Saturday, July 03, 2010


Herriman Saturday

Sunday, November 24 1907 -- Once again Herriman is tapped to provide a Sunday magazine editorial cartoon for the whole Hearst chain. Here he tries to emulate the approach if not the style of Winsor McCay, whose editorial cartoons always had a sense of grandeur that was perfectly evocative of the Sunday sermons editorials dished up by Arthur Brisbane. In McCay's hand that wall would have stretched out to infinity and each rock and block would have been so real you'd swear you could touch it. Herriman's cartoon is okay, but these ever-so-solemn illustrations just weren't his forte.


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Friday, July 02, 2010


Obscurity of the Day: Ghost Story Club

Writer Allan Zullo and cartoonist Dick Kulpa made a bid for starting a tweener sensation with Ghost Story Club. The strip featured a group of kids who are constantly being haunted by ghosts, ghouls and other assorted creepy-types. Kulpa freely admits that the strip was designed to ride on the coattails of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series, but blends in a group of savvy kids as the heroes. While this makes it somewhat reminiscent of the Scooby-Doo TV series in tone, Ghost Story Club's ghosts and goblins didn't turn out to be natural phenomena at the conclusion of the stories.

The strip not only offered daily thrills and chills but also a club with a monthly newsletter, and an interactive website. Comic strip websites are ho-hum common today but it was a real innovation in the mid-90s. Kulpa also cites his strip as the first to extensively use Photoshop techniques (see panel 5 above) and scanned photos.

Unfortunately the strip never caught on nearly to the extent envisioned by its creators. Was it that kids were no longer willing to follow a story even for a mere week, or that newspapers didn't give the strip much of a chance? Some of both, surely. There's also the factor that the creators were self-consciously hip. The strip constantly referred to current teenybopper fads and fashions, and kids can smell adults trying to be cool from a mile away and roll their eyes in exasperation.

Ghost Story Club was distributed by Tribune Media Services. It seems to have begun on August 20 1995 (a date I arrived at based on numbered Sunday strips), and ended on April 12 1998.

On Kulpa's Captain Comics website he mentions that three weeks of the strip were drawn by substitute artists. I haven't had any luck tracking these down. Anyone know the dates and the subs?


Just found a batch of Ghost Story Club color Sunday pages, with dates that run to May 31, 1998 (with a small "The End" in the last panel) - so that is probably the correct end date for this strip. Cliff
Thanks Cliff! I'll update my records.
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Thursday, July 01, 2010


Can You Help?

Cartoonist/historians Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden  are in the home stretch of "How To Read Nancy" and cannot stand the thought of having to reproduce microfilm copies of these key works in a book about the craftsmanship of Ernie Bushmiller.

They are seeking scans of the following strips from hardcopy (newspaper tearsheets) and have come up empty; please advise if you can help:

NANCY 6/ 29/55
NANCY  8/8/59
DEBBIE (AKA LITTLE DEBBIE) by Cecil Jensen 6/ 27/ 55
FRITZI RITZ 12/31/30
Any examples of pre-1925 work by Bushmiller
Any MAC THE MANAGER strips (1924)

And, of course, Nancy's first appearance : Fritzi Ritz 1/2/33

Any leads appreciated. As you well know, this stuff is very hard to track down.

Please send Paul an email with any tips, leads, or high res scans:

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Obscurity of the Day: Pete

Here's a Sunday feature, simply titled Pete, produced by Everrett Lowry for the top of the line version of the McClure Syndicate Sunday section. Pete the monkey, sort of a simian Katzenjammer Kid, plays pranks on his dull-witted keeper. The unassuming feature was rarely, if ever, given the outer wrap full color treatment.

I have the strip beginning on December 27 1903 based on the San Francisco Chronicle, oddly enough with two complete strips appearing in the same section, while Alfredo Castelli cites a start date of December 13. The strip last ran on June 25 1905.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans!


I like the way Lowry lettered Pete's balloon in perspective in panel 3 of the second strip.
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Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Cartoonist Mug Shots of 1911-12

Here are some wonderful newspaper promo ads featuring photos of some cartoonists rarely captured on film. The top ad appeared in the New York Tribune on November 13 1911. The second ran in the Salt Lake Telegram on February 22 1912.We have Charles Forbell, Harold MacGill, C.H. Wellington, Robert Carter, and even the really obscure D.C. Bartholomew who turns out to be a 'Donald'.

Thanks to Alex Jay for sending these to the Stripper!

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Monday, June 28, 2010


Obscurity of the Day: The Human Zoo

One of the most gifted editorial cartoonists of the past century, C.D. Batchelor flitted from paper to paper in the teens, worked at the New York Post in the 1920s, then from the 30s on was a fixture at the New York Daily News until his retirement and death in the 70s. His Pulitzer-winning 1937 editorial cartoon, a true masterpiece in my opinion, is impossible to forget once seen.

Batchelor's editorial cartoons are very serious indeed, but he did have a (slightly) lighter side that was put on display in his first syndicated feature, The Human Zoo, and a second, Once Overs. The Human Zoo was syndicated by the Philadelphia-based Ledger Syndicate and ran from November 6 1922 until sometime in 1924, possibly August 2nd. In its earlier days the social commentary in these cartoons was complemented by Batchelor's strikingly handsome artwork, but later in the series he simplified his style somewhat and the feature lost some of the 'wow' factor on display in these gorgeous samples.


Human Zoo was still running in February 1925 in the Buffalo DAILY STAR.
Beautiful artwork, indeed.

BUT when I first saw Oswald Snively I thought Hortense was being wooed by a (mannish) woman! Now that would have been social commentary in 1922!
Hi Grizedo --
Thanks for the info on the Buffalo Star run. Do you think it ended there in February, or did it run through the end of the month?

By the way, Grizedo, I still need a name so I can credit you for information in the Stripper's Guide listings, now for this as well. Please email me at
I can only say it was there on February 10.(Tuesday).
The Human Zoo ran in the Birmingham Age-Herald from 3/2/1925 until 8/29/1925 with no copyright notice.
Hi Boyd --
Hmm. Seems a little late; if it was running in August 1925 I would have expected it to appear in the 1925 E&P directory, which it didn't. Of course that can be an oversight or the syndicate had already decided to drop it. Is the Age-Herald online, or did you get these dates from microfilm? What other material did they run? (That might give a clue as to whether the material was current or running late).

Thanks, Allan
That's from my ongoing microfilm survey of the history of the Birmingham papers; you can get the full story at the link below; my brief comments on the Human Zoo are on the A-H page for the 20's. You can also search for the contents of all the pages for any given date (although I haven't gotten that far yet on the Post), so you can do some experimenting on your question. On August 1, the A-H was running the following lineup:

The Human Zoo
Moon Mullins
Gasoline Alley
Little Orphan Annie
Winnie Winkle
The Gumps
Hi Boyd --
Fair enough, it doesn't look like the Age-Herald was in the habit of rerunning old material, so I'm going with your date. Thanks for the link!

The Human Zoo's run in the Grand Island, Nebraska paper are Dec 5 1922 to March 14 1925.
It took awhile but here are 668 The Human Zoo cartoons
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Sunday, June 27, 2010


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


I'm just an observer, but I totally agree!
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