Monday, June 21, 2021

 

Obscurity of the Day: The Diary of Snubs, Our Dog

 





A comic strip that ran for over thirty years, was reprinted in at least five books, and was lovingly remembered by readers wouldn't seem to be much of an obscurity. However, if you weren't a reader of the Christian Science Monitor, chances are you never heard of one of their premier features, The Diary of Snubs, Our Dog

Although the Monitor wasn't exactly a treasure house of comics content, what little they ran were, generally speaking, quite good. Despite restrictions on content (or perhaps because, one might argue) their low-key, gentle comics managed to be pleasantly heartwarming and entertaining.

The Monitor's first comic was The Busyville Bees, which ran from 1910 to 1918. After a long fallow period with no more comics, The Diary of Snubs, Our Dog was added on June 4 1923. The new feature, which ran under the title A Little Dog's Diary for the first two installments, was by Paul Carmack. Carmack supposedly created the feature for the Prairie Farmer weekly magazine before it began in the Monitor, but I have not been able to confirm that (Carmack was the cartoonist on The Adventures of Slim and Spud for that magazine).

Carmack really had his sights set on being an editorial cartoonist, but if he didn't have his heart in the strip, it certainly didn't show. The episodes, told from the perspective of the pup Snubs and featuring his youthful master, known to the dog as "The Boss", are little nostalgia-tinged anecdotes in the life of a boy and his dog that are quietly thrilling, especially for those of us who were lucky enough to have such a dog companion in our youth (mine was named Trixie). Readers marveled at how Carmack seemed to remember all those little adventures a boy and his dog had together, and skillfully interpreted the bemused mind of the dog, trying to understand what goes on in the world of the humans.

The new strip did not run on a daily basis (generally 2-3 times per week) during Carmack's tenure, and until the 1930s ran in the vertical box format shown above; eventually the feature transitioned into a typical strip format. 

Carmack begged off from the Snubs strip as his editorial cartoons became more and more popular, often reprinted in mainstream papers. On March 1 1939, Richard Rodgers took over on the strip. Rodgers did an impressive job of channeling Carmack, both in art and writing. He did bring a little more continuity into the strip, telling occasional extended stories. Carmack had also engaged in continuities, but they were generally of the type seen above, where a group of strips tells of The Boss and his dog attending a summer boys' camp, not really plot-heavy tales.





Rodgers saw the pup through the war years, but was replaced by another new artist, Ted Miller, on September 16 1947. As with mainstream strips, by 1947 the Monitor's strips had been reduced in size, and Miller simplified and modernized the art a bit to go along with the new format. He also more often strayed from the diary format, in which the strip is narrated by Snubs; more often the narration was now actually dialogue, just not in word balloons. 




On the last day of August 1954, the Christian Science Monitor shut down most of its strips, including The Diary of Snubs, Our Dog. Only Guernsey LePelley's Tubby and Buddy and Company and non-series gag cartoons would survive the change in editorial direction. 

Coming next, Alex Jay's Ink-Slinger Profiles of Snubs' later artists, Richard Rodgers and Ted Miller.

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Sunday, June 20, 2021

 

Wish You Were Here, from Grace Drayton (?)

 

Here's the famous Campbell's Soup Kids, who were created by Grace Drayton in 1904. These promotional cards seem to have been issued as a set of four, and the perforations seen on the cards would seem to indicate that they were attached to each other in pairs. There are also two versions of the cards, one set with the added text "10 cents a can". This card was postally used in 1909, probably the year of issue. 

I can't decide if these cards feature Drayton art or not. Some of the kids seem like they are spot on (the girl in the yellow frock particularly) while others seem just a little off. What do you think? 


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Hello Allan-
To my gimlet eye, this is not by Grace Drayton, the kids are perhaps "inspired" by her. The hard outlines aren't hers, and her kids would be a bit fatter than these.
Also their heads would be more disproportionately large. This artist has them in a much more realistic configuration. Most telling, I would think at this time, niether her signature or any accreditation is seen, and hers would be a well known name.
Perhaps she was not working for Campbell at that moment, though she definately would be back. Might be that there would be a conflict with her North American contract, or that of other Post Card printers.
 
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Saturday, June 19, 2021

 

Herriman Saturday: February 9 1910

 

February 9 1910 -- The morning after the big upset, Fireman Jim Flynn knocking out Sam Langford, the sports page is abuzz with the news. Herriman, though, for some reason ignores the big sporting news and does a one-shot strip on the sports page.

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Friday, June 18, 2021

 

Obscurity of the Day: Katy-did

 

Frank Ladendorf was a pioneer of the funnies pages, but is little remembered because his material just couldn't compare to others like Outcault, Opper and Dirks. He was with the New York World for years, and his last comics section contribution was no soaring coda, but more of a last gasp. Katy-did is your typical naughty kid strip, the only thing unusual about it is that it stars a girl. It was one of the quarter-page World strips, and only made it into the syndicated version three times, from March 15 to 29 1908. According to Ken Barker's World index, it ran in the flagship paper a few extra times, from March 1 to 29 (apparently the syndicated version used Jay Jones - His Camera rather than the Ladendorf strips). 

Our sample above is the final strip in the series, and bids goodbye to Ladendorf's comic section career by cutting off the right edges of his panels so that his final signature is partially missing. Not quite the gold watch treatment...

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Hello Allan-
Can it be that the reason it's trimmed this way be because it was drawn to configure to a Pulitzer daily size?
 
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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

 

Obscurity of the Day: Ug

 




Tom Wilson Sr. made his indelible mark on the comic strip world with Ziggy in the 1970s. His son, Tom, Jr., after an unrewarding stint as an artist and product designer, determined to follow in his dad's footsteps in the 1980s. He came up with Ug, a strip starring a gentle and somewhat befuddled furry giant of indeterminate species, and his pal, Bogey, a worldy wise bird who serves as the George to his Lennie. 

Ug was bought by Universal Press Syndicate (which also syndicated Ziggy), and after extensive tweaking the strip was loosed on the world to a claimed 75 newspapers as a Sunday and daily strip. That's not a bad start at all, if true, but evidently it didn't take off to the extent hoped for by the cartoonist or his syndicate. The daily strip ran from April 2 1984 to December 14 1985, and the Sunday ran April 8 1984 to December 8 1985*.

My guess is that Wilson's famous name, while it may have helped him get the syndicate contract, worked against him when newspaper editors were looking at the strip. There's a certain Ziggy-ish quality to the feature that seems much amplified when you know the identity of the creator. I can see editors rejecting the feature, saying that we don't need a another Ziggy, thanks anyway. 

Tom Jr. wasn't to remain on the sidelines for long. Around 1987 he began assisting his dad on Ziggy, eventually taking it over in the 1990s. So if Ug was not a lasting success, it did serve its creator well as training for taking over his dad's feature.


*Source: All dates from John Lund based on Boston Herald.

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I'm struck by the amount of close-ups in these sample strips. Think the animated "Star Trek" cartoons from the 1970s.
 
An unusually acurately named strip.
 
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Monday, June 14, 2021

 

Obscurity of the Day: Jawnny Grin

 

Cartoonist John F. Hart was a Philadelphia newspaper institution in the 1900s-20s, but his work was mostly in puzzles and non-series cartooning. When he occasionally dipped a toe in that end of the pool his art made you want more, but his lack of ability as a comic strip writer made you wish he practiced a little more before inflicting his work on the unsuspecting public. 

Here is Jawnny Grin, which offered an admittedly out of the ordinary gag for the comics page; the basic idea is the same ole same ole, a bratty kid. But this kid has a beaming smile that can get him out of any sort of hot water. Unusual, yes, but the execution is so inept that the gag needs to be explained in the title bar. 

Philadelphia North American readers only had to put up with this stinker once, but it ran in the North American's syndicated comic section several times between June 3 and July 29 1906*. 

Thanks tyo Cole Johnson for the scan.

* Source: Boston Post

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Hello Allan-
This is surely one for the "Stupidest comics" file. I didn't realize the NA had overflow material for clients only, like the Inquirer had. Does this mean the Boston Post regularly ran such material? Is this material made to take the place of something that did appear in the NA?
 
I don't have a lot of material at hand to cross-reference, but my guess is that the North American may have been charging extra for Peck's Bad Boy, which was a licensed property. Maybe papers that weren't willing to go the extra bucks for that got stinkers like Jawnny Grin to show them the error of their ways.

--Allan
 
Hello again-
It makes sense that the Peck series could go extra, but that series didn't begin until 10 June. It and all the NA sections from start to finish have a full page cover subject, which would be syndicated as well. Is the Boston Post running some other syndicate's full page material for their cover in place of Peck? and is the "Jawnny" you see in the Post a full, and if not, does another NA subject share the page?
 
Mark --
I checked further, and the Boston Post only used two pages of NA material at this time (they ran fulls of Buster Brown and Polly Sleepyhead to round out the section). The two pages of NA material were the interior half-pagers.

So what I have in the Post on 6/17, my only date in the range needed, are Waldo and his Papa, Willie Westinghouse, Little Bill and Ben of Babylon and Jawnny Grin. In the NA on that date (unfortunately I did not record the sizes) are Peck's Bad Boy (presumably full), Little Growling Bird (presumably full), Willie Westinghouse and Little Bill and Ben. That would seem to leave a full page in the NA unaccounted for. I think that J.F. Hart puzzle feature would account for another half-page, and I don't know what would have been on the last half. That means both Waldo and Jawnny didn't make the cut in the home paper that week.

Regarding Peck starting 6/10: yes, that's probably why Jawnny Grin made it into the NA itself that single time on 6/3, along with Waldo and his Papa, one of only two times that strip made it into the NA but appeared elsewhere on more occasions.

So to sum up, my thinking now is that the J.F. Hart puzzle feature and sometimes something else (an ad?) were the items for which the NA sent out additional material they didn't run.

--Allan


 
Hello-
I think you've hit on an undetected componant of the NA, that they were fielding a complete comic section of four pages, with the two standard "inside" offerings of four half page titles, but the parent paper filled one of these pages with non-comic material.
You mention your Post has Waldo And His Papa as well as the Jawnny strip. Waldo wasn't in the NA that day either, so that must be the syndicate-only page. The NA's three page arrangement existed for years, so whole series could've never been seen there.
I made my breakdown of the North American over forty years ago. Looks like additional work should have been done with a client paper.
 
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Sunday, June 13, 2021

 

Wish You Were Here, from Archie Gunn

 

Here's a postcard issued by the Illustrated Post Card and Novelty Company during the U.S. involvement of World War I, so presumably in 1917 or '18 though the card itself is undated. It bears a code number of  136B.

Archie Gunn was a somewhat renowned 'pretty girl' artist who produced many postcards and posters. He was a regular feature in the newspaper Sunday supplements of the 1890s and into the 20th century. 

Our hard and fast rule here at Stripper's Guide is that only newspaper cartoonists rate being featured on Wish You Were Here, and Gunn admittedly has no known strip series in his credits. I believe he did, however, produce the first installment of Rice and Tapioca the Famous Pudding Brothers, albeit anonymously. So we won't make a habit of running Gunn's cards, but we'll offer him this one appearance as his due.

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Saturday, June 12, 2021

 

Herriman Saturday: February 8 1910

 

Herriman attends an auto show and meets representatives from the various companies. Other than the Auburn, which is still well-remembered today as one of the premier luxury car makers of the 1900s-1930s, all the rest are pretty much in the dustbin of history -- Rambler (revived as a nameplate decades later by Nash), Petrel, Badger and Pennsylvania.

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I really treasure these additional facets of Herriman.
 
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Friday, June 11, 2021

 

Obscurity of the Day: Tom, Dick and Harry

 

The Keeley Syndicate, based out of the Chicago Herald, couldn't seem to find clients for their Sunday comics, and no wonder, they were a pretty pathetic lot. You would never have guessed based on their crummy features that this syndicate would launch the careers of E.C. Segar, Billy DeBeck, J.P. McEvoy and, featured today, Frank Willard. 

Willard started out at the Herald doing a daily strip with no continuing title, but his first Sunday feature was Tom, Dick and Harry, which started February 7 1915. The strip starred a kid gang trio who engaged in the typical shenanigans, offering no particular hint of genius on the part of the cartoonist. Who would have guessed that Willard would soon create Moon Mullins, a strip whose popularity would keep it going for nearly seven decades. 

Tom, Dick and Harry initially ran until October 17 1915, then went on a hiatus, then returned on January 30 1916 and ran until March 25 1917. On the following Sunday Willard unveiled a new strip called Mr. and Mrs. Pippin, which was much more in keeping with Willard's interest in portraying the lower classes. 

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Hello Allan-
There's a lot of good stuff in Willard's pre-Moon years, but all of it seems to be obscure.
His time at King Features was mainly spent on "The Outta Luck Club", but he also had a short stint on "Eddie's Friends" which was the only time that feature actually funny.
 
er, ..Was funny.
 
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Wednesday, June 09, 2021

 

Toppers: Fisher's History of Boxing

 

Joe Palooka had many toppers, but it was only the very luckiest Palooka fans who got to see them. The early toppers ran in both full and tabloid version of the strip, but starting in 1936, toppers began getting lopped off of certain formats. By the 1940s they were very rarely seen because they were dropped from pretty much every format except some oddball ones. 

But that's as much as I'll say about that today, because today we're covering Fisher's History of Boxing, a topper that was included in the full and tab versions of the Sunday page in an era when anything less than that was relatively rare. This topper debuted on September 3 1933, and each week offered up short vignettes from (surprise, surprise) the history of boxing. The text on these strips was relatively mundane, but sometimes the drawings added a little levity to the proceedings, like in the sample above.

The strip ran for almost three years, finally ending on June 20 1936 by chronicling James J. Braddock's win over Max Baer, which happened in 1935. By 1936 the topper was no longer included with all tab formats; it was still available but the paper had to employ an extra long tabloid format to accommodate it. Fisher's History of Boxing would prove to be the last Joe Palooka topper seen by most readers of the strip, as subsequent series were used by fewer and fewer papers. 


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Monday, June 07, 2021

 

Obscurity of the Day: Jocko



 

Raymond "GAR" Garman was the king of the jungle animal strip on the Chicago Daily News weekday funnies page. He started contributing to the page in 1900, and did lots of panel cartoons starring jungle animals from early on, but it wasn't until 1902 that he really applied himself to a strip with a continuing jungle character. Eventually this jungle strip would devolve into having no consistent continuing characters, but originally it started out starring a monkey named Jocko ... or sometimes Chatters. This first installment of what I'm calling the Jocko series was on August 4 1902. The continuing thread to this series, as was true of most of his jungle material, was to assume the jungle kingdom had a society and personalities much like ours, just populated with hairy creatures instead of us. 

It is impossible to pin down an end date for the Jocko series, because it dovetails with lots of other jungle material, and when monkeys were featured for years to come Garman would recycle the same names over and over. About all I can say for this Jocko series is that the derby-wearing ape by that name was seen less and less in 1903, so that's about as specific an end date as I can manage. Garman continued doing jungle strips and panels throughout his tenure on the back page of the Daily News, which ended about 1912. Occasionally he would carve out an actual series, and I have documented those in my book, but a case could be made that the real listing for "GAR" is simply Jungle Strip and Panels, 1900 - 1912.

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Sunday, June 06, 2021

 

Wish You Were Here, from Buster Brown

 

Here's another one of those Magic Slate postcards that were distributed in the major Hearst papers in 1907. This one features a nice portrait of Buster Brown revealed once junior sloshes water all over the thin paper card.


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Saturday, June 05, 2021

 

Herriman Saturday: February 7 1910

 

February 7 1910 -- Herriman offers vignettes from Sam Langford's training camp on the day before his big fight against Fireman Jim Flynn.

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Friday, June 04, 2021

 

Toppers: Progress of Flight

 

The aviation strip Tailspin Tommy would eventually be responsible for quite a few toppers, but in the early years it could only manage a single panel, titled Progress of Flight (not counting the comic stamp feature, which we here at Stripper's Guide don't deem worthy of tracking). 

Tailspin Tommy was one of a long list of strips that owed its existence to Charles Lindbergh's historic flight, and despite lackluster art it was consistently one of the most popular of the genre through the 1930s. I think much of that initial success must be due to the slam-bang writing of Glenn Chaffin, which though a bit wordy, really gave flying-mad kids a strong dose of high-flying medicine. Artist Hal Forrest, on the other hand, who semed much more comfortable with doing art for humour strips, always seemed to produce terribly rushed looking work until he evidently found a good assistant in the mid-1930s.

According to a contemporary article in Editor & Publisher, the Tailspin Tommy Sunday page was added for a release date of October 6 1929. However, I've never been able to find a sample of that first page earlier than October 20. Bell Syndicate muddied the waters by allowing papers to run their strips late, making such determinations a bit of a crapshoot. Progress of Flight, a panel offering factoids about early models of airplane and famous aviators, was added with Sunday page #28; counting from October 6 1929, that would put the start date on April 13 1930, but it's not been seen appearing earlier than April 27 1930. Yes, dealing with Bell Syndicate strips can be a trying task. 

Progress of Flight started it's timeline as early as you could, discussing early mythological stories of flying. The feature slowly gamboled through the Renaissance, the Montgolfier brothers, and finally to modern aviation. Early panels were numbered, but that practice eventually stopped. The feature ended with Sunday page #220, after which the top spot went to a new strip, The Four Aces

Calculating from the supposed start date, that would put Progress of Flight ending on December 17 1933, but once again, I've not seen that occurring any earlier than the Sunday page run on December 31 1933, which seems frankly like a more auspicious date on which to usher out the old and welcome in the new. It is also the last Sunday written by Glenn Chaffin; artist Hal Forrest would be credited from then on.

If anyone can offer any direct evidence that the Tailspin Tommy Sunday began on October 6 1929 in any paper, I'd be thrilled to hear from you. 

UPDATE PRIOR TO PUBLICATION: I looked at a sampling of Tailspin Tommy Sunday original art at the Heritage auction site, and I think I have the final answer. On most of the originals there is a pencil notation written outside the art area giving the strip number and publication date. The same hand seems to be responsible for other presswork notations, so I don't believe the dates were added later. In each case, the date combined with the number calculates back to a date for Sunday page #1 of October 20 1929. I'm calling this mystery solved, and saying that was the official release date; the article in Editor & Publisher had it wrong.


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Good for you Allan-you're a regular Sniffen Snoop.
 
Tailspin Tommy rated two serials and a run of Monogram programmers. I've seen the serials, which are both available on DVD. "Tailspin Tommy" was released in 1934 by Universal, and it may be the only serial where the hero lives with his parents and the heroine is a waitress (who has a pilot's license, but still). Tommy gets a job with a modest air freight firm up against an unscrupulous rival, but that is sometimes forgotten as the action wanders all over (a sojourn in Hollywood has him stunt flying for a WWI epic). It's a bit folksier than the usual cliffhanger. The following year brought "Tailspin Tommy and the Great Air Mystery", a more generic product with heroes and villains constantly invading and escaping from each other's camps.

Other comic strips that got serials: Dick Tracy, Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Tim Tyler's Luck, Red Ryder, Mandrake the Magician, The Phantom, Radio Patrol, Red Barry, Terry and the Pirates, Secret Agent X-9, Brick Bradford, Brenda Starr, Jungle Jim, and Don Winslow of the Navy. Off the top of my head.
 
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Wednesday, June 02, 2021

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Sid Couchey


Sidney Hubert “Sid” Couchey was born on May 24, 1919, in Cleveland, Ohio, according to his World War II draft card. His parents were Lester Hubert Couchey and Elizabeth Lasher who married on September 1, 1909 in Broadalbin, New York, as recorded at the New York State, Marriage Index (Ancestry.com). By 1914 the Coucheys had moved from Pittsfield, Massachusetts to Cleveland, Ohio, as noted in the 1914 Pittsfield city directory.

The 1920 U.S. Federal Census recorded Couchey, his parents and two older brothers in Lakewood, a suburb of Cleveland, at 1556 Cohassett Avenue. Couchey’s father was an electrical engineer at a carbon company. The Press-Republican (Plattsburgh, New York), August 6, 1984, profiled Couchey and said

Couchey was born in Cleveland. As a child there, he dreamed of being a cartoonist. He would layout the Sunday funny papers on the floor and study them for hours.

“That’s how I first got interested in cartooning,” Couchey said.

At some point the family moved.

The 1929 Saginaw, Michigan city directory listed Couchey’s father, a salesman, at 740 Hoyt Avenue. The same address was in the 1930 census. After 1932 the family moved again.
The North Countryman (Rouses Point, New York), February 23, 1978, profiled Couchey and said

… Sid was born in Cleveland, Ohio on May 24, 1920 [sic], the son of Lester Couchey and Elizabeth Lasher Couchey. His mother came from Broadalbin. She and her sister studied music at the New England Conservatory in Boston. Sid’s father’s family are North Country people; Lester was born on the Bert Walker farm in Whallonsburg. He was a salesman who had the entire country as his territory. As a boy, he had been a lab assistant to Charles Steinmetz, the electrical wizard of Schenectady. In his later years, Sid’s father, a trouble shooter for Union Carbide, and the family moved around a bit.

Sid went to school in Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois, in his sophomore year, the family moved back here and he graduated from the Essex High School. He went to work for a short time in Schenectady before being inducted into the army, where he served for four years. …

The Press-Republican, December 12, 1987, said
… he graduated from Essex High School, one of a class of five. “I once mentioned to my wife, Ruth, that I had been valedictorian. She was impressed until we moved to Essex and she learned how small the class was,” he said.
In the 1940 census Couchey and his parents were residents of Essex, New York, on their farm where Couchey worked.

On October 10, 1940, Couchey signed his World War II draft card. He was described as five feet nine inches, 150 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair. Couchey enlisted in the Army on February 11, 1942 at Camp Upton Yaphank, New York.

The Essex County Republican (Keesville, New York), January 17, 1947, said “Sid Couchey, a student in the Art Career school in New York city, has had the honor of being made president of his class. He is also on the governing board of the Artisan’s club. This club is not only a social club but also has an extensive lecture program.”

The North Countryman said

… When he was discharged, he went to New York City to study art at the Art Career School in the old Flatiron Building, and to the School for Visual Arts. He had always wanted to be a cartoonist, and after three and a half years of study he found his first job, working for the well-known cartoonist, John Lehti, on the comic strips, “Tommy of the Big Top” and “Tales from the Great Book”. Lehti had had several young men working for him before this, none of whom stayed long, but Sid stayed for almost nine years. It was a successful partnership. Sid worked on other comics too: Flash Gordon, Lassie, and “Space Cadet.” …
… For awhile, Sid worked for Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster who invented and owned Superman. They were looking around for a cartoonist to help them. Shuster had started to go blind then. Sid applied and was chosen out of 125 applicants. … the trio experimented with other characters, none of whom reached success. They split up and Sid went free-lance.

Manhattan, New York City directories from 1953 to 1959, listed Couchey at 237 9th Avenue.



The Essex County Republican, September 11, 1959, reported “Miss Ruth Hornd [sic] of Long Island has been a guest of the Lester Couchey home. She is the fiancé of Sidney Couchey of New York. The wedding is planned for late fall.” Couchey married Ruth Horne on November 14, 1959 in Orangetown, New York, according to the New York state marriage index. The Press-Republican, September 18, 1991, described Couchey’s proposal, “It was during the first years with Harvey that Couchey met and married Ruth. ‘I proposed to her in one of the Little Lotta stories,’ he chuckled, pulling out the comic book from his collection to show the episode.”

Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said Couchey worked on Marvel Comics romance books during the 1950s. In the late 1950s, he drew for Harvey Comics.

The North Countryman said


… The firm of Harvey Comics owned the three characters with whom Sid became best-known: Richie Rich, Little Lotta and Little Dot. He invented the secondary characters for their stories and did the story line. At first he was under editorial supervision but the editors soon realized Sid could operate on his own. This was the release Sid was waiting for. He and his family “hotfooted it up here” in his words. They were able finally to live where they most wanted to, and Sid could do his work from a distance.
According to the Press-Republican, Couchey moved to Essex in 1961.

The Press-Republican, March 13, 2012 said Couchey created a mascot for the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. Other sources say Don Moss created the official mascot.

In the 1980s, Couchey contribute art to the nostalgia-themed magazine Good Old Days.

Couchey’s animation project was described in the Press-Republican, December 12, 1987.

For the past three years Couchey has been working on a cartoon character for Vermont’s Department of Human Services. “Rascal Raccoon” was chosen by school children from three characters that Couchey submitted. The story line involves the dangers of alcohol abuse, and the targeted audience is the early grades, kindergarten and up.

“I had never done animation before. It was a tremendous undertaking. For a spot 30 seconds in length, I had to make 400 drawings. But once I got the hang of it, it went well. You created the background, then draw the action on acetate overlays. I’d draw the outline on the top, and color it in on the other side.” However, it nearly drove Ruth crazy. “There were sheets of acetate hung out to dry all over the house,” Couchey remembered.

Rascal Raccoon was a howling success. The spots were aired on local television, posters hung in the schools, and the teachers had lesson plans. “It was a one-two-three punch,” Couchey said. A survey revealed that after the first two spots aired, 95 per cent of the students knew who Rascal was and remembered his message; and 65 per cent had discussed Rascal with their parents. …

Couchey passed away on March 11, 2012, in Inman, South Carolina, according to the Press-Republican, March 13, 2012. He was laid to rest at Saint Philip Neri Catholic Cemetery.

 

Further Reading and Viewing
Comic Strip of the Day
Essex on Lake Champlain
Go Upstate
Mike Lynch Cartoons
News and Views by Chris Barat
NPR
Seven Days
The Sun
YouTube



—Alex Jay

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Tuesday, June 01, 2021

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: John Lehti


John Armas Lehti, Jr. was born in Brooklyn, New York on July 20, 1912, according to the New York, New York, Birth Index (at Ancestry.com), his World War II draft card, his marriage license, and Social Security application. It must be noted that incorrect birth days are at the Department of Veterans Affairs, 29, and the Social Security Death Index, 27. According to his daughter, Sandra Lehti-Culjak, her father was of Finnish descent. A family tree at Ancestry.com said the surname was originally Lehtinen.

On November 24, 1909 Lehti’s father married Christine Wilhelmine Clayton in Brooklyn. They have not yet been found in the 1910 U.S. Federal Census.

The Daily Standard Union (Brooklyn, New York), May 30, 1913, published a death notice for Lehti’s father.

Lehti,—John A., beloved husband of Christine W. (nee Clayton), on May 28, 1913, at Montreal, Canada. Recently of Washington, D. C, formerly of Bay Ridge. Services will be held at 453 Eighty-first st. on Saturday evening, May 31, 1913, at 8 P. M. Interment at the convenience of family.
The Jamestown Post-Journal (New York), March 20, 1954, said Lehti’s father was an architect and art fancier. Editor & Publisher, March 20, 1954, said Lehti “is the grandson of Johann Gustave Lehtinen, chapel designer in Finland and later founder of one of the first Finnish language newspapers in the United States”

In the 1915 New York State Census, Lehti lived with his mother, and maternal grandfather, William Clayton, the head of the household, in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn at 453 81st Street.

In the 1920 federal census, Lehti remained in Brooklyn at 453 81st Street, his address for the next twenty years. His mother was a bank clerk, his father was born in Finland, and his grandfather worked for the bridge department.

In the 1930 census, Lehti’s maternal grandmother, Henrietta, was the head of the household. The Brooklyn Eagle, February, 5, 1946, said he graduated from Manual Training School in 1931. The World Encyclopedia of Comics (1976) said

…[he] studied at some of the finest art schools in the nation: the Art Students League (under George Bridgman, Frank Dumond, and Nicholaides), the National Academy, the Beaux Arts Institute, and Grand Central Art School under Harvey Dunn, probably the greatest influence on his art and approach to work.
About his early career, the Evening News (Newburgh, New York), October 26, 1972, said
Lehti started in the 30s as an illustrator and writer of westerns and detective stories. In 1936, he started in the new field of comic books. Among the many ‘union suit’ heroes of that era, his famous Crimson Avenger has long since become a collector’s item.
Lehti’s occupation was artist in the 1940 census. Lehti’s address was the same when he signed his World War II draft card on October 16, 1940. He was described as five feet seven inches, 145 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair. Two months later, December 19, his new address, 230 Central Park South, was written on his draft card. The change of address was due to his December 9 marriage to Pauline Rosalie Lowell in Manhattan.

Commercial artist Lehti enlisted in the army on April 7, 1941.

Comics: Between the Panels (1998) said

Jack Lehti, as he was known in the early days, jumped from the pulps to National Comics such as “Steve Conrad,” “O’Malley of the Red Coat Patrol,” and “Crimson Avenger.” Lehti was in the Army reserves when the bombs fell on Pearl Harbor; he quickly told DCs Whit Ellsworth to hire his inker, Charles Paris, then headed to Europe. “Jack Lehti was a dogface,” Paris said. “He told me one time that he jumped into a foxhole in France and there was a copy of Detective Comics, with the Crimson Avenger. It gave him a funny damn feeling. Here he is lying out in the middle of nowhere, he might as well be on another planet with shells falling around and dead people and mud and dirt…and there’s a copy of a DC comic book.
In the European Theater Lehti served with the 750th Tank Battalion, 104th Division, which was known as the Timberwolves. WorthPoint has a description of Lehti’s map of the Timberwolves’s activities. The Brooklyn Eagle said
When war came he joined the 104th Infantry and served in “Terry Allen’s Timberwolves.” He became a sergeant. He won the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and four campaign ribbons. When the war in Europe ended he was shaking hands with Russian soldiers 70 miles southwest of Berlin. Mr. Lehti illustrated a book published by his outfit.
Lehti lived at 183 Montague Street in Brooklyn when he become art director of Picture News in January 1946. A 1946 issue of Editor & Publisher described the origin and contents of Picture News.
Picture News … made its debut in January and is the size of regular comic books. Its publisher and editor ([Emile] Gauvreau is “executive editor”) is Leigh Danenberg, publisher of the Bridgeport (Conn.) Sunday Herald.

Danenberg conceived the idea of presenting news in comic strip technique, with sketches and balloons, and about six months ago he persuaded Gauvreau to join him in introducing the idea.

They assembled a staff that includes John Armas Lehti as art director, Henry J. Cordes and John Milligan, artists; Jane Brower Wyckoff, editorial research assistant, and Judson Lahaye, Jr., promotion manager.

The first issue of Picture News, which is printed at at Bridgeport by the Lafayette Color Press and sells for 10 cents per copy, featured a story on the atom bomb, containing George Bernard Shaw’s observations on the subject; reviewed Henry Wallace's “Sixty Million Jobs” and had personality features on Barbara Hutton and Hoagy Carmichael, among others. … Books, plays and movies will be reviewed regularly in Picture News. … and other regular features will be “Laughs by Milt Gross” and beauty hints and advice.

Increasing the book’s new coverage, Colonel Bob Allen, who with Drew Pearson established the “Washington Merry-Go-Round,” will supply the artists with regular Washington news to illustrate. ...
The Evening News said “Following World War II, he became a magazine editor, an advertising artist and finally a syndicated cartoonist, with a daily strip on the life in the circus, ‘Tommy of the Big Top.’ ” Tommy of the Big Top, was syndicated by King Features, from October 28, 1946 to 1950. According to the Wilton Bulletin (Connecticut), November 11, 1970, Ray Burns’ “…first strip job was doing lettering and background for John Lehti’s ‘Tommy of the Big Top’ comic…”

Lehti’s second marriage was to Genevieve Ellen Tighe. They obtained a license on April 20, 1948 in Manhattan. The 1949 Manhattan city directory listed Lehti at 270 West End Avenue. The Jamestown Post-Journal said

His marriage to Jean Tighe, radio and TV singer who has appeared on the Kate Smith Show, the Carnation Hour, and starred on Mutual Broadcasting System’s “Jazz Nocturne”. The Lehtis live in Syosset, Long Island. They have a ten-year-old daughter, Sandra.
Ghosting for Dan Barry, Lehti drew the daily Tarzan from November 22, 1948 to February 5, 1949. Alberto Becattini said Lehti assisted on Secret Agent X-9, Captain Yank, and Terry and the Pirates. Lehti also scripted Buck Rogers in the early 1960s.

After Tommy, Lehti returned to comic books until Publishers Syndicate bought his Tales from the Great Book, which ran from March 21, 1954 to 1972. The genesis of the Great Book was told in Sunday Herald Magazine (Bridgeport Connecticut), February 19, 1956.

The coloring of the Tales From The Great Book, November 22, 1959, was criticized in the Afro-American (Baltimore, Maryland), December 5, 1959.


Following the Great Book was Facts About the Bible, which continues today. 

Some of Lehti’s comic book credits are here.

According to Who’s Who in American Comic Books 1928–1999, did animation for Trans-Lux from 1962 to 1970. The Evening News said he storyboarded the TV cartoon series, Mighty Hercules, and “...he also created and supervised the entire production of an animated cartoon film, series, based on his Sunday newspaper feature, ‘Tales from the Great Book.’ ” A photo of Lehti was published in the Evening News, November 3, 1972.

Lehti’s mother passed away August 21, 1968. She was a resident of Durlandville, New York.

Lehti passed away January 5, 1991, according to the Social Security Death Index. At the time he was a resident of Goshen, New York.


Further Reading and Viewing
Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists
Getty Images
 


—Alex Jay

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Monday, May 31, 2021

 

Tales from the Great Book

By the 1920s, comic strips were apparently a mature enough bit of newspaper content that they could be trusted to offer serious content. This was when the story strips really got going, and factual and educational strips began to be offered and become popular with readers. 

One of the last realms to be conquered was religion, but biblical stories in comic strip form began being offered in this decade, too, though not with any notable popularity. The idea with these strips seemed to be to ingratiate the newspaper with religious folks, or at least to enliven their Saturday church pages. Quite a few were tried, and some lasted many years, but none exactly set the newspaper world on fire.

No religious strip made any real dent in the syndication world until 1954, when John Lehti convinced Publishers Syndicate that his version of a bible strip would sell big. What was different about it? Well, a combination of ideas coalesced to make Tales from the Great Book a hit. First, it was a very colourful and well-drawn Sunday, not a weekly black and white strip as many had been before. Second, while scrupulously researched, Lehti picked his stories for their ability to translate into exciting graphic narratives. Third, he kept his stories short, rarely more than eight or so episodes, so that the stories moved along and didn't get bogged down in lots of speeches and philosophizing. Fourth, he told stories that weren't the endlessly repeated stuff like Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark, and so on; readers were presented with stories that many of them didn't already know. Finally, Lehti stuck to the Old Testament so that both Christians and Jews would feel comfortable with the material. 

Here is the article announcing the new strip in Editor & Publisher, March 20, 1954:

Tales From The Bible For Sunday, In Color

By Mather Wallis

 A Sunday release from Publishers Syndicate dealing with great biblical stories is due to make its initial appearance March 21. To be done for color comics sections by John Lehti, ‘Tales from the Great Book” will deal with episodes from such stories as Samson, Joshua and the Walls of Jericho, and Daniel. Plans call for them to appear in that order. Mr. Lehti said titles beyond that re somewhat tentative.

The creator of this feature, who lives with his wife and daughter in Syosset, N. Y., did “Tommy of the Big Top” from 1946 to 1950. A member of the 104th Infantry Division during the war, and wounded in action, Mr. Lehti said he has had the idea for this work in mind for about six years.

 “I’m really keyed up about this,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of biblical and archeological research under my belt, and I’m having a lot of fun doing it. The reason I wanted to do it is not just for the story value, and these stories are the basis for all literature, but to show the feelings of people and how they did things in those days — how they cooked, what they wore, what kinds of door hinges they had on their houses.”

 Prior to service in World War II Mr. Lehti did. as he put, “a little of everything, but mostly advertising art.” For this new feature he said he has been doing “a lot of heavy research for the past six years.

 Born in 1912, Mr. Lehti studied at the Beaux Arts Institute, the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design. Some of his New York sketches have appeared at the Modern Museum of Art. His wife is Jean Tighe, radio and television singer, and he is the grandson of Johann Gustave Lehtinen, chapel designer in Finland and later founder of one of the first Finnish language newspapers in the United States.

 The style of ‘Tales from the Great Book” is clean but immensely detailed with great attention being devoted to dress, artifacts and the tools of war.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

 

Above, sample strips from the first 1954 story and the final 1972 story

Lehti's strip was practically an instant success. It ran from March 21 1954 and ended April 16 1972. During that time Lehti's art style changed a bit, but never for the worse. It was consistently one of the most attractive strips in the comics section. He is known to have had at least one assistant, Sid Couchey. 

It is unknown why Tales from the Great Book was cancelled in 1972, but Lehti still saw a clientele for it. He reworked the old material and came up with a new feature he titled Facts About the Bible; the new feature was black and white and was marketed mainly to smaller papers. According to Lehti's daughter, he prepared ten years worth of weekly material, and it was known to have been still in circulation in reprints until quite recently. 

Here is a complete list of the stories serialized in Tales from the Great Book. Though several titles were reused, as far as I can tell the only story that was actually re-run was Nebuchadnezzar's Second Dream, in 1961 and '71. Apparently the end of syndication came unexpectedly, because a new story (Joshua And The Promised Land) was announced to follow Zechariah a Young Prophet.

Saga Of Samson

03-21-1954

04-18-1954

Joshua Marches on Jericho

04-25-1954

06-06-1954

Young Daniel's Faith

06-13-1954

09-05-1954

King Saul and the Witches of  Endor

09-12-1954

10-24-1954

Joash the Boy King

10-31-1954

12-19-1954

The Tower of  Babel

12-26-1954

01-16-1955

The Unselfish Love of Ruth

01-23-1955

03-20-1955

The Little Captive Maid

03-27-1955

04-17-1955

Moses and Miriam

04-24-1955

06-19-1955

Young David

06-26-1955

07-31-1955

Jonah and the  Whale

08-07-1955

09-25-1955

Deborah's  Triumph

10-02-1955

11-27-1955

Samuel and the Voice

12-04-1955

12-11-1955

The Shepherd's First Christmas

12-18-1955

12-25-1955

Samson and the Philistines

01-01-1956

02-12-1956

Jesus' Temptation in the Wilderness

02-19-1956

04-01-1956

Joseph's Loyalty

04-08-1956

07-08-1956

Joshua's Double Battle

07-15-1956

09-02-1956

Solomon and the Queen of Sheba

09-09-1956

09-30-1956

Abraham's Obedience

10-07-1956

10-28-1956

Daniel and the Wizards

11-04-1956

12-09-1956

Cain and Abel

12-16-1956

12-30-1956

David and Goliath

01-06-1957

03-10-1957

Rahab

03-17-1957

05-12-1957

Noah's Ark

05-19-1957

06-30-1957

Samson and the Gates of Gaza

07-07-1957

09-01-1957

Ruth and Boaz

09-08-1957

10-27-1957

Solomon Asks for Wisdom

11-03-1957

11-24-1957

Moses the Egyptian Prince

12-01-1957

02-02-1958

Elisha Saves Two Boys From Slavery

02-09-1958

03-16-1958

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego

03-23-1958

06-01-1958

Jacob Wrestles with an Angel

06-08-1958

06-29-1958

Joshua Battles the Five Kings

07-06-1958

09-28-1958

Esther-How She Became a Queen

10-05-1958

11-23-1958

David and his Harp

11-30-1958

12-28-1958

Samson and Delilah

01-04-1959

04-05-1959

Joseph's Brotherly Love

04-12-1959

07-05-1959

Daniel in the Lion's Den

07-12-1959

08-30-1959

Solomon and the Two Mothers

09-06-1959

09-27-1959

Moses the Egyptian Prince (different version)

10-04-1959

12-06-1959

David and Saul

12-13-1959

02-07-1960

Mordecai

02-14-1960

04-10-1960

The Sword of Gideon

04-17-1960

07-17-1960

Moses' Flight From Egypt

07-24-1960

10-09-1960

Jonah's Lesson

10-16-1960

01-08-1961

Joshua's Victory

01-15-1961

03-19-1961

Elijah and the Priests of Baal

03-26-1961

05-28-1961

Nebuchadnezzar's Second Dream

06-04-1961

07-23-1961

David's Fighting Courage

07-30-1961

10-08-1961

Moses in Midian

10-15-1961

11-26-1961

Daniel and the Handwriting on the Wall

12-03-1961

02-18-1962

Jacob's  Toil

02-25-1962

06-17-1962

Elijah and the Angel

06-24-1962

08-05-1962

Moses and the Burning Bush

08-12-1962

09-02-1962

The King and the Arrows

09-09-1962

11-11-1962

David Outlawed by Saul

11-18-1962

02-24-1963

Joshua and the Giants

03-03-1963

06-16-1963

Gehazi's Wrongdoing

06-23-1963

09-08-1963

Moses' Return to Egypt

09-15-1963

11-03-1963

David an Outlaw

11-10-1963

02-23-1964

The Blind Prophet

03-01-1964

04-26-1964

Jephthah

05-03-1964

09-06-1964

Jeremiah

09-13-1964

12-27-1964

David and his Army of Outlaws

01-03-1965

05-09-1965

Othniel's Triumph

05-16-1965

08-15-1965

The Evil Sons of Eli

08-22-1965

10-24-1965

Moses and the Plagues of Egypt

10-31-1965

02-27-1966

The Evil King

03-06-1966

05-22-1966

David and his Army of Outlaws (2nd version)

05-29-1966

08-28-1966

Elijah's Mantle

09-04-1966

11-06-1966

Moses and the Red Sea

11-13-1966

01-29-1967

Samuel and Saul

02-05-1967

06-11-1967

Evil Haman

06-18-1967

10-22-1967

David and Saul

10-29-1967

01-14-1968

Nehemiah and the Wall

01-21-1968

06-16-1968

Abraham's Battle with the Five Kings

06-23-1968

09-01-1968

The Shunammite's Son

09-08-1968

01-05-1969

Moses In The Wilderness

01-12-1969

02-16-1969

David and his Outlaw Army (3rd version)

02-23-1969

05-11-1969

A Bride for Isaac

05-18-1969

08-17-1969

Isaiah's Promise

08-24-1969

10-19-1969

Moses in the Wilderness

10-26-1969

12-28-1969

David Among the Philistines

01-04-1970

03-15-1970

Abram in Egypt

03-22-1970

07-05-1970

Death of a King

07-12-1970

11-01-1970

Signs of a Prophet

11-08-1970

12-13-1970

Moses' First Battle in the Wilderness

12-20-1970

03-07-1971

Nebuchadnezzar's Second Dream (reprint)

03-14-1971

05-02-1971

Amos the Shepherd Turned Prophet

05-09-1971

08-08-1971

The Greedy Servant

08-15-1971

10-24-1971

Moses and Jethro

10-31-1971

12-12-1971

David Becomes King

12-19-1971

02-13-1972

Zechariah a Young Prophet

02-20-1972

04-16-1972

 


Comments:
Is this the same guy who used to draw the Crimson Avenger and other such characters for DC Comics before the war?
 
Hello Allan-
This was a strip I remember well from my childhood, it was a staple of the Philadelphia Inquirer's ROTOCOMICS section, which meant it, and everything else in it, was seen in it's ideal printing, with those rich, lush colors.

 
Whoswhoz,this is the same Lehti. He also did a lot of work for Dell/Western, such as the "Tom Corbett" series. According to Lambiek he worked on DC's "Losers" and "Sgt Rock" in the mid-70s but that was news to me.
 
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Sunday, May 30, 2021

 

Wish You Were Here, from August Hutaf

 

Here's another from August Hutaf's series on apples, published by A.B. Woodward Co. in 1907.

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Saturday, May 29, 2021

 

Herriman Saturday: February 5 1910

 

"Boots" Repeti is reported to have broken the world eating record (whatever that might be). He did so with an oddly timed mid-winter Thanksgiving dinner. At the Washington Navy Yard, Mr. Repeti sat down for a refreshing repast of the following:

9 pound roast turkey

1 quart cranberries

3 quarts sauerkraut

1 loaf bread

1/2 pint olive oil

1/2 gallon raw oysters

1 pint ketchup

12 stalks celery

2 gallons beer

4 glasses water

Isn't it amazing how far we've progressed in a hundred years? Isn't this pretty much the same list as the McDonald's Super-Size Meal #6? Well, with Mountain Dew instead of beer, of course.

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Friday, May 28, 2021

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Dick Fletcher


Dick Fletcher was born Richard Martin Steenburgh on March 8, 1916, in Moline, Illinois. According to the The Dispatch (Moline, Illinois), June 7, 1973, his mother was Bertha Elizabeth Pletscher who married John Steenburgh on March 14, 1913, in Aledo, Illinois. (The Rock Island Argus, June 11, 1913 said the marriage was on January 14.) She was an artist known professionally as Betty Fletcher who studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and Mizen Academy among others. At some point her sons adopted the Fletcher surname. 

On September 12, 1918, Fletcher’s father signed his World War I draft card. His address was 2425 8-1/2 Avenue in Rock Island, Illinois. He was the credit manager at the L.S. McCabe & Co. department store. 

In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Fletcher was the youngest of two brothers. The family of four resided in Rock Island, Illinois at 2425 8-1/2 Avenue. Fletcher’s father was a department store manager. The address was the same in the 1930 census. 

Fletcher’s talent was reported in The Dispatch, May 1, 1936. 
Rock Island Youth Hunts Interesting Things to Sketch
Richard Steenburgh, youthful Rock Island artist who resides at 102 Sala apartments and who has been drawing, sketching and modeling ever since he has been old enough to hold a pencil in his hands, has just one ambition: sketching and illustrating. He thinks the essentials of cartoon and caricature are finding outstanding characteristics of a person and transcribing them on a piece of paper. “You don’t have to go far away to find interesting things to sketch,” he said. “There’s a life’s work right in the tri-city' area, and I find a lot of my material in Bettendorf.” Asked what he looks for when he begins a caricature of a person, he replied: “Outstanding facial differences, teeth, the way the hair is combed, the nose and the chin. Take a look at President Roosevelt, that chin of his calls attention of the cartoonist, and with Calvin Coolidge, it was his nose.”
Information about his art training is unknown at this time. 

Fletcher has not yet been found in the 1940 census. On October 16, 1940, Fletcher signed his World War II draft card. He was a Chicago, Illinois resident at 1414 North Clark Street and was employed at the Western Printing Litho Company. Fletcher’s description was five feet six inches, 172 pounds, with gray eyes and brown hair. He wore glasses with “right eye bad”. 


Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said Fletcher’s work appeared in Dell comic books in the early 1940s. (The credits for Dick Tracy are incorrect and belong to Richard Eugene “Rick” Fletcher.) American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Fletcher assisted Carl Ed on his strip “Harold Teen” sometime in the 1940s. 

The FictionMags Index has two pulp illustration credits for Fletcher: Mammoth Detective, February 1945 and Mammoth Mystery, August 1947. 

For the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate, Fletcher drew the Sunday strip, “Surgeon Stone”, from 1946 to 1951. Fletcher collaborated with writer Lloyd Wendt on “Jed Cooper”. The Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate strip ran from November 13, 1949 to March 26, 1961. Editor & Publisher, March 4, 1950, described their research. 


An October 28, 1950 Iowa newspaper, probably in Burlington, wrote about Fletcher and his family moving from Chicago to Burlington, Iowa at 2901 Division. (As fate would have it, Fletcher moved to the birthplace of fellow cartoonist Richard Eugene “Rick” Fletcher.) 
… Fletcher’s mother is the former B. Elizabeth Pletscher of Burlington. An aunt, Mrs. Mary Lenhart, lives across the street at 2900 division. 

Fletcher became interested in art through the efforts of his mother, has done various kinds of art work for a number of years, and has been connected with comic strips for about 15 years. … 
The article also identified his assistants, Ray Johnson, Chuck Meyers and Paul Hodge, Jr. 

The 1955 and 1960 Burlington city directories listed Fletcher as a cartoonist at 2901 Division. His spouse was Madeleine. 

Fletcher’s father passed away on November 25, 1958. Fletcher’s mother passed away on June 1, 1973. 

Fletcher passed away on May 21, 1992, according to the Social Security Death Index.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2021

 

Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The Three Hundred for 1984 -- Overall Results

In this survey we did not lose any papers over the last year, but out of the remaining 286 papers, the information for January 1984 was not available online for seven papers, making this survey coverage only 279 papers.

Starting with this year we are going to look at the development of what I call the Universal Comic Section. Over the past 80 years when you picked up a paper from another town or city in most cases you would read some of the strips that appeared in your local paper but mostly you would see strips that you have never seen before. By the 1980s, with the slow demise of newspapers beginning and less papers around to compete for features, more papers had the opportunity to buy strips that were not available to them before. This could lead to more variety from one paper to another, but instead, the editors of these papers would do the opposite and just pick the most popular strips. As this way of filling a comics page became more and more prevalent, you would now see many of the same comics in every paper. In future articles, we will keep a watch on this process. 

Let’s start this year by examining how many of the most popular strips appear in each paper. In our 1984 survey, out of the 279 papers 162 ran the top 2 strips. 141 ran the top 3 strips. 106 ran the top 4 strips. 63 ran the top 5 strips. 29 ran the top 6 strips. 18 ran the top 7 strips. 10 ran the top 8 strips. 8 ran the top 9 strips. 3 ran the top 10 & 11 strips. One paper, the Austin American Statesman, ran the top 14 strips. The Austin paper ran 27 strips in its paper, so over half were the most popular overall.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In the Top 30 for 1984, Blondie joined the 200 paper club, making it the second strip do to this. B.C. and Hi and Lois gained enough papers to enter the 100 paper club. That now makes  10 strips that are in 100 papers or more. The powerhouse Walker family can now boast having two strips that appear in over 100 papers. Marvin, Berry’s World and Heathcliff entered the Top 30 while Amazing Spider-Man, Alley Oop, Dick Tracy and Eek and Meek fell out the top 30. (Last year we had 31 strips in the Top 30 because there was a tie at 30). Bloom County made a big move in the Top 30 going from 26 to 18 while Nancy had the biggest drop, from 22 to 29 – apparently Jerry Scott taking over was a signal to jump ship.

Here are the top 30 features:

Title

Place

Rank Change

+/- Papers

Total Papers

Peanuts

1

Same

-2

208

Blondie

2

Same

4

200

Beetle Bailey

3

Same

7

186

Garfield

4

Up 1

30

172

Hagar the Horrible

5

Same

7

137

Family Circus

6

Up 1

19

121

Wizard of Id

7

Down 1

0

110

B.C.

8

Same

2

100

Hi and Lois

8

Up 3

6

100

Frank and Ernest

10

Same

1

97

Shoe

11

Up 2

7

93

Andy Capp

12

Down 3

-6

91

Born Loser

13

Down 1

-3

85

Dennis the Menace

14

Same

0

80

For Better or For Worse

15

Up 2

9

75

Mary Worth

16

Down 1

1

73

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith

17

Down 1

2

70

Bloom County

18

Up 8

22

66

Marmaduke

19

Down 1

2

58

Cathy

20

Up 3

11

57

Herman

21

Down 1

3

55

Rex Morgan

22

Down 3

1

54

Ziggy

23

Same

4

50

Tank McNamara

24

Up 2

5

49

Marvin

25

Entering

9

48

Berry's World

26

Entering

7

47

Heathcliff

27

Entering

3

45

Winthrop

27

Down 6

-5

45

Gasoline Alley

29

Up 1

1

44

Nancy

29

Down 7

-4

44

 

And here are the rest of the rankings:

# Papers

Title (+/- Papers)

43

 Alley Oop (-1)

41

 Amazing Spider-Man (-4), Eek and Meek (-2)

39

Funky Winkerbean (-2)

38

 Bugs Bunny (0)

37

 Dick Tracy (-7)

36

 Tiger (-1)

32

 Judge Parker (0), Tumbleweeds (+1)

30

 Archie (-6)

29

 Far Side (+8)

28

 Buz Sawyer (-1)

26

 Lockhorns (+2), Sally Forth (+5), Snake Tales (0), Steve Canyon (-4)

24

 Broom Hilda (-1)

23

 Apartment 3-G (-1), Kit N Carlyle (0)

22

 Captain Easy (-6), Mark Trail (0), Our Boarding House (-1), Phantom (-5)

20

 Geech (+6)

19

 Crock (-2), Dunagin’s People (+1), Levy’s Law (+2), Redeye (-3)

18

 Great John L (-1), Mr. Men and Little Miss (R), Small Society (+1)

17

 Conard (+1), They’ll Do It Every Time (0)

16

 Hazel (-3), Momma (+2), Steve Roper and Mike Nomad (-3)

15

 Duffy (+3), Fred Basset (0)

14

 Goosemyer (-1), Grin and Bear It (+2)

13

 Donald Duck (-3), Little Orphan Annie (0)

12

 Fenton (R), Motley’s Crew (0)

11

 Brenda Starr (-1), Gil Thorp (0), Kuduz (-3), Mr. Tweedy (-1), Muppets (-13)

10

 Captain Vincible (R), John Darling (0), Rip Kirby (-2), Ryatts (-3)

9

 Agatha Crumm (-1), Better Half (0), Dondi (+1), Drabble (+2), Guindon (+4), Heart of Juliet Jones (-5), Miss Peach (-1)

8

 Animal Crackers (-1), Elwood (R), Girls (+1), Joe Palooka (0), Neighborhood (+5)

7

 Catfish (0), Graffiti (+2), Henry (0), Love Is (-2), Ripley’s Believe It or Not (-2), Star Wars (+1), Willie N Ethel (0), Winnie the Pooh (-1)

6

 Clout Street (R), Laff-A-Day (+2), Moose Miller (-1), Pavlov (-2)

5

 A Little Leary (+1), Arnold (+1), Ben Swift (+1), Citizen Smith (0), Ferd’Nand (-1), Flintstones (-2), Hocus Focus (-2), Lolly (0), McGonigle of the Chronicle (R), Ponytail (-1), There Oughta Be A Law (-2), Winnie Winkle (-1)

4

 Ben Wicks, Boner’s Ark, Bringing Up Father, Charlie, Dallas, Downstown, Flash Gordon, Gordo, Johnny Wonder, Nubbin, Sam and Silo, Scamp, Smith Family, Wee Pals, Wright Angels

3

 Bears in Love, Belvedere, Big George, Eb and Flo, Good News Bad News, Lone Ranger, Outcasts, Rafferty, Scoops, Sidelines, Travels with Farley, Trudy

2

 According to Guinness, Amy, Carmichael, Dr. Smock, Evermores, Gumdrop, Mandrake the Magician, Mickey Mouse, Moon Mullins, Mr. Abernathy, Our Fascinating Earth, Outtakes, Popeye, Rivets, Stan Smith’s Tennis Class, Vidiots, Word-A-Day

1

 Balderdash, Brick Bradford, Brother Juniper, Byrds, Ching Chow, Dr. Kildare, Ernie’s World, Goodnight Peaches, Gramps, Health Capsules, Hermie, It’s Just A Game, Kaleb, Laugh Time, Mark Trail’s Outdoor Tips, Modesty Blaise, Pig Newton, Pixies, Play Better Golf with Jack Nicklaus, Quincy, Ribbons, Rudy, Sadie, Secret Agent Corrigan, Selling Short, Silent Partners, Speed Walker, Sporting Life, Tennie, Time Out, Today’s World, Tom and Jerry, Toppix, Wilbur, Wordplay

 

As always, if you would like the long form of The 300, a list of each paper that used each strip, send Allan Holtz an email with your request. He will send you a Word document with the data.

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