Saturday, February 12, 2011


Weekends on Hiatus for Now

Hello folks -- Herriman Saturdays and Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics are on hiatus for the time being. My scanner is on the fritz and I've run out of backlog scans for these features. Weekday features can continue unabated long into the future because I have oodles of scans waiting in the wings.

If you happen to be a good troubleshooter, I'm hereby soliciting ideas on how to fix this !@#$% thing. The specific situation is actually that the scanner works just fine if I hook it up to a different computer. But the one that I use for maintaining the blog, and which has Photoshop and all my other tools on it, just can't seem to recognize it all of a sudden. The computer recognizes it when I plug the USB cable in (I get the familiar ding), but when I try to make a scan nothing good happens. If I attempt to scan through Photoshop, Photoshop becomes unresponsive. If I try to scan directly through the Epson software, the application starts, displays it's splash screen, and then just shuts down. I tried reinstalling the Epson scanner driver and scanning application, and in test mode it says it finds the scanner. But no go when I actually try to scan.

I don't recall anything out of the ordinary happening around the same time,  like installing new apps or hardware. Oh, and other USB devices continue to work normally. I'm on XP with current service packs and updates.

Any ideas??

Try system restore.
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Friday, February 11, 2011


Obscurity of the Day: The Anvil Chorus and Feature Foto Plays

The New York American of the late teens and 1920s is only available in fragmentary form on microfilm. Tis a sad thing. Because of the wide view that Hearst's papers were yellow rags, and worse, that W.R. himself was sympathetic to the Germans in World War I, libraries failed to collect and archive many of his newspapers in this era. 

The incomplete microfilming of the American of 1916-1918 is especially distressing because there were a lot of interesting goings-on there that seldom made it into other papers in any orderly form. Among them are the many different series that Ed Wheelan was producing for the American in 1916. Wheelan, of course, was in a process that would eventually lead him to settle down with his classic Minute Movies feature, and in the sample above we see a very early incarnation of that idea in the 'daily topper' for The Anvil Chorus. Here called Our Feature Film, the idea of a film strip would transform several times before it settled down into its familiar later form. In this form, the feature more often went by the title Feature Foto Plays and ran about once a week as the Wheelan 'topper' from February 11 to September 20 1916. I consider this a separate series from Midget Movies, which began as an untitled feature (as far as the record can tell) on January 31 1917.

Luckily, we do have enough microfilmed papers to give a pretty reasonable set of running dates for the main feature, The Anvil Chorus. This feature, which ran in tandem with Wheelan's other series, seems to have first appeared on February 4 and ended on August 15 1916. It had a lot in common with Tad's Indoor Sports cartoons, chronicling the belly-aching and one-upping that goes on when a group of guys get together.

We've featured a few of Wheelan's other early ventures on the blog. Here's Hope and Experience and Always Take Papa's Advice. And here are some early samples of Minute Movies, before it was even titled Midget Movies.

I hear that over on Ken Quattro's Comics Detective blog we're about to be treated to an essay about Ed Wheelan in the next day or two. Head on over -- it's highly recommended reading.


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Thursday, February 10, 2011


Obscurity of the Day: Will-yum

It seems amazing that a feature can last almost a decade and a half, but yet qualify as an obscurity (at least in my opinion), but it's surprising just how many features fly under the radar for years and years.

I'm sure there are some out there who remember Will-yum. As I often say, it's not an obscurity to you if it ran in your newspaper. But Will-yum didn't have a long client list when it debuted on June 1 1953, never really made any significant gains through the years, and ended quietly on January 30 1967.

The daily and Sunday kid strip by Dave Gerard grew out of a recurring feature he did for Woman's Home Companion starting in 1949. In 1953, with sales of his newspaper feature Viewpoint not setting the world on fire, he and the John F. Dille Syndicate changed gears. They dumped Viewpoint and replaced it with Will-Yum. The new feature certainly did incrementally better, enough anyway to keep Gerard from retiring it in favor of focusing more time on his magazine gag cartooning.

Will-Yum made a few comic book appearances, and a book collection was issued by Berkley in 1958.


Hi Allan,
Hunted out your blog cos I got an email from amazon saying they couldn't supply your book/encyclpaedia.
Is it available?
Is it published?
Here's hoping,
Thanks tim Scott
Hi Tim --
Sorry, the book is still in production, not yet published. Wish I could give you a publication date but the publisher has not committed to a firm revised date as yet.

Have you seen the even rare strip he did for s hort period during Will-Yum? City Hall is like an early sixties saticial sitcom, with the occasional dumb joke. It was created by Gerard and cartoonist Donoby, and although I have quite a few dailies and black and white Sundays on my blog, I have only come across two or three Sundays in color. I love the genre, I love Gerard's style, so it interests me a lot. After a couple of years Donby took over the rt as well in a more modern style, whoch makes me think he was the writer at first.
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Wednesday, February 09, 2011


Hans Horina: More Digging by Alex Jay

Reinicke and Horina, 1897
Little is known about Hans Horina's art training and career in Europe. There is a connection between Horina and fellow comic artist Emil Reinicke.

Reinicke was a German artist born on November 20, 1859 and passed away in 1942, according to the German Wiki. Lambiek Comiclopedia also has a page on him.

In the periodical Fliegende Blätter, Nro. 2702, 7 Mai 1897 (Flying Sheets, Number 2702, May 7, 1897), on pages 186 and 187, there is a five-panel cartoon. In the lower right-hand corner of the fifth panel are the names, "H. Horina (illegible), E. Reinicke (illegible).

Samples of Reinicke's work can be viewed at Andy's Early Comics Archive. The site has three pages from the book, "Der Durstige Jumbo" (Thirsty Jumbo), which was published in 1902. On the third page, in the upper left-hand corner, is the signature, "E. Reinicke nach Horina, 02."
Reinicke and Horina, 1902

What kind of relationship was this? Reinicke was six years older than Horina and, evidently, established as an illustrator and caricaturist before Horina. Was Reinicke the teacher and Horina the apprentice or was Reinicke a mentor to Horina?

A Reinicke collaboration with another artist, Karl Pomerhanz, was the cartoon "Ein Bubenstreich", printed in the January 22, 1897 issue of Fliegende Blätter 2687. Pomerhanz was two years older Reinicke, and, according to Lambiek, was a painter before turning to comic illustration. Was Pomerhanz an apprentice, too?

How much influence did Reinicke have on Pomerhanz and Horina, both of whom were recruited by the Chicago Tribune in 1906 for its new comics section? This trio certainly shared the same comic sensibility.

Reinecke and Pommerhanz, 1897
More Reinicke art and work by many more German artists can be seen in Volume 106 of Fliegende Blätter which can be previewed and downloaded at Google Books.

A Gallery of Hans Horina Postcards


I found a "fine cook" card at an antique store in Snohomish, WA. My daughter, a baker, thought the cartoon was hilarious so we purchased it for $4.00. It was postmarked Septemer 26, 1910!
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Tuesday, February 08, 2011


Obscurity of the Day: As a Matter of Fact

Sports cartoonists are sort of the middle child of the ink-stained fraternity. Everyone loves the guys from the funny pages, and editorial cartoonists have the respect of newspaper readers. But what of those other guys -- the sports cartoonists? Both they and their entire genre are all but forgotten. Ask the average cartooning fan to name some, and they'll probably get stuck after one or two. Willard Mullin .... uh ... Pap .... um .... Many of our favorite cartoonists dabbled in sports for awhile, but for those who stuck with that genre for their entire career, their lives mostly have gone undocumented in cartooning references.

Take Bob Coyne, for instance. He did sports cartoons for 40-some years in several Boston papers, and he had a pleasant if not terribly glamorous style. He chronicled all the great Boston sports teams from the 1920s into the 70s, and was, I presume, beloved of sports page readers in Beantown in his day. But today if his name was the answer to a cartooning trivia question, we'd all shout, "Unfair -- NO ONE has heard of that guy!"

Anyhow, enough maudlin sentimentalizing. In addition to Bob Coyne's regular sports cartoons in the Boston Post, in the late 20s and early 30's he did this daily sports-oriented Believe It or Not-type feature titled As a Matter of Fact. There doesn't appear to have ever been an attempt to syndicate it, though maybe I'm wrong since they did bother to adorn each one with a copyright symbol. Coyne did a really good job of picking his oddball facts, hitting all the major sports regularly and plenty of the minor ones. And his factoids are entertaining, too, not just a boring recitation of batting averages, rebounds and rushing yards.

I don't know how long Coyne stuck with this feature. My samples are all from 1929-30, but for all I know it might have run for quite awhile. I did do quite a bit of spot-indexing of the Boston Post, but somehow must have glossed over this diminutive feature.


Harold Victor "Bob" Coyne was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on August 22, 1898. In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census he was the fifth child of Michael and Annie, both Irish immigrants who arrived in 1884. The family lived at 7 Vine Place in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Ten years later the Coyne family had added three more children; they lived at 59 Vine Street. Harold signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918; he was a student at "Holy Cross College" [College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts].

In the 1920 census, the Coynes lived at 59 Preston Road; Harold was an artist working at an engraving company. In the late 1920s Harold signed his cartoons, "Bob Coyne".

Harold married Helen in 1929 according to the 1930 census. The couple lived at 250 Brattle Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His occupation was cartoonist at a newspaper.

Coyne passed away on October 3, 1976. Many newspapers used the Associated Press report.

Harold V. "Bob" Coyne Dies; Boston Sports Cartoonist

Harold V. "Bob" Coyne, of Cambridge, whose sports cartoons adorned
Boston newspapers for 47 years, died Monday at a nursing home after
a long illness. He was 78.

Coyne, who covered a broad spectrum of sports, produced 15,000 pen
and ink drawings, some of them ultimately going to Baseball's Hall of
Fame at Cooperstown, N.Y., others prized by individuals as gifts.

His first newspaper job was with The Boston Globe, but he soon moved
to the Boston Post where his work won him the job of sports cartoonist
in 1928.

In 1955, Coyne came to the old Boston Record where he produced
more than 5,000 cartoons. He retired in May 1975 from the Boston
Herald American and Sunday Herald Advertiser.

He was a Cambridge native who showed an early talent and love for
sports, especially baseball and football.

Coyne leaves his widow, Helen; two brothers and a sister.

A funeral mass was planned Thursday morning at Sacred Heart
Church in Watertown, with burial in Westview Cemetery in Lexington.
Loved Bob Coyne as a kid in Ma. =and collected a lot of his cartoons. I still have many cartoons along with Gene Macks'
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Monday, February 07, 2011


News of Yore 1929: Tad Eulogized

Press and Sports World Laud Tad in Final Tributes to Genius

Newspaper Associates Write With "Tears In Their Eyes" -- Baseball and Boxing Men Lament Cartoonist's Death
(Editor & Publisher, 5/11/29)

Sport writers and sportsmen paid tribute last week to Tad, cartoonist, humorist and sport writer, idol of New York newspaperdom, who died during his sleep shortly after noon, May 2, leaving the world of the ringside and baseball diamond, which he loved so much, after nine years of virtual confinement to his home in Great Neck, L.I.

His many devoted freinds on the sport staffs of numerous newspapers in New York and other cities dipped their pens in reminiscence and wrote of the countless practical jokes, the time-honored wisecracks and the gameness of their freind, Thomas Aloysius Dorgan, who was Tad to them and all the rest of his gay world. In his own particular phrase of commendation, reserved for people he admired most, Tad's friends wrote his epitaph -- "He was a swell guy."

At Madison Square Garden, temple of the "manly art," the sport he liked best, an empty seat was draped with black for Tad's memory, during the bouts, May 3, and while taps was sounded from the ring, the crowds present stood with bowed heads.

Tad kept working up to the day before his death, and conscientiously kept up his schedule of 10 cartoons in advance. These were continued in the New York Journal and other papers served by King Features Syndicate after a break of one day in honor of the artist. Many of Tad's old drawings of "Indoor Sports," "Outdoor Sports," "Judge Rummy" and the "Daffydils" will be run by the Hearst papers for some time to come.

Among Tad's many admirable qualities, extolled by his friends, were his courage, his wit and his kindness. Courage was the keynote of his life. When he was a boy in San Francisco his right hand was mutilated in an accident and he learned to draw with his left. He was the principal support of his mother and six brothers and sisters, and when Arthur Brisbane wired him offering a job on the New York Journal at $60 a week, he wired back that he needed $75 because he had to take his family to New York with him. Brisbane replied with an extra raise, and Tad came to Gotham at $100 a week.

Although Tad's cartooning, wisecracking and associations with the realm of sports and the white lights branded him with the mark of gaiety and lightheartedness, his friends testified to his qualities as a serious thinker. He read extensively and whenever a young fellow would ask his advice he would tell him to "buy good books and read every line of them."

He was a kind and strict "father" to his brothers and sisters, maintaining a sharp watch over their welfare. Once a week he would have a conference with two of his brothers, who called regularly for a "bawling out." At these conferences Tad would ask them about their behavior and urge them to work hard.

He idolized his mother, whom he called "Flynn," which was her maiden name. He gave a dinner every year on the occasion of her birthday and always prepared a veritable gauntlet of trick glasses and other practical jokes, which "Flynn" was forced to run during the course of the dinner.

It was a hard blow to him when he was ordered by his physician not to attend any more prize-fights. This came during the period of Jack Dempsey's training in Atlantic City for his bout with Georges Carpentier in 1921. Tad had been taken ill at the Dempsey-Miske fight the previous year, but had continued to "cover" his favorite sport for the Journal until the final warning that the further excitement of the prize-ring would be too great a strain on his heart.

Many fighters were his friends, among them Dempsey, whom Tad picked to beat Jess Willard, the Goliath of the ring, despite the fact that only a few others were of the same opinion. Dempsey never forgot this, and last week he paid a grand tribute to Tad, saying:

"I looked upon him then as the greatest authority on boxing, and when he picked me to beat Willard it strengthened my confidence. Up to the time that he could no longer make his observations first-hand I believe he knew more about fighting than any other man."

In recent years, Tad depended upon the radio for synthetic attendence at the fights.

Tad had a penchant for nicknaming people. He christened Joe Gans, the colored ring champion, "The Old Master," and he used to call Arthur Brisbane "Big George."

Baseball was his second love among the sports. The Yankees were his favorite team and Hal Chase was his most idolized player, with Babe Ruth ranking second.

He loved to play cards and pinochle was his favorite game. He would shoot dice until he lost $10 and then quit.

An odd quirk of his character was brought out this week in a story told by one of his friends. Back in 1907 Irving Berlin, who was Tad's favorite song writer, used to work as a singing waiter at Jimmy Kelly's restaurant on 14th Street and Tad used to sit by the hour and listen to him sing "San Francisco Bay."

Several of the sports writing fraternity testified to Tad's quick wit with a story of his first days on the Journal. He was involved in a small but lively "crap" game in the cartoonist's room with several of his co-workers, among them Bud Fisher, Harry Hershfield, Tom McNamara, Tom Powers, George McManus and Damon Runyan [this list includes several who weren't at the Journal when Tad arrived]. Shooting dice was against the rules of the Journal, but the boys, in their ardor, had put aside all thoughts of rules. One of the contestants had his arm poised high over his head shaking the dice and exhorting a nine to make its appearance when, without warning, Arthur Brisbane walked on the scene. The arm remained frozen in its pose. A ghastly silence came over the group. But Tad came to the rescue. Turning to the editor, he said quietly, "There's a quarter open; do you want it?"

Many other tales of Tad's practical jokes and odd likes and dislikes were narrated by his host of friends in newspapers throughout the country this week, and each of then wrote with a tear in his eye.


Hello, Allan and everyone---One often reads of how TAD invented the term "Hot Dog" for the frankfurter sausage. It's been said that this christening occured in a cartoon showing a snack vendor at a baseball game. If this were true, I'm assuming this particular drawing would have come to light by now. What do you think?---Cole Johnson.
Frankly, no, I don't. I find the idea that a popular bit of slang started from a single cartoon in a daily paper to be almost laughable. People need to be exposed over and over for something like that to catch on. I recall reading an article about this subject and the upshot was the same as you suggested -- show us the cartoon and we'll talk.

For the record, I also don't think Pop Momand invented the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses." I think he used a catch-phrase already coined. But the pop etymologists are against me on that one.

No idea when the Tad cartoon is supposed to have spawned the "hot dog", but it should have been in or before May 26 1901, as that is the date of,2146400&dq=hot-dog&hl=en
and article in the Bridgeport Herald about Hot Dogs (for Frankfurters), which where apparently a new thing in Bridgeport since some two months. Earlier mentions (1895 and thereabouts) are less obviously about the same stuff.
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