Saturday, September 02, 2023


Herriman One-Shots: November 3 1901


This Herriman one-shot from an early McClure section I long expected to find was actually a series, since the fellow's name is so very unusual. However, if Herriman produced more than one episode of Herr Kronsestiner it seems that the McClure Syndicate did not see fit to print it. 

In this very early Herriman production less to be said about the gag the better. What I'd like to draw attention to is that in Herriman's early colour work he seems to like adding grey washes. Here it is fine, indicating that Kronsestiner has turned out the lights. But other early Herriman efforts use it for  no good reason and it leaves his work looking murky and amateurish. Thankfully he soon cured himself of that habit, or had an editor tell him to quit it.


Comments: Post a Comment

Friday, September 01, 2023


Obscurity of the Day: The Dinkies


From Cole Johnson's collection we have these samples of The Dinkies, one of those "how much action can we stuff into a panel" features that were very popular in the 1890s. This genre was a response to the phenomenal popularity of Palmer Cox's Brownies, which pretty well created the style. 

This particular feature is rather special because it is by Charles W. Saalburg, the man who pioneered the form of newspaper colour comics, culminating  in 1894 with The Ting-Lings for the Chicago Inter-Ocean. If you didn't know about The Ting-Lings, you can be forgiven if you look at the panels above and dismiss them as rip-offs of Hogan's Alley, starring the phenomenal Yellow Kid. But the fact is, both Outcault and Saalburg merely followed on the heels off Palmer Cox.

By 1897, the year of The Dinkies, Saalburg was working for the New York World and his considerable drawing skills seemed to be taking a back-seat to his expertise in four-colour newspaper production. Presumably by 1897, with the World's colour printing well in hand Saalburg now had a little free time to indulge his artistic muse. 

But not a lot of time, that's for sure, because The Dinkies came and went in a wink. They only ran in the August 8 and 15 1897 Sunday editions of The World, and on each of those dates a pair of half-page panels were run, for a total of four 'episodes.' Ironically, Saalburg being a colour printing expert, this series was run in black and white. 

The Dinkies is essentially just a retread of his The Ting-Lings. The only difference being that the latter were little Chinese sprites, whereas the new model were stereotypical black kiddies. Both series don't so much tell a story as offer a tableau of all the shenanigans the kids get into in some interesting or exotic locale. As you can see above, The Dinkies was set in popular tourism sites. Much belated thanks to the late Cole for these very rare samples.


Comments: Post a Comment

Wednesday, August 30, 2023


Toppers: Johnny Bear


The story of S'Matter, Pop?, Charles M. Payne's long-running strip about the relationship between a dad and his son, is a bit convoluted. It's a subject we definitely need to cover one of these days. But today we have a much easier bone to chew on, a topper to S'Matter, Pop? sometimes titled Johnny Bear

Although S'Matter, Pop? had spent time at both the Hearst and Pulitzer organizations, by the 1920s it was distributed by Bell Syndicate. Bell wasn't as consistent about wanting Sunday toppers as some syndicates, and when they did ask their cartoonists to add toppers they sometimes didn't seem to want them to have titles (see Cicero, for instance). S'Matter, Pop? gained a one-tier topper on September 12 1926, but in its early appearances it was just an extra gag starring the main strip's characters. 

On January 23 1927* Payne dumped that idea and switched to a group of animal characters. These characters harkened back over twenty years to a strip that Payne created for the Philadelphia Inquirer titled Bear Creek Folks. That was a strip heavily influenced by Joel Chandler Harris' Uncle Remus Stories and featured a group of Southern-drawling animals. 

In the new topper the cast of Bear Creek Folks are in attendence, but the spotlight is definitely on Johnny Bear, the young cub. And it took a very long time, but finally in late 1930 the topper would get a small lettered title on occasion. It wasn't until March 1931 that a proper title panel was added, and it wouldn't last long. On April 19 1931 Payne did a real presto-change-o bit of magic and turned his main strip, S'Matter, Pop? into a topper, and changed the main strip to Honeybunch's Hubby, another artifact dug up from way back in the early 1910s. Out on their keisters were Johnny Bear and the rest of the animal cast, last appearing on the Sunday of April 12 1931**.

PS: In my book this feature is listed as Little Johnny Bear. Further research has revealed that this title is even more seldom used than Johnny Bear

* Source: Austin American

** Source: Klamath News


Comments: Post a Comment

Monday, August 28, 2023


Obscurity of the Day: ADventures


In the ever-popular quest to provide cartoons for every section of the newspaper, the classified ad section has always been a favorite target. We've already covered many of them here on Stripper's Guide, including Classie Addie, Ad Libs, and arguably the most popular of the form, Quickies. Today we have ADventures, a gag-a-day feature penned by Chuck Vadun and syndicated by United Feature Syndicate. While many of these features are specifically directed toward extolling the virtues of classified ads, ADventures sets its sights a little lower. It's purpose is merely to provide a little levity and graphical interest to those vast acres of itsy-bitsy type.

Well, I said it was gag-a-day feature, but that's not strictly true. No, I'm not casting aspersions on Vadun's gag-writing -- it's just fine. It's the frequency of the panel that I'm referring to, and it is quite the oddity. Although advertised as a daily feature throughout its 1982-1986* run, I have a few UFS syndicate weekly books from 1984-85 and they show the panels were produced in a quantity of TEN per week. Which actually makes a lot of sense when you think of the panels as hole-fillers as opposed to brighteners. If you look at a classified ad page (okay, if you did thirty years ago) you'd see lots of bits of stuff on the page just intended to take up odd patches of space. Typically they are just little boxes saying things like "The Classified Are Your Best Bet," "Phone 555-0110 To Place An Ad" and such. The evident point of ADventures was to take the place of some of those acne-like spots on the page with something people might actually enjoy. 

* Source: E&P Syndicate Directories.


This comment has been removed by the author.
Don't Forget about Cholly, the classified kid.
Post a Comment

Sunday, August 27, 2023


Wish You Were Here, from Dwig


Here's a card from Raphael Tuck's School Days series by Dwig. This one is an oddball in that my other School Days cards are marked as Series #170, while this one is clearly marked Series #110. A minor mystery.


Comments: Post a Comment

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

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]