Saturday, May 29, 2021

 

Herriman Saturday: February 5 1910

 

"Boots" Repeti is reported to have broken the world eating record (whatever that might be). He did so with an oddly timed mid-winter Thanksgiving dinner. At the Washington Navy Yard, Mr. Repeti sat down for a refreshing repast of the following:

9 pound roast turkey

1 quart cranberries

3 quarts sauerkraut

1 loaf bread

1/2 pint olive oil

1/2 gallon raw oysters

1 pint ketchup

12 stalks celery

2 gallons beer

4 glasses water

Isn't it amazing how far we've progressed in a hundred years? Isn't this pretty much the same list as the McDonald's Super-Size Meal #6? Well, with Mountain Dew instead of beer, of course.

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Friday, May 28, 2021

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Dick Fletcher


Dick Fletcher was born Richard Martin Steenburgh on March 8, 1916, in Moline, Illinois. According to the The Dispatch (Moline, Illinois), June 7, 1973, his mother was Bertha Elizabeth Pletscher who married John Steenburgh on March 14, 1913, in Aledo, Illinois. (The Rock Island Argus, June 11, 1913 said the marriage was on January 14.) She was an artist known professionally as Betty Fletcher who studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and Mizen Academy among others. At some point her sons adopted the Fletcher surname. 

On September 12, 1918, Fletcher’s father signed his World War I draft card. His address was 2425 8-1/2 Avenue in Rock Island, Illinois. He was the credit manager at the L.S. McCabe & Co. department store. 

In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Fletcher was the youngest of two brothers. The family of four resided in Rock Island, Illinois at 2425 8-1/2 Avenue. Fletcher’s father was a department store manager. The address was the same in the 1930 census. 

Fletcher’s talent was reported in The Dispatch, May 1, 1936. 
Rock Island Youth Hunts Interesting Things to Sketch
Richard Steenburgh, youthful Rock Island artist who resides at 102 Sala apartments and who has been drawing, sketching and modeling ever since he has been old enough to hold a pencil in his hands, has just one ambition: sketching and illustrating. He thinks the essentials of cartoon and caricature are finding outstanding characteristics of a person and transcribing them on a piece of paper. “You don’t have to go far away to find interesting things to sketch,” he said. “There’s a life’s work right in the tri-city' area, and I find a lot of my material in Bettendorf.” Asked what he looks for when he begins a caricature of a person, he replied: “Outstanding facial differences, teeth, the way the hair is combed, the nose and the chin. Take a look at President Roosevelt, that chin of his calls attention of the cartoonist, and with Calvin Coolidge, it was his nose.”
Information about his art training is unknown at this time. 

Fletcher has not yet been found in the 1940 census. On October 16, 1940, Fletcher signed his World War II draft card. He was a Chicago, Illinois resident at 1414 North Clark Street and was employed at the Western Printing Litho Company. Fletcher’s description was five feet six inches, 172 pounds, with gray eyes and brown hair. He wore glasses with “right eye bad”. 


Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said Fletcher’s work appeared in Dell comic books in the early 1940s. (The credits for Dick Tracy are incorrect and belong to Richard Eugene “Rick” Fletcher.) American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Fletcher assisted Carl Ed on his strip “Harold Teen” sometime in the 1940s. 

The FictionMags Index has two pulp illustration credits for Fletcher: Mammoth Detective, February 1945 and Mammoth Mystery, August 1947. 

For the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate, Fletcher drew the Sunday strip, “Surgeon Stone”, from 1946 to 1951. Fletcher collaborated with writer Lloyd Wendt on “Jed Cooper”. The Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate strip ran from November 13, 1949 to March 26, 1961. Editor & Publisher, March 4, 1950, described their research. 


An October 28, 1950 Iowa newspaper, probably in Burlington, wrote about Fletcher and his family moving from Chicago to Burlington, Iowa at 2901 Division. (As fate would have it, Fletcher moved to the birthplace of fellow cartoonist Richard Eugene “Rick” Fletcher.) 
… Fletcher’s mother is the former B. Elizabeth Pletscher of Burlington. An aunt, Mrs. Mary Lenhart, lives across the street at 2900 division. 

Fletcher became interested in art through the efforts of his mother, has done various kinds of art work for a number of years, and has been connected with comic strips for about 15 years. … 
The article also identified his assistants, Ray Johnson, Chuck Meyers and Paul Hodge, Jr. 

The 1955 and 1960 Burlington city directories listed Fletcher as a cartoonist at 2901 Division. His spouse was Madeleine. 

Fletcher’s father passed away on November 25, 1958. Fletcher’s mother passed away on June 1, 1973. 

Fletcher passed away on May 21, 1992, according to the Social Security Death Index.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2021

 

Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The Three Hundred for 1984 -- Overall Results

In this survey we did not lose any papers over the last year, but out of the remaining 286 papers, the information for January 1984 was not available online for seven papers, making this survey coverage only 279 papers.

Starting with this year we are going to look at the development of what I call the Universal Comic Section. Over the past 80 years when you picked up a paper from another town or city in most cases you would read some of the strips that appeared in your local paper but mostly you would see strips that you have never seen before. By the 1980s, with the slow demise of newspapers beginning and less papers around to compete for features, more papers had the opportunity to buy strips that were not available to them before. This could lead to more variety from one paper to another, but instead, the editors of these papers would do the opposite and just pick the most popular strips. As this way of filling a comics page became more and more prevalent, you would now see many of the same comics in every paper. In future articles, we will keep a watch on this process. 

Let’s start this year by examining how many of the most popular strips appear in each paper. In our 1984 survey, out of the 279 papers 162 ran the top 2 strips. 141 ran the top 3 strips. 106 ran the top 4 strips. 63 ran the top 5 strips. 29 ran the top 6 strips. 18 ran the top 7 strips. 10 ran the top 8 strips. 8 ran the top 9 strips. 3 ran the top 10 & 11 strips. One paper, the Austin American Statesman, ran the top 14 strips. The Austin paper ran 27 strips in its paper, so over half were the most popular overall.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In the Top 30 for 1984, Blondie joined the 200 paper club, making it the second strip do to this. B.C. and Hi and Lois gained enough papers to enter the 100 paper club. That now makes  10 strips that are in 100 papers or more. The powerhouse Walker family can now boast having two strips that appear in over 100 papers. Marvin, Berry’s World and Heathcliff entered the Top 30 while Amazing Spider-Man, Alley Oop, Dick Tracy and Eek and Meek fell out the top 30. (Last year we had 31 strips in the Top 30 because there was a tie at 30). Bloom County made a big move in the Top 30 going from 26 to 18 while Nancy had the biggest drop, from 22 to 29 – apparently Jerry Scott taking over was a signal to jump ship.

Here are the top 30 features:

Title

Place

Rank Change

+/- Papers

Total Papers

Peanuts

1

Same

-2

208

Blondie

2

Same

4

200

Beetle Bailey

3

Same

7

186

Garfield

4

Up 1

30

172

Hagar the Horrible

5

Same

7

137

Family Circus

6

Up 1

19

121

Wizard of Id

7

Down 1

0

110

B.C.

8

Same

2

100

Hi and Lois

8

Up 3

6

100

Frank and Ernest

10

Same

1

97

Shoe

11

Up 2

7

93

Andy Capp

12

Down 3

-6

91

Born Loser

13

Down 1

-3

85

Dennis the Menace

14

Same

0

80

For Better or For Worse

15

Up 2

9

75

Mary Worth

16

Down 1

1

73

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith

17

Down 1

2

70

Bloom County

18

Up 8

22

66

Marmaduke

19

Down 1

2

58

Cathy

20

Up 3

11

57

Herman

21

Down 1

3

55

Rex Morgan

22

Down 3

1

54

Ziggy

23

Same

4

50

Tank McNamara

24

Up 2

5

49

Marvin

25

Entering

9

48

Berry's World

26

Entering

7

47

Heathcliff

27

Entering

3

45

Winthrop

27

Down 6

-5

45

Gasoline Alley

29

Up 1

1

44

Nancy

29

Down 7

-4

44

 

And here are the rest of the rankings:

# Papers

Title (+/- Papers)

43

 Alley Oop (-1)

41

 Amazing Spider-Man (-4), Eek and Meek (-2)

39

Funky Winkerbean (-2)

38

 Bugs Bunny (0)

37

 Dick Tracy (-7)

36

 Tiger (-1)

32

 Judge Parker (0), Tumbleweeds (+1)

30

 Archie (-6)

29

 Far Side (+8)

28

 Buz Sawyer (-1)

26

 Lockhorns (+2), Sally Forth (+5), Snake Tales (0), Steve Canyon (-4)

24

 Broom Hilda (-1)

23

 Apartment 3-G (-1), Kit N Carlyle (0)

22

 Captain Easy (-6), Mark Trail (0), Our Boarding House (-1), Phantom (-5)

20

 Geech (+6)

19

 Crock (-2), Dunagin’s People (+1), Levy’s Law (+2), Redeye (-3)

18

 Great John L (-1), Mr. Men and Little Miss (R), Small Society (+1)

17

 Conard (+1), They’ll Do It Every Time (0)

16

 Hazel (-3), Momma (+2), Steve Roper and Mike Nomad (-3)

15

 Duffy (+3), Fred Basset (0)

14

 Goosemyer (-1), Grin and Bear It (+2)

13

 Donald Duck (-3), Little Orphan Annie (0)

12

 Fenton (R), Motley’s Crew (0)

11

 Brenda Starr (-1), Gil Thorp (0), Kuduz (-3), Mr. Tweedy (-1), Muppets (-13)

10

 Captain Vincible (R), John Darling (0), Rip Kirby (-2), Ryatts (-3)

9

 Agatha Crumm (-1), Better Half (0), Dondi (+1), Drabble (+2), Guindon (+4), Heart of Juliet Jones (-5), Miss Peach (-1)

8

 Animal Crackers (-1), Elwood (R), Girls (+1), Joe Palooka (0), Neighborhood (+5)

7

 Catfish (0), Graffiti (+2), Henry (0), Love Is (-2), Ripley’s Believe It or Not (-2), Star Wars (+1), Willie N Ethel (0), Winnie the Pooh (-1)

6

 Clout Street (R), Laff-A-Day (+2), Moose Miller (-1), Pavlov (-2)

5

 A Little Leary (+1), Arnold (+1), Ben Swift (+1), Citizen Smith (0), Ferd’Nand (-1), Flintstones (-2), Hocus Focus (-2), Lolly (0), McGonigle of the Chronicle (R), Ponytail (-1), There Oughta Be A Law (-2), Winnie Winkle (-1)

4

 Ben Wicks, Boner’s Ark, Bringing Up Father, Charlie, Dallas, Downstown, Flash Gordon, Gordo, Johnny Wonder, Nubbin, Sam and Silo, Scamp, Smith Family, Wee Pals, Wright Angels

3

 Bears in Love, Belvedere, Big George, Eb and Flo, Good News Bad News, Lone Ranger, Outcasts, Rafferty, Scoops, Sidelines, Travels with Farley, Trudy

2

 According to Guinness, Amy, Carmichael, Dr. Smock, Evermores, Gumdrop, Mandrake the Magician, Mickey Mouse, Moon Mullins, Mr. Abernathy, Our Fascinating Earth, Outtakes, Popeye, Rivets, Stan Smith’s Tennis Class, Vidiots, Word-A-Day

1

 Balderdash, Brick Bradford, Brother Juniper, Byrds, Ching Chow, Dr. Kildare, Ernie’s World, Goodnight Peaches, Gramps, Health Capsules, Hermie, It’s Just A Game, Kaleb, Laugh Time, Mark Trail’s Outdoor Tips, Modesty Blaise, Pig Newton, Pixies, Play Better Golf with Jack Nicklaus, Quincy, Ribbons, Rudy, Sadie, Secret Agent Corrigan, Selling Short, Silent Partners, Speed Walker, Sporting Life, Tennie, Time Out, Today’s World, Tom and Jerry, Toppix, Wilbur, Wordplay

 

As always, if you would like the long form of The 300, a list of each paper that used each strip, send Allan Holtz an email with your request. He will send you a Word document with the data.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2021

 

Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The Three Hundred for 1984 -- Biggest Winners and Losers

The strips that were gaining papers the year before are still moving up this year. Garfield gained the most again with 30 papers, followed by Bloom County with 22 additions and Family Circus with 19. Here are the top gainers.

Garfield – 30

Bloom County – 22

Family Circus – 19

Cathy – 11

For Better or For Worse – 9

Marvin – 9

Far Side – 8

Berry’s World – 7

Hagar the Horrible – 7

Shoe – 7

Beetle Bailey – 7

 

The losers this year were all old-timers, except for the top loser, The Muppets:

The Muppets – 13

Dick Tracy – 7

Andy Capp – 6

Archie – 6

Captain Easy – 6

Heart of Juliet Jones – 5

Phantom – 5

Winthrop – 5

 Adventures strips, like the previous years continue to lose papers consistently – not one gainer. With Latigo and Kerry Drake ending, freeing up a whopping 31 adventure strip spots, it appears that most or all of those spots went to non-adventure:

Alley Oop – 43 (-1)

Amazing Spider-Man – 41 (-4)

Dick Tracy – 37 (-7)

Buz Sawyer – 28 (-1)

Steve Canyon – 26 (-4)

Captain Easy – 22 (-6)

Mark Trail – 22 (0)

Phantom – 22 (-5)

Steve Roper and Mike Nomad – 16 (-3)

Little Orphan Annie – 13 (0)

Brenda Starr – 11 (-1)

Rip Kirby – 10 (-2)

Joe Palooka – 8 (0)

Star Wars – 7 (-1)

Flash Gordon – 4 (0)

Lone Ranger – 3 (-1)

Mandrake the Magician – 2 (0)

Popeye – 2 (0)

Brick Bradford – 1 (0)

Modesty Blaise – 1 (0)

Secret Agent Corrigan – 1 (0)

Superman – 0 (-1)

Tim Tyler’s Luck – 0 (0)

 

Adventure strips that Ended:

Latigo – 18

Kerry Drake – 13

Star Trek – 3

Buck Rogers – 2

Sergeant Preston – 1

The total spots for adventures strips for 1983 was 320, way down from 392 last year. That is an 18.3 percent decline,  more than double the drop in the prior year.

 

 

 

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Was there some single-panel comic that ended in 1984 and left a lot of spaces free? Otherwise, it's hard for me to understand why The Family Circus would suddenly gain a lot of papers after 24 years in publication.
 
As a matter of fact, I posed the same question of Lindenblatt when I saw that big jump on Family Circus. His response:

Went through the 19 papers there is no real replacement. Family Circus was the replacement by either the editors or fan polls. In 1983 two Family Circus specials (Valentine and Easter) were rebroadcast. That could explain the fan interest. For newspaper editors, maybe it was because Bil Keane won the Reuben that year.
 
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Monday, May 24, 2021

 

Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The Three Hundred for 1984 - Rookie Features

In past years we had many strips that debuted with a big client list in their first year, then  the client list dropped and the features get cancelled in a few years. Other strips have a less impressive debut, and over time gain papers to become highly successful strips. In 1983, on the other hand, we have no really impressive rookie debuts – the best is 18 papers by the strip Mister Men and Little Miss by Paul Sellers and Roger Hargreaves. This seemingly impressive debut owes a lot to it being an NEA replacement strip. This strip replaced Priscilla’s Pop, which in its last year on the survey had 39 papers. So less than half of the papers decided to replace Priscilla’s Pop with Mister Men and Little Miss. The strip would only last for four years.

 None of the rookie strips of 1983 would have a real impact in the comic section, in fact most of them would not survive past the end of the decade. Here is the list, with number of survey papers in which they ran. :

Mister Men and Little Miss – 18 (NEA Syndicate)

Fenton – 12 (Field Enterprises)

Captain Vincible – 10 (King Features)

Elwood – 8 (Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate)

Clout Street – 6 (Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate)

McGonigle of the Chronicle – 5 (Field Enterprises)

Bears In Love – 3 (Universal Press Syndicate)

 The rest of the new strips – Outtakes (2), Balderdash (1), Ernie’s World (1)*, Pig Newton (1), Rudy (1), Silent Partners (1), Speed Walker (1), Wilbur (1)*

 Top 5 Strips for 1984 that began in 1977-1983, with number of papers this year:

Garfield (1978) – 172

Shoe (1977) - 93

For Better or For Worse (1979) – 75

Bloom County (1980) – 66

Marvin (1982) – 48  

        

 * local strips

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Sunday, May 23, 2021

 

Wish You Were Here, from Walter Wellman

 

Here's a later Walter Wellman postcard, from the linen era, this one probably circa 1930s. No manufacturer is credited, but there is numbering; this one is 230.

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