Saturday, January 23, 2010


Herriman Saturday

Friday, October 11 1907 -- In a rare front page appearance, Herriman adds a graphic flourish to this graft story about Thomas Fortune Ryan, a Wall Street fatcat who on this date came close to getting caught in his web of dirty finances. But in the 1900s, as in most other periods in history, rarely did these high-finance types ever get their comeuppance. Mister Ryan slipped through this and many other nooses in his long career. If you're interested to know more about his brush with the law, check out this article in the New York Times. If you're interested in today's equivalent, just pick up today's Times and read about a Congressman from Nebraska, AIG, Bristol-Myers, etc., etc..

Friday, October 11 1907 -- Not actually a poetry reading, the subject is actually a stage show called "A Night With the Poets", song and dance interpretations of the works of James Whitcomb Riley. The gala featured the musical stylings of Berry & Berry with some of those ever-popular race numbers thrown in for good measure. The text review is mixed, and Herriman just echoes in cartoon reviewer Otheman Stevens' take on the production.


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Thursday, January 21, 2010


Obscurity of the Day: Every Move a Picture, Yours Truly the Tumblebug Brothers

As I've said before, the Boston Herald's comic section was remarkably consistent in favoring style over substance. Most of the features were very well drawn but so badly written that there was hardly a guffaw or a chortle to be found in a whole stack of comic sections.

A rare exception to the rule is today's obscurity, a truly brilliant feature by Leighton Budd. Every Move a Picture, Yours Truly the Tumblebug Brothers is a graphical masterwork that succeeds as a work of humor as well. It isn't laugh out loud funny, and isn't really meant to be, but every strip is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face and warm your heart.

The 'plot' is simplicity itself. A set of contortionist triplets spies someone who is bored or unhappy, and they use their unique skills to lighten the mood. When not performing one of their acrobatic tricks the brothers stay strictly in lockstep, which contributes much to the unique graphic flavor of the strip. The art is remarkably clean and fluid, modernistic and streamlined, a real anomaly in newspaper comic sections of the day. Newspaper cartoonists of the time fell mostly into two camps -- the Crudes, who dashed off their features with no thought to design, anatomy or much of anything, and the Fussies, who tried to replicate the mannered, formal styles from Puck, Judge and Life. Budd (himself a Puck alumnus) rejected both schools in this remarkable strip.

The feature ran in the Boston Herald from May 6 to September 16 1906, just about the right amount of time for a feature like this in my opinion. Although lovely to look at, the feature was certainly repetitive and eventually would have devolved into the sort of feature one only quickly glances at to see what formation the brothers create this week. As it is, the Tumblebug Brothers took their final bow while readers still enjoyed the novelty. Always leave 'em wanting more. Unfortunately, this was the one and only continuing feature that Leighton Budd produced for newspapers, so the public's desire for more was left unfulfilled.

Information on Budd is hard to come by, but he was a mainstay at the satirical magazine Puck, and later went on to direct animated films in the mid-1910s. According to J.R. Bray, Budd by this time was a heavy drinker and, at least in his estimation, the resultant films were crude offerings. Perhaps fittingly, the latest work I can find for Leighton Budd are the illustrations in a 1931 book of cocktail recipes.

A triple tip of the hat to Cole Johnson for providing the three (natch) samples above.


Hey Allan and Cole,

Page 4 of this article by Izzy Klein mentions some details of Budd's animation career you may find interesting.

Additionally, I remember seeing an article mentioning someone named Leighton Budd patenting a Hammock in the 50s, but I suppose it could be someone else.

-Charlie Judkins
Great find. More?
Hello, Charlie and all---Budd worked for the major animation studio of it's day, Bray Studios, in New York, from 1916 to 1919. As was the custom in those early days, his cartoons were basically characterless editorial comments on the politics and fads of the day, mainly parts of Newsreels and "Screen Magazine" features. Sample titles like THE MEXICAN BORDER, THE KAISER'S SURPRISE PARTY, and IN 1998 A.D.;THE AUTOMATIC REDUCING MACHINE.---Cole Johnson.
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Obscurity of the Day: Professor Fakem the Naturalist

We just turned the spotlight on Everrett Lowry a short while ago, and here he is again. Today we highlight Professor Fakem the Naturalist, a McClure Sunday strip that ran from July 7 to December 8 1907.

In the 1900s one of the favorite 'go to' genres for the newspaper cartoonist was the nutty professor. Lowry's take on the subject has a member of that club researching animal behavior and coming up with discoveries at odds with conventional wisdom. While the idea might have had possibilities, the execution just wasn't all that funny.

Professor Fakem the Naturalist was a feature of the Otis F. Wood-administered version of the McClure section. Wood seemed to be based out of Philadelphia and his McClure section eventually included strips that also ran in the Philadelphia Press, where Wood seems to have been an editor. There seems to have been some sort of agreement between McClure and the Press to do feature-sharing in 1908-1910.

Tip of the hat to Cole Johnson for today's samples. Thanks Cole!


Great concept. One of the most enjoyable I have read on your blog over the past year.
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Sunday, January 17, 2010


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics

Two books by Jim Ivey are available at or direct from the author:

Graphic Shorthand: Jim Ivey teaches the fundamentals of cartooning in his own inimitable style. 128 pages, coil-bound. Lulu $19.95 plus shipping, direct $25 postpaid.

Cartoons I Liked,Jim Ivey's career retrospective; he picks his own favorite cartoons from a 40-year editorial cartooning career. Lulu $11.95, direct $20 postpaid.

Send your order to:

Jim Ivey
5840 Dahlia Dr. #7
Orlando FL 32807

When ordered direct, either book will include an original Ivey sketch.


A matter of opinion of course but...
Brodie was mostly famous for his portrait sketches but in the three choices given I went with sports.
Agreed Rube won a Pulitzer but I think he is mostly remembered for his Inventions strip.
I went with sports for Llanuza also.
No check by Art Krenz's name, I went with sports on him.
Agreed with Jim on the others.

By the way, here's a page about sports cartoonists from a baseball site:
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