Tuesday, March 07, 2006


An Unknown Major Ozone?

According to Patrick McDonnell in his superb biography of George Herriman Krazy Kat - The Comic Art of George Herriman, the great man's first run of Major Ozone's Fresh Air Crusade ran from January 2 1904 until July 10 1904. Reproduced above, however, is a Major Ozone strip that ran on July 17th 1904. Now this could just be a case of the strip running late in this paper, but that would have been an unusual occurrence. Major Ozone ran in the World Color Printing preprint sections, and those sections were all printed and shipped out to subscribing papers at the same time.

Unfortunately, my source for this tearsheet saw fit to cut up the section to sell individual strips. Because of that I have a half-page with no masthead, and so don't know what paper this strip ran in. Not knowing what paper ran it, I have no way of doing additional research to find out if said paper was running their WCP sections late. Sigh.

So do we have an additional Herriman Sunday not uncovered by McDonnell (who I'm guessing used the St. Louis Star as his source, where it did indeed stop on July 10), or not? No way to know, unless someone has the complete run to check against.

Extra Credit Question: I considered explaining the reference in the final panel of Major Ozone, but what fun would that be? Huzzahs and felicitations to the first reader to explain the reference to 'Fitz'.

Fitz = boxer Bob Fitzsimmons,
aka Speckled Bob
aka The Freckled Wonder.


You are absolutely correct DD! A true student of history you are.
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Monday, March 06, 2006


Obscurity of the Day: The Duke and the Duchess

Here's another one of the New York Herald-Tribune's filler strips, a phenomenon we discussed back on this post. The interesting thing about The Duke And The Duchess is that it was one of very few fillers done by cartoonists who also did 'regular' strips for the paper.

Kin Platt did this feature from 4/20/1952 until 4/18/1954, in addition to his art duties on Mister And Mrs. Of course, The Duke And The Duchess, like all the Herald-Tribune filler strips, ran on an occasional basis, so it was no great extra expenditure of artistic energy to dash one of these off every once in a while.


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Sunday, March 05, 2006


Obscurity of the Day: Gopher Tales

Here's one of those locally produced features that take a Believe It Or Not approach to local history. Gopher Tales by Blake Haddon started in October 1935 and ran until at least 1937 (perhaps much longer). All my samples are from Minneapolis Tribune. It is unclear whether Haddon was producing it for that paper alone or if he was a freelancer trying to syndicate it to other Minnesota papers.


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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.


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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?


I will post in my blog,one page of this "Snorky" cartoon, very soon...be patience..ok?...thanks for the info
I believe that is from 1938...
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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?

Ed Jurist is a real person, but a writer - on the staff at Timely in the late 40s, wrote Batman per his daughter, switched to TV in the 50s - his daughter (Libby Titus) made some records in the 70s - one of which sold well
Dadblame it, your right Stephen. I misread my notes. Ed Jurist is credited as writer on the final weeks of the strip (replacing one Lafe Thomas). Even curiouser, I say. Why bring in a new writer just as you're killing the strip?
re: Denis Lebrun -
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.

re: The Simpsons -
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.

Hey, DD, thanks for the Blondie info. I went and found Harv's essay on the matter. Problem with that guy is that he writes faster than I can read. I'd forgive him if he didn't write so damn well, too....

Re: Blade Winters: I have Ed Jurist as a signed writer on the 1952-12-38 Sunday, so it may have been a case of late acknowledgement by the paper.
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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?


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