Saturday, December 30, 2023


One-Shot Wonders: Lasso Lorenzo by A.T. Crichton, 1897


Here's an interesting one-shot by A.T. "Crite" Crichton that ran in the New York Sunday Journal on May 9 1897. When I first encountered it my reaction was one of horror, thinking that Crite was making some utterly tactless gag about the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine. But then I realized that happened almost a year later, so Crite dodges that bullet. But it's still an odd strip, because Lorenzo, whose rowboat is called "Unkel Sam," is sparring with and destroys a U.S. battleship. If Lorenzo was not a patriotic American (evidenced by the name of his boat) this could be a comment on U.S. - Italian relations, I suppose, but that's just not the case. That got me to wondering if Crite had no intention of having that battleship fly a U.S. flag. Looking very closely at the page, I honestly can't tell for sure whether any of that flag design is by Crite (that is, in black) or if the whole contents of an empty flag were supplied by the Journal's colorist. 

Beyond this insoluble conundrum, a few additional comments. First, this is a very early example of what I'd call a Baron Munchausen gag, one in which someone is evidently relating (in the textual portion) after the fact some patently impossible feat they performed. This theme was later picked up by F.M. Howarth who created the classic Munchausen take-off strip, Old Opie Dilldock's Stories

An' anudder t'ing .... probably wearing out my welcome by now, but I also wanted to point out what an amazing bit of cartooning this is -- notice the waves on the sea, how they pitch the boat to and fro, and how Lorenzo's body reacts to that during his lassoing exercise. Crite could have made things much easier on himself by drawing a calm sea, but he opts to stretch his drawing skills and show us what an impressive artist he is.


It strikes me odd that we never see the guy's face.
Since Lorenzo refers to the ship as a "foreigner" in the second panel, it must not be an American vessel. I have no idea what country (if any) the flag is supposed to signify--it looks like a white cross on a dark background.
One possibility is that this is a holdover from the Venezuelan Boundary Crisis of late 1895, when American-British relations were seriously strained by a boundary dispute between Venezuela and British Guiana (a dispute that has come back into the news in recent weeks). The U.S. position was that Britain was skirting the boundaries of the Monroe Doctrine, hence "foreigner." And that could, arguably, be the Royal Navy's "White Ensign" on the battleship.
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Friday, December 29, 2023


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Vernon Greene

Vernon Van Atta Greene was born on September 12, 1908, in Battle Ground, Washington, according to Washington birth records at and his World War II draft card. His parents were Albert Edward Greene and Letha Jane Van Atta (sometimes spelled Vanatta).

In the 1910 United States Census, Greene was the youngest of four siblings. The family included his paternal grandmother. They were residents of Eaton, Washington. Greene’s father was a farmer born in Canada. 

The 1920 census recorded the Greene family in Battle Ground, Washington. Their farm was on Aduddle Road. Three children were born after Greene.

Greene’s art training included the Federal School of Applied Cartooning correspondence courses. The Winter 1929 issue of the Federal Illustrator said 
Beginner Makes Good
Vernon Greene, upon securing his first position, wrote: “I am not a little conceited that I am the youngest newspaper artist in Portland. For over a year I made trips to Portland every chance I had to get away from the farm.”

Soon he reported progress as follows: “I have just finished my fifth week with the art staff of the Portland Telegram and, believe me, I am developing speed and ability.” A year later he added: 

“Two months ago I made the change from the Portland Telegram to the Beaver Engraving Company. I am doing very well and making twice as much financially as on the newspaper.”

In a recent letter, Mr. Green says: “And now, just a word about the course—anyone who is interested enough in making something of his talent to get in and take a course and put in all the spare time he has, or part of it, will make no mistake in taking the Federal Course.”

The Oregon Journal (Portland, Oregon), June 10, 1929, reported Greene’s move. 
Cartoonist Goes East
Ridgefield, June 10.—Vernon V. Greene, son of A.E. Greene of Battle Ground, a newspaper artist and cartoonist, left last week for Toledo, Ohio, where he will be connected with the art staff of the News-Bee, according to word received here. He was graduated from Battle Creek high school in 1926. He worked on a Portland paper and did art work for a commercial engraving concern in Portland.
According to the 1930 census Greene was a commercial artist working in Toledo, Ohio. He rented a room at 2221 Fulton. 

Federal Illustrator, Summer 1931

Greene attended Toledo University.

Standing: Greene is fifth from left. 1932 Blockhouse yearbook

The Federal Illustrator, Fall 1932, said
Vernon Greene reports from Cleveland that he is meeting the requirements of the Central Press Association and taking a test in various lines of newspaper illustration for the King Feature Service of New York. The acceptance of his syndicate feature illustrations will signalize his entry into the broader field of this affiliated organization. An example of Mr. Greene’s work is to be found on page 18.

The Hackensack Record (New Jersey), June 7, 1965, said Greene was a sports cartoonist at the Toledo Blade and later editorial cartoonist for the Central Press in Cleveland. In the 1930s he moved to New York City and worked for King Features, where he ghosted the strip, Polly and Her Pals, and produced editorial cartoons for Arthur Brisbane. Greene turned down George McManus’ invitation to be his assistant. In The Encyclopedia of American Comics (1990), Ron Goulart said Greene ghosted Polly and Her Pals from 1935 to 1940. 

On June 22, 1938, Greene and Paula T. Converse obtained, in Manhattan, marriage license number 12655. They married on July 16, 1938. The Toledo News-Bee (Ohio), July 25, 1938, reported their marriage. 
Of interest to Toledoans is the announcement of the marriage of Paula Thompson Converse, daughter of MRs. Harriett M.C. Converse of New York City, to Vernon Van Atta Greene also of New York, formerly of Toledo.

The wedding ceremony was performed Saturday, July 16, in Riverside Church Chapel, New York. The couple now is residing at 235 E. 22nd Street in that city.

Mr. Greene, who came to Toledo from Portland, Ore., attended the University of Toledo, and for a time was a member of The News-Bee art staff.
The couple were recorded in the 1940 census. They lived in Manhattan at 235 East 22nd Street. Greene had one year of college and was self-employed. In 1939 he earned $1,250.

On October 16, 1940, Greene signed his World War II draft card. His address was the same. He was described as five feet ten inches, 150 pounds, with gray eyes and blonde hair.

In The World Encyclopedia of Comics, Volume 1 (1976), Rick Marschall said Greene produced Charlie Conscript for Pic Magazine, and Mac the Med, a comic strip. Ideas submitted to Pic and illustrated by Greene appeared December 24, 1940; February 18, 1941; March 18, 1941; May 27, 1941; November 11, 1941; December 23, 1941; September 1, 1942; September 29, 1942; January 1, 1943; and May 11, 1943

Greene enlisted on January 12, 1943. The Hackensack Record said “he became a medical photographer for the then Army Air Force and was stationed at Kearns, Utah, A. F. Base. He was discharged as a sergeant” on September 28, 1945. 

The Sunday News (Ridgewood, New Jersey), September 19, 1948, reported Greene’s second marriage to Barbara May Bennett in New York City, September 18. His first marriage ended in divorce. The paper said
Mr. Greene was a sports cartoonist and comic strip artist who created the comic strip conception of “The Shadow.”

He was also editorial cartoonist for International News and feature cartoonist for Pic Magazine. He served in the air forces as a medical photographer and artist and is now illustrating while studying for his BA in philosophy at Columbia University. 
The 1950 census counted Greene, his wife and daughter in Manhattan at Stuyvesant Oval, 17th Street, apartment 10 H. He was a freelance artist doing art and photography. 

Greene was one of many cartoonists who visited U.S. military bases around the world. The following June 3, 1956 passenger list included Greene, Marjorie Johnson, Jerry Robinson, Michael Berry and Tony DePrita. 

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Greene drew The Shadow, written by Walter B. Gibson, from June 17, 1940 to June 20, 1942; Dean’s Bible Bee weekly panel, written by Don Orput, from 1945 to June 25, 1949; Bringing Up Father daily from 1955 to December 11, 1965; ghosted on Polly and Her Pals; and was an assistant on Blondie around 1963. Many of Greene’s comic book credits are at the Grand Comics Database. An overview of his career is at Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999

The Pacific Edition of Stars and Stripes, December 11, 1955, explained how Greene took over McManus’s strip Bringing Up Father aka Maggie and Jiggs. McManus passed away in October 22, 1954. 

The Pacific Edition of Stars and Stripes, May 9, 1957, reported the visit of Greene, Al Posen, Don Trachte Roy Crane and Hugh Hutton. 

For the National Association of Educational Broadcasters, Greene did a weekly radio interview series, The Cartoonist’s Art. Some of the interviewees were Tom Johnstone (March 9, 1962), Tom Gill (March 16, 1962), Harvey Kurtzman (March 23, 1962), Gregory D’Allessio and Hilda Terry (March 30, 1962).

The Hackensack Record said Greene was vice president of the National Cartoonist Society, and a member of the Newspaper Comics Council. 

The National Cartoonists Society Album 1996 

According to Who Was Who in American Art (1998), Greene studied with artists Henry G. Keller, Oronzio Maldarelli, Peppino Mangravite, Dong Kingman, and others. 

Greene passed away on June 5, 1965, in East Orange, New Jersey. He was a resident of Wyckoff, New Jersey. Greene was laid to rest at Lewisville Cemetery

National Cartoonists Society Newsletter 9/1965


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Wednesday, December 27, 2023


Obscurity of the Day: Zoo Gossip


Clarence Rigby, one of the main contributors to the World Color Printing Sunday comic section from 1904 to 1911, closed out his association with that company with today's obscurity, Zoo Gossip. And evidently Rigby was already on the hook to another concern that didn't like moonlighters, because on this feature he signed himself Y.B. Gir. Which ya gotta admit, is pretty cute, if not exactly diabolical in its cleverness.

Anyhow, from Jul 10 1910 to April 9 1911* Zoo Gossip tells completely made up fairy tales about how animals got to be the way they are. You know, like how the giraffe got a long neck, that sort of thing. Rigby was a very fine cartooner of animals, so the visuals are great. The stories ... well ... I don't think Mother Goose and Aesop were in any danger of being dethroned as purveyors of this sort of story. 

* Source: Canton Repository


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Monday, December 25, 2023


Christmas with Dot and Dick, Part 7


... and a Merry Christmas from Stripper's Guide, too!


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Sunday, December 24, 2023


Christmas with Dot and Dick, Part 6



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