Saturday, June 08, 2013


Herriman Saturday

Wednesday, April 15 1908 -- The long fight card of young boxers was put on by the Pacific Athletic Club last night, and there wasn't really much of in the way of standout performances. Herriman, not wishing to further wound the amateur and near-amateur boxers, makes commentary that doesn't cut too close to the bone.


Ooh, an electric round indicator.
You get a good sense of the technology of the time starting to evolve. Too bad it will be few more years before they invent bikini clad round indicators.

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Friday, June 07, 2013


Sci-Friday starring Adam Chase

Adam Chase (c) renewed 2013 by Russ Morgan. All rights reserved.

Adam Chase strip #24, originally published November 13 1966. For background on the strip and creator, refer to this post.


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Thursday, June 06, 2013


Ink-Slinger Profiles: George Merkle

George Merkle was the pseudonym of George A. Marko according to Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999. Anton George Marko was the name on his World War I draft card and his birthdate was recorded as September 2, 1900. I believe the year is incorrect because a passenger ship list, at, listed a Slovakian, “Antal Marko”, who arrived in New York on July 13, 1903. His age was 10 months old so his birth was in September 1901. Also, his age in the censuses made his birth year either 1901 or 1902. I would say his birth was September 2, 1901.

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census recorded his name as Antonio who was the oldest of three children born to Antonio and Helen; he and his parents were Hungarian emigrants while his siblings were born in New Jersey. They lived in Elyria, Ohio at 129 Quincy Street. His father was a factory machinist.

Marko signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918. He lived at home which was in Cleveland at 10050 Hulda Avenue, and his occupation was a clerk employed by W.P. Southworth. Marko’s description was tall and slender with blue eyes and brown hair.

In 1920 he, as Anton, was the oldest of five. The family remained in Cleveland but at a different address, 10412 Hulda Avenue. Marko was a timekeeper at a furniture factory. The Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records and Indexes, 1810-1973, at, recorded his marriage to Florence Nickel on January 30, 1924; on the certificate his name was “George A. Marko.” The 1926 Cleveland City Directory listed him at 10412 Hulda Avenue, the same address as his parents, and his occupation was a clerk at the Kroger Grocery & Baking Company. The 1928 directory had the same address but his job was “assembler”, the same as his father.

Who’s Who said he was a mimic in vaudeville. That was confirmed several times in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, beginning May 23, 1926: “…The women’s auxiliaries of the Brooklyn and Deckert-Watterson posts of the American Legion will sponsor a joint entertainment for the ex-service men at Warrensville Thursday evening….Those participating in the program are Miss Nova B. Nahm, soprano; George Marko, mimic; Earl G. Guscott, magician; Howard De Gant, violinist….; August 19, 1928: “…George Marko of Cleveland got a big hand with his barnyard imitations….”; December 15, 1929: “…Cleveland Post No. 2 band will play carols and Christmas numbers. Earl Guscott, magician of Brooklyn Post No. 223, and George Marko, barnyard impersonator, will perform, and Erling C. Theller of Glenville Post No. 130 will substitute for Santa Claus….; December 23, 1929: “…They listened to the Legion band, heard George Marko imitate animal calls…”

In 1930 Marko and his wife had two daughters and lived in Cleveland at 1444 East 93 Street. He was a retail salesman who sold silk. 

Information on his education and art training has not been found. He may have taken correspondence courses or may have known some Cleveland cartoonists and gotten advice from them. In the late 1930s his comic book career began. Using the name George Merkle, his first creation was the Master Mind which appeared in Detective Picture Stories, January 1937; Funny Pages, January 1938; Amazing Mystery Funnies, August 1938; and Keen Detective Funnies, August 1939. The sporadic appearances of the Master Mind suggests the stories were used as fillers.

It's not known how often he performed during the 1930s, but he was mentioned in the Plain Dealer, November 17, 1939: “Patricia Bloor, tap dancer, headlines the new stage show at the Metropolitan Theater tomorrow night. Others in the show include George Marko, master of ceremonies; Lou Welston, harmonica player, and Betty Ferrell, contortionist.”

According to the 1940 census, Marko was in Cleveland at this address, 9521 Lamontier Avenue. He had an eighth grade education and was currently employed as a paint sprayer at a manufacturer of pipe threading equipment. A World War II draft card or military record has not been found for him. He was naturalized March 26, 1943 under the name, Anthony George Marko.

With some comic book work under his belt, Marko sold Hy Score to the Chicago Tribune Comic Book; his character ran from June 30, 1940 to October 31, 1943. Next, he found work with comic book publisher Fawcett and produced a large volume of Dopey Danny Dee filler material that occupied a page or less. The character continued to appear five years after Marko’s death. It’s not known he if traveled to Chicago and New York City to sell his works. Evidently, he kept his comics credits to himself, as any mention of it has not been found in the Plain Dealer.

In addition to a day job and freelance comic book work, he continued his stage appearances according to the Plain Dealer.

Plain Dealer 8/29/1941

June 13, 1943
Cost’s Theater Observes Its Fourth Anniversary
Celebrating its fourth anniversary the Shore Theater at E. 225th Street and Lake Shore Boulevard, is offering a gala birthday program beginning today.

Five acts of vaudeville are being booked by Frank L. Cost, manager, for the occasion. Appearing on the stage today through Tuesday are Paul Kohler, xylophonist; Lucille Mahoney, dancer; George Marko, barnyard imitator; Marion Kerrigan, in songs and taps; Billy Hill at the piano and Bert Dagmar as master of ceremonies.

July 8, 1944
Restauranteur Frank Monaco will bring back Placida, an operatic songstress, for his floor show at Monaco’s Cafe tonight. With her are appearing George Marko, a hillbilly performer, and Gwen McClellan in dances.

Marko passed away March 12, 1948 in Cleveland. A death notice appeared two days later in the Plain Dealer:

Marko, George, 12602 Gay Ave., beloved husband of Florence (nee Nickel); father of Agnes and Genevieve; grandfather; son of Mr. Anthony Marko; brother of Edward, Elizabeth, Mrs. Marie Stolear, Mrs. Helen Swartz and Mrs. Ethel Cugini(?); passed away Friday, March 12. Friends received at P. Coreno Funeral Home, 10514 Kinsman Rd. Services Tuesday March 16, at Holy Family Church at 10 a.m.


On the Strip Colletor's Swap Group on Facebook, Stefan Wood shows Multi year run of Underground, a daily strip Merkle signed in the late war years.
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Wednesday, June 05, 2013


The Chicago Tribune Comic Book: Hy Score

Hy Score was one of the new features introduced in the Chicago Tribune Comic Book. I guess the comic book was somewhat of a success because it remained a part of the Tribune for three years. The gimmick had to be what kept it alive, because the contents tended to be less than inspired. Case in point is Hy Score, which was added to the comic book on June 30 1940. At first this feature was truly awful, with ridiculously text-heavy narratives and exposition laden plots.

The strip was also at times titled Secret Agent Hy Score, Adventures of Hy Score and Hy Score in Arabia. An unmemorable one-panel 'topper' called Hy Score Comic Book Quiz was added in October 1942. 

Mr. Score was an FBI agent who got into all the familiar scrapes of the genre. He solved murder mysteries, foiled espionage, and generally brought all sorts of miscreants to justice. The strip was penned by someone signing themselves as George Merkle, of whom I know nothing. Merkle's stories improved over the life of the strip, as he slowly but surely pared away at the paragraphs long captions. His art was alright, except that he had a real blind spot (heh) about drawing eyes. Most of his characters run around with eyes firmly shut, and when he did attempt to draw them open you can understand why. The strip looked best when the cartoonist was swiping from Alex Raymond, which he did often. According to Jerry Bails, there never really was a George Merkle -- he says that this is a pseudonym of George Marko, a fellow who worked in comic books.

Hy Score managed to outlast the Tribune comic book, albeit for just half a year. The strip was put to bed on 10/31/43.

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Tuesday, June 04, 2013


Ink-Slinger Profiles: Frank Engli

Frank Engli was born in Chicago, Illinois on November 10, 1906, according to the Cook County, Illinois, Birth Certificates Index at

In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, he and his sister Ella were boarding with Frank and Rose Cosma in Chicago at 1931 Wolfram Street. The two children were recorded with their Hungarian emigrant parents, Colman and Mary, in the 1920 census. They resided on a farm in Tallmadge, Michigan.

Information about Engli’s education has not been found. For his art training, Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said he attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and the Art Institute. And in 1928 and 1929 he assisted Milton Caniff who was working for the Columbus Dispatch in Ohio. At some point Engli moved to New York City.

The 1930 census recorded him as a lodger in Manhattan, New York City, at 31 Grove Street. His occupation was commercial artist at an electric company. The New York Evening Post, September 26, 1931, noted the apartment rental of Engli and Bil Dwyer: “H.S. Hillyer & Co. rented apartments to…William Dwyer, Frank Engli…at 33 West Eighth Street…”

Milton Caniff: Conversations (2002) reprinted Will Eisner’s interview with Caniff who, in 1932, moved to New York to work in the Associated Press bullpen. Caniff recalled looking up Bil Dwyer:

Caniff: ...Now about the studio: when I reached New York I called Bil Dwyer who had also worked on the Columbus Dispatch.

Eisner: Oh—he did Dumb Dora, that was it.

Caniff: Well, it’s pertinent here. I called him just socially and told him I was in town to say hello. I didn’t know where he lived, on Christopher Street. I didn’t even know where Christopher Street was. So he said, “My God, I’m glad you called! I’ve got a problem here. Come on down!” This was like the first night I was in town and he had been submitting things to King Features and selling gags, by the way, to the magazines, Collier’s and the New Yorker. Anyway, he had submitted a gag-type strip to King Features and he got a call back saying that Paul Fung was being pulled off Dumb Dora and Dwyer had the assignment. Here he was suddenly with six strips and a Sunday page to do and he’d never done anything except single panels.

Eisner: Oh boy!
Caniff: And he was in trouble. Frank Engli was helping him.

Eisner: Frank Englil...He was a sports cartoonist, right?
Caniff: No, he did lettering. He later on did a strip called Looking Back, about stoneage characters—

Eisner: Oh, I see.
Caniff: —very well done cartooning. But his lettering was especially good. So I went down to see them and they were laboring away at the first release. Bil was a good gag writer, but he'd never had this kind of assignment before. So he said to me, “Will you sit in on this thing and especially draw the girls?” So I laid out the first batch of stuff and again, it was not hard for me to do because I had those eleven o’clock deadlines every morning. And so then I inked the girls and he inked the other characters; very simple drawing.

The Sarasota Herald (Florida), February 18, 1934, carried George Tucker’s column About New York which said: “Frank Engli, the artist, lives at No. 1 Christopher street. In Omaha he lived at No. 1 Sixteenth street, and in Salt Lake City at No. 1 Monto street.”

The Independent, January 10, 1994, explained how Engli helped Zack Mosley on Smilin’ Jack:

It was in 1933 that Zack Mosley felt confident enough to take a flier on his own. This was ‘On the Wing’, starring Mack Martin, pilot, his pal Bumpy, and his ‘gal’, Mary Miller.

It was one of eight new strips selected from over 400 by Captain Joseph Patterson, owner of the Chicago Tribune, for his Sunday comic section. Mosley was given one day to convert his daily strips to a Sunday page, complete with colour overlays. Nothing is impossible to a hopeful cartoonist, and with help from a buddy from his art school years, Frank Engli, Mosley managed it. The strip was launched on Sunday 1 October 1933...

According to Who’s Who, Engli worked as an in-betweener and opaquer on Betty Boop and Popeye at the Fleischer animation studio from 1935 to 1936. His next move would be a long-term association with Caniff, as explained by Bruce Canwell in The Complete Terry and the Pirates: 1937-1938 (2007):

…Caniff and [Noel] Sickles had combined forces and opened their small studio, where Sickles wrote and drew the daily aviation strip Scorchy Smith while Caniff launched the daily-and-Sunday Terry and the Pirates. “It was at that time,” Caniff said as part of a 1982 interview, “we decided that between the two of us, we’d hire a lettering man. We went back to Engli…Between Sickles and me, we were able to afford to have him quit his job and come to work for us. He was glad to be able to leave the [Fleischer Studios]. It was a backbreaker—hell on the eyes.”

The World-Herald Magazine (Omaha, Nebraska), March 19, 1944, explained how Engli worked with Caniff:

Caniff’s procedure is to get a mental synopsis of what he is going to do. He plans the sequence while reading or listening to the radio, then has to document it by reading from his comprehensive library on the orient and matters military and naval or by searching through his files for pictures of, say, a French locomotive.

He says he spends much more time time on actual documentation than on drawing, but it pays.

He next writes the dialogue. He writes it directly into blocked-out cardboard strip forms in pencil, and Frank Engli, one of his two assistants (Engli draws “Rocky, the Stone Age Kid,” and Ray Bailey, his other assistant, draws “Vesta West”), checks the words for spelling and accuracy (not long ago Caniff used a verse from the army air corps song; he used two wrong words; Engli corrected this) and inks them in.

Life Magazine, January 6, 1941, published a photograph of Caniff’s studio with Caniff, Engli, and the secretary at work. Engli lettered Terry during Caniff’s tenure which ended in 1946. He followed Caniff on his next project, Steve Canyon, from 1947 to 1975.

In the 1940 census, Engli, his wife and daughter, both named Mary, lived in Clarkstown, Rockland County, New York on Old Greenbush Road. He was syndicate cartoonist. The strip he produced for the Chicago Tribune Comic Book was Rocky the Stone Age Kid, which ran from August 25, 1940 to October 31, 1943. Two years later Looking Back began on December 30, 1945 and ended on May 25, 1947.

5/16/1943; Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

A cartoon exhibit was reported in the Orangetown Telegram (Pearl River, New York), August 16, 1958:

During the rest of August an exhibition of cartoons, drawings, and illustrations by 15 Rockland County cartoonists and illustrators will hang in the Tappan Zee National Bank, Main Street, Nyack.

…The county cartoonists and illustrators, all with established national or area reputations, are exhibiting 89 pieces.

The artists are Bill Ballantine, John Belfi, Dave Breger, Milton Caniff, Paul Gladone, Rube Goldberg, Charles E. Martin, Bill Maudlin, Sherman Matthews, Bill Overgard, Dick Rockwell, Frank Engli, Vincent Fago, Thurston Gentry, and John Peterson.

The Telegram, November 20, 1958, reported the Theater Arts Ball for the benefit of a fund drive. In the category for best costume representing a play or character: “…Third prize, a man’s leather jewel case from the Penguin Shop, Nyack, went to Frank Engli, of Upper Nyack, who was easily recognized as one of the most famous of all ‘show business’ figures—Emmett Kelley, the sad circus clown.”

Caniff was profiled again in World-Herald Magazine, February 2, 1975, on his Steve Canyon strip. Caniff said: “…I take a ruled Sunday page, which Frank Engli (an associate) has already prepared, rough out in pencil what will be involved as far as drawing is concerned, indicate wording for the balloons, then send it off to Frank (in Tucson, Ariz.) who does the lettering in ink. Next, Engli sends the page on to Dick Rockwell (a nephew of Norman) in Peekskill, New York…”

Canwell said: “…Engli worked on the first ten thousand-plus Canyon strips before retiring in 1977, shortly before his death….” Engli passed away February 16, 1977, in Los Angeles, California, according to the California Death Index at


Bravo !
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Monday, June 03, 2013


The Chicago Tribune Comic Book: Rocky the Stone-Age Kid

The last thing you'd expect to find in a comic strip about cavemen is tenderness and tranquility. Yet Frank Engli's Rocky the Stone-Age Kid is just about the gentlest comic strip imaginable. I don't mean saccharine sweet either; I just mean that everyone treats everyone else with genuine love and respect. There's no violence to speak of -- certainly no club to the noggin slapstick -- and about the only characters that get hurt are the fish that Rocky's family catches on their frequent fishing trips. Peacefulness isn't easy to do in the context of a funny comic strip, and, to be frank, Rocky isn't all that funny. It is, however, heartwarming, pleasant and an enjoyable read.

Frank Engli, better known to comic strip fans as Milton Caniff's long-time letterer, was at the helm for this strip, which ran in the Chicago Tribune's Comic Book section starting August 25 1940. It ran there until the Comic Book section folded, and then graduated to the main Tribune comic section, ending October 31 1943.

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Hello, Allan---I remember when I was a kid there was was another cave-kid named ROCKY. Years after Mal Eaton's PETER PILTDOWN strip ended ended in the N.Y.HERALD-TRIBUNE, he reincarnated the strip as ROCKY STONEAXE in BOY'S LIFE magazine.
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Sunday, June 02, 2013


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


That is interesting that he could be so right about you... and he knew/felt you had the God number.

Ok... I was born 10/22/1958. So... Birth Month = 10 =1
Day = 22 = 4
Year = 1958 = 10 + 4 = 5 So...

1 + 4 + 5 = 1

Correct? If so... what does that mean?
PA - Love your drawing of yourself in 1977. The year we first met!
Jim sez ... a '1' means you are starting over again! Enjoy Craig!
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