Saturday, December 31, 2022


Herriman Saturday: May 12 1910


May 12 1910 -- A Harvard Bible scholar, unnamed in the accompanying article, has come to the conclusion that our calendar, basing our A.D. year count on the birth of Christ, is off by three years. Herriman's cartoon takes that to mean the world is actually in 1913, not 1910, and imagines the results of suddenly being propelled three years into the future. 

You can imagine something similar this evening. When you wake up tomorrow you will have been propelled one year into the future!


The Comet referred to in the last panel was Haley's Comet, a big event that spring.
My grandmother saw it in 1910, and she and I saw it together in 1986. She was quite unimprest, All it was the second time around was a tiny pinpoint of light.
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Friday, December 30, 2022


Obscurity of the Day: Little Evy


Evy (Evelyn) Caroll had a couple of years in the spotlight, and then pretty much disappeared, maybe losing her last name through marriage thus throwing me off the trail. 

In 1945 Caroll's gag strip about a precocious little girl, Little Evy, was accepted by King Features, debuting on May 7*. The panel had a certain charm to it. It certainly passes the Holtz test -- it stars a kid with an actual personality, not just a mannequin for miscellaneous kid jokes. But newspaper editors seem to have disagreed with my evaluation and stayed away in droves. The latest I can find the panel running is April 27 1946**, a really short run from the generally indulgent King Features. Perhaps Miss Caroll was responsible for the cancellation, as she certainly wasn't in danger of jumping into an upper tax bracket with the feature. 

Evy Caroll next published a children's book in 1947, Dance Natasha Dance, and then disappears off my radar.

* Source: New York Mirror

** Source: York Record, which ran it late but thankfully left dates on the panels.


For some reason it looks odd (to me at any rate) that Evy never opens her mouth when speaking.
As of 1949, at any rate, she did the story for a record called "The Amazing Adventures of Johnny," put out by Atlantic Records. (See: She was born, according to one entry in the Copyright Register, in 1920.
The New York Public Library's online catalogue has listings for her that include drawings made as late as 1992, going back some decades before that.
She also had an article published in the December, 1963 issue of "Dance" magazine, entitled "Ballet, Violins and Shish Kebab." I'm getting the strong impression she was tied first and foremost to the dancing arts, and the visual arts may have been something of a hobby.
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Wednesday, December 28, 2022


Obscurity of the Day: Topliffe Cartoons


Tom Topliffe was a cartoonist who came and went from the limelight in practically no time at all. His 6-column wide, skinny untitled comic strip was syndicated by NEA, and ran from May 7 to September 18 1918. 

My bet is that Tom Topliffe is not the flash-in-the-pan enigma he appears to be. My guess, based on the art style, is that Mr. Topliffe is really Lawrence Redner working under a pseudonym. Redner was at this time winding down his engagement with the Cleveland Plain Dealer, producing sports cartoons. Many of the Topliffe cartoons are also sports-related. 

In summer 1918 NEA distributed a promotional piece in which Tom Topliffe is pictured. Is this Redner? I dunno because I have no photos of him. But it would take quite a bit of cheek to do a promo like that and show a photo of a pseudonymous artist! Maybe I'm wrong ... ?

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Monday, December 26, 2022


Obscurity of the Day: The Fumble Family


Courtney Dunkel had a very long career in newspaper comics, but he never had a real hit. Even his long-running series were of the throwaway variety. Which is a shame, because I think Dunkel's art was superb, one of those guys who just know how to 'draw funny'. Even when his gags were second-rate, Dunkel's art brings a smile and maybe even a chuckle all by itself. 

The Fumble Family is, as far as I've been able to find, his first published newspaper feature. An earlier one, Radio Bugs, was advertised in E&P in 1925 but has not yet been found running in a newspaper. The Fumble Family debuted on March 8 1928* through the auspices of Autocaster Service. That company was primarily engaged in the technical end of newspaper production, but they also dabbled in feature syndication, generally material for weekly papers. The Fumble Family was one of those weekly offerings, an absolute delight that appeared in vanishingly few newspapers. The strip ended on June 6 1929**, replaced in Autocaster's small line-up with Pinky Dinky, a strip by Terry Gilkison. 

As regards the dates, keep in mind that with weekly strips, client newspapers may be published on any day of the week. I generally offer dates that relate to the particular newpspaper in which I find the information. In this case the papers I used to document start and end dates both happen to have been published on Thursdays, thus the dates given are Thursdays.

* Source: Oxford Leader

** Source: Nemaha County Republican


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Sunday, December 25, 2022


Wish You Were Here, from Rose O'Neill


Best Christmas wishes from the Kewpies, Rose O'Neill and Stripper's Guide.


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