Saturday, February 17, 2024


One-Shot Wonders: Speaking of Easter Customs by Art Young, 1893


Here we have a back cover of the Chicago Inter-Ocean's Illustrated Supplement, the very first newspaper to print colour using high-speed presses. 

This Art Young page is from the Easter number of the supplement, published April 2 1893, and offers up some interesting Easter customs from around the world. I had never heard of "matching" (upper right), but I think he's perhaps talking about the Bulgarian custom of tapping Easter eggs together until one cracks. I don't find a reference to this tradition being called "matching", though, so maybe I'm guessing wrong?


Hi Allan,
my name is Claudio Marchiori and I’m writing from Bordighera, Italy. I am the President of the Salone Internazionale dell’Umorismo and I am looking for info regarding Bill who won a prize in Bordighera in 1970.
He designed the poster for the following year:
As I am writing a book on the Salone I am looking for info regarding those who won a prize and designed the poster. Unfortunately I could find very few info on him and I wonder if you could help me as it seems that you were in contact in 1917.
I appreciate any info you may share and look forward to your reply
All the best and greetings from Bordighera…
Claudio Marchiori
Presidente Associazione
Salone Internazionale Umorismo
sorry I mean 2017...
Hi Claudio --
If you provide me an email I can send you some info. See blog sidebar for my emailing info.

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Friday, February 16, 2024


Toppers: Otis


We've discussed Brenda Breeze before on this blog, tangentially and a long time ago. Back then it was mostly about the creator, who couldn't seem to quite decide whether his name was Rolfe Mason or Rolfe Memison. (We eventually got that squared away, but only sorta). Today we won't worry about Rolfe M. and his fluid surname. 

Brenda Breeze debuted as a Sunday-only feature for NEA in 1939, offering gags about a shapely blonde model. Being NEA, provider of Puritan fun to the button-down small-town papers, Brenda was a paragon of virtue and only showed off her cheesecake figure because, well, she was a model, after all. The girl was utterly chaste, the gags were reliably squeaky clean, and shame on you male readers if you ogled her. Later on Brenda changed careers and became a secretary so that modesty could be the firm policy at all times. It didn't seem to slow down the boss from chasing her around the desk practically every Sunday from then on, though.

When Brenda Breeze debuted she was formatted as a half-page or tabloid strip. It wasn't until 1943 when NEA bowed to the need for a third-page version and so added a one-tier topper. The original topper was quite unusual, but that's a story for another day. No, today we're concerned with the third and final topper for Brenda Breeze, Otis. Otis debuted on May 7 1944 and ran with Brenda Breeze right up to the bitter end of the main strip on October 21 1962*. Not that there were many papers printing the topper by that time, but old habits die hard.

Otis was a bird. Maybe a parrot? Maybe a crow? Gosh I really don't know. In any case he engaged in mostly pantomime gags, though I have caught the little dickens with a word balloon on rare occasions. I've also found Brenda herslf appearing as an unpaid extra in the occasional strip. The strip was perfecly fine, what more can you say? It reliably delivered a smile-inducing gag, providing you weren't old enough to have seen the gag done before. In other words, it appealed best to the under-10 set.

* Source: All dates from NEA archives at Ohio State University.

I'm curious about NEA being labelled as a "provider of Puritan fun." I seem to remember that in NEA's Captain Easy Leslie Turner gave us a good number of gratuitous lingerie shots. Darned nicely drawn they were, too.
Yes, but how many NEA clients did not run Wash Tubbs for years and years? It wasn't until the mid-30s or so that many of them begrudgingly added the strip to their papers. Because they didn't approve? Heck, I dunno.

On the other hand, Flapper Fanny was quite often dressed in a few strategically placed squares of Kleenex, so I guess point taken.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2024


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Odin Burvik

(An earlier profile was posted in 2015.)

Odin Burvik was the pseudonym of Mabel Glazier “Grace” Burwick, who was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado on September 17, 1904. Her full name was pieced together from census records and a family tree; the birth information was from her Social Security application (transcribed at Burvik’s parents were Odin Burwick and Della Marie Glazier. In A Century of Women Cartoonists (1993), Trina Robbins wrote “Another woman who took a masculine name was Mabel Burwick; at the start of her career, she changed her name to Odin Burvik.”

The 1905 Colorado Springs directory had a listing for her parents, Odin and Della, who resided at 128 West Mill. He was a driver at the Houston Lumber Company. The 1907 directory recorded them at 418 South Tejon and he remained employed at Houston Lumber. Iowa Gravestone has a photo of Odin’s gravestone, with the dates “1879–1908”, at the Holman Sergeant Bluff Cemetery in Woodbury County, Iowa.

In the 1910 United States Census, Burwick and her mother, a widow and dressmaker, lived in Colorado Springs at 914 Lake Avenue. Later, her mother remarried.

The 1920 census recorded Burwick and her mother and brother, Robert, who both had the Olesen surname, in Los Angeles, California at 6110 Moneta Avenue. She worked as a saleslady in her mother’s candy store. The whereabouts of her Danish step-father is not known. 

Burvik graduated from Santa Maria Union High School. The Los Angeles Times (California), June 13, 1925, said “the salutatory was delivered by Miss Mabel Burwick, a student who has carried away high honors in the art class as well as other studies.” 

The Federal Illustrator, Summer 1926, mentioned Burvik.
Believes in Fairies
Charlie Plumb believes in fairies, but he hasn’t a corner on this believing business because Mabel Burwick does too. “Do you believe in fairies?” She asks, “I do. I envy no one, not even Cinderella or Aladdin.

“Actually I am the happiest person I have ever known and it was through drawing that such friends came to me!

“You and your school deserve everlasting thanks for. Helping me discover the golden Aladdin’s lamp which needed but a little elbow grease and rubbing to bring me friends and happiness.”

Miss Burwick has gone ahead so rapidly that it is almost possible to believe that she did have a fairy godmother watching over her. She was art editor of the Breeze, a school weekly which won first place over fifty others at Stanford University. She has illustrated a text book on design and has done excellent work in the greeting card field.

She is now traveling in Europe with a friend made by her art ability. Doesn’t that almost take your breath away?

The 1926 Colorado Springs city directory listed Burvik, a student, and her mother at 304 East Monument. She studied at Colorado College. 

1927 Pikes Peak Nugget yearbook

In 1930 the Burwick family was in Minneapolis, Minnesota at 916 Seventh Avenue. The census had Burvik’s first name as Grace. She was a self-employed commercial artist and her mother was a school teacher. 

In June 1933, Burvik was aboard the steamship Paris when it departed from New York City. She arrived in Plymouth, England on June 16, 1933. Burvik returned on the steamship Ile de France which departed from Le Havre, France on September 13, 1933. According to the passenger list, she arrived in New York on the 19th; her destination address was the L.S. Donaldson Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

Burvik’s name appeared, as Miss Mabel Burwick, in an issue of the Bulletin, Volumes 23-24, 1934, from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts. She was in the Federal Illustrator, Spring Number, 1938. The Kingston Daily Freeman (New York), April 13, 1968, said she “…decided at the age of 12 to become a professional artist…Mrs. Waugh studied at Minneapolis and Chicago Art Institutes, and with Harvey Dunn at Grand Central Galleries in New York…”

The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 2, Pamphlets, Etc. 1940 New Series, Volume 37, Number 2 has an entry for her and John Charles Fabbrini. 

New York City was the home of the Burwicks in the 1940 census. They lived at 51 West 68th Street. Burvik was a freelance artist, who had two years of college; her brother was a hotel porter. The census said the Burwicks, in 1935, resided in Chicago, Illinois. 

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Dickie Dare, created by Milton Caniff, started on July 31, 1933 and ran to October 12, 1957. Coulton Waugh produced the strip from December 3, 1934 to March 26, 1944. His then assistant, Odin Burvik, drew the Sunday from April 2, 1944 to 1948, and daily from May 22, 1944 to March 6, 1948. She was followed by Fran Matera from March 8, 1948 to November 5, 1949. Waugh returned to the Associated Press series on November 7, 1949. 

In Waugh’s book, The Comics (1947), he explained how Burvik became involved with the strip.
…When the writer decided to turn finally to other matters, he had as assistant a determined young woman with an interesting Norwegian name, Odin Burvik. She could herring-bone up a hill on skiis as fast as he could roll down them, and she had one burning, devastatingly difficult ambition: to become a comic artist.

Knowing the stress and strain of strip-producing, the author decided to try her determination and gave her the most difficult assignments he could. “You can’t be sick; no holidays,” he said. She wonders now how she ever survived; but she learned so much in a single year as assistant, that when the big chance came in the spring of 1944, the Associated Press agreed to try her out. She won, and soon she was in full charge of “Dickie,” matching his bubbling energy with with the sense of life which gives her style its own special distinction.
Arts Magazine, Volume 20, Issue 6, 1946, said “…Coulton Waugh, son of the late Frederick Waugh of seascape fame, has long been the creator of a popular cartoon strip titled ‘Dicky [sic] Dare’…Not long back he decided that he wanted to give it up, and in due course, an open competition was held by the Associated Press to find someone to carry it on. One Miss Odin Burvik won. Miss Burvik was a former assistant of Coulton...Well…it’s still in the family…he married the girl!…” 

According to Who Was Who in America with World Notables (1976), Waugh married Elizabeth Dey Jenkinson on May 18, 1919; she passed away in 1944. He married Burwick on January 17, 1945. The Connecticut Marriage Record, at, said they married in Stamford.

The Newburgh News (New York), September 6, 1945, reported the marriage of Burwick’s brother, who “…at present is assistant to his sister, Mrs. Coulton Waugh, of Little Britain who draws a comic strip for Associated Press…” In Alter Ego #59, June 2006, Fran Matera explained how he took over the strip and who did the lettering.
…the Associated Press hired me to take over Dickie Dare. I went to see Coulton Waugh and his wife, Odin. Waugh was writing and doing a lot of the art, and his wife worked on it for a while, signing it ‘Odin.’ Her brother lettered. Gradually, both Coulton and Odin wanted to taper off…doing the strip so they could paint, and I took over. Odin’s brother continued to letter it, but he didn’t live near me, so I decided to take that over….
The 1950 census counted Burvik, her husband, daughter, Phyllis, and son, John, in New Windsor, New York on Jackson Avenue two miles right. Also living with them was the mother-in-law of Waugh’s first wife and two hired hands. 

Burwick devoted her time to painting. Parade magazine, January 12, 1958, had an advertisement for Art Instruction, Inc., which had a paragraph about her (below).

The Kingston Daily Freeman said, “…She gained her total knowledge of color and oil painting from working with her husband and the two often work together on a portrait. The almost life-size portrait of their daughter, Phyllis, is one example of this collaboration…” 

The Newburgh News, March 18, 1958, noted the upcoming lecture at Temple Beth Jacob Brotherhood: “…The program will feature a lecture discussion on ‘The History of Cartooning’ by Coulton and Odin Waugh, nationally-syndicated cartoonists and creators of ‘Dickie Dare’….” 

During the mid-1960s and 1970s, the couple produced the panel Junior Editors Quiz.

Citizen Advertiser (Auburn NY) 11/18/1969
Word balloons say: “Some may enjoy abstraction but
for me the things in nature are just—so beautiful or 
funny—that I can’t resist drawing them just as they are—”.

The Evening News (Newburgh, New York), June 11, 1964, published photos of Phyllis and her mother, and the November 6, 1983 edition has another photo. The Otsego Farmer (Cooperstown, New York), July 17, 1969, reported the upcoming exhibition at the Pioneer Gallery, whose members included the Waughs and their daughter.

Waugh passed away May 23, 1973, according to The New York Times. He was survived by his wife, Odin, son, John, daughter, Phyllis Goodman, and sister, Gwenyth Clymer. 

The Cornwall Local (New York), September 30, 1981, reported Burvik’s marriage.
Odin Waugh is wed to Hubert Buchanan
Odin Waugh of Jackson Avenue, New Windsor, and Hubert Buchanan of Pueblo, Colorado, were married September 13 at the the Bethlehem Presbyterian Church in New Windsor.

Over 100 friends and relatives attended the ceremony. The couple was received at a social hour after the ceremony in the Church hall.

After a trip to Torremolinos, Spain, the couple will reside at 209 West 19th St., in Pueblo, Colo.

Mrs. Waugh-Buchanan is a well-known local artist. Buchanan is retired from the New York Life Insurance Co. and also is an artist. He is president of the Pueblo Art Center in Colo.
The same wedding date was in Who’s Who in U. S. Writers, Editors and Poets, United States & Canada 1992–1993 which profiled Buchanan.

Burvik, as Odin Waugh, passed away in June 1998 according to the Social Security Death Index. The USGenWeb Project website, Welcome to the Orange County, New York GenWeb Site, has the Times Herald-Record Obituary Index June 1998. The entry has an error: “Burwick Glazier, Odin [Waugh, Buchanan] / Born 09/17/1904 / Birth Place Colorado Springs, NY / Died 06/17/1998”. She was born in Colorado state. 

Her mother passed away December 3, 1964, and brother on December 15, 2006. In The Comics, Waugh said
…The author would like especially to thank his research assistant, Robert Burwick, whose wide knowledge of the subject and sharp intelligence proved invaluable during the several years of hard work which went into the book….


Thanks for posting. Interesting life.
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Monday, February 12, 2024


Obscurity of the Day: Jungo


According to attorney John Duncan and syndicate president Arthur Lafave, what the newspaper world needed in 1954 was a funny strip to relieve the sameness and drama of all the story strips. What they produced as the miracle antidote to this sorry state was Jungo, a strip about a super-strong but very friendly ape who lives in the world of humanity. Why a gorilla, you ask? Duncan had a ready answer. Because in a zoo the gorillas "get the most response from the public." 

Armed wih this unassailable logic the syndicate and a lawyer who really wanted to be a cartoonist loosed Jungo on an unsuspecting world. Duncan produced a strip that was unrelentingly cheerful, casting the ape as a do-gooder whose enormous strength sometimes works out well, other times causes unintended mayhem. 

It's a perfectly decent idea, I suppose, except that Duncan immediately falls into a rut of about three basic gags, none of which is exactly holleringly funny. And Jungo the ape, not being one of those talking varieties native to Disney, has a one-note personality that wears thin very quickly. Duncan did provide Jungo with a human family to play against, and that could have offered a little more variety to the jokes. But Duncan seemed rather uninterested in them and they were not often seen. Maybe he was afraid he'd be classified as one of those awful story strips if some humans spent a lot of time jawboning in his strip. I dunno. 

Jungo debuted on February 8 1954* as a Sunday and daily strip, and the Lafave syndicate did manage to get it placed in a number of good-sized papers. But when the features editors saw that Jungo was an ape of limited comedic abilities the papers started jumping ship pretty quickly. The latest I am aware of Jungo running is February 27 1955**, just a little over a year after its debut. 

* Source: Memphis Commercial Appeal

** Source: Cleveland News


Am enjoying your Stripper's Guide, and thank you for your efforts. Could it be that this strip was in-part inspiration for Hanna Barbera's Magilla Gorilla Show? The design shares similarities.
The 1950s seem to have been a golden age for talking gorillas, for some reason. DC Comics were a major perpetrator, but I suppose others (Ready?) aped them.

As cartoon strips about talking apes go, Rudy is far superior to Jungo.
Magilla does wear a derby hat like Jungo, but that conceit seems like a traditional prop for strong man characters. That said, I imagine Duncan could have gotten a few bucks out of Hanna-Barbera for 'stealing' the likeness.

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Sunday, February 11, 2024


Wish You Were Here from Buster Brown


Here's a card from Tuck's Buster Brown Valentine Series 8. You'll note that they don't even bother to forge Outcault's signature on this one, so far off model it is. This particular one wasn't posted, but others in the series in my collection are postmarked 1909.


Are you sure they're even trying to pass it off as Buster? The boy has different style and colour hair, the suit is something Buster never wore, and a giant Chihuahua is a poor stand-in for Tige.
Yes, on the reverse it is clearly marked "Buster Brown Valentine Series 8".
This must be the alternate universe Buster.
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