Saturday, June 06, 2009


Herriman Saturday

Tuesday, September 3 1907 -- An auspicious debut for Ted Easterly, who commits several acts of impressive diamond derring-do so inspiring to the Angels' fans that they shower him with change after the game. Easterly is no flash in the pan, either. He'll bat .309 for the Angels in 1908, then graduate to an impressive seven season career in the majors.

Thursday, September 5 1907 -- A group referred to as the "Brooklyn Leaguers" makes an excursion out to Catalina island, and the event is important enough for the Examiner to send Herriman and a reporter to document it. Nowhere in the cartoon or the accompanying article is there a single word explaining just what the heck a "Brooklyn Leaguer" is -- anyone know?


This is just a guess but my grandfather's Uncle played semi-pro baseball/football in Brooklyn, NY. It was probably about this time or a little later. I saw newspaper clippings and a postcard of him in a baseball uniform when I was young.
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Friday, June 05, 2009


Obscurity of the Day: But!

What you're witnessing directly above is exactly one-third of the entire run of an amateurish strip titled But! The strip ran three whole times. The creator, a fellow named Gardner, apparently didn't have a clue how to draw for reproduction because the strip is just as hard to decipher in its original milieu as it is here.

You've got to give Gardner some credit though. Notice that he's included a sub-strip along the bottom margin. Course you can't tell what the heck is going on in it, but hey, at least he put in the effort.

But! was syndicated through the auspices of Associated Newspapers and appeared in what I assume is its home paper of the New York Globe from April 16 to April 24 1913. You will recall that Associated was a co-op syndicate. Each participating paper was expected to pony up their own homegrown comics in exchange for access to those of the other participating papers. Amazing thing is that I've actually seen this strip in two other participant papers. Can you believe that no less than three major papers were desperate enough to fill space that they actually used this stinkeroo?

Gardner wisely gave up on But!, yet he returned with another feature about six months later. I won't tell you what it was (one obscurity per day is your limit) but I will tell you that Gardner definitely did not spend those months at an art school.

PS: Is this the first time in a newspaper comic strip that we see dripping blood? Won't see it again until Dick Tracy I'm thinking.


Aw gee, I kinda liked it!
Page one of has a September 28, 1908 comic strip (no evidence yet of it being recurring, but it sure looks to be intended that way) with dripping blood in it!
Hi Fram --
That is fabulous! My guess is that it was locally produced since I've never heard of this Holz fella. I'm dying to know if it continues!

The sub strip seems to be a tiny barber haphazardly shaving a customer with swings that should take the customers head off, binge keeps missing.
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Thursday, June 04, 2009


Obscurity of the Day: The Adventures of Judy

Here's a feature I just discovered; several tearsheets were lurking in a pile of miscellany that I've been working through. The Adventures of Judy was by Eleanor Schorer and ran in 1926. Beyond that it's mostly guesswork. The samples I found were from August issues of the San Francisco Bulletin. Searching on NewspaperARCHIVE yielded a few more samples from October in the Logansport Tribune. The series was not advertised in Editor & Publisher.

Based on this sketchy information it appears that the feature was available something like 2-3 times per week. Although the samples above might lead you to believe that the feature was primarily a commentary on fashion, others show that the strip was about the romantic entanglements of a flighty rich girl and her many beaus.

The syndicate responsible for this feature is the tougher mystery to solve. There are no syndicate stamps on the samples I've found. I can only limit the likely possibilities to three.

Eleanor Schorer was long associated with the New York World (she has many features to her credit there back in the 1910s) and was definitely still working for them as late as the 1920s, when she ran some sort of radio-newspaper crossover children's feature called Kiddie Klub.

However, in 1926-27 a feature called Mother Goose by Schorer was advertised in E&P, and it was distributed by the Columbia Newspaper Service. I haven't been able to locate any samples of this feature, but it shows that she was no longer working exclusively for the World.

The third possibility is that the feature was from a Hearst syndicate. The feature conforms to the typical look and size of one of Hearst's romantic cartoon offerings, and Schorer was married to a Hearst executive who was involved in syndication. Is this feature merely an entry in their long-running romantic series?

So which was it? Darned if I know. Anyone have some wisdom to share on this feature?

Addendum from 2017: I've since determined that it ran three times per week, and was distributed by Press Publishing (New York World). I believe the official running dates were 4/13 - 10/23/26, and those papers running it after that were just running the panel less than three times per week, so their supply lasted longer.


Wearing a barrel when you have no clothes is such an odd idea. I wonder where it comes from. Is it a purely comic strip convention?
Lyn asks a good question. Where did the barrel begin? In old political cartoons wearing a barrel is usually connected to financial hardship. A person has lost everything including the clothes off his back, and all he has to wear is an old barrel he found lying around the farm. I don't know how far back that tradition goes.

I find it amusing that both examples use an identical gag! Dad can't find his bathing suit...Dad can't find his socks. It's hard to figure out the panel order in the first one, though.
Hello, Allan----Some pretty weird-looking art here. Why didn't the guy just put his clothes back on, instead of wearing a barrel out onto the beach?--Cole Johnson.
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Wednesday, June 03, 2009


Comic Strip Hocus-Focus

This daily strip of Ray Billingsley's Curtis was the subject of a special redelivery by King Features. The top strip is the one that came on the original proof sheet for the week. King then sent out the second version, telling newspapers to substitute it for the original. Can you figure out what the problem was?

Thanks to Cole Johnson for submitting these.

That was funny. I was expecting a much more controversial reason.
This almost was even more controversial, as it's revealed the next day the "Helping" hand in the last frame is attached to none other than Martin Luther King!
I hope it's the hand on the second panel.
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Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Obscurity of the Day: Dooley's World

Dooley's World got off to a strong start in a generous number of papers when it debuted on September 11 1972. Apparently the gentle humor of the strip appealed to newspaper editors, perhaps reacting to the country's brittle divisive mood.

The strip was about a little boy and his toys. Dooley's toy bin has three members that have come to life -- two wind-up dolls, one named Professor, the other a knight named Norman, and a rag doll named Thelma. A fourth pal, Max the mouse, rounds out the strip's cast. All of the characters are sweet and tender, all wide-eyed and amazed by the great big world with the exception of Thelma. In a strip full of Linuses, she's a Lucy. The cantankerous and angry Thelma provides the only antagonism in the strip, and its muted by the rest of the cast who always turn the other cheek to her tirades.

The Sunday and daily strip seemed assured of a long and successful run, but in 1975-76 the client list dropped off precipitously although I can see no real change in the strip. I asked Roger Bradfield, the creator of Dooley's World, why he thought the strip ultimately didn't succeed. I expected an answer that involved newspaper economics or changing tastes, but Bradfield, seemingly channeling his mild characters, simply said "It probably wasn't good enough."

Although I've been unable to locate any strips later than 1977, and that's the last year the strip was advertised in Editor & Publisher, Bradfield tells me that it lasted, to the best of his recollection, to September 1978.

If you'd like to see more of Dooley's World, visit Roger Bradfield's website.


The Dooley dates are:
Sunday 9-10-72 to 8-27-78
Daily 9-11-72 to 9-2-72.
that is... 9-2-78.
Hi Anonymous --
For my records and giving proper attribution in the listings, who are you and what's your source for these dates?

Thanks, Allan
Hi Roger Bradfield's son-in-law here. Roger has updated his web site to He's doing well at 87. Still painting and has started to write and publish children's books again.

Cheers, Steve
Thanks Steve. Link updated.
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Monday, June 01, 2009


News of Yore 1949: Roth Brothers Profiled

Four Roth Brothers Cartoon Way to Fame
By Ogden J. Rochelle (E&P, 3/12/49)

Salo, who draws the daily "Laughing Matter" gag panel for the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate, is the youngest of four brothers who made fame and fortune through their cartoons. All of them currently create gag panels for newspapers and magazines.

Salo's panels are signed only with his first name. Only Ben, of the four Roth brothers, uses the family name to sign his work. Ben also operates a syndicate which sells reprints of American cartoonists' work to Australia and South America.

Salo's cartoons are caricatures of human foibles—definitely on the hilarious side. His work must pass a severe test. His wife is a strict critic, but if a gag clicks with her she laughs hard and long.
The use of pseudonyms does not indicate a lack of family spirit. On the contrary, the Brothers Roth live near each other in the Bronx, New York. Their wives are good friends, and the families go on picnics and outings together. The Roths advise each other in the field of cartooning.

Irving signs his name as Roir. He draws the color page, "To the Ladies," released by King Features Syndicate in Pictorial Review magazine.

Al Ross, third brother, is said to be the most serious of the four, often works in oils, but also submits gag panels to magazines and does some commercial work.

The brothers are associated in a professional school of cartooning in New York, in which they and five other artists are the instructional staff. The Roths come into Manhattan once a week to grade papers and suggest improvements to the students.

All four were on the staff of the magazine, '47.

Salo, whose contract with CT-NYN was recently renewed, sold the first gag cartoon he ever finished to Saturday Evening Post for $25, about 12 years ago. Now 33, he has had cartoons in most of the slick magazines.

Salo is not like the lantern-jawed characters depicted by his pen. He is shy, even retiring, and regards his work seriously and patiently. His best gags come from hot-tempered individuals talking (usually) to a drowsy and noncommital spouse.

He likes the domestic gags best, often works long hours to achieve precise situations for his "Laughing Matter." Sometimes he redraws a dozen times before he feels he has the right approach.

For relaxation he plays the piano accordion. He attends many sports events, gets some of his best gags from watching prize fights, baseball games and horse races.

His cartoons are frequently requested for reprint in sports trade journals.

Ben, oldest of the brothers, sold his first gag to Colliers while he was in high school. It was a sports cartoon. When the other brothers, working at hard labor, stevedoring, delivering messages, and taking odd jobs, saw Ben's good fortune they, too, decided on art as a career.

They have a sister who, surprisingly enough, is not an artist. She's an accountant, and does their tax figuring.


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Sunday, May 31, 2009


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics

Jim Ivey's new book, Graphic Shorthand, is available from for $19.95 plus shipping, or you can order direct from Ivey for $25 postpaid. Jim Ivey teaches the fundamentals of cartooning in his own inimitable style. The book is 128 pages, coil-bound. Send your order to:

Jim Ivey
5840 Dahlia Dr. #7
Orlando FL 32807

Also still available, Jim Ivey's career retrospective Cartoons I Liked, available on or direct from Jim Ivey for $20 postpaid. When ordered from Ivey direct, either book will include an original Ivey sketch.


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