Saturday, November 13, 2021

 

Herriman Saturday: March 1 1910

 

March 1 1910 -- Herriman's cartoons play host to a round-up of Valentine's Day bloopers, cases of Cupid needing to don spectacles before letting go with those arrows. All these wacky stories supposedly occurred in the L.A. area in the near past.

Cartoon 1 is pretty self-explanatory; the young swain sauntered into the wrong house for his date with fair damsel. He was hauled into court for disturbing the peace. His sweetie shows her unflinching love for the myopic Romeo by paying his fine for him.

In the second cartoon, a husband was so annoyed by his wife's 'love potions' -- pouches of table salt tied into his jacket -- that they finally had the opposite effect -- her souvenirs d'amour resulted in him giving her a highly ungentlemanly violent payback and a subsequent appearance before a judge. 

In the third cartoon, a Russian immigrant, owner of a luxuriant beard, has just wed his sweet babushka, who soon asked if she could have $2 to purchase a new dress. The man refused and the bride expressed her displeasure by ripping most of his beard off his face. The groom brings his new wife to court seeking redress only to find that giving someone an involuntary shave is nowhere on the books as being against the law.

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Friday, November 12, 2021

 

Obscurity of the Day: Did It Ever Happen To You?

 



Mort M. Burger, as we've covered before, was a pretty awful cartoonist but an absolute bulldog when it came to following his dream of being a famous newspaper ink-slinger. In the period 1915-16 he went the self-syndication route with two strips, Heeza Boob and Did It Ever Happen To You? Not only are they both inept, but the lack of care in their execution and distribution makes you wonder why any paper, no matter how poor and in need of material they were, would run this stuff, much less pay for the privilege. 

Note, for instance, that in the top strip Burger has got most of the word balloons in backward order. While he was certainly not the only one guilty of that sin, I've never seen a strip that had practically all the balloons bass-ackward -- normally the cartoonist manages to at least get the first panel oriented properly before trouble begins to erupt. 

Then there is the physical quality of the materials he sent out. The extreme type lice, of which I cleaned off the worst for these samples, seems to indicate that the plates or mats were produced by the blind, and Burger, presumably sighted though one wonders, gave these messes the thumbs up. Even the byline, which I think is actually part of the plate, actually misspells Burger's name! (EDIT: Ok, fine. Mark Johnson says the byline was added by the paper. One point back in Burger's favour then.)

No paper found thus far ran this strip with perfect consistency, but based on Burger's other self-syndicated strip I assume it was meant to be a daily. Running dates of March 27 1915 to April 13 1916* are probably not definitive for the series, but until a paper is found that ran the strip on a consistent basis, they are as close as we're likely to get. The Kansas City Gazette Globe, for instance, ran the strip into January 1917, but they were probably running material late.

* Alex Jay based on Salem Capital Journal.

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oh man, as I read the strip I was increasingly puzzled as to how this was published...was this one of the very first strips where they hadn't figured out placement of word balloons or perhaps this is the first instance of word balloons altogether, I thought.

Nope, just bad execution by the creator, lol.
 
Maybe Mr. Burger, or "Buger," was hoping to get his comics translated in a Japanese manga where they read right to left.
 
Okay, this one of the worst comics I've ever seen. Do you have a category for "worst comics", so we can start keeping score?
 
To be fair, The header for the strip is not a ready to use boilerplate, the paper you have culled these examples from set the type and misspelt Mr. Burger's name, hopefully not on purpose. The proper spelling is seen in other client papers.


 
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Wednesday, November 10, 2021

 

Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The 300 for 1986 -- Overall Results

One of our papers, the Pensacola News, published its last edition in May of 1985, and we did not have information on 7 of our papers in the first month of 1986. So this survey has only 278 papers surveyed.

We have two strips entering the Top 30. The Far Side with its gain of 35 papers enters at position 19 and Berry’s World, which gained 5 papers, enters at 29. The two strips they knocked out of the Top 30 are Eek and Meek and Heathcliff.

The biggest movers in the Top 30 are Bloom County, moving up 4 spots to #13 and Shoe, which moves up 3 spots to crack the top ten at #9. Shoe also gained 10 papers to join the 100-paper strip club; that exclusive club now has 12 features. Bloom County just missed joining by 2 papers, but the way the strip is gaining popularity it will surely join the 100-club next year. Garfield with its 10-paper gain is about to crack the 200 strip-club which currently has only has 2 members, Peanuts and Blondie.

Here is the Top 30:

Title

Place

Top 30 Movement

Plus/Minus Papers

Total Papers

Peanuts

1

Same

1

214

Blondie

2

Same

-2

203

Garfield

3

Same

10

197

Beetle Bailey

4

Same

3

189

Hagar the Horrible

5

Same

7

149

Doonesbury

6

Same

6

146

Family Circus

7

Same

5

129

Wizard of Id

8

Same

4

117

B.C.

9

Up 1

5

108

Shoe

9

Up 3

10

108

Hi and Lois

11

Same

4

105

Frank and Ernest

12

Down 2

0

104

Bloom County

13

Up 4

21

98

Andy Capp

14

Down 1

-5

92

For Better or For Worse

15

Up 1

9

88

Born Loser

16

Down 2

0

87

Dennis the Menace

17

Down 2

0

86

Cathy

18

Up 2

11

77

Far Side

19

Entering

35

76

Mary Worth

20

Down 1

-4

68

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith

21

Down 2

-3

66

Marmaduke

22

Down 1

-3

58

Herman

23

Down 1

-4

54

Rex Morgan

24

Down 1

-2

53

Ziggy

25

Down 1

-3

51

Marvin

26

Down 1

-3

50

Tank McNamara

27

Down 1

-4

47

Gasoline Alley

28

Down 1

1

46

Berry's World

29

Entering

5

45

Winthrop

29

Down 1

0

45

 

Let’s look at the growing popularity of the universal comic section this year. More papers this year are become more like other papers with the Top 2 to 11 strips appearing in more papers then last year.

Top 2 strips – 171 (Up 1)

Top 3 strips – 143 (Up 5)

Top 4 strips – 121 (Up 5)

Top 5 strips – 78 (Up 6)

Top 6 strips – 51 (Up 4)

Top 7 strips – 31 (Up 5)

Top 8 strips – 20 (Up 5)

Top 9 strips – 11 (Up 5)

Top 10 strips – 9 (Up 7)

Top 11 strips – 6 (Up 4)

Top 12 strips – 1 (Down 1)

Top 13 strips – 1 (Same)

Top 14 strips – 0 (Down 1)

The Tampa Tribune now has the Top 13 strips in its section, making it the most universal comic section for 1986. The paper also has 9 other strips that are in the Top 30 – For Better or For Worse (15), Cathy (18), Mary Worth (20), Barney Google and Snuffy Smith (21), Herman (23), Ziggy (25), Marvin (26), Tank McNamara (27), Gasoline Alley (28). That makes 22 out of the top 30 strips appearing in The Tampa Tribune at the beginning of 1986. What else did they run? Duffy, Arlo and Janis, Amazing Spider-Man, Rose is Rose, Nancy, John Darling, Crock, Funky Winkerbean. Those are also all popular strips, so they essentially run nothing unusual at all.

 Here are the remaining strips in the 300:

# of Papers

Features (increase of decrease of papers since last year)

41

 Heathcliff (-2)

40

 Alley Oop (-1), Eek and Meek (-2)

39

 Funky Winkerbean (-1)

37

 Mother Goose and Grimm (+8)

34

 Bugs Bunny (-3), Nancy (-7)

32

 Amazing Spider-Man (-3), Dick Tracy (-4), Lockhorns (0)

30

 Judge Parker (-2)

28

 Arlo and Janis (R), Sally Forth (+1), Tiger (-6)

27

 Tumbleweeds (-2)

24

 Phantom (+1), Snake Tales (-2)

23

 Geech (+2)

22

 Apartment 3-G (-1), Archie (-6), Buz Sawyer (-4)

21

 Kit N Carlyle (-4), Steve Canyon (-1)

20

 Broom Hilda (-2), Mark Trail (0), On The Fastrack (+2)

18

 Captain Easy (-1), Great John L/Babyman (0)

17

 Crock (0), They’ll Do It Every Time (-1)

16

 Redeye (-2)

15

 Luann (R)

14

 Calvin & Hobbes (R), Hazel (-2), Steve Roper and Mike Nomad (-1), That’s Jake (+13)

13

 Dunagin’s People (-5), Fred Basset (-2)

12

 Donald Duck (0), Gil Thorp (+1), Small Society (-1)

11

 Hartland (R), Kuduz (0), Momma (-2), Motley’s Crew (-1), Robotman (R)

10

 Adam (-3), Brenda Starr (0), Drabble (0), Orbit (R)

9

 Benchley (-1), Duffy (-2), Grin and Bear It (0), Little Orphan Annie (-2), Love Is (+3), Mr. Men and Little Miss (-3), Mr. Tweedy (-3), Rip Kirby (-2), Ryatts (-1)

8

 Animal Crackers (-1), John Darling (-2)

7

 Agatha Crumm (-1), Better Half (0), Girls (-1), Neighborhood (-1), Rose is Rose (+1), Willy N’ Ethel (-1)

6

 Catfish (-1), Cooper (R), Elwood (-1), Heart of Juliet Jones (-2), Henry (0), Perky & Beanz (R), Sydney (R)

5

 Dondi (-3), Flintstones (-1), Hocus Focus (0), Miss Peach (-3), Muppets (-2), Pavlov (0), Ripley’s Believe It or Not (-1), Wright Angels (+1)

4

 Arnold, Belvedere, Bizarro, Boner’s Ark, Caldwell, Captain Vincible, Conrad, Ferd’nand, Laff-A-Day, Moose Miller, Off the Leash, Our Fascinating Earth, Ponytail, Quigmans, Scamp, Smith Family, Winnie Winkle

3

 Amy, Betty Boop & Felix, Charlie, Downstown, Flash Gordon, Graffiti, Inside Out, A Little Leary, Outcasts, Trudy, Winnie the Pooh

2

 Ben Wicks, Bringing Up Father, Cheeverwood, Eb & Flo, Good News Bad News, McGonigle of the Chronicle, Mickey Mouse, Middle Ages, Moon Mullins, Nubbin, Peter Principle, Popeye, Rivets, Sam and Silo, Tyler Two

1

 According To Guinness, Brick Bradford, Brother Juniper, Ching Chow, Clout Street, Executive Suite, Eyebeam, Furtree High, Gumdrop, In The Bleachers, Laffbreak, Laugh Time. Luther, Modesty Blaise, Mr, Abernathy, Play Better Golf With Jack Nicklaus, Pot-Shots, Quincy, Salt Chuck, Secret Agent Corrigan, Sidelines, Stan Smith Tennis Class, Sylvia, Trim’s Arena, Tundra, Vidlots, Winston, Word A Day

 

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Tuesday, November 09, 2021

 

Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The 300 for 1986 -- Biggest Gainers and Losers

 The biggest gainer in 1985 was a panel feature, which gained 35 papers and moved into 3rd place in panel category --  The Far Side.  The feature had moved from Chronicle Features to Universal Press Syndicate, and perhaps their more active sales force was responsible for that big gain.

Coming in as the third biggest gainer is That’s Jake, another panel strip which gained an impressive 13 papers.

On the comic strip front, Bloom County gained the most papers with 21, then Cathy with 11, then Garfield and Shoe both with 10. Here is the list of top gainers.

Far Side - 35
Bloom County – 21
That’s Jake - 13
Cathy - 11
Garfield – 10
Shoe – 10
For Better or For Worse – 9
Mother Goose and Grimm – 8
Hagar The Horrible – 7
Doonesbury – 6
Family Circus – 5
B.C. – 5
Berry’s World - 5

The biggest losers this year were a group of long-running veterans.

Nancy – 7
Tiger – 6
Archie – 6
Andy Capp – 5
Dunagin’s People – 5

Adventure strips continued their long slow demise.

Alley Oop – 40 (-1)
Amazing Spider-Man – 32 (-3)
Dick Tracy – 32 (-4)
Phantom – 24 (+1)
Buz Sawyer – 22 (-4)
Steve Canyon – 21 (-1)
Mark Trail – 20 (0)
Captain Easy – 18 (-1)
Steve Roper and Mike Nomad – 14 (-1)
Brenda Starr – 10 (0)
Little Orphan Annie – 9 (-2)
Rip Kirby – 9 (-2)
Flash Gordon – 3 (-1)
Popeye – 2 (0)
Brick Bradford – 1 (0)
Modesty Blaise – 1 (0)
Secret Agent Corrigan – 1 (0)
Mandrake The Magician – 0 (-2) – Mandrake does still appear in one paper in the survey but the information is missing from 1985-1999)
Tim Tyler’s Luck – 0 (0)

Strips that have ended and their last counts from the previous year:
Can You Solve The Mystery – 14
World’s Greatest Super-Heroes – 0

The total slots taken by adventure strips  for 1985 was 259, down from 294. That is a 12 percent drop this year.

On the soap opera strip front:

Mary Worth – 68 (-4)
Rex Morgan – 53 (-2)
Judge Parker – 30 (-2)
Apartment 3-G – 22 (-1)
Gil Thorp – 12 (1)
Heart of Juliet Jones – 6 (-2)
Dondi – 5 (-3)    
Winnie Winkle – 4 (0)

The total soap opera strip slots for 1985 was 200 down from 213. That is a 6.1 percent drop. Not as bad as adventure strips but like I’ve said before, the adventure strips are first to go then the soaps will follow.


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Monday, November 08, 2021

 

Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The 300 for 1986 -- Rookie Features

Since we started this survey one thing has remained constant: when an NEA strip is cancelled and the syndicate replaces it with a new strip, that new strip will have fewer papers than the cancelled strip. This is a normal process during this time because some papers either choose another strip from the NEA package (one they weren’t previously running) or jump ship and choose a strip from another syndicate. 

In 1985 we have the opposite; Levy’s Law was cancelled and replaced by Arlo and Janis; the new strip got into 28 papers, compared to 22 for the cancelled strip.  That good start, helped by being an NEA replacement, takes our honors as the top rookie of the year. 


Coming in second this year we have Luann (News America) with 15 papers; this strip of course will eventually earn a place as a perennial top strip. In third place we have a strip that will become a modern classic, Calvin and Hobbes (Universal Press) with 14 papers. 


Other decent debuts were Hartland (King) with 11 papers, Robotman (NEA) and Orbit (Asterisk) both with 10. Asterisk was a new start-up syndicate, and Orbit was their first offering. Here is the complete list of rookies:

Arlo and Janis - 28 (NEA)
Luann  - 15(News America)
Calvin and Hobbes - 14 (Universal Press)
Hartland - 11 (King)
Robotman - 10 (NEA)
Orbit - 10 (Asterisk) 
Cooper – 6 (Universal Press Syndicate)
Perky and Beanz – 6 (Tribune)
Sydney – 6 (United)
Bizarro – 4 (Chronicle)
Caldwell – 4 (King)
Off the Leash – 4 (United)
Inside Out – 3 (Tribune)
Cheeverwood – 2 (Washington Post)
Tyler Two – 2 (Tribune)
Zippy the Pinhead – 2 (San Francisco Examiner)
Executive Suite – 1 (United)
Eyebeam – 1 (Self-syndicated)
Furtree High – 1 (local feature of Ottawa Citizen)
Winston – 1 (News American)
 
Top 5 Strips that began between 1977-1985

Garfield (1978) – 197
Shoe (1977) – 108
Bloom County (1980) – 98
For Better or For Worse (1979) – 88
The Far Side (1979) – 76    

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Sunday, November 07, 2021

 

Wish You Were Here, from Richard F. Outcault

 

Here's an interesting Buster Brown card. It was published by the H.H. Tammen Company out of Denver Colorado. Tammen was one of the owners of the Denver Post, and he published postcards as a side gig. 

This card was published in 1906 (postally used in 1907) when Outcault was in the midst of leaving the New York Herald for greener pastures. Tammen's Denver Post was one of his suitors, and the marriage came so close to consummation that they are listed as the copyright holders on one or two Buster Brown items, including one Sunday page. 

If Outcault was willing to have Tammen publish postcards of his stars you'd think he would have given them some proper art to work from: this card looks like a bad tracing of an Outcault original. This card is number #1000, and I have found another online, numbered #1002. The cards from this series appear to be much scarcer than other Outcault cards, probably resulting from Tammen being a jilted suitor.


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