Saturday, February 06, 2021


The Return of Herriman Saturday


About a year and a half ago I had to discontinue our weekly Herriman Saturdays because my LA Examiner source material got packed away in a box 2000 miles away, prepped for the big move. When everything made it to my new home base and unpacking began, I soon realized that the stack of Herrimans was playing a pro game of hide-and-seek. So, here we are a year later and I just uncovered the stack in a totally unexpected box of miscellany. Well, better late than never! 

As you probably do not recall, Herriman Saturday went on hiatus just as we got started on 1910, Herriman's last year at the LA Examiner. However, for our first new post, we're going to turn back the clock to 1908, because in that stack I discovered a giant full-page cartoon by Herriman that got filed out of order. So ....

April 20 1908 -- Herriman offered up a bonanza of cartoons to welcome the Great White Fleet to Los Angeles, among which was this full page of vignettes about the visiting gobs. A few notes on the subject matter:

* in the upper right you see a sailor saluting a handbill depicting 'Bob Evans'. It's not that he's a big fan of fried mush and other down-home heart attack food, but doing what comes natural when he sees the Great White Fleet's Admiral Robley D. Evans

* upper left, "Charley Noble" was the slang term for a copper smokestack over a ship's kitchen. Why this sailor addresses his horse that way I cannot guess. 

* middle top, a pier head is the outer edge of a pier or dock.

* left side, 3rd cartoon down, Herriman shills for a favorite Spanish (that is Mexican) restaurant that serves fiery spiced dishes of chili con carne. The restaurant has been tentatively IDed by others as "The Spanish Kitchen", and operated by Ismael (here corrupted as Ysmile) Ramirez.  

* right side, 3rd cartoon down, Jeff is of course boxer Jim Jeffries, who figures in hundreds of Herriman cartoons, but you can be forgiven if you forgot that after this long layover.


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Friday, February 05, 2021


Obscurity of the Day: Hamlet


Answering the question on everyone's mind, "If pigs could be part of human society, would they be a lot like grown-up Charlie Browns?", Steve Stinson's Hamlet set out to provide the answer and it is a resounding "Yes!". The strip about a depressed porker, syndicated by Iowa's Register and Tribune Syndicate, found very few takers, so few that I can find no papers online that ran it. My files confirm that the strip did indeed make it into a paper somewhere, but more than that I cannot say. It began sometime in 1984, and may not have made it out of that year. Can anyone provide specific running dates?

Stinson tried out a number of newspaper features in the 1980s, and believe it or not Hamlet is the one with the highest profile.  He later got into writing and drawing children's books and paints some pretty cool artwork. Go check out his website.


I remember seeing "Hamlet" listed in the Editor & Publisher Syndicate Directory back in 1984, so I have been familiar with this comic strip for a long time, although I have never actually seen episodes of it before.

I have no idea what newspapers it appeared in, nor its start and end dates, either, although apparently, it did run in October 1984, from seeing the dates on the samples. If it only ran for about one year, it likely did so anywhere from fall 1983 into spring 1985.

Around that time, one comic strip that was a favorite of mine, "Dick And Jane," (also distributed by The Register And Tribune Syndicate) ran around this same time, and was just as short-lived. It also didn't seem to have much for takers, either. My recent guess is that "Dick And Jane" more likely ran in suburban newspapers, as it did not seem to appear in very many big major newspapers.
Was it in the LA Times?
It rings a bell, and I was living in LA at the time.
Ichecked the LA Times for Oct 1984, it's not there. -- Allan
Hello Allan-
I used to have access to many of the leftover files of the Register & Tribune files, which were transferred to King Features when we absorbed them in the 1980s. Not one page of this one was kept!

@John Lund: There was a post here about "Dick and Jane" a few years ago ( which listed some newspapers it was published in.

I can confirm that "D&J" ran in the Tampa Tribune. I even wrote a letter published in the Tribune criticizing the strip.
It ran in 20 papers. Denver and Dallas were the biggest, if I recall properly. My home paper, The Roanoke Times, also ran it. Two-year run. Bought me a '66 Mustang and a house. Suddenly I don't feel so obscure. I have all the art . . . somewhere.
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Wednesday, February 03, 2021


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Dick Bibler

Richard Neil “Dick” Bibler* was born on June 14, 1922, in Elkhart, Kansas, according to his World War II draft card which included his full name. In the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Bibler and his parents, Marcus and Elva, resided in Elkhart. His father was a dentist.

According to the 1940 census the Bibler family had increased to six with the addition of three daughters. Bibler worked as a waiter at a lunch counter.

During World War II Bibler enlisted on May 16, 1942 in the Army Air Corps. He assigned to the Seventh Army Air Force. In March 1944 he was admitted to a hospital to treat impetigo contagiosa.

Bibler contributed cartoons to the Brief, a weekly magazine of the Seventh Army Air Force in the Pacific Theater. The magazine also published Kin Platt’s cartoons


Discharged from service Bibler enrolled in the University of Kansas. One of his classmates was Paul Coker. Bibler graduated with the class of 1950. 

1949 Jayhawker yearbook
1950 Jayhawker yearbook

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Little Man on Campus appeared in college newspapers as early as 1946, first in the Daily Kansan, and continued into the 1950s. The panel ran in some mainstream newspapers in the 1960s.

The Daily Collegian, November 17, 1955, said

Presently, Bibler is an assistant professor in the art department at Humboldt State College, Arcata, California. He admits to a “beautiful blonde wife,” two daughters, and a son. He notes proudly that his son is already scribbling cartoons about guys flunking biology.
Bibler was an art instructor at the Monterey Peninsula College in California. He was profiled in the school newspaper, The Word, on November 3, 1967. 

Bibler passed away May 24, 2013, in Monterey. An obituary appeared in the Monterey Herald, June 15, 2013.
Richard N. Bibler died peacefully in his sleep May 24, 2013. He was a retired Art professor of 30 years at Monterey Peninsula College and creator of Little Man on Campus cartoons. Richard is survived by his children, Ms. Susan Gardner, Dr. Mark Bibler and Ms. Ellen Milinich. His ashes will be placed in the cemetery in Monterey.
He was laid to rest at the Monterey City Cemetery.  

Further Reading and Viewing
Daily Collegian, November 17, 1955
Utah Communication History Encyclopedia
Visual Humor
The Daily Cartoonist

• Not to be confused with Richard C. Bibler who was mistaken for Richard N. Bibler in Artists in California, 1786–1940 by Edan Hughes.

—Alex Jay


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Monday, February 01, 2021


From the Archives Sub-Basement: A Couple of Interesting Mexican Newspaper Comics

 Working away at organizing the boxes and boxes of miscellany here at the Archives, I came across a few Mexican Sunday newspaper comics sections. Of course most of the contents are translated US comics, but each section had a little homegrown content. I decided I had to share a few items with you. First, here is the cover feature of El Heraldo de Mexico for May 18 1980, titled Johnny Galaxy:

I had this one pegged for a foreign import, but clicking around the web I'm not so sure anymore. Seems like this feature appeared in various comics anthologies in various countries, and that the ultimate origin of the strip is surprisingly murky. One website suggested that it was produced by a Spanish comics publisher. I don't know if they mean in Spain, or perhaps in Mexico? In any case, it certainly seems odd that a Spaniard of any country would name his hero Johnny, right? Anyone have any wisdom to share about this feature?

Second, I was pretty blown away by the delight ful art on Chicharrin y el Sargento Pistolas:

These strips from 1984 Sunday sections of an unknown paper may be badly colored and suffering from bleed-through, but I really like the artist's energy. I was very surprised to find that the creator, Guerrero Edwards, started this strip around 1936, and did it into the 1990s. Wow, we're talking about a record run! Hard to imagine art that fresh and joyful could come from a cartoonist by then in his 80s. I found one short bio of the cartoonist online here, which I ran through Google translate:

Born in Pachuca on December 30, 1903, Armando Guerrero Edwards, was the creator of emblematic comic strips, published for decades in the Mexican press, such as Chicharrín and Sargento Pistolas, which were distributed over 66 years.

There is not much information about the cartoonist Armando Guerrero, it is known that he entered a contest organized by the newspaper El Universal, and although he did not win the first prize, he was among the first twenty finalists, some of his works were published.

It would be from 1926 that he began to publish more constantly: Life and miracles of Pinolillo and Nacho Naranjas, Aventuras de Pirrucha and Ranilla.

His most memorable creation was Chicharrín y el Sargento Pistolas, which was published in the evening of Excelsior Últimas Noticias. The strip showed the adventures of a mischievous boy and an abusive cop.

Despite the fact that its purpose was not to generate criticism, as its successors would do with political cartoons, but simply to entertain, at that time it laid the foundations for comics in Mexico; later Rius, Fontanarrosa, Magú, among other moneros and caricaturists would arrive.

José Luis Diego Hernández “Trizas”, president of the Mexican Society of Cartoonists, during the presentation of an edited volume on Guerrero's work, commented: “Don Armando was the creator of characters that became icons in our history, Chicharrín and Sergeant Pistolas have remained in the collective memory, they have made several generations of Mexicans laugh ”.

Armando Guerrero deserves to be remembered as one of the pioneers of Mexican comics and a pillar of the national graphic culture. Chicharrín y el Sargento Pistolas was published from 1936 to the 1990s. Armando Guerrero Edwards died on September 25, 1995.


Hello Allan-
Johnny Galaxy was originally a comic book put out by the Spanish publisher Selecciones Industradas in 1959, created by José M. Beá (Born in Barcelona in 1942). Like many series, it was soon published in multiple languages by multiple publishers throughout Europe in the 1960s and even as far afield as Australia. It would seem that Mr. Galaxy's adventures have been over for many years, though, and some kind of cat expert is using his name all over the internet now. Beá is quite prolific, doing mostly horror titles, some, like Vampirella in the US.

In fact European comics from the 30s through the 50s often gave their characters exotic English names like Johnny, Bill, Larry, and Jack. This sometimes led to odd combinations like the French hero Teddy Ted (his first and last name).
A couple of years back I sat waiting for someone in the entry court of a large Brazilian supermarket. Of roughly 300 people who walked past me, most wearing message T-shirts, ALL of those T-shirts were in English. Many are incorrect, but nobody notices. Last month I saw a "Keep on Raveing" message.
Hello all-

The most preposterous misuses of English must be from the hands of the Japanese, who will make incoherent word couplings for anything from grocery store products like "Dessert Rythm"" Tooth Paste, to Tee shirt/ ball cap mottos like "The Pig Is Full Of Many Many Cats" or "Round eyed LAD dwarf bravery THIS percieve". Maybe it's Zen, or something.
This, and the American sounding names in Eurocomics, stems from the fact that for over a century, our popular culture has had an impressive presence. Our Movies, music and even comics were eagerly accepted by the world, who for the most part, were fascinated by it and us. It would seem only natural that their own creations might try to assume even a tiny bit of American style glamour and adventure.
And then there's the French comics character, Buck Danny. After all these years, I still don't know if his creators meant his name to be Buck Danny or Danny Buck. Ya know, like Canyon Steve and Hazard Johnny. Or Mouse Mickey and Duck Donald.
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