Tuesday, January 07, 2014


Mystery Strips of E&P Special Edition

Following is a list of newspaper features, all discussed in the pages of Editor & Publisher in the period 1997-2009, for which I can find no direct proof that they ran in any newspaper. The idea of the mystery strip posts here on Stripper's Guide is that if you see something you recognize, and you can supply proof that it ran in a newspaper, you receive not only my undying gratitude (value: priceless) but also a goodie box of comic strip-related stuff -- tearsheets, books, memorabilia, maybe even some original art (value: sky's the limit!). Due to time constraints I have not attempted to contact the creators referenced.

An important reminder for those who don't have great reading comprehension skills: this list is of features that possibly, even likely, never ran in a newspaper. Please please PLEASE don't write on your website or article or book that Allan Holtz claims thus-and-such was a real feature that ran somewhere. I'm doing the OPPOSITE. Capisce?

All these items were culled from E&P news stories on the issues dated as indicated:

4/12/1997 -- Oliver Gaspirtz is offering a weekly panel titled Police Blotter. The panels originally started being produced as a series for law enforcement publications.

5/3/1997 -- Jay Schiller and Greg Cravens offer a self-syndicated panel cartoon titled Juxtapose.

7/12/1997 -- Casey Shaw's comic Roswell appears on the web, but also is claimed to be in the Roswell Daily Record.

8/30/1997 -- A weekly Slanted Lens 'photocomic' is offered to newspapers. The website for the feature has long since morphed into a general photography site.

9/6/1997 -- Freelance cartoonist Ross Bunch introduces a self-syndicated strip, Sweat Sox. The strip about a minor league baseball team was customizable -- they would play actual teams in the client newspaper's area.

9/13/1997 -- Sirg's Comic Corner by Richard Sirgiovanni is being self-syndicated. The creator claimed that the feature was already running in "a number of community weeklies."

12/20/1997 -- New England Features Syndicate announces the availability of three comic strips -- Cotton Candy, Rugby, and Prince Lightning, all apparently produced by syndicate president Chester Buckley. According to this site Cotton Candy apparently did run in the Portland Press-Herald.

1/17/1998 -- Jerry Buckley, artist for Express Newspapers of Bucks County Pennsylvania and Mail newspapers of Burlington County New Jersey, is self-syndicating a weekly panel titled Wendel.

5/8/1999 -- The Washington Post Writers Group unveiled 12:01 by Thomas Boldt. WPWG seems to generally have a golden touch with features, but this one apparently disappeared without a trace.

5/22/1999 -- New syndicate Paradigm-TSA announces their strips. I know that ffarm.com ran, but has anyone seen Warp Wilson by Mel Casson and William F. Brown, Patent Nonsense by Roy Doty, or Greenhouse Effect by Jeff Barfoot?

6/19/1999, 10/8/2001 -- R.A. Sirgiovanni offers Urban Philosphy, to be available in either English or Spanish. Seems to be an article about the feature at this location but I can't get it to load.

7/17/1999 -- Peter Ramirez is trying to interest syndicates in his strip Raising Hector with little luck. I know he eventually self-syndicated to newspapers, but does anyone know when that began?

5/8/2000 -- Che Rippinger self-syndicates a panel titled Touche. Based on the website it seems like the feature was produced daily from 1999-2001. According to the promotional info, it may have been in the Denver Post. Anyone see it there or elsewhere?

5/8/2000 -- Bill Costello's Bizzy's Home Biz is being offered, self-syndicated via BBS (how many of you whippersnappers even know what that is!).

7/24/2000 -- Australian star cartoonist Jim Russell produced a series of 26 cartoons about the Olympics -- titled Olympic Circles -- for worldwide distribution. Did any US newspapers run them?

11/6/2000 -- Apparently Long Island's Newsday was running a three-times-a-week comic strip called Chip Tracer on their 'Student Briefing Page'. The educational stories were then periodically collected into comic books published by the Newseum. I find quite a few mentions of this comic around the web, but nothing that indicates running dates in Newsday.

12/18/2000 -- Yesterday's News by Bill Rielly is being offered in self-syndication.

12/18/2000 -- Gus Cooks by Ralph and Darrah Baden is being self-syndicated.

1/22/2001 -- Everybody's Business by Matt Tolbert and Ken Roberts celebrates their tenth anniversary in newspapers. But which newspapers? According to Matt Tolbert's website the feature ran in over 200 papers. So how have I managed to miss it?

3/12/2001 -- Looks like Sea Urchins by Jason Whitley and Scott Eckelart did indeed appear in the Myrtle Beach Sun News, as evidenced here, probably starting 2/26/01. But how long did it run, and does that reprint book in the image really exist? I can't find a copy online. [The creators contacted me and have now provided ample evidence of the strip running -- see new posts about Sea Urchins on this blog -- Allan]

6/30/2001 -- Russ Miller's Oddly Enough panels are signed up by startup syndicator At Large Features. Checking syndicate directories, the feature made the rounds of several minor syndicates starting in 1998. Oddly enough, the panel was collected in a comic book that, for some unknown reason, is advertised on various websites for over $100. Dunno why it would command such prices.[Russell Miller writes to tell me that his sales through these syndicates seem to have been mostly or all overseas; also, the feature was not a cartoon panel, but rather an illustrated column. He has no idea why the comic book is offered at such stratospheric prices -- thank you Russell!]

8/6/2001 -- Mike Black is self-syndicating a panel titled Dark Humor. Only evidence I can find of it is an apparently ghost-drawn sample.

11/5/2001 -- At Large Features announces a new comic strip, Way Out West, by Robert Snyder and John Whelan.

11/19/2001 -- Another At Large Feature offering, Hair of the Dawg by Quinn Williams. The creator got his moment on TV, and Google seems to find him on several social networks, which I can't access. Did the strip ever succeed in finding newspaper clients?

11/26/2001 -- Richard Harris Jr., who apparently did a cartoon called CheapSeats for Newsday, evidenced by a reprint book, announces a new comic strip titled What the Black. Any evidence of either feature running in newspapers available? I ordered the CheapSeats book, just seems to be sports cartoons, not really getting a series vibe.

3/11/2002 -- Robert Berardi and Pedro Hernandez Jr. are offering a new comic strip, No Rodeo, to newspapers. Later developments were found on the web: this 2005 newspaper article makes no mention of it appearing in newspapers, and this newsgroup discussion from 2004 says the strip has been signed by Creators Syndicate to a 15-year (!?!?!) development deal after another development deal with United Media fell through.

3/18/2002 -- A Universal Press Syndicate advertisement offers True North by Kevin Frank as one of their "new stars." The creator calls it the saga of an American moving to Canada. Despite my Canadan pride, I can easily imagine the idea falling flat with U.S. newspaper editors. Did it run anywhere in the U.S.? [Danny Sichel contacted the creator, who says "[True North] WAS picked up by 2 US border papers, Seattle Post Intelligencer, and Detroit Free Press (...) But [they] didn't actually print it." He notified all his friends in those cities, and they bought the paper on the day that he expected the strip to begin appearing... and they all called him to say "your strip isn't here?" - he was very disappointed.]

5/20/2002 -- Everyday People is being offered for syndication by creator Cathy Thorne. The creator's website indicates that the weekly panel appears/appeared in two U.S. newspapers -- the Ventura County Star and the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Anyone seen it?

9/23/2002 -- Signe Wilkinson signs up with Washington Post Writers Group to distribute thrice weekly political comic strip Shrubbery. Supposedly began on 9/17/2002 in Wilkinson's home paper, the Philadelphia Daily News. One website shows strips as late as July 2003. Can anyone verify its regular appearance anywhere?

July 2004 -- an advertisement for Brain Squirts, created and syndicated by Frank Cummings, appears. I found a few samples online.

January 2005 -- an article about M.E. Russell's comic strip CulturePulp, which apparently ran every other Friday in the A&E section of the Portland Oregonian starting April 2004. The creator has an extensive website, but I can't get a handle on whether the strip actually ran in the newspaper or more often just on the paper's website. It also seems to have slowly ground to a halt, but the strips aren't dated so I can't tell when that might have happened.

March 2006 -- John Kovalic is a fount of mystery strips in this article. He is offering his comic book series and online comic strip, Dork Tower, to newspapers. Did it ever get picked up? He's also developing a newspaper comic strip titled Newbies with Liz Rathke. How about that one? And for that matter, what about The Wild Life, which he says was syndicated in the 1980s by Chronicle Features.


Kovalic's Wild Life supposedly ran in the Wisconsin State Journal during the time Kovalic was an editorial cartoonist there (circa mid/late 1990s).
I have way too many dates for Raising Hector by Peter Ramirez. There's the 2006 date when it got on with TribMedia. Then I have it starting on January 3, 2000 - running in the Rocky Mountain News as a self-syndicated strip. But I also have it starting circa December 1995 as a self-syndicated strip titled "Raising Hec" (no paper associated with that date).
A conversation at the time said that Thomas Boldt's 12:01 was running in the Boston Globe, and ran as a summer replacement for the Non Sequitur reruns of 1999 in the CinCinnati Post and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It was also claimed that Boldt called it quits (bolted) early in the run due to personal reasons.
Hi DD --
Thanks very much for throwing some good punches at this list.

I will put Rocky Mountain News on my research list to check for Raising Hector. After several re-readings of the articles about Ramirez, I think he's saying that the earlier incarnations were online or maybe magazines or something. But I could be misunderstanding...

I did see a newsgroup note about 12:01 running as a temporary replacement in the Cincinnati Post. I'm still not absolutely decided on whether such trial appearances, which are typically a freebie from the syndicate, should be considered a 'real' appearance. It's tough. But I'll put the Boston Globe on my list to check.

Thanks, Allan
I was able to get the article about Sirgiovanni's "Urban Philosophy" to load -- strip off everything in the URL after the letters "pdf" and it should work.


The article appears on page 8 of the link and claims that "Urban Philosophy and Faboo [its main character] have been featured on ABC's Eyewitness News and have appeared in The Newark Star Ledger, The Daily News and in various community newspapers.
Mike Russell here. Yes, CulturePulp did in fact appear in print in The Oregonian's A&E section on occasion from 2004-12. I'll email you more details in a sec.
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Monday, January 06, 2014


Mystery Strips of E&P Special Edition -- Preamble and Free Offer

In the ongoing attempt to chip away at the edges of my collection, attention has fallen upon the extensive collection of Editor & Publisher magazines in the archives.

I'm having misgivings about the prospect of getting rid of all the bound volumes, of which there are a hundred or so, but I decided that the loose issues that represent my subscription to the magazine from 1997-2009 are going to have to face the chopping block.

I subscribed to E&P to be in on industry news as it happened. My primary interest, of course, was in the syndicate section of each issue, which almost invariably featured a good article about a cartoonist, plus stories of new strips and panels being offered, syndicate changes, awards and so on. However, once I started receiving the magazine I found that the rest of its contents were pretty darn interesting too. Sure
there's dry stuff about comings and goings at the nation's newspapers, but there were also a lot of very interesting articles about how major stories were covered, discussions about trends in newspaper journalism and so on. Of course in those years there were some really interesting developments like the internet, 9-11, the Iraq war, the botched 2000 election -- all of which were covered extensively, and from a unique perspective, by E&P.

I stuck with E&P pretty much to the bitter end, even after their syndicate coverage suffered greatly by canning editor Dave Astor around 2008. Then the print edition became so expensive that I could no longer sign the annual check without breaking into a cold sweat and I had to give it up like a bad habit.

The Big Offer

But now those 1997-2009 issues have got to go. If any Stripper's Guide reader is interested in being the new owner of this collection, I'm asking only that you pay the cost of postage. If no fellow researcher here wants to give the collection a good home, it'll go up on eBay.

I don't imagine I should expect a real torrent of requests, but just to be on the safe side, let's set the rules. If you contact me and say you want the magazines, include your mailing address. I will then figure out the postage to get the collection to you (Media Mail, cheapest way I can find), ask you if that's okay, and send you a Paypal invoice, which you pay. First person to complete that process is who gets it. No whining if you're slow on the draw please.

[[ Alert: the magazines have been spoken for ]]


 Before letting these magazines go, I made one final pass through them, looking for articles about features I've never seen. Tomorrow's post will be a list of those mystery strips I've found, along with my usual begging that if you know anything about them, or joy of joys, have proof that they ran in some paper, to please contact me.


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Sunday, January 05, 2014


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


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Saturday, January 04, 2014


Herriman Saturday

Wednesday, May 20 1908 -- We covered some of the explanatory ground for this cartoon last week, when Herriman reported on Theodore A. Bell taking over the helm of the California Democratic Party. Today's cartoon shows what Bell and associates did as one of their first acts, which was to give the back of his hand to the delegation from Los Angeles.

The story is long and convoluted, but suffice to say that serious charges were proffered against an L.A. delegate,  R.F. Goings, for being a corrupting influence and a Republican infiltrator. Much shouting and some fisticuffs followed, and after the melee all the L.A. delegates were tarred with the brush of being pals of Goings and were censured.

All in all, not a proud day for Los Angeles.


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Friday, January 03, 2014


Sci-Friday starring Adam Chase: Conclusion by Russ Morgan

To the nice folks who have followed Adam Chase for the last year:

Adam Chase was the result of my desire to produce a sci-fi story in comic strip form. It actually started before Star Trek and, of course, a decade or so before Star Wars. In doing the strip on a weekly basis I would usually spend a week of spare time penciling four or five panels and the next week inking them in. It was a labor of love, not for any monetary gain.

I kept tear sheets (I worked at the paper as a staff artist) and actually had the first year bound in a book, which Allan used to scan for the images you have seen. His scans were many times sharper than the original tear sheets and he deserves many kudos for doing such a great job. Unfortunately, I did save tear sheets of the second year but they have been lost or misplaced and, to my knowledge, there are none left on the planet.

Allan and I discussed the possibility of running the second year using the black and white originals. Unfortunately, again, many installments in the latter part of the adventure are missing … enough that the continuity of the story, and the ending, is greatly compromised. If those missing tear sheets surface at some point in the future, perhaps Adam can reappear.

For those who want to know how it all ends now, read on.

Adam, Chuck and Zonn have returned to Earth with news of an impending alien invasion.

World leaders are eventually warned and a battle plan and defense of the planet is devised. It is discovered that the Universors have been using our moon as a base of their own. Tor and the rest of the martian star fleet arrive and are met at a remote desert location by Adam, Chuck and Zonn, along with military leaders.

The location of the Universor base is discovered and successfully attacked by the Martian star fleet. The leader of the Universors, from his distant planet elsewhere in the galaxy, warns that earth will be destroyed to gain its natural resources. (They’ve done this before).

Taking the offensive, with the Martian star fleet at their command, Adam and Zonn streak across the galaxy and engage the enemy on their own turf. Unfortunately, it was a one way trip, as the only way to get rid of the Universors was to destroy their planet. Adam, Chuck and Zonn were able to sabotage their power center and destroy their world. Presumably, they lost their own lives in saving mankind, but their actual whereabouts is still unknown.

Thank you again for your interest and readership-
Russ Morgan


~ Wow! What a great storyline for year two and the conclusion! Russ, thanks so much for sharing Adam Chase with everyone. I'm hoping the tear sheets or originals will show up someday. Adam Chase has a mod-1960's feel to it and as a child of the 60's I felt right at home!
I would second the comment, Mr. Chase, regarding thanks. I enjoyed the strip, and it is a shame that the rest of it is not available. I hope that it does turn up.

Space operas, for me, never grow stale.
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Thursday, January 02, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Russell Cole

Russell Alger Cole was born in Marysville, Kansas on September 18, 1889, according to his World War I draft card and passport application. He was the oldest of two children born to John and Mollie, as recorded in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. They lived in Marysville where his father was register of deeds. The family was recorded in the 1905 Kansas State Census.

In 1905, Cole attended the University of Kansas. In the school’s 1906 yearbook, The Jayhawker, Cole was a pledge at Sigma Alpha Epsilon. According to the Graduate Magazine, April 1922, he was in the class of 1909 but completed only one year.

Cole’s father passed away before the 1910 census. Cole lived with his mother and sister on Elm Street in Marysville; his occupation was cartoonist.

Cole signed his World War I draft card on June 5, 1917. His address was 3205 Grand Avenue in Des Moines, Iowa, and occupation was newspaper artist at the Des Moines Register and Tribune. His description was tall, medium build with blue eyes and light brown hair. His service was reported in the Editor & Publisher, June 15, 1918, and The American Printer, July 5, 1918.

Cole has not been found in the 1920 census, but his mother remained in Marysville, and his sister, Miriam, was a teacher in Des Moines.

The Fourth Estate, September 3, 1921, covered the annual Des Moines Printers’ Golf tournament and said Cole was paired with a writer.

The University of Kansas Graduate Magazine, April 1922, said his address was 2714 Ingersoll Avenue in Des Moines.

Cole’s title picture panel was syndicated as early as May 1922; he drew a picture and readers were encouraged, with prize money, to write a title for it. 

Augusta Chronicle 5/20/1922

Augusta Chronicle 8/6/1922

Cole’s passport application, at Ancestry.com, said he intended to visit England and Europe. On August 8, 1924, Cole sailed from Montreal, Canada. He returned on October 31. According to the passenger list, he lived at 722 18th Street in Des Moines.

In the 1925 Iowa State Census, Cole was the head of the household which included his mother and sister.

Cole’s Pippin Junction was a daily that began in 1926. The date of Cole’s move to New York City is not known. In 1929, his comic strip, Marge, was published in the New York Evening Graphic.

Cole has not been found in the 1930 census. Beginning in 1936 he worked in the comic book industry; a list of his credits is hereIowa Artists of the First Hundred Years (1939) had an entry on Cole: 
Cole, Russell, 431 Riverside Drive, New York City. Art Department Associated Press, New York City. Cartoonist and illustrator.Lived in Iowa for a number of years and was one of the staff artists on Des Moines Register and Tribune.
The 1940 census recorded newspaper cartoonist Cole in Manhattan, New York City, at 431 Riverside Drive, where he had been living since 1935. He shared the apartment with an insurance lawyer, an oil distributor typist, and public school teacher.

Cole signed his World War II draft card on April 25, 1942, and resided at 410 Riverside Drive in Manhattan. He was five feet ten-and-a-half inches, 130 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair.

Cole’s submission was published in the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Third Series, Volume 15, Part 1, Number 2, Book and Pamphlets, July–December 1961: 

Cole, Russell Alger. Songs father sang; another Russ Cole roundup of favorites of the centuries. © Russ Cole; 11Dec61; A536489.
According to the U.S. Veterans Gravesites at Ancestry.com, Cole passed away January 27, 1967, and was buried at the Fayetteville National Cemetery in Arkansas.

—Alex Jay 


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Wednesday, January 01, 2014


Obscurity of the Day: The Maestro and Amalita

You have to give cartoonist Werner Wejp-Olsen Brownie points for selling Field Enterprises on a strip about an opera company. If there's anything the average American is more clueless about, and downright disinterested in, than opera, it doesn't come to my mind.Talk about selling ice cubes to Eskimos!

As you might surmise from his chosen subject, Wejp-Olsen (who often goes by the slightly rearranged acronym 'WOW') ain't from 'round these parts; he is Danish. Despite the handicap of distance he has had good and consistent success in marketing his comic strips over here. The Maestro and Amalita is the second of at least five series he has placed with syndicates in the U.S. (the first was Granny and Slowpoke).

The Maestro and Amalita, whatever its assets might have been, was doomed from the start by its subject. It is only known to have run for about five months, and that in just a few papers. Running dates in the only place I've found it, the Detroit News, were October 30 1978 to March 3 1979. Ohio State University apparently has the original art to a Sunday dated April 2 1979, so perhaps somewhere it ran a bit longer.


Hi Alan,
The Torrance Daily Breeze ran this strip from Jan. 1, 1979 to April 29th, 1979. That may have been the end of the strip?

Thanks Cliff! I don't suppose we're lucky enough that the 4/29 strip had a farewell message, right? In any case that's the end date until we find out different.

Best, Allan
Hi Allan,
The 4/29 strip was about aliens who visit Earth and make fun of Opera. No main characters even appear in this strip. Very odd page.

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