Saturday, May 04, 2013


Herriman Saturday

Friday, April 10 1908 -- Surely Herriman got back from this assignment telling everyone in the newsroom that he'd just returned from having lunch with a whole room full of clowns. Well anyway, I know I would have.

Herriman meets and caricatures America's #1 clown, sans makeup, Spader Johnson, and Herb Cornish, Shrine circus star, among others.


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Friday, May 03, 2013


Sci-Friday starring Adam Chase

Adam Chase (c) renewed 2013 by Russ Morgan. All rights reserved.

Adam Chase strip #19, originally published October 9 1966. For background on the strip and creator, refer to this post.


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Thursday, May 02, 2013


Obscurity of the Day: The Diary of a Lady's Maid

The Diary of a Lady's Maid is (not -- see below) the first American Weekly cover series by Fish (Anne Harriet Sefton, nee Anne Harriet Fish), running from August 17 to October 26 1930. Her lovely work graced this Hearst publication several more times over the ensuing decade, including 1938's Awful Week-Ends.

In this series, Fish uses the device of a maid's diary entries to tell of the ridiculous excesses and adventures  of a particularly rowdy British upper-class family, the Tumwaters.

EDIT: Mark Johnson alerts me to an earlier Fish series, Social Advice from Aunty Climax, from 1928. Thanks Mark!


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Wednesday, May 01, 2013


Ink-Slinger Profiles: Hype Igoe

Herbert Anthony Aloysius “Hype” Igoe was born in Santa Cruz, California, on June 13, 1877, according to his World War I draft card and a 1937 passenger list at His full name was used in a “Damon Runyon Speaks Out” column, which appeared in the Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), September 20, 1932. The origin of his nickname was also explained.

Hype Igoe, Skinny Kid, Nicknamed by Man on San Francisco Examiner

Summit, N.J., Sept 19.–Now, with your kind permission, I will present to you Mr. Herbert Anthony Aloysius Igoe.

Called “Hype.”

In his youth in San Francisco Mr. Igoe was two pounds lighter than a Panama hat.

He was so skinny that every time he stepped into the elevator of the old Examiner building big, fat Gus Rapp, the elevator man, would go through the pantomime of shooting a charge into his arm with a hypodermic syringe, and would sing out “Hy-p-o-o!”

Gus Rapp had a high, shrill voice. Indeed, he was the tenor in the Examiner engravers’ quartet. He sang baritone. Of course Gus Rapp’s pantomime was libelous, but he gave Mr. Igoe a tag that has stuck to him for many a year and which he has made famous all over the world.

Mr. Igoe has been using the “Hype” as a signature to his cartoons and newspaper articles for upwards of 37 years. He is one of our most celebrated sports writers, and of a vintage that brings him dangerously close to the title, “dean of the corps.”

Mr. Igoe is short, and his form would no longer suggest tissue wasting practices, even to Gus Rapp. In fact, Mr. Igoe is shaped like a man who has inadvertently swallowed a watermelon. His hair is thinning, but still coal black. He is on the lee side of 50, but his mind and spirit remain eternally young….

Walter Winchell, in his column “On Broadway”, published in the Brownsville Herald (Texas), August 9, 1941, wrote: “…The most mispronounced name in the [sports] profession is Hype Igoe’s. He is called everything from Hip Igoe to Hype Ego. The gentleman’s name is Herbert Igoe and when he first came here to New York from San Francisco, his East Side off boy used to call him ‘Hoib.’ This was gradually transformed into ‘Hype’ and he adopted it as the first half of his by-line.”

So far, the earliest use of Hype was found in 1915 when he was with The SunBefore Hype, his first name was shortened to Bert.

On the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, his name was recorded as “Albert” and was the oldest son of John and Catherine [sic]. His father worked for the gas company. The family lived in Santa Cruz. The census listed a younger son, John, who died apparently at an early age as he was not listed in the 1900 census.

The undated book, Who Is Who on The World, had an entry for Igoe which said in part: 

Igoe, Herbert A.; b. Santa Cruz, Cal., June 13, 1885; attended district school at Felton, Cal., until ten, when family moved to San Francisco; grad. from Franklin Grammar School in that city and attended Polytechnic High School for two terms, leaving that institution to join staff of San Francisco Examiner...

The birth year was incorrect. Edan Hughes said, in his book Artists in California, 1786-1940: “Igoe studied art under Maria Van Vleck while a student at Polytechnic High School in San Francisco and continued at the Mark Hopkins Art Institute.” Igoe started his newspaper career at as a copyboy, at age 15, on the San Francisco Examiner, according to the San Mateo Times, February 12, 1945. Igoe was involved in the annual ball of his alma mater, Franklin Grammar School, which was mentioned in the San Francisco Call, December 1, 1895. In the 1897 Crocker-Langley San Francisco Directory, he was listed as an artist who resided at 337 10th.

In the 1900 census the family lived in San Francisco at 337 Tenth Street. His father was a pipe fitter for a gas company. Igoe was a newspaper artist and a member of the Nyght Byrds, “…an organization composed exclusively of artists and scribes on the newspapers of this city…” according to the Call, January 21, 1900. He was credited with an illustration in the December 1900 issue of The Muse. The Call, October 9, 1904, covered the newspaper artists exhibit and reproduced Igoe’s art.

The 1901 San Francisco directory said he lived at 438 Page, and in 1904 at 22 Lyon. His marriage was reported in the Oakland Tribune, June 9, 1905:

Cards are out announcing the marriage of Herbert Anthony Igoe and Florence Ethel Edmundson, who were married Wednesday [June 7], at St. Agnes Church in San Francisco. Rev. Father Collins was the officiating clergyman, and none but relatives witnessed the pretty ceremony.

The bride is a beautiful girl of the Titian blonde type, and wore a traveling gown of blue pongee, and blue picture hat. Her only attendant was Miss Antoinette King, who was gowned in pink crepe de chine. Hayes Igoe, brother of the groom, acted as best man, and the bride was given away by her brother, George Edmundson.

Mr. Igoe is a clever and popular artist of the Examiner staff, and has met with great success in his work. After a honeymoon. Mr. and Mrs. Igoe will live in San Francisco.

On June 26, 1930, the Nevada State Journal published the column, “Old Timer Says—,” which recounted the honeymoon:

“Ever know Igoe of the San Francisco Examiner? No, well kid, back in 1905 he was the ‘hot stuff’ writer and artist on the Examiner. Along in June 1905 he got married and did or tried to, spend his honeymoon at Lake Tahoe. Igoe and bride made a sneak out of San Francisco but were soon located at Tahoe. Within two days every hotel around the lake had the following notice posted in their lobbies:

“ ‘Stop Them!’
(Below were pen and ink sketches of the couple.)

“ ‘The above are excellent likenesses of Herbert Igoe and wife. Look out for them. They are a newly married couple.

“ ‘Description

“ ‘Herbert Anthony Igoe—Age 28 years; height about 5 1/4 feet; weight 114 pounds; wears his face edgewise and occasionally shaves; walks very erect as though he felt twice his real size and as though he amounted to something; dresses neatly in grey sack suit; wears flat rimmed derby. When last seen had dark brown eyes and long black hair but may be bald by this time and black and blue eyes as he was married long ago as June 7. His wife answers to the following description, that is, when she answers:

“ ‘Florence Edmundson Igoe—Age 18 years, height about five feet ten inches; weight 156 pounds; light blue eyes; bright face before marriage; brilliant hair; walks pigeon-toed after 4 o’clock in the afternoon.

“ ‘If located give them a good time and notify Cupid’s Detective Agency, Room 707, Examiner building San Francisco.’ ”

“Wonder if anybody has one of those notices today. They are worth some money. The sketches were by long since noted artists of the Examiner staff. Bob Edgren, whose signature, R. Edgren, you see to sports pictures and name to articles on sporting events; Max Newberry, now head of the art department of the Boston Herald; Knappenback [sic], one of the best color artists in the country; Mrs. Davidson, famed portrait artist; Jimmie Swinnerton, famed for his Little Bears and still drawing comics for the Hearst papers. Some others that Old Timer in the lapse of time has forgotten. Oh, yes, Alice Rix, who recently died in England, had a hand in the joke….

Denver Post 8/29/1906

Who’s Who in The World said he “…worked in that paper’s [Examiner] art department until the year following the earthquake; came to New York and worked on New York American’s art staff for few years, thence to New York Sun as a writer of boxing, later to the Tribune, and for the past five years a member of The World’s sports staff. Is considered an authority on boxing in particular, but covers all angles of sport in a widely distributed series of drawings illustrating his own writings.”

Some of his artwork, from Sunset magazine, was reproduced in the book, Francisca Reina (1908). He drew Mr. Dwindle which ran in the New York American from December 16, 1909 to January 10, 1910. In Walter Winchell’s column, “On Broadway”, published in the San Antonio Light (Texas), August 13, 1941, he noted that “…Igoe…was one of the first to play ukulele in New York, bringing his beloved Hawaiian harp here from San Francisco early in the century.” 

In 1910 Igoe lived with his wife, son Edmund, and servant at 4241 Broadway in Manhattan, New York City; he was a newspaper artist. According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), in 1911 he produced the panel, Our Comic Postcards for the New York American. The 1915 New York State Census had the same address and occupation. He signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918. On the card it said he was a newspaper writer at The World and his address was 513 72nd Street in Brooklyn. He named his wife as his nearest relative, who resided on Fort Washington Avenue in Manhattan. His description was medium height and build with brown eyes and black hair.

Igoe has not been found in the 1920 census but he had remarried, to Katharine Murphy, around 1920, according to the 1930 census. (Her name was mentioned in the Long Island Star-Journal (New York), February 13, 1945.) His family was involved in an auto accident which was reported in the Times, April 22, 1922. Their 17-month-old daughter suffered a skull fracture while in the arms of another passenger. At the time, they lived in the Bronx at 1706 Vyse Avenue. In the 1925 New York State Census, he, wife and daughters, Juanita and Gloria resided in Queens, New York, at 169-06 Highland Avenue. He was a newspaperman. The New York Times, February 12, 1945, said he rejoined, in 1927, The Journal, which later became The Journal-American.

The New York Tribune, October 28, 1921, reported the funeral service for Bat Masterson. Igoe was one of the honorary pallbearers. According to the Times, January 23, 1935, his father died in 1924.

In 1930 Igoe lived in Bayside, Queens at 35-52 222nd Street. With him was his wife, two daughters, mother and a servant. He was a newspaper writer. His mother, Katherine, died January 22, 1935, as reported the following day in the Times.

The 1940 census recorded the family of five, which included son Jack, at the same address. Igoe, a newspaper cartoonist and writer, had two years of high school. The 1942 New York City telephone directory listed him at 228 West 47th Street.

Igoe passed away on February 11, 1945. The Times reported that he had a heart ailment for over a year. The Cleveland Plain Dealer, February 12, 1945, published the Associated Press story which said: “…A confidante of champions from the days of James J. Corbett down to Joe Louis, Igoe had ‘covered’ all the championships heavyweight bouts for the last 40 years and was famous for his ‘inside’ stories. He illustrated his own yarns and was called the dean of fight writers. With the exception of Gene Tunney he predicted correctly the rise of each heavyweight champion….Damon Runyon, one of his oldest friends, declared Igoe was ‘probably the best informed writer on boxing that ever lived.’...” The Long Island Star-Journal, February 15, 1945, said he was buried in St. John’s Cemetery, Glendale, New York. He was a subject in a cartoon of the week’s news which appeared in the Fresno Bee Republican (California), February 17, 1945 (below). A selection of cartoons was provided by Igoe’s grandson, Kevin Igoe, at Yesterday’s Papers.


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Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Patrick Reynolds on his Career as a Self-Syndicated Newspaper Cartoonist

I have long been a fan of cartoonist Patrick Reynolds, who specializes in  features about regional history. I first encountered his work while in some roadside tourist venue in Pennsylvania. Browsing at the gift shop, after giving due consideration to Liberty Bell snowglobes and Terrible Towels, I found a small rack of books focusing on Pennsylvania subjects. In amongst them were several different volumes of Pennsylvania Profiles by Reynolds.

Reynolds was treading the same ground as other local history features, of which there have been many (here's a few we've covered on the blog: Gopher Tales, Romance of Rhode Island, Carolina Hall of History). What sets him apart, I think, is that while historical accuracy is, of course, his first concern, he also recognizes that history doesn't have to be an absolutely solemn affair. So rather than giving us woodcut-style, ramrod stiff personages peering out at us in all their momentous majesty, he cartoons his subjects to lighten the mood. He also recognizes that no one likes a panel cartoon containing a vast sea of text. Reynolds has blended a light touch in both his cartooning and writing into a successful cottage industry of newspaper features. 

Reynolds began his career with Pennsylvania Profiles, and that initial success led to the creation of more features. He produced a similar panel for Texas newspapers, called Texas Lore, a color strip titled Big Apple Almanac produced for Long Island's Newsday, and most recently, the color Sunday feature Flashbacks for the Washington Post. Book versions of all these features are available on his website.
PA Profiles, as they appeared in newspapers

I recently contacted Reynolds and asked for an interview. He wasn't comfortable with a Q&A format, however he proved most forthcoming  in providing some of his history in memoir form (which, I suppose, makes perfect sense given his career as a storyteller). So, take it away Mr. Reynolds:

I was born in Pottsville, PA and grew up in nearby Minersville, in the heart of the Anthracite mining region. 
 I loved cartooning since I was a kid.  In the fourth grade I copied a cartoon from the Sunday Philadelphia Bulletin. It turned out so close to the original that I decided then and there that I would be a cartoonist.

During Grammar School, 7th and 8th grades, I started to write and draw adventure stories that I submitted to Atlas Comics. I believe Marvel owns that label today.  There were other comic book publishers that I submitted my comic strips to, but they all turned me down.  I did some one page history stories that I sent to Boys' Life which ran such a feature.  They, too, rejected me.  In high school, at the encouragement of my English teacher, I expanded my artistic endeavors to oils, pastels, and pen and ink illustration. 

 I started winning poster contests, and in my senior year I won a Scholastic Magazine national art award in the "Lettering" Category.  Meanwhile, during high school, I hit up my father for $350 or so to pay for my enrollment in the Famous Artists Cartoon Course from which I graduated in 1959, the same year I got my diploma from Minersville High School. During my senior year of high school I spent hours and hours, sometimes into the wee hours of the morning, working on a portfolio to enter into the Scholastic Magazine Art Scholarship program.  I did not win.  However, my grades throughout high school hovered just below straight A in every subject.  I graduated class valedictorian. Thus, I was granted an academic scholarship to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.  At the time, Pratt was the top art school in the country. 

At Pratt, I got my "money's worth" by taking double majors:  Graphic Arts & Illustration; and Advertising Design.  I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1963, and went to work as assistant art director in an ad agency in Scranton.  After a year, I landed an art directorship in an ad agency in Harrisburg.  Then, in 1965 the draft board came after me.  I always had a plan:  if I could not make it as a professional artist I would join the military and become an officer/aviator.  I had passed the physicals and written exams for the Air Force while at Pratt; just never signed the papers.  Also passed similar exams for Marine Corps Aviation.

Now, being a successful artist, I decided to join the branch of service that offered Officer's Training and the shortest stint after commissioning.  Turned out it was the Army;  eight months to become a second lieutenant and then 2 years of commissioned active duty.  I attended Infantry Officers Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia and was commissioned in the Army Intelligence Service, now the Military Intelligence branch.  I was trained as an aerial surveillance officer, sent to Vietnam, where I was placed in charge on the Imagery Interpretation Section of the Corps Intelligence Detachment.  As a second lieutenant, I held a major's slot.  Also flew as an Aerial Observer where I saw a lot of action.  Flew over 300 combat assault missions, was awarded the Air Medal with ten Oak Leaf Clusters. (One air medal is for 25 missions and 25 hours; an oak leaf cluster is for each successive awarding of the same medal).  Also got the Bronze Star. 
Panels were somewhat reformatted for appearance in Reynold's books

Believe it or not, I did a lot of artwork in and for the Army. Also, I had three artists in my Imagery Interpretation Section who drew updated maps and pictures of enemy weapons as described by captured North Vietnamese soldiers.

After I got discharged in 1968, I held several art jobs and became the advertising manager for a resort in Lancaster County, PA.  At the same time I got married.  My wife Patricia and I adopted three kids:  a Vietnamese, an American, and a Brazilian. 

 I took the ad manager job because I developed my talent for writing while in the Army.  It turned out that my ability to write is most vital in creating my comic strips on history. 

 Also, I stayed in the military; first in the National Guard then in the Army Reserve.  For several years one of my Reserve assignments was doing artwork for the Army New Service which is the Army's syndicate.  I also was an instructor in the Army's Command and General Staff Officers Course (officers who wanted to become Lieutenant Colonel had to take this course).  My reputation as a top instructor was well known in the Eastern U.S.  I used the old "chalk talk" routine in many of my classes where I drew pictures related to the course material to liven up the class as well as give the students something to remember.  For this I was awarded the Army Achievement Medal and the (higher) Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters.

Meantime, I became involved in local politics.  This earned me a job with the commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the Tourism Promotion Bureau.  My experience as an ad manager of a resort helped.  I wrote press releases and feature stories, put together press kits,  did radio and television appearances, edited several state publications, and traveled around the world promoting Pennsylvania tourism.  Then, my boss resigned to take a similar job in Florida.  I put in for the promotion, and to impress the Department Secretary, I created a cartoon that we could send out to newspapers across the country.   The cartoon would be about an event, a person, whatever, with a tie-in or kicker of a place to visit in Pennsylvania. Here is how I came up with the idea -- in the autumn of 1975 I was in Boston for a Travel Writers' convention. I bought a Boston Globe and the comics section had this great comic strip called "Yankee Almanac" by Larry Gonick.  Wow, says I, I can do a similar cartoon on Pennsylvania!

The Secretary was most impressed, but hired someone from out of state for the job.  When the new boss came on board, I asked him to get a letter of understanding from the commonwealth that would allow me to do "Pennsylvania Profiles" in my own time and I could sell it to newspapers.  That letter arrived the next day.  

I slowly accumulated newspapers and eventually had twenty running the feature.  At the end of the first year, I combined that year's stories into a book.  I tried to get a publisher of Pennsylvania books near Philadelphia to take on the book but the editor said "no."  

 In my jobs as an art director, ad manager, and state brochures editor, I had a lot of experience in buying printing.  So, I formed my own publishing company, The Red Rose Studio, and published the book myself.  I thank that lady editor every day because instead of getting a measly 6 percent royalty, I got much more per book sold.  My Pennsylvania Profiles series of books have sold by the thousands.

I left the state job in 1978, two years after I started the cartoon.  I have never held a job since.  The secret of my success in self-syndication is the fact that I found a niche:  doing illustrated stories (you can call them cartoons) on local history,  particularly stories your history teacher never heard of.  I carried this formula to Texas, New York City, and Washington DC. 

I have tried different methods to market my strips.  I created a mailing piece for Pennsylvania Profiles and Texas Lore. A few days after sending it out, I called every editor. You can imagine the shoot-downs, and the "we have no space..." excuses.  Later, I made personal calls on many of the editors. I could not crack the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh papers.

Sequence of Texas Lore panels, as they appeared in books
For Texas, I first approached the Houston Post.  Having learned that Oveta Culp Hobby owned it, I was intrigued. You see, while in high school during the '50s, the Feds started a new cabinet department, Health, Education, and Welfare.  President Eisenhower appointed Oveta Culp Hobby to be its first Secretary.  Also, Mrs. or should I say Colonel, Hobby was the first Commandant of the Women's Army Corps (WACs).  It was a reward to her by FDR in appreciation for her husband, Governor Hobby of Texas, helping to carry his state for the Democrats in the 1940 election.

 At the time I was struggling with a regional cartoon for the Southern States called "Southern Heritage."  I wanted to Call it "Southern Exposures." but Duke or some such university was already using the name in one of their publications.  Anyway, I sent Mrs. Hobby a sample of my Southern Heritage feature and offered to do a similar one about Texas.  Next thing, her managing editor wrote me and told me to send him something.  Having learned my lesson about "lack of space" I made the Texas feature a vertical 2-column job.

Why Texas, you might ask.  I figured correctly that the Texans are so full of themselves that they'd jump at such a cartoon.  The Houston Post took on the cartoon and ran it until they folded about 6 years later.  The Chronicle ran it for a while during the Texas Sesquicentennial then dropped it.

With the Houston Post on board, I did a mass mailing to all the Texas newspaper editors. Then, my wife and I planned a week-long trip there. I found out that the big syndicates sold their new features to big papers, then offered it to smaller ones.  That is the route I followed in Texas.  I had set up appointments with papers in Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin.

My appointment in Dallas was with the Tribune (actually I forgot the name).  When we got there I was kept waiting for an hour because the editor forgot about the appointment. Once in the meeting he said he was most impressed, then asked if I had shown it to the guys "across the street", meaning the Dallas Morning News.

 I said "No, but I will meet with them if you say one of two things to me: 'No, we do not want it' or 'We will think about it;" because it has been my experience that when an editor says he'll think about it, his answer always ends up being no.  The Trib editor said he will think about it but asked that I give him until Wednesday before I go the the News (it was now Monday).

We left the office and went directly to the News.  Their editor had already told me that they would not see me personally, and asked that I either mail or leave my presentation in the desk at the lobby; so that's what I did.  That Wednesday we were in Austin getting shot down by the Statesman. Afterwards I call the Trib editor and, true to form, he rejected the feature.  (Just desserts --- about ten years later that paper folded.)

Then I called the Morning News.  They were all excited.  As soon as they opened my envelope they tried to call me ... at my studio in Pennsylvania.  Anyway, here I was calling them, and they took it on! I remained with them until they dropped me 20 years later, as they were shrinking their paper.  I never tried to get reinstated, figuring "20 years was enough to give to Texas."

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Monday, April 29, 2013


Obscurity of the Day: Odd Fact

 When I finally managed to find proof that this elusive newspaper panel cartoon existed, I had the dumbest thought. To wit, "Wow, finally I have proof that the great Will Eisner did a newspaper comic -- how cool is that!" I hate to admit just how long that thought rolled around in my pea-brain before the inanity of it finally dawned on me. Sheesh.

So anyway, now that my confession is out of the way, let's get on with Odd Fact, by the great *ahem* newspaper cartoonist, Will Eisner. In the 1970s, after his involvement with P*S ended and before he started doing his popular and critically acclaimed graphic novels,  Eisner was casting about for opportunities. He did some illustrated books seemingly designed to appeal to the supermarket checkout line buyer (my favorite -- How To Talk To Your Plants) and he created Odd Fact.

I know little of the background of this panel cartoon, and it holds some mysteries for me. What I do know is that Editor & Publisher listed it in their 1975 and 1976 syndicate directories, crediting Register & Tribune Syndicate for distribution. That's the only indication of that fact, since Eisner evidently talked the syndicate into distributing his feature while allowing him to retain his copyright. That's unusual to say the least, especially since Eisner's name, quite frankly, didn't carry much weight to a newspaper syndicate in the mid-70s.He must have done some very smooth talking to the syndicate to get that treatment.

If the Milwaukee Journal is any indication, and it is the one place I've found Odd Fact running, syndication began on October 6 1975. That date is open for revision, since E&P's directory, published in July 1975, would seem to indicate it might have been available earlier.  I do know that Eisner used a 1975 copyright slug well into 1976, so when you see January and February dates with a 1975 copyright on them, don't be fooled -- they are from 1976.

As for an end date, I'm no more certain. I've seen some originals with May 1976 dates, but the latest I've seen actually running are from March 1976 (again, in the Milwaukee Journal).  However, since E&P advertised the feature again in July 1976, other papers may have run it longer.

The final odd fact about Odd Fact is that there is a book of the feature. Titled Odd Facts and published by Tempo/Grosset & Dunlap, it is a collection of Odd Fact panel cartoons (minus the masthead) plus additional text-only pieces. The copyright is 1975, but there is no publishing date, and there is no reference to the availability of a newspaper feature. It seems likely that the book pre-dates the newspaper feature, and perhaps was used by Eisner as a marketing tool to demonstrate to the syndicate that there was reader interest in Odd Fact.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


I agree Jim. Despite rooms filled with books (at some point, some will have to go), I prefer a real book not electronic dots on a screen.

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