Saturday, March 08, 2014


Herriman Saturday

Sunday, May 31 1908 -- Herriman offers up the various ways sports fans could find out what was going on with the L.A. Angels in 1908, if they couldn't attend the game. Fascinating stuff.

Going clockwise from top left, we first have an unrelated cartoon complaining about the team's schedule. Then we have a mystery method -- I'm guessing this might be some sort of dedicated phone or telegraphy line of some sort? Then we have motion pictures in the next vignette -- of course those would have been available no earlier than a day or so after the game. Then we have the telephone, which was horrendously expensive, as you can see. Next there is the ticker tape, which was installed in many finance-oriented businesses like banks and stock brokers. Finally there is what seems to be radio -- a very early reference to it, I think. 


Hello, Allan---The men in picture two are listening to a record. Notice the cylinder? It was a popular way to listen to records at fatrs and dime museums was to put a stethoscope-like device to your ears. ---Many companies that needed up-to-the-minute news, like a newspaper or a gambling parlor (for horseraces and ball games), had ticker-tape machines.
Where can we get fatrs? Do they make them anymore?
Ah -- a record, of course! Thank you Cole. Allan
Hello, GRIZEDO----That should read "fairs". Seems I always notice my spelling mistakes after they're carved in granite.
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Friday, March 07, 2014


Sci-Friday starring Connie

Connie, September 20 1936, courtesy of Cole Johnson. Follow the Connie story every Friday here on Stripper's Guide.


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Thursday, March 06, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Creig Flessel

Creig Valentine Flessel was born in Huntington, Long Island, New York, on February 2, 1912. His full name was found in his hometown newspaper, The Long Islander, and the Social Security Death Index. His birth information was confirmed in a July 2002 interview in the Comics Journal #245.

In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Flessel was the second of four children born to Frank (1883–1944) and Ida (1884–1971). The census recorded his father’s birth in Germany and occupation as blacksmith. The family resided in Huntington on Southdown Avenue. They remained in the same place according to the 1925 New York State Census. Flessel’s paternal grandmother, Fannie, lived with them. In 1930, the Flessel family remained in Huntington but on Prospect Avenue.

In the Comics Journal, Flessel said his family lived on a five-acre farm about a mile from town. His father could draw; an aunt was an art teacher; his mother was musical and his brother could draw and was “an electronics genius.” Flessel named cartoonist Vic Forsythe, of Joe Jinks fame, as his idol.

The life of Flessel, from his early teens to to his early twenties, was chronicled in the Long Islander: he was a scout, high school athlete and cartoonist, art student, occasional performer, and scoutmaster.

April 30, 1925: Last Tuesday evening, April 27, Troop One, Boy Scouts of America, received their charter for the next year, at the Huntington High School gymnasium. The charter was presented by Scout Executive A.R. Wolfe, at a banquet attended by many of the scouts’ parents.

The following scouts received their registrations: …second class, …Creig Flessel...

June 17, 1927: The funeral service was held in the Catholic Church Wednesday morning, about forty Scouts being in attendance. The pallbearers were members of his patrol, Creig Flessel, Albert Flathtnan, Harry Mathison, Ralph Lewis, Jack Klauer and LeRoy Glosten.

September 30, 1927: The Ketewamoke Patrol of Troop No. 1, of Huntington held a banquet at the Methodist Episcopal Church on Friday evening, September 16. The eight Scouts of the Ketewamoke Patrol of which Creig Flessel is leader and Clifford Trainer is sponsor, celebrated their first Patrol birthday by entertaining their parents and friends present with a fine meal. After the tables had been cleared the Scouts presented a sketch entitled, “Pee Wee Harris’s Patrol to the Rescue.” This bit of Scout work was put across in a very amusing manner. The Handicraft exhibit was very interesting. It included some fine sketchings, leaf printing and soap carving.

November 2, 1928: This Friday the first edition of the “Mirror” is to be sold to the students. It has made quite an improvement over the first edition of last year.…The illustrations were furnished by Louise Kjellander, ’29; Lydo Petersen, ’29; Mary Shantler, ’29; Creig Flessel, ’30 and Florence Hoag, ’30.

(The Standard Union, in Brooklyn, April 12, 1929, reported the following: “Capt. Carroll E. Welch of the citizens’ military training camp has issued a statement that to April 1 forty-four applications from Suffolk County for the training camps this summer have been accepted…[including] Creig V. Flessel, Huntington…”)

September 6, 1929: Creig Flessel returned home Saturday from the Military Training Camp at Plattsburg.

September 13, 1929: Romney Wheeler is editor-in-chief of the school magazine. The Mirror, this year. The other editors include…Creig Flessel, art...

November 8, 1929: The first issue of the Huntington High School Magazine the “Mirror” was put on sale last Wednesday.…Illustrations also, are in profusion, especially in the humor section.

The staff is as follows: Romney Wheeler, Editor-in-Chief; Nat Elkins, Business Manager; Clifford Phillips, Humor, Editor; Phillis Fredericks, Literary Editor; Creig Flessel, Art Editor; Lyle Carson and Helen Hubbs, Sport Editors; Jean Carter, Alumni Editor; Evelyn Hart, Exchange Editor; Herman Wientjes, Circulation Manager and Mortimer Kassel, Advertising Manager.

November 22, 1929: Those who played their last game for the Blue and White were…Creig Flessel, end…

(The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 25, 1929, published a photograph, below, of the football players, including Flessel, who received letters.)

May 9, 1930: The annual election of Epworth League officers was held at the church last Monday night with the following results: Eugene Dittmar, president; Crieg Flessel, first and second vice-president; Glady Bunce, third vice-president; Natalie Suydam, fourth vice-president; Estelle Miller, secretary; Helen Velsor, treasurer; Gladys Bunce, organist.

June 27, 1930: Prizes and honors for the year were announced by Superintendent Toaz as follows: …Alumni Drawing Prizes—Creig Valentine Flessel and Florence Hazel Hoag...Those who received their diplomas were…Creig Flessel...

September 12, 1930: Creig Flessel starts Monday for a course in the Grand Central Art school in New York.

September 26, 1930: Creig Flessel, Huntington High 1930, won the poster prize for Nassau and Suffolk counties sponsored by the New York State Educational Department, on the topic Vacation Days. A little boy, strutting along with a tiny fish on the end of a pole, Is not more excited than the dog that is with him. Mr. Flessel is a student at the Grand Central Art School this fall.

November 7, 1930: Creig Flessel entertained the members of his Sunday School class at a Halloween party Friday night.

April 24, 1931: Creig Flessel, who is a student at the Grand Central Art School, received second prize of $10 for illustration, and third prize of $5 for life drawing.

(The New York Times, April 20, 1932: “Awards at School of Art.” The eight annual exhibition of the Grand Central School of Art…Medals for Illustration—To Creig Flessel, George Cook, Dorothy Deyrup, Harry Rossoll and Tom Harter.)

April 29, 1932: Creig Flessel, of this place, was awarded first prize for an illustration at the Grand Central Art School in Manhattan last week.

Creig Flessel who is a student in the Grand Central Art School received first prize for illustration last week.

June 3, 1932: Creig Flessel has organized a Boy Scout patrol.

June 24, 1932: Creig Flessel, who has just finished his second year at Grand Central Art School, entered Monday for the summer course in that institution. 
(In the Comics Journal interview, Flessel said he attended Harvey Dunn’s night class and met Charles Addams, the future New Yorker cartoonist.)

September 2, 1932: Arrangements are being perfected for an exhibit of the work of Huntington amateur artists at the Flessel Building on Main street from September 5 to 10, inclusive. Among the artists making exhibits are Woodhull Young, Alphonse Bare, Creig Flessel and Miss Anna Flessel.

April 21, 1933: “Troop 12 Has Ten Year Reunion”; ...Through the efforts of Pete Whipple assisted by Wilbur Percy, Woodhull Young, Creig Flessel and Bob Alexander is due a large part of the success of this enjoyable gathering.

April 21, 1933: Saturday night Was a red letter day for our Boy Scouts. In their bright new uniforms they were on hand to welcome their friends and their neighboring Boy Scouts from Huntington and Greenlawn.

Jack Levy then presented Creig Flessel with his credentials and Scout pin for Scout Master of Troop 113 of Centerport. The Scouts then received their badges from their Scout Master, Creig Flessel.

…All boys, twelve years or over, who are in any way interested in Boy Scouting, may Join, this troop by reporting to Creig Flessel or Jack Levy at the Centerport Fire House on any Thursday evening between 7:30 and 9 o’clock.

April 13, 1934: The second event was a Parents’ Night held by Centerport Troop 113, of which Creig V. Flessel is Scoutmaster and Jacob Levy chairman of the Troop Committee.

Under the direction of Scoutmaster Flessel the Scouts put on a splendid demonstration of Scouting, also some interesting skits depicting Scout life. There was an excellent display of Scout handicraft. The meeting was held in the new school building on Little Neck road and was attended by over fifty parents and friends of the troop. Refreshments were served at the close of the meeting.

January 10, 1935: Creig Flessel was a guest of Miss Marie Marino in Brooklyn for New Year’s Day.

January 31, 1935: Creig Flessel and his troop of Boy Scouts enjoyed a grand day of hiking and coasting Saturday.

March 1, 1935: The Centerport M. E. Church in place of the Centerport Fire Department will sponsor the Boy Scout Troop in the future. With a; troop, committee comprised of James Van Alst, Rev. Edgar N. Jackson, Creig Flessel, Arthur B. West and George A. Bunce, they expect to have one of the liveliest troops in Suffolk County.

March 13, 1935: “Minstrels Enjoyed”; ‘Kentucky Daze’ drew a large crowd to the Centerport School Friday night. The minstrels kept the audience in an uproar throughout the performance.

Much applause was given to Creig Flessel as Old Black Joe and Natalie Suydam as Aunt Jemima. The ballet dancers wore not to be beaten by any professionals.

June 28, 1935: Friday evening, June 21, was one of the happiest in our school year, when thirteen, wide awake boys and girls received their diplomas to enter high school.…Creig Flessel was master of ceremonies in giving the flag donated by the combined basketball teams, the Sea Gulls and Sea Girls.

April 3, 1936: Creig Flessel was a week-end guest of Miss Marie Marino in Brooklyn who is home for her spring vacation from Alfred University.

May 29, 1936: “Memorial Day Plans”; ...At the park on the newly erected pole will be unfurled the Stars and Stripes by the Boy Scouts under Scoutmaster Creig Flessel.

November 1936: Creig Flessel was a guest of Miss Marino for the week-end. They attended the Alfred-Upsalla game in East Orange, Saturday.

Flessel’s engagement to Marino was announced in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 9, 1937. 

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Marino of 293 Clermont Ave. announce the engagement of their daughter, Miss Marie Grace Marino, to Creig Valentine Flessel of Manhattan and Centerport, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Flessel.

Miss Marino was graduated from Alfred University, Alfred, N. Y., with the class of 1936. Mr. Flessel studied at Grand Central School of Art in Manhattan.
The New York, New York, Marriage Indexes, at, said Flessel and Marino married on November 20, 1937 in Brooklyn. The Alfred Sun (New York), April 14, 1938, noted their marriage: “ ’36—Marie Marino to Creig Valentine Flessel in Brooklyn on November 20, 1937.” The Marin Independent Journal (California), March 17, 2007, said Flessel met Marie “during a function at a Long Island yacht club gathering.”

Some sources said Flessel attended Alfred University and even graduated from there. I have found no evidence that he was a student at Alfred University. Surely, his hometown paper, the Long Islander, would have reported his enrollment there. In the Comics Journal interview, Flessel never mentioned the university as part of his education. The confusion, I believe, centers on his wife, Marie, who graduated from Alfred University in 1936. Flessel’s attendance at the university was as a visitor seeing his future wife. The Alfred University alumni news mentioned Flessel because he was Marie’s husband.

Flessel was part of the first wave of Golden Age comic book artists. He was hired to produced art work for Major Wheeler-Nicholson’s More Fun Comics. Flessel recalled:
…they were desperate so I had to go out and buy a drawing table. They had just one table that they were doing all of the mechanical work on. So I got a table and managed to find a chair and sat down and they said, “Here. Do this.” I think I did a couple of center spreads for More Fun….Detective [Comics] was created while I was there.”
Flessel drew the covers for Detective Comics numbers two through 19. He worked with editors Vince Sullivan and Whitney Ellsworth. In 1937, Flessel moved on and worked a couple weeks for Harry Chesler. Some of Flessel’s comic book credits are here.

Later in 1937 Flessel worked for the advertising studio Johnstone and Cushing. At Hogan’s Alley, Flessel explained how he entered the advertising industry after a stint on a comic strip.
“In 1936, I went to J. Walter Thompson looking for work, because they had been doing a lot of comic ads,” he said. “All the secretaries there knew Tom Johnstone, and one of them told me I should go to Johnstone and Cushing.” Flessel went to the Johnstone and Cushing offices, then in the Commerce Building at 145 East 44th Street, and he took the elevator to the thirty-sixth floor penthouse suite that housed the offices. Flessel was in awe of the staff, which was a cartooning Who’s Who: “There was Albert Dorne, Austin Briggs, Bill Sakren, Joe King, Stan Randall, Paul Fung, Milt Gross, Milt Caniff, Lou Fine, Stan Drake, Noel Sickles, Ralston Jones, Katie Osann…everybody went through there at some point. The talent level was just intimidating,” Flessel said.
…“They had a lot of work and they needed artists,” Flessel said, “but they felt my work was a little crude, so they recommended me to John Striebel.”
Striebel hired Flessel to assist on Dixie Dugan. Flessel also had the opportunity to work on Streibel’s characters Vic and Sade, who appeared in Farina Wheat cereal advertisements. In Alter Ego #45, February 2005, Jim Amash interviewed Flessel who said: “In 1937, I was ghosting for John Streibel on Dixie Dugan for Liberty magazine, as well as ad work for him. And then Dixie turned into a newspaper strip. Dixie was a showgirl, but Blondie proved that a showgirl strip didn’t fly in the newspapers, so Dixie Dugan became a single secretary. I did that for one year. I was also doing ad worked for Johnstone and Cushing, pulp work, and comics for National Comics.”

After Streibel, Flessel returned to Johnstone and Cushing and began work on the Nestlé Toll House cookies and R.C. Cola accounts.

The Alfred Sun, October 17, 1940, explained the story behind the Nestle’s advertisement (below) that ran in the Sunday comics section October 13, 1940.

Scan courtesy of the Fabulous Fifties

Alfred Banner Seen in Sunday Section 
In the funny section last week in the Sunday paper, there appeared an advertisement for Nestle’s which was of great interest to Alfred people and students. The adv. carried the theme of the girl who won a pledge to a sorority by her mother sending her baked goods that suited the taste of some of the girls, who in turn pledged her to their sorority. In this girl’s room was seen an Alfred banner, although the colors were orange and green, the word “ALFRED” was very much in evidence. It was learned that the author, Creig Flessel is the husband of Marie Jean Marino, who graduated from Alfred with the class of 1936 and was a member of the Sigma Chi Nu Sorority. If you were familiar with the sorority pin you would know at a glance the pin in question belonged to Sigma Chi Nu.
According to Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999, Flessel worked on the Vimms vitamins account.

Cleveland Plain Dealer 6/28/1942

Another advertising campaign, illustrated by Flessel, was for New York state savings banks; the advertisements ran in 1944 and 1945.

Star Journal 5/25/1944

Perry Record 6/29/1944

Nunda News 10/13/1944

Cortland Standard 1/24/1945

Flessel also did illustrations for pulp magazines by publishers such as Street & Smith, and Martin Goodman.

According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), Flessel illustrated the Book-of-the Month adaptation of Colonel Effingham’s Raid, which was published in 1943.

Rockford Register-Republic 9/13/1943

Flessel has not yet been found in the 1940 census. In an April 2006 letter to Mike Lynch, Flessel wrote: “I (We) lived in Brooklyn, near Pratt Institute in 1937. My son was born in Brooklyn in 1940.” According to the Marin Independent Journal, February 4, 2011, Flessel moved back to his hometown of Huntington in 1943.

In the 1950s, Flessel produced illustrations for Boys’ Life magazine and the Sunday Pictorial Review supplement. Boys’ Life covers and comics are here, here, here and here. A couple of Sunday Pictorial Review covers are here. At Johnstone and Cushing, Flessel worked on the Eveready battery account. Samples are here, here, here and here.

From 1958 to 1960, Flessel assisted on the Li’l Abner strip. In the Comics Journal interview, Flessel said: 
…The best part of that job was that we sat there and worked and we had Andy Amato, and Harvey Curtis and Walter Johnson was the inker. Curtis was the manager of the office and Amato was the man who created all the crazy things—crazy penciler—but the reason why I was there was no one could draw a pretty girl. I knew how to draw big tits. If they made them the size of a grapefruit, I’d make them bigger. So that was it….
Flessel took over the David Crane strip from Winslow Mortimer from October 31, 1960 into 1972. Several samples can be viewed here, here and here.

8/6/1961; scan courtesy of the Fabulous Fifties

From 1969 to 1977 Flessel drew This Week in Astrology which was written by Carl Payne Tobey; Flessel signed the feature with his middle name, Valentine, which was his paternal grandmother’s maiden name.

11/26/1972; original art courtesy of Heritage Auctions

In American Newspaper Comics, Flessel is credited with two-week stints on Apartment 3-G (Sundays) and Friday Foster in 1973.

In the 1980s for Playboy magazine, Flessel drew, for about eight years, The Tales of Baron von Furstinbed and explained, in the Comics Journal, how he got involved: 
...The guy that I worked with on Friday Foster wrote stuff for Playboy. They needed stuff for the Playboy Funnies, and he was writing and they would send it back, so we arranged to do stuff together. I would get notes from Hefner that said, “I like your drawing, but the story’s not good.” So finally I asked the writer if he would mind if I wrote my own copy. So I did and sent off a color page and they wrote back and said that they liked it, and would like to see some more. So, almost immediately, I was in business. 
…I went from David Crane to The Tales of Baron Von Firstinbed [sic]— piety to pornography in one lifetime…
In 2000, Flessel and his wife moved to The Redwoods retirement community in Mill Valley, California, to be closer to their children and their families. Flessel passed away July 17, 2008. His death was reported in the Marin Independent Journal, July 26.

Flessel was remembered at several comic book-related sites, here, here and here. Photographs of Flessel and samples of his artwork are here. An overview of Flessel’s career is here. He was a member of the National Cartoonists Society.

Flessel’s wife,
Marie passed away January 20, 2011 in Mill Valley.

—Alex Jay


Berkely cartoonist Lee Marrs was an assistant to Flessel in the seventies and could be helpful for anyone doing Flessel scholarship.
The Library of Congress has daily David Crane comic strip drawings signed by Mortimer and copyrighted by the Toronto Star that date to 1968.

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

(202) 707-3630
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Wednesday, March 05, 2014


Creig Flessel, Undercover

This Week In Astrology, an NEA-distributed horoscope feature by Carl Payne Tobey that debuted in 1969 and ended around 1977, doesn't qualify for listing in American Newspaper Comics. In its early days the graphics were large if not central to the purpose of the feature, but the text slowly but surely chipped away until the cartoons weren't much more than incidental.

Although not strictly within the purview of Stripper's Guide, I have always been impressed by the graphics from the early years of the feature. Unfortunately I had no idea who the cartoonist was (he signed himself "Valentine") until someone finally told me it was Creig Flessel working under a pseudonym. Well, I guess that explains it! Surprising how much effort Flessel put into these despite the lack of credit. So here's a nice dose of very obscure Flessel artwork -- enjoy!


At least it's not the only NEA strip that someone have undercovered for them. Ken Bald did "Dark Shadows" under the name of Ken Bruce!!!
That would be "Creig Valentine Flessel" working under a pen name.
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Tuesday, March 04, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: W.E. Hill

William Ely Hill was born in Binghamton, New York, on January 19, 1887, according to his World War I and II draft cards, and a 1918 passport application (see photo). Ely was his mother’s maiden name.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Hill was the only child of William and Marietta. His father was a manufacturer of stationery. They reside in Brooklyn, New York at 410 Grand Avenue. According to the Wilton Bulletin (Connecticut), December 12, 1962, Hill graduated from the Storm King School and Amherst College. The Chi Phi Fraternity, Centennial Memorial Volume, 1924, had this listing:

William Ely Hill (Last address) New York, N.Y. Born Binghamton, N.Y., Jan. 19, 1887. Edu. Amherst, B.A. Originator “Among Us Mortals” and other cartoon series. Cartoonist. Initiated Oct. 24, 1905.
Hill lived with his parents in Pelham, New York, at 121 Corlies Avenue, as recorded the 1910 census. His occupation was student in the “caricature” business. The Binghamton Press (New York), August 27, 1910, noted his talent:
Praise for Former Binghamtonian 
A recent number of Vanity Fair, one of London’s famous publications, in referring to a special number of Puck, the American humorous weekly, says: “By the way, we have for some weeks, observed the work of a new artist on this paper, W.E. Hill, who seems well on the way to International reputation.”
The artist referred to is William Ely Hill, who up to nine years ago was a resident of Binghamton.
Hill was mentioned in the society page of the New York Herald, November 18, 1910: “For the Carnival Bazaar of the A.E. Society, to be held in the Myrtle suite of the Waldorf-Astoria on the afternoons and evenings of November 30 and December 1…Mr. William E. Hill, a cartoonist, will take part in the vaudeville program.”

For the theater periodical, Green Book Magazine, Hill provided cartoons for the July 1914 and August 1914 issues. 
Hill’s drawing, “My Wife and My Mother-in-Law”, appeared in Puck, November 6, 1915. The drawing has been reprinted in many psychology books.

My Wife and My Mother-in-Law.
They are both in this picture—find them.

In April 1916 Hill began a long association with the New York Tribune which lasted through 1922; his first work, a strip, appeared April 9, and the second, a half-page, on the 16th. His series of full-page drawings, with various descriptive titles, ran in the magazine section from April 23 1916 to February 4, 1917. The series title, Among Us Mortals, began February 11, 1917, and was dropped February 5, 1922. The series ended in the New York Tribune December 31, 1922. Among Us Mortals had been running in the Chicago Tribune since February 5, 1922.

The Binghamton Press, September 19, 1917, praised their native son:

Artist Winning Fame Is Native of BinghamtonA Binghamton boy, William Ely Hill, is achieving widespread fame through his full-page sketches, which are appearing in several of the big Sunday newspapers under the title, “Among Us Mortals.”
Picking types from the everyday folks he sees on the streets, or wherever people gather, Mr. Hill satirizes in a genial way, little weaknesses that are common to mankind. The freshness and novelty of his work, and its artistic merit him given “Among Us Mortals” a front place as a newspaper feature. Mr. Hill is a son of Mr. and Mrs. W.S. Hill of New York, formerly of this city, and is a nephew of Mrs. C.W. Sears.
The Washington Times, which features the sketches in the Sunday edition, recently had this to say about Mr. Hill and his methods of work:
“William E. Hill, whose speaking likenesses of everyday people appear in The Sunday Times under the caption of ‘Among Us Mortals,’ came to Washington today.
“Some weeks ago Mr. Hill drew a picture of men and women rehearsing for a burlesque show and had the audacity to call the burlesquers’ life ‘vain and hollow.’ All sorts of complications arose the burlesquers at a local playhouse rising in righteous wrath and offering to bet all kinds of money that they received more pay than Mr. Hill.
Seeks Inspiration Hero.
"When Mr. Hill was found by a Times reporter he said he had not come to Washington to settle the burlesque situation, as he believed the, diplomats at the state Department probably could handle that, but he did pictures of ‘Life' as it is in the National Capital.’
“He said he intended roaming over Washington and making sketches of people in various walks of life here. The National Capital, he said, offered such a prolific field for sketches of so many and varied types of men, women and children that he anticipated difficulty in exhausting all the subjects here before laying down his charcoal and closing his artistic career.
His Work Widely Admired.
“Practically no one who sees Mr. Hill without being introduced to him would guess for an instant that this modest and retiring young man is the creator of the most human and true life sketches every [sic] printed in America.
From coast to coast and in foreign countries his work is admired for its fidelity to nature and to types. Everyone who has seen his drawings of people one meets in the streets, in the theater or other gathering places, never fails to remark, ‘I’ve seen exactly that type, and the artist must have sketched some one I’ve seen.’
Mr. Hill pictures people at work, at play, on their way to work, at home, at meals, or on picnics. He doesn’t try to make any one handsome who is not handsome, and men and women wearing eyeglasses appear frequently in his sketches, not because he wears them himself and likes to draw them but because he finds these people wherever he goes to faithfully and truly reproduce what he sees.
No Need to Imagine Types.
“ ‘I learned very early in my career as an artist that if you stick pretty close to the people you see about you, every day you need not draw on your imagination for types,’ said Mr. Hill.
“ ‘People, just plain, everyday, commonplace people, alive and in motion fascinate me far more than anything else in the world.” he continued.
“ ‘They look and dress, and do everything that they could be imagined doing, and they are everywhere that there is anywhere to be.
“ ‘When I made my first sketch of people as I really found them, I had no idea of keeping it up. That was simply one day’s work. I remember the first sketch very distinctly. It was made only a year and a half ago and was a few glimpses at the Easter parade in New York City.
“ ‘When that was printed it suggested another sketch of human life as it is and every sketch suggests a great many others. Human nature is an exhaustible subject and a man might draw types of men, women and children for a hundred years and still not scratch the surface of his subject.
Finds Washington Different.
“ ‘I have come to Washington because life here is very different from anywhere else in the United States and types are to he found here which could not be found in any other city in the country.
“ ‘The vast army of Government employes rushing to their work, the crowds fighting to get on already overcrowded street cars, the blank look on the voteless inhabitants of the city, the rich and the poor, the humble and the great mingling together on your streets, the omnipresent soldier, sailor and marine; the children of the rich playing in the parks, the visitors at the Capitol, the tourists, the scenes at markets, al1 hold a tremendous interest for me and doubtless would for any one coming to Washington for the first time.
“ ‘Selection and elimination will be my only trouble here, for there are a vast number of types I have not seen before, but which I will do my best to picture to readers of the Times.’
“ ‘If Mr. Hill does his best that will be about all readers of the Times will want from him.”

A book version of Among Us Mortals was published in November 1917. The preface tells the story of the series’ beginning.

Hill signed his World War I draft card June 5, 1917. He resided at 2350 Broadway in Manhattan and was cartoonist for the New York Tribune. His description was tall height, slender build, with blue eyes and brown hair. On June 24, 1918 he applied for a passport to gather “material for sketches” in England and France. The application included a letter from the Tribune.

According to the 1920 census, newspaper cartoonist Hill and his parents resided in Brooklyn at 95–97 Columbia Heights. His father passed away in 1928 and his mother in 1930.

Hill was among the scores of artists and writers who signed the Greenwich Village Bookshop door.

In 1926 Hill’s Among Us Cats was published by Harper and Brothers.

Hill has not yet been found in the 1930 census. The 1940 census recorded him in Redding Center, Connecticut; he moved from New York City after 1935.

Hill’s World War II draft card was signed April 27, 1942. He resided in Redding, Connecticut. His employer was the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate, and his description was five feet seven inches, 150 pounds, with brown eyes and gray hair.

A 1949 issue of Editor & Publisher profiled Hill.

Hill passed away December 9, 1962, in Connecticut. His death was reported two days later in the Binghamton Press which said Hill was to be buried at the Spring Forest Cemetery, in Binghamton, on December 12. The Wilton Bulletin said he died at the Danbury Hospital.

—Alex Jay


In the category of the weird, Hill's supposedly 1930s work Life Sketches had some of the Sunday's reprinted in Print Mint's Arcade (1975 series) #2 (Summer 1975).

Ray Bottorff Jr

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Monday, March 03, 2014


A Steinigans Tribute

It is an unfortunate fact that newspapers rarely take the time or trouble to eulogize their fallen ink-slingers in anything more than a short obituary. Here, however, is an exception to that rule. When William J. Steinigans died in January 1918, the New York World, for whom he'd been in harness at least since 1904, offered a more fitting memorial. In their Sunday magazine sections of April 14 - 28 they printed a series of three painterly Steinigan drawings, one per week, to memorialize his artistry.

This is the second of those drawings, and the only one of the three I've actually had the pleasure of seeing for myself.

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Sunday, March 02, 2014


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


Uh... tonage?

Hope to see you soon, Jim!
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