Saturday, November 10, 2012


Books for Sale

This has precious little to do with comics, but since I have the bully pulpit, doggone it, I'm gonna use it.

I am currently beginning to auction a big batch of collectible books on eBay, trying to thin my library down just a tad. Nothing specifically cartooning oriented so far; these are mostly obscure and scarce books I've picked up over the years with 'one of these days' resale in mind. Subjects and vintage are all over the board.

So do me a solid, bro, and click the link below to see what's up for auction right now. If there's anything you see that looks interesting, remember that each bid is helping underwrite the Stripper's Guide blog's chief cook and bottle-washer.

Click  here  for my auctions on eBay  

Okay, okay. Gotta have something comics related. I always wondered why the mid-1970s comic strip fanzine "Bulldog" had that name. I couldn't figure out what the term had to do with the subject. Well, I was just perusing my newly purchased copy of Bulldog #8 (March 1975) and I got my answer. Here it is, straight from publisher Steve Kristiansen:

Way back when I was forming the idea of putting out a comic strip adzine, I had thought that there would be ads only for Sundays (not realizing the integration of daily and Sunday collecting). At that time I was under the impression that the word "bulldog" was newspaper jargon for paper subscriptions to households that received the Sunday editions only. This is an incorrect definition of the bulldog term, but it was the 'working name' I assigned to my Sunday strips adzine project. I didn't particularly like the name, but it stuck as I planned (and refined) the nature of the fanzine. When it finally came time to submit ads to the major adzines I was unable to come up with a flashy name, so I used the Bulldog working name. I received a lot of ribbing about this rather distinctive title at first, but by now I think everyone is pretty used to it.
So, the title was the result of a misunderstanding. Fair 'nuff. I'll just put in my two cents that a 'bulldog edition' of a newspaper was the first edition to hit the streets, back when newspapers actually published multiple editions through the morning or evening hours.

I have no idea what the newspaper slang is for Sunday-only subscriptions -- do you?

Herriman Saturday will return next week.

I think the link is incorrect. I get nothing.
The auctions were over a week ago.

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Friday, November 09, 2012


Obscurity of the Day: Luke McGlook

As you probably know by now, I'm a sucker for baseball strips. Luke McGlook is one of my favorites in the humorous baseball genre, despite the fact that it was, to be honest, turned out as cheap hackwork. World Color Printing, the syndicate responsible, had trouble keeping decent artists on their mainstay product, the pre-printed Sunday comics section. So you can imagine how they scraped the bottom of the barrel when it came to daily series, which were pretty bad sellers for them, and for which the company couldn't seem to form any sort of consistent marketing plan.

Despite those odds, Luke McGlook is a minor treasure, at least in my opinion. The baseball content is knowledgeably written and at the same time funny, the doofus main character is a dope but a very likeable dope, and the art, while perhaps never to be confused with the work of Winsor McCay, has a sense of fun about it that I find delightful.

The original run of Luke McGlook, which was variously subtitled The Brainy Bean Boy and The Bush League Bearcat, seems to have begun on May 24 1915. The cartoonist was a fellow who signed himself Budsee. Who is Budsee? Well, I've floated the thought before that E.C. Segar was known to respond to the nickname 'Bud' on occasion -- so Budsee -- Bud Se...gar -- seems a dim possibility. But I have to nix my own brainchild. Because Segar couldn't draw his way out of a paper bag in 1915, and his distinctively awful early style just doesn't match this work.

So that brings me to my second guess. This one is based on the fact that sometime in 1916 Budsee left the strip, and was replaced by Carl Ed for the remainder of the run (believed to end October 28 1916). As you can see from the samples above, there is not a heck of a lot of difference between Budsee and Ed art. Same figures, same parallel linework to indicate sky -- in fact the only significant difference seems to be that Budsee likes drawing detailed backgrounds while Ed is a minimalist (take my word for it that the one Ed sample above is representative of his typical work on the feature).

Could Budsee by Carl Ed working in secret? If so, why did his work become less detailed when he decided to take credit? And why was he working in secret in the first place -- I have no record of him working for another syndicate in 1915? Was Ed known to his friends as Bud, and Budsee -- Bud C. -- Bud Carl -- is some clue to his identity?

Nope. I don't buy any of these explanations. Then finally it came to me that Budsee, if you look at the art style, is a pseudonym that's perfectly easy to see through. Budsee -- Bud C. -- Bud Counihan! Counihan drew this way, the name fits, and he was gainfully employed at the New York World at the time, thus the reason for the cloak and dagger act! His exit from Luke McGlook in 1916 even makes perfect sense -- he had finally started a consistent daily strip for the World in January of that year (Henry Hasenpfeffer) that made it impossible for him to keep up with the moonlighting. 'Scuse me while I pat myself on the back.

Luke McGlook may have only had an original run of a year and a half, but World Color Printing was by no means going to let all those strips go to waste. When they created a weekly black and white page of comics for smaller papers in the 1920s, Luke McGlook came out of mothballs and ran on that page for over a decade -- at least 1924 - 1933 that I've found so far. They even sold it off to another of those cheesy reprint syndicates, National News Service, who seems to have also been selling it occasionally in the 1920s.


I'm just writing an account of the English comedian Bud Flanagan, who took ship to America in 1910. He later toured Australia, New Zealand and South Africa before returning too England in 1915, when he enlisted. The point of the dates is that according to one account he worked as a prizefighter billed as "Luke McGlook from England"). Which if true predates the comic strip character by at least a couple of years.
Back in the days of Luke McGlook, my great uncle Henry was a student at college. His fraternity brothers decided he needed a better name and, since they all thought he was like Luke McGlook, they named him Luke. The name stuck for the rest of his life. My mother happened to like my great uncle Luke a whole lot (he was a real hot ticket) so when I was born, guess what name I received? Yes! Luke. It's nice seeing examples of the strips. Thank you!
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Thursday, November 08, 2012


Ink-Slinger Profiles: Frank H. Ladendorf

Syracuse Telegram 9/17/1903
 Frank H. Ladendorf was born in Syracuse, New York in October 1860, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. His parents were German emigrants. He has not been found in the 1870 or 1880 censuses. According to the 1940 census, he had two years of high school education. For the Syracuse American (New York), April 8, 1928, he drew a panel highlighting his life and career (below) to accompany the profile:

When he was 16, Frank H. Ladendorf…was working as an apprentice in a machine shop in Chicago. He was still working in a machine shop when he reached the age of 27. But that year, during lunch hour, he put on a pair of boxing gloves, and during the course of an encounter with a blacksmith’s helper, bruised his left hand.

That was the luckiest thing that ever happened to Frank Ladendorf. He admits it.

The hand was badly bruised, and it swelled up so that it was impossible for him to work. He was given medical attention by a physician and force to remain at home.

During his idle hours, he started the habit of drawing sketches with his right hand. He drew quite a lot of them. By the time his left hand had been healed and he was ready to go back to his job, Mr. Ladendorf decided that he was never going to work in a machine shop again. And he didn’t.

Instead he went to the editor of the Chicago Mail and sold him a strip of cartoons. He sold other cartoons to Chicago papers, spending several years peddling wares of his facile pen to Windy City editors. It was better than working at a machine, he found; better than running a job press in a printing office, which he had done. It was the thing he had always wanted to do. But he didn’t know it until he bruised his hand and his free fingers had naturally picked up a pencil and fashioned a comical drawing.

In 1888 he became a cartoonist on the Chicago Mail. Five years later he moved to New York City and joined the staff of the The World. The American said: “...In the first supplement printed by the paper the day after he went to work on it, there were 30 of his cartoons distributed over eight pages…”


The World 1/23/1898 

His marriage was noted in several New York newspapers including the Syracuse Courier (New York), April 8, 1897:

Miss Minnie H. Freeoff of North Salina street and Frank H. Ladendorf of New York were quietly married last evening by Rev. Dr. Clarke at his home in Walnut place. At 11:20 Mr. and Mrs. Ladendorf left for New York, where they will reside. The bride is well known in social circles on the North Side, and the groom is the head artist for the New York World.

Posey County, courtesy of Cole Johnson

His strip Posey County ran from August 1, 1897 to May 15, 1898. Following it was Mischievous Willie, from May 7, 1899 to March 1, 1903. Other comics samples, in The World, are at Chronicling America here, here and here.

Mischievous Willie prototype, 4/30/1899 -- Courtesy Cole Johnson

In the 1900 census, he lived in Manhattan, New York City at 446 Manhattan Avenue. His occupation was artist. The American Art Annual 1900–1901 had the same address. In a few years the couple lived in Syracuse, New York, at 112 Wood Avenue, according to the Syracuse City Directory 1904. A year later, they resided at 1061 Cortland Avenue in Onondaga, located southwest of Syracuse.

The 1910 and 1920 censuses recorded them and daughter, Lucile, in Onondaga at 2057 Cortland Avenue. Ladendorf continued cartooning. A few years later the family moved to a new address, 1301 Valley Drive, as listed in the 1923 Syracuse directory. The Syracuse Herald-Journal, August 27, 1974, reprinted his June 17, 1927 cartoon (below) of Charles A. Lindbergh, who died the day before.

According to the Syracuse Journal, April 4, 1928, he retired in 1927 and was a gentleman farmer; a cartoon by him was published in the current Saturday Evening Post. The American said: “…And he has other materials upon which he works in his studio at his home. Illness in the family has prevented him from continuing a position in New York or some other large city. And besides, he likes to keep a few chickens and dig in the garden in back of his home once in a while. The paintings that he has made have been taken from scenes in Onondaga County….” On September 7, 1929, his wife passed away, as reported in the Syracuse Herald.

The 1930 and 1940 censuses recorded him and his daughter at the same address. Ladendorf passed away April 26, 1943 in Syracuse. His death was reported the following day in the Herald-Journal.

Frank Ladendorf, Pioneer News Cartoonist, Dies at 82

Frank H. Ladendorf, one of America’s pioneer newspaper cartoonists and a resident of Syracuse for more than 40 years, died Monday afternoon at his home, 1301 Valley Drive, after a long illness. He was 82 years old.

Born in Syracuse, he went to Chicago at the age of 16 and began his career as a cartoonist, with Stanley Waterloo, editor of the Chicago Mail. Later Mr. Ladendorf joined the staff of the Minnesota Evening Journal, went to the Chicago News and in 1890 returned to the Chicago Mail. Three years later he went to New York City where he joined the staff of the New York World.

He worked for the World 10 years and then returned to Syracuse. He continued to send comics to the metropolitan paper, but devoted most of his time to freelancing. Until his recent retirement he drew advertising cartoons as well as comics for magazines and trade publications.

Mr. Ladendorf was a member of Syracuse Masonic Lodge 501, F. and A.M., and the Central City consistory. He was a member also of Tigris Shrine and of the Valley Presbyterian Church.

He is survived by a daughter, Miss Lucile F. Ladendorf; two sisters, Mrs. Ada McKee and Mrs. Louise Delany, and a nephew, Dr. S. Howard Delaney. Services will be conducted at 2 P.M. Thursday at the A.C. Schumacher memorial home. Burial will be in Woodlawn Cemetery.


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Wednesday, November 07, 2012


Obscurity of the Day, Revisited: Posey County

 Although we already covered Frank Ladendorf's early panel feature, Posey County, it was with a pathetic 2-color example from my collection. Cole Johnson kicks in with some superb 4-color samples that are sure to knock your socks off. I know mine sure did take a powder. Great stuff. Thanks Cole!

Tomorrow tune in for an Ink-Slinger Profile of Ladendorf, with yet one more Posey County sample, plus more.


I was delighted to find the image of the prize fight. We have a copy of this 40 x 22.5 cm. that appears to be on a very thin piece of wood (like an especially thin shingle), rather than paper or cardboard. It's very fragile and we're missing the lower corner where Ladendorf's name should be, so I was not making any progress in identifying it until this came up. Have you ever seen one of Ladendorf's cartoons on wood? Were they sold this way or is this as odd as it seems?
Thanks for helping me identify the artist and history of the image.
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Tuesday, November 06, 2012


Obscurity of the Day, Election Day Edition: Political Life of Al Smith

Hey ho, it's Election Day! That exciting day when all the illegal aliens and convicted felons flock to the polls and pretend they're citizens in good standing in order to shanghai the political future of our great nation. Never mind that if they're caught they would go to Federal prison or get deported -- hey, it's so worth it to swing the election by that one single vote!

There was a day when we weren't so worried about all-but-nonexistent fraud by ineligible voters. No, we were inundated with the real kind -- ballot box stuffing, vote suppression, vote buying, and corpse-voting sponsored by rapacious politicians. Which brings us (finally) to today's obscurity, a bio-strip about Al Smith.

Smith came out of the incredibly corrupt Tammany Hall political machine of New York City, which was expert at every brand of voter fraud you can think of, and undoubtedly some you can't. Although he was an expert at not getting his own hands dirty, Smith was forever tainted by his association with the Tammany tiger. He was elected to increasingly important offices in New York, culminating with four terms as governor in the 1910s-20s. However, when he was made the Democrat candidate for president in 1928, the Tammany taint, combined with his Catholicism, were the prime factors in losing the election. That doomed the country to four years of  the do-nothing administration of Herbert "a chicken in every pot" Hoover and the Great Depression. But, on the other hand, we narrowly averted letting Tammany get a toe-hold in the Oval Office. So pick your poison.

Oh, you wanted to know about the comic strip? Sorry. Political Life of Al Smith ran for eighteen episodes, or three weeks, of daily strips. It was written by a fellow named Barry Meglaughlin and drawn by Paul Frehm. Frehm is best known for his long run drawing Believe It or Not (1949-77). The strip was distributed to papers right before the 1928 election, but we don't know for sure who did the distributing. My bet is that it was a freebie sent out to papers by the Democrats. Cole Johnson (who supplied the samples) thinks it was likely produced and syndicated by the folks at the New York Evening Graphic.


If this was an Evening Graphic strip, did they also have a Hoover set?
Hello, Grizedo----I assumed that this strip was a GRAPHIC item because the newspaper I was working with(THE MERRIMACK VALLEY SUN) carried MacFadden's strips. Of course Allan could be right, that these Al Smith strips were a giveaway from the Democratic party. As you see, they carry no copyright. The SUN didn't run a "Hoover" strip
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Monday, November 05, 2012


Obscurity of the Day: Art's Gallery

Although the 1970s are the ground zero decade for nostalgia, Art Finley got the drop on the fad almost a full decade early with Art's Gallery. Take an old woodcut from 19th century magazines like Harper's and Leslie's, slap on a caption using an anachronistic reference and you've got yourself comedy gold ... well brass at least.

Art Finley evidently did this panel as a minor part of his busy life. He is better known to Californians, and San Franciscans in particular, for being a local TV and radio personality. In between takes he found time for his daily panel feature starting on January 15 1962. At first the feature was run only in the San Francisco Chronicle, but starting in 1963, they syndicated it through Chronicle Features. The feature ran a long time, though never in all that many papers. It does seem strange that it didn't take off during the 1970s nostalgia craze, but my guess is that newspaper printing, particularly execrable during that decade, was simply not up to the task of reproducing these fine line drawings in a paltry 2-column format. What's the point of running a panel of mud?

In 1977 the feature moved to Universal Press Syndicate, who no doubt thought they could breathe some life into its sales figures. That didn't happen. The series ended on June 22 1981.

There remains some question over whether this feature was offered on a daily basis throughout its life. However, in spot-checking the San Francisco Chronicle, where the feature ran from its first day to its last, I noticed no reduction to a weekly frequency, although occasionally it was bumped from its typical home in the classifieds section due to lack of space.


I watched the Mayor Art show in my distant youth. It was an interesting time, when you'd recognize kiddie show hosts doing grown-up TV & radio -- and, in this case, newspaper cartoons.
It wasn't just old woodcuts Art used. The ones I clipped (from the S. F. Chronicle) featured line art by the likes of W. A. Rogers, Goeway and Opper.

Interestingly, many of the pictures were derogatory characterizations of the Irish portrayed to look like apes and scruffy looking - not uncommon in the 19th century.
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Sunday, November 04, 2012


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


Bucket List -- Great topic.

I always thought it would be fun to visit a casino with Jim and Beatty.

Someday I'd like to take an extended trip by car across the country. Doralya and I plan to do that once we retire.

Places to see - the Grand Canyon, Alaska, the Little Big Horn, and more.

You're never too old for a new toy.
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