Saturday, March 17, 2018


Herriman Saturday

June 27 1909 -- The University Club holds its annual "High Jinks", an orgy of eating, beer drinking, and wacky performances. This year's edition is held in Arroyo Seco, now a nature preserve, about halfway between L.A. and San Francisco.


This is great art!
Unless there's another Arroyo Seco I haven't heard about, this one is on the west side of Pasadena, just east of Los Angeles.
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Friday, March 16, 2018


Wish You Were Here, from a William F. Marriner Wannabe

Here's a postcard drawn by either William F. Marriner or one of his innumerable copiers. My money is against Marriner himself, because the lines are not wispy enough to be his work. Once you eliminate Marriner you're left with a whole laundry-list of his wannabes. Anyone care to offer an opinion about which this might be?

This divided-back card mentions  no maker, and says this is part of a series called "Topical Comics". Hmm. Not sure what the topic is here, really. A very faint postmark may be indicating the card was used in 1910.


Hmmmm... wonder if it's Pat Sullivan?
It's not Sullivan, the linework is really too ametuerish for any real artist, and the lettering is pretty crude too. Look at the sloppy mailbox. If it weren't cut off by the edge of the card, the inline panel and the outside line couldn't meet logically. Any pro would not be so careless. In those days Marriner's style was something of a standard, everyone had an instant recognition for an "urchin", if you will, by a Marrineresque character.
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Thursday, March 15, 2018


Should 'Book Thursday' Continue? Your Opinions and Ideas Please

Hello, cartoon lovers. Thursdays here at Stripper's Guide have been featuring digitized old and rare books for quite awhile now. With the end of Moses Koenigsberg's King News last week, it is time to peruse my library trying to figure out what -- if anything -- should be the next featured book. I see a few possibilities, but I'd much rather hear what you want to see.

Considering the less than overwhelming outpouring of comments on previous books, I get the feeling that I may be putting a lot of work into this for an audience that is more in my own mind than out there in reality. So I put it to you folks: is Book Thursday something you'd like to see continue? If so, tell me what books you'd like to see run here. Keep in  mind that any book I digitize for presentation must be in the public domain and must be primarily text, not images, since image-heavy books add too many hours to the already surprisingly laborious task of digitization, reformatting, proofreading and posting. And, of course, it should offer an interesting and informative look at the history of cartooning, newspapers, or syndication.

Hi Allan
I have enjoyed both the books you have included. I felt the Moses Koenigsberg could be a bit heavy in places but it was a good chance to get to read a book I had always heard about.I have no suggestions as to a follow up, but have enjoyed the chapter a week format you have used.
Enjoyed Watson's History of Syndicates much more than the recent King News Of course I have long wanted to read the Watson book. Also, though I have many books about newspapers I come here for comics. And the length of King News (versus the Watson 96 page? booklet) may also have been a factor.

My suggestion would be to give us smaller doses.
Like the "Our Comic Artists" chapter out of Our American Humorists.
The A. B. Maurice piece from American Wit and Humor - and anything else by Maurice.
Of course articles from Fourth Estate, Literary Digest, and other periodicals published 100+ years ago.

And maybe in between that, give us some Bill Nye and other humorists of the 19th Century along with the Opper, Zimmerman, etc illustrations.
Didn't George Seldes champion Krazy Kat in a book? Love to read that.

Actually The Gilbert Seldes book especially the stuff on Krazy Kat would be very interesting
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Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Mel Tapley


Melvin Stanton “Mel” Tapley was born in Peekskill, New York on May 29, 1918, according to his Social Security application which was transcribed at Tapley’s parents were Harry Tapley and Louise James.

In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census and 1925 New York state census, the Tapley family of three lived in Cortlandt, New York at 1105 Park Street. Tapley’s father was a chauffeur.

Tapley’s childhood activities were well documented in the local newspaper, Peekskill Evening Star. Tapley attended the elementary Oakside School. The April 21, 1926 Evening Star reported the outstanding pupils in March and said Tapley ranked seventh in his third grade class. Three weeks later the Evening Star said Tapley was one of 400 children participating in the Marble Championship Contest. Tapley’s musical talent, as a piano soloist, was heard at his school’s Assembly Hall on June 2, 1926. Tapley was fourth in his class during the months of May and June, according to the Evening Star. Tapley had perfect attendance in the months of September and October 1926.

At a recital by Miss Adelaide Craft’s School students, Tapley and another student were awarded gold medals, as reported by the Evening Star, June 22, 1927.

One of Tapley’s friends visited for two weeks.

At the Oakside School Arbor Day program, Tapley played a piano solo, according to the Evening Star, April 19, 1928.

On May 2, 1929, the Evening Star listed the members, including Tapley, of the “Just Kids Safety Club”.

Tapley’s address was unchanged in the 1930 census.

The Evening Star, February 26, 1930, said Tapley was one of the seventh grade representatives in the spelling contest.

Ninth-grader Tapley was on the honor roll according to the Evening Star, February 12, 1932. Two months later, Tapley was a member of the National Junior Honor Society.

The April 29, 1932 Evening Star said scores of students created posters for Love Pirates of Hawaii, a two-act opera produced by the junior high school. Tapley’s poster was displayed at the Cattuti Floral Shop.

The Evening Star, June 28, 1932, reported the Junior High graduation and Tapley received a diploma.

The Evening Star included a page, The High School Tattler, produced by the Peekskill High School journalism students. In the September 27, 1933 issue was an article about the change in the school’s newspaper, Keyhole, from a daily paper to a bi-monthly magazine. Tapley was one of three students responsible for contributing art.

Tapley was in the Boy Scouts. The Evening Star, June 23, 1934, said Tapley, who was in Troop 21, received an award.

Tapley was one of eleven students initiated into the National Honor Society according the Evening Star, June 14, 1935. Eleven days later, the newspaper listed the Class of 1935 graduates which included Tapley. He was also a member of the Quill and Scroll Society, an honor society for journalists.

Tapley continued his education at Cooper Union as noted in the Evening Star, October 18, 1935, “Melvin Tapley, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Tapley of 831 John Street, is taking a four-year course in Commercial Arts at Cooper Union, New York City. Melvin graduated from the Peekskill High School last June.”

The Evening Star, March 14, 1936, said Boy Scouts Troop 21 held a banquet celebrating its eighth anniversary. Tapley was a participant in the signaling demonstration, “Scout John Jackson directed a demonstration of sending and receiving the semaphore code. Melvin Tapley sent the message, ‘You will be welcome at the Scout rally on March 25 at the Peekskill High School gym.’ It was received with but one minor error, by Charles Bolden.’”

The New York Age, May 16, 1936, published the results of the annual Elks Oratorical Contest and said “Second prize was awarded to Melvin Tapley of Peekskill whose subject was ‘Booker T. Washington and the Constitution.’”

The Evening Star, December 22, 1936, said Tapley received a cooking award at the Boy Scouts rally in his district.

The Peekskill Junior League, a black social service group, held a dance to raise money for the March of Dimes. The Evening Star, January 30, 1939, noted that Tapley was the president of the league.

The Evening Star, April 6, 1939, said Tapley won a scholarship, valued at approximately $2,500, from the Art Students League of New York. His and other winners’ work were scheduled for an exhibition later in the month. The article added that Tapley was finishing his art course at Cooper Union and “anticipates completion of night courses in psychology and English at New York University next September.”

Tapley’s graduation from Cooper Union was reported in the Evening Star, June 8, 1939. He was awarded a degree in graphic design.

1939 Cable, Cooper Union Yearbook
Melvin Tapley is a joy and a woe to all who know him, because Mel is a connoisseur of that animal known as a “pun.” Shuttling back and forth every day from Peekskill, he is usually the first one in school in the morning—and the first to leave in the evening! Aside from being an unusually talented artist, Mel has a vey handsome “baritony” and tickles the ivories tunefully.
The Class of 1939 included designers Herb Lubalin and Lou Dorfsman. Pictured in the 1939 yearbook were Jeanyee Wong (Class of 1941) and Roy Krenkel, a freshman or sophomore.

In the 1940 census, Tapley lived with his parents and brother in Peekskill at 8 Charles Street.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Tapley created four strips in the early 1940s. In 1942 The Brown Family was an advertising strip for Brown Bomber Bread. Tapley’s Spoffin’ was syndicated by the New York Amsterdam News. For Continental Features, Tapley  produced Breezy and Jim Steele in 1943. 

Judge Joseph M. Fox’s book, The Story of Early Peekskill, was published in 1947, and featured drawings by Tapley.

The Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Third Series, Volume 3, Part 1B, Number 1, Pamphlets, Serials and Contributions to Periodicals, January-June 1949 had this entry on page 308:

Breezy, by Tap Melvin [pseud.] [Comic strip] (In Afro-American, Baltimore, Mar. 6, 1948, p. M-14) © 3Mar48; B5-8452.
Pioneering Cartoonists of Color (2016) said he also used the pseudonyms T. Melvin and Stann Pat. Under the name of Stann Pat he created Do's and Don'ts and Your Public Conduct.

A passenger list, at, recorded Tapley’s return from the Bahamas on June 2, 1962.

The Herald Statesman (Yonkers, New York), October 11, 1966, said Tapley one of eight fellows named the Intergroup Relations Project of the School of General Studies at Columbia University. The eight fellows are being trained to fill positions improving the relationships among racial and ethnic groups in America….They will spend a year at Columbia taking liberal arts courses, mainly in the School of General Studies; a required course in intergroup relations at the School of Social Work; and participate in a special seminar in intergroup theory. Next summer, they will work in the field under supervision arranged by the School of Social Work. They will then take permanent positions with agencies specializing in intergroup relations.
Peeksill’s African American History: A Hudson Valley Community's Untold Story (2008) said
Melvin S. Tapley (PHS [Peekskill High School] Class of 1935) distinguished himself as an accomplished editor, artist and pioneer cartoonist as arts and entertainment editor of the Amsterdam News in New York City until his retirement in 1997. Mr. Tapley was president of the local NAACP chapter for eleven years until he resigned in 1968.
Tapley passed away on February 8, 2005. The Journal News (White Plains, New York) published an obituary on February 11. 
Melvin S. Tapley, of Peekskill, N.Y., died Tuesday, February 8, 2005 at Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, N.Y. after a long illness. He is survived by his devoted daughter, Allison Tapley-Thompson, dear granddaughter, Imani Thompson, brother Dr. Harold L. Tapley, nieces, nephews and a host of other relatives and friends. Viewing Services will be Friday, February 11, 2005, 11 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 4 pm at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, 11 Rev. G. Franklin Wiggins Plaza, Peekskill, N.Y., where family will receive friends and where Funeral Services will be held Saturday, February 12, 2005 at 9:30 am. Interment, Hillside Cemetery, Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.

—Alex Jay


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Tuesday, March 13, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Clarence Rigby

Fourth Estate 10/10/1908

Clarence S. Rigby was born in November around 1865 in Youngstown, Ohio. Rigby’s birth month was recorded in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census; Rigby’s birth year is based in part on census records and his age on the death certificate. The birthplace is based on the fact that Rigby’s mother, Emma, was a Youngstown native and resident in the 1870 census.

In the 1870 census, Rigby was the oldest of three sons born to George, a plasterer, and Emma. According to the 1880 census, the Rigby family added a son and daughter and resided on North Rayen Avenue in Youngstown.

Rigby’s father passed away September 11, 1886.

Information regarding Rigby’s art training has not been found. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Rigby created or worked on at least 24 series including Alexander, Book-Taught Bilkins, Bruno and Pietro, Dummydom, The Foxy MiceLittle Ah Sid the Chinese Kid, and The Trials of a Little Mother. Rigby was also involved in animation with J.R. Bray.

Artist Rigby lived in Brooklyn, New York, and was married to Caroline as recorded in the 1900 census. Rigby’s brother, Joseph, also an artist, lived him them at 495 East 8 Street. Joseph would go on to work for the Pittsburgh Press.

Morning Telegram, August 16, 1901, reported the upcoming baseball game between artists and actors. The purpose was to raise money to endow a hospital bed for artists and actors. The Telegram said, in part,

Homer Davenport, big, broad shouldered and clumsy looking; Swinnerton, in a Guernsey which never has felt the despoiling touch of laundress; Outcault, who can draw pictures of “pore ’lil Mose” with his eyes shut; T. Powers, with a clean shave and a vast consciousness of the change in his appearance; Shultz, the “Foxy Grandpa” artist; Kemble, McCarthy, Louis Dalrymple, Pughe, C. Mortimer, F. Gilbert Edge, Grant Hamilton, Harry Dart, H. F. Colthaus, Joseph Lemon, Clarence Rigby, Bert Cobb, C. G. Bush, Thomas Nast, Archie Gunn, Bob Edgren and Abram Stone were present, representing the artists. De Wolf Hopper, Burr Mcintosh, Digby Bell, Francis Wilson, Joseph Weber, Lew Fields, Dave Warfleld, Willie Collier, Dan Daly, Peter F. Dailey, James K. Hackett, James Powers, Andrew Mack, Gus and Max Rogers, Edward Foy, Charles J. Ross, Frank Daniels, Harry Bulger, Robert Graham and Daniel McAvoy were in attendance looking after the actors’ side of the arrangements.

…It was decided that Homer Davenport should play second base; Swinnerton, shortstop; Powers, first base; McCarthy, third base, and Bert Cobb, right field, and that Abram Stone should manage the game.
Rigby and his wife resided at 169 Prospect Park West in Brooklyn. The 1905 New York State census said Rigby was a newspaper artist.

The 1910 census said the comic artist Rigby owned a home on Nassau Avenue in Hempstead, New York.

In 1920, Rigby and his wife were back in Brooklyn at 1092 Dean Street. Eight people lodged with the couple.

At some point Rigby moved to Seattle, Washington. At age 60, Rigby passed away May 24, 1926, in Seattle, according to his death certificate which was transcribed at

—Alex Jay


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Monday, March 12, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: The Foxy Mice

Clarence Rigby, who worked for quite a few syndicates in the 1900s, took a stopover at the McClure camp twice; once in 1901 where he was present at the inauguration of the new syndicated Sunday section, and then a second stint in 1903 to early 1904. In that second stint he produced Trials of a Little Mother and today's obscurity, The Foxy Mice.

Rigby shows a real gift for drawing cartoon animals in this strip, which sports some of the nicest art I've seen by him. Since Rigby took approximately 3.7 seconds to come up with the gags in this strip about mice taking revenge on their nemesis, I guess that left him lots of extra time to do an extra nice job on the art.

I am left with one question, though. Is a "lobster cat" a thing? It was used as a slur against the cat in both of these strips. Slang dictionary comes up dry, and a search for the term in 1900-1910 newspapers comes up with nary a hit. If Rigby made up his own bit of slanguage here, I wonder what he meant by it. That the cat had big claws?

The Foxy Mice ran in McClure sections from August 23 1903 to July 24 1904; the later ones were run well after Rigby had defected over to World Color Printing. Thanks to Cole Johnson for the sample scans.


The ultimate slang authority is Jonathon Green, who gives (here): "lobster n.¹ ... 2.(a) [mid-19C+] (US) a slow-witted, awkward or gullible person; a general term of abuse; esp. of a socially inept or foolish person."
Sure- "Lobster" is very often seen as a popular epithet in circa 1900 comics and stories. It sort of faded awy fast, you don't see it anymore by the 1920s.
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San Francisco Call, aug 2, 1911

According to the latest edition of Webster's dictionary, one meaning of "lobster" is "a gullible, awkward, bungling, or undesirable fellow." This meaning is supposed by most persons to be a modern development olf slang. However, "lobster*? was a favorite term of abuse among Englishmen of Queen Elizabeth's day. Some students think it c probably was applied first to men< with red faces. As signifying a soldier the term "lobster" is as old as Cromwell's day. Lord Clarendon, historian of the civil war in England, explains that it^was applied to the roundhead cuirassiers "because of the bright iron shells with which th/iy were covered." Afterwards British soldiers in their red uniforms were called "lobsters." Then came another development. The soldier in the red coat became a "boiled lobster," while the policeman" in blue was, of course, an "unboiled" or "raw lobster." Again, "to boil a lobster" was for a man to enlist in the army and put on a red coat.
The Term "Lobster " was common in the U.S. from about the last ten years of the 18th century to about 1930. I am familiar with its use in the so called "Coon" songs of that time span. I apologize for using that racist term,but I could not make myself clear without using it. A song titled "My C--- is a Lobster" was very popular at this time. Again,I apologize for the racist terms and attitudes. The use of the term "Lobster" in the same way in comics and music shows it must have been pretty common.
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