Friday, July 04, 2008


Obscurity of the Day: Heroes of Democracy

Here's a special obscurity for July 4th. Usually these darn holidays sneak up on me and I'm caught with my pants down running something totally inappropriate. Well, it happened yet again but luckily I just happened to have Heroes of Democracy sitting in the pipeline.

This World War II patriotic strip tells the stories of real American heroes, including that of Arthur Wermuth whose story would only become more and more incredible as the war raged on (visit the link). This daily strip was an oddball, published by Hearst but not syndicated; it apparently only ran in the Hearst-owned papers. The strip ran March 9 to August 29 1942, a period when Americans needed all the heroes they could come by. A 1943 Big Little Book titled Fighting Heroes collected material from the series.

Stookie Allen, the creator of the feature, is a fellow I'd sure like to know more about. From the thirties through the fifties he created mostly fact-based features like this one; he also worked in pulps and comic books producing the same sort of material. Most of his features seemed to tout his name as if he were a celebrity though none of his newspaper work appeared in many papers. Did he have some claim to fame that merited the star billing or was he simply a good self-promoter?

[Edit 3/3/2011 -- Turns out the strip was syndicated, by King Features, and I also now have a later end date, 9/19/42; all info from Wilkes-Barre Record]


After a quick search on Google I stumbled on a page that had some war-time art of Lt. Stookie Allen, gotta be the same guy.
Yes, Lt. Stookie Allen is the same person. At the time he was married to Gladys Parker, well known for her comic strip Mopsy. My father, Col. Robert Erlenkotter, commanded the Engineer Construction Group to which Lt. Allen belonged.
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