Saturday, August 10, 2013


Herriman Saturday

Tuesday, April 21 1908 -- On a three-cartoon day, Herriman finds the time to contribute this nicely realized cartoon illustrating all the fun to be had by the visiting sailors during Fleet Week.


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Friday, August 09, 2013


Sci-Friday starring Adam Chase

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

Adam Chase strip #33, originally published January 15 1967. For background on the strip and creator, refer to this post.


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Thursday, August 08, 2013


Ink-Slinger Profiles: Vic Forsythe

Victor Clyde Forsythe was born in Orange, California on August 24, 1885 according to the California Death Index at and a biography at Taos and Santa Fe Painters. In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he was the only child of W.B. and Alice; they lived in Los Angeles, California at 1040 8th Street. His father was a salesman of general merchandise.

About his art training and early career, Taos and Santa Fe Painters said: “Having shown artistic promise as a boy, Forsythe studied at the Los Angeles School of Art and Design. In 1904 he took the train to New York to study at the Art Students League under Frank DuMond. He worked as a staff artist for Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World while attending classes, and later switched to W.R. Hearst’s New York Journal….”

According to the 1910 census, Forsythe had been married three years. He and Cotta lived in Manhattan, New York City at 640 West 139th Street. His occupation was artist in the business service industry. The 1915 New York State Census recorded the couple in New Rochelle at 150 Elm Street.

One of his World strips was the 1914 I’m Falling in Love with Some One. Taos and Santa Fe Painters said:

…He went on to work for a succession of Hearst papers, drawing briefly for the St. Louis Post Dispatch, and then the Los Angeles Examiner, before returning to New York in the nineteen-teens to work at the American. While at the New York American, Forsythe began to develop comic strips. Among his earliest were a gag strip about boxing called The Great White Dope, and a western series, Tenderfoot Tim. In 1918 he began his most successful strip, Joe’s Car [renamed Joe Jinks in 1928]…Living in New Rochelle, New York, Forsythe met a young artist named Norman Rockwell, and the two shared a studio that had once been owned by Frederick Remington.

His World War I draft card was signed on September 12, 1918. He lived in New Rochelle at 144 Meadow Lane. He was an artist–cartoonist at the Press Publishing Company, located at 63 Park Row, New York, New York. His description was tall and slender with blue eyes and brown hair.

In the 1920 census, the couple remained in New Rochelle at 154 Meadow Lane, where he was an artist and illustrator. According to Taos and Santa Fe Painters: “In 1920, Forsythe and his wife, Cotta, had given up New York and returned to southern California. Frank Johnson and his wife followed shortly, and the two artists built a studio in Alhambra which they shared until Johnson’s death in 1939….In 1923, Forsythe and Johnson founded the Biltmore Gallery at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles to sell their work and that of their friends….” He had a studio in Fawnskin, California. The Alhambra City Directory 1922 listed him at as an artist at 200 South Wilson Avenue.

Detail of advertisement in the News-Dispatch 5/5/1937

They remained in Alhambra, at 520 Cordova Street, according to the 1930 census. According to American Newspaper Comics (2012) Forsythe created a golf strip called Divot Diggers which was the topper to Joe Jinks; it began on June 28, 1931. He stayed on to December 3, 1933 and then it was continued by Pete Llanuza and and Mo Leff. Forsythe returned May 7, 1937 until February 20, 1938 then Henry Formhals carried on through 1941. Taos and Santa Fe Painters said: “…Forsythe quit Joe Jinks in 1933 and began a cowboy strip titled Way Out West. He then added a home life strip, The Little Woman. Neither of these was very successful, and he returned to drawing Joe Jinks in 1937, but quit cartooning for good the next year.” The 1933 Thurston’s Pasadena City Directory listed him at 1449 Saint Albans Road.

The 1940 census found him at the same address where he was an artist and painter. About his painting career, Edan Hughes said: “…Forsythe immersed himself in the lore of the West and often lived in ghost towns while on painting forays. His subjects included desert scenes with prospectors and their burros as well as cowboy genre. His unique style of painting the sky and cloud formations became the identifying feature of his landscapes.”

Forsythe passed away on May 24, 1962 in Pasadena, California. The Independent Star News (Pasadena, California) published an obituary notice on the 27th.

Victor Clyde Forsythe of 1690 Ramiro Rd., San Marino passed away May 24, 1962. He was a native of Orange, California and had resided in San Marino for the past 20 years. Mr. Forsythe was a member of the Los Angeles Art Association, California Art Club, Salmagundi Club of New York City, Allied Artists of America, Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena Society of Artists, American Institute of Fine Arts, Rancheros Visitadores and the San Gabriel Country Club. Survived by his wife Cotta Owen Forsythe and one nephew, Thomas R. Gay of Encino. Funeral services Monday at 11 a.m. in the chapel of Pierce Bros. Fred A. Turner, Alhambra, mortuary, Rev. Raymond Riebs officiating. Interment, private. In lieu of flowers friends may contribute to the Orthopaedic Hospital or their favorite charity.


I have a comic strip dated Jan. 25, 1953 signed by Henry Formhals. Just cataloging it now...

Sara W. Duke
Curator, Popular & Applied Graphic Art
Prints & Photographs Division
Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20540-4730
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Wednesday, August 07, 2013


Obscurity of the Day: Divot Diggers / Fussy Foursome

Alex Jay, a golf fan, tells me that the PGA Championship begins tomorrow, and so it's time to dig up another golfing strip. Fair enough, says I. Here's a little known strip, with a pretty familiar name, from the pen of Vic Forsythe.

Those of you who are at least semi-serious about your newspaper funnies probably looked askance at the title overhead. You scoff at the idea that Divot Diggers and Fussy Foursome are obscurities. Come, come, you say, those toppers to the popular Joe Jinks Sunday page are hardly obscure. Well, says I, you might be right, excepting of course that you're just plain wrong. Y'see, I'm not talking about the Joe Jinks toppers at all, but rather an earlier series by the same name, or rather names, as the later topper strips.

As is well known, cartoonists who were required to do Sunday toppers often took the easy way out and conserved on brain juice by resurrecting old series. For instance, George McManus revived Rosie's Beau as a topper, Swinnerton revived Mister Jack, Opper dug up the bones of Maud the mule, etc etc.

Vic Forsythe didn't have to hark back to some ancient series, however. His Divot Diggers and Fussy Foursome topper titles debuted before the "CANCELLED" stamp was dry on the last episode of the original series.

But I get ahead of myself. By 1924, when Vic's Joe Jinks (then still known as Joe's Car) was already doing quite well, he came up with an idea for a weekly cartoon panel about golf. Forsythe must have been a committed duffer himself, because his panels, titled variously Divot Diggers and Fussy Foursome, were about as dry to non-golfers as they must be hilarious to members of the little-white-ball-chasing fraternity. Very much like Joe Jinks, the panel was wordy in the extreme. Golfers no doubt ate it up, as did Forsythe's editor at his syndicate, Press Publishing.

You know the weekly panel must have been irresistible to any newspaper editor who was also a golfer. Those guys couldn't care less if anyone else read the long-winded panels -- they liked it, so they bought it. But I guess newspaper editors as a class don't get out on the links much, because the series did not sell very well. That sales flop wouldn't have been helped by the weekly frequency. Where does it go in the paper, and on what day of the week should it be run? These are the complex puzzles that unnerve many newspaper editors, and cause them to shy away from a series that presents them with cause for deep thought.

The series wrapped up after a respectable seven year run on April 26 1931. However, as mentioned earlier, both titles would soon be resurrected as toppers to Joe Jinks, where they would last another decade.


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Tuesday, August 06, 2013


Obscurity of the Day: And They Get By With It

In 1917, E.C. Segar still had more than a decade to toil in the cartooning trenches before becoming the world famous and wealthy creator of Popeye. When he created this almost forgotten feature, And They Get By With It, he was still little more than an amateur in way over his head at the Chicago Herald.

Coming on the heels of Segar's truly awful, amateurish stint on Charlie Chaplin's Comic Capers, this new series showed Segar's art improving by leaps and bounds. While the cartooning still wasn't great by any means, there was at least some command and life filtering into it (especially on that bottom example). The series was funny, too, certainly an adjective that doesn't come to mind regarding Comic Capers.

And They Get By With It (sometimes titled And They're Getting By With It) ran in the Herald's Humor and City Life section on Sundays from April 1 1917 to January 6 1918.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans!


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Monday, August 05, 2013


News of Yore: Robert B. Davis’ Death

Robert B. Davis was a cartoonist who sometimes signed his work “R.B.S. Davis”. Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 connects Davis to “R.B.S. Davis”.

Ron Goulart in his book, Comic Book Culture (2000), identified Davis as the artist of the comic strip Philo Vance. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said the hard-to-find strip appeared from 1931 to 1932 in the Atlanta World.

Davis was employed at Funnies Inc. which produced comic book material for various publishers. Goulart noted one of Davis’ contributions: “Dick Cole was the creation of [Bill] Everett’s friend, and Funnies, Inc., colleague. Bob Davis.” An overview of his comics career is here.

A search for biographical information on Davis at has not yielded any results at this time. What is known comes from news reports of his death in a terrible car accident on the evening of November 28, 1941. It was reported in the Daily Argus (Mount Vernon, New York), the following day.

Tarrytown Man Killed in Crash On Saw Mill
Car Hits Guard Rail, Somersaults into River Near Ashford Avenue

Dobbs Ferry—Robert B. Davis, thirty-one, of 40 Benedict Avenue, Tarrytown, was killed last night when his car swerved from the Saw Mill River Parkway, struck a stone pillar and plunged into the Saw Mill River, landing upside down in the water. The accident occurred about 1,000 feet south of Ashford Avenue.

According to police, Mr. Davis was driving north on the parkway when his automobile veered to the left, struck a stone pillar and somersaulted into the creek. The pillar was part of a guard rail on a small bridge over the Saw Mill River. The car landed in the water on its roof, with only the wheels exposed.

Lacked Rescue Equipment

Passing motorists notified Parkway Police who in turn summoned the Ardsley Fire Department. Fire Chief Hans Roeser rushed to the scene with a squad of volunteer firemen but were unable to be of assistance owing to lack of rescue equipment. The Dobbs Ferry Fire Department Rescue Squad, in command of Chief William French, was summoned with full equipment of floodlights, first-aid equipment and rescue apparatus. Dobbs Ferry Firemen Lawrence Dawson, Edward Buckley, John Yozzo and former Fire Chief James Brooks plunged into the river, fully clothed, in an attempt to extricate the trapped man.

The vehicle was so badly damaged that the firemen were unable to get into the interior of the vehicle, even after smashing the windshield and side windows. A tow car was called and the car was pulled by tow-rope on its side. After tearing open a door Davis was removed from the car to the bank of the creek where artificial respiration was administered.

Termed Dead At Hospital

After 15 minutes’ effort at resuscitation, Davis was removed to Dobbs Ferry Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival by Dr. Edward Ceccolinl, resident-physician. Dr. Ceccolini notified County Medical Examiner Amos O. Squire.

Police report that Davis’ wristwatch stopped at 9:10 P.M. and that the body was in the river one-half hour. Police said they were unable to determine immediately if Davis was killed by the impact or was drowned.

More than 1,000 motorists and onlookers jammed the parkway near the scene, of the accident until Parkway police in command of Captain Frank McCabe cleared the roadway.

The New York Times, November 29, 1941, had this information: “…Mr. Davis, who was 31 years old, was employed by Funnies Inc., of New York City. He was married but had no children.”


Hello Allan-
Don't know if it's too late to add to a post from so long past, but I've found this Philo Vance strip in the (Salt Lake City) DESERET NEWS. The first day it ran was 2 May 1932, the big display panel that you showed, and the next day, the actual first day of the story, was the second one you included. They are numbered with E-1, E-2, etc. The first day, a big announcement that the stip was beginning ran on the cover of the DN, yet it vanished with no notice only three weeks later, after reaching only 18 strips published, the story not being completed.
Maybe they just found it so poorly drawn they couldn't stand it any more, or, that paper being run by Mormons, they objected to the poorly drawn murder and mayhem to come.
That sorta makes it sound like there probably were no stories A-D. Too much of a coincidence that the only two papers we can find using it both started with E.

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Sunday, August 04, 2013


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


Hope you're feeling better by the time you read this.

Wasn't it Al Capp who came off pretty badly in regard to his treatment of women? (And I don't mean in the strips.)
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