Saturday, December 17, 2011
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, December 16, 2011
Ink-Slinger Profile: Eddie Eksergian
Vahan Altiparmak profiled Edward's uncle, Carnig (also spelled Karnig) Eksergian here. Altiparmak's profile has some information about Edward's father, Telemaque, who was a portrait painter. Altiparmak said Carnig learned portrait painting from his older brother. In 1870 when he was 12, Carnig sailed to America, and landed in Boston, Massachusetts where he continued painting. However, a New York Herald article, dated July 8, 1915, said he arrived in the U.S. when he was fourteen. Telemaque and his oldest son, Edward, arrived in Boston four years later, according to Altiparmak. I believe that time frame is incorrect.
Telemaque and Carnig have not been found in the 1880 census. Altiparmak said, "…they worked together for many years painting famous and rich people, portraits that made them famous…." According to a passenger list at Ancestry.com, Telemaque and Edward (listed as Master Eksergian) sailed from Liverpool, England to Boston and landed on July 23, 1883. Edward's age was listed as 11, which made his birth year 1872. The Eksergian brothers advertised their "Studio Days" in the Boston Herald and Boston Daily Advertiser in May 1884.
The Trow's New York City Directory 1891 included Telemaque's son: "Eksergian Edw'd, photographs, 67 Park pl. h 3 E. 14th". Around the age of 18, Edward began his career as a photographer. On August 6, 1891, The New York Herald published this death notice:
Eksergian.—August 5, after a long sickness, Telemaque Eksergian, beloved father of Edward Eksergian. Funeral will take place two P.M. Friday. [August 7]
After the death of their father, the whereabouts and doings of Edward and Joseph were not known until the 1900 census. They were boarding in Brooklyn, New York at a house on Cropsey Avenue near Bay 11th Street, about three miles northwest of Coney Island. They were artists. In 1901, Edward produced comics for the McClure Syndicate, such as A Bunch of Umbrella Jokes. The date of his move to St. Louis, Missouri is not known. In 1902 he was working for World Color Printing and continued there to 1904. One of his strips was Mrs. Knitt.
He was active in the St. Louis Newspaper Artists' Society as reported in The Republic (St. Louis, Missouri) on March 29, 1902.
Messrs. Carlisle Martin, H.B. Martin, George Walters, Benjamin Devine, Edward Marrs, Paul Gregg, Ed Eksergian, A. Block, George McManus Jr., Berthold Widmann, Edward Grinham, C.L. Cadwallander, Henry F. Thode, Dick Wood and T.K Hedrick.
The Republic covered another show on October 5, 1902. (A follow-up article, dated October 19, included portraits of four cartoonists.)
H.B. Martin, Dick Wood, George McManus, Ed Eksergian, S. Carlisle Martin, Berthold Widmann, Paul Fred Berdanier, Edward Grinham, J. Gay Martin, Miss Lina Barclay, Henry Thode, George Walters, Louis E. Donahoe, A. Briscoe, A. Block, George Stick, Miss Anita Moore, F.F. Porter, Max Orthwein, treasurer.
Lambiek Comiclopedia said he did the following comics: Holiday Shopping in Kit-Kat Town(1904), Mr. Tom (1904-1905), Mr. O-Heeza-Knocker (1904), Dreamy Mary (1904), Raphels the Awful Cat (1905) and Vacation News (1905). On some strips, he signed his name as "Ed Eks". In late 1904 he left World Color for employment at St. Louis newspapers. His 1904 St. Louis Dispatch hockey cartoon was reprinted in the book Before the Stars (2004).
In the 1910 census, he was in St. Louis where he resided at the Buckingham Hotel, on North Kings Highway and West Pine Boulevard. He was a newspaper cartoonist. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, on March 4, 1913, that his Uncle Carnig "...has come to live in Manhattan after several years sojourn in Boston..." In the book A History of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat (1961), Jim Allee Hart said, "…Edward Exsergian [sic] (Eddie Eks) drew cartoons for the sport pages…." In 1915 his marriage was referred to in the New York Times on July 20:
Miss Finney was maid of honor at the wedding of Miss Clara Langan to Edward Eksergian, an artist, June 30...
A World War I draft card has not been found for him. The Editor & Publisher mentioned him on January 13, 1917, "…Among the staff artists and cartoonists at the inauguration of Governor Gardner, Monday were A.B. Chapin, Republic; Edward Eksergian, Globe-Democrat; Carlye S. Martin, Post-Dispatch; Otto Hartsman, Times."; and on March 24, 1917, "Eddie Eks, cartoonist of the Globe-Democrat, entertained the members of the St. Louis Millers' Club at their banquet Tuesday evening with drawings and chalk talks."
The Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 4: Works of Art, Etc. 1918 New Series, Volume 13, Number 3 had this entry, "Eksergian (Edward) St. Louis. [9819 On and off the trolley. © June 20, 1918; 2 c. June 27, 1918; K 121461." He contributed art to the June 15, 1918 issue of War Saver. Building Age, February 1919, published his cartoon "Reach Out for Big Business!"
The 1930 census recorded him in St. Louis at 6678 Washington Avenue. His surname was spelled "Eksergen" (this spelling was used in his obituary). In the occupation column it read, "Advertising and Artist Studio", and in the industry column was "Magazine". Samples of his work in this decade have not been found.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
I searched for living relatives and finally, after much work, located his nephew, Walker Langen, in 1979. He had retired to Florida. He wrote back to an inquiry, saying, yes he knew his uncle well, having grown up with him (he was fighting in the Aleutians at the time of Eksergian's demise) and just exactly what did I want to know?
Well, I sent him a bunch of questions, including a request for a phone conversation. Then I waited and waited, and waited. So I sent another letter, and more waiting. Finally his wife sent me a terse letter saying that just after his response, he became incapacitated and would never recover. That was that.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: McNutt
Well, Eddie's long dead so I guess ruminations regarding his mental stability or lack thereof are purely academic. So let's just enjoy the product of Eddie's dementia, shall we? Today we have a strip that I index as simply McNutt, although the main character sometimes went by Bug McNutt, Nat McNutt and Fool McNutt (consistency being the hobgoblin of small sane minds). Cole Johnson tells me some of these were actually different characters -- Cole cites an escaped lunatic, a political candidate and a racetrack tout.
The ones I've seen, though, all feature the same fellow, and quite a character he is. Apparently Eddie saw strips like the Katzenjammer Kids, Buster Brown and all their ilk and decided enough's enough with these rotten smartass kids who play tricks on adults. How about an adult who plays tricks on kids? And nix! Not that cutesy-pie crap Foxy Grandpa pulls. No, Eddie wanted serious mayhem -- grievous bodily and mental injury, with torture for flavor. McNutt is on a mission. We don't know why, but he's definitely dead set on making life hell for the rugrats. I can just imagine mom making one of those McNutt dolls in the top sample to scare the bejeezus out of junior. "Hey kid, any more trouble outta you and I'm gonna get McNutt after ya!"
An odd feature of McNutt is that the rhymes beneath the panels are sometimes credited to others (see final panels). I find it hard to believe Eks was paying or otherwise recruiting people to do the bulk of the writing on this strip for him, and for that matter, I don't think others could maintain the Eks-level looniness exhibited. Bit of a mystery, that.
McNutt ran in the proto-World Color Printing section of the St. Louis Star starting on October 19 1902, and ran there until at least January 31 1904 (there are a lot of sections missing from the microfilm). It did not run in the 'official' World Color Printing section that began in the New York Daily News in January 1904.
Thanks to Cole Johnson for the samples!
Tomorrow: an Ink-Slinger Profile of Eddie Eksergian
Eksergian reminds me of the early Herriman, with a dash of Edvard Munch thrown in.
He often liked to depict his characters tied up or boxed in, to go along with the umbrella business. Nothing like a little cheerful S & M on a Sunday morning!
The syndicate? Well, there's a question your brother and I debate ad nauseum. I'm of the opinion that World Color was producing this section for the St Louis Star and also a few other pigeons. When the Star got a Hearst page in late 1903 I think WCP saw the writing on the wall, and started looking for a new major client. They found that in the New York Daily News. For reasons unknown, they produced a different section for them (perhaps a rights issue?), a section that eventually usurped the 'St. Louis section'.
What evidence do I have to back up this scenario? All circumstantial I'm afraid. I have yet to find any really solid evidence for what was going on there in terms of who owned what, what was produced where and for whom it was produced. One semi-solid/gelatinous piece of evidence for one portion of the scenario is that World Color Press says in their company history that they grew out of World Color Printing, which was originally a subsidiary of the St. Louis Star.
I don't know how far we can trust the World Color history.
It's true that the St. Louis Star had the WCP section, but only after the old section with Eksergian & co., stopped. The SLS had one page of Hearst and one page of this section, but when it took the WCP in 1904, it was all four pages. I guess the WCP offered a ready-print even then. But if the SLS had anything to do with the section, other than being an early client, why diddn't they share things like artists and type fonts? And why didn't they keep on running WCP sundays for years to come? There was a brief period in about 1913 when the Star took one page of WCP once more, but then afterward, no other St.Louis paper bothered with WCP again.
According to the World Color Press corporate history, the two guys who started World Color Printing for the Star 'broke away' and made the company a self-sufficient entity. So it isn't too surprising that the Star was a bit soured on using their material and eventually switched.
The most intriguing question, I think, is the start of the second section. Why? Was WCP trying to follow the lead of McClure and have two sections available so they could supply two different papers in one area? Or was it a rights issue with the St. Louis Star? Or did Munsey ask then to develop an entirely new section for him? Even this explanation, seemingly a bad one since Munsey was a tightwad, has merit. The 'new' section was a lot classier or upscale than the Eks/Bloch one, what with having some cartoonists involved who were actually well-known in NYC (Anderson, Herriman, Mayer). Wouldn't a struggling and desperate NYC paper looking for circulation seek out some well-known but relatively cheap cartoonists familiar from other NY papers?
I never got to monitor any of the other Eks clients- The Ogdensburg paper for instance, had every comic section greedily swiped before they were microfilmed. I think the Mansfield News is available from Proquest or newspaper archive. If we could see what they were doing in 1904, we'll find out if a connection existed.
For a few weeks in December 1903, The New York Daily News announced that the wonderful new comic section was coming. I don't know if Munsey had an interest in any other papers as I've never seen another paper taking the Herriman & co. stuff so early. Do you suppose it might be that Munsey was in fact launching his own section with well known pros like Herriman, in an effort to compete with the all the other NY sunday comics? Obviously it diddn't change the fortunes of the News, but maybe this section and his contracted artists was valuable enough to sell after the News folded. A small time syndicate like the one offering the Eksergian page might acquire it at a fire sale price from Munsey. Notice that no new New York paper picked up any of it, and Major Ozone etc. would be mainly seen in the hinterlands, just as the Eks & Co. stuff had been. That would explain how they could be around at the same time,and obviously created in different places.
Unfortunately I have not yet been lucky enough to index a paper that made the Eks - WCP transition.
In the case of the St. Louis Star, they only used one page in the last months of this section. If they were producing it, then they showed little faith in it to go outside for their other Sunday color page.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: The Gee Whiz Brothers
The two episodes you see here constitute the entire 'run' of the Gee Whiz Brothers in the Chicago Daily News. The first, by George Frink, ran on August 29 1903. The second, by someone who drew a flower in a flowerpot as their signature, ran three weeks later, on September 17.
So we have just two episodes featuring the same characters, run the better part of a month apart, and by two different creators, one of which obviously prefers anonymity.
Is it a series? When compiling the Chicago Daily News information for Stripper's Guide, I, perhaps a little grumpily, decided it didn't merit listing. What do you think?
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Ink-Slinger Profiles: R.E. Schad
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Monday, December 12, 2011
A Pair of Mysteries
The feature sports 'gags' that are more like the fumings of a spittin' mad Tea Partier than anything resembling actual jokes -- these guys were way ahead of their time!
Can you shed light on any aspect of this? I know nothing of Nonpariel Features, or the creators, or the panel itself. Have you seen it running anywhere?
A photocopy of this page from the Fort Gibson Times was sent to me by a correspondent, but I've asked him several times for more information (like -- did these run more than once?) and I get no answer. I've also sent an email to an artist named Ed Gillum in California asking if he's the same guy who ran the Comic Factory, but have heard nothing back. So, does anyone have any information to break this conspiracy of silence??
Labels: Mystery Strips
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics
Labels: Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics