Saturday, January 19, 2013


Herriman Saturday

Monday, March 30 1908 -- Sportwriter H.M. Walker and George Herriman take a trip out to see the doings at the Los Angeles Revolver and Rifle Club. Believe it or not, this organization still exists today.

In weazel-skin hat news, yet another guest has left the party, and the mysterious thirteenth guest once again doesn't make it inside.


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Friday, January 18, 2013


Sci-Friday starring Adam Chase

Copyright renewed (c) 2013 Russ Morgan. All rights reserved.
Adam Chase strip #4, originally published June 26, 1966.


So cool! My Dad's old strip...I remember leafing through the book containing all of these strips as a's great to get to see them again! I'll be checking in every Friday!
I...really like this...your dad made you proud...keep em coming, please
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Thursday, January 17, 2013


Ink-Slinger Profiles: Harry B. Martin

Harry B. “Dickie ” Martin was born in Salem, Illinois on May 26, 1873, according to a 1920 passport application at Wikia said his first name was Horace but I have not found any documentation using that name. The 1880 U.S. Federal Census said he was the third of four children born to Thompson and  Jennie. The family lived in Salem where his father was a laborer. Information about his early education and art training has not been found. The New York Times, April 16, 1959, said, “...Mr. Martin studied at Vincennes (Ind.) University and started newspaper work in 1893. He came to New York in 1904 and worked here for The World, The American and The Globe....”

The 1900 census recorded Martin in St. Louis, Missouri at 4155 West Bell Place, where his aunt was the head of the household. His occupation was cartoonist and artist. The St. Louis Republic (Missouri), December 4, 1900, noted his marriage:

The marriage of Harry B. Martin, a well-known newspaper cartoonist, and Miss Susie Flanders was quietly solemnized at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Dolman and Hickory streets, at 11 o’clock yesterday morning. The ceremony was performed by the Reverend C.N. Molier, rector of the church, and was witnessed by a few relatives and friends of the young couple. At noon Mr. and Mrs. Martin started to New York. They will return to St. Louis in a short time.

For the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he created the Weatherbird. The Society for News Design said:

...The Weatherbird is a Post-Dispatch tradition, and the oldest continuously running daily cartoon in American journalism. The first Bird was published Feb. 11, 1901.

The original Weatherbird, drawn by Harry B. Martin, was quite literally a silent “weather” bird. Martin thought he would need six versions (sun, rain, snow, cloudy, hot and very cold) to cover the range of St. Louis weather conditions, but he soon realized the Bird had a lot more to say. Before long he was drawing a new Weatherbird each day that was related to something in the news....

Martin came up with the Weatherbird while on a trip when he saw comical photos of young birds with gaping bills.

The Inland Printer 9/1901

The Warsaw Times-Union (Indiana), April 16, 1959, said, “…One of the early comic strip cartoonists, he gained his nickname from the cartoon he drew for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch titled ‘Dickie Bird.’” In 1903, according to Society for News Design, Martin moved to New York City, where he produced the strip, It Happened In Birdland, that started in April 1907 and ended in September 1909.

He has not been found in the 1910 census. His strip, Inbad the Tailor, ran from April 1911 to June 1912. In the 1915 New York State Census, he lived with his wife, Susan, and two children, Doris, 10, and Gould, 13, in Queens, New York. The New York Times said, “…Considered a leading authority on golf, Mr. Martin promoted the growth of the professional sport during the early years of this century. He was a founder of the Professional Golfers Association in 1917 and organized a number of exhibition golf matches. At one time he was the publisher and editor of four golf magazines.”

In 1920 the family of four resided in Manhattan, New York City at 538 149 Street. He was a cartoonist and writer. His 1920 passport application revealed that he was a New York Globe correspondent on assignment to cover golf in England and France, then traveling to Belgium. The 1925 state census recorded the family in New York City at 344 West 72 Street. Martin had four years of high school and worked as an editor.

Their next address was 340 West 72 Street, according to the 1930 census. Martin was still an editor. He has not been found in the 1940 census, but his wife and daughter lived at 240 Waverly Place since 1935 and possibly earlier.

Martin passed away April 15, 1959 in New York City. The New York Times said:

Harry B. Martin of 50 Park Avenue, a newspaper man and sports authority, died...of cerebral thrombosis in a nursing home here. His age was 85. He was known as Dickey....

...His books on the game included “Pictorial Golf,” “What’s Wrong With Your Game?,” “Golf Made Easy,” “Golf for Beginners,” “Great Golfers in the Making,” “Graphic Golf” and Fifty Years of American Golf....”

...He leaves his wife, Mrs. Susie Flanders Martin; a son, Gould B. Martin; a daughter, Mrs. Doris V. Parks, and two sisters.


Alex let me know if you receive this email I have questions about the artist Harry Dicky Martin. Very much enjoyed your article thanks
Please leave your questions here in comments.
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Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Obscurity of the Day: Mister Al Most

Gene Carr, one of the real workhorses in the Pulitzer stable in the 1900s-10s era, put yet another notch in his brush with Mister Al Most. The series debuted on December 10 1911, and starred a fellow who always seems to be about to do well for himself, but then the tables are turned and others take credit for his ideas or he becomes a goat.

This was certainly not a particularly original idea for a series, but Carr did add an element of interest when he began a continuing story about Al proposing to a girl, Dolly, thinking that she is rich, and then finding out she isn't. Al's mission, then, is to get her to break the engagement, which turns out to be a surprisingly tough task, and takes the rest of the series. Does he ever succeed? Unfortunately we don't know because the situation remains unresolved as of the last strip, which ran in the October 13 1912 Funny Side section.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans! If you like Mr. Al Most, it looks like Barnacle Press has the whole run available.


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Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Ink-Slinger Profiles: C.W. Wessell

Charles Wellington Wessell was born Charles Alonzo Wessell Jr. in New York on October 12, 1899. His birthplace is in the census, and birthdate is on his World War I draft card. In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he was the youngest of two children born to Charles Alonzo, a jeweler, and Florence. His name was recorded as “Charles Jr.” The family lived in Burlington, New Jersey on High and Broad Streets.

The 1910 census recorded the Wessell household of six in Brooklyn, New York at 300 Carleton Avenue. His paternal grandmother and aunt were there. On September 6, 1918, Wessell signed his World War I draft card; his middle initial was “W”. He resided with his parents at 129 East 40th Street in Manhattan, and was a “newspaperman” for the New York Evening World. His description was tall, slender with blue eyes and brown hair. He was listed in the History of Battery “C”: 148th Field Artillery, American Expeditionary Forces (1919). His strip Leave It to Lou began in the New York Evening World June 10, 1919 and ended June 25, 1921.

He and his parents were at the same address in the 1920 census. His middle initial was “W”; the reason for the middle name change is not known. He was a newspaper cartoonist and his father was a real estate broker. Wessell had an entry in the Maryland Conservationalist, Volume 17, Issue 4, 1924: “Charles Wellington Wessell, conservationist and sportsman; American director in North American Game Breeders Association and chairman of the National Committee on Game Bird Standards; formerly chief of the Division of Game…” He illustrated Julius King’s book, Dogs, which was published in 1927.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle 12/11/1927

He has not been found in the 1930 census. He received a copyright in the Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works of Art, etc., 1932, New Series, Volume 27, Number 1: “Wessell (Charles Wellington) 2453 Birdhaven pheasants. © Feb. 15, 1932; K 16329.” He had moved to Pennsylvania. The Sunday Times-Advertiser (Trenton, New Jersey), September 3, 1933, said he was the editor of the Pennsylvania Democrat. The July 1933 issue of Pennsylvania Game News had a few details about him:

Charles Wellington Wessell of Doylestown, Bucks County, has been appointed Chief, Division of Propagation and Game Farms….

Mr. Wessell, whose experience in game propagation and research qualifies him for the post, has written many articles on rearing game and has developed two of the best strains of pure Mongolian and Melanistic Mutant pheasants in the country. He is also known for his knowledge of game bird standards and methods of releasing and restocking.

A former newspaperman and veteran sportsman, Mr. Wessell has worked ardently during recent years to bring about a better relationship between landowners and sportsmen, and has assisted many fish and game associations in their distribution and management of game.

According to the 1940 census, he lived in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, with his wife Thea, a German emigrant who was naturalized February 24, 1937. He had one year of high school and was a game farmer. Some of his comic book credits are at the Grand Comics Database, Michigan State University Libraries Special Collections Division, and Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999.

Wessell passed away July 11, 1946, in Doylestown. His sudden death was reported in the Pittsburgh Press (Pennsylvania), July 12, 1946:

Former State Officer Killed in Collision
Doylestown, Pa., July 12–(UP)—Charles Wellington Wessell, 46, former state director of game propagation, was killed last night in the collision of his auto and a coal truck on Route 202 here.

A commercial artist and writer for sportsmen’s magazines, Mr. Wessell was appointed to the state post by former Gov. Earle in 1935.

State Police said that Mr. Wessell’s car and the truck driven by Fred H. Selmon, 36, Trenton, sideswiped while traveling in opposite directions, overturning the truck. Selmon was held in $000 bail pending a coroner’s investigation.

His wife passed away in August 1982.


Hi -- love your blog! Do you know if there is a name for the reaction of characters in old strips where, in response to a punch line, a character jumps out of his shoes, falls backwards, etc. Like a spit-take on TV. thanks a lot!
I've most often heard that referred to as a "flip take," but that might be a modern term. An older term for such strips is "plop gag" strips.

I have a theory that TAD Dorgan may have invented the flip take, but Bud Fisher is a possibility, too. The real master was Walter Hoban, whose "Jerry on the Job" strip was notorious for incredibly energetic plop gags.

The contemporary master of the plop gag, in my opinion, is Kaz, who uses it a lot in his wonderful "Underworld" strip.
I imagine Mort Walker names that comic strip convention, as he does many others, in "The Lexicon of Comicana". I'd tell you WHAT he calls it if I could find my copy at the moment. Which I can't.

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Monday, January 14, 2013


Obscurity of the Day: Leave It To Lou

C.W. Wessell seems to have come on board at the New York Evening World to take over the spots of vacationing cartoonists in the summer of 1918. At least it is from this berth that all but one of his known comic strip series originated. None of his 1918 strips, though, lasted more than a few weeks while the regular cartoonists were away (but as we'll see in tomorrow's Ink-Slinger Profile by Alex Jay, there was good reason Wessell didn't continue them).

Leave It To Lou was another summer replacement, but it began a year later, taking over the spot left open by the vacationing Maurice Ketten on June 10 1919.  Unlike Wessell's 1918 efforts, this one 'had legs'. When Ketten returned from vacation, Wessell was given his own space in which to continue the feature.

Leave It To Lou was, perhaps depending on reader preconceptions, either a strip about a dim-bulb girl who innocently says insulting things, or one about a young woman with a quick and acid tongue who is smart enough to get away with her zingers by pretending to be a feather-brained innocent. I favor the latter interpretation, but you really can go either way. I think that duality made the strip popular to a wide audience, and saved it from the end of summer chopping block.

Wessell's strip ran until June 25 1921, a very respectable run for a feature that was originally created simply to fill an empty hole on the page. With the end of Leave It To Lou, unfortunately, that seems to have been the end of Wessell's newspaper cartooning career, despite cartooning and writing abilities that were above par.


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Sunday, January 13, 2013


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


I've wondered about that. I have some of the Star's books of editorial cartoons for the '48 and '52 and '56 elections, with the last handful of Cliff and the first batch of Jim (along with Gib Crockett). This was right around the time the Post bought the Times-Herald, and shoved the Star aside to be #1 in Washington.
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