Saturday, August 02, 2014


Herriman Saturday

Saturday, August 8 1908 -- Herriman returns from his hiatus/vacation/whatever, and his first major cartoon is to document a news story. Seems that a San Franciscan named Dorr has piled up some enormous debts in stock future trading, a situation which he blames on an associate who engaged Dorr to make all the boneheaded buys that got him in dutch. Yeah, sure.

Then it seems Mr. Dorr, who was told by the SF constabulary not to leave town, hopped a train for Los Angeles. To hear Dorr tell it, no one told him not to do this, he was just here for the day to see friends, he was coming right back, his dog ate his homework, and so on. 

On a different note, check out the font on that headline. The bad photocopy does it no favors, but if that font isn't just the most swell-egant thing ever, I'll eat my hat. Am I the only one paying attention to the great fonts they used at the Los Angeles Examiner?


I love these old newspaper type fonts. My understanding is they were all made using lead and the craftsmanship is really amazing!
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Friday, August 01, 2014


Sci-Friday starring Connie

Connie, February 14 1937, courtesy of Cole Johnson. 
Follow the Connie story every Friday here on Stripper's Guide.


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Thursday, July 31, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: J. Carver Pusey

James Carver Pusey Jr. was born in Avondale, Pennsylvania, on February 18, 1901, as recorded on page 288 in The Ancestry and Posterity of John Lea, of Christian Malford, Wiltshire, England, and of Pennsylvania in America 1503-1906. The book, What’s the Name, Please? A Guide to the Correct Pronunciation of Current Prominent Names (1936), had an entry for Pusey on how to pronounce his name: “Pusey, J. Carver—cartoonist—Rimes with newsy, unless you pronounce that noozy; if so, call him pew’zy.”

In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Pusey was the oldest of three children born to James and Susan. The family lived in Norristown, Pennsylvania at 1428 Powell Street. Pusey’s father was an accountant.

In 1920, Pusey’s mother was a widow and head of the household. Pusey’s occupation was “helper” in the “structural engineer” industry. By the mid-1920s, Pusey was a cartoonist whose first strip was Cat Tales.



The Pennsylvania, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985, at, recorded Pusey’s marriage to Margaret Andre Roberts in Philadelphia on June 1, 1927.

Philadelphia Inquirer 8/18/1927

According to American Newspaper Comics, Pusey’s second strip was the Chance Brothers in 1927. The following year, Pusey’s third strip, Benny, debuted December 17, 1928. The first topper for Benny was a revival of Cat Tales. It was replaced by Opportunity Knox.

In 1930 Pusey resided in New York City’s Greenwich Village at 72 Barrow Street. Pusey was a newspaper cartoonist. A 1971 issue of Views & Reviews explained how Pusey got into the movies with the Marx Brothers:

…Then there was Harpo. Not having a gag man clearly didn’t bother him, so Groucho took it upon himself to break his reading habits and take a look at the funnies, where he turned up a cartoonist named J. Carver Pusey, a mild-mannered newspaper man who did a strip called “Little Benny,” about a boy who couldn’t talk. Pusey got himself signed up with Paramount too….
Many reviews of the Marx Brothers’ Monkey Business mentioned Pusey as a contributor. The Long Island Daily Press (Jamaica, New York), November 18, 1931, said:
Two cartoonists and one mad wag are responsible for the hilarious story and “gags” of the third picture starring the Four Marx Brothers—“Monkey Business” which opens at Loew’s Valencia theatre Friday. 
The mad wag is S. J. Perelman, gag-maker emeritus of Judge and other magazines. The cartoonists are Will B. Johnstone and J. Carver Pusey. Johnstone is the comic cartoonist of the World-Telegram, New York evening paper, and Pusey is the creator of “Benny,” a comic strip which appears in numerous papers throughout the country.
Pusey’s Hollywood career was brief. The New York Sun, July 15, 1931, said: “J. Carver Pusey, cartoonist, is on his way back to New York. While in Hollywood he was gagman for Harpo, the silent member of the Four Marx Brothers.”

The Literary Digest, January 27, 1934, published “They Stand Out From the Crowd”, which profiled six people including Emma Goldman and Pusey, who was singled out in “Comics—and Their Creators”:
J. Carver Pusey—Benny’s creator, Born Avondale, Pennsylvania, 1901. 
Schooling—Kindergarten to Pennsylvania School of Industrial Art, Philadelphia, Pa. 
Jobs—Water boy, office boy, silk hosiery salesman, hot dog vendor, newspaper advertising, Hollywood gag man, etc. 
Hobbies—Animals, trees, horse races, roast turkey and fire engines. 
Location— Farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. 
Ambitions—To pay off mortgage. 
Miscellaneous—Married, one daughter. Like “Old Black Joe” and “The Wreck of the Old 97.” Enjoy all sports, excel in none. Dislike suburbs and string beans. 
Benny—Born from pencil wanderings rather than the brain. Benny’s philosophy of life is to follow the line of least resistance. His background is a little hazy, his age vague and his parentage questionable. 
However, a big hearted little waif, he lives in a renovated railroad tool box on the other side of the tracks, does his own cleaning, cooking sewing, eats spinach, clean his teeth regularly and takes a bath religiously every Saturday night.
A 1935 issue of Writer's Monthly said: “J. Carver Pusey, who also buys pantomime ideas, can be reached at United Features Syndicate, 220 East 42nd Street, New York City.”
On April 1, 1935, Time magazine published a couple of letters to the editor: one on Benny and the other on Pusey. The editor replied with background information on Pusey:
...Born 34 years ago in Avondale, Pa. Pusey decided to be a cartoonist because it seemed an easy way to make a living. Discovering his error, he ran a hot dog stand one summer, drove a truck, sold silk underwear and hosiery, sold Frigidaires, became interested in a patented ice cream dipper and astonished himself by selling one. Hoping to work his way to Europe he hitch-hiked to New York, slept on a Battery Park bench for a week, returned to Philadelphia, broke his nose in a Y.M.C.A. swimming pool, matriculated at the Pennsylvania School of Art because school appeared more enjoyable than what he had been doing. He studied one year, met the girl whom he later married, began drawing in earnest.
Pusey spent several months in Hollywood as gagman for Harpo Marx, liked it, but prefers his farm in Buck County, Pa., his horses and chickens. He has seven dogs which he says were an accident. Short, rugged, Cartoonist Pusey likes old-fashion cocktails, varicolored pousse-cafes. He works late at night because he never manages to get started until then.
In September 1935, Pusey and his wife vacationed in Bermuda. The passenger list said they resided in Wrightstown, Pennsylvania.

Pusey was recorded at the same town in the 1940 census. He had two daughters and continued as a newspaper cartoonist. His highest level of education was two years of college. In 1939, he worked 52 weeks and earned over five thousand dollars. His house was valued at twelve thousand dollars.

The Trenton Evening Times (New Jersey), April 27, 1941, reported the upcoming art exhibition, from May 3 to 25, at Phillips Mill in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Pusey was one of several illustrators whose work was chosen.

Comics authority Cole Johnson said Pusey died on July 16, 1953 at his apartment in Philadelphia. He left behind a widow, Doris, and two daughters from his first marriage, Polly and Susan.

—Alex Jay


I'm so happy to have found this!! James Pusey is my great-grandfather, and I've been looking for his old comics for ages. Thank you so much for posting!!

Julia, I found some work by your grandfather from 1942. It's a comic from OCS at Fort Sill OK. They are copies not originals. Shall I send pictures of them?

Joe Gutierrez
Bel Air MD
Pusey's wife, Margaret, was my great grandfather's sister. I would love to see the photos!
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Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Obscurity of the Day: The Love Boat

For those who follow the blog here regularly, you already know the score when it comes to Sunday magazine cover comics. Yes, it's a romantic adventure, yes, the art is fabulous. What can I add? Well, I could be mean and make you suffer through a certain theme song running on an endless loop in your head:

Love! Exciting and new,
Come aboard! We're expecting you,
Love! Life's sweetest reward,
Let it flow, it floats back to you!
The Love Boat soon will be making another run ....

But I'm not that mean. No, I'll just tell you that this Russell Patterson series appeared through the auspices of Hearst's International Feature Service imprint, and ran from February 16 to August 3 1930.

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Tomorrow Alex Jay will profile Lauren Tewes. Good luck tracking down her WW1 draft card. It probably got rolled up and then discarded in some Hollywood night club ladies room. Hey, you started it.
Began to post reference photos of all RP weekly supplement covers that I got, today on my blog.
( ) Will try to post them weekly for almost a year, until I run out of pages.
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Clifford L. Sherman

Clifford Leon Sherman was born in Lincoln, Illinois, on March 31, 1875, according to the Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths Index at His full name was in the index and World War I draft card.

In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, he was the youngest of three children born to Hiram, a retired merchant, and Susan. They lived in Lincoln on West Street. Information regarding Sherman’s early education has not been found.

Sherman’s name was found in Chicago’s Northwestern University Catalogue 1894–95. He was a junior in the law school. It’s not known if he graduated.

The Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois), September 14, 1895, mentioned him as an attendee at a baseball game in Springfield, Illinois.

According to the Weekly Illinois State Register (Springfield, Illinois), October 23, 1903, Sherman studied several years at the Art Institute of Chicago. His name appeared in the Chicago Daily Tribune, February 15, 1899, which covered the Fifth Annual Costume Party of the Art Students’s League: “…Clifford L. Sherman appeared in the grand march as a Turk and a few minutes later as a…”

The Denver Post (Colorado), December 28, 1920, said Sherman worked at newspapers in Denver, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and Boston. A Denver Post front page advertisement, dated April 20, 1901, promoted the Sunday edition:

Among the different things it will contain will be a colored page by C.L. Sherman, late of Hearst’s Chicago American staff, showing the features of the largest duck preserve in the world, owned by Denver sportsmen.
The Illinois State Register (Springfield, Illinois), August 20, 1903, said Sherman was an illustrator with the Boston Globe. Smiling Sinbad was Sherman’s debut strip (May 17, 1903) with the Globe. Next was Doesn’t It Seem Strange which began July 26, 1903.

For the Denver Post, Sherman (self-portrait) attempted a balloon trip from Denver to New York City. Captains Baldwin and Hudson were in charge of the balloon. Sherman was to file reports along their journey, an attempt to break the world’s record of 1,153 miles in thirty-five and three-quarter hours. The balloon was cut loose on Sunday, August 31, 1902. After twelve hours the balloon was on the ground. The headline and subhead from the September 2, Post said it all:
Terrible Battle with the Elements Results in the Defeat of the Aeronauts 
Dashed Through Canyons and Forests by Fierce Gales, Swept Over Pike’s Peak and Tossed to an Altitude of 28,000 Feet, the Voyageurs, Half Frozen, Breathless and Half Dead From Exhaustion, Collapse with “Big Glory.”
A second attempt was not made.

Sherman’s marriage to Gwendolen Lawrence, on October 22, 1903, was covered by the Weekly Illinois State Register:

…Mr. and Mrs. Sherman left for Denver, where they will live. The bride is one of the most talented and cultured young women in the capital city and has studied at the Cincinnati art school, the Philadelphia art school and at the Art Institute, Chicago, and during the winter has made her home with her sisters on South Seventh street, Springfield. Mr. Sherman designs the color pages of the Boston Globe and the Denver Post, and is an artist of ability….
Sherman’s move to Boston was mentioned in the Illinois State Register, September 5, 1906: “Clifford here from Denver, on a short visit with his parents…His wife will join him here to go to Boston where they will make their future home.”

According to the Illinois State Journal, December 16, 1908, Sherman left the Boston Journal to take a job “with the Boston Traveler, at a very nice increase of salary.” American Newspaper Comics (2012) said the strips Sherman produced for the Traveler were Ain’t It Just Like a Woman?Amos and PeteAnd the Gramophone SaidChanteclerIt’s the Clothes That Make the Man, and This Town Is Baseball Mad.

Sherman had contracts to produce four books for Houghton, Mifflin & Co.The Dot Book (1914), The Dot Circus (1915), The Great Dot Mystery (1915) and The Dot Signal Book (1917). These were connect-the-dots pictures produced for children. He also produced panels with dot pictures, signed Sherm, for newspapers. They appeared under a variety of titles: The Great Dot Mystery (1915), The Alphabetical Dots (1916), The Dot Detective (1916), The Dots “Somewhere in France” (1917) and The Tangled Dots (1920).

Springfield Union 11/27/1916

On September 12, 1918, Sherman signed his World War I draft card. At the time he resided in Denver working as a self-employed cartoonist. His wife was in Springfield, Illinois at 1112 Fayette Avenue. His description was tall and slender with brown eyes and dark hair.

The 1920 census recorded Sherman at the same Springfield address on his draft card. His occupation was newspaper cartoonist.

Sherman passed away December 26, 1920, in Springfield. His death was reported two days later in the Denver Post.

Artist Sherman Writes Note of His Death, Then Dies
Widely Known Illustrator, Formerly of Denver, Succumbs in Springfield, Illinois, After Long Illness—He Originated ‘Dot’ Cartoons
After he had penned his own death announcement, Clifford Leon Sherman, 45 years old, widely-known newspaper artist and author, formerly of Denver, died Monday afternoon at Springfield, Ill. A brother, J.H. Sherman, an attorney, lives at 1337 Race street. 
Mr. Sherman was employed on The Denver Post twenty years ago [1900]. His work received much praise and one of the “stunts” that won him fame in those days was a balloon flight which he made for The Post. 
He worked on newspapers in San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and Boston. Some of his best work was done for the Boston Globe. 
Later he returned to Denver and established a commercial illustrating business, but soon went back to newspaper work in the east. 
He originated the “dot” cartoons and was the author of the “dot” books for children. 
In addition to his pen and pencil sketches, he was an able worker in colors and contributed largely to magazine supplements. 
He is survived by a widow, two sons and a sister, who lives in Nebraska, in addition to his brother in this city. 
The funeral will be held at Mr. Sherman’s birthplace, Lincoln, Ill. Death was due to tuberculosis of the throat.

—Alex Jay


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Monday, July 28, 2014


Obscurity of the Day: Making It -- A Survival Guide for Today

The 1980s were, among other things, a decade I associate with stand-up comedy. It seemed like you couldn't turn on a TV in that decade without finding a guy standing on a dark stage, microphone in hand, quizzical expression on his face, saying "did you ever wonder why ...".

Keith Robinson's Making It reminds me of those stand-up comics. Stand-up in those years was all about observational humor, and it's in that niche that Robinson really excelled. Of course, I say 'excelled' because I find the strip wry and insightful, not because it was a huge commercial success.

Making It began on September 12 1985 as a feature in Easy Reader, an alt-weekly paper distributed in a few beachside southern California communities. Robinson says he self-syndicated it, but I don't know how successful that was.

In 1987, Universal Press Syndicate became interested in the feature and picked it up for national syndication. The syndicated Sunday-only feature debuted sometime around December 1987, but failed to catch on. As you can see by the samples above, Making It wasn't a conventional Sunday comics strip by any means. It was quite text-heavy, and the humor certainly didn't mesh tightly with Garfield, Blondie and the rest of the funnies crowd. My guess is that newspaper editors didn't really know what to make of it. Asking editors to think outside the box is rarely a paying proposition, and so the feature limped along with a few hip newspaper clients until around 1991.

After Universal bailed on the strip, Robinson was undaunted. He has continued it all these years, apparently appearing only in Easy Reader and perhaps a few other self-syndication clients, along with online appearances at Robinson's own website and on GoComics. Ironically enough, Making It eventually swore off the text-heavy approach that marked its national syndication years, and now is generally a conventional multi-panel strip.

What I've seen of Making It is intelligent, insightful, and exhibits a class of humor seldom seen in conventional comic strips. If you are from a generation that can relate to 1980s-related humor, I highly recommend the two reprint books available of the early strips.


The Chicago Tribune carried Making It in its Friday entertainment section from 1987 or 1988 to the end of 1994.
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Sunday, July 27, 2014


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


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