Saturday, November 30, 2019


What The Cartoonists Are Doing, February 1915 (Vol.7 No.2)

[Cartoons Magazine, debuting in 1912, was a monthly magazine devoted primarily to reprinting editorial cartoons from U.S. and foreign newspapers. Articles about cartooning and cartoonists often supplemented the discussion of current events.

In November 1913 the magazine began to offer a monthly round-up of news about cartoonists and cartooning, eventually titled "What The Cartoonist Are Doing." There are lots of interesting historical nuggets in these sections, and this Stripper's Guide feature will  reprint one issue's worth each week.]

Peace between the nations will remain an idle dream as long as cartoonists consider the ridicule of foreigners their chief reason for existence. For years the crayon and pencil artists of Europe have spread before their public the distorted images and hateful impressions of neighboring peoples. They have traded on hate and taught contempt. Just now they are at it harder than ever, with an ever increasing vindictiveness which panders to national prejudices and holds off the day of armistice.

Chickens come home to roost. London Punch is now heartily ashamed of Tenniel's slanderous cartoons on Lincoln, printed at the time of the Civil war, when the moneyed classes in England favored the south. Tenniel, in later years, upbraided himself more than once for the immaturity of judgment which led him to lend his art to the abasement of a great and good man whose aims, purposes and character he could not understand. The Spanish cartoonists no longer depict the United States as a hog with both feet in the trough, their favorite conception of us in the late nineties. They have learned that they are better off without colonies; the only real benefit Spain gained from the Philippines during the last century of her occupation was the $15,000,000 Uncle Sam paid into the Madrid treasury in return for that responsibility. And for our part we have given up representing Spain as a Weyler in a matador suit, spitting babes on his sword-point. Time has shown us that the Spaniard is a gentle manly fellow whose ways may not be our ways, but whose manners may well be copied.

Similarly the time may come when German, French and British cartoonists are heartily ashamed of the encouragement they are giving the old Adam of national bias in his efforts to barbarize a civilized continent. Unless restrained by conscience or the public need, this mobile, slap-stick art of Europe is more dangerous than militarism itself, since armies must have public sanction and that arises from the circulation and pressure of hostile ideas.
— Grand Rapids Press.


Some of the war maps in the metropolitan papers are evidently drawn by cartoonists. — Plattsmouth (Neb.) Journal.

Claude Shafer, of the Cincinnati Post, has been granted an honorary membership by the Cincinnati Schoolmaster's Club in recognition of his cartoon campaign in the interest of a special school-tax levy. Mr. Shafer is the first person, not a school master, who has been thus honored.

In proposing the cartoonist for the honorary membership, Principal E. W. Wilkinson, of the Dyer School, said:

"Mr. Shafer's cartoons presented in concise, graphic form the best arguments for the school levy, and I believe that our victory in a large measure was due to his drawings. A man who so effectively aids the cause of education deserves the appreciation of teachers."

Mr. Shafer was for many years the sport cartoonist of the Cincinnati Enquirer, and it was on that paper that he originated his now famous "Old Man Grump." Grump was a "knocker" par excellence, a blacksmith by trade, and typified in a way the attitude of a certain class of Cincinnatians toward their national-league ball team.

"Abroad with Donahey," is the title of a volume of cartoons just published by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The book is in the form of a "cartoon diary" kept by Mr. J. H. Donahey on his recent trip abroad. Donahey found humor in the most trying situations, and his apt manner of expression makes the volume a classic.

Donahey got much amusement on board ship by observing his fellow passengers. A native of Pittsburgh confided that he had discovered that a collar might be worn a whole day on the bounding main. Another Pittsburgher wanted to die of sea sickness but was disappointed. The cartoonist discovered that "extracting" is the chief industry of Madeira and declares that a toboggan slide has been built to jar visitors loose from any cash that the merchants and beggars have overlooked.

After creating a riot on the dock at Naples by tossing a penny into a swarm of children and mendicants, Donahey proceeded to Cairo. He called upon the Pyramids and also gave the Sphinx the "once over." Three husky Arabs pried the artist free from several hard-earned dollars, but he finally made his escape and went to Naples. On the return journey a bunch of Italian immigrants furnished material for several cartoons of a more serious trend. Donahey made a dash for the nearest cafe, when he landed at New York, and put in a large order for apple pie.

Mr. Russell Henderson has been retained by the National Anti-Saloon League and will have entire charge of the art department. His headquarters will probably be at Washington. Mr. Henderson is one of the youngest artists in the cartoon field. His first work was done on the Charlotte News, while he later served on the staffs of the Pittsburgh Post and Chicago Herald. Lately he has been doing some free-lance work for the New York Tribune.


Punch, in order to aid Lord Kitchener in his efforts to recruit more men for the British Army, has reprinted some of its strongest cartoons and poems on handbills for distribution throughout the United Kingdom. The cartoons have also been prepared on lantern slides and are flashed at the "movie" theaters.

"Nothing appeals more strongly to the imagination than a striking cartoon or a telling poem," says Punch, "and the more widely these are disseminated among those whom it is desired to influence, the greater, undoubtedly, will be the result secured."

This is the title of a book containing 100 of the best cartoons by Mr. Milton R. Halladay, senior cartoonist of the Providence Journal, which has just come from the publishers. The Journal has issued the volume in appreciation of the work of its star artist and in order to record in permanent form some of the more notable of his drawings. The volume is a de-luxe edition and will make a handsome addition to any library.

The first group of cartoons in the book is based upon affairs of the nation. The second group is made up of cartoons on the present conflict in Europe, and the third has to do with Rhode Island politics. There are several other groups dealing with business subjects, while the final series is of a general nature. The editors of the Journal pay a high tribute to Mr. Halladay's genius in the introduction. They say in part:

"There is a fine quality of sincerity and frankness in Mr. Halladay's work, and, while his pencil has necessarily cut deep at times into the sham and dishonesty of the hour, the whole spirit of his cartoons is one of kindliness.

"We feel that thousands of people will be glad of the opportunity to own a book of this kind, typifying the work of a man who has endeared himself to all the readers of the Journal for the past fifteen years."


Ryan Walker has bought an acre of ground at Great Notch, N. J., upon which he intends eventually to erect a home for worn-out cartoonists and artists.

The Des Moines Register and Leader has printed a volume containing the cartoons drawn during the past year by its cartoonist, Mr. Jay N. (Ding) Darling. The book is attractively bound and printed and is certain to prove popular.

Mr. Darling has covered almost every conceivable subject in his drawings, ranging from local happenings to cartoons based upon topics of world interest. His best work is that in which the "home folks" play a prominent part, as he seems to possess the knack of portraying them exactly as they are. He gets a deal of humor into his work, but it is not the variety of humor that is likely to "bite."

Mr. Darling has completely recovered the use of his drawing arm, which was partially paralyzed for a time, and continues daily to delight his large family of Iowa readers with his cartoons.


The Central News learns that the British authorities, acting in conjunction with the French military censorship, intends to discourage sending to the front, from friends at home, picture postcards ridiculing or caricaturing the kaiser or the German crown prince.

It has been discovered that where such productions have been found on prisoners or wounded soldiers, the men have, according to the German military code, rendered themselves liable to summary treatment.

In some cases they have been maltreated or even shot.

Nothing apparently annoys a German more, a representative of the agency was informed today, than to discover that a captured enemy possesses pictures derogatory to the kaiser or his family.
For that reason it is better not to ridicule the kaiser — "certainly not at the front."

The Rev. James D. Dingwell made use of seventy of the best cartoons relative to the European war to illustrate his lecture on the great conflict, at Fall River, Mass., recently. The drawings had been arranged on lantern slides, and were very effective when thrown on the screen. The Rev. Dingwell was careful in his selection of the cartoons, and consequently his illustrated lecture did not give offense to any partisans in the audience. The Fall River News declares that the lecture was "unique, interesting and instructive."

A German captured recently by French troops, told his captors that a biweekly bulletin had been published for some time by the Germans for circulation among the soldiers and prisoners of war, depicting the progress of the great European conflict, according to a special cable dispatch to the New York Tribune, the other day.

A number of cartoons were produced in the bulletin, the correspondent said, showing the fall and destruction of Paris, a Zeppelin attack on London, as well as the sudden death of the czar of Russia, on hearing of a great German victory in Poland weeks ago. One of the drawings depicted King George in company with the king of the Belgians, sitting on a form, in what purported to be a cellar beneath Buckingham Palace, looking apprehensively up into the face of a huge Prussian guardsman, who, with sword drawn, directed a terrified servant to place a large bowl, labeled "gruel," on the floor beside the two unfortunate monarchs. There was also a map on the wall, with the words "Great Germany and Ireland" scrawled across the British Isles.

Another cartoon showed the crown prince riding out of the gateway in a white hat, mounted sentries on either side being German imperial guards, while in the background a body of men, supposed to be British life guards, were being fitted out with German uniforms and knocked into shape by German drill instructors.

"This same prisoner said that up to a short time ago he and the majority of German soldiers had believed these things true," the correspondent wrote, "but owing to the capture of several English newspapers a tiny seed of doubt was sown among the Kaiser's helmeted hordes."

The Daily Express of London has published a volume of cartoons depicting imaginary events during "Demented Willie's Conquest of England," in the form of a calendar. The official title of the publication is, "The Kaiser's Kalender for 1915; or, The Dizzy Dream of Demented Willie." Each month in the calendar has a title, and the series for that period is based upon the general caption. For instance, January: "Willie Lands at Dover;" February: "Willie's Triumphal Procession through London," etc.

The first edition of the "Kalender" was sold out within an hour after it had been placed on sale on the London streets.


Mr. and Mrs. William Ireland of Columbus, Ohio, announce the birth of a daughter. Mr. Ireland is cartoonist of the Columbus Dispatch.

Objecting recently to a cartoon in the Manchester Guardian, an English newspaper, Oswald Lippoldt, a German waiter, tore the paper out of a file in the New York City Public Library and destroyed it. He was arrested and later was fined.

"I thought that picture was doing harm to Germany and that's why I tore the page up," was the only defense offered by the waiter when he was arraigned in court.


Sidney Smith, cartoonist of the Chicago Tribune, has purchased a $10,000 residence in Kenmore Avenue.

Louis Keene, whose work as cartoonist and war artist has placed him in the first rank of Canadian artists, is now at Salisbury Camp with the first Canadian contingent, a member of the Canadian Automobile Machine-Gun Battery.

He has made a specialty of army and navy cartoons, and his recent work in Beck's Weekly has attracted widespread comment. Mr. Keene is an Englishman by birth, but he has lived in many lands. On one occasion he traveled all over Europe on foot. His walking tour through Germany proved not the least interesting part of this trip. He also lived for ten years in South Africa, traversing the Congo, the Union of South Africa, and Portuguese West Africa before going to Canada, where he has since made his home.

The Canadian artist is expected to prove a valuable acquisition at the front, speaking, as he does, fluent German and being thoroughly conversant with the Franco-German frontier.

W. S. Steinke, cartoonist of the Scranton Tribune-Republican and Truth, has published a cleverly written history of the founding and growth of Scranton. The book is entirely different in its method of treatment of dry historical facts. It is profusely illustrated by the author.

Mr. Steinke refuses to treat his history seriously, and his account from the birth of Scranton when "Jonathan Slocum, Will Park, Thomas Picket, 'Hank' Bush and Daniel Marvin got tangled in the briars," up to the present day is a rare combination of wisdom and mirth. He thus describes the discovery of coal in the Pennsylvania city:

"In the winter of 1812, H. C. L. Von Storch found himself up against a hard proposition. Mrs. Von Storch, in getting a baking ready for the oven, had just discovered that the woodshed was empty. She bade H. C. L. get busy with the bucksaw and ax. Mr. Von was unable to find the saw or ax and then remembered that the next-door neighbor, whose place was half a mile away, had borrowed the weapons. Groping in the cellar he recalled that Judge Jesse Fell, of Wilkes-Barre, had been bragging that he burned anthracite, but Von had never taken much stock in Fell's claim.

"However, when a man is out of wood and his wife is crying for kindling, he will do most anything. So Von Storch kicked loose from the cellar wall a bucket of black rock, and hiking back to the kitchen, threw it under the oven. Then he went down to the exchange and gathered the day's whittlings. These, too, he cast under the oven and when Mrs. Von S. had struck the flint he looked on and saw that while the black rock was not much for blazing, it was a sizzler for heat.

"An hour and a half was Mrs. Von's time limit for the baking over a wood fire, but an hour after H. C. L. had set the black rocks glowing, she looked into the oven to see how the pans were coming on. All that was left was charred and brittle crusts. H. C. L. had discovered that coal would burn, but Mrs. H. C. L. had to set another sponge."

The London Daily Graphic announces the publication of a volume of war cartoons by its popular artist, Mr. Jack Walker. Mr. Walker has added greatly to his fame as a cartoonist since the outbreak of the European war, through his satirical drawings of the kaiser. Most of the London artist's cartoons have the German emperor as the central figure, while the crown prince comes in for his share of ridicule.


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Friday, November 29, 2019


Wish You Were Here, from F.M. Howarth

Here's a card from a freebie series given away by the Hearst papers, this one featuring the players in Howarth's "The Love of Lulu and Leander". The series was called the Moving Picture Comic Post Card, and as you can see it is essentially a double card, in which the top third and bottom third fold together. I have no idea how one makes this picture "move", though. If the idea is that the platter can be made to konk poor Leander on the head, I don't see how that works. To make the platter "move" you need to shift the whole top half of the picture, which makes Lulu and her dad split into two parts. I get the feeling I'm missing something really simple.


A guess, based on a cereal box cutout from the early 60s:

You write your message on the flip side, then fold the bottom up and the top down to cover it. Slip the tabs into the slots. My guess is that the platter will be above the guy's head, and the tabs will allow movement.

If you squeeze the folded card from top and bottom, the two parts of the image slide a little closer together for the impact; release and the stiffness of the card will lift the platter back to first position. Repeat for slapstick effect. Yes, the illusion is far from perfect but amusing enough for a postcard.

If you have a printer, you can cut it out and readily test this theory. Card stock should provide the necessary "spring".

If the reverse side doesn't carry any instructions, maybe they appeared in the comic section that included the card. I'd be interested to know if there were any more of these. Perhaps there were variations on the gimmick (turning the art 90 degrees for vertical action, or even a diagonal cut).

This same card (NY Version) is in my collection and in one of my (now abandoned) "Ask the Archivist" entries I showed it and how it would look when ready for action. Within, you will see how these cards looked in their pristine state, printed two at a time, with cutaway instructions offered.

Incidentally-I've never seen another one of these Hearst character cards used ten years after they were issued. About a decade after Leander and Howarth left the scene, too. Go here:

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Thursday, November 28, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Lord Chumpleigh

For a little over three months the readers of the San Francisco Chronicle daily comics page were tormented by the appearance of a locally produced strip titled Lord Chumpleigh. The strip was badly drawn and the gags were copied verbatim out of cheap jokebooks, but it was inexplicably given a prime spot at the top of the comics page from December 22 1921 until April 1 1922.

The new strip knocked Mutt and Jeff from the comics page to the sports page in the middle of the week before Christmas. A short promo ran the day before, saying that R.E. Parker (he signed himself "Tops") was a former lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps credited with shooting down seven German airplanes in the Great War. He supposedly created the strip as a revenge against a former superior officer, a stuffy old titled Brit. One hopes that Mr. Parker got some closure from his revenge, but his readers may have suffered more greatly than he did. I also have to wonder about the veracity of  his claim, since there seem to be no pilots by his name listed here as aces with seven WWI victories. I checked the list for five through ten victories as well, with nary a Parker to be found.


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Wednesday, November 27, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: L'Enfant Terrible

Extra special treat for you Eddie Eks fans today as we cover his long running series L'Enfant Terrible with lots of eye candy from the collection of Cole Johnson.

In this series, which ran from November 2 1902 to August 9 1903* in the St. Louis Star, Eksergian gives us a little tyke drawn in his most outrageously grotesque style. I mean this kid looks more like a troll than a human, and the action is utterly bizarre. A hundred-some years later I thank the Star profusely for ignoring the reader outrage that they must have endured in order to leave us these unabashedly primitive, anarchic and esoteric works of a deliciously sick mind.

Cole knew I have a special love for Eksergian's umbrella fixation and provided not one but two of Eks' trips down the rabbit hole with those objects. I can't even conceive what newspaper readers must have thought when they opened the paper to find strips like the umbrella ones above, which were a regular subject for him. Did no editor ever approach Eks with a suggestion that he keep his umbrella fetish off the cover of their funnies section? Evidently not ...

* Edit 4/5/2022: End date now extended to 1/10/1904, because I found a two-page version of the section running in Mansfield News -- St. Louis Star only ran one page by late 1903-1904.


Definitely one of the weirder comics I have ever seen. And I have seen some!
Back in 2006, you listed a 1904 WCP series, "Mrs. Knitt" as being by Eksergian. I don't think it was his, the artwork, even the lettering, doesn't match. The signature "Eddie" must belong to one other than Eks.
Mark, you are absolutely right that Mrs. Knitt is a big departure from Eddie's style. I guess I just assumed that checking off the boxes of right syndicate, right byline, right riotous subject matter, right umbrella cameo just had to add up to our Eddie Eks. I will update the listing acordingly.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: The Richleigh Family on Tour

W. O. Wilson is today remembered for Madge the Magician's Daughter, a fantasy strip enlivened by Wilson's great facility with the pen. He also penned the long-running series The Wish Twins and Aladdin's Lamp. One strip less worth remembering is the Richleigh Family On Tour, which is unusual for Wilson in that the writing is half-awake and the art is merely serviceable. The strip ran in the New York Herald from May 1 to October 23 1904.

In those days the Grand Tour of Europe was a must-do for wealthy families, and this strip follows the Richleigh family from country to country on their quest for the picturesque. Unfortunately as you will see above, Wilson seemed to have little interest in writing gags that are particular to those countries. Okay, so yes Norway gets a lot of snow*. Holland has dog carts and is known for kidnapping children? Switzerland is known for its eagles? Admittedly the above samples are some of his real stinkers, but there isn't much better in the rest of the series.

As lackadaisical as Wilson seemed to be in this series, he for some reason extended it beyond its natural lifespan. After the countries of Europe had been exhausted, he sent the Richleighs off to Russia, Egypt and other parts of the world.

Ken Barker's New York Herald index supplies me with the running dates and title of this series, but as best I can tell the title was always in the form of "The Richleigh Family in _____". Perhaps the introductory episode, which I have not seen, used Barker's title.

* This strip is interesting in that it shows the family skiing with single long poles. Turns out this was a common method back then, but soon became archaic as double-poled skiing was found to offer a much livelier experience.


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Monday, November 25, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: The Giants

On September 14 1964* the Toronto Telegram, a major Canadian newspaper, started a new comic strip series titled The Giants. It was written by Walt McDayter and drawn by Norman Drew. The strip told biographical stories from Canadian history and was syndicated to a goodly number of Canadian papers.

Sensing that the idea had merit beyond the Canadian market, the Telegram shopped the strip around, offering to expand the subject matter to biographies of general interest. They found at least one taker, the  LA Times Syndicate. The new Canada-free version of the strip debuted on the U.S. market on February 6 1967**.

Soon after U.S. syndication began, on September 25 1967 artist Norman Drew was replaced by Bill Payne. Payne provided a more sophisticated look to the strip. Writer McDayter left the strip on August 10 1968, and from then on the strip was credited only to Payne, though it is unknown if he actually produced the scripts. On December 30 1968 Payne stopped signing the strip, but he still got credit on syndicate proofs (see above), and the art style didn't seem to change. An artist by the name of Bob McCormick is sometimes mentioned as having a role in this strip, but he never signed it. Perhaps he was the mystery man who took over and mimicked Payne's work so convincingly?

The strip was cancelled, in Canada and elsewhere, on September 13 1969. The U.S. distribution of the strip never took off, but I get the feeling that the strip was cancelled not for lack of sales but because they unexpectedly lost their creative personnel. My guess is based on the fact that the final week of the strip is cobbled together from old art with hastily written typeset text.

A complete list of stories and running dates for The Giants may be found at the Canadian Animation, Cartooning and Illustration website.

* Source: Brandon Sun
** Source for U.S. syndication dates: Denver Post


An example of this strip, (from the 1967 continuity, "The Crime Fighters")was used to illustrate the capture of one of Canada's least-loved sons, Alvin Karpis, in the book "The Alvin Karpis Story."(1971)
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