Saturday, June 02, 2007


To Herriman or Not to Herriman? It's Up To YOU!

I just got back from a marathon session at the library working through the Los Angeles Examiner for 1906. As you may know, George Herriman worked there from 1906 to 1909 in between stints in New York.

All the stars lined up just right for me today. The microfilm was in beautiful shape, the microfilm printer wasn't being balky, and best of all, someone at the library screwed up and set the copying price on the machine to a dime instead of the usual quarter. With the light of providence shining brightly upon me, I took on the task of making copies of all the Herriman cartoons I found, a task that took all day because ol' Garge was a very productive little worker bee at the Examiner.

So here I sit this evening with a cornucopia of 1906 Herriman cartoons. They run the gamut from editorial and sports cartoons to a previously undocumented comic strip series. It was initially my plan to start a Saturday blog posting series that would share with you folks all the treasures I had found. The series would run for months, posting cartoons at the rate of two or three each Saturday.

But then I got to wondering if you readers of this blog are fans enough of Herriman that you want to see all this material. For instance, today's cartoons (Herriman's first for the Examiner, printed on 8/18 and 8/21/06) are all but incomprehensible because they deal with local politics of a century ago. They're good cartoons, but it would take a degree in California history to fully understand them. Many of the cartoons will fit into this category -- delightful art but impenetrable subjects.

So here's the deal. I've asked you to vote before on things and I usually get just a few responses. But I know you're out there, doggone it, and I need to know where you want to go with this thing. Here's your options:

1. Post 'em all. I love Herriman and I can't get enough.

2. Post just the highlights. I like Herriman but this material is of minimal interest.

3. Go on to something else. I don't get Herriman at all, or don't care about his early work.

4. Hell, take Saturdays off from now on. I really couldn't care less if you post anything. I thought this site would have pictures of strippers on it.

If I don't get a reasonable number of responses in the next week (hey, I do know how many visits the blog gets every day, you know) I'm going to assume the vote is for #4. So post a comment or, if you prefer, email me at to cast your vote. Voters, thank you for your interest and support!

I want it all.
Please post 'em all...
Post them all, and go back to the library and get even more to post!
We want them all!
I want them all, but I'd miss the variety if you spend all of the blog to it the next few months. I'd say give us a weeks worth and do either all of them or the highlights for every saturday or friday after that. And try to nget someone (Checker?) to publish all of them.
Well Ger took my comment
"put them in a book!"

(but please please not Checker - unless you maintain quality control)
Hi Ger -
If we do the Herriman thing, it will be on Saturddays only. Regular posts would continue Monday thru Friday.

Hi Allan,
Post as many Garge drawings as you can! I went to the Glendale public library a couple of years ago and photocopied all of his L.A. Times early work that I could find, glad you could do the Examiner.
I vote for posting them all. Another option may be to put them all on a disc and offer them for some reasonable price to interested parties, who will, no doubt, be visiting the blog in either case.
I think Allan ought to start up another blog for just such occasions.
Then we can get him twice a day.
I vote for running them all. Let me see if I can find an LA-area historian to explain what this pair means.

Joe Thompson ;0)
If it is only saturdays, Id say go for it!

But still, a book would be nice. Over at the Timely/Atlas Yahoo group Tom Lammers selfpublished an extended article of his, which went very well for him. I know you are busy enough with teh blog, but if you could find a partner I wonder if your audience hasn't grown so much that you may venture into this sort of thing. I know I would have vought a disc with the Family Comics...! And talking about Herrman, I'd love a collection of his Emberrassing Moments in the same way Net Gertler did It's Only a Game.
I like the variety of your site, soi I vote for the highlights only, especially because -as you said - most strips need an explaination, deling with contemporary events. I'd be the first (but also one of the few, I'm afraid) to buy a book which collects the drawings AND the explainations, but I think it would be a titanic job to put them together
(I tried the following explaination for the two cartoons you put online, and it took a couple hours).

(NOTE: “The San Francisco Examiner” was a Hearst paper, so strongly Anti-Republican)

From 1861 to 1881 Republicans and Southern Pacific Railroads (“The Octopus”, as journalist Frank Norris called it) interests controlled California politics until the Democratic Party won the 1882 elections. Then, in 1906, land agent and lobbyist Walter Parker (right), representative of “the Machine” ran the Republican party in Southern California; William Ellsworth Dunn (1861-1924, left) – another important lobbyst, a lawyer for the South Pacific Railways (note the reference to railroads in the balloons) member of the LA Bar and Assistant City Attorney – was instrumental to the victory of the Republicans, and put his men on the city council (see 2nd cartoon).
As for the dogs Tobasco, Pimiento and Appayava in Cartoon 1: “Tobasco” was the name later (1908) used by Bud Fisher in “Mutt and Jeff” in his caricature of Detective William Burns, who worked for “the Machine” with lawyer Francis J. Heney and the President of First National Bank Rudolph Spreckles in a very dubious anti-corription campaign after the San Francisco Earthquake.
Alfredo Castelli
Even though I love Herrimans work, the highlights would be enough for me. But judging from the previous votes there seems to be interest in seeing the whole lot. So go for it.
My vote would be for highlights. I'm interested in your judgment about which of these cartoons are the best or most interesting, rather than in completism. If you were able to maintain the energy and interest to post commentary along with the drawings, that would be another bonus to the highlights options.
Ignore all those guys who voted for highlights only, they know not what they are saying. Post *everything*, more if possible! Pretty please...
Hello, Allan-----Just print some highlights. I'd like to see any local strips Herriman may have produced out there on the left coast.-----------Cole Johnson.
Post them all. Twice even. And thanks!
Post 'em all! Why not? For anyone who's heard the name Krazy Kat, this is huge!
Please post them all. If possible could you also include the publication date with each cartoon. Many thanks
Post them all! There are precious few resources and precious few people who actually care about the history of the comic strip.
I vote for #1.
I read my first "krazy Kat" last year and since then I can't get enough. I am so thoroughly fascinated by Herriman's work, and I enjoy looking at some of his earlier comic strips to see what the origins of Krazy were.
Plus, anything by Herriman could be great anyway.
Please post them all! I can't get enough Herriman. Thanks much for the wonderful blog!

Best wishes,

Steven Stwalley
Post 'em all.

There's probably the beginning of a book or a series here about The Lost Cartoons of (INSERT FAMOUS CARTOONIST'S NAME HERE)."

The Winsor McCay book series is awesome.

A LOT of the early cartoonists began by working for specific there's a treasure trove out there for some ambitious guy.

--Lee Nordling
Please post them all...
I was going to say highlights and then see if folks want more, but it's apparent that folks want more. So #1 seems to be the way to go.
Please post them all even if it takes 10 years--I will be 97 then and still enjoying them. Thanks from Charlie
Saturday's only? Then post them all, please.
Keep posting them, please.

Gary Esposito
1. Post 'em all. I love Herriman and I can't get enough.
1, please, I'm french and I say show dem all for chrissake
Publish 'em all. As if there's another choice?
All won't be enough, so, all please.
don't you dare not post them!
please show dates, and if it's a prime position like front or back page, that would be useful to know.

you are a magnificent fellow!

Eddie Campbell
In the words of Daffy Duck, "Post them all! Post them all!"
Please post all of them. Herriman's cartooning always delights (even when the context is be unclear).

Thank you!
Please DON'T post any more! Sometimes less is more, don't you realise?

The above said is a joke.
Certainly you are doing a great service by sharing all the material.
Bandwith protesters won't mind either.

Thank you for your time in this project.
1, please. Post'em all. Herriman's good just for the taste of it; all his work is worth to have a closer look.

And yeah, THANK YOU VERY MUCH for your time and efforts.
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