Thursday, June 18, 2020
The Long Slow Demise of Buster Brown, Part 7: October - December 1916
In the final quarter of 1916 Outcault's new co-star Smithy continues his reign of terror, and Outcault calls upon Ross more and more often.
Out of the blue, Ross pretty much does the whole October 15 episode except the masthead and maybe a few of the faces. You have to love the line, referring to the newspaper put out by the kids, "There are no imitations in it. Illustrated by good artists. It's all the real thing." in light of the circumstances.
Starting on November 12, Ross is definitely involved, but his contributions are harder for me to quantify. In this strip I'd say story panels 7 and 10 look like Ross' work. The figures in those just don't look like anything Outcault would have drawn.
On the 19th, the whole page looks a bit slapdash, but panel 11 only seems like a Ross production.
On November 26 I see almost all Ross, except in the masthead. The faces mostly seem to be Outcault, but much else has that Ross look.
Here we have a mostly Ross page on December 3, once again Outcault just putting his signature touch to the faces of the main characters?
December 10 is an odd one, looks like several different cooks working on the soup, and none of them putting in a lot of effort. Ross is evident in some of the dresses, and story panel 8 has the 'tootor' in a signature Ross pose.
Out of the blue, good ol' Smithy has moved away. His note threatens to visit, but he seldom appeared later on. I think Smithy was a great character and his leaving makes no sense to me.
I see what looks like a Ross panel in story panel 6, but the rest seems like Outcault to me.
Back to what appears to be a 100% Outcault production on December 24.
On the final Sunday of the year, it looks to me like Ross is doing layouts and some random bits and pieces. This seems to me to be a real collaboration between the two cartoonists.
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
The Long Slow Demise of Buster Brown, Part 6: July - September 1916
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
The Long Slow Demise of Buster Brown, Part 5: April - June 1916
Monday, June 15, 2020
The Long Slow Demise of Buster Brown, Part 4 -- January - March 1916
1916 starts off with a seemingly all-Outcault strip, a good gag well told but the art is rather indifferent:
On January 9, though, Penny Ross seems to have done the figures of the two guests in story panels 1 and 11, and maybe others?
On January 16, Outcault once again draws indifferently, but breaks the fourth wall in a fun strip:
January 23 has Outcault drawing better than he has all month.
On January 30 Outcault is drawing well enough, but the script is instantly forgettable. Well, except for the horse threatening to have a cow bite Buster on the eye. My goodness!
February 3 offers us a very energetic action page. Seems to me Grandpa's poses are more like something I'd see from Ross than Outcault, but the art style still seems Outcault. Maybe Ross did layouts?
February 13 looks like Outcault except for that strange delivery boy. That doesn't look like Outcault or Ross to me.
February 20 seems like a tailor-made page for Ross's help. He's so good at depicting women in action like this. Yet I see no evidence of his style at all.
On February 27 I'm not seeing any evidence of Ross, but these first two months of 1916 just in general seem rushed-looking.
Here's Ross again, this time supplying the body and even at least once (story panel 2, and maybe 3 and 5) the face of Buster Brown. What makes this doubly weird is that Outcault is a character in this strip. Why would he get a ghost to draw a strip in which he appears? Just seems very counterintuitive to me. Did Outcault draw himself !?!?!
We seem to be back to Outcault on the 13th, but it is very poor work. Some of the faces are just awful.
Another apparent Outcault production on the 19th, this time showing considerably more effort, though the faces are still rather simply drawn. .
On March 26 Outcault introduces a new character, Smithy. Smithy manages to out-prank even Buster, all while maintaining an over-the-top sunny attitude toward his victims. Poor Buster can't figure out whether to love or hate his new neighbor. Looks like Outcault throughout to me.