Saturday, February 23, 2019


Herriman Saturday

December 4 1909 -- Herriman illustrates a news story about a fellow who went to the dentist to have teeth extracted, then came down with a horrible cough. After a year or so of being treated for a number of diagnosed diseases with no relief, and racking up some serious doctor bills in the process,  he one day has a most severe coughing fit and actually expels a tooth. The mysterious cough immediately abates. Apparently the dentist couldn't quite hold on to the extracted molar, it went down his windpipe, and quite possibly lodged in or near a lung.

The victim is now in court asking for $10,000 in damages, while the dentist claims that the tooth must have originated through some other means -- he swears he didn't let one of his charges go down the patient's throat.


Comments: Post a Comment

Friday, February 22, 2019


Wish You Were Here, from Dwig

Here's another entry from that Message in the Mirror series by Dwig. As with the others, they are marked as Series 30 on the reverse, and show the logo of the little fellow with the smock displaying the Swiss cross, and an American flag in one hand and a beer stein in the other. This card was postally used in 1911.


Comments: Post a Comment

Thursday, February 21, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Happy Hank

This little feature, Happy Hank, ran on occasional weekdays in the Chicago Daily News from March 31 to May 30 1903. The Daily News devoted half or more of their back page to cartoons and comic strips every weekday, and had so much material to offer that most of it was printed very small. That led creators to keep their gags basic, and Happy Hank was no exception. In each installment the dim-witted fellow simply tries to impress a gal and fails miserably.

But a little feature like this can be much more important than it looks, for it represents what I believe to be the first series ever penned by that giant of the newspaper comics page, Harold Tucker Webster. Webster, of course, went on to create a long-running panel cartoon feature that became an integral part of the American consciousness, but in 1903 he was an inexperienced greenhorn who only begrudgingly got to do an occasional panel cartoon or strip for the Daily News back page. In fact, this is one of only two series  he was allowed to do there in a stint that lasted a couple years.

Is there any hint of the future Webster greatness here? Nah, not a bit.  But Webby shows off a bit of maverick nature here -- the lion's share of Daily News strips at this time told their gags in printed captions below the panels, but as you can see in the second example, he adds a couple word balloons to help with the comedy. Ironic, then, that Webster would generally eschew word balloons in his famous panel cartoon series of later years.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans.


You can detect a small bit of HTW's mature style, especially the hands. If anyone is perhaps confused as to just what "Pyrography" was and why it involved "Poker Work", is that it pertains to that of the art of wood burning, with a small needle-like tool, one would engrave designs on decorative wood bric-a-brac.
So this can't be considered a precursor to Webster's long running "Poker Portraits" series.

Sorry, I'm grasping at anything here.
Post a Comment

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Lyman Anson

Charles Lyman Anson was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on March 23, 1884, according to his World War I and II draft cards and passport application.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Anson and his parents, Charles and Harriet, resided in Milwaukee at 535 Marshall Street. His father was a wholesale grocer. On January 9, 1903, Anson received a passport which did not specify the countries he planned to visit.

The 1905 Wisconsin State Census identified Anson as a student who lived with his parents in Milwaukee.

Anson was a traveling salesman in the 1910 census. He was a lodger in Milwaukee at 225 Greenbush Street.

A family tree at said Anson married Florence May Smith on September 19, 1916, in Oak Park, Illinois.

Anson signed his World War I draft card on September 10, 1918. He lived at 206 Sumner in Newton, Massachusetts, and was assistant inspector of naval construction. His description was short, medium build with brown eyes and dark brown hair.

Wheaton Illinois, at 622 Naperville, was Anson’s next home as recorded in the 1920 census. He was a freelance magazine writer.

The Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 4: Works of Art, 1923, New Series, Volume 18, Number 2 has this entry: 

Anson (Charles Lyman) Wheaton, Ill. 5802-5816 
Sillyettes, May 15–19, 21–26, 28–31. [Daily] © May 15–19, 21–26, 28–31, 1923; 1 c. each May 29–June 6; K 175523-175532, 175714-175718.
On July 31, 1923, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle began promoting Anson’s Humorettes, which was six frames of silhouetted figures with text. On the far right of each strip was a copyright line, © 1923 C.L. Anson. Apparently the strip was syndicated by Anson. Humorettes began August 6 and ended September 15, 1923. According to American Newspaper Comics, Anson’s Sillyettes appeared in 1924.




In the 1930 census, Anson remained in Wheaton but at a different address, 404 North Washington. He was a writer and had two sons, Lyman and Barton. Lyman would become a writer in various fields and marry Marione Reinhard, who was the Saturday Evening Post humor editor and helped select cartoons.

Anson, the freelance writer, was at the same address in 1940. He had completed five years of college and worked 52 weeks in 1939. Anson signed his World War Ii draft card April 27, 1942. His office was in the Smith Building, on North Main street in Wheaton. He was five feet two inches, 125 pounds with brown eyes and gray hair.

Anson passed away December 23, 1964, in Winfield, Illinois. His death was reported the following day in the Chicago Sun-Times which said Anson graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in naval architecture and used this knowledge during World War I and II. He contributed to the Saturday Evening Post and was an editor with Dodd Mead & Co., a New York publishing firm.

Anson’s books include Fifty Years Below Zero (1942) and Skeleton Coast (1958). He has an entry in the Genealogical Record of Thomas and Harriet Clapp McKnight. Some of his writings can be viewed here, here, here and here. Anson was buried at Wheaton Cemetery.

—Alex Jay


Charles Lyman Anson was my grandfather (1884-1964). His son, Lyman (no middle name) 1922-1989, was the one who signed the draft card in 1942, and who married Marione Reinhard (my step-mother) 1906-1989, not Charles. Charles was married to Florence all his life. Charles graduated from MIT with a degree in Naval Architecture.
Post a Comment

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: The Gentle Touch

We've discussed the short-lived Boston Traveler syndicate here before; it started in 1908 and pretty much petered out before the end of 1911. The Traveler traded exclusively in weekday strips, and with the exception of C.A. Vioght, most of their bullpen gang were relative unknowns. That doesn't mean, however, that they were all bad. No, the editor at the Traveler had a pretty good eye for cartoonist horseflesh. One of the brightest of his merry band was William Stevens, who produced a few series for the syndicate in the 1908-10 period. Unfortunately, these series seem to be the sum total of his cartooning output. While the common name makes IDing him questionable, I think he is likely to be William Lester Stevens, who became somewhat notable in fine art.

The Gentle Touch, which ran on weekdays from July 6 1909 to January 21 1910, would be Stevens' final series for the Traveler. Although the gag is repetitive, the sumptuous drawing and wonderful attention to body language and facial expression make every episode a lesson in how to bring interest to depicting a conversation in a comic strip.


Comments: Post a Comment

Monday, February 18, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Mostly Malarky

Maybe not so much an obscurity as a feature that just ran under the radar, Mostly Malarky was created by Wally Carlson for the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate in 1946, debuting as a daily panel on April 29*.

Carlson was the long-time artist on The Nebbs, and after the death of creator Sol Hess in 1941, he might have felt he needed a backup plan should it be cancelled. As it turned out, The Nebbs continued for about 15 years after that, but Carlson probably needed some extra income as it steadily lost papers in those years. Neither The Nebbs of this era, or Mostly Malarky, would be a cash cow by any means, but the two together probably kept the wolves far away from Wally's door.

Mostly Malarky started as a gag panel with no continuing characters, but it wasn't long before readers would start seeing the same married couple showing up pretty regularly. His name was Charlie, his wife was Pansy, but the son's name I have not been able to discover in perusing a hundred or so samples. Somehow I always assumed that the family name was Malarky, but I don't know if that was actually maintained in the feature or if it came out of my own head. When the CTNYNS told Carlsen to add a Sunday to the mix, this family became the stars of the color strip.

The family is pretty well a blank slate on which to blanket any old gag, but in keeping with the title of the feature Charlie did make a habit of telling tall tales. They also had a parakeet named Poyke, named after a real bird owned by Carlson. Poyke had 15 minutes of fame as the star of a photo book issued by All-Pets Books in 1954.

In the late 40s Carlson added another set of regular players when the characters Maizie and Daisy  began appearing in the daily panel. This pair of frumpy washerwomen became, in my opinion, the highlight of the feature. They were sassy and brassy and an utter delight. Apparently Rand McNally agreed with me, because Mostly Malarky's only mainstream appearance in book form was a collection of Maizie and Daisy panels. Another continuing sub-feature was Wilbur Werm, a Casper Milquetoast who is domineered by his wife.

There's no telling just how long Mostly Malarky could have run, as it ended due to the death of Wally Carlson in 1967. The final daily saw print on May 27, the last Sunday on July 30. Although Art Huhta is believed to have assisted on the feature, he evidently wasn't asked, or didn't care, to take it over.

* Source: All dates from the Chicago Tribune


Looks like the son’s name is Stormy?
Looks like I shoulda read the ones I scanned! --Allan

Mostly Malarky also ran for about a year in the NY Sunday News comics. It appeared 13 times in 1951 and I have one earlier appearance in December of 1950.

Doc V.
Oops! I forgot to give the Sunday start date in the post. The Sunday was added (in the Trib) 11/19/1950.

Thanks for catching my omission Doc.

Hi! My family name is Mullarkey. I loved the comic strip. In 1967 I was away at college and had no idea that Mostly Malarky had ended. In the 1970s, a nice guy at work used to call me "Most" for short. Thus us older baby boomers - born in the 40s - would be the only ones to grieve the loss of that comic strip.
Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]