Saturday, August 03, 2019


Herriman Saturday

January 4 1910 -- This is the final Mary's Home From College strip until it is revived for a short run in 1919. Herriman sends Mary off with a literal bang in a classic final strip.

BULLETIN: Herriman Saturday is going on a short hiatus. I have more of his Examiner cartoons waiting to be scanned, but my large-format scanner is unavailable until sometime this fall. Saturdays will become a  temporary home for a new weekly feature starting next week, which will move to another day once we have Herriman cartoons ready to go again. Tune in next week to see what we have for a new series!


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Friday, August 02, 2019


Wish You Were Here, from Jimmy Swinnerton

This is the first time we've featured a Magic Slate card on Wish You Were Here Friday. This series was a giveaway from the Hearst newspapers in 1907, and the gimmick was that the slate originally appears to be blank. The postcard recipient wets the slate and magically a chalky looking cartoon appears. This process was brand new, with a "patent applied for" note on each card citing the A.B. Woodward Company.

The only problem with this bit of hocus-pocus is that the drawings had to be very simple. On this card I would never know this was supposed to be Little Jimmy if it weren't for the caption.

These cards must have been in the printing pipeline for awhile, because they are undivided backs, which went out in 1906.



The above email address is to one of my old King Features Blog entries, where you can see another in this "slate" series, and some others in a similar vein.
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Thursday, August 01, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Blue Chips

Morrie Brickman tried to make it big in a number of comic strip genres before finally hitting paydirt with the small society. Blue Chips was his last syndicated stop along the way, which was distributed by Bell Syndicate (later Bell-McClure) starting on October 3 1960*.

Blue Chips tried to carve out a niche market on newspaper stock pages, a page that has never really been the location of a big hit. Dale McFeatters' Strictly Business staked a claim, and later Herb Stansbury's Smart Charts, but generally speaking newspaper editors seem relieved enough just to get all that tiny type set for the stock listings and be done with the page. Adding graphic interest seems like it was pretty far down on their priority list.

Blue Chips may have further limited its chances of success by treating readers like they were savvy investors. Gags that depend on an understanding of dividends, stock splits and margin trading no doubt made for fun reading for experts, but the typical newspaper reader would have been mystified.

What Blue Chips did very, very right is to create a character, Mr. Pigeon, who was the put-upon everyman investor, constantly losing in the market and recognizing his luck is probably never going to change. This guy basically got rehired for a starring role in the small society, and once there, no longer complained about the stock market but rather the government and society. His fatalistic belief that things are awful and never going to get better struck a nerve with many people and made the strip the big hit it was.

the small society hit newspapers in May 1966, and Brickman soon knew he had a winner. He continued Blue Chips for a short while, probably working out his contract, and the strip seems to have expired on August 19 1967**.

* Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
** Source: Paterson (NJ) News


I found at least one "Blue Chips" strip where Pigeon said "Hoo Boy". The comparison to the "small society" guy is spot on.
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Wednesday, July 31, 2019


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: V.F. Macom

Voorhees F. Macom who was born on March 20, 1893, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania according to his World War I draft card. In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Macom was the oldest of two sons born to John, an optician, and Mary. The family resided in Camden, New Jersey at 211 Stevens Street.

According to the 1905 New Jersey state census and 1910 census, the Macoms still lived in Camden but across the street at 204 Stevens Street. In 1910 Macom was a designer at a factory.

Camden city directories from 1911 to 1916 listed Macom as an artist at 429 Beckett. Where Macom received his art training is unknown. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Macom produced two series for the North American Syndicate. First was Has This Ever Happened to You?, which ran from November 16, 1913 to December 6, 1914. It was followed by Movie Mat, debuting December 6, 1914 and ending July 4, 1915.

Macom signed his World War I draft card on June 5, 1917. His address was 554 Haddon Avenue, Collingswood, New Jersey. Macom was an “illustrator and idea man” at Philadelphia-based advertising agency N.W. Ayer. His description was medium height and build with hazel eyes and brown hair.

Macom’s address was the same in the 1920 census. The advertising artist was head of the household which included his brother, George, and mother, a widow.

Bell Laboratories Record, November 1926, published Macom’s drawing.

Macom had an entry in the Eastern Edition of Advertising Arts and Crafts (1927).
Macom, Voorhees F., 1520 Chestnut, Rit 7137 Philadelphia, Pa. Nat’l Adv. Ill., Figure Heads, Ind. Rendering, Layout, Black and White, Color, Crayon, Dry Brush, Etching, Line Drawings, Oil, Pencil, Pen and Ink.
According to the 1930 census. Macom and his mother were residents of Palisades, New Jersey at 1130 Palisade Avenue. He was an advertising illustrator.

Printers’ Ink, September 4, 1930, noted Macom’s change of agencies: “William Fink, formerly with Konor & Peters, New York art service, and Voorhees F. Macom, for the last four years with Young & Rubicam, Inc., New York advertising agency, and before that with N. W. Ayer & Son, have both joined the art staff of Pedlar & Ryan, Inc., New York advertising agency.”

On July 29, 1931 Macom and his mother arrived in Boston, Massachusetts from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. They sailed on S.S. Prince George.

The New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index, at, said Macom obtained a marriage license on December 19, 1934 in Manhattan where, sometime in 1935, he married Blanche H. Beard.

The New York Sun, November 9, 1935, reported “Arthur W. Munn, vice-president and art director, and Voorhees F. Macom of the art staff of Fletcher & Ellis. Inc., have resigned to open a studio in International Building, Rockefeller Center.” Four days later the Sun said “Marie Jacobi, art buyer of Fletcher & Ellis, has joined the recently organized studio of Arthur W. Munn and Voorhees F. Macom in the International Building.”

The New York Times, December 19, 1937, reported on  housing in Jersey and said “The seven-room house at 178 Engle Street, Tenafly, on a plot of three-fourths of an acre, has been purchased by Voorhees F. Macom of New York City from the Clinton Towers Construction Company. The Alexander Summer Company acted as broker.” The house was pictured, on the adjacent page, with a caption, “Voorhees F. Macom, illustrator, had this house built to order at 178 Engle Street, Tenafly, by Clinton Towers Construction Company.”

Macom passed away before the enumeration of the 1940 census which listed his wife, a widow, and son, Vorrie, at the address stated in the Times article. An obituary has not yet been found.

—Alex Jay


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Tuesday, July 30, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Movie Mat

V. F. Macom had two series published in the Philadelphia North American Sunday comics section in the period 1913-15. The first was Has This Ever Happened To You?, which we covered here back in 2010. It was derivative, not well-drawn and utterly forgettable.

Macom's second and final series showed his growth as an artist. His cartoons were now much more self-assured, if still a long way from masterpiece status. The subject of the new strip was a more original concept in which a fellow gets inspiration to do foolish things after seeing them in the movies. Though the strip is repetitive, Macom put in a good effort to make each episode worth perusing. Apparently, though, he was not proud of his work on Movie Mat as he never once signed it during its over a half-year run, December 6 1914 to July 4 1915.

When the North American ended their home-grown comics section they sold a lot of their stock to World Color Printing. Movie Mat thereby made a curtain call, reprinted in the 1919-20 World Color Printing sections.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scan.


4 July 1915 was the final day of the North American Company's syndicate, a week after their hometown rival, The Philadelphia Press, ended their's.
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Monday, July 29, 2019


Toppers: It's The Gypsy In Me

George McManus quickly settled down to Rosie's Beau as his topper for the Bringing Up Father Sunday page, but come 1933 the Hearst syndicates decided that one topper just wasn't enough. Some Hearst Sunday pages added activity features, like puzzles and paper dolls, but McManus chose a single panel cartoon to be his new third feature. His panel cartoons changed titles pretty frequently, and the last in the series was It's The Gypsy in Me.

The panel was loosely based around the common thread of a person who'd like to run away from his or her current situation, or already had run away and was finally enjoying life.

This topper began with the Sunday page of May 26 1935, but was replaced by another topper panel, What'll I Do Now, after December 22 of that year. The new topper apparently didn't stimulate McManus' creative juices for long though, and It's The Gypsy In Me returned with the page of March 22 1936. The panel thereafter ran every week until April 25 1937, when McManus swore off the three feature dictum and went back to offering Rosie's Beau as the sole topper for Bringing Up Father.


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