Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: George Scarbo

Peter George Scarbo was born in Minnesota on August 10, 1898, according to his World War I draft card. He has not been found in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. In the 1905 Minnesota Decennial Census, he was the oldest of three sons born to Gustaf and Gertrude; his family name was spelled “Skarbo” which was the spelling for his grandfather and father in the 1895 Minnesota Decennial Census. His father was a Norwegian emigrant and a farmer.

In the 1910 census the family lived in Cass Lake, Minnesota; the village did not have street addresses. His father was a laborer who did odd jobs. Scarbo signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918; he spelled his surname with a “c” instead of a “k”. His occupation was laborer and described as medium height and build with blue eyes and brown hair.

In 1920 the Scarbos, with a “c”, remained in Cass Lake; the family had added a daughter. Scarbo and his father worked at a saw mill. Information on his art training has not been found. His father passed away in April 1929 according to the Minnesota, Death Index, 1908-2002 at Ancestry.com.

Brownsville Herald (Texas), Comic Zoo, 8/23/1936

Brownsville Herald (Texas), Comic Zoo
with Scrapbook Sketches, 2/28/1937

Comic Zoo with Scrapbook Sketches, 8/22/1937
original art courtesy of Heritage Auctions

Scarbo married Margaret when he was 27 years old, according to the 1930 census. The couple and his mother lived in Toledo, Ohio at 1232 1/2 Superior Street. He was a newspaper artist. In April 1933 he took over the art chores on The Clownies. Other strips he produced were Scrapbook Sketches, Animal Cracks, and Comic Zoo

At some point before 1935 he moved to Cleveland where he lived at 11906 Brighton, according to the 1940 census. The newspaper artist had four years of high school education.

Scarbo passed away on February 13, 1966 in Cleveland. His death was reported in The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio) on February 15.
George Scarbo, 67, a cartoonist for the Newspaper Enterprise Association for 30 years, died Sunday on Lutheran Hospital after a long illness.
He came to Cleveland in 1931 from Toledo, where he had worked for the old Toledo News-Bee.
In 1934 he started a comic strip called "Tiny Mites," but soon returned to editorial cartoons.
Mr. Scarbo is survived by his wife, Margaret; two brothers, Herman and Arthur, and his mother, Gertrude, all of Cass Lake, Minn. The Scarbo home is at 11906 Brighton Avenue S.W.
Services will be at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 20300 Hilliard Boulevard, Rocky River, at 1:30 p.m. today.
His mother passed away April 1973 according to the Social Security Death Index. 

—Alex Jay


George Scarbo is one of my favorite funny animal cartoonists. "The Comic Zoo" has such rich drawing in it, and beautiful inking. I'm not sure if he favored pen or brush. The little bear characters he did were certainly worthy rivals of Jimmy Swinnerton's pioneering bear cartoons. I wish there was a book collection of "The Comic Zoo". Thanks Allan and Alex Jay for throwing the spotlight over Scarbo's way.
Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]