Saturday, April 23, 2011
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, April 22, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: Your History
Your History was a delightful and yet instructive mix of Ripley's-style items and more serious history. The feature began on November 10 1934, with art initially by George L. Lee. Lee wasn't much of an artist, or at least was a bad choice for a feature that depended on realistic illustrations. He doggedly stuck with it, though, until July 31 1937 when the feature went on a long hiatus.
On November 16 1940 the feature returned to the pages of the Courier under the more professional collaborative brush of Samuel Milai. Milai was better able to handle the art chores, though even he was much more at home with more traditional cartooning.
The title of the feature changed to Facts About the Negro in 1962, for unknown reasons (my guess is that the title change signaled that the feature had gone to reprints). Rogers died in 1966, but the feature was carried by the Courier regularly until February 13 1971, and popped up occasionally after that.
Your History is a rarity among black newspaper features in that it was actually published in book form. Rogers self-published quite a few books of his prose work, so it was only natural that he also published Your History in book form as well. The first book, titled Your History, was published in 1940, and Facts About the Negro around 1960 (it carried no publication date).
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: Guiding Lights
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: What American Histories Omit
Writer Nathan Hopkins and cartoonist Leslie M. Rogers produced the weekly feature from March 10 1928 to April 13 1929 for the Defender.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: Did You Know
Our first feature is Did You Know, a panel by that great girlie cartoonist E. Simms Campbell. The circumstances of its debut are interesting. It was one of three features (four if you count a revival of an earlier one that was brought back) that he started in the same April 6 1940 issue of the Amsterdam (NY) News. Campbell essentially seems to have taken on the challenge of producing the bulk of their comics page, with an adventure strip, a humor strip, and an Ollie Harrington-style panel cartoon rounding out the offering. What's even odder is that April 1940 just happens to be the very same month that Campbell's daily Cuties panel began with King Features.
Was Campbell trying to see just how much he could produce? Was he sloughing off a bunch of unsold tryouts to the News? Was the News getting rid of a bunch of old Campbell work they had on file? I dunno, but all four features ended abruptly after eight episodes on May 25 1940.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Regarding the book, I've been asked a lot about the publication date, originally cited on Amazon as November of last year, and apparently pre-ordered by quite a few of you (for which, MUCH thanks!). Yes, the book is still most emphatically a 'go'. The challenge of converting my huge, and somewhat complex, database of comic strip information into printed form has been a greater task than my editor or I expected. However, the vast bulk of those problems have been ironed out and things are looking pretty darn good. The front matter of the book has all been put to bed, and the cross-indexes don't seem to present much of a challenge. Right now we're trying to figure out what we'll do for the book cover, so we're definitely in the home stretch.
Although I don't have a revised publication date from the publisher at this time, I'm going to go out on a limb and take a guess that a late summer or fall release is likely.
Being as how the book has an extremely modest budget, with no budget at all for licensing, the current plan is to feature only public domain material on the cover. However, it sure would be nice to have something on there that the average book-buyer might actually recognize as a newspaper comics character!
Just a suggestion. Love the blog and look forward to the book!
Deforge certainly has a talent, but the problem is that even if the characters are drawn by other hands, we still need licensing clearance for use on the book cover.