Saturday, August 18, 2012

 

Herriman Saturday

Friday, March 13 1908 -- Tonight the Naud Junction Pavilion hosts three boxing matches, the highlight of which is Johnny Coulon, the noted featherweight out of Chicago, going up against local boy Young Terry McGovern (whose real name, the accompanying article tells us, is Joe Stedelli). Although there are high hopes for McGovern, the real pro, Coulon, will end up taking the match.

The other two bouts  (Rube Smith vs. Russell Van Horn and Jimmy Austin vs. Joe Riviera) are most notable in that they represent the very first time I've been let down by the boxrec website. Although most of the fighters are listed these bouts are unrecorded.


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Friday, August 17, 2012

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles: Carl Pfeufer



Carl Theodore Pfeufer was born in Mexico City, Mexico on September 29, 1910, according to a family tree at Ancestry.com. The World Encyclopedia of Comics (1983) said the family moved, in 1913, from Mexico to New York City. Art Exchange has information on his art training.


Carl T. Pfeufer…began his fine art training in New York City where he attended a two-year vocational school for commercial art. That school helped prepare him for admission to Cooper Union at the age of 16 where he continued to study art. While he was there he won the Hors Concour award for his life drawings. Upon graduation from Cooper Union, he attended The National Academy of Design where he received the Prix-da-Roma, a scholarship he was forced to turn down due to family responsibilities. He continued studying at the Grand Central Art School and Art Student's League in New York City. Pfeufer also studied privately with William Starkweather, protege of Joaquin Sorolla, a Valencian painter.


In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Pfeufer was the fourth of six sons born to Anna, a New Yorker; the name and fate of her husband, a Texan, is not known. The family lived in Manhattan, New York City at 211 West 117th Street. Pfeufer's first name was recorded as "Charles"; I'm guessing the enumerator misheard the name Carl. World Encyclopedia said, "Towards the end of the 1920s Carl Pfeufer started work with the McFadden publications doing layouts, spot illustrations, and editorial cartoons."

In 1930 the family of eight lived in Manhattan at 215 Audubon Avenue. Pfeufer was an artist in the publication industry. His debut in comics was in October 1935, in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (New York) Sunday comics section. The features were Don Dixon and the Hidden Empire, a science-fiction strip, and Tad of the Tanbark, initially a circus story that evolved into a jungle story. (In Ron Goulart's The Funnies: 100 Years of American Comic Strips, he explained, "Tanbark is the material they spread in circus arenas…") Tad was the topper strip which shared a children's activity panel, Scissor Sketches. All three were written by Bob Moore. World Encyclopedia said their debut was on October 6. I looked at the eight-page comics section, which are clearly dated, for the sixth and thirteenth, and the comics and panel did not appear until the 20th [I agree with Alex's start date based on my own reasearch -- Allan]. The book credits Pfeufer and Moore as co-creators.



Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 10/20/1935



Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 10/27/1935


The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works of Art, etc., 1934 New Series, Volumes 29, Number 4 has this entry:


Lisiecki associates. 8858–8860
Pfeufer (Carl) :
Don Dixon and the hidden empire.–Scissor sketches.–Tad of the Tanbark. © 1 c. each Dec. 7, 1934 ; G 18486-18488.


Ad in the Brooklyn
Daily Eagle, 11/27/1935.

It appears Pfeufer produced the material and it was shopped around. I have not found any information on Lisiecki Associates. Moore's name was not mentioned; maybe he was brought in later, when the Daily Eagle picked it up. In December 1936 Moore and Pfeufer were teamed up on Gordon Fife. The birth of comic books provided another outlet for Pfeufer; his credits can be viewed at the Grand Comics Database. His time in comic books and strips spanned about three decades. Wikipedia covered his comics career. (Surprisingly, what is missing from the list of references is Maurice Horn's World Encyclopedia of Comics.) Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999 has an excellent overview of his career.

The 1940 census recorded him and his family in Dumont, New Jersey at 88 Fleetwood Road. He was married to Marie, had three sons, ages three to eight months, and was a commercial artist. The census said he lived in the Bronx in 1935. The family tree said he married Marie E. Sherwood; the 1940 census suggests they married around 1935.

Two of his strips from the fifties were The Bantam Prince and The Chisholm Kid.

After he moved to Texas, he remarried, on October 6, 1978, to Helen Bliss, according to the Texas Marriage Collection, 1966-2002 at Ancestry.com.

Art Exchange said, "In his later years, Pfeufer combined both travel and painting, especially in the Mediterranean area." He passed away on May 5, 1980, in Center Point, Texas (Social Security Death Index).

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

 

Obscurity of the Day: A Flight of Fancy


I've mentioned my admiration and enjoyment for the cartooning work of Ferd Long before, and here's another one of his many strips for the New York Evening World. Ferd's comic strips were often topical, but in A Flight of Fancy, which he produced sporadically from November 8 1908 to August 31 1909, he let his imagination run wild.The strip had no continuity or recurring characters, the only thread holding the concept together was simply that the gags were all absurdly silly. I particularly like this series because it is generally pantomime, which highlights Long's mastery of cartooning.


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Pantomime comics from the early 1900s seem to hold up better than the ones with dialogue.
 
Super comic! It's make me laugh.
 
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles: Albert Bloch



Albert J. Bloch was born in St. Louis, Missouri on August 2, 1882, according to the Social Security Death Index and his passport applications (above passport photo). He was the first of four children born to Theodore and Emma, as recorded in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. Bloch’s occupation was clerk in a dry goods store. For the St. Louis Star, he produced Professor Wayupski, which ran from May 25 to June 8, 1902.

Bloch was in Europe when the 1910 and 1920 censuses were enumerated. A 1919 passenger list, at Ancestry.com, recorded his first son, Bernard, with a June 18, 1907 birth in New York City, and second, Walter, with an April 13, 1916 birth in Munich, Bavaria. Bloch’s art endeavors in Europe were not wholly embraced as reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer (Pennsylvania), January 12, 1913:

Radical Exhibit at Sketch Club
Small Pieces by Albert Bloch, Brought Here by Gordon M. McCouch, From Munich, Give Philadelphia First Glimpse of New Movement

While the galleries of the Pennsylvania Academy are hung with two of the safest and sanest exhibitions in the world, and while the Corcoran Gallery exploits as the latest novelty in exhibitions a collection of pictures for pictures’ sake, it remains for the Philadelphia Sketch Club to bring to our starving vision its first authorized glimpse of the new movement which is agitating the whole world, and whose message must sooner or later be accepted by the public and the profession, be it ever so reluctant….

The Sketch Club’s little offering comes through one Gordon Mallet McCouch, a member recently returned from Munich, who brings with him a few sketches by his friend, Albert Bloch. And the effort is a mere tentacle. The sketches do not amount to very much, either for Mr. Bloch or for the movement. Better things are hidden away right here in Philadelphia, but what is admirable is that the Sketch Club, hating these pictures with a good old fashioned hatred, should yet be broad-minded enough to offer to young Mr. Bloch a forum—to give him, as it were, a hearing.

“We’ll show it, but we don’t have to like it,” one of the older members remarked. But everybody is curious about it, and this little entering wedge will have its effect.

Cartoons Magazine, November 1915, noted Bloch’s artist development.

The Bizarreries of Albert Bloch
Albert Bloch, once cartoonist and caricaturist of Reedy's Mirror, of St. Louis, now of Munich, has 25 of his most recent paintings on exhibition at the City Art Museum of St. Louis. Among them is a portrait of Robert Minor, the cartoonist of the New York Call. Speaking of the paintings, Reedy's Mirror says: “They are to the Greeks foolishness. They are not after-impressionist, but before-impressionist and beyond….The exhibit is an escape from the conventional into a realm of almost, if not quite, pure art—wherein painting enters as does music.”

Excerpts from a University of Kansas Relations press release (January 24, 1997), and web site, “Rediscovering Albert Bloch at the University of Kansas”:


…Albert Bloch was trained in a local art school….Bloch began his career as a newspaper illustrator. He drew cartoons, caricatures and cover illustrations for the literary weekly The Mirror from 1905 to 1908. In 1908, Bloch went to Europe to continue his artistic training. In 1911, Kandinsky, along with his friend Franz Marc, visited Bloch’s studio and soon invited Bloch to join them in their new venture, the first exhibition of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), which opened in Munich in December 1911. Bloch showed six canvases in the first Blue Rider exhibition. Thereafter Bloch participated in other major avant-garde shows in Europe. Following his return to the United States, Bloch taught for a year at the Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago (1922-23) before accepting the position of head of the department of painting and drawing at the University of Kansas in the fall of 1923. For the next twenty-four years, Bloch taught art and art history at the University….

1913 Bloch Painting, Das Gruene Gewand

Bloch’s opinions on an art event were published in the World Herald (Omaha, Nebraska), November 24, 1927:


Raps Art Exhibits
Closing Speaker at Lincoln Meeting Strikes Discordant Note.

Lincoln, Neb., Nov. 23 (AP).—The atmosphere of sweetness and light which had marked the three-day session of the western section convention of the American Federation of Art was disturbed by the closing speaker at the Wednesday afternoon meeting, Albert Bloch, of the University of Kansas, who first criticized the extensiveness of the exhibits sent out by the federation, and next the quality of some of the paintings.

“The public is helpless,” said Mr. Bloch, “and will take anything you feed it.” He then criticized the quality of pictures sent out from the metropolitan museum of New York through the American federation.


In the 1930 census, Bloch, his wife Hortense and son Walter lived in Lawrence, Kansas at 1015 Alabama Street. He married when he was 23 years old and his occupation was artist teacher at Kansas University. The Wyandotte Echo, (Kansas City, Kansas), December 18, 1931, reported an exhibition at Bloch’s school.


University of Kansas Views Work of Negro Artists
Lawrence, Kans. (By L. Bluford for A.N.P.)—The work of twenty-eight Negro artists is on display during the month of December at the Spooner-Thayer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas. The exhibit, which includes 39 paintings, was loaned by the Harmon Foundation of Art at New York, an organization which encourages individual artistic pursuits.


Prof. Albert Bloch of the University painting department says of the exhibition:


“The American Negro in his cultural activities compares on the whole very favorably with his white neighbors, and in many instances the work of these artists is distinguished by a straightforward boldness and honesty which is not always to be found in the work of their accepted white contemporaries.”


He had the same residence and occupation in the 1940 census. According to the Social Security Death Index, Bloch passed away in December 1961, in Lawrence, Kansas. A selection of Bloch’s paintings can be viewed here.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

 

Obscurity of the Day: The Camera Fiend


Kodak's phenomenally popular Brownie camera was introduced in 1900, and all of a sudden we became a nation of shutterbugs. And one of the wonderful properties of newspaper comics, then and now, is that they comment with such immediacy on all the latest fads and fashions. The social history angle of newspaper comics is one of the aspects that, after all these years immersed in them, keeps them endlessly fascinating to me.

And today our lens into the past focuses on the camera itself. In 1902 Albert Bloch, a green kid drawing Sunday strips for the St. Louis Star, turned his attention to the new fad and came up with a comic strip about a guy who takes 'shot-snaps' (!) with his Brownie. The concept was novel enough that he could title the strip simply The Camera Fiend. Now the gags aren't very funny, and the art is painful to look at, but isn't it neat to see Albert's perspective on this amazing new product that was taking the world by storm? And how precious is it that the term 'snapshot' seems not to have yet taken hold to the point that Bloch apparently misremembered the slang -- or is it that he's making a (bad) gag?  Hard to say...

Thanks to Cole Johnson, who supplies us with the entire two-strip run of this series. It ran on November 30 and December 7 1902.

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Just got the book... great!I am going to use that a lot! I am specificly interested in crossover artists, artsts who did comic books as well as newspaper comic. And this way I can directly look for specific oddities. Who knew Mell Lazerus' Li'l Kids panel ran until 1965? Who knew Tom Sutton did a strip for the Stars and Stripes? Anyway, first quick update I see: my latest Willie Lumpkin is from May 6 (date strip). The whole last week is on my blog. Also I have never been able to find a Sunday before April 1960... I am using this comment section, since I ahven't got your email dress on hand, but feel free to remove it and answer directly when you want to.
 
Hi Ger --
Thanks for the later end date on Willie Lumpkin! I see no indication on your blog what paper you found that in -- I'll need that for the source reference.

As for the start of the Sunday, I have as early as January 1960 in my own collection.

Best, Allan
 
I'll be back to you when I finally get someone to do the Willie Lumpkin book. I'd love to see that earlier Sunday. The first months of the strip, it looks ss if Stan Lee was doing a rip-off/riff on Miss Peach; all characters standing in line in one panel, with the main character delivering the pay-off at the end. Even the try-out strip he and Dan DeCarlo did, about a corner street cop, seems to fit that format. I am curious how they approched the early Sunday strips when they were still doing the one panel dailies. As for the paper - I throw the clippings out when I post them, but a quick search at NewspaperArchive tells me it was the Salt Lake Tribune, as well as showing it also ran in the Syracuse Post Herald and the Winnipeg Free Press, all with the same suden cut-off.
 
The Syracuse New York Post-Standard and the Winnipeg Free Press ran Wilie Lumpkin as late as May 6, 1961. Those are both available on Newspaper Archives.
 
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Monday, August 13, 2012

 

Obscurity of the Day: Bears in Love







In the 1970s and 80s there seemed to be some sort of competition for who could come up with the sappiest, oversentimental, schmaltzy comic strip. While the undeniable winner, in my opinion, has to be Charmers, Bears in Love gives it a run for its money.

Eric Meese first came up with the ursine characters as a spoof on his sister's lovey-dovey antics with her fiancee. The spoof cartoons, shown to his family and friends, seems to have been received without recognizing the ironic intent, and his audience oohed and aahed over the romantic bears and begged for more. Meese's brother then took some of the drawings to an agent in New York. The next thing he knew, Meese had a contract with Universal Press Syndicate to produce the feature seven days per week.

Based on an interview at the time, Meese seems to have been on a very short leash. He had to submit two weeks worth of strips each week, and the syndicate picked out seven from each batch, and sent notes on how to improve the chosen ones. That's pretty standard during the development stage for a strip, but rather unusual for one that is actually being syndicated.Considering that Meese, even in his interviews, gives off a vibe of being in way over his head, I think it safe to say that Universal might have been a little too anxious to bring this strip to market.

Bears in Love seems to have debuted on March 28 1983, and lasted until sometime in 1986. Having solved the world's saccharine shortage, the strip was retired and the bears went to their final endless hibernation.

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geeze, forgot all about that strip. I think i cut some of them out and gave them to a girlfriend at the time. I could be wrong...
 
An example of the syndicate trying to hard to engineer a feature, rather than trusting it to grow organically. Formulae don't always produce success.
 
National Lampoon had a strip called "Pigs in Love" for a few issues, centering on two pigs in bed (typical gag involved the power of bacon perfume). I now wonder if that was a specific satire of this strip.
 
I found this strip in Morganblathid - the largest newspaper in Iceland under the name Asterabjarni (starry Bears) while stationed at Keflavik in 1983-85, vonmesser@aol
 
I cut out one for my husband about woodcarving where they sat on the log by the lake. It was so sweet because he could not do good at woodcarving either. We still enjoy looking at stars and the old "Bears in Love".
 
Does anyone have any idea where Eric Meese is nowadays and what he is doing?
 
I KNOW HIM HE'S A NICE GUY YOU WOULD LIKE HIM HE WAS JUST HAVING FUN MAKING THE CARTOONS HE'S A FUN GUY TO BE AROUND AND LIKES THE OUT DOORS, LOVES TO GO KYAKING AT HAG LAKE IN OREGON.i would give you a more up date pic of him on the lake but dont know how to load it on to here.
 
My husband & I saw this strip in 1983-84 when we lived in Sacramento & were newlyweds. Our pet names for each other are Baxter & Trudy to this day!
 
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Sunday, August 12, 2012

 

Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


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