Saturday, March 09, 2024


One-Shot Wonders: Chinese Money by H.C. Greening, 1903


H.C. Greening jumped around, making appearances at most of the New York syndicates in the 1890s to 1900s, and here he is at McClure with a one-shot strip for their January 11 1903 issue. The gag here regards the Chinese wén, a coin of so minor value that the holed currency was commonly strung together in units of 100 or even 1000 to make for any substantial value.


I've seen some of those coins. The holes in the centre were square!
"John" was colloquial slang for a person of Chinese extraction, a term that by 1900 had already been in use for some decades.
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Friday, March 08, 2024


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Granville E. Dickey

(An earlier profile was posted in 2020.) 

Granville Edourd Dickey was born on June 24, 1902, in Washington, District of Columbia (DC), according to his World War II draft card. His middle name was found in the Northwestern University Bulletin Annual Catalog 1919–1920

In the 1910 United States Census, Dickey was the oldest of two children born to Raymond and Rose. The family and two servants resided in DC at 1358  Otis Place. Dickey’s father was an attorney. 

At age six Dickey was hit by a truck as reported in the Evening Star, February 13, 1909. 

Dickey’s disappearance was front page news in the Evening Star, March 18, 1913 and Washington Times, March 19, 1913. 

Dickey attended Central High School where he participated in swimming. His triumphs were noted in Washington Herald, June 8, 1919. 
... Granville Dickey won the two spectacular events of the meet—the 220 and the 500 yards. He had very little trouble in gaining first in the 220, and in the 500 he won by two lengths. Dickey is considered the best all-around scholastic swimmer. ...
The Dickey family continued to be DC residents, at 1702 Kilbourne Place NW, in the 1920 census. 

Dickey graduated in 1920.

1920 Brecky yearbook

The Central Bulletin, June 15, 1920

In 1921 Dickey attended George Washington University. 

Cherry Tree yearbook

Dickey transferred to Northwestern University in Chicago. In 1924 Dickey graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. He was a member of the varsity swimming team, and in his senior year was named a member of the all-American swimming team.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Dickey was the first writer of Men Who Made the World, which was drawn by Chester Sullivan. The strip started on September 21, 1925 and after five dailies Dickey’s name was replaced by “Dr. Elliott Shoring, Noted Eminent Historian”. Records of this person have not been found. Shoring may have been a pen name. The John F. Dille Company series ran for many years as reprints.

The Evening Star, April 4, 1928, reported Dickey’s marriage. 
The marriage of a former Washingtonian, Mr. Granville E. Dickey, to Miss La Verne Carnes will take place this afternoon in Chicago, the home of the parents of the bride. After an extensive trip to Cuba and Spanish Honduras, they will return to Chicago, where Mr. Dickey is advertising manager for a large wholesale house. 

He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. R.B. Dickey of 1702 Kilbourne place. In 1920, when he graduated from Central High School, he was captain of the swimming team and a captain in the Cadet Corps.

In 1924 he was graduated from the College of Journalism of Northwestern University. He was a member of the varsity swimming team, and in his senior year was named as a member of the all-American swimming team.
According to the 1930 census, the couple resided in Oak Park, Illinois at 402 South Cuyler Avenue. Dickey was an advertising copywriter.

The Northwestern University Club of Chicago 1932 Year Book had this entry: 
Dickey, Granville E., J. ’24, “N”; Adv. Man., E. J. Brach & Sons, Adv. for Candy Mfgr., 4656 W. Kinzie, Man. 1200; r. 402 S. Cuyler, Oak Park, Vil. 9283.
Dickey’s father passed away on April 1, 1940. 

Dickey divorced in 1941. 

On November 25, 1941 Dickey testified before the House of Representatives’ committee hearings on the conservation of wildlife. 

On February 14, 1942, Dickey signed his World War II draft card. He lived in Silver Spring, Maryland at 8003 Eastern Avenue, apartment 104. Dickey was employed at the U.S. Conservation Corps in DC. His description was five feet eight-and-a-half inches, 145 pounds, with brown eyes and hair. 

In 1943 Dickey wrote radio scripts for the Food Distribution Administration of the War Food Administration. 

An Evening Star death notice said Dickey’s second wife passed away April 5, 1945. 
Dickey, Ceril. On Thursday, April 5, 1945, at St. Petersburg, Fla. Ceril Dickey, aged 37, formerly of Gaithersburg, Md.; wife of Granville E. Dickey, daughter of Mrs. Florence Cousins, niece of Albert Lancaster, St. Petersburg, Fla. Services and interment St. Petersburg, Fla., on Monday, April 9.
Marketing Activities, January 1947, published Dickey’s article, “Burley Tobacco—New Export Crop?”. 

Dickey passed away on January 28, 1948. Death notices appeared in the Evening Star, January 29, 1948 and the Washington Post, January 30, 1948 (below). 
Dickey Granville E. On Wednesday, January 28, 1948. Granville E. Dickey, father of Rosemary Dickey, son of Rose M. Dickey and the late Raymond B. Dickey, brother of Mrs. Alice Beaton, John Maxwell Dickey and Raymond R. Dickey. Funeral from the W. W. Deal Funeral Home, 4812 Georgia ave. n.w., on Saturday, January 31, at 2 p. m. Relatives and friends invited. Interment Cedar Hill Cemetery.
Dickey was laid to rest at Cedar Hill Cemetery

Dickey’s first wife passed away on February 2, 1966. 


Wow. Died young.
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Wednesday, March 06, 2024


Obscurity of the Day: Mr. Lowe


Okay, so when I decided that Mr. Lowe would make a good Obscurity of the Day, I didn't know that the strip had been appearing in re-runs on GoComics for several years. Hmm, not so terribly obscure after all. But hey, it's a great strip, and I did the scanning, so yer gettin' 'em. 

Mark Pett's Mr. Lowe is a strip about an enthusiastic young grade school teacher, a subject that Pett knew very, very well since he had recently been one. Pett sold the strip to Creators Syndicate, who in my opinion had every reason to think they had a winner on their hands. The strip is sweet but never saccharine, the gags are consistent, funny and very much rooted in reality, and the art is pretty darn fab. Pile on to that list of plusses that the strip is about a subject very relatable to teachers and students, two big juicy demographics, and it seems like a powerhouse. 

So now is usually when I try to explain why it might not have gone so well. But on this one I'm a bit flummoxed. The best I can come up with is that it got lost among a number of other good strips that debuted in 2000 -- Baldo, James, Monkeyhouse, Pooch Cafe, Red and Rover, Soup to Nutz, Six Chix ... that's a lot of tough competition for very few opening slots. I'll say one thing; it'll be interesting to see what Jeffrey Lindenblatt has to tell us about new features in The 300 series when he gets to year 2000. 

Mister Lowe debuted in a very small number of papers on May 15 2000*, and the last I can find it running is February 10 2001**. It was a Sunday and daily strip, but if the daily is rare, Sundays are like the proverbial hen's teeth. Surely some paper ran them?!?

If you're intrigued enough to read Mr. Lowe, you can get it on GoComics, and there was also a reprint book of the feature published back in 2002 by Cottonwood Press. 

Mark Pett soon returned to syndication with (in my opinion) an even better strip, called Lucky Cow, about employees in a fast-food restaurant. This one managed to stick around for five years, but was barely touch and go for sales the whole time. Since then Pett has recognized the weird newspaper syndication curse that hangs over his head, and has perhaps wisely switched to other pursuits like illustrating books.

* Source: Cartoonist PROfiles #128.

** Source: Salt Lake Tribune.


I remember this strip well (I was also a fan of "Lucky Cow" for its entire run). Mark Pett's strips deserved more love than it actually got.

I have the reprint book, which contains most, but not all, of the strips. The missing strips I saw for the first time when GoComics reran it.
I sent the link to a teacher.
I found Salt Lake Tribune running "Mr. Lowe" Sunday strips
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Monday, March 04, 2024


Firsts and Lasts: King of the Royal Mounted Rides Forth


 King Features threw a lot of new tabloid Sunday features up against the wall in 1935. Mostly they were needed to fill the new tabloid format Sunday section that Hearst had decided to experiment with, and hey, if they managed to sell the new stuff in syndication so much the better. King of the Royal Mounted definitely got its name in the "so much the better" column, as it took off quite nicely. Nicely enough, in fact, that a daily was added the next year. 

Above is the seldom seen first Sunday of King of the Royal Mounted, which appeared on February 17 1935. The art on this inaugural Sunday was unsigned but by Allen Dean. I love how the story just jumps right in there and rockets right off. No intro, no explanatory dialogue, just slam-bang action. 

As much as I should be well-versed in King of the Royal Mounted lore, being a Canuck and all, I must admit to having read very little of the strip. So I think I'll just shut up and ask you to keep reading over at Don Markstein's Toonopedia, where he gives you all the lowdown on this classic adventure strip. He'll even tell you Sergeant King's first name, and I bet there was a lotta reading went into finding that li'l factoid!


Trina told me that when she was a kid, she just natcherly figgered that the hero of this strip was THE King of the Royal Mounted. Mounties would have a King, wouldn't they?
Hello Allan-
It would have seemed to be better to launch one of the new Tab features the week that the Hearst chain sections converted, on 3rd of February, but they waited until the 17th.
Years ago, Ron Goulart brought up the obscure "MEN OF THE MOUNTED" strip, syndicated by the Toronto Star, as ending on 16 February 1935, indicating that KFS may have had to wait for, or even somehow hasten, that ending, in order to clear the deck for another, presumably better, Mountie strip.
What do you think? I can see a natural fan base in Canada, of course, was it especially supported there? There were foreign clients, of course, I have comic books in Spanish, for instance, where he's "Rey De La Policia."
In France, this comics was first issued with the title: "Le Roi de la Police Montée".
Hi Mark --
That is a real head-scratcher about the Canadian strip. Do you need permission to feature a real public organization in a strip? If so, it makes perfect sense, as the RCMP might have said, effectively, "Get in line, chum." But I don't recall ever hearing that being a rule -- maybe just a smart and ethical business decision not to peeve the organization on which you're basing a strip.

Do you happen to know if "King..." paid any sort of royalties/commission/donation to the RCMP over the years? Did the RCMP keep tabs on the strip and provide guidance?

Gee, I wonder if "Crock" sought the okay of the French Foreign Legion?

Never did I ever run into any official connexion to the RCMP with King of the mounted. It would seem that "King" and company are all fictional people, and so the organisation's reputation has no direct stake in it, unlike strips like "War On Crime" which were supposedly actual FBI cases.
When it was launched, I think they had really high hopes for it, after all, it had Zane Grey's name on it, and some licensing and movie contracts appeared, thus avoid a direct competitor at the start to eliminate confusion.
Never ran across much promotional material for the strip, on either side of the border, that's why I was curious if there really was any special feeling by Canadians. I get the impression that it never rose above the status of mediocrity. Note that it was killed off in 1954, right in the middle of a story. No way to treat a strip that had a worthwhile fan or client list.
At some point early on, about 1940, Stephen Schlesinger's name started appearing in the copyright line, so maybe that's a reason for the course of the strip's history- he owned it and not King Features.
It should have been well-known here in Canuck-land. The Toronto Star, a de facto national paper, ran the strip to the bitter end.

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Sunday, March 03, 2024


Wish You Were Here, from Rube Goldberg


Here's another postcard from Rube Goldberg's Foolish Questions series, also known as Samson Brothers Series 213. This is one of my favourites, the first time I read it I could have done a spit-take.


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