Saturday, February 14, 2015


Herriman Saturday

Tuesday, September 15 1908 -- This evening Frank Carsey will take on Freddie Welsh at McCarey's boxing pavilion. Neither fighter is all that distinguished, and the boxing bugs are in a tither trying to decide who should be considered the favorite and underdog.

Since Herriman will not cartoon about the outcome, I'll tell you that Welsh knocked out Carsey in the fourth round.


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Friday, February 13, 2015


Sci-Friday starring Connie

Connie, July 17 1938, courtesy of Cole Johnson. 
Follow the Connie story every Friday here on Stripper's Guide.

This is the final sci-fi Connie story we have available from Cole Johnson. If anyone out there can contribute scans of another complete Connie story (later than 3/26/1939), or can offer another sci-fi strip to take its place on Sci-Fridays, I'd be delighted and grateful to hear from you! Note that we elitists do not generally use digital microfilm material here on Stripper's Guide, so we would need sharp 300-600 dpi scans from newspaper tearsheets or syndicate proofs.


I suppose this one is from August 22, 1937
Sorry, this is indeed the Sunday from July 17, 1938. You skipped almost a year to give us another complete story, thank you.
I wonder if you can get access to the late Cole Johnson's collection, to find more great stuff to reprint. I'm sure that the spirit of Cole would smile upon you! While on the subject, let me say how sorry I am that Mr. Johnson died. I know he was a good friend of yours. I have become very used to seeing his name on your blog. Comics people ought to live forever, or at least twice as long as mere "regular" people.
Thank you for that sentiment. It isn't easy to find an adventure/sci fi continuity that isn't common or already reprinted many times.
One of Cole's special interests was the Philadelphia syndicates, of which Connie belonged to the last of them, the Ledger Syndicate.

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Thursday, February 12, 2015


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Crawford Young

William Crawford Young was born in Cannonsburg, Michigan, on March 26, 1886, according to his World War II draft card and New Hampshire death certificate. The 1900 U.S. Federal Census recorded Young’s first name as Willie, who was in his paternal grandmother’s household; she was a widow. Young’s father, Gaylord, was a widower and a painter; Henrietta was the name of Young’s mother. Also in the household were his older brother and two younger ones, as well as an uncle and servant. They all resided in Cannonsburg.

Many newspapers, including the New-Dispatch (Endicott, New York), April 26, 1923, published the syndicate profile of Young to promote his strip Clarence, which debuted July 10, 1921 and syndicated by the New York Herald.

Crawford Young, creator of “Clarence,” which appears every Thursday in this paper, and whose shining morning face appears above, was, like many other men who have made their name in cities, born on a farm. The particular farm, in Mr. Young’s case, is situated near Grand Rapids, Mich., and up to the time that little Crawford was 15 he never saw a railroad train, although he followed the parental plow he used to hear the whistle. This youngster worked as a farmhand until he was 19 years old.
But in all this time, his dreams were of art school and the drawing board and pencils which would follow.
So for four years he hoboed through the West, working in the summer, as a milker on a dairy farm in Wisconsin or a “rider” on a cattle ranch in Texas, and saving his money to spend the winter at the Art Institute in Chicago, where he had learned the rudiments of drawing.
Then came his first job. It was with Montgomery Ward and Company. The young artist was put to drawing illustrations of socks which were to appear in the catalogue of that vast mail order house. After unceasing labor making socks look attractive, Mr. Young went by rapid degrees up the dizzying ladder of promotion until he was set up to drawing baby-buggies. For this, the hardest job of illustrating in the catalogue he was paid the regal sum of seven dollars a week.
When Crawford had drawn his 342d baby-buggy, he looked for another job, and got one on the Chicago Dally News, drawing comics for the back page. Mr. C.D. Dennis, the managing editor of that great paper, thought Young was a keen, ambitious young man, and he decided that Young should draw political cartoons for the front page.
Just about this time, young Young bought a copy of Life, on the title page of which appears the legend, “While There’s Life There’s Hope.”
So our hero packed his kit. and bought a ticket for New York. He worked as a staff artist on Life for the next ten years. And in the meantime, bought himself a farm out in Connecticut, so that he could come into town when he needed to go to the bank and get some money to buy seeds with.
Now he is drawing “Clarence.” How he came to do this, Mr. Young says:
“I thought that a comic in which there is portrayed the little tragicomedies of real family life is the kind of a comic American people like best. “Clarence,” unlike most of comic husbands, is a big man. Most of them are little men with a big wife. However, everybody recognizes that a big man henpecked by a little woman is a lot funnier than a little man henpecked by a big woman. Hence “Clarence” is a big man. and his Better Half is diminutive.
According to the 1910 census, cartoonist Young and his brothers lived in Chicago, Illinois at 6333 Throop Street.

Young contributed to a number of magazines including Puck (here and here), Everybody’s (here and here) and Judge.

The New York Sun, December 2, 1916, mentioned Young’s book.

The colored pictures by Crawford Young in The Story of the String (Artemas Ward), for which Sam Plank has provided the text, are extremely good and are adapted to their purpose cleverly. It is a trick book perforated for a piece of string which is supposed to prow gradually into a cable, and the unexpected ways in which it is employed are funny. ($1.25)
A family tree at said Young married Effie Beach in 1918. On September 12, 1918, Young signed his World War I draft card. The self-employed artist resided in Norwalk, Connecticut at RFD 43. His description was medium height, slender build with blue eyes and light brown hair. Norwalk would be Young’s home into the 1930s.

The 1920 census said Young was a freelance magazine illustrator. He had a 13-year-old step-daughter. City directories from the 1920s said he lived on Comstock Avenue North. Biographical Sketches of Cartoonists & Illustrators in the Swann Collection of the Library of Congress (2012) said Young was on the staff contributor to Life and the New York Herald (see column five). For the Herald, Young produced The Finkles, from October 31 to December 26, 1920, and the aforementioned Clarence.

In 1929, Young took his family to Europe.

According to American Newspaper Comics, Young created Mortimer and its topper, Pearl Button, in 1929, and The Tutts in 1933. Both were for the King Features Syndicate.

Young’s address in 1930 was 180 East Division Street in Norwalk. In 1936, Young was granted a divorce in Florida. The New Hampshire Marriage Records, at, said Young wed Charlotte Crockett Whittier on August 22, 1936 in Northwood, New Hampshire.

The Telegraph (Nashua, New Hampshire), April 26, 1938, reported the fire on Young’s property.

For Syndicated Features, Young produce The Jamms strip which ran from July 13, 1936 to March 8, 1937. It appeared in the comic book Best Comics numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4, from November 1939 to February 1940.

Young has not been found in the 1940 census. He signed his World War II draft card on April 27, 1942. He lived on Cross Highway in Westport, Connecticut.

Young passed away April 1, 1947 in Strafford, New Hampshire, as recorded on the New Hampshire death certificate.

—Alex Jay


Do you know anything about Young's friendship with the artist/illustrator Don Freeman?

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015


The Comics of Syndicated Features: The Jamms

Though the prolific Crawford Young rarely signed his Syndicated Features strip, The Jamms, it resembles his Central Press feature The Tutts enough that it almost seems like the Sunday strip version of that daily panel.  It's not a carbon copy, though, as the Tutt family included a gaggle of children, and the Jamms appear to be lacking in that department.

The Jamms was a half-pager throughout the run of the Syndicated Features tabloid run. It debuted on July 13 1936, and ended with the section on March 8 1937.


More then THE TUTTS, it remember me of CLARENCE.
I know these two strips cover the same territory as a thousand other strips, but i found these two samples quite funny. Is it his craft, was I just in the mood or both. Regardless, once you've completed the tour de Syndicate Features, can you spotlight the Tutts?
You have quoted the Syndicated Features section beginning on July 13,1936, two times, but wouldn't the debut issue actually read, "WEEK OF JULY 12"?
Hi Grizedo --
The Syndicated Features section, which I used to think was preprinted with a "Week Of" date that was consistent, turned out to be anything but as more newspapers were found that ran the section. At this point I don't really know how to date the sections properly. Some of the cartoonists did, early on, date their strips, but even those dates aren't entirely consistent. Thursday and Friday dates are prevalent, but Saturdays are seen as well.

I'm up for anyone who'd like to make a case for a consistent dating system that makes sense for these.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Kin Platt

Kin Platt was born Milton Platkin in New York City on December 8, 1911. His birth name was revealed in Dave Kiersh’s profile of Platt. The birth date is from the Social Security Death Index.

In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Platt was the second of four children born to Daniel and Yetta, both emigrants. His father was a sample maker of ladies handbags. The family resided in the Bronx, New York at 1358–60 Brook Avenue. Something About the Author (1996), Volume 86, said:

…he had a difficult youth, running away from home at age seven, and he was always pushing the bounds of the acceptable. By ten, he was drawing all the time, copying cartoons and dreaming of having his own syndicated comic strip one day. He was also involved in sports, both running and baseball. And to fill any empty hours, he read voraciously and indiscriminately, up to five books per day….
In 1929 Platt graduated from James Madison High School in Brooklyn, New York. The school yearbook, The Log, said Platt lived at 2294 East 23rd Street, and was a member of the track team, sketch club and art squad. He also was a cartoonist on the Newark Evening News.


According to Something About the Author, Platt had no thought or money for college. “To my mind it was a waste of time and I had to make my living by drawing.” He made caricatures of theater and screen stars, and then added political cartoons.

In 1930, Platt’s family was in Brooklyn at 2331 Kenmore Place. Platt was a staff member of the Fleischer Studios which published a 1930–1931 personnel chart.

Platt is credited for the color comic strip, Happy and His Pappy, which was signed Kin. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said it debuted July 13, 1936 and ended March 8, 1937. The strips were reprinted in Best Comics #1, 2, 3, and 4; and Startling Comics.

Something About the Author said Platt ventured in radio where some of his “scripts were adapted for use by both Jack Benny and the comedy team of Stoopnagle and Budd”. Then in 1936, Platt went to Hollywood to pursue radio full-time. Leaving radio, Platt found work in the story departments of MGM and Disney. His experience in animation would pay off years later with scripts for Top Cat, the Flintstones, Jonny Quest, and the Jetsons.

Platt has not yet been found in the 1940 census, which recorded his divorced mother and three sisters in Los Angeles, California.

At some point, Platt married and returned to New York City. He enlisted in the army on July 12, 1943. At the time he resided in the borough of Queens and was a commercial artist who also wrote and drew for comic books. Some of his comic book credits are here. Something About the Author said:

Platt spent most of the war in the Far East working on a newspaper, Hump Express, and writing and drawing a weekly cartoon strip depicting scantily clad women—the GI’s favorite visual art. He also wrote a musical and had a traveling troupe that entertained GIs in China and Burma. He did not take to the regimented life of a soldier any better than he did to writing teams in Hollywood, writing his own orders when he felt like it, but by the end of the war he had been awarded the Bronze Star….Back in New York, he [took] over the well-established syndicated cartoon strip “Mr. and Mrs.”…His own strip, “The Duke and the Duchess,” which stayed in syndication for five years and got him into a bit of hot water with his editor when he decided to take on the communist-baiting senator Joe McCarthy.
His work on Mr. & Mrs. ran. from August 9, 1948 to September 22, 1963. The Duke and the Duchess started April 20, 1952 and ended April 18, 1954.
The 1948 and 1949 Manhattan telephone directories had two listings for Platt:
Platt Kin artst 1 Hewlet Rd Great Neck-2-0788Platt Kin b 2 W 15 WAtkns 4-0125
From the early 1960s to the mid-1980s, Platt turned to writing for children, young adults and adults.

Platt passed away December 1, 2003, in Los Angeles, California, according to the Social Security Death Index. Other sources say he passed away November 30.

—Alex Jay


I corresponded with Platt in the seventies after reading his young adult book, The Boy Who Could Make Himself Disappear. I didn't know his real name, or about the extent of his work in comics. Thanks for this article.
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Monday, February 09, 2015


The Comics of Syndicated Features: Introduction and Happy and his Pappy

Happy and his Pappy ran in the short-lived Sunday pre-print section offered by an outfit called Syndicated Features. However, if you come from the comic-book world, you might be thinking, "Naw, ya can't fool me. That strip ran in Best Comics and Startling Comics in the early 1940s". Well, you're right, but I have to play the trump card and tell you that my Happy and his Pappy beats you by four years or more, and the strips you find in those comic books are merely reprints of an honest to goodness newspaper strip. And that's true not just of Happy and his Pappy, but all the Syndicated Features strips, which found their way en masse into comic books well after their newspaper careers fizzled.

Syndicated Features is a mystery itself. If you run it around the interweb search engines, you'll see any number of folks claiming that it was a newspaper syndication arm of the Eisner and Iger shop. To that I have to say, in my most conciliatory voice, sorry but no. Definitely not. The creators featured in the Syndicated Features comic section were not in the same (lowly) league as those fresh out of art school kids to whom Eisner & Iger were paying a pittance. In fact, not one of the creators at Syndicated Features has any tenuous connection to Eisner and Iger.

But what, then, is the deal with Syndicated Features? They came out of nowhere to produce and market a nice little quality tabloid section of weekly color comics in 1936. They managed to attract some creators of note (granted, C-level cartooning celebrities), so they were not completely averse to spending money for professional material. And yet they made the same simple mistake that others did. They marketed a color comic section to small weekly papers. As is the standard result of such marketing, they got some clients to sign up at first, on a free, trial or print-now-pay-later basis, and when it came time to pay the piper, the newspapers bailed. It really is amazing how many companies tried the same fatally flawed approach.

So Syndicated Features' comic section, of which Happy and his Pappy was usually the front page feature, crashed and burned after a mere eight months.

Now that we have the big picture out of the way, let's talk about Happy and his Pappy. The feature about a wacky father and some team was original titled just Happy when it debuted in the first issue of the tabloid on July 13 1936. Dad got co-billing starting with the October 26 issue. The strip is a little reminiscent of Milt Gross' That's My Pop, all except that the creator Kin, while not a bad writer, was no Milt Gross.

Some comics historians have the opinion that 'Kin' of Happy and his Pappy is Kin Platt, who took over Mr. and Mrs. in 1948. I'm a little skeptical of that, as the art style of this Kin doesn't seem to me to bear much resemblance to that Kin. Dissenting opinions are welcomed in the comments!

 In the next couple weeks we will cover each of the Syndicated Features strips, along with Ink-Slinger Profiles for many of the creators. Alex Jay will weigh in at the end of this series with some information he has uncovered about Syndicated Features.


Ooh, I love this kind of stuff!
Looking forward to this coming week's posts.
(Didn't Goulart mention that these Best Comics features were from earlier syndicated strips in one of his comic book histories?)
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