Saturday, August 08, 2015


Herriman Saturday

Friday, October 9 1908 -- The Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers are pennant winners, and will face each other in the World Series for the second year in a row. For the two or three people who care so little about baseball that they don't know the famous bit of trivia, 1908 would be the Cubs last World Series victory, as of the present. Despite new manager Joe Maddon, who abandoned my poor Tampa Rays this year, it looks like the Cubs aren't about to end that winless streak.


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Friday, August 07, 2015


Sci-Friday starring Connie

Connie January 8 1939
Courtesy of Cole Johnson


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Thursday, August 06, 2015


Obscurity of the Day: The Sooicides of Sam

You might think that the subject of suicide isn't really a great source for comic strip hilarity. You'd be wrong, though, as it has been the subject of several strips. Rube Goldberg's long-running Boob McNutt, perhaps the most famous suicide-attempter, beat the subject to death, if you'll excuse the term.

Here, though, we have an earlier death wish strip. The Sooicides of Sam is by the great William F. Marriner, though he apparently never bothered to sign the strip. Also remaining under the radar is the syndicate that distributed the strip, but my guess is that it was McClure in one of their half-hearted forays into black and white weekday comics.

Sam's attempts at 'sooicide' are dutifully numbered in the series, and that allows us a way to gauge the length of the run -- he tops out at 27 as far as I can tell. Few newspapers seemed to run the strip on anything like a regular basis, so let's basically say that there was a half-year's worth of weekly strips. The best run we are able to find is in the Spokane Chronicle, which was indexed via Google Newspaper Archive by Frances Mouton (thanks Frances!). The folks at the Chronicle had a tendency to run things late -- sometimes REALLY late -- but The Sooicides of Sam seems to have been an exception. I certainly wouldn't take their running dates -- July 3 1909 to January 6 1910 -- as gospel, but I think it isn't too far off from a proper first run.


Pretty interesting view into Marriners mind , particularly as it is speculated he killed himself and burned his house down.
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Wednesday, August 05, 2015


Magazine Cover Comics: Petty-June Does Europe

Here's another delightful American Weekly cover series by Fish, who went a little overboard this time signing her work if you ask me -- talk about a school of FISH! This story of a dim-bulb flapper who wins a trip to Europe in an "It" contest gives the brilliant creator much fodder for her satire mill.

Sadly I cannot provide definitive dates for this series*. I think it probably began on July 28 1928; my earliest page you see above, in which she seems to be just starting on her voyage on August 4th, would seem to bear out that start date. The latest page I've seen is dated October 20 1928. The series definitely ended before December 1928, as another series was running that month.

* since this post appeared I have determined that the series ran August 4 to November 3 1929


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Tuesday, August 04, 2015


Obscurity of the Day: Rhinoceros Boys

I fought with myself long and hard over calling Rhinoceros Boys the horniest comic strip ever created. You'll be relieved to know that I decided to keep us on a high moral plane and not stoop to such gutter humor.

So instead I will say instead that you've got to give Chicago Tribune regular Hans Horina some credit. Although this strip is just another Katzenjammer Kids knock-off, at least Horina injected a little bit of originality by portraying the characters as rhinoceri, which I'm pretty sure is the only time that type of animal has ever had a starring role in a comic strip. So while you are recoiling in horror at the idea of kicking a baby around like a football, try not to think too ill of clever Hans.

Rhinoceros Boys, aka Rhino Twins, The Rhino Family, and The Rhino Kids, ran in the Chicago Tribune Sunday funnies section from February 10 to June 2 1907.*

Thanks to the late Cole Johnson for the sample images, and be sure to read these Ink-Slinger Profiles and other posts to learn more of the Hans Horina story.

* these dates could be off by a little -- the Chicago Tribune archive I indexed to get these dates had been cherry-picked for Lyonel Feininger comics prior to it being microfilmed, so some pages that may have had this strip have been lost. **

** Thanks to Laurie Sefton checking a different ChiTrib archive, I can report that the actual start date is January 27. In fact the top sample from Cole Johnson is that first episode. Thanks Laurie!!


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Monday, August 03, 2015


News of Yore 1925: Hugh Rankin Profiled

Who's Who in ZIFFS

(reprinted from Ziff's magazine, December 1925)

We take pleasure in announcing a new series of unusually brilliant drawings which will further brighten the already scintillating pages of ZIFFS, and hereby introduce to our readers "the man behind the pen" with the hope that you'll like each other!

Hugh Doak Rankin comes from Old American Pioneer Stock, dating back as far as 1641. Scotch-Irish, English and German ancestry. It was at the home of his great grandfather, Rev. John Rankin (a noted abolitionist) that Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote most of "Uncle Tom's Cabin." John Rankin had a station on the famous under-ground railroad at Ripley, Ohio, across from Kentucky. The house is standing today and is riddled with bullets, the result of raiders trying to reclaim runaway slaves. There Eliza crossed the ice, with the assistance of Cal Rankin, a son of the Rev. John. (He appears in the book under the guise of the Quaker.) The Rankins are blood relatives of General Sam Houston, the famous old Warrior-President of Texas, and Davy Crockett, of Alamo fame.

Hugh Rankin's middle name is Doak, after an ancestor who founded the first college west of the Alleghany mountains. He is also a descendant of General Dearborn, and of the Copps of Copp's Hill, historic in the Revolutionary War.

This background found its outlet when Hugh carried an oar in the Spanish War and a gun in the World War as a volunteer with the 50th Infantry.

Rankin says he served the shortest term in the American Navy on record, and the longest in the American Army (at least, he continues, it seemed the longest to him!). The 50th was a sister regiment of the 23rd and was practically annihilated at Chateau Thierry, being the first of the Allied Troops to stem the German drive.

He could scarce help being an artist as his mother was a sculptress of international renown, having modeled the largest figure ever completed by a woman, "Pele, The Goddess of Fire” thirty-three feet tall. Accounts of her work are to be found in the cornerstone of the Woman's Temple at Chicago.

His art training was rounded out with much time in Europe and a geographic range of eight countries. From Canada to Florida, Missouri to Austria, with Paris, Munich and Rome included, he covered before the age of twenty. Then a record in newspaper work, ten of the biggest dailies. Book and magazine illustrations by the score. His most notable work of recent years being a series of eighteen historic pictures "Through the Ages with Father Time," for the Elgin Watch Company, which appeared in every large magazine in the country, and were considered by the Company as their most successful advertising campaign.

Mr. Rankin's serious work is characterized by strong individuality and charm. The whimsicalities he is drawing for ZIFFS will be along the line of his best ability and will mark an epoch in the odd and unusual with a smile thrown in for good measure.

(also see Alex Jay's Ink-Slinger Profile of Mr. Rankin)


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Sunday, August 02, 2015


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics

Jim will probably outlive us all -- and still be full of prunes and macaroons!

Craig Zablo
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