Saturday, January 26, 2019


Herriman Saturday

November 7 1909 -- Another Baron Mooch strip that didn't make it into the Blackbeard book. I got a kick out of  the vendor's prices increasing as the cop and the 'cop' help themselves to freebies.


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Friday, January 25, 2019


Wish You Were Here, from Dwig

Here's a Dwig card from Tuck's Series #165 ("Knocks Witty and Wise").


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Thursday, January 24, 2019


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Bertha L. Corbett

Bertha L. Corbett was born on February 8, 1872, in Denver, Colorado according to Woman’s Who’s Who of America (1914). Bertha’s father, Waldo, was listed in the Corbett, Hoye and Co.’s Annual City Directory City of Denver from 1876 to 1879. In the book History of Arkansas Valley Colorado 1881, Mr. Corbett was mentioned as a member of the Knights of Honor in Leadville, Colorado. Sometime later, the family moved to Minnesota.

In the 1895 Minnesota State Census, 
Bertha was the oldest of three siblings. Her mother’s name was the initials C.E. The family lived in Minneapolis. 

The American Art Annual (1915) said Bertha studied with Douglas Volk at the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts, and Howard Pyle at Drexel Institute.

On July 19, 1896, the Saint Paul Globe (Minnesota) reported the results of an art contest for the cover to the Big Store Fall Fashion catalogue: “The third prize, an English fob seal watch chain, was awarded Miss Bertha L. Corbett. Her design represented autumn and winter by two sweet faces appropriately arrayed.”

According to the 1900 United States Federal Census, the family lived in Minneapolis at 3404 Chicago Avenue. Her mother had died between the state and federal censuses; her father was a sign painter.

The Minneapolis Journal (Minnesota) published an New England Bazaar ad, on February 6, 1901, which featured Sunbonnet Baby Valentines.

The Kansas City Star, March 26, 1902, profiled Bertha and said in part:

...The Sunbonnet Babies really grew out of a group of children I saw playing in the sand. I drew a picture, the original Sunbonnet Baby, as it afterward proved. My fellow artists examined it critically and professed to like it. I fell quite in love with it myself and at once set to work to draw more….

…They came out in a book bearing their names in June 189[illegible] accompanied by little verses of explanation. Then the dainty maidens began to appear on blotters, valentines, Christmas cards and calendars, and now they are coming out in a primer, which Rand & McNally will publish soon.
A different account of her Sunbonnet Babies origin was given in the Kalamazoo Gazette-News (Michigan) on June 29, 1902.
…[Bertha] told of a visit to the theatre with a friend who, after watching her sketch this and that actor's face, remarked: “It is all in the face, isn’t it? There would be no expression or meaning in a picture if you left out the face?” Miss Corbett after a moment's thought sketched for her a little child tugging his wagon loaded with autumn leaves in which no face appeared and yet the picture told its story.

From that time the idea grew and the little sunbonnet people have grown and developed as healthy children will, until the oldest are 4 years of age.

Miss Corbett has collected a number of her earlier children late a little volume which has been published. She is now working on a Sunbonnet Baby Primer for Rand & McNally of Chicago, the text for which is being written by Miss Eulalie Grover….

A book which won the heart of all was the Sunbonnet Children with four leaved cloves over their shoulders, which Miss Corbett got out about Christmas time, four years ago….
The Inland Printer, March 1901, printed several Sunbonnet Baby drawings and Bertha’s letter.

The Sunbonnet Babies’ Book was published in 1902.

Bertha’s Chicago studio was mentioned in the Minneapolis Journal on October 22, 1905. 

Miss Corbett has an attractive studio in the Fine Arts building with some other young women in art crafts, but she uses the place now rather as business headquarters than as a workshop, for her work has taken an entirely new turn and now the babies and boys are being exhibited in chalk talks by their creator.
On September 20, 1906 the Minneapolis Journal reported her venture into advertising, “At present she is associated with R.F. Outcault of ‘Buster Brown’ fame, and together they evolve ideas which are to be set afloat in the advertising field.”

The Evening World (New York) published an ad, on May 31, 1907, touting the success of its Sunday art supplements.

The Sunbonnet Babies made a great hit when the Sunday World gave them as illustrations of a series of art lessons to New York City readers. It has now been decided to give the set to out-of-town readers.

Each picture in colors. Just the thing for framing or passepartouting. Get the set. Order from newsdealer in advance. The Lovers Next Sunday. [illustration of sunbonnet baby and overall boy kissing]
Perhaps the Evening World’s sunbonnet series prompted Corbett to develop her comic strip, The Sunbonnet Babies, which debuted in the Boston Globe on December 8, 1907. The series ended June 28, 1908.

According to Woman’s Who’s Who, Bertha was a member of the Chicago Woman’s Press Club, from 1907 to 1909, and a member of the California Woman’s Press Club beginning in 1909.

The Los Angeles Herald, January 2, 1908, reported Bertha’s visit while on her way to Japan.

Bertha was counted twice in the 1910 census. She was a roomer in Chicago at 4541 Prairie Avenue; her occupation was artist at a studio. And she was counted as a member of her father’s household in Minneapolis at 203 14th Street.

Woman’s Who’s Who said she married artist George Henry Melcher in Los Angeles, California on August 5, 1910.

Out West, November–December 1913, published Bertha’s “A Few Chicken-Feathers”.

The American Art Annuals of 1915 and 1917 
said Bertha was a resident of Topanga, California. 

Bertha was profiled and photographed in the May 1917 issue of Sunset.

Musical Courier, August 26, 1920, announced Bertha and her husband were members of the Nordskog Studios faculty.

Social Progress, April 1922, published Bertha’s illustration for “How the Rabbit Got His Long Ears”.

In 1920 Bertha, her husband and two daughters lived in Calabasas, California. The husband and wife were artists at a studio. The family remained in Calabasas in the 1930 census; George was an artist and Bertha was an illustrator, both independent.

According to the 1940 census, Bertha was divorced and residing at 365 Norwich Drive in Beverly Hills, California, the home of her daughter, Ruth, who was married to C.J. and had two daughters.

The California Death Index, at, said Bertha passed away June 8, 1950 in Los Angeles. Woman’s Who’s Who said Bertha’s recreation was horseback riding and she favored woman’s suffrage.

—Alex Jay


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Wednesday, January 23, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Personalities on Parade

When Don Wooton was working for the Cleveland Plain Dealer he began producing a Sunday feature titled The Week on Parade in the early 30s. This feature is beyond our purview here at Stripper's Guide since it was a cartoon look at the week's news stories. I classify that as editorial cartooning and take a pass.

However, on January 29 1933, Wooton renamed the feature Personalities on Parade and changed the focus to a combination of straight humor plus lampoons of  local Cleveland personalities. That change puts Wootton's delightful work in our sights, for which we are very glad. The always restless Mr. Wootton, however, did not stick with the feature for long. The weekly half-page color cartoon ran in the Plain Dealer's Sunday magazine section only until July 8 1934.


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Tuesday, January 22, 2019


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Garnet Warren

Garnet Warren was born very late 1873 or very early 1874 in London, England. A passenger list dated May 30, 1914, at, recorded Warren’s age as forty years and five months and birthplace as London, England. A profile of Warren appeared in the February 1905 issue of The Arena and said: 
He was born in London thirty years ago, but when quite small the family moved to Australia, where all his boyhood recollections cluster. 

“I cannot remember so far back as the time when I was not drawing,” said Mr. Warren recently. “My first offences were houses with great volumes of smoke pouring from their allied chimneys. From this it was only a short step to drawing the school-masters, and then trouble began. One day when I had just finished an atrocious effigy of the teacher, he caught me red-handed, and I, ‘like a wretch o’ertaken in his tracks, with stolen chattels on his back,’ tremblingly awaited my punishment. On this occasion the master, evidently determined to make the punishment fit the crime, compelled me to make one hundred drawings of a certain face. Well, I can tell you that long before that task was finished all the artistic instinct in me seemed dead beyond hope of resurrection; but such was not the case, as a few weeks later I was again at my old pastime.

“About that time, when I was still very young, the late Phil, May arrived in Australia and was engaged to furnish regular cartoons for the Sydney Bulletin. I remember his pictures were a wonderful stimulus to me, as were also the more broadly funny drawings of the American humorist, Livingston Hopkins, who had settled in our midst. Their pictures aroused a deep interest in my mind in politics, and perhaps exerted more influence than anything else in turning my attention toward journalism. Every week I eagerly looked for the cartoons, and though only about twelve years of age I was quite a politician among my comrades and playmates and was always eager for a discussion with my elders, substituting, no doubt, the assertiveness of ignorance and immaturity for wisdom and logic, as is the way with youth.”

At length the time came when the father wished his son to select a profession. It had been his hope and desire that Garnet should follow in his footsteps and become a physician, but this the boy was disinclined to do, lacking the necessary application. Finally deciding to become a dentist, he took service as an apprentice, but after five months the master declined to have the boy with him longer because of lack of interest and application. Next he became a stenographer in a business-office, remaining in that capacity for four years.

“During this period,” said Mr. Warren, in referring to his early struggles, “my old taste for picture-making led me to join a drawing-class. I was then about twenty. My office-work required my time from nine to five each day, but from seven to ten I spent in the drawing-school; then I would hasten over to the Parliament House to make sketches of the members for one of our weekly papers, working there till two in the morning; so my life at that time was strenuous enough to suit the most exacting American taste, and perhaps too strenuous for my constitution.”

After a time a tempting opportunity was offered Mr. Warren to go to South America on a business venture. He traveled along the whole Western coast and from thence up to San Francisco, California. [A passenger list at said Warren arrived August 24, 1896 in San Francisco from Panama.] When in this bustling American metropolis of the Pacific, he applied for a position in the art department of the Examiner and was promptly assigned a place; but the well-filled department, with its numbers of young men working away like steam-engines under high pressure, frightened him so that before the morning came when he was to begin his work he had decided to return to Australia instead of remaining in the republic. Arriving home, he secured the position of cartoonist on The Queenslander, which he held for two years, when again his desire to travel and seek more promising fields overmastered him. Accordingly he set out for London, in which city he remained nine months, drawing some cartoons for the Chronicle, and several pictures for The King and other publications. London, however, seemed to promise less opportunity for advancement than America, so he set out for New York. [A passenger list said Warren arrived January 17, 1901 in New York from Liverpool.] That was about four years ago. He soon obtained a place on the New York Herald, though not as a cartoonist. He remained with the Herald for over two years, when he accepted an offer from the New York News, which position he retained until the reorganization of that paper. He then came to Boston and accepted a position offered on the Boston Herald. At the time of his coming to this city he determined to make cartoon-work his life occupation, and into his labors he has thrown much of that heart-interest which Longfellow tells us “giveth grace to every art.” His cartoons are widely copied, and though only thirty years of age he to-day ranks with our best American newspaper cartoonists.
At the time of the profile, Warren was working for the New York Globe. In 1909 and 1910 Warren’s articles appeared nationally in newspapers such as the Los Angeles Herald, Ogden Standard and San Francisco Call.

According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), Warren produced three series for the New York Evening Telegram: Mr. and Mrs. Garden Green (1907), The Holmes’ at Home (1907), and Mr. Exchange Ad (1908). For the New York Herald, Warren did Jack and Jill in Fairyland in 1910.

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census recorded newspaper writer Warren and French wife, Regine, in Manhattan, New York City, at 145 East 32nd Street. They had been married eight years.

In 1911 Warren copyrighted numerous works.

On June 10, 1914, Warren returned from a trip to Europe where he departed from Le Havre, France. His final destination was listed as Oradell, New Jersey.

Warren was one of the experts in the April 1915 issue of Associated Advertising’s article, “Four Experts Talk Advertising Copy”.

In the 1920 census, Warren and his wife were residents of Ridgewood, New Jersey. Warren had been naturalized and was an advertising writer.

In 1926 Doubleday, Page & Company published The Romance of Design by Warren in collaboration with Horace B. Cheney.

Warren has not yet been found in the 1930 census.

A passenger list at said Warren was in Europe from 1931 to 1933. He returned September 30, 1933, and his home address was 9 West 76th Street, New York, New York.

Warren passed away May 27, 1937, in Hackensack, New Jersey, as reported by The New York Times on May 29.

Garnet Warren, illustrator and writer, died yesterday afternoon of an intestinal disorder at Hackensack Hospital here. Mr. Warren, who was 64 years old, resided on East Saddle River Road, Upper Saddle River.

Born in England, Mr. Warren received his education in Sydney, Australia, and returned to his birthplace as a youth. He drew cartoons for Punch and other publications before coming to this country in 1900. He was cartoonist and writer of special articles on the old New York Evening Telegram and New York Herald. In later years he was an advertising copy writer. At his death he was devoting himself to research for a historical novel.

His widow, Mrs. Juliette Warren, survives.
It’s not clear if Warren had remarried or the Times had the wrong name for his wife, Regine who, in the 1940 census, was a widow in Ramsey, New Jersey.

—Alex Jay


Great work! What is the source for the photo of Warren?
Ah, the photo was printed in the Arena article already mentioned. Nevermind.
I've found a bunch of his work in the SF Call, ca. 1900. I'm still going through them, but it's amazing work. Looser than his strips, but not sloppy. Has a very contemporary feel.
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Monday, January 21, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Mr. O. U. Absentmind

Before John R. Bray cemented his place in history as an animation pioneer, his previous success was pretty well limited to a stint on the well-received Sunday strip Little Johnny and the Teddy Bears. When that series ended in 1909 it seems that Mr. Bray used his pay to buy a small farm, and gave his occupation as farmer to a census-taker.

Farming apparently wasn't immediately profitable, and to keep the bank account healthy he penned the series Mr. O.U. Absentmind for McClure starting on October 17 1909*. This series was obviously done purely for the paycheck. The absent-minded character had already been done to death in the early comic sections, and Bray offered us nothing unique in his take. The gags are shopworn when they do work, and often don't work at all. In the above sample, for instance, the florist has been given no direction to send a funeral wreath, so why would he? With two minutes of thought Bray could have straightened out the gag so that Mr. Absentmind gives the wrong impression to the florist -- because, ya know, he's absent-minded.

The art on this feature is actually quite fine, but that's because Bray has swiped all his characters from  William F. Marriner. Granted, that was a common bit of larceny in those days, but Bray had already shown that he could get along just fine in his own style.

The dismal Mr. O.U. Absentmind lasted a long time in one of the secondary McClure sections, proving that the syndicate really didn't care much what they used to take up space. Readers were blissfully relieved of it after November 26 1911*, except when they ran an unused or  reprint strip much later, on February 28 1915**.

* Source: San Francisco Chronicle
** Source: Washington Herald


I reckon the gag here is that the florist has assumed Mr. Oh You might be interested in funeral weeds, and is showing him a sample, which is turned away from us, so the gag payoff is when we see just what sort of arrangement he was looking at. It would have been more effective if the shape of the first one matched the second, but I guess Bray might've been a bit absentminded. Or something.
Here's another thing I just noticed about forgetting things. the (appears to be) tails of his jacket dangle out of the back of his coat only in panel five.If that's not what it is, maybe we should just ignore it.
It's very interesting how many of the pioneer animators were influenced by Marriner's drawing style - Bray and Pat Sullivan being two notable examples. I would imagine that if Marriner had lived past 1914 he would have tried animation himself - his style correctly anticipated the american animation design style (like Swinnerton and post 1900 Opper).
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