Saturday, March 04, 2023
Herriman Saturday: May 20 1910
May 20 1910 -- On May 19 Herriman published a cartoon, "If Jack Johnson Wins", showing the Black folks enjoying the high life. Today he offers his impression of what happens if Johnson loses -- empty pocketbooks due to all the lost bets.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, March 03, 2023
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: R.H. Webb
Lynchburg—Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Marshall Panck have announced the engagement of their daughter Ethel to Robert Hayward Webb son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Miller Webb of Bridgeport, Conn. and brother of Mrs. Charles E. Warner of Lynchburg. They will be married in early fall.
…‘Kidnapped,’ the first in a series of ‘Illustrated Classics’ in striking four-color comic strip form will be presented in four installments, four full pages each on successive Saturdays as an extra attraction of the Post’s brimful week-end edition.
Stokes, Manning L.Mysterious island, by Jules Verne, adapted by Manning L. Stokes, illustrated by Robert Hayward Webb and David Heames. [New York, Gilberton co., 1947] 55 p. col. illus. 26cm. (Classic comics. Feb. 1947. no. 34) © publisher; 11Mar47; AA53546.
... After leaving the comics field, he turned to boatbuilding and later roared with laughter as he told Hames Ware, “I used to draw boats, and now I build them.”
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Wednesday, March 01, 2023
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: August M. Froehlich
August M. Froehlich, cartoonist of the Staats Zeitung, is going into vaudeville, offering comedy cartoons and finishing with an artistic painting On a glass transparency. He is under the direction of Paul Durand.
With the closing of Morgan Lithograph Corporation office attached to Universal, August M. Froehlich, art director, and Ben Wells, poster artist, will join the regular Universal art staff. Mr. Froehlich has been with Morgan for 20 years, while Mr. Wells has served the company for 50 years and has been attached to Universal since its inception. …
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Monday, February 27, 2023
Obscurity of the Day: Jackie
Al Smith's eponymous syndicate served weekly papers with comic strips for almost fifty years, accomplishing the nearly impossible task of separating a goodly number of tight-fisted small town newspaper proprietors from a little cash each week. Many prospective syndicates tried marketing to weeklies, certain that they were going to wow an overlooked market, and almost all crashed and burned. Small town newspapers are not only produced on a shoestring budget, but they know that their audience is mostly interested in seeing their names and the names of those they know in those weekly pages. Comic strips might be a nice addition, but they rarely pay for themselves with additional subscriptions to the Podunk Weekly Demopublican.
The very first offering of the Al Smith Service was this strip, Jackie, and it predates the rest of his offerings by about a year or so. Why Smith would start a syndicate with a blackface throwback strip I don't know, but I do know that it sold well in Alabama. The earliest I have found the strip is in the Birmingham Weekly Review in April 1949*, and that paper proves that Smith really knew how to sell, because that is a black paper. Granted, there's no real overt racism in Jackie, but even way back in 1949 black folks were not too fond of this visual portrayal.
When Smith started offering a whole roster of strips in 1950, Jackie remained Smith's only artistic contribution. In late 1951, though, contributor Paul Gringle left the popular Rural Delivery strip, and Smith took that over as well. Between the two strips, and Al Smith's 'real' job of producing the 7-day per week Mutt and Jeff, and handling sales and distribution chores, he must have been one busy guy.
He soldiered on though, and it wasn't until two years later that due to either overwork or a sense that Jackie was a relic of a bygone time, Smith made a change. Or at least a baby step. He cancelled Jackie in March 1953, and moved the character over into his Rural Delivery strip, renaming it Jackie In Rural Delivery. Jackie remained a titled player in the strip until early 1954, and an occasional player well past that (often in reused old strips).
Jackie is not in my book, and I completely misunderstood what I was seeing in the spotty microfilm archives of the weeklies back then. In the book's listing for Rural Delivery I said that it was advertised as Jackie in 1951-1952. With much better online archives now available, the history related here is hopefully much more accurate.
* I have an unattributed note saying that the strip started in 1948, but I can't find any proof of that.
And I do mean recycle. If you ever look up original art for "Rural Delivery" he literally took a "Mutt and Jeff" strip and pasted over the names and faces with characters from his other strip.
We've seen some of the black cartoonists who created material for black newspapers,and you might see the "race" movies produced for segregated audiences, and it would seem, tastes.
The black comic protagonists there are quite similar to those in mainstream Hollywood products. What we sometimes regard as the lowest, most insulting genus of actors to blacks, Stepin Fetchit, Mantan Moreland and their brand of humour, were quite acceptible to the audiences of "race" films in their day. The white actors in blackface that did the same schtick, were not.
The main difference it would seem to me, is the race of the clean cut serious actors in the same films.
Generally, There weren't many mainstream comic syndicate black characters, far fewer as the lead. They're obscure, and very old, like Gallous Coon, the Chocolate Drops and Tempus Todd. Even the names are offensive, but in their day, they carried no importance to anyone.
Later ones like this Smith effort, and "Sunflower Street" are extremely tepid, gentle affairs.The characters aren't stupid or insulting,they're more warm and wise. It makes them more dull than offensive.
Sunday, February 26, 2023
Wish You Were Here, from Grace Drayton
Grace Drayton produced some slyly funny cards for Reinnthal & Newman, but here she is in cloyingly cute mode. This is card #488.
Labels: Wish You Were Here