Saturday, March 25, 2023


Herriman Saturday: May 22 1910


May 22 1910 -- What do you get the child who has everything this Independence Day? Ringside seats at the Fight of the Century, of course.


Comments: Post a Comment

Friday, March 24, 2023


Obscurity of the Day: Shantylane


The earliest recurring theme of American newspaper comics was the 'race of little people' trope, starting right from the beginning when a ripped-off copy of Palmer Cox's Brownies was quickly replaced by the slightly less plagiaristic Ting-Lings in the Chicago Inter-Ocean in 1894. Later on The Teenie-Weenies pretty much cornered the market on this motif. 

But that doesn't mean they had the playing field all to themselves. On July 18 1926, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat inaugurated their own race of little people on the back cover of the Sunday magazine. The series was called Shantylane, and the wee ones in this case were wooden dolls with ape-like heads, and they lived in a land that seemed to be cobbled together out of scrap lumber. 

At the beginning each instalment offered some verses by Allen Metelman, who went by 'Allen Met' on the series, and a lovely full-page cartoon by 'Vic Vac', the pen name of Victor Andrew Vaccarezza. 'Met' dropped out after March 6 1927, and from then on it was a solo for "Vic Vac', who eventually tried out continuing storylines after a long stretch of gags and verses. 

Vaccarezza has managed to keep a low profile in cartooning histories, but it's not for lack of ability. His work, which often uses a black background to make his colour work really pop, was well-known in St. Louis, where he was in the bullpen at several papers over the years, but pretty well unknown elsewhere. He eventually did get one syndicated credit for June Bride, a feature that came and went with all the stealth of a ninja on a moonless night.

Shantylane ran in the G-D for a little over two years, occasionally missing a Sunday, but ended on October 28 1928, for reasons unknown. There seems to have been a feeble attempt to syndicate the feature (I found it running for awhile in the Winnipeg Tribune).


Comments: Post a Comment

Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Arnold L. Hicks

Arnold Lorne Hicks was born on April 24, 1888, in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. The birth date is from his World War II draft card and the Social Security Death Index. The birthplace was recorded on 1915 and 1939 border crossing manifests.  

In the 1901 Census of Canada, twelve-year-old Hicks was the third of seven children born to Gilbert and Alice. His father was a carriage maker. The family resided in Moncton. 

On April 19, 1907, Hicks married Jennie R. McLeod in Moncton. 

The 1911 Census of Canada recorded Hicks, his wife, and two sons, Clarence and Walter, in Montreal at 73 Mitcheson. The self-employed artist worked in the printing industry.

In February 1915, sign painter Hicks crossed the border at Rouses Point, New York on his way to New York City to visit his friend, Edward Patterson at 69 Amsterdam Avenue, according to a passenger manifest at

Hicks’ third place poster design was printed in a 1916 issue of The Poster

On November 15, 1919, Hicks crossed the border at Port Huron, Michigan. The artist was headed for Chicago. 

The 1920 United States Census counted Hicks as an advertising artist who roomed at 636 Buckingham Place. 

An advertisement illustrated by Hicks appeared in Fort Dearborn Magazine, November 1922. 

Printers’ Ink, June 14, 1923, reported Hicks’ staff job. 
Harry C. Maley Company Augments Staff
William C. Faul, William E. Prickett, and Arnold Lorne Hicks have joined the Harry C. Maley Company, Chicago advertising agency. Mr. Faul, who will be art director, was formerly with the Ethridge Company, and the Wm. H. Rankin Company. Mr. Prickett, formerly with Critchfield & Company, Chicago advertising agency, becomes an account executive. Mr. Hicks joins the art staff. 
Hicks’ illustrations appeared on the covers of California Safety News, September 1924 and The Insurance Field, April 16, 1925. He was the artist of the Monarch Coffee advertisement published in The Saturday Evening Post, November 28, 1925. 

Hicks explained how to make scooter and fire engine in Child Life, November 1925. 

At some point, Hicks was granted a divorce. He remarried to Esther Marion Ames in 1927. Earlier in 1924, Hicks illustrated her book, Tinker Town Tom. She also worked at Child Life magazine. Later, he illustrated her 1929 book, Twistum Tales

The couple was counted as Yonkers, New York residents in the 1930 census. Their address was 710 Warburton Avenue. Hicks was a commercial artist and his wife an advertising magazine manager. 

He illustrated his wife’s 1932 book, Patsy for KeepsThe American Girl, September 1932, featured Hicks’ painting on its cover. He also contributed covers to several pulp magazines during the 1930s. 

According to the 1940 census, Hicks, his wife and mother-in-law lived in Mount Vernon, New York at 590 East Third Street. He was a lithograph artist. In this decade, Hicks also found work in comics

Hicks signed his World War II draft card on April 26, 1942. The freelance artist’s address was unchanged. His description was five feet five inches, 150 pounds, with brown eyes and hair. 

Editor and Publisher, March 1, 1947, announced the launch of the New York Post Syndicate’s Illustrated Classics series which was produced by the Gilberton Company. Hicks was one of four artists named. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said James Fenimore Cooper’s The Spy was drawn by Hicks and ran from July 20 to August 10, 1947. The comic book version was published in 1948. Harry Glickman and Hicks adapted George Eliot’s Silas Marner which started on November 9 and ended November 30, 1947. The comic book was published in 1949. 

The Knickerbocker News (Albany, New York), August 1, 1947, reported Hicks’ promotion. 
Art Director Named by Advertising Agency
Appointment of Arnold L. Hicks as art director of Nolan and Twitchell Advertising Agency, Albany, was announced today by Paul S. Twitchell, president.

Mr. Hicks has done advertising art work for Wilson Sporting Goods, New York Telephone, Westinghouse and Gillette Razor companies and was commissioned by the Federal Government to paint a series of murals on the U.S. postal system.
His promotion was an item in Advertising Age, August 4, 1947. 

The Chatham Courier, July 8, 1948, reported Hicks’ award. 
East Chatham Artist Takes Popular Award in Albany Art Show
Arnold L. Hicks, well known East Chatham artist, captured the popular award in the fourth annual “Greenwich Village” art exhibit held at Albany last week.

Mr. Hicks’ portrait of his granddaughter, Christy Nelson, age 8, was chosen by the public as the outstanding canvas at the exhibit.

Mr. and Mrs. Hicks have resided in East Chatham a little more than  a year. Their daughter is Mrs. Steve Nelson, also of East Chatham.
The 1950 census said Hicks and his wife were Chatham residents. He was employed at a commercial advertising agency. 

Hicks’ move was noted in the Chatham Courier, August 10, 1950. 
Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Hicks have sold their home on the Chatham-East Chatham road and have moved to Schodack.
The 1952 Albany, New York city directory listed Hicks as an art director at Nolan & Twichell Advertising Agency. He resided in Slingerlands, a hamlet in Bethlehem. 

Radio Daily-Television Daily, May 21, 1952, reported Hicks’ new job. 
Woodward & Voss, Inc., Albany ad agency announces appointment of David L. Sprung as account executive, Arnold Hicks as commercial artist and David Deporte as copy and layout specialist.
Hicks soon moved to Florida. The 1954 DeLand, Florida city directory listed him on Deerfoot Road. The artist worked for Exhibit Builders. 

Hicks passed away on November 1, 1970. He was laid to rest at DeLand Memorial Gardens

Further Reading
Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists


Side note: just so you know, Norton is listing this site as "dangerous" because of alleged phishing.
Weel, geez, how do you think I can afford to buy all these old newspapers?

I don't suppose Norton tells you specifically what they object to? I mean, 'phishing' is normally done via email. Not sure how a website would be phishing unless they were representing themself as something they aren't and asking for payment. I certify that this is the real STRIPPER'S GUIDE, and it's FREE!
Damned if I know. Norton is being annoyingly opaque, and there's no real place to enquire what the heck the issue is.
It's a recent development if my computer is any judge of the matter.
I get the same notice with John Adcock's Yesterday's Papers.
The message is clear

Post a Comment

Monday, March 20, 2023


Obscurity of the Day: Jennifer


The Christian Science Monitor had sort of a mini-golden age of comics in their staid pages during the 1940s. Well, maybe not quite gold, but at least high end aluminum foil. These were the years when Adventures of Waddles, The Bells, and other fine strips ran regularly there. Amid the many new features that came and went in this dcade was Jennifer, a strip (or sometimes panel) about a pig-tailed little girl who thinks rather grandly of herself.  As with most CSM strips, it wasn't a daily, but just ran a few times per week. It first appeared on November 25 1944 and ended July 26 1946. 

The strip is bylined to Isabelle Grover. I can find not a peep about her on the 'net. That might just be me not searching well enough, or that old single/married name bugaboo. Another possibility is that the creator used a pseudonym -- some artists who worked for the Christian Science Monitor felt it prudent to keep their real identity a secret rather than to be known for practicing Christian Science. 

UPDATE: Paul DiFilippo sends a short article from the Oakland Tribune, January 13 1948 with a mention of Isabelle Grover, so it was apparently not a pseudonym. Oddly it mentions her character Jennifer as if ythe feature is still running. Thanks Paul!


The choice of the name "Jennifer" for the main character is interesting because the name was a lot less common in the mid-1940s compared to its later popularity. Jennifer didn't even make it into the top 1,000 names for girls in the U.S. until 1938.

I tend to think of comic strip characters' names as being more old-fashioned than trendy. For Isabelle Grover to name her character Jennifer in 1944 seems downright futuristic.

Post a Comment

Sunday, March 19, 2023


Wish You Were Here, from Grace Drayton


Here's card #500 from Reinthal & Newman, featuring a Drayton cherub who has a very healthy appetite. She's ready to chow down, so hop to it mom.


She reminds me of the old Campbell's Soup kids.
Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]