Saturday, November 29, 2008

 

Herriman Saturday

After a few days off to recover from his long string of Shriners cartoons, Herriman returns to the Examiner's pages on May 15 1907 with a cartoon commemorating the visit of British boxer Jimmy Lowes. I'm not sure why this was particularly newsworthy since the info I was able to find online indicated that Lowes only had a few major bouts at least a decade earlier.

The incredible political scandal trial of corrupt kingmaker Abe Ruef has begun in San Francisco, and Herriman on the 16th comments in this cartoon that Ruef could well bring down a whole raft of the bribe-givers. Sadly we'll see little of Herriman's commentary on this trial for awhile as he's about to begin a phase of mainly doing sports cartoons. I do love Herriman's perceptive and funny sports editorials, but the Ruef trial was one wild ride and it would be great fun to have Herriman's commentary throughout.

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Looking through some papers from the time, Lowes was visiting the States as the trainer and manager to Jack Palmer, who was there for a transatlantic bout.

Lowes had been a boxer, (he was the first man to professionally fight Dick Burge, the best English lightweight of his day) but was by this time primarily known as one of the preeminant boxing trainers, managers, and bookmakers in England.
 
Thanks Tad, that makes some sense of the coverage.

--Allan
 
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

 

Obscurity of the Day: Adolph From Hamburg

Here's another Opper obscurity from the files of Cole Johnson. Adolph (From Hamburg) had a real short run from February 18 to March 25 1906. Adolph was a perfectly pleasant, if dim, Teutonic yutz -- apparently Opper thought the concept of a friendly German was sufficiently out of the national character to merit a comic strip series.

The character made one final appearance on April 15, this time sharing a strip with Swinnerton's Little Jimmy.

Going to be out of town a few days, be back this weekend.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

 

Obscurity of the Day: Herr Professor Schuetzenfest

Apparently Cole Johnson considered my flood of Opper overflow posts to be too little of a good thing, because he's sent me some additional Opper obscurities. This first one I was particularly glad to get because for some reason this title, Herr Professor Schuetzenfest, was misspelled and misattributed in my Stripper's Guide index. For some reason I had Gus Dirks doing it.

This very short-lived strip ran from March 10 to June 16 1901, and this example is the last in the series. The professor was hard of hearing and the elementary gags revolved around his handicap. I don't doubt that the professor's name means something in German related to the gags, but the best I can come up with in Yahoo's Babel Fish translation utility is that it means "protect firmly".

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"Protect firmly" is a mistranslation. A Schutzenfest is a big festival celebrating a town's marksmen's association. Not much to do with deafness that I can see -- it's kind of like calling the character "Professor Oktoberfest" -- maybe the joke is that he's a frail intellectual, not a hunter or military type. Seems like a bit of a stretch though.
 
Hello Allan--Just found another HERR PROFESSOR SCHUETZENFEST, for 5-26-01, and it is drawn by Rudolph Dirks, not Gus, or Opper for that matter. ---Cole Johnson.
 
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Monday, November 24, 2008

 

Obscurity of the Day: Little Ah Sid the Chinese Kid

Clarence Rigby, one of the regulars at World Color Printing, penned Little Ah Sid the Chinese Kid, one of the longer running series from that preprint syndicate. Ah Sid was the young Americanized child of native Asian parents. The comedy highlighted the very common problem in those days of immigrant parents dealing with children who felt far more in tune with their new country. However, if by that description you take it that the strip was some profound socially relevant historical document keep in mind that the gags seldom rose above the level of racist slurs against Asians.

Little Ah Sid the Chinese Kid started on March 6 1904 and the inital run ended on November 6 of that year. But Rigby later revived the strip for a longer run at World Color, penning new episodes from October 15 1905 to May 19 1907.

The strip's title was stolen from a popular novelty song of the 1880s. Here are the lyrics. The strip closely mirrored the tenor of the song:

Little Ah Sid was a Chinese Kid,
A cute little cuss you’d declare:
With eyes full of fun
And a nose that begun
Right up at the roots of his hair;
Jolly and fat
Was this frolicsome brat,
As he played thro’ the long summer day,
And braided his cue
As his father used to
In China land, far away.

REFRAIN:
Liya, ling hip, hop, wing,
Chinaman dance and China man sing;
Flip-flop fling, catch um wing,
‘Melican butterfly he sting!

Over the lawn
That Ah Sid played on,
A bumblebee flew in the spring;
“melican butterfly,”
Said he, with winking eye,
“Me catchee and pull of um wing.”
Then with his cap
Did he strike it a rap,
This innocent, gay bumblebee;
He put its remains
In the seat of his jeans,
For a pocket there had this Chinese.

Down on the green
Sat the wee sardine
In style that was strangely demure,
And said with a grin
that was brimful of sin,
“Me washee um butterfly sure!”
Little Ah Sid
He was only a kid,
And you could not expect him to guess
What kind of a bug
He was holding so snug
In folds of his loose-fitting dress.

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An interesting obscurity, but not wildly original based on this example. In both story and art it seems largely interchangable with many other strips of the time. perhaps that's why it had such a short lifespan.

One strip I'd love to know more about is Garrett Price's "Whiteboy". The one example I've seen, in the book 100 years of American nwspaper strips, was a gloriously Impressionistic piece of art that suggests price could have given Sickles and Caniff a run for their money.

Great site by the way, I'm slowly working my way through it.
 
Hi Peter -
Actually, a three year run in the oughts was considered pretty impressive. Seldom did creators stick with a concept that long, since most strips were pretty much one-joke wonders that palled pretty quickly. Not that Ah Sid rose above that level y'unnerstand.

I'll cover Whiteboy one of these days, but I was never as impressed with it as others are. I think it was the coloring that was really fabulous, Price's art was otherwise pretty clunky stuff.

--Allan
 
Peter, if you like to see some WHITEBOY (IN SKULL VALLEY) Sunday pages you can go to
http://www.usscatastrophe.com/kh/glory.html
and judge Garrett Price work by yourself.

---Fortunato
 
Fortunato


Thanks for the heads up. Having looked at more now, I've got to say Allan was right, Whiteboy is something of a disappointment. The two examples on the Lambiek page for Price seem to be his absolute best strip artwork. The examples on USSCatastrophe are interesting but lack the dynamism and skillful design that made the Lambiek pages stand out.

As far as Ah Sid goes. In a world where some strips have now run 30, 40, 50 years and more, three seems unimpressive but rereading 100 years of Amerian Comic Strips I can see it was fairly good run. The strip itself still seems little more than a pale imitation of the Katzenjammer kids recipe though.

Love the Opper stuff though. There was a man who could draw.
 
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Sunday, November 23, 2008

 

Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics



Jim Ivey's new book, Graphic Shorthand, is available from Lulu.com for $19.95 plus shipping, or you can order direct from Ivey for $25 postpaid. Jim Ivey teaches the fundamentals of cartooning in his own inimitable style. The book is 128 pages, coil-bound. Send your order to:

Jim Ivey
5840 Dahlia Dr. #7
Orlando FL 32807

Also still available, Jim Ivey's career retrospective Cartoons I Liked, available on Lulu.com or direct from Jim Ivey for $20 postpaid. When ordered from Ivey direct, either book will include an original Ivey sketch.

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Comments:
The Demgops sounds like it would be full of great opportunities for laughs -- why do you think it failed, Jim?
 
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