Tuesday, July 08, 2014


Obscurity of the Day: Biff and Bang

Western Newspaper Union would occasionally buy up old stock of a dead comic strip, and Biff and Bang seems to come under that heading. Some prowling around the interwebs has brought me a few little nuggets of information about Frederick H. Cumberworth, the author of these rather prosaic strips about a set of mischievous twins Seems he was a Kiwi originally, but spent a lot of time (1890s - 1930s) in Australia as a cartoonist. In the 30s he seems to have moved on to Great Britain, where he seems to have spent perhaps as little as a few years.

Where and for whom he originally produced the strip Biff and Bang (or whatever it was originally called) I cannot determine, but in the 1930s it was reprinted in a German publication under the heading "Funny stories of an Australian cartoonist". 

I consider the term 'funny' being applied to these strips debatable. The pantomime form is a demanding one, though, so I suppose I owe Mr. Cumberworth a break since he was working with one funnybone tied behind his back.

Western Newspaper Union used the strip as one of its stable of weekly offerings from May 21 1942 to February 16 1944. Also worth mentioning is that the elusive Watkins Syndicate advertised a strip by Mr. Cumberworth in 1939 titled Buzz and Biff. My guess is that they were attempting to sell reprints of this same strip, just under a slightly different title.


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