Wednesday, March 04, 2015


The Syndicated Features Corporation Puzzle

Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 is often cited as the source that said Will Eisner and Jerry Iger formed a business called the Eisner and Iger Studio, that was also known as the Syndicated Features Corporation. I have been unable to find any evidence to support that claim. The business name, Universal Phoenix Feature Syndicate, is mentioned in two books about Eisner.

In Bob Andelman’s book, Will Eisner: A Spirited Life (2005), he wrote:

As the workload rapidly increased—Eisner & Iger created the Universal Phoenix Feature Syndicate to distribute their creations globally—they hired other artists and parceled out the assignments to a young but immensely talented (and fast) stable of artists. The bull-pen continued the books in whatever style Eisner established….
Will Eisner: A Dreamer’s Life in Comics (2010), by Michael Schumacher, said:
The Eisner & Iger company had been around only a few months when the two partners, buoyed by the early response to the company, decide to create their own comics syndicate. Universal Phoenix Features Syndicate, initially designed to handle foreign clients…quickly found a market in the United States…
In an interview with the Cubic Zirconia Reader, Jerry Iger referred to the syndicate as Universal Phoenix Features.

The founders of the Eisner and Iger Studio never called their syndicate business Syndicated Features Corporation.

The Syndicated Features Corporation produced a Sunday color-comics section with eight strips: Adventures of Nervy Nerts by George Scott; Adventures of the Red Mask by George West; Happy and His Pappy by Kin Platt; The Jamms by Crawford Young; Jigger by Gus Jud; Peggy Wow by Ray McGill; Pop’s Night Out by Dick Dorgan; and Silly Willie by Roy B. Nyles, the pseudonym of Loy Byrnes. The comics ran from July 13, 1936 to March 8, 1937. A few years later, the comics were reprinted in Best Comics. Happy and His Pappy also appeared in Startling Comics. None of these artists were associated with the Eisner and Iger Studio.

The owner of the Syndicated Features Corporation was mentioned in Michael Vance’s book, Forbidden Adventures: The History of the American Comics Group (1996). Regarding American Comics Group (ACG) writer and editor, Richard Hughes, Vance wrote:

Hughes’s opportunity came as a result of being in the right place at the right time—New York City, at the birth of a new art form. It was his talent, however, that secured him his position with Syndicated Features Corporation, one of the many branches of the Sangor Shop.
The Sangor Shop was a reference to Benjamin William “Ben” Sangor, a lawyer, real estate developer and publisher. Who’s Who said Sangor was a publisher of soft porn pulp magazines during the 1930s. Sangor ventured into comic strips through his Syndicated Features Corporation which may have produced other material for newspapers.

The Wikipedia entry for ACG explained the origin of the company:

The company evolved out of a company owned by Sangor. In the mid-1930s, Sangor and Richard E. Hughes began to produce a short-lived prepackaged comics supplement for newspapers.
Although this statement was not sourced, the existence of Syndicated Features Corporation’s 1936 comics supplement prove it to be true.

In 1938, Sangor’s daughter, Jacquelyn, married publisher, Ned L. Pines, who wanted to get into comic book publishing. Sangor’s experience with comic strips proved useful. He knew some artists and his shop was able to deliver packages of art for Pines’s comic books and other publishers, too. One of the shop members was the aforementioned Kin Platt. And Sangor’s shop produced material for his company, ACG, which ended in 1967.

The Eisner and Iger Studio piece of the puzzle does not fit in the Syndicated Features Corporation* picture.

—Alex Jay

* According to the Robert D. Fisher Manual of Valuable & Worthless Securities (1971), Volume 13, the Syndicated Features Corporation was a Delaware company whose stock was worthless in 1940. Years later, the name was resurrected as Best Syndicated Features, Inc., which was part of ACG.

A Summary
Syndicated Features Corporation //Sangor (Strips - Comic Section)
Best Syndicated Features Inc. //Sangor (ACG)
Editorial Art Syndicate //Ned Pines
Art Syndication Company //Eisner Iger
JF Massé
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