Saturday, May 22, 2021
Herriman Saturday: February 3 1910
February 3 1910 -- Los Angeles makes a botch of getting out the paychecks for January; red tape has the process hung up somewhere in the warren of city government offices. Employees, understandably, cannot seem to see the humour in the situation.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, May 21, 2021
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: J.W. McGurk
Joseph W. McGurk, who has been sports cartoonist on the Philadelphia Record for a number of years and who has also done special illustrations for the Sunday Magazine Section, joined the sports staff of the New York American March 1. ...
“Kayo Tortoni” is acknowledged the most famous woman character in sports cartoons. She enters every branch of athletics and leads the vogue in sports togs. Joe McGurk’s fascinating portrayals of Kayo’s sporting proclivities put the “Oh!” into Evening Journal sports pages. …
Gladys Murgatroyd and “One Round,” figures in Mr. Witwer’s “Leather Pushers” series, which later were made into movies, were among the most popular characters created by Mr. McGurk’s pen. He and Mr. Witwer, during their period of collaboration, never met but worked together by long distance telephone.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Thursday, May 20, 2021
Obscurity of the Day: Forty-Second Cousins
Back when being a sports cartoonist was an actual thing -- most major papers had them -- J.W. McGurk was enough of a standout that he was snapped up by Hearst. His cartoons were characterized, to my eyes, by a rough-and-tumble masculinity, a muscle-flexing virility that emphasized the athleticism of sports.
That makes it quite unexpected that McGurk also produced for Hearst a Sunday page of cartoons that emphasizes practically the polar opposite -- quietly delicate and sophisticated gags about social and interpersonal quirks of behavior. And this wasn't a case of trying to fit a round peg into a square hole -- McGurk's feature was to my mind quite artistically and humorously successful, even if it couldn't find a lot of newspaper clients.
The feature debuted on February 5 1922*, and did not have a running title until long into the run; originally each week had a title related to that week's common theme of the cartoon vignettes. It wasn't until the first week of 1926** that McGurk or his syndicate decided that a running title might help with sales. The title became Forty-Second Cousins, and seldom was the feature seen outside of Hearst-owned papers, before or after the title addition.
One interesting vignette about the feature is that it was taken over for three weeks (August 30 to September 13 1925**) by a young Russell Patterson, presumably subbing for the ill or vacationing McGurk.
Another minor oddity is that the feature was syndicated under one of the Hearst-owned syndicates, Star Company, for the first three years of the run, but after that was copyrighted to the New York American, Hearst's east coast flagship paper. Syndicated material was not usually run under this imprint, and it would be interesting to know why Forty-Second Cousins was an exception.
McGurk's impresive foray into the more genteel aspect of cartooning seems to have been cancelled as of June 3 1928***.
* Source: Washington Times.
** Source: Philadelphia Record, oddly the San Francisco Examiner ran these episodes three weeks later.
*** Source: Columbus Dispatch
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Ever since I had to rake William Ferguson over the coals awhile back for producing the stinkeroo Glen Forrest, I've been wanting to show a sample of his This Curious World, so you could see what he did so very remarkably well. Drink in that sumptuous art, folks! Panel seven, particularly, is just delightful, almost like a Rockwell Kent woodcut.
This Curious World, whch was a daily fact panel and Sunday feature about nature, ran from 1931 to 1952, distributed by NEA. The Sunday version was added in 1934, and it was produced as a half-page feature with no topper until November 28 1943, when it gained the topper Righterong?, added so that papers could easily run the main strip as a third page if wanted. Righterong? was a quiz feature and ran until the demise of the Sunday This Curious World on May 25 1952*.
This Curious World came back for a curtain call later, but the Sunday was not revived in that short run.
* Sources: all dates from NEA archives at OSU.
Labels: Topper Features
Monday, May 17, 2021
Obscurity of the Day: Loony Literature
Quincy Scott didn't spend much time in the ranks of the comic strippers, just 1905-1907 as best I can tell, but his limited contributions are pretty choice in my opinion. His final feature, created for the Sunday funnies section of the New York Herald, was titled Loony Literature.
You might assume with a title like Loony Literature that you're in for parodies of classic novels, but what Scott had in mind was wordplay cranked up to Edward Lear-ish levels. It generally comes off wonderfully, as soon as you switch gears mentally to read on Scott's level. This is several levels above the typical fare of the Sunday funnies in 1907, which was mostly prank-pulling kids, hobos, country bumpkins and that sort of lowbrow stuff.
Scott gave co-credit to his just-wed wife, Ella Allen Scott, on the strip. What she contributed could have been art or writing, as she was also an artist. The location of her credit in the bottom example, however, would seem to indicate a credit for writing.
Loony Literature ran only from April 7 to June 16 1907*, far too short a run.
After his bout with the comic strip game, Quincy Scott got more into writing, then served in World War I. Later he became editorial cartoonist for the Portland Oregonian in the 1930s and 40s.
*Source: Ken Barker's New York Herald index
Sunday, May 16, 2021
Wish You Were Here, from Jim Davis
Here's another Garfield card from Argus Communications, this one is IDed P5510. This one's a real hoot, gave me a good chuckle.
Labels: Wish You Were Here