Friday, April 29, 2011


Mystery Strip: Marge by Russell Cole

Looking for help on this one, folks. Just received a pile of newspaper clippings. The collection focused on sports, but there were some rare strips that came along for the ride. This one above, though, I can't ID. This strip was printed in a tabloid size rotogravure section in either late September or early October 1929.

The page gives no indication of the newspaper, but most of the collection comes from New York papers, so I'm betting it's from the Evening Graphic, the Daily News or the Mirror. Many of the roto photos are credited to P & A Photos, but that doesn't help me any.

The signature is covered with bandage tape (the whole page is edged with the stuff) but with the aid of a bright light and magnifying glass I managed to determine it is by Russell Cole. I lose track of him after 1926, though, when he was doing a feature for Editors Syndicate.

So can anyone ID the newspaper and, even better, confirm that this was a series, not a one-shot? Comics rarely ran in rotogravure sections, so this one is quite the oddball.


Hello, Allan----My two pennies--The typeface here doesn't match the one used by the Daily News. It does resemble that of the Graphic, however. (The Mirror didn't have a Sunday until 1-8-32.)---Russell Cole Johnson.
Hi Cole --
There were some Graphics clippings in the collection, so it's a distinct possibility. Did the Mirror not do a Saturday roto like the Graphic did?

Somewhere I have a bound volume of Graphics rotos, so I do have a feel for them. They (not surprisingly) featured lots of scantily clad starlets. This roto page, though, is pretty chaste stuff.

From Alex Jay:

Russell Alger Cole was born in Marysville, Kansas on September 18, 1889, according to his World War I draft card. He was the oldest of two children born to John and Mollie, as recorded in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. The family of four was recorded in the 1905 Kansas State Census.

Cole's father passed away before the 1910 census. Cole lived with his mother and sister on Elm Street in Marysville; his occupation was cartoonist. He signed his World War I draft card on June 5, 1917. He lived at 3205 Grand Avenue in Des Moines, Iowa. He gave his occupation as newspaper artist at the Des Moines Register and Tribune. His description was tall, medium build with blue eyes and light brown hair.

Cole has not been found in the 1920 census, but his mother remained in Marysville, Kansas, and his sister, Miriam, was a teacher in Des Moines. The Morning Herald (Gloversville, NY) published, on August 27, 1921, an Associated Press story on the annual Des Moines Printers' Golf tournament. Cole was paired with a writer. The April 1922 Graduate Magazine (University of Kansas) gave his address as 2714 Ingersoll Avenue in Des Moines; he was in the class of 1909. On August 8, 1924, Cole sailed from Montreal, Canada to visit England and Europe. He returned on October 31. According to the passenger list, he lived at 722 18th Street in Des Moines. In the 1925 Iowa State Census, Cole was the head of household which included his mother and sister.

The date of Cole's move to New York City is not known. Beginning in 1936 he worked in the comic book industry; a list of those credits is at the Grand Comics Database, He signed his World War II draft card on April 25, 1942. He resided at 410 Riverside Drive in Manhattan.

Cole passed away on January 27, 1967; he was buried at the Fayetteville National Cemetery in Arkansas.
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