Saturday, November 24, 2018


Herriman Saturday

October 16 1909 -- Another Baron Mooch strip that didn't make it into the Blackbeard book. Freed from the sports page, Herriman doesn't feel the need to demean Johnson for a refreshing change.


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Friday, November 23, 2018


Wish You Were Here, from August Hutaf

Here's a card that proves Albert Carmichael did not have the market cornered on "Gee, I Wish I Had a Girl". Although Carmichael penned lots of 'em, apparently the market could bear one from the pen of August Hutaf, too. Hutaf was best known as a poster and illustration artist, but he dabbled in cartooning as well.

This card was published in 1909 by P. Riche of New York.


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Thursday, November 22, 2018


Stripper's Guide Q & A: Promoting the Funnies

Q: On the Facebook group Leonard Starr Appreciation Society James Gauthier, who was friends with Starr, played a role in On Stage being collected and runs the group has been posting On Stage promotional pieces, not only to herald the impending start of the strip or a newspaper picking it up but to tease a new storyline. He has also posted some promotional pieces from when Starr took over Annie plus some storyline teasers for early storylines.

Do you have a sense to what extent client papers printed this sort of stuff? Gauthier has even shared photos of On Stage being promoted by at least one paper with a display window at the newspaper headquarters onto the street and banners on the side of delivery trucks. Comic Strips were a big deal for attracting readers in the golden age so it is plausible some papers would ballyhoo adding one or promoting a news storyline. Did some papers have a reputation for running promos more so than others?

A: That's a good question, and yes, there definitely was an era when newspapers promoted their comics, some with great vigor. That era is long over, but back in the 1920s through 1970s or so you could count on quite a few papers -- not all by any means -- actively promoting the comics they ran through promos in the paper and even sometimes in their outside advertising.

Because many people in charge at newspapers are embarrassed by the pulling power of their comics,  promos from the syndicates often went straight into the circular file. But in big cities where there was intense competition between papers, one way to set yourself apart and attract readers was with a good line-up of comics, and you ignored that at your peril. Smart marketers realized that their paper might cover the news somewhat better than the competition, or offer a different editorial slant, but for many readers the decision about which paper to buy was based more on the features the newspaper offered. Some might buy a particular paper for a good columnist, or a movie reviewer, or a better crossword puzzle, but plenty of people (not to mention their kids) chose a newspaper at least in part because of the comic strips that were offered.

The question then, is why did this end? The answer is lack of competition. When most cities became one-newspaper towns, why should those papers waste column-inches or outside advertising trying to sell you on a particular comic strip -- you have no other option. Your only choice is whether to buy a paper every day or not. If you really despise the local paper, then your other options -- USA Today, Wall Street Journal, New York Times -- don't carry comic strips. So like it or lump it, what they print is what you get.

A secondary factor worth mentioning is the computerization of newspaper layout. This began in the 1970s, and as software got better and better, the machine version of the layout man got really good at solving layout problems. Rare was theoccasion now when a page would be laid out and a hole would need to be filled with in-house content. When those holes became scarce, one of the things that used to fill them -- comic strip and other promos -- became rare.

The syndicates can take a tiny slice of the blame, too. When newspapers curtailed their use of promotional materials, it was natural for the syndicates to become more and more lax about producing them. Nowadays even if a newspaper wanted to run promotional material, they'd find that the syndicates are so out of the habit of producing it that there's little available, and not much energy for producing some of it for them. 


Wow! Thanks for answering my question!
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Wednesday, November 21, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: John Jordan

The story of John Jordan is sketchy. No birth information has been found but Jordan* was a New York City metropolitan resident during the early years of the Golden Age of Comics. Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said Jordan was a member of Funnies Inc., from around 1940 to 1943, and produced art for Novelty Comics, from 1941 to 1945, and Parent’s Magazine Press in 1941 and 1942. Many of his comic book credits are at the Grand Comics Database.

Who’s Who of Comic Strip Producers said Jordan was an editorial cartoonist with the New York Journal.

In the Fawcett Companion: The Best of FCA (2001), Ed Robbins said:

John Jordan had been an editorial cartoonist before he got into comic books. He had a solid drawing style. He was a kindly, hard working man.
He was one of the artists who epitomized the difference between the people producing comics during the Golden Age and those drawing them now. He and his kind were artists whose experience had been gained in other fields. They were drawn into the comic field because it was a new, promising outlet for their work….
In the same book, Jordan was mentioned in an interview with Fawcett artist Robert Laughlin.
FCA: You also mentioned inker John Jordan as one of your favorite Fawcett artists. What memories do you have of him and the [Carl] Pfeufer/Jordan art team?

LAUGHLIN: Pfeufer didn’t do a lot of tight penciling; it was very loose. From time to time Jordan would want Carl’s penciling to be tighter, which nettled Carl a bit! I guess Pfeufer and Jordan worked together for so long that John knew what Carl meant. There was something very slick about the combination. Carl was more of an illustrator...loose-styled, and a lot of brush black. One thing I recall Carl saying concerning getting a lot of work done for a deadline was, “Just sit down and do the work.” It was that simple—for him. He would apply himself for whatever length of time was needed to complete a job.
Pfeufer was born in 1910. Jordan may have been about the same age as Pfeufer. 

Jordan was a Brooklyn resident and family man as noted in the Otsego Farmer (Cooperstown, New York), September 3, 1948, “Mr. and Mrs. John Jordan and son of Brooklyn are guests at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wick, Pioneer street. Mr. Jordan is the artist for the popular ‘Don Winslow’ and ‘Tom Mix’ comic books.”

According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), Jordan took over the Don Winslow of the Navy comic strip from Leon Beroth. Jordan’s run began March 2, 1953 and ended July 30, 1955. 

What became of Jordan is not yet known. Any information is greatly appreciated.

* Some artists changed their names, for example, Jack Kirby was born Jacob Kurtzburg. A New York City cartoonist or artist with the Jordan surname has not been found in the 1940 census.

—Alex Jay


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Jordan may have been an animator by 1953, because one newspaper mentioned him working on animation:

“John Jordan, one of the Major
League cartoonists in the nation,
will now Illustrate the adventures
of Don Winslow. Jordan has an
enviable art career which includes
several years as editorial cartoon
ist on the New York Journal and
art director for one of the coun
try’s largest comic book compan
ies. Highlighting his career re
cently, he was signed by Holly
wood to draw several popular ani
mated motion pictures.
Bringing his exceptional back
ground to newspapers, Jordan's
authentic, dear, modern art adds
lustre to the new Don Winslow all
service comic strip.” -
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Tuesday, November 20, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Leon A. Beroth

Leon Allen Beroth was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on February 21, 1895, according to his World War I and II draft cards, and The Beroth Roots (1987) which also said “Beroth and son, William, decided to capitalize the letter “R” in the name BeRoth.”.

The 1900 U.S. Federal Census recorded Beroth as the only child of James, a railroad machinist, and Ida. The family had a servant and lived in Noble, Indiana, at 159 East Hill Street.

The Grand Rapids Press (Michigan), December 30, 1905, announced an upcoming production.
The junior division of St. Paul’s Dramatic club will present the beautiful cantina, “Christmas at Grandpa’s,” New Year’s evening in the parish house under direction of Mr. Arthur E. Drodge. The following children are in the cast: …Leon Beroth
In the 1910 census, Beroth’s home was in Grand Rapids, Michigan at 10 Eleventh Street. City directories, from 1912 to 1918, listed Beroth at 308 Eleventh Street. In 1912 he was an assembler at the Barrett Adding Machine Company. Beroth was a student in the 1915 directory. The 1916 directory said Beroth produced advertising illustrations.

The Seattle Times (Washington), March 13, 1980, said “BeRoth studied color illustration and figure painting at the Art Institute of Chicago for four years.”

One of Beroth’s earliest published work was in Charlotte Wait Calkins’ book, A Course in House Planning and Furnishing (1915). The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Books, Group 1, New Series, Volume 13, Number 54, June 1915, named the other illustrators: Harry W. Jacobs, Raymond Everett, H.M. Kurtzworth and Paul Eugene Olson.

On June 4, 1917, Beroth signed his World War I draft card. The self-employed artist was described as tall, medium build with dark blue eye and dark brown hair. The Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File said Beroth served in the army from July 2, 1918 to January 28, 1919.

At the Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index recorded Beroth’s marriage to Ethel I. E. Harker in Chicago on April 26, 1919.

Advertising artist Beroth and his wife were in his father-in-law’s household as recorded in the 1920 census. They resided in Chicago at 4826 St. Anthony Court.

When the 1930 census was enumerated, artist and homeowner Beroth had a daughter, Yvonne, and son, William. The family of four lived in Elmhurst, Addison Township, DuPage County, Illinois, at 332 Myrtle. The address was the same in the 1940 census. Beroth was a self-employed artist working in publishing. Future Don Winslow of the Navy artist and researcher, Carl E. Hammond, was a resident of Elmhurst, too.

Beroth signed his World War II draft card on April 27, 1942. The artist was at the same home address and had an office at 400 West Madison Street in Chicago. His description was five feet eleven-and-a-half inches and 170 pounds with blue eyes and gray hair.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Beroth’s first comic strip was Adventures of Tom, Dick and Harry that ran from December 5, 1932 to April 24, 1933, and was distributed by the Bonnet-Brown Syndicate. Next, Beroth was the artist on Don Winslow of the Navy, which was created by Frank V. Martinek and ran from March 5, 1934 to July 30, 1955. Beroth’s last strip appeared February 28, 1953. John Jordan replaced Beroth. In Coulton Waugh’s The Comics (1947) was an explanation on how the creative team came together and worked.

“One day two artists came into my office,” he [Martinek] writes. “Leon A. Beroth and Carl E. Hammond. Why they came, I cannot explain, but it seemed that Providence was getting us together. I asked them if they would be interested and they said ‘Yes.’ We organized. I became the creator and producer, Leon Beroth the art director, and Carl Hammond the layout and research man.”

Colonel Frank Knox, who was shortly to become Secretary of the Navy, became interested and helped sell the idea to the Bell Syndicate….

“Three years ago,” Commander Martinek wrote in 1945, “Carl Hammond, our layout and research man, went into war work, being single and within draft age. Leon Beroth and I have carried on ever since….

“Every Saturday I write the week’s daily strips and Sunday page, and each week I send the typewritten continuity to Mr. Beroth [in Thompson Falls, Montana], and he interprets it pictorially and returns the art work for approval. It works very satisfactorily—somewhat by remote control.”
A similar description was in The Quill, January 1938. 
Martinek has set up a highly departmentalized organization to handle the widespread interests of Don Winslow. First he writes the plot for the strip, then turns it over to Carl Hammond, in charge of research. When the episodes are checked for authenticity, Hammond confers with Martinek on the finished continuity and dialog, then the material is turned over to Leon Beroth, the art director.
The World Encyclopedia of Comics (1976) referred to Beroth as “Lieutenant Leon A. Beroth, USN”. In the first World War, Beroth served in the army. “Comics Are a Serious Business” by Allen Saunders appeared in Coronet, August 1945, and included a paragraph on Don Winslow.
Even more involved are the preparations for the adventures of “Don Winslow of the Navy.” The creator, Lieutenant Commander Frank V. Martinek, dreams up characters and continuity. He turns his ideas over to a research director, who lays out the copy and hands it over to a preliminary artist. The finished drawing is done by Leon Beroth, an old Navy man, whose signature appears on the published strip.
Sara Duke said in the Biographical Sketches of Cartoonists & Illustrators in the Swann Collection (2014) that Ken Ernst assisted Beroth and Hammond beginning in 1940.

Beroth returned to comics with Kitten Kaye. American Newspaper Comics said the strip ran from May 6, 1957 to 1961 and was self-syndicated.

The Daily Inter Lake (Kalispell, Montana), February 7, 1957, profiled Beroth who was in the process of selling Kitten Kaye through his Beroth Features Service. The Montana artist planned to feature the Montana forest, such as the Forest Service lookout on Clark Peak, and wildlife locale. In September 1944, Beroth and his wife moved to Thompson Falls where he continued to draw Don Wnislow at home. For the past four years Beroth freelanced, painted watercolor landscapes and exhibited his work.

Beroth filed a trademark registration according to the Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office
SN 31,457. Leon A. Beroth, d. b. a. L. A. Beroth Features Service, Thompson Falls, Mont. Filed June 6, 1957.


For Comic Strip Published in Newspapers From Time to Time. First use in or about January 1957.
Beroth was a contributor to the Ford Times, July 1961. 

The University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center has a collection of Beroth’s papers. The Guide to Entertainment Industry Resources said “BeRoth was also a watercolor and oil landscape painter. He was commissioned by Ford Times magazine to paint western historic and scenic watercolor landscapes to accompany magazine articles, including some written by BeRoth.”

Beroth passed away March 8, 1980, in Edmonds according to the Washington Death Index. He was laid to rest at Floral Hills Cemetery. An obituary appeared in the Seattle Times on March 13 and said in part:

Mr. BeRoth moved to Edmonds in 1962 from Thompson Falls, Mont., where he had painted landscapes for 15 years. He was a member of the West Coast Water Color Society and was an honorary member of Gallery North in Edmonds. He recently taught art classes at the Edmonds Recreation Center.

Mr. BeRoth was a Mason and a Shriner.

—Alex Jay


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Monday, November 19, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Carl Hammond


Carl Edwin Hammond was born in Michigan on August 13, 1898. The birth date is from Hammond’s World War I draft card which also had his full name.

The 1900 U.S. Federal Census recorded Hammond, his parents William and Stella, brother, Harry, and maternal grandmother Susan Rorison, in Ludington, Michigan, at 601 Ludington Avenue. Hammond’s father was a bank cashier.

In the 1910 census, Hammond, his parents and brother resided at 405 Ludington Avenue in Ludington.

Hammond attended Ludington High School beginning in 1913. He was the junior class treasurer and wrote an article in the 1915 yearbook, The Oriole.

The Oriole 1916

Hammond continued his education at Dartmouth College.

On September 3, 1918 Hammond signed his World War I draft card. He still lived at home with his parents in Ludington. His occupation was commercial traveler with the D.M. Ferry Company of Detroit, Michigan. Hammond was described as slender build and medium height with blue eyes and light-colored hair.

According to the 1920 census, the Hammond family were Ludington residents.

Hammond attended the University of Michigan and was in the class of 1921. In the 1920 yearbook The Michiganensian, Hammond was on the yearbook editorial staff, and on the art staff of monthly humor publication, The Gargoyle.

Hammond has not yet been found in the 1930 census.

The Michigan Alumnus, March 19, 1932, noted Hammond’s occupation and whereabouts: “Carl Edwin Hammond, ’21, is busy as an illustrator in Elmhurst, Illinois. His address is 251 S. York Street.” Future Don Winslow of the Navy artist, Leon A. Beroth, was a resident of Elmhurst, too.

The Ludington (Michigan), September 24, 1933, reported Hammond’s art exhibition in Chicago. 

A display of water colors of New Mexican scenery executed by Carl Hammond, son of Mrs. W. L. Hammond of 405 East Ludington avenue, is being shown in the Tudor gallery of the Chicago Woman’s club in Chicago. Mr. Hammond has lived in the southwest and his pictures are colorful and thrilling New Mexican landscapes and figure studies. “Rarely have the desert and clear air, the aspens, the pueblos, the picturesque Indians and Mexicans been as clearly envisioned and as skillfully represented as in Mr. Hammond’s sparkling water colors,” says a recent criticism in the Chicago Tribune. “They are full of dust and sunshine and charm, the cold chill of night, and the hot, sultry peace of day, both found only in the arid countries where the spell of the desert lies heavy even upon the purple hills.” (Mr. Hammond also recently showed some of his work at a Santa Fe, N. M., exhibition.
The Register of Living Alumni of Dartmouth College and the Associated Schools (1935) had a line about Hammond: “Hammond, Carl Edwin b. 284 S. Kenilworth Ave., Elmhurst, Ill.”

The Michigan Alumnus, May 9, 1936, noted Hammond’s situation: “Carl Edwin Hammond, ’21, is an illustrator who has offices at 400 W. Madison St., Chicago., and lives at 284 S. Kenilworth Ave., Elmhurst, Ill.”

The same home address for Hammond was recorded in the 1940 census. He was a lodger in the Emry household which had a maid and cook. Hammond’s occupation was newspaper strip illustrator.

Hammond worked on the strip, Don Winslow of the Navy. The strip’s creator, Frank V. Martinek, explained how Beroth and Hammond became involved with the strip in Coulton Waugh’s book, The Comics (1947).

“One day two artists came into my office,” he [Martinek] writes. “Leon A. Beroth and Carl E. Hammond. Why they came, I cannot explain, but it seemed that Providence was getting us together. I asked them if they would be interested and they said ‘Yes.’ We organized. I became the creator and producer, Leon Beroth the art director, and Carl Hammond the layout and research man.”

Colonel Frank Knox, who was shortly to become Secretary of the Navy, became interested and helped sell the idea to the Bell Syndicate….

“Three years ago,” Commander Martinek wrote in 1945, “Carl Hammond, our layout and research man, went into war work, being single and within draft age. Leon Beroth and I have carried on ever since….
Hammond’s World War II record has not been found. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Don Winslow ran from March 5, 1934 to July 30, 1955, and was syndicated by the Bell Syndicate then General Features. Later, John Jordan replaced Beroth.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, Hammond passed away November 19, 1972. The Cook County, Illinois Death Index, at, said Hammond died in Cook County. The Social Security Death Index said Hammond’s last residence was Chicago. Hammond was laid to rest at Lakeview Cemetery

—Alex Jay


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