Saturday, November 12, 2022


Herriman Saturday: May 3 1910


May 3 1910: E.C. Lewis was in his cups and decided it would be hilarious to stage fake muggings with the pistol he happened to have handy. He made the exercise more interesting for himself by commanding each victim to stand around him with their hands up as he gathered more butts for his practical joke. When a cop on patrol happened along he evidently lacked a sense of humor, and arrested Mr. Lewis.


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Friday, November 11, 2022


Toppers: Things We Can Do Without


Another in George McManus' secondary toppers was Things We Can Do Without. The title pretty much says it all. This was the first of the Bringing Up Father panel toppers and ran from July 23 1933 to April 22 1934, after which it was replaced by How To Keep From Getting Old.


I love Bringing Up Father! Does anybody know more or less exactly when Zeke Zekely started working with McManus? I know it was in the early-to-mid 1930s. This page looks like it has the Zekely touch. The lines are more crisped-up than McManus ever managed. McM's design was always great, but with Z's inking, the whole thing looks like it's been ironed with starch. Poor Z never got real credit for his improvements. Everybody always praises McM's wonderful Art Deco artwork, but it t'waren't McM who did it.

Incidentally, I also love these "memory" strips. I have lots of them from the late 40s & early 50s, but this is the earliest one I've ever seen. Anybody know when they started?
To Miss Collins, all,
I don't know what the first of this memories themed Sundays was, It would seem to me an invention of ZZ's. I do know the last Sunday ever to have McManus's signature (19 December 1954) was one of these good old days pages, and it was by ZZ.
To Mark Johnson: Thank you for the info, although I want MORE. A question, however: you say that ZZ invented the Memories strips. Do you mean to say that he wrote them all by himself? They have always struck me as being authentically penned by McManus, reflective of his own younger years.

In the early 1980s, I produced a radio show about BUF, for Canada's CBC Radio network. It included a "reading" of a bunch of the memory strips, performed as Jiggs by Don Harron (known in the USA as Charlie Farquarson on the HeeHaw TV show). We played some old-time music in the background, and also had some sound effects. That's how much I love those old memory strips.
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Wednesday, November 09, 2022


Obscurity of the Day: Dear God Kids


If Charmers didn't give you a case of sugar shock, Bears In Love didn't make your brain melt, and Kisses didn't send your glycemic index into the red zone, then prepare for guaranteed diabetic overload, here come the Dear God Kids

In the 1980s the cherubic children with adorably innocent questions for the Almighty graced everything from cards to mugs to calendars to books to coasters to statuettes to stickers to posters ... well, you get the idea. Creator Anne Fitzgerald of Limerick, Ireland, came up with the idea sometime before 1982, but the origin of this licensing bonanza is a little murky. Supposedly she attended a licensing fair and encountered a German firm that sold novelty phone pads. She suggested a pad that was headed with a "Dear God" aphorism; the firm tried it and the pads sold like a Biblical rain of frogs. Fitzgerald being an artist, she came up with the idea of adding cute kids as the speakers of these pithy lines, and a marketing bonanza was born. 

Fitzgerald might have been a marketing wunderkind, but to be fair, she did seem to take her religion seriously. She wrote many books in which the Dear God Kids get Bible-based answers to their questions, the goal being to help kids understand how the Christian deity thinks in a cute, non-threatening format. But to be clear, the dynamo that ran this fad was all the junk that took up shelf space at your local K-Mart.

A newspaper feature for the Dear God Kids started in an unpredictable venue, Britain's notorious tabloid newspaper, The Sun (the one with topless girls on page three)*. It came to the U.S. under the distributorship of King Features, debuting on February 13 1984. American newspaper editors, perhaps sensing that the feature was essentially an advertisement for Fitzgerald's cornucopia of licensed gewgaws, wisely stayed away in droves. 

King Features gave the feature a sporting chance, keeping it on the roster for almost four years. By then the craze for Dear God Kids had pretty much run its course, perhaps drowned under the mountain of over 1000 different licensed products dumped on the market. The kids were retired from American newspapers on January 2 1988. 

Many thanks to Mark Johnson, who supplied me with the proof sheets seen above for the initial and final weeks of the feature.


* Oddly, this feature is not mentioned in the newly published book The A To Z of British Newspaper Strips by Paul Hudson, which otherwise seems pretty darn all-encompassing. It's also a captivating read for this comic strip fan, whose knowledge of British comics has all the depth of an Andy Capp gag.


I couldn't have been the only one who read the title as "Dear God, Kids!".
I really like this feature. It is adorable and charming. We need more stuff like this today. I am not very impressed at all by the so-called "entertainment" out there especially nowadays, as it often endorses bad behavior. I am neither into the woke nor the edgy.

As a cartooning hobbyist, I did my take of a comic strip with children in it from 2020 through 2022. I attempted to put some of the same endearing qualities in it. For example, I notice that everyone wants to anger everyone else in this world, so I always avoided making my characters angry in this series. I have been curious what some other people's take is on my kid comic strip, though, as I have showed it to very few.
Hello Allan-
It would be hard to not say there was some sort of connexion, or inspiration, with another feature we put out several years prior to this one,
"Children's Letters to God" by Stuart Hample. (1968-1976)
Hample's panel was initially so successful, he had a prime time TV special on it in 1969, but it tanked very fast. It was reasoned that it might be offending to some for it's possible frivoulous religous aspirations, and it was changed to "Children's Letters" midway through it's run.
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Monday, November 07, 2022


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Bart Tumey

Paul Barton “Bart” Tumey was born on July 24, 1912, in Wichita, Kansas, according to his World War II draft card. 

In the 1920 United States Census, Tumey was the youngest of two children born to Lemuel, a farmer, and Martha. They resided in Marion, Iowa. 

Tumey has not yet been found in the 1930 census. 

Information about his art training is a mystery. At some point Tumey moved to Chicago. 

Tumey was interested in comics and aviation. His question was published in Dick Calkins’ Skyroads strip which appeared in Illinois State Journal, (Springfield, Illinois), June 26, 1933. 

His question was answered the following day.

The Skyroads artist was Zack Mosley who, years later, briefly figured in Tumey’s career. 

The Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index, at, said Tumey and Beulahbelle Hurd married on September 17, 1938. She was a Chicago native born on July 12, 1915. Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said Tumey married artist Janice Valleau but that is incorrect. (Valleau and Edward H. Winkleman were engaged in November 1947 and married in June 1948.)

Beulahbelle Hurd, Lindblom Technical 
High School, Chicago, Illinois, 1933.

The 1940 census counted Tumey and his wife in his mother’s household which included his sister. They lived on East Monroe in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Tumey was a freelance cartoonist who had two years of college. Later that year he moved to New York.

On October 16, 1940, Tumey signed his World War II draft card. His address was 10 Ruxton Road in Port Washington, New York. He worked for Zack Mosley who lived in Sands Point, Port Washington, New York. 

It’s not clear if Tumey ghosted Mosley’s Smilin’ Jack. In American Newspaper Comics (2012), Alberto Becattini said Boody Rogers drew Smilin’ Jack from 1936 to 1942 while Mosley spent a lot time flying. (See Popular Aviation, February 1939, “The House That Smilin’ Jack Built”.) 

Eventually, Tumey found work in the comic book field. He created Dan’l Flannel for Novelty Press. The character debuted in 4 Most #3, Summer 1942. Tumey used his wife’s name, Beulahbelle, for the lead female character. 

Tumey enlisted in the Army on May 12, 1943. His veteran’s file said he was discharged on October 29, 1945. 

Tumey was mentioned in Stars Without Garters!: The Memoirs of Two Gay GI’s in WWII (1996). 
… The newspaper staff published a daily which introduced a new cartoon, “Private Pokey,” created by Corporal Bart Tumey. “Private Pokey” was picked up by Yank and eventually syndicated in civilian papers. 
Some of Tumey’s Private Pokey cartoons can be viewed at Heritage Auctions. The cartoons were signed and said Tumey was in the 34th Special Service Company which provided entertainment. 

After the war Tumey returned to New York City. The 1950 census said he was married and lived alone at 60 West 92nd Street, B-4. The Grand Comics Database said Tumey’s comic book career spanned from 1939 to 1953. 

During the 1950s and 1960s, Tumey was one of many cartoonists who did gag cartoons for farm and agriculture periodicals. Here are Tumey cartoons in The Feed Bag: December 1957, February 1958, June 1958, August 1958, February 1961, February 1962, and July 1962. Other publications with Tumey cartoons are Farm Store Merchandising and Grain Age

The Writer’s Market, Volume 18, (1961), had an entry for Tumey. 
Bart Tumey, 2820A W. Vliet St., Milwaukee 8, Wis. There is non limit to the gags per batch Mr. Tumey will look at. However, he wants industrial gags only, for which he will pay a 25% commission.
Tumey’s mother passed away on February 8, 1965. Her obituary said he lived in St. Louis, Missouri.

Tumey passed away on July 11, 1974. He was laid to rest at Keokuk National Cemetery. Tumey’s wife, Beulahbelle Mellan, passed away on September 13, 2000 in Chicago

Further Reading and Viewing
Four-Color Shadows, Shenanigan-Bart Tumey–1949
Lambiek Comiclopedia
War Comics, Private Dogtag
Cole’s Comics, Sexy Nurses, Jive Genies, and Innocent Racism in Jack Cole’s 1944 Private Dogtag Screwball Adventure 


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Sunday, November 06, 2022


Wish You Were Here, from J.R. Williams


This is yet another J.R. Williams card from Standley-May of New Mexico, Series 1 #W512 to be specific. This Out Our Way panel was originally published on February 24 1951.


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