31, for The Siege of Liege, and labeled it a comedy. The Internet Movie Database said the film premiered December 31, 1914. A review of the film has not been found.

Bennington Evening Banner 2/18/1915

The New York Dramatic Mirror, September 8, 1915, noted Palmer’s next project.
“Keeping Up With the Joneses,” a syndicated cartoon feature that is appearing in newspapers throughout the country, is to be animated and released by the Gaumont Company through the Mutual programme. “Pop” is the cartoonist responsible for the original series, while Harry Palmer, well known in both the screen and newspaper fields, will “animate” the characters.
John Bray filed a patent infringement suit against Palmer but later withdrew it. The New York Dramatic Mirror covered the withdrawal on November 20, 1915.
Judge Thomas, in the United States District Court, last week permitted john Bray, the well-known screen cartoonist, to with draw his suit against Harry Palmer, claiming infringement of the former’s patents on the process of making animated cartoons. The defendant’s attorneys protested the action of withdrawing the suit, and have given notice that an appeal will be taken to the higher courts. Winsor McCay and J. Stuart Blackton were among the prominent witnesses Mr. Palmer was prepared to put on the stand in his behalf had the case gone to trial. The costs of the case were assessed against the plaintiff.
The Moving Picture World, March 11, 1916, reported what followed the Joneses series. 
Returning to the cartoon idea which he was the first to present upon the screen, Harry Palmer will now devote the entire time of his Gaumont staff to the making of animated cartoons which are humorous reflections upon the news of the day. This will replace “Keepin’ Up with the Joneses” upon the split-reel with Gaumont’s “See America First” series, a Mutual Weekly release.
The first of the new series was released by Mutual February 27. The work upon them is progressing rapidly at the Gaumont studios. Flushing. An outline of the pictures for the first release will give an idea of the series in general. First on the screen will be that target of all cartoonists, Theodore Roosevelt. He is shown throwing his hat into the ring and laying about valiantly with his Big Stick. Then, of course, there must be reference to President Wilson’s habit of note writing, all in a spirit of lightness and not at all with political bias. William Jennings Bryan is not forgotten. The series closes with some cartoons upon preparedness.

Binghamton Press 4/25/1916

The Moving Picture World, July 22, 1916, published “The Place of the Animated Cartoon” by Palmer.
The animated cartoon is an integral part of any motion picture program, whether the exhibitor places his main dependence upon a five-reel feature or upon pictures shorter in length. It is the exhibitor’s aim to provide variety. The cartoon is the farthest remove from the photoplay in method of depiction, and as such comes as a psychological shock to the spectator. His interest is not only arrested for the animated film, but it is also stimulated for what follows. 
In the old days of melodrama the playwright would always put in an Irishman or a Chinaman who was known as “comic relief.” He has been denied comedy in writing features for the screen, and must now provide comedy as a separate entertainment. In pictures comedy now has three divisions, each important: there is polite comedy into which Miss Mabel Normand is being graduated, slap-stick comedy, such as is given in its best form by Charles Chaplin, and animated pictures. 
The first and second forms of comedy may not both appeal in the same house. There are neighborhood theaters which prefer genteel comedy, and others which have the risibilities of its patrons aroused only by the slap-stick and the seltzer bottle. It is interesting to note that both classes of houses welcome the animated pictures. This is due to the fact that spectators more readily accept the animated picture convention, recognizing that they are not asked to give the cartoon the same credence they do the comedy. Their surrender to the “make-believe” is easier. 
The best place on the program for an animated reel is right after the big feature. This may be a five-reel picture or a three-reel picture. Whichever it is, it is usually of a tense nature. Spectators wish to relax after it is over, and—as was explained in showing how the animated picture appeals to the greatest number of spectators—the greater relaxation for the greatest number is secured by showing an animated picture. 
Events of national importance, the coming election, the Mexican situation, and general preparedness, afford such striking subjects for caricature that the cartoonist now makes his happiest hits depicting such events in a gently satirical vein. The ideas are grasped immediately by every one. For these reasons the animated cartoon should have a place on every program.
The Daily Colonist (Victoria, British Columbia), October 22, 1916, printed this factoid: “Harry Palmer, the famous cartoonist of Gaumont-Mutual studios, draws with his left hand.”

Eventually, Palmer went in to business for himself as the New York Dramatic Mirror reported June 16, 1917.

Harry Palmer, the well-known cartoonist, has left the Gaumont Company and the Mutual program, and will produce cartoons under the name of Harry Palmer. Incorporated, which will be released at the rate of one cartoon per week through the Educational Film Corporation of America, beginning June 25. Mr. Palmer was one of the pioneers of animated cartoons, and probably has produced more cartoons for the screen than any other cartoonist. His screen under the General, Kriterion, Paramount and Mutual programs.
Palmer signed his World War I draft card September 12, 1918. His address was 601 West 144th Street in Manhattan. The card said his birth year was 1879 which was incorrect. The line for occupation said: “Cartoonist on New York Newspapers; 110 West 42nd Street, New York”. His description was medium height and build with brown eyes and hair.

The Commercial Register 1919–1920 had this entry: “Palmer Harry S., 601 W. 144th. Cartoonist, Gr. Cent. Ter. [Grand Central Terminal]” Palmer has not yet been found in the 1920 and 1930 censuses.

For the newspaper, The Wave (Rockaway, New York), Palmer drew 21 portraits for the series, “Believers in the Rockaways”, which ran from June 30 to November 25, 1932.


The Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index, at, said Palmer married “Unice Ross” on May 17, 1934.

The 1940 census recorded Palmer, wife, Martha, and children, Don and Patricia, in Daytona Beach, Florida, at 615 South Atlantic Avenue. In 1935 they resided in Miami. Palmer was an “artist cartoonist” who earned $1,500 in 1939. His education included two years of college. A third child, Bette, was listed in the 1945 Florida State Census.

Palmer passed away August 17, 1955, in Miami. His death was reported the next day in the Miami Daily News.

—Alex Jay


Comments: Post a Comment

Monday, November 10, 2014


Obscurity of the Day: Twas Ever Thus

I'm not sure why Harry Palmer named this strip Twas Ever Thus, a phrase that usually signals a look at the common annoyances of life. A feature like They'll Do It Every Time or There Oughta Be a Law would seem to be in order, but what we get is a strip about a love-crazed kid who will do anything for his gorgeous girl, Darling. Well, anything that will land him in hot water, anyway.

Darling, who you can bet has a list of beaus a mile long on her dance card, plays along with our boy's badly planned schemes. She's out for whatever she can get in the here and now. If he wants to hatch schemes and play the bigshot, that's fine with her as long as he comes across with the occasional fancy dinner and extravagant gift. Who can blame her? Soon enough, in 1910s America, she'll be a harried hausfrau, juggling a brood of screaming kids and endless domestic duties. Her looks will swiftly fade, her curves will change to frump, and she may well end up a widow when hubby goes off to fight in the Great War. Good for you Darling, get it while the gettin's good.

Harry Palmer cartooned for the New York Evening World from 1909 to 1912, and then falls off my radar. His main draw is his ability to draw very pretty doll-like girls, and all his strips featured these beauties in abundance. Weekday strip Twas Ever Thus  ran for over a year, from January 22 1910 to April 8 1911.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans!


I think the title is quite apt. Darling leads him a merry chase, but as you suggest, she is leading a bunch that way. He has ideas that aren't completely thought out...The parrot is the smart one in the strip.
Post a Comment

Sunday, November 09, 2014


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


Freelancers have a tough gig. I wasn't built for a career like that.
Post a Comment

Saturday, November 08, 2014


Herriman Saturday

Monday, August 31 1908 -- One week from now, Stanley Ketchel and Billy Papke will fight for the world middleweight championship, right here in li'l ole Los Angeles. The fight will be at Jim Jeffries' boxing club, and Jeffries himself will referee.

The populace of L.A. have, in the words of sportwriter H.M. Walker, "gone fight crazy!" At Ketchel's camp, the entrance gates were literally smashed to pieces under the onslaught of between six and seven thousands fans wanting to see him work out. Papke's camp was similarly thronged, with a reported four thousand spectators.


Comments: Post a Comment

Friday, November 07, 2014


Sci-Friday starring Connie

In one of the less satisfying story conclusions ever, it turns out that our protagonists having been running around the arctic like a bunch of drunk penguins to no effect, good or ill, whatsoever. The mad doctor was perfectly capable of blowing himself to smithereens. Reminds me of Petey's Little Neuro comic books.

Connie, May 23 1937, courtesy of Cole Johnson. 
Follow the Connie story every Friday here on Stripper's Guide.


Boy, that Pole trip is VERY quick!!!
There is a Flash/Green Lantern cross-over where the villian forgets to wear special insulating gloves when he pulls the lever of his infernal machine {SPOILER ALERT)

and it explodes.

Talk about a similar let down!
Zip Zop and we're done. I guess he couldn't let the world go all a kilter.... and have Prof. Borgg killing our Heroes.

So, back home and find a new villain, eh?

Alternate History: the world goes all aslant and Borgg becomes Dictator of the Planet. He returns the World to its old position as Connie agrees to marry him and save the world.
Her father starts work on a new Ultimate Accumulator. The Eskimo's shake their heads, saying "Crazy Americans! Aren't they something!"
Post a Comment

Thursday, November 06, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Clark S. Haas

Clark Schiller Haas Jr. was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on July 21, 1919; His birth date is from the California Death Index at In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Haas was the only child of Clark and Mabel. His father was the owner of a suit shop. The family lived in Omaha at 135 North 34th Street.

The 1930 census recorded Haas in Omaha at 1140 Turner Boulevard. His artistic talent was reported in the World-Herald (Omaha, Nebraska), September 2, 1934.

Clark S. Haas, jr., 15, son of Mr. and Mrs. Clark S. Haas, South Turner boulevard, is attaining fame as a cartoonist, though he has had no training along this line.
Last week when Arthur B. Dunbar, president of the Nebraska Association of Insurance agents, entertained officers of the association at an informal stag dinner at his home [and] much of the success of the dinner was due to Clark, jr.’s efforts.
…Clark, jr., with just a gift for cartooning reproduced each to the life, although he knew not a one of them, from information gained a bit at a time from Mrs. Dunbar.
Haas attended Central High School and, in the 1937 yearbook, he was in the Cadet Officers’ Club as Second Lieutenant of Company E.

According to the 1940 census, Haas continued to live with his parents in Omaha at the same address. Haas’s occupation was artist. The 1940 and 1941 Omaha city directories said he was an artist with “WPCo.”

The World-Herald, February 11, 1944, reported Haas’s recovery, from an unnamed illness, in Florida: “Mrs. Clark S. Haas and her son, Clark S. Haas, jr., will stay another two months at Hollywood, Fla….Mr. Haas, jr., who has been ill for the last year, is rapidly recovering, goes swimming every day and spends considerable time on the beaches.”

On May 22, 1944, Haas married Hilda Christianson in Omaha. The next day, the World-Herald said: “…Mr. and Mrs. Haas have gone to Texas where Mr. Haas will resume his position as flight instructor for the army at Garner field near Uvalde…”

The 1947 Clearwater, Florida, city directory, listed Haas as a cartoonist residing at 1160 1/2 Grove.

In American Newspaper Comics (2012), Albert Becattini said Haas ghosted the Tim Tyler’s Luck dailies from November 5, 1945 to August 30, 1947, and the Sundays from January 13, 1946 to August 24, 1947. Haas produced the weekly strip, Sunnyside, for the Western Newspaper Union syndicate, from May 6, 1948 to March 29, 1952.

Who’s Who of American Comics Books said Haas contributed material to comic book companies in the early 1950s.

In 1959 Haas moved in the animation field starting with Clutch Cargo, which was produced by his company, Cambria Studios, in Los Angeles, California. Haas continued his work with Hanna-Barbera.

Haas passed away January 18, 1978, in Los Angeles.

—Alex Jay


No love for Scott McLoud.....Space Angel....or Captain Fathom? Don't forget ( no matter how hard you try to suppress it) cambria is also responsible for The (Brrrrr) New three Stooges
Hi there.

Additional information about Haas can be found in a post I did on him on my blog last year.

Post a Comment

Wednesday, November 05, 2014


Obscurity of the Day: Sunnyside

Here's the delightful strip Sunnyside by Clark Haas, who later went on to have the dubious distinction of helping to create one of the creepiest limited-animation TV series of all time, Clutch Cargo. I'm sure the show has its fans, but those disembodied lips make my skin crawl.

But let's get back to the strip. Sunnyside was created by Haas for Western Newspaper Union (obviously not Wheeler-Nicholson, which had been out of business for decades, despite the claim of the Wikipedia entry for Haas). WNU specialized in servicing rural weekly newspapers with a full slate of features, including a whole page of comic strips. Sunnyside was added to the line-up on May 6 1948 and ran until the demise of the syndicate itself, on March 29 1952.

As was the case with most of WNU's comic features, Sunnyside was quite well done. Placing the action in a diner affords Haas with a million gag opportunities which don't require continuing stories or a large cast, which are weaknesses for a weekly strip. Although there wasn't much about the strip to create a devoted fanbase, I'm sure the readers of the Cowpie City Discus-Thrower thoroughly enjoyed the strip.

By the way, you may notice that the strips above all have an unnecessary panel after the final story panel. This was WNU's way of allowing for different newspaper column widths, a nice nod to those rural client papers who did not necessarily keep up with the times regarding industry standards. A client paper could clip the extra column off, or use it to fill a gap depending on their paper's setup. What I find charming is that while some WNU strips used the same 'fill the gap' panel every week, Haas and some others would go to the extra trouble of drawing a new panel for each strip.


Wasn't Haas a ghost artist for BUZ SAWYER in 1947/57 (Sunday pages)?
I thought it was mostly Schlensker assisting on Buz. Where have you seen citation for Haas (besides wiki, obviously)?

Thanks, Allan
That's my problem and the reason for the question mark: my source is my data archive, but the "real" source I can't remember (and Wiki was never considered).

And, for what I know, Schlensker worked on dailies.

Hello--Do you remember that other bit of non-animation, "SPACE ANGEL"? That "Syncro-vox" sure was ghastly. Did you notice the superimposed mouths are upside-down?
Post a Comment

Tuesday, November 04, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: F.M. Howarth


Franklin Morris Howarth was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 27, 1864, according to the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates Index at In the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, Howarth was the oldest of two sons born to William, a pattern maker from England, and Sarah (Peninger), a Pennsylvania native. They resided in Philadelphia. Childhood photographs of Howarth are here.

According to the 1880 census, Howarth was the oldest of four children. At age 15, he was a clerk, and his father was still a pattern maker. The family lived in Philadelphia at 326 Reed Street. The Geneva Daily Times (New York), September 23, 1908, said Howarth attended Central High School and “was engaged in mercantile business before taking up drawing as a profession.”

Howarth’s cartooning career began in 1884. A profile in Munsey’s, February 1894, told of his early newspaper career.

F. M. Howarth is a young man who is rapidly approaching the heights of fame, largely through the quaintness and individuality of his work. His style is not original, bordering too closely upon the Dutch school, but his adaptation of it to American ideas has proven very acceptable. The greatest fear for his future is that his work may, from its extreme conventionality, in time prove wearisome and cease to please.
Howarth was born in Philadelphia in 1864. He spent a good part of his early life in commercial pursuits, but by the time he had attained his nineteenth birthday he had acquired such a passion, coupled with some talent, for drawing, that he began furnishing comic sketches to the Philadelphia Call and other papers. These soon began to attract attention and yield a small income to the young man, and he was encouraged to abandon his distasteful calling of bookkeeping and devote himself exclusively to the art of comic illustrating. Since then his work has appeared in nearly all the illustrated periodicals and magazines in the country.


The Strand Magazine published a series of articles, “The Humorous Artists of America”, and the May 1902 issue included Howarth:

Peculiarly individual and very popular are the drawings of Mr. F. M. Howarth, who may rightly be called the originator of the “big heads and little bodies” figures, which we mentioned in our last article when dealing with the work of Mr. Sullivant. Mr. Howarth is one of those who have given “serial” pictures a distinct popularity, and hundreds of these series have appeared in the American Press. Mr. Howarth was born in 1864, and while serving as a clerk in a business house drifted into the profession of making jokes and comic pictures. “At first,” he says, “I did work for all the comic papers and the magazines which published comic stuff. My first work of any note was done for Life. In the course of four years I did a great deal for this paper, and it was from this material I gained my reputation. In 1891 I became a member of Puck’s staff of artists and writers, and remained with that paper until July, 1901, when I left to go to the New York World.” Mr. Howarth originates all his own ideas, and, he humorously adds, many of those used by other artists. His style is not particularly original, but it is a very successful adaptation to American ideas of the principles of the Dutch school. If there is a monotony in this style there is no monotony in the ideas, and there is no artist in America who has amused more people so continuously and so consistently as Howarth.
Howarth wrote about his work in the New York Evening World, May 12, 1895:
I have been on earth now for thirty years, excepting a brief time on one occasion, when I was up in a balloon, and have spent most of these years in trying to find the easiest way to make a living. 
After many experiments in different directions I came to the conclusion that being compelled to work, the work that would cause me the least trouble would be the writing of jokes and the drawing of comic pictures. Not that I loved this sort of work more, but that I loved the other kinds less.
Having come to this conclusion, I resolved that in order not to throw the least odium on others in the profession I would endeavor to make my drawings—and if possible the jokes—as different from the ordinary as my ability permitted. To some extent I have succeeded. I don’t know whether I am in receipt of the gratitude of my fellow-mechanics or not. They have never mentioned it.
Another point I made. Time being money, I resolved to save as much of it as possible. Therefore, in drawing my pictures I usually make my representations of the human figure from one-half to one-fourth its correct size. This has not only saved me money as represented by time, but the amount economized in ink and cardboard is beyond belief.
One more thing about my “sawed-off” people. Not being an artist by training (or otherwise), I had to do something to disarm suspicion, hence the little people. Now, no one can say to me, “That neck is too short,” “that arm is too long,” “that foot is entirely too large,” &c., &c. This is a great scheme for a sensitive mind.
I have done my best to keep the personal pronoun out of this article, as I do not in any way want to appear egotistical. I am not.
When I first started to write jokes and draw comic pictures, about eleven years ago, I was quite puffed up (especially when a picture was accepted), but that was knocked out of me in short order. I remember at the outset a very good woman, an old friend of my family, asked me what I was doing for a living. I told her I was making comic pictures. “Comic pictures,” said she; “comic pictures! What do you mean by comic pictures?” “Why,” said I, glowing with pride, “comic pictures are pictures that make fun of people.” Then with a look of horror upon her face and a voice choked with emotion, she spoke as if to the hardened criminals in the prisons she visited every Sunday morning.
“My son,” said she, “and would you like to die whilst in this occupation?” I didn’t want to die at all, but it killed all my egotism. A few other like experiences buried it, and I have never since had cause to resurrect it.
From my pictures of life in Africa some people may have supposed that I have “done” that portion of the globe. I have not. I have never been nearer that country than Lombard Boulevard, Philadelphia. By the way, I must not omit to state that I live in Philadelphia. Most of my New York friends say this is very funny of itself.
In ending I would say that if there are amy who, like my good old friend mentioned above, think that the making of comic pictures and the half-soiling and heeling of new and old jokes is akin to crime. I would like to offer this extenuating circumstance for my being in the profession, viz., my great ambition is to become a millionaire.
A brief profile of Howarth appeared in Unknown Facts About Well-known People (1895).
Howarth, F.M., was born in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1864. Entered business life when fifteen, “got sick of it in five years, and as a means of keeping off starvation commenced to draw comic pictures for the various papers with some sort of success.” Now his laughable and recognizable sketches in Puck are one of the drawing cards of that magazine of fun. “I originate all my own jokes and about 75 per cent of those jokes used under the pictures drawn by the other artists of Puck. As an excuse for my style of drawing, will say that I have never received any art education.” Is a member of the Puck staff in New York City.
Howarth was a “caricaturist for Puck” in the 1900 census. He married Marion in 1886 and they had two daughters, Edna (11) and Irene (5). They lived in Philadelphia at 6642 McCallum Street.

Howarth joined the World staff in July 1901, as advertised in the July 12 issue.

…Yes, Mr. H.M. Howarth, one of the most famous of American comic artists—the man who makes funny little people with big heads—has become a member of the Sunday World staff, and his first work will appear this week, along with that of Reed, Marnier, Ladendorf, Griffin and others.
Many of his World comic strips can be viewed here.

Howarth’s books include Puck’s Domestic Comedies: Pictures in Colors and Black-and-White (Keppler & Schwarzmann, 1894); Funny Folks (E.P. Dutton, 1899); and The Trials of Lulu and Leander (W. & R. Chambers, 1905).

Scan courtesy of Cole Johnson

Howarth passed away September 22, 1908, at his home in Germantown, Philadelphia. The Geneva Daily Times reported his death.

Death of Well Known Cartoonist
Frank M. Howarth Passes Away At Home In Germantown.
Philadelphia, Pa., Sept. 23—Frank M. Howarth, a widely known cartoonist, died yesterday morning at his home, 308 High street, Germantown, a suburb of this city, after suffering two weeks from double pneumonia. He was 44 [sic; he was five days short of turning 44] years old.
During his early newspaper career Mr. Howarth was connected with the “Call” and “Item”, of this city. Recently he had drawn cartoons for the Chicago Tribune and had engaged in humorius [sic] colored syndicate work, his most noted series being those of “Mr. E.Z. Mark, and “Lulu and Leander.”
He was the first artist who ever drew a free hand sketch of the scene of a murder for a newspaper. 
Mr. Howarth was born in this city, and educated at the Central High School. He was engaged in mercantile business before taking up drawing as a profession. He is survived by a widow, who was Miss Marion Lancaster, of this city, and two daughters, Mrs. Frederick C. Hitch and Miss Irene Howarth.
Howarth was buried at Northwood Cemetery in Philadelphia.

—Alex Jay 


Reminds me of the Japanese artwork with the larger heads and eyes. 1901... wow!
Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

Tell me when this blog is updated

what is this?