Saturday, July 28, 2018


Herriman Saturday

August 13 1909 -- Jim Jeffries expresses surprise at the news that Jack Johnson has met with his manager and agreed to basically any terms that Jeffries cares to name for the bout. Many, including Jeffries, thought that Johnson would ask for the moon and then avoid the fight on the grounds that he could not negotiate a fair contract.

That is one screwy looking elephant ...


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Friday, July 27, 2018


Wish You Were Here, from Jimmy Swinnerton

Another in the series of Hearst newspaper giveaway postcards, this one by Jimmy Swinnerton was a freebie distributed with the Boston Sunday American in 1906.


I have some of the Hearst cards in their pristine condition, that is, on a large card of four post cards that must be cut out. The bottom of this card tells that it is a special supplent to whatever Sunday paper in the chain that was offering it. As I've somehow never encountered an ad or poster or anything announcing these cards, I've never known what exact week they might have been issued.
My theory is that they were just printed up and then one stuffed inside so many issues until the stock ran out, and they'd be a surprise for the reader. Any thoughts?
Here's a picture of an uncut sample:
When going through Hearst microfilm, it is entirely possible that I encountered ads announcing these inserts. Unfortunately, even if I had the wisdom to take notes on the phenomenon, those notes would be buried under the infamous vast leaning towers of paper here at Stripper's Guide World Headquarters.

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Thursday, July 26, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: VIPeewees

VIPeewees, a short-lived United Feature Syndicate panel series from 1972, offered a daily answer to the question "What were today's celebrities like when they were kids?" It was a goofy enough premise, but cute in its way.

There were some seriously high powered guns in the writing and art arsenal. The panel was officially credited to "Jack Wohl + 3", but promos confessed that the "3" were writers Jim Mulligan and Don Reo, and artist Mel Crawford. Wohl was already a successful newspaper comics creator, responsible for the brilliant and popular PIXies, and the less successful Versus. Mel Crawford was a fabulous artist excelling in many disciplines, but whose main claim to fame was found in painting highly stylized illustrations for children's magazines and books. Mulligan and Reo were successful TV writers, whose biggest credits up to this point were staff positions on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In; both of them would continue on in high profile writing assignments for decades.

With all that talent in harness it's amazing that it didn't gel into something substantial. But sad to say, VIPeewees is reminiscent of a throwaway feature found in the back pages of your typical issue of Cracked magazine. It's no great surprise, then, that all this talent decided to go on to bigger and better things elsewhere, and VIPeewees was dropped after a mere nine months. It began on January 10 1972*, and ended on September 30* of that same year.

Oddly enough, the pregnancy-length series somehow managed to rate a book collection. Price-Stearn-Sloan issued a book just in time for Christmas 1972, several months after the feature had bit the dust. Not surprisingly, the book didn't hit the bestseller list. 

* Source: Editor & Publisher, 12/18/1971
** Source: Boston Globe


The yo-yo kid is Agnew?
I believe so, yes. --Allan
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Wednesday, July 25, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Clifton H. Crittenden

Clifton Harold Crittenden was born on December 31, 1883, in New London, Ohio. Crittenden’s full name and birth date were on his World War I and II draft cards. The birthplace was recorded on his marriage certificate which was transcribed in the Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records and Indexes at

The Cleveland Leader, July 10, 1897m reported the results of the 
Cleveland Young Men’s Christian Association’s Juniors’ Field Day. The baseball throw in the elementary class was won by Crittenden.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Crittenden was an art student and the oldest of two children born to Henry, a machinist, and Zoe. The family resided in Cleveland, Ohio at 266 Huntington Street.

At the Cleveland School of Art, Crittenden was the recipient of the Ella M. Burke Scholarship in 1900. According to Artists in Ohio, 1787–1900: A Biographical Dictionary (2000), Crittenden was “a second-year student at the Cleveland (Cuyahoga) School of Art, who exhibited with the Bohemian Art Club in December 1900.”

Cleveland city directories, for the years 1903 to 1905 and 1907, listed Crittenden as vice-president of the A.C. Rogers Company. In 1903 and 1904, Crittenden resided at 374 Huron; in 1905 at 790 (old) Prospect; and 3126 Prospect Avenue SE in 1907.

The 1910 directory said Crittenden was secretary-treasurer of Reese and Crittenden Company, 612 Caxton Building. The 1910 census recorded his occupation as manager of a printing shop. His home address was 662 East 118th NE. Crittenden was the vice-president in the 1915 directory.

On September 12, 1918, Crittenden signed his World War I draft card. His address was 1861 East 24th in Cleveland. He was a self-employed direct mail advertiser with an office in the Caxton Building. His description was medium height and build with brown eyes and hair.

Crittenden has not yet been found in the 1920 census. He was an artist in the business listings of Cleveland directories from 1920 to 1925.

The Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records and Indexes, at, recorded Crittenden’s marriage to Kathryn L Leyser on April 3, 1922.

Crittenden has not yet been found in the 1930 census.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Crittenden drew five series for the Central Press Association: Life of King Edward VIII, The Life of Pope Pius XII, The Saga of Mrs. Simpson, The Story of James J. Braddock, and The Story of Stalin.

Freelance artist Crittenden and his wife were Cleveland residents at 831 East 88 Street. His highest level of education was the eighth grade.

Crittenden passed away November 13, 1946 in Cleveland.

—Alex Jay


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Tuesday, July 24, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: The Saga of Mrs. Simpson

Although NEA was undeniably king of the closed-end news strip (gotta come up with a better name for these ... ideas?) other syndicates did follow suit and gave the genre a try. Hearst's Central Press Association, for instance, offered them sporadically in the 1930s. In the mid-1930s they had Clifton H. Crittenden pen at least five of them, including The Saga of Mrs. Simpson. This one was a 6-part series tracing the life of Wallis Simpson, who was about to become the wife of King Edward VIII leading to his abdication from the British throne. The series ran from December 6 to 11 1936* in most papers, though some ran it late.

Crittenden signed the art on these strips, but may well not have been the writer. 

Source: Cuero Record


More often, these Central Press closed-end news strips, or CENS, to use a never used before term, were done by R.J. Scott, at least in the 1920-35 era.
Excuse it Allan- hope this is allowed-
An article I wrote about Mr. Scott with some samples of his "CENS" can be glimmed at
You may, you may! The late lamented "Ask the Archivist" is highly recommended reading. Comic strip fans are urged to get over there.

CENS. Hmm. Well, it ain't zactly got a musicality to it.

How about "Histericals" as a new name for closed end news features?
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Monday, July 23, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: Big Scalper

In the laundry list of racist stereotypes that filled our Sunday sections back in the early days of the 20th century, the Native American made surprisingly few appearances. However, when Myer Marcus set his sites on an 'Injun' strip, he sure made up for any lost opportunities elsewhere in the funnies. His character, Big Scalper, is a completely out of control ignorant and violent man-child, an embarrassment that at least reminds us how far we've come in a century.

Though stereotypes can be funny in spite of themselves, that's certainly not the case with Big Scalper. Marcus's poetry is excruciatingly bad (rhyming "o'er" with "before"? -- yech!), and the gags are barely worthy of the name. That's probably why the Philadelphia Inquirer treated Big Scalper as an extra strip that rarely made it into their Sunday section. It was distributed in the syndicated version of their section, though, and ran much more often in out of town versions. Between its first appearance in the Inquirer on June 6 1906 and its last on June 20 1909* it appeared there no more than 3-4 times per year. I've never indexed its appearances in a syndication paper, but it must have been available quite often if certainly not every week. I even have a November 25 1906 section from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat where they ran two Big Scalper episodes in a single section!

* Source: Philadelphia Inquirer


The Inquirer's erratic syndication methods are sometimes hard to figure out. In the Inquirer itself, they often bumped one feature so they could run their apparently local only geography puzzle, where the reader would suss out names from rebus-like one panel clues. They had names like "TOWNS IN ALABAMA" or "RIVERS IN FLORIDA". The bumped features seem very unimportant if you only saw the Inky, as they would make to the section so infrequently. Big Scalper was one, another was about a Carnegie hero medal seeker. But it would seem they were much more substantial in the syndicate's client papers, as we see in the Globe-Democrat, who didn't carry the puzzle. (it also had a prize involved, and maybe only the Inky wanted to offer one.) Another problem with getting the syndicate's items in line is that the clients were somewhat unconcerned with running the strips on time. Another client paper, the Los Angeles Herald is a perfect example. The 25 November 1906 date you mention is pretty much the exact likeness of the Inquirer of 28 October, a month stale. Except that it has a Big Scalper where the annoying puzzle would be. But the Herald doesn't play it straight, just four weeks off, by 23 December, they run two pages from the 18 November section, one from the 25 November section (making a big deal about Thanksgiving!) and a page that never ran at all in the Inquirer featuring Doubtful Tom and a Mr. George misadventure.

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