Friday, August 14, 2020


Comic Stamp Quiz, Part 4

   Here is the fourth batch of unidentified comic stamps. Can you name the strip the stamp ran with, and the name of the character depicted?

Hello Allen-
This bunch seem to be Gumprocentric:

31- "AN OLD PRINT OF UNCLE BIM-"(10 July 1932)
32- "TOWNSEND ZANDER" (31 July 1932)
33-" AN OLD TIN TYPE OF ANDY GUMP-" (25 September 1932)
34- "AN OLD PRINT OF ANDY'S MOTHER-" (18 June 1932)
35-"ANDY GUMP'S MOTHER-IN-LAW" (21 August 1932)
36-"MIN AT THE AGE OF FOURTEEN-" (24 July 1932)
37- "FROM AN OLD PRINT-" (11 June 1932)
38-"ANDY GUMP AT THE AGE OF FOUR-"(29 May 1932)

going back a few days:
And Here's a HERBY one-
Incidentally, these all had captions and borders when they were published, so whoever cut them up really liked to cut things close.

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Thursday, August 13, 2020


Comic Stamp Quiz, Part 3

 Here is the third batch of unidentified comic stamps. Can you name the strip the stamp ran with, and the name of the character depicted? 

In fairness, I wonder if perhaps #23-26 aren't real; they sure look like amateur drawings to me. 


Hello All-
Here's my suggestions:
23-26- Home made, I guess whoever collected these stamps couldn't get enough, so he made some up. I can't wait to see some samples of the strip these might be from.
27- Texas Slim
28- On Our Block
29 a/b-Mr. Bailey(Smitty)
30- Is this even intended as a "stamp?" It looks like a detail in a regular panel of something.
It seems likely some kids would generate originals because they didn't get the Sunday paper or siblings got at the funnies first, perhaps to have something to barter with other kid collectors.

In "The Great Comic Book Heroes", Jules Feiffer described how he hand-drew his own comic books as a kid, then took them to where other kids would swap or sell comics. Feiffer notes, "Mine went for less because they weren't real"
One of them went on to become the script for the 1980 Popeye movie.
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Wednesday, August 12, 2020


Comic Stamp Quiz, Part 2

 Here is the second batch of unidentified comic stamps. Can you name the strip the stamp ran with, and the name of the character depicted? (Okay, a few are named ....) One hint: our comic stamp collector has the ID wrong on #15; it is not Tillie the Toiler.


Sort of looks like Ella Cinders...not 100% sure though.
#21 gotta be Silk Hat Harry; no?
#22 Alexander Smart, Esq. by Doc Winner
Hello all-

The stamps as far as I can tell, some Chicago tribune and /or NEA things as well as KFS:

11- A strain on the family tie
12,-Little Jimmy
14-Gasoline Alley?
15- Lillums Lovewell, Harold Teen's girl.
16 a/b Corky? Herby?
17-Gasoline Alley?
18,19, 20 Corky?
21- Obviosly there was no more Silk Hat Harry series in the 1930s, I think this might be from one of Murphy's sets of theme stamps, this being hearst strips of the then recent past.
22- It's Alexander Smart, but was it drawn by Winner?

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Tuesday, August 11, 2020


Comic Stamp Quiz, Part 1

 What are comic stamps?

They were an extra added feature of some Sunday comic strips, mostly in the 1930s. In addition to the main strip and up to two topper strips, some cartoonists added yet more punch to their pages with comic stamps, which were little cartoon portraits typically printed at about the size of a typical postage stamp. Most simulated stamps, with the perforations along the edges, others play money with character faces, some just put the portraits in plain ol' rectangles. 

Here's a typical comic stamp from a Tillie the Toiler Sunday, an addendum to the Van Swaggers topper strip:

The idea of comic stamps was that kids should cut them out and paste them into stamp albums or scrapbooks, I guess. I don't really get the entertainment value of this, but then I'm not the intended audience. There evidently were kids who did this, because today if you watch the eBay auctions sometimes you'll come across a dusty old collection of comic stamps or play money. 

Much to my surprise, there are even people today who collect them. I was contacted recently by a comic stamp collector who was hoping to get my help IDing some of their more obecure stamps. What I thought would be easy turned out to be anything but. It turns out that many comic stamps don't identify the characters, and often they depict secondary or even short-lived guests in the strips. 

Rather than have all the fun to myself of trying to figure out the comic strip that gave birth to these comic stamps, and the characters they depict, I decided to throw it open to the group as a quiz. And this is not some easily aced gimme, either. So if you can figure any of them out, be sure to post a comment and accept the laurels of an expert comic stamp spotter. 

Here's the first batch. I'm not sure #1 is an actual comic stamp, but the rest appear to be the real thing:


Hello Allen-

Here's my pathetic guesses:

1-The corner of a Post Toasties ad
2-A character from Tim Tyler's Luck(?)
3-A character from Blondie.
4-From Johnnie Round-the-world stamp gallery?
5-A character from Count Screwloose
6,7,8- from Katzenjammer Kids
9-from Captain & the Kids(?)
More questions and a trace of further uninformed speculation from me:

Always wondered about those. Had the impression they were an organized campaign by, at first anyway, one syndicate. They were almost always presented without comment, so I wonder if there any kind of promotion telling kids to look for them and collect them.

Went back to the Popeye reprints and noticed Segar favored play money, larger than the stamps and often featuring gags or words of wisdom. Unlike the other strips I'd seen, there was usually a character commenting on the play money or a mini draw-me thing.

Early in the '30s Segar abandoned the play money in favor of cut-out movies and eventually the Cartoon Club. But years later, Prince Valiant sported collectible-type images on its masthead into the 40s: Always the same portrait of Val on the left, and various characters, objects and scenes on the right. They vanish when the masthead strip vanishes.

Were there other strips that kept the stamp / play money thing going that long, or was Prince Valiant a last stand?
If I recall it right, it was Jimmy Murphy who started the extras like comic stamps, play money and cut-out dolls in Toots & Casper in about 1930 or 1931, and many other Hearst Sunday strips followed suit. The other syndicates may have done similar things, but kind of half-heartedly. There were the dolls, which off-and-on could be seen in non-Hearst girl strips like Dixie Dugan, Jane Arden, or Fritzi Ritz.
The play money could be in other syndicate series. If you've seen 1930's copies of the Sunday Mirror of New York City, you'll notice for years they had play money of their strips, Hearst and non-Hearst, such as Toonerville Folks, that they made themselves, used as space fillers along the bottom of the pages when they couldn't come up with a long,thin ad. (often for "Baby Ruth")

Dick Tracy ran a series of stamps featuring mystery writers. That may be the source of #4, the Edgar Allan Poe stamp (just a guess).
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Monday, August 10, 2020



The end date for The Captain and the Kids, as cited in my book and elsewhere, is believed to be April 15 1979. The source for that is the distributor itself, United Feature Syndicate. While that may seem to be about as authoritative as you can get, I have found errors in their records before.

I just got an email from a Captain and the Kids fan who owns a piece of original art that seems to defy the UFS records. Here it is:

In case you can't read the date, it is May 13 1979, a month later than the supposed end date.

There is a possibility that UFS cancelled The Captain and the Kids while there was still art waiting in the pipeline. That can happen especially with cartoonists who work far ahead of deadline. I have no idea, though, if John Dirks was one of those people.

The other explanation, obviously, is that UFS has the end date wrong in their records. Unfortunately my own collection and online sources do not shed any light. The latest printed strip I or the owner of this art can find is this episode from March 3 1979:

So can you shed any light on the mystery of the Captain and the Kids end date? Do you have tearsheets in your own collection that go past April 15 1979, or have you found an online source for later episodes? If so, please do let us know!

Both "Captain and the Kids" and "Katzanjammer Kids" evidently lasted a long time; the Comics Kingdom site presently carries reruns of both.

Always wondered how that situation persisted for so long. You'd think that one strip would outdraw and vanquish the other in the marketplace, or some lawyers would sit down and finally make a deal. Wikipedia sez both strips prospered.

Did they bump up against each in merchandising? Did any papers run both strips? Were there any further battles, legal or otherwise?
Hello Allen, DBenson,

The Comics Kingdom site does NOT have any "Captain and the kids" on offer, they can't. C&TK is a United Features-owned property and trade mark, not to be found on a site owned and devoted to rival King Features Syndicate and their properties.
Here's a blog entry from the defunct "Ask The Archivist" blog I used to do there that explains the Katzenjammer/ Captain schism:

Both strips existed in the same universe for many years, but they went into decline, the Katzenjammers quite a lot after the demise of HH Knerr in 1949,and 'Capatin' was a second level strip from the 1930s on, and really just gasped along from the 1950s on, and by the 70's, it would be pretty hard to find. The Katzenjammers are still syndicated today, but it's (at least by the time I left the syndicate) down to only a handful of papers in the world. Doubtful that both strips would ever have ran in the same paper, unless maybe they have a sunday comic section on Bongo Island.
Idiot mistake on my part. I just rechecked the website and what they have are a "current" and a "vintage" running simultaneously (the "current" for this and other retired titles being reruns less ancient that the "vintage").

Thanks for the link!
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