Saturday, February 26, 2011
Sunday, January 12 1908 -- Herriman serves up a rather involved boxing cartoon to the sports page. Lessee ... Joe Gans recently fought and beat George Memsic in L.A., and then Memsic beat Rudy Unholz, and Battling Nelson was about to fight Jack Clifford, and ... um ... oh heck I give up. Like I said, it's involved. Basically the idea is that Gans is playing puppeteer to the lightweight division in order to choose himself a lucrative bout for the spring.
Herriman's other cartoon appeared as a small vignette in the full page editorial on the cover of the magazine section. The editorial is some ridiculous rambling silliness about Father Time waking up all the slumbering young men in the new year to, I dunno, go out and do great deeds I guess.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, February 25, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: The Adventures of Willie and Bill
The Chicago Tribune's Sunday comic section of the 1910s was a pretty high-class affair. Between Frank King, Penny Ross and Sidney Smith they had some of the brighter lights of the cartooning world gathered together in their pages. One glaring exception was a fellow named Brandt, who had the good sense not to divulge his first name. His artwork was horrendously bad, sticking out like a sore thumb in the Trib's Sunday section. His only contribution (thank goodness) to the section was The Adventures of Willie and Bill. The premise of the strip is that Bill, the poor kid, and Willie, the rich kid, are fellow prankmeisters. Bill is a little more reticent about pulling dangerous stunts than Willie, who is completely out of control. The gag, such as it is, is that Bill usually suffers all the consequences for their escapades.
Miraculously, this awful strip lasted over a year in the Tribune, from December 24 1911 to January 26 1913. I'm left wondering if Brandt was a relative of McCormick or Patterson -- I can think of no other explanation for its longevity. Oh, one noteworthy item -- in the third sample above you'll find a guest appearance by Penny Ross' Mamma's Angel Child.
Thanks to Cole Johnson who provided the scans. He's lucky the scanner didn't break when it saw these!
And that brings to an end Willie Week on the Stripper's Guide blog. The point is that cartoonists in the 1890s-1910s had a fascination for that name. Practically every second kid in the comics of those days was named Willie. I don't exaggerate that I could easily make this Willie Month if I put my mind to it. The habitual use of the name actually causes problems for we indexers. When looking through early material, say before 1905, when series strips were much less ubiquitous, you might have the same artist draw comics featuring a kid named Willie over and over. The question then becomes, "Is it a series?" I can't tell you how many times I've had to put the ol' microfilm reel in reverse gear because of "Willie problems". Is it the same kid or is the cartoonist just enamored with the name? Same problem, to a lesser extent with blacks named Sambo and Rastus. All those names were used as shorthand to indicate types, a prized commodity in an art form where brevity truly is the soul of wit.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: What Willie Got
This particular strip of What Willie Got should by no means be taken as representative of Long's work. The gag falls flat because of a bumbling set-up. I can only guess that Ferd was out late the night before he produced this one. But beggars can't be choosers, and this sample from Cole Johnson's archives is likely the only one I'll ever have from newsprint. The series ran from October 11 to December 16 1909, appearing precisely eighteen times in amongst all the other series he had running.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: Willie Cute
It's really no wonder that there was a movement afoot in the 1900s to ban Sunday newspaper comics when we see productions like Willie Cute. Between it, Buster Brown, the Katzies and their scores of imitators, what parent wouldn't wonder if Junior wasn't getting inspired by his little Sunday paper friends?
Willie Cute ran in the C.J. Hirt copyrighted version of the McClure Sunday section from April 5 1903 to June 17 1906. The strips were re-used in the section as late as 1912.
Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans!
Willie Cute, on the other hand...I'd have clobbered the little @#*&!!, myself (but dat ain't kosher these days;-))
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: Little Willie
Monday, February 21, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: Adventures of Willie White, Bennie Brown and Bobby Black
Although I've assigned the title Adventures of Willie White, Bennie Brown and Bobby Black to the series, that exact title never appeared. The headline-style titles would typically mention some combination of the kids' names but rarely all three in the same week.
PS -- can you find the six hidden objects in the cartoon? I think I did, but I'm not too sure about a couple of them.