Wednesday, April 24, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Stubby Stout

In the final days of World War II, on the day Hitler committed suicide as the allies entered Berlin, the struggling comics syndication arm of the Associated Press tried out a new comic strip in their blanket service titled Stubby Stout. Meant purely as a fun antidote to war news elsewhere in the paper, the strip concerned a wacky maintenance man, and though the gags were nothing to write home about, the wonderful art sure did make it fun to look at.

I know very little about the cartooning life of creator Ernie Hager, but based on his style I'd be surprised if he didn't spend some time at Disney. He sure does have a Paul Murry flavor to his work. A short obituary at Find A Grave confirms he was a west coast guy, so it seems like a good possibility. I also wonder if Hager was kin to the other west coast Hager cartooning folk, Dok Hager and his son George Hager.

Nice art aside, the subscribers to the AP service did not seem to have the space or inclination to add Stubby (as it was apparently always abbreviated except in promos) to their line-ups. I have yet to find a newspaper that ran the daily-only strip from the start date of April 30 1945 supplied by Dave Strickler in his E&P Syndicate Directory reference. The latest end date found so far is March 9 1946, courtesy of Jeffrey Lindenblatt, in the Big Spring Herald.


The lettering on this strip is agonizingly familiar. It's similar to Frank Engli but it's not him...looks a lot like the letterer on George Wunder's early Terry strips. Somewhere I read that was Ben Oda. Or was it?
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