Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Obscurity of the Day: The Alley Kids
Thompson moved to Seattle and produced cartoons for the Seattle Times as early as October 1929; he signed his cartoons, Ben Thompson. In the 1930 census his name was recorded as "Benton F. Thompson"; his occupation was an artist in the newspaper industry. For the Times he and co-writer Robert Edgren did a daily cartoon called, "Listen to This One" from June 1930 to March 1932.
Thompson moved on to comic books in New York. The Comiclopedia (lambiek.net/artists/t/thompson_ben.htm) has samples of his comic book work as well as a brief biography which is based on information at Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928-1999 (www.bailsprojects.com/(S(qtydph45eleqmdihifhwmgu3))/bio.aspx?Name=THOMPSON%2c+BEN). The Grand Comics Database has a detailed list of Thompson's work at www.comics.org/credit/name/ben%20thompson/sort/alpha.
Thompson was married when he enlisted in the Army on May 16, 1942. After the war he returned to comics. Around 1949 he published a 16-page pamphlet, "The Reaper", about Joseph Stalin (comicsdc.blogspot.com/2007/04/reaper-stalin-cartoons-by-benton-f.html). At the bottom of the last page of art is a line that reads: Distributed by Benton F. Thompson Co.
There was a Benton F. Thompson who lived in Connecticut; he and his wife divorced in 1971. Thompson died in San Diego, California on December 14, 1975.
Thompson was inspired by her work; he invented a waterproof wrap-around shoe covering. A PDF of the covering can be downloaded at www.freepatentsonline.com/2432947.html. He received a patent in December 1947.
Thompson's wife died on June 20, 1948. They had a daughter, Patricia.