Saturday, March 04, 2006
Obscurity of the Day: How Christmas Began
A few days ago we discussed NEA's closed-end strips, of which the most popular were their Christmas specials. Here is a Christmas strip from another syndicate, Associated Press. How Christmas Began was the AP's 1951 entry; they published one every year (or almost every - I haven't found them all ... yet). The art on this one is by Sylvia Sneidman, the story is uncredited.
It may look like Sylvia didn't know how to spot her blacks, but in fact the editorial matter suggests that the kids can have loads of fun coloring the pictures, so that's why everything is done in simple outlines.
This one was a real shorty - it ran from 12/20 - 12/25/1951. Most Christmas strips are on the order of three weeks long.
Friday, March 03, 2006
Obscurity of the Day: Snorky
C.D. Russell's wonderful Pete The Tramp went through a trio of topper strips on its Sunday pages. The first, Pete's Pup, was a dog strip, sort of a canine counterpart to the Mutt And Jeff topper Cicero's Cat. The next was The Topper Twins, my favorite because the name is an in-joke to the industry term 'topper'. For some reason, Russell alternatively called this strip The Tucker Twins. The last topper was Snorky, of which we have a sample today. It started in 1935, and is believed to have run as late as 1939. Getting an end date on these later toppers can be a Herculean task, because fewer and fewer papers printed the toppers as the decade of the 1930s wore on. In fact I have no examples of Snorky later than 1937 in my collection - the 1939 date is based on the strip's listing in the E&P yearbooks.
It is a popular assumption in newspaper strip fan circles that World War II is what killed the toppers. I'll grant you that it was the coup de grace, but toppers were on the wane well before then. 1935 seems to be the last year when toppers are truly ubiquitous, and thereafter many papers started dropping them in favor of half-page versions of the A-list strips. Toppers become decidedly rare as of about 1940, though many cartoonists kept producing them long thereafter. Some later toppers are so rare as to make one wonder if they ever actually ran in any newspaper - the only evidence I've found of some is on original art.
Can anyone supply a definitive end date on Snorky?
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Questions for the Think Tank
Some questions that have me confounded:
* above you see the Blade Winters Sunday for 2/22/53. This was the last installment in the only two papers I've found that ran it this long. But the storyline is obviously in full swing. Does anyone know of later ones? Also regarding Blade Winters, why would the writer change (from Lafe Thomas to Ed Jurist) on the last few weeks of the strip?
* Betty by C.A. Voight. This great pretty girl strip ended on 4/6/1930 after a run of over a decade. When the strip came to a halt it was still in plenty of papers. Then, over six years later, on 11/1/36, the strip reappeared and ran another 7 years. Anyone know why the hiatus?
* Similar question about Mortimer by Crawford Young. After running in 1929-30 it disappeared, then came back in 1935 for one more year. Why?
* Coming into modern times, why did Greg Howard leave the Sally Forth strip in 1998?
* What happened to the TV show spin-off comic strip of The Simpsons? I know it had some sort of one year contract, and since papers dropped it like a hot potato after a few weeks, that 1999-2000 run is very rare. But it was listed in E&P right through 2003. Was there more? Where did it run?
* Has anyone else noticed that Denis LeBrun is no longer credited on Blondie? Wha' hoppen?
* Okay, here's more of a philosophical question. Why is it that for many years (since the 80s I believe) King Features has offered a special service of strips for weekly papers (like The Spats, RFD, Mama's Boyz and Amber Waves), but they've never listed them in Editor & Publisher, never mention them in their advertising, don't feature them on their website? They got cooties, or what?
According to R.C.Harvey's Sept. 18, 2005
e-column Denis Lebrun did the dailies
through August 27, 2005.
John Marshall (an assistant since 2002)
did the Aug. 29 - Sept. 3 dailies.
Jeff Parker (an asistant since 1996)
did the Sept. 5 - Sept. 10 dailies.
[It really wasn't clear if Parker
assisted Marshall and if Marshall
assisted Parker on their runs.]
Then John Marshall has done the
dailies since Sept. 12, 2005.
Lebrun did the Sundays until the big
Sept. 4, 2005 anniversary strip.
Since Sept. 12 John Marshall has been
the Sunday artist.
No word on why Lebrun quit the strip,
but Jeff Parker quit with Lebrun.
It seems Dean Young prefers people to
think he is doing everything and so
not giving Marshall a credit.
Though I can't verify them, my records
show the strip ran as a full page (but
all the examples I saw were reduced)
from Sept. 5, 1999 - Sept. 3, 2000.
[These strips first appeared as part of
The Times (of London) special Saturday
section beginning Jan. 9, 1999.]
The second run, which I have never seen,
supposedly ran May 6, 2001 - Dec. 28,
2003, this was a 1/3 page feature.
Both runs syndicated by UPS.
I need verification of all the above.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Magazine Cover Comics: Babs In Society
Here's another of those great newspaper magazine cover comic strips that I discussed back in this blog entry. Babs In Society is from much earlier, back in the heyday of the form. It started in January 1927, and probably lasted a month or two (unforunately I have just a few examples from the series). This series has both the writing and art credited to Virginia Huget, who, as I mentioned before, was one of the more prolific creators of these special strips.
Can anyone supply definite running dates to this series?
Labels: Magazine Cover Comics
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Obscurity of the Day: Joco And Jack
Anyway, today we have one of their earlier efforts. Joco And Jack started, as best I can tell from cross-referencing partial Sunday sections, on July 10, 1904. It was drawn by H.C. Greening. This seems to be the only installment he did, as the next known example is from July 24th, and the mantle has been passed to Ed Goewey. Goewey created new episodes on a semi-regular basis until September 11th. Then, on October 2nd we get another artist change, this time to someone signing themselves something like 'Jarrant'. The signature is all but illegible and I could be way off on that name. Goewey returns on November 13th, and the last known episode of the strip runs on December 25th.
Our sample today is the first installment from July 10th.
I read recently which gave the date of
1902 as the beginning of comic strip
syndication in newspapers, saying 1902 was when Hearst started leasing his comics to other papers. I believe you
said WCP began preprinting Sunday
sections around this time. Do you think
the 1902 date for comics syndication is
correct? What about McClure? others?
Actually, WCP and McClure both began syndicating their material in 1901. The earliest syndication of Sunday comics material that I've found is all the way back in 1898, when the NY Herald began syndicating their Sundays to the Philadelphia Inquirer (and perhaps others).
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Obscurity of the Day: Generals Who Became President
These specials had their heyday in the 40s and 50s, when NEA was issuing them quite often, as much as three or four per year. Here we see the first episode of Generals Who Became President, a graphical history of, well, what the title says. This was a particularly short series, running just seven episodes from 1/12 - 1/19/1953. Most such special offerings lasted 2-4 weeks. This series was timed to run the week before the presidential inauguration of one Dwight Eisenhower. Art was by Ed Kudlaty, story by Ray Ellis.
Surprisingly enough, many subscribing papers did not run these specials, making them very tough to document for Stripper's Guide. Ironically, the newer ones are the toughest to find. Even the otherwise excellent NEA archives housed at Ohio State University's Cartoon Research Library has few of these special strips represented.
I'm sure eveyone reading the blog would love for you to share some info about your granddad. According to my records he contributed the art on just three of these closed-end strips. What other work was he doing at NEA, and did he do cartooning elsewhere as well?
from what i gather he did a little bit of everything during his time with NEA. always doing his own art on his own time.
in addition he had a portrait of pope pius XII that was the cover of time/newsweek(cant remember which). i believe it was in 58. after the closing of the cleveland nea branch and subsequent early retirement he continued with watercolors (think french impressionist stye), oils and woodcarving until his death in 2007 at the age of 91.