Saturday, September 08, 2012
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Is that H.M. Walker referred to in this week's Herriman Saturday strip, the same H.M. Walker who wrote titles and dialog for Hal Roach in the 1920s and 1930s? I think Walker and Herriman were friends as well.
Thanks for these great Garge strips!
Friday, September 07, 2012
Ink-Slinger Profiles: Ben McCutcheon
Benjamin Frederick “Ben” McCutcheon was born in Lafayette, Indiana on May 31, 1875, according to the Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index at Ancestry.com.
Past and Present of Tippecanoe County, Indiana, Volume 1 (1909) profiled McCutcheon and said, “…Like his older brothers, he attended the public schools of Lafayette and Purdue University….” His artistic talent was evident in The Debris of 1892 yearbook. He signed the larger illustrations “McCutcheon”, and used “Cutch” for the smaller ones (below).
“…Like his brother, George, his first newspaper work was done with the Morning Journal. Afterwards he joined his brother John in Chicago, working on the old Chicago Record….”, according to Past and Present of Tippecanoe County. The Times (Washington, DC), August 28, 1898, noted the talented trio:
The Writer, of Boston, has this to say of a talented Indiana family:
George Barr McCutcheon, the author of “The Maid and the Blade,” published in the July number of Short Stories, is the city editor of the Lafayette (Ind.) Daily Courier, and has contributed many short stories to the magazines. He is thirty-two years old, and has now in preparation a novel, soon to be issued. He is the eldest of three brothers, all writers and artists—John T. McCutcheon being now at Manila with Dewy as artist-correspondent for the Chicago Record, while Ben F. McCutcheon is doing art work for the same paper….
McCutcheon has not been found in the 1900 census which was enumerated beginning the first week of June. The reason may have been because he married Anna Barnes on June 5. His discharge from the military was mentioned in the Minneapolis Journal, July 2, 1901: “…Benjamin F. McCutcheon, Company F, Thirty-fifth Indiana infantry…” He illustrated The Wonderful Kingdom of Wonderful Things, which was published in nine Sunday installments in the Kalamazoo Morning Gazette-News, from August 2 to September 27, 1903. It ran much longer, with additional art by others, in the San Francisco Call, from August 30 to December 27. Past and Present of Tippecanoe County said: “…After the fusion of the Record and the Herald he became financial writer for the Evening Journal. Since 1905 he has been the commercial editor of the Chicago Tribune. Under the pseudonym ‘Ben Brace,’ he has published two novels, ‘Sunrise Acres’  and ‘Seventh Person’ . The characteristic of Ben McCutcheon’s work is intricacy of plot, and a foundation for his stories in some unique condition or situation.”
In the 1910 census, he lived with his wife and son in Chicago at 421 St. James Place. He was an author. Beginning December 1911, his Noah's Ark Boys strip ran in the Chicago Tribune Sunday section for five months. The Colorado Springs Gazette, April 25, 1916, noted the passing of his mother on the 24th in Chicago. McCutcheon signed his World War I draft card September 12, 1918. His occupation was director of publicity for the federal government’s Liberty Loan program. His description was medium height and slender build with blue yes and brown hair.
His address did not change in the 1920 census but his occupation was advertising broker. Eldest brother George passed away October 23, 1928 in New York City.
The 1930 census recorded him and his wife in Chicago at 411 Fullerton Parkway. His occupation was proprietor of publicity. McCutcheon passed away August 27, 1934, in Chicago, according to the Cook County, Illinois Death Index at Ancestry.com.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Thursday, September 06, 2012
Obscurity of the Day: Noah's Ark Boys
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Obscurity of the Day: Little Jap It
In the formative years of newspaper comics, when every stereotype in the racist book was gleefully being used on comics pages, Asian-Americans didn't get a lot of that treatment. When they did appear, of course, they were stereotyped just as shockingly, if not more so, than other groups. However, I think that in the eastern part of the country, where most comic strips were produced, their presence was not nearly as pronounced compared to other races and nationalities, and so the cartoonists didn't think to make them a target very often.
Asians were less visible because they generally preferred to form their own separate and insular communities, or felt unsafe doing otherwise, in those days. They were known as Chinatowns, and the typical whitebread folks only saw them when they visited to enjoy a chow mein dinner or buy some fireworks.
Here, though, is an example of a strip with an Asian star. The gag here is mainly that the kid's name is 'It' -- a gag based on the idea that Asians have really weird-sounding names. The gag is thin, but reasonably well-executed by John F. Hart, who did the strip for just a handful of episodes that appeared in the Philadelphia North American from March 20 to April 24 1904. As far as I can determine, though, 'It' is not a conventional Japanese name, though I suppose that's nitpicking.
Hart was primarily a puzzle feature maker for the North American, but occasionally jumped onto the regular comics pages. He's got a great style, I think, and it would have been great to see more of him there.
Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans!
The name "It" isn't so much a poor grasp of what oriental-sounding names might be, but rather the "It" of kid games like Tag; when you're "It", you're the one that gets chased.
The only reason this one appeared at that time must be because of the Russo-Japanese war, which the newspapers reveled in for months."Port Arthur" must have been the most talked about place on Earth in 1904.
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Obscurity of the Day: Dr. Katz
The 1970s and 80s were the last heyday for licensed characters in comic strips, but here's a late entry from the 90s; Dr. Katz. The comic strip was an attempt to parley a mildly successful animated TV show on the Comedy Central cable network.
The show was memorable, at least to me, mostly for the ever-wiggling drawings that always gave me a headache by the end of the show. The animation process was called Squigglevision, a bargain basement computer-aided method for producing really cheap animation.
The show featured a nebbish psychologist and his good-for-nothing grown son, Ben, and most of the charm of the show was in the deadpan voicework. If you liked the show, and read the strip with those voices and cadences in mind, it was a pretty entertaining strip, and it did a good job of translating the TV series onto paper. Which is not all that big a leap because, as I said, the animation was limited in the extreme.
The Dr. Katz TV show ran 1995-1999, and the strip ran January 6 1997 to December 26 1999, distributed by LA Times Syndicate. Initially the writing was credited to Bill Braudis, who was also a lead writer on the television series. By 1998, Braudis turned over the writing of the dailies to Dave Blazek (who was also writing the panel Loose Parts for the syndicate at the time). Whether Blazek handled the dailies consistently from then on is up for debate because the dailies often leave off the writing credit.
The art was handled by Dick Truxaw, a commercial artist who considered doing the art on a newspaper strip to be "the fulfillment of a dream."
The LA Times ran the daily strip to the stated end date, but not the Sunday. The latest I can trace the Sunday is to April 4 1999, in the San Francisco Examiner-Chronicle.
"Bill's standup career was
taking off back in the late '90s, and he was having trouble producing
for the strip while doing many other things. He's a funny guy. The LA
Times Syndicate was filing the hole with a stable of writers. Shortly
after Loose Parts was picked up by LATS, Anita Tobias asked me if I
would be interested in joining that stable. After a few months of
that, they said they wanted to whittle that down to one writer, and
they wanted that to be me. So, for about two years, I wrote the
Mon-Sat. comics, and Bill wrote the Sundays. (Although, there are
still a bunch of Sundays I did ... I can't remember how that came
Not many specifics there, but it sounds like when he took over the dailies - he took over the dailies.
Blazek's entire response is at http://tinyurl.com/cn7bo75
There was a "Rugrats" comic strip, too. One of my papers ran that strip.
Thanks for posting these. I have been on a bit of a Dr. Katz binge for the past week and am just learned that there's a Dr. Katz comic series and a few short live action episodes.
Monday, September 03, 2012
Labor Day Lunacy: Stripper's Guyed
And am I the only one who thinks "Children's Hate Mail to God" should be syndicated immediately?
Sunday, September 02, 2012
Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics
Thanks Jim, I'm blushing. Tho the caricature keeps me from getting too vain ...
Labels: Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics