Saturday, November 18, 2023


One Shot Wonders: One Thing That Sticks in Danny Long's Noodle by Will Sperry


Way back in 2012 Cole Johnson sent me this strip that he clipped out of the San Francisco Bulletin of January 20 1912. He wondered if this was a one-shot cartoon or part of a series starring this Danny Long fellow. 

I never looked into the matter until recently, but then I noticed that the Bulletin is now available at Well, as it turns out, Danny Long isn't a cartoon character at all, but rather the manager of the San Francisco Seals. Thus the gag makes perfect sense, and additional review of the paper reveals that Will Sperry was their sports cartoonist, apparently just in 1911-12 based on a quick perusal. 

Sperry's early cartoons for the Bulletin are nothing to write home about, but by 1912 he had quickly developed into a pretty darn fine cartoonist as evidenced by our sample. What happened to Mr. Sperry, then? Well, I'm no expert at tracking but I found a few tidbits. Seems he went to Europe when World War I broke out and served valorously in relief of Belgium, being cited for bravery on several occasions. When the U.S entered the war, he took a commission with the expeditionary force. When the war ended he elected not to come back to the States but rather to live in France. After that I lose track of him. I wonder if he got back into art over there in Europe once his war hero days were over?


I wonder. There is a listing for a William Alexander Sperry, Jr. in the draft registrations section of Ancestry (giving a birth date of June 4, 1890), commercial artist living in SF, and I found a William Sperry in the 1920 census living in San Anselmo, CA (just outside SF), occupation, commercial artist for a daily paper. At least as of 1920, he had a wife named Lucy. The 1930 census has William and Lucy living in San Francisco. Be interesting if there were two William Sperries as commercial artists in SF.
The September 1, 1937 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, page 13, carries an obituary (brief) for William A. Sperry, Jr., beloved husband of the late Lucy Sperry, who died on August 31, 1937, and was noted as a native of San Francisco. If this is him, he died quite young, only about 47.
The October 2, 1918 edition of the San Francisco Examiner, page 6, notes that "William A. Sperry" of the editorial department had joined the field artillery at Camp Kearny (located in San Diego). This, of course, was a year and a half after the US joined the war.
The December 23, 1914 Stockton Evening Mail, page 5, has an article about Will Sperry serving in Belgian relief -- but that's a Wiliam *H.* Sperry. William Hatfield Sperry was born on in Stockton on June 28, 1885 according to his 1914 passport application, and as of 1914 was living in Klamath Falls, Oregon, occupation: manufacturer. In the 1910 census, he was still living with his father George and family, as a law student. So I don't think the Belgian relief guy is the guy who did that strip.
Yeah, yeah, I know. One more thing. The July 24, 1915 Modesto Morning Herald, page 17, carries a strip entitled "Oh! Nevermind!" (rather Herriman-esque, if you want my view) credited to Will Sperry. This, at a point when I think the "other" Sperry was in Belgium. The strip pops up in the Morning Herald on in August, too.
Did I mention I'm no expert at genealogical tracking? Thanks EOCostello for the effort you're putting in to find "our" Mr. Sperry, even if it does strip him of his war hero status! -- Allan
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Friday, November 17, 2023


Obscurity of the Day: Nobody Works Like Father


Here's a series by the ever-busy pen of Gene Carr that reminds us that "social media" is not a phenemenon limited to the current century by any means. Long before the internet, long before TV, even long before radio, people could still tune into cultural zeitgeists. Yes, fads and memes were with us in 1906 -- maybe they didn't travel at the speed of fiber optics, but they still worked their way through our society at an amazing speed. 

In 1905 a new song was published called "Everybody Works But Father", a comic ditty about a lazy father. A number of artists recorded it, and here's one of them:

It was a big hit and soon spawned postcards and other trinkets bearing the title. Soon there were also reply songs, like "Father's Got a Job", and various singers offered new and alternative lyrics. In the world of comics, Gene Carr took up the gauntlet and decided to defend poor father. His series Nobody Works Like Father debuted on January 28 1906*, offering new song lyrics featuring a father who slaves for his family only to be treated like dirt. 

Carr must have really relished creating this series because the strips are in my opinion some of his best work; funny, on point, animated, and smart. Coulton Waugh, on the other hand, singled it out in The Comics for what may or may not be a diss, "too reminiscent of the ancient days of Dickens and Cruickshank to last long in a modern world."

As with social media today, though, the world quickly tired of its memes even way back when. Gene Carr's Nobody Works Like Father ran its course in less than a year, last appearing November 25 1906*.

* Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch.


I can relate.
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Wednesday, November 15, 2023


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Burne Hogarth

Burne Hogarth was born Bernard Spinoza Ginsburg in Chicago, Illinois on December 25, 1911, according to a profile at AskArt: “…Burne Hogarth was my father’s brother, thus I am his niece. He was born Bernard Ginsburg in Chicago, Illinois, on December 25, 1911, though he spent most of his life living in Pleasantville, New York…” At, his full name was found in a Tuley High School yearbook, The Log 1928.

In the 1920 United States Census, he was the youngest  of two sons born to Max and Pauline, both Russian emigrants. They lived in Chicago at 1252 North Campbell Avenue; an older sister, in the 1910 census, had moved out of the household. His father was a carpenter in a cabinet ship. At At Rafael Alvarez posted his biography of Hogarth and said
…Max kept those sketches and took them and his young son to the Art Institute of Chicago in 1924. Burne was accepted as a student at age 12. By age 15, he was an assistant cartoonist at Associated Editors’ Syndicate. He flourished at the Institute and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts….Burne graduated high school at the dawn of the Great Depression….
Comics Scene, #5, September 1982, interviewed Hogarth; here are a few excerpts: 
Comics Scene: Give us a capsule history of your career and early background. You graduated from the Chicago Art Institute?

Burne Hogarth: No, I didn’t, as a matter of fact, I went to the Institute but it was only a kind of supplemental activity while I was really in the process of going to high school and at the same time doing art work.

I went to the Art Institute, started Saturday classes, at the age of 12 [1924]. My father thought that I had sufficient material to be able to enroll in classes like that and so he took down a bundle of stuff one day, on a Saturday, and said “Let’s go see what they will think about this.” And they accepted me—so that’s how my training began. Later I went to the Institute taking special courses, but I didn’t enroll in any formal classes. I couldn’t because we were not an affluent family and [the world] was headed into what was later to be known as the Great Depression.

CS: When did you know you had a talent for cartooning?

BH: Very early, when I was a kid, about four. My father would sit and design furniture and cabinets—he was a carpenter and cabinet maker—and I would ask for my own piece of paper and pencil. And when I would say, “What should I draw?” he would push a cartoon under my nose and say “Here, draw this.” So the cartoon became a kind of focus of attention.

CS: What happened after you left the Art Institute?

BH: I enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago. There I studied further drawing and then cartooning as another side of that. That’s when I met a cartoonist who was working for a syndicate and other people who were working for newspapers, and we used to get heavily into what syndication was all about…deadlines and magazines and doing samples and taking them around. I did gags and editorial cartoons, illustrations and that was all part of my portfolio.

I used to take this around and get some jobs in magazines and at the same time worked at odd jobs like driving a truck, selling newspapers and shoes—nothing was too high, too low, or too intermediate to do, because there was obviously an economic necessity.

One of the people I met at the Academy introduced me to one of the syndicates. I worked (for them) in his studio and I was his assistant. I was just an apprentice. I used to come in and sweep up. I learned lettering and I learned also there’s something about the craft of doing work on deadlines. And more than anything else I learned how to use pen, brush, different media and all sorts of things in a very professional way. Maybe two and a half, three years later I sold my first feature to Bonnet Brown.
Many sources called the studio “Barnet Brown” but there was no such company. The Bonnet-Brown Company was mentioned in The Economist, March 13, 1915; Certified List of Domestic and Foreign Corporations for the Year 1920; and The Miami Daily News, October 12, 1926. 

Hogarth was interviewed in the Comics Journal, #166, February 1994, and at age 15, he produced artwork for Associate Editors’ Syndicate’s panels The Sportiest Act I Ever Saw and Famous Churches of the World. He attended Tuley High School although it’s not clear when he graduated. Chicago Public Schools’ website (currently closed) said he was in the class of 1929. The Log 1929, which is available at Memory Lane’s section, does not list or mention Bernard Spinoza Ginsburg. He was the art editor of the 1928 yearbook but it has no picture of him. He signed his name “Hog III” or “Hogarth”; below are pages with his art, photo of the drawing room, and the yearbook staff credits.

Hogarth has not been found in the 1930 census. According to a family tree at, his father passed away in 1930. Hogarth tried the correspondence courses of the Federal School. 

Federal Illustrator, Summer 1931

Federal Illustrator, Fall 1931
see second column, Story Illustration
Second Prize, $10

Federal Illustrator, Winter 1931–1932
Second Prize, Story Illustration
A decorative pen-and-ink, by Bernard Ginsburg, apparently
illustrating the “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam,” took second prize.
It is somewhat in the manner of Rackham, but does not, however,
appear to be in imitation of that master of the grotesque. 

In the Comics Scene interview, Hogarth said he sold his first series to Bonnet-Brown, a commercial art studio, and it was called
Ivy Hemmanhaw. It was one panel, humorous gags about Americana. I was just 18 [1930]. It lasted about a year and then I went on to teach in the Emergency Educational Program, which came along about the time I was 20–21 [1932–1933], and I went to school, too. I went to Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, and studied psychology, anatomy, sectional anatomy, and then things altered. The Depression got worse and under the urging of friends who had relocated to New York, I made my foray into the field in New York, into the syndicate field, very quickly—and that became the start of a whole new and different part of my life.
Around 1934, Hogarth moved to New York City. According to the 1940 census, he had lived there since 1935. In the Comics Journal interview, he said he visited, on a friend’s advice, King Features and found work. He met Lymon Young who offered him an assistant’s position on Tim Tyler’s Luck because his current assistant, Alex Raymond, was leaving. After two summer months of penciling in Greenwich, Connecticut, he quit and returned to New York. At the McNaught Syndicate he met Charles Driscoll who liked his work and considered him for an Albert Payson Terhune dog project. Hogarth got the job but soon was reassigned to Pieces of Eight, which was written by Driscoll. Hogarth recalled the research involved to produce accurate historical drawings: 
…Well, I want to tell you, I started work in February. It was agonizing. I spent 11 hours every day, half the time in the library, and I’d be sitting up nights and working incessantly, and by the end of the week I’d be drained. I’d send this stuff off to the syndicate…I lived the life of a monk in that period….” In the fall, the syndicate decided to end the strip. Hogarth said, “…‘Thank God this thing is over! I’m through with it’. The pirate strip was the heaviest chore I ever carried. And I was glad it as over.
Two weeks of his Pieces of Eight can be viewed here and here

On February 29, 1936. Hogarth and Rhoda Simons were married in Manhattan. 

In the winter of 1937 Hogarth visited United Features and learned that Hal Foster was leaving the Tarzan strip. Hogarth accepted the invitation to submit samples. Later he learned he got the assignment because the United Features general manger could not tell the difference between his and Foster’s work. His first Sunday page appeared May 9, 1937 and the last on November 25, 1945. A dispute with the syndicate led to Hogarth’s departure. After Tarzan, he produced the strip, Drago, for the Robert Hall Syndicate.

#533,10/12/1941; Russ Cochran’s Graphic Gallery #6

#633, 4/25/1943; Russ Cochran’s Comic Art Auction #44

#665, 12/5/1945; Russ Cochran’s Comic Art Auction #42

#666, 12/12/1945; Russ Cochran’s Comic Art Auction #42

#859, 8/24/1947; Russ Cochran’s Comic Art Auction #28

#911, 8/22/1948; Russ Cochran’s Graphic Gallery #6

4/21/1946; Russ Cochran’s Comic Art Auction #36

In the 1940 census, Hogarth lived at 26 West 74th Street in New York City. On October 16, 1940, Hogarth signed his World War II draft card which had his updated address. His description was five feet nine inches, 177 pounds, with hazel eyes and brown hair.

The Manhattan Telephone Directory 1942 had his home address at 66 West 88th Street. His business address was 2091 Broadway in the 1945 directory. 

In the Comics Journal #167, April 1994, when asked how the School of Visual Arts started, he said around 1945 war veterans began contacting him for cartooning advice. He would invite them to his apartment, on Saturdays, to give advice and do demonstrations. To accommodate the growing number of veterans, he looked around his neighborhood and found space at a private secondary school, which was a high school. There he met Silas Rhodes, an English teacher, who suggested that he open a school. Hogarth asked what was involved and Rhodes explained the procedures. Hogarth recalled that he rented a loft on 72nd Street and Broadway and called it the Academy of Newspaper Art. A search of that name produced nothing, however, a series of small advertisements for the Cartoonists & Illustrators Center appeared in October 1945 issues of the New York Post.

New York Post 10/10/1945

With One of the Leading
Cartoonists in the Field
Classes Start October 16th, Eves. & Saturdays
Write for Information NOW!
2091 Broadway, New York, 23, N.Y.

New York Post 10/19/1945

Learn Cartooning with
The demand for original cartoonists grows daily.
Comprehensive course in cartooning and illus-
trating. Special courses for advanced students.
BURNE HOGARTH (of Tarzan Fame, Dir.)
2091 Broadway at 72nd St.  TRafalgar 4-6616

New York Post 10/26/1945

HOGARTH of “TARZAN” fame. New complete
intensive course for beginners and ad-
vanced students.
Cartoonist & Illustrators Center
2091 B’way (72nd St. N.Y.C.) TR 4-6616

When the Center outgrew the loft space, Hogarth found space at a secondary school that opened in the evenings. There he could easily add classrooms as needed. In 1946, nearly identical advertisements ran in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 10, and Arts Magazine, February 15. 

Brooklyn Daily Eagle 2/10/1946

With A Leading Cartoonist
of “TARZAN” fame
Now is the time to get
into the cartooning field!
Learn the technique of
newspaper and magazine
panel gags — sport car-
toons — comic strips —
caricature advertising
comic illustrations.
(Mornings & Afternoons)
246 West 80 N.Y.C. SC 4-3232

The Center was certified by the State Education Department, in 1947, and renamed the Cartoonists and Illustrators School. The New York Times, January 19, 1956, said the school opened August 20, 1947. The school was mentioned in the Post, November 10, 1947.
Classes are still forming at the Cartoonists and Illustrators School, 112 W. 89th St., it was announced by Silas H. Rhodes, director. Nationally prominent cartoonists and illustrators, headed by Burne Hogarth, illustrator of “Tarzan,” comprise the faculty and lecturing staff.
During Hogarth’s absence, Ruben Moreira had been drawing the Tarzan Sunday page from December 2, 1945 to August 3, 1947. According to ERBzine Hogarth returned to Tarzan for the next three years, from August 10, 1947 to August 20, 1950. And for about four months, he also worked on the Tarzan daily from September 1, 1947 to January 3, 1948. Miracle Jones was short-lived strip he produced in 1947, a very busy year.

At the Silver Lantern site (currently inaccessible), Sy Barry recalled visiting Hogarth’s apartment: 
…When I got to meet Bernie Hogarth, I went up to his studio, which was in his apartment. My brother [Dan Barry] had an apartment like that later on.

You would go into the main area of the apartment and it was one step down into the living room area, but there was also a staircase at the end of the living room that went upstairs to the bedrooms, in an apartment house, believe it or not. I don’t know how they designed this thing, but it was really remarkable. So you’d go up the staircase and there’d be a landing there and that landing would take you into the bedrooms. Then in one of the upstairs bedrooms was his studio. It was this beautiful, brightly lit studio and it was on Central Park West.

It was a beautiful apartment and of course he was very wealthy. He’d written anatomy books and he taught and of course they paid him very handsomely on the Tarzan daily. Trust me, he was very well paid, especially for those Sunday strips. He was a brilliant guy….
Hogarth and Rhodes were accused of being Communists, as reported January 19, 1956, in the Long Island Star Journal (below) and other papers. Both men invoked the Fifth Amendment. Later that year, the Cartoonists and Illustrators School was renamed the School of Visual Arts

Suburbia Today, June 12, 1983, profiled Hogarth’s second wife, Connie and said:
…By the mid-1950s she had met artist Burne Hogarth, famous as the man who drew the Tarzan comic strip. They soon married and had two children….

…In 1962, the Hogarths moved from their Queens apartment in search of more space for the boys and a studio for Burne. In Mount Pleasant [New York], they found a fortress of a house, resembling something out of Charles Addams…. 

…Her personal life has also become a testing ground. She and Burne were divorced last year….
The University of Chicago Magazine, October 2006, published the following sequence of events:
...In 1953 she married cartoonist Burne Hogarth, who drew the Tarzan comic strip (1937–50) and founded the art school that became New York’s School for the Visual Arts. Soon after son Richard was born in 1956 and son Ross in 1959, the Hogarths moved to suburban Westchester County, which had a reputation for good public schools. (She and Burne divorced in 1981, and nine years ago she married Art Kamell, a longtime activist and former labor lawyer.)
The Dispatch (Lexington, North Carolina), November 9, 1963, published Hogarth’s article, “Our American Art Heritage.” 

In 1970 he retired from the School of Visual Arts due to differences with Rhodes. He continued to teach at Parsons School of Design. 

Hogarth returned to Tarzan by producing two books, Tarzan of the Apes (1972) and Jungle Tales of Tarzan (1976). His first book, Dynamic Anatomy, was published in 1958. Following it were Drawing the Human Head (1965), Dynamic Figure Drawing (1970), Drawing Dynamic Hands (1977), Dynamic Light and Shade (1981), Dynamic Wrinkles and Drapery (1988), and The Arcane Eye of Hogarth (1992).

In the early 1980s he settled in Los Angeles, California, where he taught at the Otis School and Art Center College of Design. Hogarth was a guest at the 1984 San Diego Comic-Con (below). 

Souvenir Program Book

After attending the Angoulême International Comics Festival in France, Hogarth suffered a heart-attack in Paris and passed away on January 28, 1996. 

In 2017 Hogarth entered the Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame. 

(An earlier profile was posted in 2015.)


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Monday, November 13, 2023


Obscurity of the Day: Miracle Jones


After his masterful performance on Tarzan, it's amazing to think that Burne Hogarth followed it up by not just one but two total misfires. The first was Drago, an atmospheric quasi-western set in South America that showcased fabulous art but herky-jerky storytelling. 

Hogarth's second attempt at getting back in the newspaper limelight is today's obscurity, Miracle Jones. An ill-advised departure from the action/adventure milieu, which was Hogarth's specialty, this strip tries to adapt Hogarth's dynamic art style to a humor strip. Miracle Jones was a bald-faced copy of James Thurber's Walter Mitty character, a nebbish whose fantasies are played out for the amusement of readers. The character had just been adapted into a 1947 blockbuster movie starring Danny Kaye, so Hogarth just jumped on the bandwagon with a character who is Walter Mitty in every respect excpt the name. 

United Feature originally offered the strip under the title J.P. Miracle, but changed it prior to release. The strip began on February 15 1948* in a vanishingly small list of papers as a Sunday-only feature**. Hogarth provided impressive art but it was all for naught. United and Hogarth threw in the towel before even the first year anniversary, the strip apparently ending on December 5 1948***.

Art expert Alberto Becattini offers us an interesting aside on Miracle Jones, stating that future E.C. Comics star Bernie Krigstein ghost-pencilled two weeks worth of the strip. There may have been other assistants and ghosts involved, too, because I notice that Hogarth does not generally sign his name in the final panel, only in the often dropped title panel. Was he trying to tell us something? Considering that he was back working on Tarzan at this time it seems likely that other hands helped out on this throwaway strip.

* Source: Boston Post

** A few sources claim the strip began in 1947, but no evidence for this has been found. 

*** Source: Jeffrey Lindenblatt based on Long Island Press.


I've long tried to definitively determine the dates when Hogarth worked on the Tim Tyler's Luck and Pieces Of Eight comic strips. His recall in interview was not always spot on; small wonder trying to remember dates from 50+ years ago. The best that I can determine is that he contributed art to TTL in for 2-3 months during the summer of 1934. I am uncertain when these strips were published. He apparently began work on POE in February of 1935. He thought it was 1936 in the Comics Journal interview, but given that the POE strips he drew ran in late 1935, he must have been mistaken. HIs POE strips were apparently published from 11/4/1935 through 12/28/1935.
IIRC, C&I students Wallace Wood and Al Williamson did some ghosting on Tarzan in the late 40s, ditto Nick Cardy who had already been working in the field and, to my knowledge, never a C&I student.
So the idea (implied) that it took Hogarth ghosts to get both strips out makes perfect sense.
Can anyone expand?
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Sunday, November 12, 2023


Wish You Were Here, from Dave Breger


Here's another Private Breger postcard issued by Graycraft. This one is number 301, which I suppose would give it pride of place as the first in the series, unless there's a #300 lurking out there somewhere. The original cartoon ran in papers in 1943, and we're reasonably certain the card series was issued in 1944.


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