Saturday, June 22, 2019


Herriman Saturday

December 26 1909 -- Herriman offers a look back at the big boxing stories of 1909.


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Friday, June 21, 2019


Wish You Were Here, from Dwig

Here's another Dwig card from the Tuck "Knocks" Series (#165). It was postally used in 1910, and the writer had the good grace to apologize for the sentiment on the front. He did point out that it was good advice, but assured Miss Anna Javosky that she was not of such an offending nature.


Mark Evanier posted on his blog the following request:

As you may know, I am one of the editors of Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips, a series from Fantagraphics reprinting my favorite of all newspaper strips. We are close to sending Volume 6 off to press for release later this year but we have a problem. We are missing good copies of four of Walt Kelly's Sunday Pogo comics, all from 1959. We need to find someone who has either the original artwork to them or printed images from the newspapers.

The dates are August 2, August 23, October 4 and November 1. From '59. And we need either the tall 4-tiered versions or the complete 3-tiered versions. If you have them, please get in touch with me. You will be rewarded in some way.
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Thursday, June 20, 2019


News of Yore 1939: Miss Clare Briggs Profiled

[Originally printed in the Minneapolis Tribune,August 15 1939]

Appearance of Miss Clare Briggs' Cartoons in Morning Tribune is Real Homecoming

Daughter of Late Famed Artist is Former Minneapolis Girl -- Will Come Here From Chicago to Visit Miss Helen Curtis in Late September

The appearance of Miss Clare Briggs' cartoons in the Morning Tribune, starting yesterday, marks a real homecoming for her, as she is a former Minneapolis girl and has many friends here. Miss Briggs, daughter of the late famed cartoonist, Clare Briggs, lives in Chicago now. She will come late in September for a visit with Miss Helen Curtis, daughter of Mrs. Frederick W. Curtis, 1805 Knox Avenue South.

Miss Curtis visited Miss Briggs in Chicago a few weeks ago and has in past summers been her guest at Mrs. Briggs' home, Westgate, a large estate near Leesburg, Va.

In her apartment in Chicago, the young artist has a map studded with pins showing all the cities where newspapers are now printing her cartoons, Miss Curtis said. She only started the syndicate feature in June and already her map is marked in many places all over the country.

When the Briggs family lived here, their home was at Summit and James avenue south. Miss Briggs attended Northrop Collegiate school and when they moved to Chicago, she transferred to the Roycemore school at Evanston, Ill. She has attended art schools in Chicago and Washington, D.C., and traveled abroad, studying in Munich.

The youthful cartoonist also is interested in wood carving and to further this study she enrolled in a school in North Carolina devoted particularly to cultivating the native art of wood carving among the mountain people. 

Miss Briggs is a niece of Mr. and Mrs. George N. Briggs, 2234 Fairmount Avenue, St. Paul.


Hello Allan-
Since I know you had a run of the Minneapolis Tribune, you have seen Miss Briggs' cartooning efforts. She tried a resurrection of her father's old series, with rather tepid results. I don't think she had the understanding of human nature and gag mechanics pére had. One I recall had a girl being mortified by her father showing a prosective beau her nude baby pictures. I can't see many fathers who'd pull a thing like that, but Miss Briggs would often just take one of her daddy's gags and adapt it, often with gender switches, to make it hers.
I had a run of one of the papers that took her short-lived series, (The Indianapolis News) and If I remember correctly, it was syndicated by Esquire Features. They had several series including Paul Webb's Mountain Boys and Hedda Hopper's Hollywood column.
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Wednesday, June 19, 2019


News of Yore 1893: The Chicago Inter Ocean Tells How It Prints the Color Supplement

[In 1892 the Chicago Inter Ocean became the first U.S. newspaper to print a color section using a high-speed press. It was a watershed event that soon led to a golden age for newspapers, including the invention of the Sunday funnies.

My thanks to Guy Lawley who has given me permission to run this very interesting article from his personal archives. It originally ran in the Inter Ocean illustrated supplement of March 25 1893.]


First Perfecting Press with Color


A Great Advance Made in Printing to Meet the Demands of The Inter Ocean.


The illustrated supplement of THE INTER OCEAN is the first successful attempt in America to print in colors on a perfecting press. Until THE INTER OCEAN began the publication of this supplement last June all color work of this character was done on slow presses, running, perhaps, 930 to 1,230 sheets a day. On the other hand THE INTER OCEAN press, which is a new invention, prints 7,503 perfect papers per hour. The Petit Journal of Paris publishes a supplement in colors, for which it also uses a perfecting press, but it has a capacity of only about 3,500 copies per hour.

In explanation, a perfecting press is one that completes its work by one continuous operation. The white paper enters the press at one end from a continuous roll and leaves it at the other end a complete paper, printed, folded, and ready for delivery. This supplement, as offered to the readers of THE INTER OCEAN, leaves the press just as it is delivered to subscribers. The perfecting press superseded the old rotary press in daily newspaper work many years ago, but color work was never attempted on such presses until THE INTER OCEAN undertook it.

THE INTER OCEAN press is the invention of Walter Scott, who was formerly foreman of the press-room of THE INTER OCEAN. and who is now the famous press-builder of Plainfield, N. J. When the proprietors of THE INTER OCEAN desired to publish a paper in color after the manner of the supplement of the Petit Journal, they looked around to find where they could secure a Press that would do such work. Mr. Scott undertook the job of inventing and building such a machine as was desired, and within six months of the time he received the order the press was running in THE INTER OCEAN press-room. It has been at work steadily and without need of repair since June 20, 1892.

The weight of this press is about 18 tons. It is 6 feet wide, 7 feet 5 inches high, and, including folder and roller-stand, about 16 feet from end to end. The heart of the press is the offset cylinder in the center. This cylinder is 48 inches in diameter. About this cylinder are four traveling cylinders, each 14 5/8 inches in diameter. These cylinders carry the plates that impinge with every revolution upon the impression cylinder.

The paper, starting from a continuous roll, gets the first impression from the lower cylinder, which is belted with four stereotyped plates for the four inside pages of the paper, and is printed in black ink. The paper sheet then passes to the cylinder directly above, belted with electrotyped plates for illustration. These plates are inked with yellow, the first color for ground work, and are for the color pages of the paper. The sheet passes directly over the offset cylinder to the top impression cylinder for other plates, which are inked with red, and furnishes the second color. The sheet having received its impress passes directly to the cylinder below, where the ink is blue. From there the sheet passes to another cylinder, and gets its finishing impression of black. The press is so arranged as to print either four or two pages in colors. After leaving the last cylinder the paper enters the folding part of the machine.

The machine is one of the perfections of mechanical ingenuity and construction, and its operations have been viewed with wonder and surprise by many thousands. We give this description of its operations because of the frequent inquiries from readers asking how it is that such color work is done for a daily newspaper.


Fascinating! I've been involved in printing and publishing for my entire life, and only recently have been delving back into earlier years. Well, earlier than my lifetime, I guess is what I mean. The revolutionary period of the 1890s is like a magic time, in which colour printing suddenly made great leaps forward. Not only gorgeous printing like Chromolith arose, but also — Hooray! — the four-colour processes which led to — Three Cheers! — the colour comics! Some of the most beautiful (to me) art that I have ever seen rolled off a giant web press. Do I prefer 4-colour printing to The Mona Lisa, or to Cezanne? Yes, I honestly do.

And in closing (as they say) I wonder if I am the only Stripper's Guide reader who was taught, in high school, how to hand-set type using a pica stick and the upper cased and the lower case. This was in the 60s. I went on to working professionally with hot lead (linotype), then early computer type, which we had to slice up and paste up, and on into today's world of digital everything. From moveable type to Adobe inDesign in one lifetime! It's been very exciting to be there to participate.
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Tuesday, June 18, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: The Owlikins

Albert Bloch wasn't much of a cartoonist, but he was at least prolific during his short stay at the prototypical World Color Printing comics section produced out of the St. Louis Star. Later on he'd make a pretty substantial mark as a fine artist, but you'd never guess that the artistic muse was so strong in him from this stuff.

Here we have The Owlikins, his second series for the section, which ran December 29 1901 to January 12 1902* (yes, you're looking at the entire series above). The one positive thing I can say about it is that it is not as horrendously awful as his first, Constable Hayrick the Rustic Sleuth. The Owlikins is one of those crummy funny animal strips in which there's not much reason for the characters to be animals ... of course the reason is that the cartoonist couldn't draw a human being on a dare, so there is one really good reason after all.

I did learn something from The Owlikins, and that's the slang term "drunk as a boiled owl." Never heard it before, and sure don't get the reasoning behind it. But knowledge is its own reward, they say, and so I thank Mr. Bloch and The Owlikins for enlightening me. I also thank Cole Johnson for the scans.

* Source: St. Louis Star microfilm.


Bloch wasn't much on avian anatomy either, how can they have beaks and mouths that are seperate? These owl's have noses and mouths, I guess.
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Monday, June 17, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Muffy Shuffles

In 1907 there debuted a newspaper magazine cover series, one of the earliest on record, called Fluffy Ruffles. The series concerned a gorgeous young debutante who was looking for a job. The gag in each installment was that the girl would get a job, but was such a magnet for men that the boss would tire of the lovesick throngs hanging around the place of business and can the beauteous Miss Ruffles.

That series did well enough that it was turned into a book, which you can see online here.The popular series spawned a satire version, which is our subject today. The satire was titled Muffy Shuffles, it was written and drawn by B. Cory Kilvert, and it ran from March 8* to May 24 1908**. In it the star is changed from an opulently dressed Venus to a rag-wearing ghetto girl.

Now this might seem like a great jumping-off place for biting social satire, but Mr. Kilvert had no such ambitions. Instead he seemed to think that the girl's appearance alone was pretty much all the comedy needed. The situations she gets into are essentially the same except that the jobs she applies for are with the down-and-out employers of her neighborhood. They play out pretty much the same as in the original series except that the merely curious substitute for love-starved boys.

The series was sold to a goodly number of papers; I'd not be surprised if almost as many ran Muffy Shuffles as had taken Fluffy Ruffles.The question, though, is who syndicated it. Kilvert had done some work for the New York World earlier in the decade, and was just about to do some work for Hearst, but I've seen this series in neither of their flagship papers. I wonder if the Philadelphia Press was the syndicate, because they ran the series, or maybe it was distributed by World Color Printing, whose sections it tends to be found alongside.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans.

* Source: Louisville Courier-Journal
** Source: Philadelphia Press


I love these obscure old comics. Really enjoying your blog.
In a promo announcing Muffy's arrival at the Washington(D.C.)Star,(12 March 1908) the cut is attended by the identia: (Copyright 1908 Associated Literary Press), which I've never heard of. I suppose that would mean that Muffy is more or less self-syndicated. The strip is sold like a any independent series, for instance the Sunday Star's comic section was a mix of McClure and Philadelphia Press, otherwise.
I also learned a nugget of information from the same promo; B. Cory Kilvert was the married name of Fanny Cory.
Is "Corcoran", the impressario, supposed to be Jewish? Or is "please to leave" merely contrived for better scansion?
Mark -- Great find there. Seems that Associated Literary Press was a McClure company according to my Googling. So that answers that.

On the other hand, the business about B. Cory Kilvert being the married name of Fanny Y. Cory (or Fanny B. Cory as they have it) seems to be utter balderdash. Both people are proved to be in existence (and of different sexes) based on marriage records and news stories.

Evidently the PR flack who wrote this was confused. The Corys -- B. Cory Kilvert, Fanny Y. Cory, and J. Campbell Cory were related, but they weren't occupying the same space of breathing the same air.

Hi Anonymous --
I wouldn't be surprised if Corcoran is supposed to be Jewish (the caricature is fairly typical stuff) but I think the phrasing is merely to serve the rhyme scheme.

I'm no expert in ghetto theatre, but certainly there is a tradition of Jewish owned (and even Yiddish language) theatres in the lower class areas of turn of the century New York.

In those days it was a controversy in New York that too many Jews owned the legitimate mainstream theatres. If you have any familiarity with the first version of LIFE magazine, when it was a cartoon and commentary weekly, for years before WWI, they had a longstanding, sometimes ugly campaign against Jewish influence in the Broadway playhouses.
If "Mr. Corcoran" seems to be a semetic cariciture, it's a rather mild one, certainly next to LIFE's, but it would seem intended, as stereotypes were always useful cartoonist shorthand, and in 1908 you might easily associate a theatre owner with being jewish.
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