Thursday, September 02, 2010


Obscurity of the Day: Peter Pumpkin

Charles M. Payne was one of the most prolific cartoonists of early newspaper comics, so it surprised me to find that I haven't covered any of his work yet here on the blog. Let's correct that omission now with a short-lived entry that he penned for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Peter Pumpkin.

In the 1900s and early teens Payne worked mostly for the Inquirer and the New York World; later he worked for King and then Bell Syndicate. His main claim to fame is his series S'Matter, Pop, which ran from 1911-1940. Payne was able to out-produce his fellow cartoonists by the simple expedient of omitting backgrounds from his panels. His characters usually floated in mid-air and props were kept to a bare minimum. His breezy, sketchy style was both fast to draw and eye-catching in the days when cross-hatching and fussy art were the norm.

Peter Pumpkin,  a pleasant enough series in which a globe-headed smart kid gets bested by the common sense of his companions, ran from July 16 to November 5 1911.

Payne's later life is a rather tragic story, but it will have to wait for some other post, or a helpful commenter, since I've run out of time today -- got to go do real life stuff!


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