Saturday, June 03, 2006
Stripper's Guide Blog Temporarily on Hold
On Monday my wife Judy will be having major surgery. The surgery, and the reason for it, were pretty big surprises. We learned of the need for it just a few weeks ago after Judy went in for what was expected to be a routine examination. It's a scary time for her, and I must confess to being a bit of a wreck, too.
Since getting the news I've kept up my daily Stripper's Guide blog posts. It's a good way to get my mind off this whole situation for a little while every day. But now I have to focus on it 100%, and Stripper's Guide posts are going to have to take a short hiatus. Judy and I fully expect that the surgery will be a success and her recovery will be quick and complete, and that means I'll be back here very soon, nattering on once more about obscure comics.
If you're like me, you hate checking a blog every day only to find that there's no new post. If you'll look a little ways down on the sidebar, you'll find an icon for blogarithm.com. These folks have a neat service where they notify you via email when a blog (or any website for that matter) posts new content. I highly recommend the service, and if you want to be notified when the new posts are back here on the blog, they can take care of that for you.
See you soon...
And you have my prayers and best wishes for a successful outcome.
(and you use rss feeds, so any of us who use rss readers can see when you post something new)
In the meantime, can someone tell me why
Allan's Comic Strip Barons card set
won't download for me anymore.
Friday, June 02, 2006
Obscurity of the Day: Jerry MacJunk
Walter Hoban's first known syndicated strip was Jerry MacJunk from the North American Syndicate, publishers of the Philadelphia North American.
According to the World Encyclopedia of Comics, Hoban was born and bred in Philadelphia, and started as an office boy at the North American with no particular interest in pursuing a career in cartooning. However, his abilities in this area were noted and he was pressed into service as a sports cartoonist. In 1910, May 1st to be exact, he made the jump to the Sunday funnies with Jerry MacJunk. Hoban was just 20 years old.
Jerry was a put-upon everyman, a Born Loser type that has always been a fixture of the comics page. What distinguished this strip was Hoban's energetic drawing style; a style that seemed to spring fully-formed from the young Hoban, and would serve him well over his 30 year newspaper cartooning career.
Jerry MacJunk was a successful strip, running every Sunday in the North American and their few syndicated client papers until January 11, 1914. The strip came to a halt when Hoban left Philadelphia for the higher paychecks of the Hearst organization in New York (not 1912 as claimed in Bill Blackbeard's Hoban entry in the World Encyclopedia). There Hoban found much wider success with another Jerry, Jerry On The Job.
The Jerry MacJunk strip had a second life when World Color Printing obtained the rights to reprint much of the North American's output of the early teens. The strip ran in the WCP preprint section from 1915-1918.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Frank King's The Rectangle
I was about to file this page away when it occurred to me that I've never seen a complete The Rectangle page reprinted anywhere. Maybe my recollector just isn't working well enough, but in any case I thought surely all you Frank King fans wouldn't mind seeing one even if a few have seen the light of day elsewhere.
The story is well-known that the denizens of Gasoline Alley were born in the compartmentalized patchwork of the The Rectangle, King's Chicago Tribune Sunday page normally printed in black-and-white outside the comics section. But they were a late addition to a page that had been running for years. King's page first ran under the Rectangle name on 12/27/1914, but had been running for quite awhile before that as an untitled feature. The untitled version was usually run at a smaller size, and I have so far not traced it back to find the ultimate start date. Anyone with access to the Trib online care to take up the chore?
The Rectangle was retired on 2/8/1920 after having run sporadically starting in 1919 when King added the daily Gasoline Alley strip to his workload.
I pulled King's works thoroughly from that era, and on the previous Sunday, there was just his "Do you mean what you say?" panel. The next week was the full page "Hints to Husbandettes," which was the first with the familiar bounded rectangle containing themed "unpanel" gags. It wasn't until February of '14 that the Rectangle pages appeared with regularity.
Of course, the PQ database isn't 100% complete, so some of the holes you see on Barnacle Press' page might well still be represented.
Good luck to you and your wife.
My question is kind of off-topic, but I have asked it on many sites and message boards without getting an answer.
In the upper right hand panel, rather than a door, there are drapes at the entryway. This was the fashion in the early part of the century and you can see it in many strips of the time, such as Little Nemo.
When did this stop being the norm and why? I suspect it had something to do with health issues, but that is just my guess.
The doorway draperies were a Victorian style. Beyond the aesthetic value, I would guess that they were mostly used to get some privacy from the prying eyes of maids and servants, a common fixture in even homes of moderate means in the day. As hired help slowly faded away as the norm, so presumably did the privacy curtains.