Thursday, April 23, 2009

 

E-Mailing the Stripper

I love to hear from you folks! Although I encourage you to post your questions and comments publicly by clicking on the "Post a Comment" option that follows each post on this blog, if there's something you'd rather discuss privately you are welcome to email me at stripper@rtsco.com. To ensure that I get your email and respond, please follow these suggestions:

1. Make Yourself Heard Over The Spam
I receive hundreds of spam emails every day so I'm pretty ruthless about deleting emails that appear to be junk. To optimize your chances of not getting tossed into the trash please include a subject line that will catch my eye. Ideal way to do that is to start your subject line with "Stripper's Guide". I can pretty much guarantee that if your subject line is blank, or something like "Question" or "Hi Stripper" or the like that your email will end up in the virtual circular file.

2. If You Don't Get a Response, Check Your Spam Folder
I generally respond to my email, assuming there's some pertinent question I can answer or to tell you "I dunno" or to thank you for submitted information. Even if I can't answer your question or otherwise don't really have much to say in response to your email, I will likely write back to acknowledge your message. This can take awhile these days; I seem to get farther behind the faster I peddle, if you know what I mean. If you haven't heard from me after, say, a couple weeks, you can assume I did not get your email. Send it again or post it as a comment on the blog. And don't forget to check your spam folder; my response may be lurking in there.

3. Questions I Can't, or Won't, Answer
I get some questions that are beyond my ability or desire to help. Here are some basic categories:

a) I can detect a kid looking for me to write their class paper from a mile away. Not my job, sport.

b) The question that goes something like, "My mom used to have a {insert feature name} strip up on the fridge. The gag was something like {insert vague description}. Can you get me a copy of that strip?" The answer is no. Even if I could figure it out there would be a lot of work involved and you're momentary nirvana of nostalgic joy is insufficient payment for my trouble. If you're really serious about finding that long-lost memento, get on newspaperarchive.com and start searching for yourself.

c) Questions that require expertise on comic books, animation and other cartooning genres. You'll find experts on those other genres lurking about the web, but I'm not the ideal guy to ask. Newspaper comics are my thing.

d) If you have some treasure and want to know how much it's worth don't bother asking me because you won't get an answer. There are very few things in this world that are so unique and rare that you can't get a good idea of their value by checking auction results for similar items on eBay and other sales sites on the web. If, on the other hand, you need a collection appraised for insurance or estate purposes I'll be glad to quote you a fee for that service, but keep in mind that I'm an expert on newspaper comics, not a licensed appraiser. The two are most definitely not the same thing. While I will be more accurate than 99.9% of all licensed appraisers (who know next to nothing about newspaper comics), my opinion may not be of any interest to your insurance company or lawyer.

e) Questions that are answered in my book, "American Newspaper Comics -- An Encyclopedic Reference Guide" will be answered by referring you to that reference.

4. Show and Tell
If you are hoping to have me ID something, please send a good sharp scan of the item in question. Don't bother sending shadowy, blurry, out of focus pictures. If the item is signed, a close-up of the signature is a great bonus. A picture of the reverse of the item can often be surprisingly informative as well. If you are sending pictures that you'd like me to feature on the blog please send minimum 150 dpi scans, and preferably 300 dpi.

5. If You Want To Sell Me Something, Quote a Price
I'm always interested in buying newspaper strips and related ephemera, but don't think you'll con me into doing a free appraisal (see #3d) by asking me to make an offer. It took me awhile to figure out this little scam. Someone writes me asking for an offer on their item, I make one, get no response, and then lo and behold it shows up on eBay, often quoting everything I said about the item and setting my offer as the minimum bid. No more. If you want to sell me something you'll have to quote a price, otherwise no go.

6. A Thank You Is Appreciated
Email has bred a lot of bad manners, and I admit I'm an occasional offender, too. But if I answer a question for you, a simple "thank you" is always appreciated.

Comments:
Been enjoying the blog - Thanks
P.S. If you are ever looking for a topic may I suggest Rick Kane, Space Marshall? Ran across it in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette 1951 and haven't found out too much about it.
 
Hi Tom -
I'd love to, but only have one paltry strip in my collection. Hate to cover an obscurity without some good show-and-tell. I do have some microfilm copies but they're in really bad shape.

--Allan
 
Thank you for the comments and the Herb Roth strip dated October 2006. I knew he had done a comic strip, but never saw one.
 
This blog has been invaluable to me in the rasearch project that I am doing on John Hix. Thanks so much!
If you could, would you respond with a statement of any information you might know about him, even if it is a very small amount? The aforementioned project has an interview requirement and your response will fulfil this nicely. Also, permission to republish the two commics of his which appear on this site in a powerpoint which will appear on my school's website would be much appreciated. If that is to much to ask then thanks anyway, the "interview" will be more help than you could possibley know!

PS I also sent you an E-mail to increase my chances of getting a response. If you respond here then feel free to delete it. Thank you agian in advance!
 
Hi Fielding --
An interview consisting of a single question "tell me everything you know" positions your request under rule 3a above. If you're a serious researcher you should be able to ask specific questions based on the information you have already gathered.

--Allan
 
Thank you for responding. I’m sorry you thought that I was attempting to get you to do my research for me! I was really just trying to fulfill the interview requirement for this project and not knowing how intimately familiar with this particular artist you were and not wanting to take up any more of your time than necessary, I decided to make it brief and open ended. A brief statement of his identity would have been sufficient. But if it will satisfy rule number three I’ll expound on that.

1. How does Hix’s work compare to other artists of the same period both in drawing skill and in quality of content?
2. After Hix died in 1944 Dick Kirby took over the feature for which Hix was best known, “Strange as it Seem.” Kirby was succeeded by Ernest Hix then Elsie Hix and finally Ernest Hix, Jr. To the best of your knowledge what was the affect of these different artists on the feature if any?
3. What are your personal feelings regarding the fact that “Strange as it Seems” is basically a copy of Ripley’s “Believe it or Not” feature? What do you think made Hix’s feature able to compete with such a similar and long running adversary?
4. Are there any other comics besides “Strange as it Seems” for which Hix was responsible that I Should be aware of?

If you would like to help me out with this answer as many or as few of the above questions as you would like. I really can’t thank you enough.

Eternally Grateful,
Fielding
 
Hi Fielding --
Okay, those are questions I can answer.

1. Assuming you mean how does it compare with other Ripley's-type features, I would say that it was better than most. Many such features were real bargain-basement jobs trying to trade off the success of Ripley. While Hix's was no different in that respect, my impression is that Hix was at least seriously interested in the subject of oddities, not just working for a paycheck. The artwork I would have to say is middle-of-the-pack. Ripley's, This Curious World and a few others had better art. Ripley was a real showman, especially on his Sunday pages. Hix didn't quite measure up in that respect. His artwork was functional and not much more.

2. Well, by the 60s the feature had lost most of its clients, so that speaks for itself. However, the people working on it in the 40s and 50s seem to have pleased newspaper editors enough to keep it in plenty of papers (albeit usually a city's #2 paper, since Ripley was usually snapped up by the biggest fish). And SAIS suffered from the slow demise of multi-newspaper cities -- why take Hix if you could have Ripley?

By the way, you're missing a few creators there -- also Doug Heyes and Geoge Jahns. Kirby, Heyes and Jahns were all darn good cartoonists, better than John Hix.

3. See #32 -- multi-newspaper cities are the main reason SAIS did good business. Not to throw stones, but Hix was definitely what you settled for if you couldn't get Ripley. The syndicate may well have offered it cheaper than BION, too, also contributing to the success.

4. John Hix did two short-lived series in 1928 titled O. Henry's Short Stories and Young Frank Merriwell.

Now a question for you. Tell me please about your project and if/where it is to be published.

--Allan
 
Dear Mr. Holtz,
Thank you so much! You're probalbly tired of reading those words but you have no idea how much this helps!
This is a class research project that will be presented in the form of a powerpoint and later posted on my school's website. It's a bit multimedia heavy and information low but that's due mainly to the parameters that were set. I'd prefer not to give you the URL of my school because I'd practically be giving out my address online. But I'd be happy to send you a finished copy of the project if you are interested.

--Fielding
 
Dear Allan, I live in Austalia and have recently been trying to find out about the public domain situation re Buck Rogers Daily and Sunday strips. Australian copyright law has changed recently along the following lines: ‘In general, material that was previously protected for the life of the creator plus 50 years is now protected for life plus 70 years, and material that was previously protected for 50 years from first publication is protected for 70 years from the end of the year of first publication.’... which would put everything before 1939 in the public domain. I'm wondering if you knew off-hand if the Dille family still own complete copyright over all of the Daily and Sunday strips. I note that Hermes Publishers are planning on releasing reprints of just about all the strips. Is that in collaboration with the Dille estate? Perhaps you could point me in the right direction to check it out?
Cheers.
 
Hi Iain --
The new Buck Rogers book has a copyright to the Dille Family Trust.

My opinion on Australian copyright law is utterly worthless, being that I'm neither an Aussie nor a copyright attorney.

Best, Allan
 
Many thanks for your quick response Allan and compliments on a very impressive blog.
 
I have a small handmade booklet with a few newspaper clippings of Good-Night Stories by Max Trell probably from early 1900's. My mother's sister, Earle Rowe Glenn, probably assembled.

Will mail to you if you want. We are disposing of Mother's stuff.

Tom Nash
Roswell GA
 
Hi Tom -
Thanks for the generous offer, but children's text stories are out of my line of research. Suggest you offer it on eBay; there's probably someone who would be interested in it.

Best, Allan
 
Hello, Allan

Found your blog doing some hunting for the post-Kelly Pogo strips and was both excited to see some of the Doyle/Sternecky strips, and a little dismayed (they are NOT Kelly in quality).

Do you know (offhand), how long this revived Pogo ran and if these strips have ever been collected?

Thanks!
 
Hello Industri --
The essay tells exactly how long it ran. Strips were collected in the Fort Mudge Most.

--Allan
 
I have an original/signed Hank Barrow cartoon and would like to see it go to someone who would appreciate it. Let me know how to send you some pictures. Do you know of anyone or company that specializes in this kind of art or would appreciate it? Thanks in advance for your time. Bob
 
Hi Allen,
I recently found a painting by sarge O'neill. On the back it is stamped J.R. "Sarge" O'neill, cartoonist. It also has an address in Miami stamped on the back. Your site is the only site with any of his work mentioned. I'm curious if you can tell me anything about him. The painting is of a home titled "Byrd's Nest". Any info is appreciated. Thank you, Tracey
 
Hi Tracey --
I'm afraid I know nothing about the Sarge other than what little has been posted here on the blog.

--Allan
 
Allan, do you know anything about a cartoon syndicate in Chicago called "Stiles-Banning, Co."? I've got one of their proofs from 1905; they offer political cartoons "on topics of the day."
 
Hi Tony --
No, sorry, that name doesn't set off any bells for me.

--Allan
 
Thanks anyway!
 
Just came across your blog. Maybe you can answer this for me. Why do the early Radio Patrol Sunday strips have a Saturday date in panels?
 
Hi Steve --
Welcome to the blog! Radio Patrol's color comics pages had the NY Journal as their home paper. The Journal published a color 'Sunday' section on Saturday so as not to compete with it's sister paper, the NY American, which ran it's Sunday color comics on, well, Sunday. So that's why some color comics of the mid-1930s have Saturday dates. In 1937 the two papers combined as the Journal-American and that was it for dating color comics on Saturdays.

--Allan
 
Thanks, Alan. But I think you mean 1939. I have many Comic Weekly pages of Radio Patrol. All 30+ 1938 strips have Saturday date. The most recent Saturday I have is May 13, 1939. I have copy of an original art page with Sunday date of September 3, 1939. So switch must have been somewhere in between. Were other strips Saturday dated also?
 
Hi Steve --
No, I meant 1937. What I forgot was that the combined paper (Journal-American) went on to run color comics sections on both Saturday and Sunday for many years thereafter. In my experience most of the strips that ran in the Saturday section no longer used Saturday dates by then (you can imagine it was a bit confusing to other newspapers who bought the features in syndication), but apparently Radio Patrol took a bit longer to get the memo.

Best, Allan
 
Hi! I really enjoy your site, and was hoping for some help in the Batman newspaper strip area. I am looking for strips from the years 1953, 1972-74, and when he appeared in the World's Greatest Superheroes / Superman strip from 12/81 - 1/82... can you help me at all here?

I'd really appreciate it! Thanks and take care,

-S.
 
Hi, Paul Fung was my mother's uncle. I read your post and would like permission to post your blog entry to geni.com, an ancestry data management website like ancestry.com, under Paul Fung's name. His father was a cartoonist too. But your blog was about Paul Fung, Jr, right?

Thanks. Cori Fedyna (corichu@msn.com)
 
Hi Cori --
The posts you are referring to are all about Paul Fung Sr. (note the dates).

--Allan
 
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