Saturday, April 12, 2008

 

Herriman Saturday






Herriman continues to pummel the LA Gas situation with editorial cartoons on January 27, 29, 30 and February 1 above. His only other cartoon is a second on the 27th featuring caricatures of the local automobile dealers at the car show. Not much explanation needed, but I will comment that you should take a good look at that cartoon from the 30th -- it's a beauty!

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Friday, April 11, 2008

 

Stripper's Guide Bookshelf: Stay Tooned Magazine

I think it's safe to say that most regular readers of this blog were fans of Jud Hurd's Cartoonist Profiles magazine. The venerable CP was laid to rest along with its founder, and both he and his magazine are sorely missed. But now we may have a worthy successor in Stay Tooned. Editor John Read is unabashed in voicing his desire to take up Hurd's mantle, and if this first issue is an indicator of what's to come Jud Hurd would definitely approve.

Read is following the Cartoonist Profiles model very closely, and where he strays he usually improves. The layouts in CP often resembled a pasted up scrapbook, whereas Stay Tooned has a slicker, more professional look. The samples of cartoonists' work, which in CP were sometimes limited to clippings from a cartoonist's standard portfolio or syndicate sales book, are more thoughtfully chosen here. Stay Tooned is what I believe Jud Hurd would be publishing today if he were technologically adept and full of youthful exuberance .

Just like a typical issue of CP, the selection of subjects for this first issue make for a nice grab-bag -- something for every interest. Some familiar names are interviewees, like Marcus Hamilton (Dennis the Menace), Scott Stantis (Prickly City) and Steve Kelley (New Orleans Times-Picayune editorial cartoonist). But then we also get John Deaton, a cartoonist and graphic designer who runs a sign shop in a small town, and Rob Corley, an animator who started his own business when Disney shut down the animation unit where he worked. Both these gents have some very interesting insights to share. Jud Hurd 's magazine was squarely aimed at aspiring cartoonists, and he recognized that not everyone is going to be the next Charles Schulz -- articles about the less glitzy cartooning disciplines were an important part of his magazine and Read evidently shares his philosophy. Aspiring cartoonists take note that there is more to cartooning than sending off submissions to King, United and Universal.

Each article is adorned with lots of examples of the artists' work -- especially welcome are the many roughs and pencil sketches, something we didn't see nearly enough of in CP. The interview questions, while by necessity somewhat formulaic (how did you get your start, what are your materials and methods), are knowledgeable -- I enjoyed the variety of answers Read gets to one of his standard questions, "who was the first pro cartoonist you met?" Of course there's a column by the great R.C. Harvey, who must be juicing to keep those typing fingers clattering away at such a pace. There's also some fun quickie items including a rant about beginner cartoonists from Daryl Cagle and a hilarious e-mail exchange submitted by Brad Fitzpatrick.

The magazine does have a few minor bugs that need to be worked out. The margins are so tight that many pages seems like a balloon ready to burst, and an occasional lettering SNAFU has a habitofturningwholesentencesintoonebiglongword. My copy of the first issue had about a half-dozen pages duplicated and out of order. And I blanched to see one of my biggest pet peeves, totally unexpected in a cartooning magazine -- it's Winsor McCay, not McKay!

A pretty big mistake, in my opinion, is the very name of the magazine. When I heard that there was a new magazine coming out called Stay Tooned I paid no attention assuming it was a fanzine about anime or Saturday morning animation. I had no inkling that a magazine with that title might be of interest until I was actually handed a copy and paged through it. I think a more descriptive title could only help sales. And speaking of sales, there's no subscription form in the magazine and no indication of the intended publishing frequency.

If I had my druthers I'd like to see an article in each issue focusing on the history of cartooning. Jud Hurd was pretty good about throwing us a bone in that regard, and it certainly doesn't hurt the aspiring cartoonist for whom the magazine is intended to see some work by great cartoonists of the past. Articles and interviews with syndicate personnel, newspaper editors and such (let's call it the loyal opposition) would also be instructive.

Congratulations John Read on what I hope will be a long-lived and prosperous magazine. You've got one in the can, so only 145 more issues to catch up with ol' Jud -- get cracking!

Subscriptions are available at the Stay Tooned website.

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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...

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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.

--Allan
 
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?

--Allan
 
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.

--Allan
 
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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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

 

News of Yore: Autry Enters the Comic Strip Cowboy Ranks


New Autry Strip Has Cowboys, Spies, Space
By Erwin Knoll, 7/26/52

Anyone who says Western comic strips are fading out—and some syndicate people have been saying just that in recent months —will find folks who strongly dis­agree with him up in the New York offices of general Features Corp. for General has just announced with much bally­hoo a new "Gene Autry" strip to be offered to newspapers this Fall, and executives at the syndicate confidently speak of building the strip into one of the nation's top comic features.

But "Gene Autry" won't rely on a Western story line alone for its audience appeal. In fact, the strip is something of an "all things to all men" proposition. It will feature, besides the cowboy angle, conventional airplanes, jets, rockets, guided missiles and such. The first sequence starts right off with a foreign agent's episode complete with "beautiful mystery girl." Gimlet, a bearded sidekick to the hero, provides comic relief. All sections of the comic strip audience seem to be provided for.

The strip has the magic of the Autry name, of course, and Gen­eral Features expects to benefit from scads of tie-in promotion. Since Autry came to New York with his guitar and a ten-dollar bill 17 years ago, he has made more than 450 phonograph re­cordings with sales of 37,000,000 records; a network radio show has been on the air for 12 years; 32 television stations carry Gene Autry shows, and six full-length motion pictures have been pro­duced this year. The aviation as­pect of the strip will be promoted on the cowboy star's personal ap­pearance tours, for Autry, a World War II veteran of the Air Corps, pilots his own private plane. In addition, the Gene Autry label has about 60 product tie-ins.

The new strip is being pro­duced for General Features by the Whitman Publishing Co., a division of Western Printing and Lithographing. Artist is Tom Cooke, a veteran of comic mag­azines, commercial art and the Marine Corps. A native New Yorker, Cooke now lives in Big Bear, Calif., where many of the Autry television productions are shot on location. Like Autry, Cooke is a qualified aviator. The strip will be written by Phil Evans, whose background includes free-lance writing, movie scripts, comic magazines and other strips.

"Gene Autry" is scheduled for Sept. 8 release as a six-a-week feature in four and five-column size. A Sunday color page is planned.

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Any idea who now owns the copyright for the Gene Autry and Roy Rogers strips? Whitman, which produced them, the stars who licensed their likenesses, or the syndicates that distributed them? Any chance they'd be public domain? Sure would like to see these reprinted, but first step is who holds the rights.
 
while I havent seen any of this 1952-1955 Gene Autry strip, the Gene Autry and Roy Rogers comic books were copyright by the stars (or their companies) - not by Western / whitman.
 
Hi Penn -
I recall that Gene Autry, and most of the other strips trading on actors' names, were copyrighted to the stars. Whitman, General Features and so on were just being granted distribution licenses, while the stars retained copyrights. As I understand it Autry was a pretty shrewd businessman, so his estate probably still owns all the copyrights.

--Allan
 
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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

 

Obscurity of the Day: Carrier-Toons



Ah, the good old days. When newspapers were delivered by kids on bikes, not scruffy looking middle age guys in beat up Ford Granadas.

I was a newspaper carrier when I was a kid. Carried the Rive Sud La Presse, a freebie French language paper. That put me at the lowest rung on the carrier ladder of success. The luckier kids had Montreal Star routes. They got to tote cool yellow canvas bags emblazoned with the paper's logo and they made collections that sometimes included tips! On the other hand the Sunday Star was such a monster those kids walked around like little Quasimodos at school on Monday.

My route was only once a week, Thursday afternoons. But it was 250 papers and it took hours and hours of lugging papers to complete my route. I finally subcontracted half the route to another neighborhood kid. After a few weeks of that the circulation manager started getting a lot of complaints from people on my route and I got fired. Turned out the kid I subcontracted to was picking up his half of the papers and then just dumping them all in a field. I don't think the little fink delivered one single paper.

That's as close as I ever got to being in the newspaper biz.

But I digress ... Carrier-Toons was syndicated from the last Sunday of 1978 until May 27 1984, and it was really just a comic strip advertisement promising kids lifestyles of the rich and famous if they became newspaper carriers. The strip was a fixture on the back page of many Sunday funnies sections.

Carrier-Toons was by Chick Evans, an editorial cartoonist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The Times-Dispatch syndicated the strip themselves for about 8 months, after which distribution was taken over by United Feature Syndicate.

The samples above are kind of amusing. I forget now which paper I scanned them from, but of course I'd be able to tell if the paper had bothered to put their address on the little cut-out coupons kids were supposed to mail in. Swift work there guys! I can just see the circulation people at that paper sitting around wondering why no kids are applying for carrier duty. "Geez, these kids today are lazy. We go to the expense of printing a fancy comic strip ad every week and we get no response -- none at all!"

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Carrier-toons was usually at the bottom of a sunday comic section's cover page, where earlier in the seventies the ubiquitous Wrigley's gum ads called Fun Facts had been.
 
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Monday, April 07, 2008

 

News of Yore: Comic Strip Reporter Outclasses Today's 4th Estate

Comic Strip Fights Free Press Battle
(E&P, 7/19/52)
An effective example of how a feature syndicate can cement re­lations with editors along the cir­cuit and, incidentally, deal a blow for freedom of information is offered these days by the Register and Tribune Syndicate. And the medium for this good fight is not the political pundit's column but the lowly comic strip.

A story sequence launched June 30 in the "Jane Arden" strip and now fully under way describes the efforts of the comics' perennial girl reporter to obtain access to the public records of a corrupt municipal administration.

Miss Arden sounds for all the world like a censorship-beleag­uered editor. When Parks Com­missioner Otto Grabbe tells her that "we can't open up our rec­ords just to satisfy somebody's curiosity—the details of our pay­roll are our business," the comic strip heroine replies: "But I'm not just somebody! I'm a reporter! And those are public records . . . They involve tax money! The people have a right to know . . ."

Comments James S. Pope, ex­ecutive editor of the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal and Times and chairman of the American Society of Newspaper Editors' freedom of information commit­tee: "I'm delighted to see Jane Arden working for my commit­tee."

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

 

Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


Order Jim Ivey's new book Cartoons I Liked at Lulu.com or order direct from Ivey and get the book autographed with a free original sketch.

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Re: Jim's fourth panel:

The absolute deadliest illustration of Jim's point I've seen is an amazing drawing by Homer Davenport of Mark Hanna, the Ohio industrialist and U.S. Senator. He does a "normal" Hanna and then places right by it his standard gross caricature of Hanna, surrounded by examples of how he exaggerates Hanna's neck, eyebrows, hands, &c. The illustration is in "The Ungentlemanly Art," and I'm sure it's on the web somewhere.
 
"...I'm sure it's on the web somewhere."
Scroll down this page:
http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/ARTdavenport.htm

Is it redundant to reiterate that I really enjoy Ivey's work here.
 
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