Thursday, April 10, 2008


Obscurity of the Day: Handy Andy

No less than four different comic strip series have gone by the name Handy Andy, but Ed Goewey's version, subtitled The Man of Good Intentions, wins laurels as the first. It ran in the World Color Printing preprint comic section from July 24 1904 to February 5 1905. It will undoubtedly come as quite a revelation that in no version of the strip was Andy actually handy at all. Boy, those kooky cartoonists do like to pull our legs.

Goewey apparently couldn't find a better gig than World Color. His cartooning work appeared there from 1904-1909, and he never produced a series (that I've found, anyway) for any other concern. Or maybe Ed just loved working for World Color as much as I love reading their loopy, primitive comics sections. Hey, it could happen...


Hello, Allan--World Color Printing was one of the most fun syndicates ever! Geowey wasn't exactly Winsor McCay,(--Did the calf butt H.Andy over the fence in the last panel, or is he backflipping out of the scene?) but was good enough for World Color. Some of their early stuff is akin to cave paintings, but always lively and amusing. Ed Geowey did find gainful employment during and after his WCP stint doing art for LESLIE'S magazine.--Cole Johnson.
Well thank goodness Ed found gainful employment at Leslie's (which, if my recollector is working, wasn't in too hot a shape by this time). My favorite Goewey work is the utterly looney Mooney Miggles, sure to be popping up as an obscurity on this channel one of these days.

When looking at the later "Mooney Miggles" by Jack Rogers, I noticed a comic that may be known to you, but about which I couldn't find any info online. It is an October 1909 comic strip (at least 17 episodes) about a boy's plans to commit suicide: "The Sooicides of Sam". A rather bizarre theme for a comic strip... Any info on this? E.g. the artist?
Replying to myself here: the artist is probably William F. Marriner, a name I found through your blog (July 2009). Meanwhile, I have found that the comic started in July 1909 (the episodes are numbered as "first attempt", "second attempt", ...!), no end date yet.
Hi Fram --
You got it right, Sooicides of Sam is most definitely by Marriner. I had never seen the strip before you mentioned it here, but a search turned up one installment (#24) in the Winnipeg Free Press on 12/17/09. This strip would presumably be from McClure. Their early dailies are much, much rarer than their Sunday sections, so I'm not all that surprised I hadn't seen it. Which paper are you finding it in?

The "Spokane Daily Chronicle", which is almost completely frely available online through Google News Archives, one of the few American newspapers from the early 20th century one can access like that.
The first comic strips start to appear in 1905 (spotchecked), but only in 1909-1910 is there is a serious amount of comic strips. By 1911, most comic strips they publish are well-known classics, but before and between those, there are some more obscure things. I'm slowly going through them...
Hi Fram --
I'd be mighty pleased if you'd keep me posted on what you find there. IMHO the Google news archive interface is ridiculously cumbersome and limiting, so I've been sticking with newspaperarchive which, despite its faults, is by comparison a pleasure to use.

No problem, I'll email them. It may take a while though before you get some results, I'm not the fastest with these things :-)
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