Wednesday, May 03, 2023


Comics of the Paramount News Features Service: Flaming Youth

Today we come to a particularly knotty mess to unravel from PNF, Flaming Youth. This strip was another anchor strip for the syndicate, starting (as best we can tell) on July 22 1927* and ending on an undetermined date in 1928. The term "flaming youth" was popular slang in the 1920s, describing the hard-partying, hard-drinking, sexually liberated young people who were emblematic of the Roaring '20s decade. This strip offered run of the mill gags that were getting pretty creaky even by 1927. 

The strip began under the direction of Jack Ward, who signed for awhile in 1927, and then switched over to Frank P. Little, who often signed just with his initials. Both creators leaned heavily on the standard-bearer for flapper art, John Held, Jr, but Ward was the better artist of the two.. Here's some by Jack Ward:

And here's some by Frank P. Little:

So you're wondering why many of the strips above use the title Drugstore Cowboys and are bylined by Gus Standard? Well, so did I for a long time. But I finally figured it out. After the initial PNF run, as is not untypical, the title of the strip was changed. Okay, so that explains Drugstore Cowboys, but what about Gus Standard? Gus Standard had nothing to do with Flaming Youth, but he did do the art for awhile on another PNF strip, Hamm and Beans (which we'll cover soon). What happened was that when the reprint era began, not only did they change the name of Flaming Youth to Drugstore Cowboys, but they lumped Hamm and Beans under the same title, and gave the byline for the whole mess to Gus Standard. Make sense? Well of course not, but that's what happened. 

A final mystery is that we find two additional creators apprearing in the Drugstore Cowboys reprint run, Reginald Greenwood and Pete Hayes. I've never seen these creators in the original Flaming Youth run, but since one of the gags is about the Charleston dance craze, that puts them in the right time frame. Here are three by Greenwood, who was at least by comparison with the others at PNF, quite an impressive artist:


Finally, here's the one and only Pete Hayes strip I've found (Alex has managed to find one more, which will be in his Ink-Slinger Profile):

Next posts will be Ink-Slinger Profiles of Ward, Little, Greenwood, and Hayes, then we'll pick up with Hamm and Beans.

* Source: Jeffrey Lindenblatt


The first Greenwood strip is the most realistic-style backflip I have ever seen.
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