Saturday, January 30, 2010


Herriman Saturday

Sunday, October 13 1907 -- George visits the opera today, a performance of Tosca starring Madame Padovani. This was a huge event in L.A. meriting vast coverage in the Examiner's Sunday issue. The bottom cartoon was a printed at almost full page size in the Examiner's magazine section, accompanying an interview with the diva.

Note also that Herriman was referred to as 'George the Greek' in the headline accompanying the top cartoon. Unfortunately the article didn't make it into my photocopies so I don't know what else might have been said about Herriman therein.


Thanks for the elp, Alan. I have schedule three posts for the next two weeks, but the four I tried to do after that are being published right away rather than being saved for later. And I did nothing different. Is there a limit? Should I keep trying? Any help is welcome.
Hi Ger --
No, there's no limit, at least I've had as many as 15-20 posts queued up at a time, so if there is a limit it's pretty high.

The 'gotcha' that you probably ran into is that you MUST specify a posting date/time before you hit the PUBLISH button. If you publish before you date the entry there is no way that I've found for undoing it, short of deleting the post and starting over.

I've made this mistake plenty of times. It's easy to forget and just hit PUBLISH without thinking.

Thanks. My glitch must be similar to that one, but slightly different. Even a newly started post, which is set to a future time before even uploading the material doesn't end up as scheduled anymore after the first three. I am now saving them as draft and will try to post them from Florida, where I willl be going.
Coming to my neck of the woods, eh? You're welcome to stop in for a visit if you're in the area.

Herriman Saturday is my favorite part of your blog. I can't get enough of this genius' work and you unearth some great finds!

Keep up the hard work!
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Friday, January 29, 2010


Obscurity of the Day: The Merry Marceline

For today's obscurity I pass the reins to our resident expert on all antiquated forms of entertainment, Cole Johnson ....

Marceline Orbes was an internationally famous clown, born in Saragossa, Spain, in 1875. He was a fixture at the famous London Hippodrome, where he once worked with a very young Charles Chaplin (Chaplin called him one of his major influences).

In 1905, the most elaborate entertainment venue in the world was constructed in New York, also named the Hippodrome. the building was capable of putting on incredible circus shows with gigantic rising stages, huge menageries, and water carnivals. One of the star attractions was Marceline, who was a smash hit. He stayed with the Hippodrome for nine seasons, but his popularity waned, supposedly because of the rise of slapstick comedy films, but also because he was losing his creative spark.

Marceline took his savings and decided to go into business, making bad investments in a restaurant and in real estate. Short on funds, he made a comeback attempt at the Hippodrome, but it was a humiliating failure. The audience greeted the former favorite's fillips with silence. Soon, the best he could do was be one of the myriad unbilled clowns at Ringling Brothers.

Chaplin saw him at this bleak point, and remarked at what a sad comedown it was for the once-great droll. (Typical of Charlie, he didn't help his "major influence" or give him a job, however.) After a while, Marceline couldn't find any work at all. He lived in a grimy dive, the Hotel Jefferson ( 226 W. 50th St.) in New York, where he "never had visitors, received mail, or telephone calls", according to the landlady. On Nov. 3, 1927, he pawned the last thing of value he had, a diamond ring, for $15.00. On Nov. 5, a maid found him kneeling at his bed, as if in prayer, surrounded by various portraits from his days as a star. Police were called in and they found two bullets, one in the wall, the other through his head. The old clown had apparently been shaking so hard that his first shot missed. The sounds of the gun shots had been ignored, just like the man who fired them. He still had $6.00 left.

On that sad note let's dispense quickly and solemnly with today's obscurity. The Merry Marceline, supposedly edited by the famed clown himself, was drawn by Foster M. Follett for the New York World. As you can see in the above samples the action is frenetic, and that lends credence to the credit because Follett, left to his own devices, generally went for a more low-key approach.

Marceline's comeback on the funny pages was very short-lived. It ran from April 1 to May 13 1906.


Man that was totally Obscure to the max :)

You must have dusted off some OLD OLD OLD books to find that one!
Ah.. So this explains Norman Jennett's "Monkeyshines of Marseleen". The pig and goose appear in both strips. And let's not be too hard on Chaplin. After all, he did leave the largest wreath on Orbes' coffin.
Hello, Aaron and all----It looks like the Herald series MONKEYSHINES OF MARSELEEN (note spelling) was implying the famous clown, but had nothing to do with him. MARSELEEN, the star of Jennett's feature doesn't resemble the vagabond character of MARCELINE, but rather looked the part of a Commedia del' Arte type classic clown.---Cole Johnson.
I know this is an old string, but I have been looking for more on Norman Jennett's "Monkey Shines of Marseleen". Any recommendations as to where to access would be appreciated. Thx

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Thursday, January 28, 2010


Obscurity of the Day: Mischievous Willie

Frank H. Ladendorf spent at least a decade and a half cartooning for the New York World. He was there in 1895 at the dawn of the Sunday comics, and his last work was published at the start of the teens as the newspaper comics world began to settle down from its raucous early years.

Ladendorf's features were seldom memorable ; his Posey County was merely a second-rate copy of Outcault's material, and today's obscurity, Mischievous Willie, is yet another entry in that seemingly endless parade of prank-pulling kid features. However, Cole Johnson points out that Mischievous Willie does exhibit one rather interesting innovation -- it may well be the first comic strip series in which the star ages. As proof Cole submits these two samples -- the first from 1900, the second from 1903, in which Willie has progressed from infancy to knee-pants age.

Mischievous Willie first ran as a titled feature on May 7 1899 and ended on March 1 1903. Ken Barker's World index further notes that Ladendorf strips featuring a baby prankster of the same general description began in December 1898.



I am a collector of breweriana from Syracuse, NY and have a couple of pieces of advertising in my collection done by Mr. Ladendorf.

To see them visit my website:

Catagories: booklets and signs

Richard Alonso
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Obscurity of the Day: Howard the Duck

If you were a nerdy teenage comic book collector with intellectual aspirations in 1976 (as I was) you no doubt remember Howard the Duck. Howard, a cigar-chomping duck from another dimension "trapped in a world he never made" was THE hot comic book of 1976. The duck's creator, Steve Gerber, wrote intelligent stories that reveled in turning super-hero comic book conventions on their ears.

I didn't catch on to the duck's saga until about issue #4, and I still recall saving up my paper route money for months to buy copies of the first three issues at the local comic book store. Issue #1 was scarce due to low distribution and went for a king's ransom (about $20 as I recall). Heck, I was so enamored of Howard that I even went to the movie. I think I was the only one in the theatre...

Speaking of low distribution, the Howard the Duck newspaper strip certainly fits that description. Although Howard was a cause celebre among comic book fans, you can imagine what newspaper editors thought when the salesman from Register & Tribune Syndicate showed them this supremely odd strip. You can be sure that any editor who actually took the strip did so only because they had teenage boys at home who threatened to make his life hell otherwise.

The newspaper strip version began on June 6 1977 at the height of Howard-mania. At first Steve Gerber and Gene Colan, the creative team on the comic book, handled the strip as well. Colan, however, dropped out after just five months, and his job was taken over by Val Mayerik, who was also occasionally spelling Colan on the comic book.

In 1978 Steve Gerber abruptly left both the comic book and comic strip due to creative control issues with Marvel Comics. Gerber was last credited on the strip in April, and Marv Wolfman took over the writing duties. Shortly before, Mayerik bailed out and was replaced by Alan Kupperberg on art. The strip soldiered on until October of that year before being replaced by a strip about a different Marvel property, The Incredible Hulk.

Here are specific creator dates on the series, most of which come from John Wells with a few edits by me. Undoubtedly, as with all Marvel newspaper strips, there's more to the creative story than is told by the official credits...

Steve Gerber / Gene Colan: 6/12/77 - 11/6/77
Steve Gerber / Val Mayerik: 11/13/77 - 3/26/78 *
Steve Gerber / Alan Kupperberg: 4/2/78 - 4/16/78 *
Marv Wolfman / Alan Kupperberg: 4/23/78 - 10/29/78
* art 1/29 - 4/16 unsigned, looks like Mayerik to 3/19, 3/26 - 4/9 may be by others (4/2/78 sample shown above)

Steve Gerber / Gene Colan: 6/6/77 - 10/8/77
Steve Gerber / Val Mayerik: 10/10/77 - 2/25/78
Steve Gerber / Alan Kupperberg: 2/27/78 - 4/22/78
Marv Wolfman / Alan Kupperberg: 4/24/78 - 10/28/78

Joe Brusky compiled the story info (some titles are his invention -- most stories were untitled in the actual strip), with additions and corrections from Mark Nems:
Pop Syke - The Consciousness of Success: 6/6/77 - 7/31/77 (daily/Sunday)
The Cult of Entropy: 8/1/77 - 10/2/77 (daily/Sunday)
Fred Feenix the Self-Made Man: 10/3/77 - 12/11/77 (daily/Sunday)
The Sleigh-Jacking: 12/12/77 - 1/1/78 (daily/Sunday)
In Search of the Good Life: 1/2/78 - 2/26/78 (daily/Sunday)
Sleep of the Just: 2/27/78 - 4/22/78 (daily/Sunday)
Close Encounters of the Fowl Kind: 4/23/78 - 6/13/78 (daily/Sunday)
The Tuesday Ruby: 6/14/78 - 9/2/78 (daily only)
The Clone Ranger: 9/4/78 - 9/30/78 (daily only)
Howard Heads Home (aka Bye Bye Beverly): 10/2/78 - 10/28/78 (daily only)
Mystery of the Maltese Human: 8/27/78 - 10/29/78 (Sundays)


On a somewhat related note, who exactly is doing the Spider-Man comic strip these days? The credits say it's the Lieber brothers, but that doesn't seem too likely. If it really is Stan and Larry, then my hat's off to both of them!
Allan, I will be going away for a short holiday soon. Can you tell me (privately, if you want) how to time posts to appear daily in advance on Blogger?
Hi Ger --
When you are writing your post, look down at the bottom of that window. You'll see a thing called "Post Options". Click on that text and some extra prompts will pop onto the screen. You'll see where you can enter a date and time for the posting to appear on the blog.

Hi Dave --
Stan and Larry said they were still doing it in separate Alter Ego interviews. Granted those are both probably a few years old by now, and who knows if they're telling the truth, but I haven't heard any contrary rumors. Anyone have the inside scoop?

Lee still scripted it, Leiber still draws the dailies, while Alex Saviuk and Joe Sinnott does the Sunday strips.
Re: the current The Amazing Spider-Man comic strip.
My understanding is that Stan Lee still writes it, with an assist from Roy Thomas for the past ten years.
Larry Leiber pencils the dailies with Alex Saviuk inking the dailies. Alex Saviuk pencils the Sundays and Joe Sinnott inks the Sundays. (Every couple of years lately Joe Sinnott, for one reason or another, has taken a break and Jim Amash has filled in as the Sunday inker).
If anyone remembers the work Larry Lieber was doing 45 years ago, the daily Spider-Man strips sure look like his stuff, just as Joe Giella's Mary Worth bears a passing resemblance to what Joe was doing for DC Comics back in the 1960's.
To me, these credits seem a bit more accurate...

Then again, it is my site. :)

A public thanks to Joe Brusky, who helped Howard fans remember this great strip existed.
Thanks Mark, I've updated the story listings to reflect your additional research. Thanks!

There was a collection of the strip or at least the first weeks by Gerber/Colan, published back in the 1970s by a group of fans in New Jersey (as I recall).
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Monday, January 25, 2010 + Apologies

Topic the first: I am working with the folks at trying to figure out why some users (including myself) are unable to use the site effectively. In my case any given page on their site can take 5 minutes or even more to load. The folks at Newspaperarchive are pretty mystified at the source of the problem right now, so they are hoping to hear from others having the same trouble. I know a few of you have told me in the past that you were having similar problems. If you are, please email me or leave a message here with your email and I will pass on your info to the inner circle there at I also would like to hear from those who are not experiencing problems on the site for comparison sake.

Topic the second: For those of you who have been waiting for email replies from me please accept my apologies for not answering lately. Been busier than Dagwood at a sandwich-eating contest with a bunch of projects and email has been floundering in the priority list. I'm hoping to catch up with correspondence this week, as next week promises to be even busier. Of course this has also hampered me in making daily posts, as well, so please bear with me.

I thought I should let you know I am having no problems with downloading at NewspaperArchive. and I very much like the function where you see a preview of a page when you scroll over the link.

I am using Firefox on an Apple computer, by the way. When I used Netscape, the pages used to open in my browser. Now they immediately get downloaded and I open them from my download manager in Adobe.

Related question: is there a way to pull copies from Googles newspaper search function. I was very pleased to find Willie Lumpkin Sunday pages, but found I couldn't copy them. Is it me?
Hi Ger --
Other than doing a screen capture, no, Google doesn't let you print. One of several annoying properties of their interface. Much worse IMHO is that there's no simple way to find out what they actually have in their archives -- gotta just search blindly.

No problem downloading Newspaper Archive. With Google Archive, I have emailed items to myself with File>Mail Contents of This Page. But with a Sunday page, sizing to fit is frustrating.

Bhob @ Potrzebie
It's hit or miss with me on Newspaper Archive. Sometimes the pages download in about 30 seconds, sometimes they take two or three minutes to load. I find that if I click the next highest number to the one I want, 12 instead of 13, for example, then immediately click 13, page 13 will load a little faster. I use Newspaper Archive through a public library connection, so maybe that might account for a little slower connection than if I subscribed directly.
Thank you all for your replies! I'm looking into Allan's issue, and hopefully we will have it cleared up soon. We appreciate the help.

~Steve Carr
This comment has been removed by the author.
Um, Jack, I'm just trying to get some help figuring out the problem here. I'd heard from others in the past with similar problems -- if they're cleared up that's great! If the issue is on my end -- a possibility I'm NOT discounting -- it's proving very elusive; neither I (a computer pro for 25 years) nor the folks at Newspaperarchive can seem to pin it down. I had eliminated cookies, firewalls, anti-virus, etc. as the source of the problem before I even contacted them.

After a week of troubleshooting it is starting to look like the problem may be something to do with my ISP. Now how in the world would you expect me to figure that out without some outside input?

Sorry to have so offended you.

Bhob, I was looking for Chad's Howdy Doody at Google. If I buy those pdf's do I get them or do I just get to see them and do you know if they are full page shots?
Ger, if you mean the HARTFORD COURANT, their FAQ says one can "print it" or "save it" for up to 90 days. Btw, while checking this, I ran across an obit for Chad that gives a different date of death (2/3/02) than other sources.

Bhob @ Potrzebie
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Sunday, January 24, 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.


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