Wednesday, September 28, 2016

 

Toppers: Little Stanley


Bell Syndicate was a latecomer to offering toppers on their Sunday strips. For the most part they didn't start until the early 1930s, and Fontaine Fox's Toonerville Folks was one of the last holdouts. Since Toonerville Folks was one of the syndicate's big cash cows (along with Mutt and Jeff), it may be that they politely requested that Fox add a topper, and were just as politely turned down for awhile.

Assuming he really did, Fox was certainly right, at least artistically, to lobby against the topper. When he finally did accede to the syndicate's wishes, it was pretty much the death of his full-page Sunday strip. When Little Stanley debuted on April 3 1932, featuring a character who had been appearing occasionally in the daily panel since the 1920s, the Sunday Toonerville Folks was now offered in two formats -- tab page with topper, or half-page broadsheet without topper. Although it was technically possible to print a full by blowing up the tab version, as I've seen it done on occasion, I'm guessing the syndicate didn't even offer it that way, and the newspaper that was dead set on running the strip as a broadsheet full had to handle the technical aspect of that on their own.

On the other hand, the new format seemed to really give the Sunday strip a boost in newspaper subscribers. So maybe Fox thought it was just dandy. Considering that I have heard rumors that Fox did not touch the Sunday, leaving it instead to his assistant Ted Clark, maybe he was pleased as punch that the full page Sunday was a goner as long as it meant nice big royalty checks.

Whether Fox saw Little Stanley as a fiscal boom or an artistic bust is a question we'll probably never answer. But I do know that it didn't stick around very long. Almost exactly four years later, on April 5 1936, Little Stanley was banished. But that made no difference to the way the Sunday Toonerville Folks was offered -- it remained a half/tab offering until the World War II, when it began to be offered  in third-page format as well.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: John Celardo


John G. Celardo was born in Staten Island, New York on December 27, 1918. His birthplace was reported in the Staten Island Advance, January 7, 2012. His birthdate was found in the U.S. Public Records Index, Volume 1 and 2, at Ancestry.com.

In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, he was the oldest of two sons born to Frank and Annie, both Italian emigrants. They lived in Richmond (Staten Island), New York at 37 Leyden Avenue. His father was a riveter in the shipbuilding industry.

The 1930 census recorded Celardo in Richmond at 56 Grand View Avenue; he was the oldest of four brothers. According to the Advance, he “grew up in Mariners Harbor and graduated from Port Richmond High School. He attended the New York Industrial Arts School, Federal Arts School and New York School of Visual Arts….He began working as an artist in the late 1930s drawing animals at the Staten Island Zoo for the National Youth Administration, which help prepare him for his subsequent career as a cartoonist.”

In the World Encyclopedia of Comics (1976), Rick Marschall wrote:

Celardo’s first professional work was doing sports cartoons and spots for Street and Smith publications in 1937. From there he graduated to comic books and worked for Eisner and Iger. When Quality Comics gathered its own staff and raided the Iger shop, Celardo was one of the artists; there he worked on Dollman, Wonder Boy, Uncle Sam, Paul Bunyan, Espionage, Hercules, Old Witch and Zero comics. He sometimes signed his work John C. Lardo.
In 1940 Celardo also worked for Fiction House...There he drew Hawk, Red Comet, Powerman, Captain West and Kaanga; while after the war, from 1946-49, he rejoined Fiction and worked on the Tiger Man, Suicide Smith, and other titles.

In the 1940 census, he was the oldest of five brothers, who lived with their parents at 84 Grand View Avenue. Celardo enlisted in the Army February 24, 1941. The Advance said, “He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, seeing duty in the European theater and attaining the rank of captain. After his military service, he lived in Castleton Corners, then eventually settled in Graniteville.” He had a studio according to the Manhattan Directory 1949 which had a listing: “Celardo John art studio 545 5Av MUryhil 7-529”.

He drew the Tarzan daily from January 11, 1954 to December 9, 1967 and the 
Sunday pages from February 21, 1954 to January 7, 1968.




He took over Joe Kubert’s Tales of the Green Beret in January 1968.

Celardo passed away January 6, 2012, in Staten Island, New York.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

 

Obscurity of the Day: Mr. Grouty



One of Jimmy Swinnerton's short-lived and swiftly forgotten efforts, Mr. Grouty starred a fellow who was always ready to fight and then paid dearly for his temper. The word "grouty", in fact, was once in the vernacular of the common man and meant, according to dictionaries that still recall that use, "bad-tempered and rude."

Mr. Grouty ran in Hearst comic sections from November 2 1902 to January 4 1903. Scans provided by Cole Johnson.

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I actually think it's kind of fun...and of course the artwork is great!
 
The character "Mr. Grouty", seems to have inspired "Mr. Gouty", an old goat in a wheelchair with his gouty foot all wrapped up in medical tape. "Mr. Gouty" was featured in the Porky Pig cartoon: "Porky's Hotel", directed by Bob Clampett and copyrighted Sept. 2nd, 1939. Now I understand the parody!
 
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Saturday, September 24, 2016

 

Herriman Saturday


December 13, 1908 -- Herriman summarizes the late history of boxer Billy Papke. He's fought Stan Ketchel twice in the past few months. First he won with a TKO, but in the second fight Ketchel knocked him out. Now Papke is trying out his luck with Hugo Kelly, who he has fought before to a draw. Telling tales out of school, this fight will be a replay of that one.

By the way, Vernon and Colma are the boxing venues at which these bouts were fought.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

 

Wish You Were Here, from Outcault


This Friday's cartoonist postcard is labeled (on the back) as Tuck's New "Outcault" Series Valentines Postcard #7. It is a divided back with no copyright year indicated. Late 1900s would be my guess.

The divided back has a large drawing of Tige taking up most of the room reserved for a message, and I'm betting that's what attracted little Billy to choose it. Something tells me that Billy didn't have any great desire to send a Valentine to his uncle (whose name he seemingly can't even remember), and he sure didn't want to waste precious moments on adding a message to the back. Smart kid, that Billy.

The lack of a signature on this card, and the mismatched sizes of Buster and Tige, lead me to guess that Tuck just cut and pasted some off-the-shelf art to create this uninspired card.

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Comments:
Hello Allen-
It looks to me that it isn't RFO at all, the line work is really wrong, especially on Tige. Buster looks pretty dwarfen, too. Some hack at the Tuck offices, probably. The bifurcated back indicates it's issued after the spring of 1907, when an act of congress was passed authorizing such a thing went into effect.
 
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Thursday, September 22, 2016

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Joseph S. Moyer


Joseph Soder Moyer was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 1, 1874, according to his Spanish-American War veteran’s compensation application and a passport application.

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census said Moyer was the youngest of three children born to Joseph, a stone cutter, and Mary. The family resided in Philadelphia at 2236 Bolton Street. Information about Moyer’s education and art training has not been found.

Moyer served during the Spanish American War. His veteran’s compensation application said he enlisted April 28, 1898 and was discharged October 26, 1898. Moyer was a corporal in Company I, First Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers. At the time, Moyer resided at his parents’ home, 1827 North 19th Street in Philadelphia.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Moyer drew The Quaker Kids from July 2 to October 22, 1899 for the Philadelphia Press.




Moyer’s address was unchanged in the 1900 census. His occupation was artist. Moyer was a self-employed artist in 1910. Moyer, his wife, Mary, and step-daughter, Clarice, lived at 5653 McMahon Avenue in Philadelphia.

The 84th Annual Report of the Philadelphia Board of Trade (1917) had this listing: “Moyer Art and Decorating Co., Joseph S. Moyer, 41 North Eleventh, Birds’-eye View Specialists”. The 85th annual had the same information.

According to a February 1919 passport application, Moyer and his wife planned a trip to Cuba. The purpose was for health and recreation.


According to the 1920 census, the Moyers were Philadelphia residents at 6002 Greene Street. in 1930, artist Moyer and his wife lived in Pelham Court Apartments, 6809 Emlen Street, Philadelphia.

Moyer passed away July 21, 1950, in Philadelphia. The death certificate said he was an art decorator. He was laid to rest in Laurel Hill Cemetery.



—Alex Jay

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

 

This Week's Heritage Auctions

After a long hiatus, Heritage Auctions has included some more items from my collection in their latest auction. There are some pretty special items in this one, some of which I believe will be of great interest to Stripper's Guide readers. Many of these items they failed to properly describe or highlight, so that blog readers should have a good chance at picking them up inexpensively.

To see all my items on Heritage's website, follow this link. Here are the auction items and my comments:

A group of 17 Editor & Publisher annual syndicate directories. If you are researching comic strip history these are the greatest tools in your library. Every comic strip offered by the syndicates, large and small, is advertised in these annual books. Represented here are the books for 1969, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1981, 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1996 plus a few duplicates.

These annual books are extremely scarce. I buy them whenever I find them, yet my collection is still missing dozens of the annual issues, for which I am forced to rely on really bad microfilm copies.


An oddball but fabulous conglomeration here. First up is Famous Artists and Writers, an incredible spiral-bound book sent to newspaper editors as a promo by King Features in 1946. It offers samples of all the comics they offer (quite a few in glorious glossy color stock), along with bios of the artists. These are tough to come by and highly prized.

Next is an incredible rarity from 1902 -- a catalog from a cartoon exhibition and sale -- perhaps the very first in history! Would you like to buy a Winsor McCay original? No problem, there were something like 50 different examples up for sale in this exhibit. What an amazing document that shows cartoon art taken seriously so early.

Finally there are five different instructional booklets from Norman Marsh's cartoon school full of interesting art.


Here's another odd but delightful assortment. Three issues of Crapouillot, a French political humor magazine with superb illustrations and cartoons, plus a couple issues of New Masses with those terrific leftist cartoonists represented (one is a special expanded anniversary issue), a rare issue #2 of Americana, a 1932 satire magazine with an amazing high-end list of cartoonist and writer contributors, plus an issue of Touchstone, the humor magazine of Amherst College.



Yet another assortment of wonderful goodies. First and foremost, an original edition copy of Your History by J.A. Rogers, the black historian who authored the weekly cartoon panel series for black newspapers from the 1930s to 1960s. In the same vein, there is also Facts About the Negro #2, a later reprint book of the Your History cartoons. Next up is Eventful Decade, which is a real sleeper item -- this classy booklet was issued by the American Federation of Musicians in 1952 and features a retrospective of political and humor cartoons related to their profession from the mainstream press; lots of interesting material and neat jazz music references of course. Next we have two different editions of Texas History Movies (1935 and 1959), which we've discussed on the blog. Next there is Picture Life of a Great American, a very scarce comic strip reprint book detailing the life of Herbert Hoover (an election giveaway), and finally, In and Around the Lehigh Valley, a book of cartoons about eastern Ohio by Leo Hammer.




For two glorious seasons, Winsor McCay contributed the covers for the New York Hippodrome's annual souvenir books. In this lot, much to my chagrin, the auctioneers have included two (!) copies of the scarcer 1908-1909 edition, along with one copy of the 1909-1910 issue.


In the realm of rare platinum comics, Buttons and Fatty in the Funnies rates at the high end for scarcity. This is the only copy I've ever encountered. Condition isn't the greatest (the original binding was ridiculously fragile and doomed from the start), but as the saying goes, where you gonna find another one?


Another ridiculously rare platinum comic, Comic Cuts is all but unknown to collectors. My guess is that its rarity is even greater because when copies are found, they are often mistaken to be from the British series of the same name. But these rare issues came out of New York, and contain all original material, which makes them among the earliest original comic books ever published (along with The Funnies, below). This is issue #5. Though it has a good size hunk out of the front cover, the same admonishment applies -- where you gonna find another one!


We've discussed the 1929-30 series The Funnies on the blog at length, and here is the only original issue from the series (10-4-30) that I had in my collection. As a major bonus, included is a big batch of photocopies, some in color, of other issues from the series. The Funnies is pretty much without a doubt the earliest regularly issued original material newsstand comic book series, and issues are beyond rare. Don't miss this rare chance to get an issue plus a lot of bonus material.


Three issues of Gulf Funny Weekly, the gas station giveaway series with some great newspaper comics-style art and stories. Issues in this lot are #38, 56 and 319.


Here's a nice group of Platinum books, with the oversize Gumps Cartoon Book, Tad Dorgan's very funny Daffydils, a couple of Briggs books, and a very niuce copy of the scarce original material comic book Knock Knock Featuring Enoch Knox.


A nice batch of Cupples and Leon platinum comics in lesser condition, featuring some of the harder to find issues: Harold Teen, Keeping Up With the Joneses #1 and #2 (by Pop Momand), Percy and Ferdie by the great H.A. McGill, and Tillie the Toiler #2 and #4.


Some absolutely great material here in this lot! T.E. Powers' Joys and Glooms is very tough to find, and expensive if you do. Landfield-Kupfer's very early reprint of The Gumps is also very tough to find, though this copy is in rough shape. Also a tough book to find is Billy the Boy Artist's Book of Funny Pictures as it was probably only sold in the Boston area -- this one is also quite rough.

Much lesser known is A Child's Book of Abridged Wisdom, which is by the naive cartoonist Childe Harold. His work appeared often in Hearst's New York American in the 1900s.

Another really special item, though, is The Adventures of Peter Pupp, which isn't a platinum book at all. It's also not rare, but somewhat tough to find in decent condition It was issued in 1943 by comics pioneer Jerry Iger though his Action Play-Books imprint. The fantasy/sci-fi story is by comic book scripter Ruth Roche, and the illustrations are uncredited. The exciting thing, though, is that those cartoons are adapted from a comics series by none other than a very young Bob Kane! Iger recycled Kane's art for this kid's book and didn't give him any credit.


Getting into the comic book end of things, we have two whopping big lots of early Dennis the Menace comic books (one batch from the regular series, the other from the Giant Size series). I collected these back in the 1970s when I was absolutely loopy in love with the art of Al Wiseman, whose art graces most of these issues. I just couldn't get enough of his work. I don't know if Wiseman has ever gotten much fan press, but I think he's a most incredible stylist.



There are three groupings of miscellaneous golden age comic books in the present auction, but they didn't even bother to picture many of the issues. I understand why they look down their noses at these I suppose -- condition is generally merely average -- but there are some wonderful seldom seen issues mixed in. I hope you comic book fans will take a look at these:

Group 1: Smash Comics #63, Crack Comics #39, Red Band Comics #3 (one-eyed monster in a jive hat cover!), Black Magic #31 (bizarre Kirby cover), G.I. Joe V.2 #9 (Saunders painted cover), Justice Comics #17 (scarce Canadian comic book),  Official True Crime Cases #24 (nice Syd Shores cover), Pioneer West Romances #5 (classic Firehair cover), Super Magician Comics V.5 #6 (strange title and scarce), Young King Cole #4, and the highlight: Picture News #1, 3 and 9 (very tough to find, and full of great art -- Milt Gross and Kirby!). #3 and #9 are in SUPERB condition, which they didn't even bother to mention.


Group 2: Captain Marvel Jr. #24 (Raboy cover), Feature Comics #89, Ibis the Invincible #6 (classic monster cover), Journal of Crime (one of those cool Fox giants with all sorts of strange material inside), Key Comics #2 (oddball issue seldom seen, neat cover), Smash Comics #45 and (my favorite series, again) Picture News #7 (very scarce, not indexed on GCD).


Group #3: Police Comics #30 (Cole and Eisner art), Jane Arden Crime Reporter #1 (uncommon reprint comic), Red Circle Comics #1 (neat and scarce series with adventure, crime and comedy inside), Cow Puncher #3 (classic cover), Young King Cole V.3 #2, Super Comics #28, 33, 51, 54 (all with great Dick Tracy and other comic strip reprints)

Other comics lots:

Gay Comics #27 in superb condition, with Wolverton art and lotsa pretty gals.


Georgie Comics #6 (Georgie visits the Timely Comics office), 9 (Kurtzman art), 24 and 29.


Sexy good girl art lot with Tessie the Typist #14 (Wolverton and Kurtzman art), Margie Comics #44 (Kurtzman), Nellie the Nurse #16 (Kurtzman), Miss America V.3#3, Candy #2 (Gustavson art), Gay Comics #34 (3 Hey Look pages by Kurtzman).


Two Mighty Midget Comics with great covers in nice clean shape.


Three very uncommon sports-related comic books; Sport Stars #4 is the only one that Overstreet even knows about. How Champions Play Football is so obscure that GCD doesn't know about it either -- they only list the companion baseball issue. Sport Slants is a real gem containing sports cartoons and caricatures by famed sports cartoonist Tom 'Pap' Paprocki, and seems to have been issued by his syndicate, the Associated Press. It must have sold terribly at 25 cents in 1946!


We finish off with Zip Comics #8, featuring an incredibly gruesome cover from the pen of Charles Biro. Inside art by Mort Meskin and others.

Comments:
I've never put anything up for auction. From what you've written, it sounds like you have no input over what is sold or what the starting bids are. Do you basically just give the auctioneers a pile of stuff and they decide how to dispose of it?
 
In the case of Heritage Auctions, yes. At least that's how they are handling my collection. I gave them inventory lists with some very abbreviated information about items, but I left it to them how they wanted to divide things up into lots, and everything starts at $1, no minimums.

Generally I'm happy with how they've been handling things, but when they get into the more obscure and rare items, they seem to sometimes be in over their heads. I do get to see the auction listings before they go live, and in the past they've for the most part responded when I belly-ached about something being mis-described or in an inappropriate lot combination. On this batch my requested changes were ignored -- including ridiculous errors like the misspelling of Winsor McCay's name. So I have to admit I'm a little tweaked off at them this week.

--Allan
 
Good ol' Windsor MacKay.
 
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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Bert Link


Bertin Frederick “Bert” Link was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on November 16, 1884, according to his World War II draft card which also had his full name. Information regarding Link’s education and art training has not been found.


The 1900 U.S. Federal Census said Link, an engraver, was the third of four children born to Frederick, a German emigrant and insurance agent, and Elizabeth, a Pennsylvania native. The family resided in Pittsburgh at 370 42nd Street.

Link’s brother-in-law, George Schmitt, was the head of the household in the 1910 census. Schmitt was married to Harriet and had a son, George Jr. The household included newspaper artist Link, his widow mother, sister Viola, Schmitt’s brother Henry and his wife Lenore and daughter Gladys. They lived in Pittsburgh at 4707 Ben Venue Avenue.

Pittsburgh city directories listed Link as a cartoonist at 521 Oscelo (1912 and 1913), 543 Lowell (1915), and 5217 Powhatan (1916 and 1917). The last address was on Link’s World War I draft card which he signed September 12, 1918. The card said he was a newspaper cartoonist with the Pittsburgh Press. His wife’s name was Maybelle. His description was tall and slender with brown eyes and hair. He had a lame right leg.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Link produced two series for World Color Printing. The panel That Little Game ran from April 16, 1917 into 1927. Some of the cartoons were collected in a 2004 book. A Reel of Nonsense began April 30, 1917 and ended in July.

Link’s home address was the same in the 1920 census. The cartoonist had two daughters, Maybelle and Eleanor.

Link’s father-in-law, William Flinn and sister-in-law, Mathilda Flinn, were part of the household in the 1930 census. Everyone resided at 365 South Atlantic Avenue in Pittsburgh.

All of the children were gone in the 1940 census, leaving art editor Link, his wife and father-in-law at the 1930 address.

Link signed his World War II draft card on April 27, 1942 and was at the same address. His employer was the Pittsburgh Press.

A 1952 Pittsburgh city directory listed Link and his wife at 5742 Northumberland. He continued as an art editor at the Pittsburgh Press. Link was honored by the Press Club according to the Pittsburgh Press, March 18, 1956.

Link passed away in early March 1964, at the “Fairwinds Home near Freeport [Pennsylvania]” as reported by the Pittsburgh Press, March 6. He was laid to rest in Smithfield East End Cemetery



—Alex Jay

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Monday, September 19, 2016

 

Obscurity of the Day: A Reel of Nonsense






In the very limited genre of comics that were designed to run all (or most of) the way across an 8-column newspaper broadsheet in a very thin strip, the one that we see most often is most commonly seen without a title, a credit or an artist signature.

Although there are plenty of  things I don't know about the strip, I can supply all of the above -- the official title (or one of them) was A Reel of Nonsense, the creator was Bert Link, and the syndicate was World Color Printing. The original run of the strip, as best I can tell, began on April 30 1917. A very similar strip, titled A Reel of Nonsense in Our Own Movies ran for awhile in 1916, but it was done with very simple stick-figures and I think it is a separate and different series (besides the preceding I know exactly zilch about it).

Anyhow, A Reel of Nonsense only ran through about July 1917 (at least in the Philadelphia Evening Telegraph, the best and most complete run I have discovered), and that may have been practically the sum total of it. However, World Color Printing really seemed to love the idea of a page-wide strip, and re-used it sporadically on their weekly black-and-white pages throughout the 1920s, and also used it as sort of a bonus strip along the bottoms of some of their Sunday pages in the 20s and 30s.

Could a strip that ran for only a few months have been recycled that heavily and for that long? It seems unlikely, but what I do know is that beyond that original run, Link's name doesn't appear on the strips and they are untitled. Perhaps they were recycled incessantly, or maybe Link decided he didn't want the credit anymore, or maybe new artists (all anonymous) were contracted to create further episodes.

What I do know is that trying to figure all this out, by cross-referencing strips ad nauseum, is not the way I plan to allocate precious days and weeks of my remaining lifetime.

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Comments:
"a page-wide vertical strip" ? ;-)
 
I see that some of the same strips are being recycled in the New Castle(Penna.) News in 1920.
 
That was just a test to see if you were paying attention, Eddie. Yeah, that's it.

--Allan
 
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Saturday, September 17, 2016

 

Herriman Saturday


December 12, 1908 -- Herriman comments on last night's fights, which was headlined by Abe Attell only being able to coax a draw out of Ad Wolgast. This would be Attell's last west coast fight for a long time.

For the first time I can recall, the usually all-knowing Boxrec website has let me down. They are either unaware of the undercard fights Herriman is describing here, or perhaps the bouts were considered too minor to count in records. Frankie Sullivan is listed as having his debut fight a week later than this, Young McGovern is listed as retiring a few months earlier, and the black fighters are not in the Boxrec database at all.

On the same sports page with this cartoon, Herriman also contrtibuted a text story about the boxing bouts. Unfortunately I didn't notice it when I was going through the microfilm, and it was left off the photocopy. So all I have is the headline "Herriman Drops Into Literature -- Paints the Ringside Events in Words as Well as Pictures". Ah well.

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Comments:
He certainly loved those fights. Didn't he?
 
Well, he covered what the paper told him to cover. Uncertain that Herriman's personal interests coincided with his job.

--Allan
 
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Friday, September 16, 2016

 

Wish You Were Here, from Chester Gould


Almost all the postcards in my collection are from the 1900s and 1910s, but here's a much later one, from 1942 to be exact. As you can guess, this postcard was designed to be sent home by a G.I., and therefore the card was presumably distributed almost exclusively on military bases.

Famous Artists Syndicate (of which I know nothing) seems to have licensed the characters for their military postcard line primarily from the Chicago Tribune (Dick Tracy, Moon Mullins in multiple versions) but also a few feature King Features characters (Snuffy Smith, Popeye).

Chester Gould likely had nothing to do with this card, because it appears that the Tracy characters are stock art and the rest of the art is not by Gould. I imagine that this is true of the rest of the cards in this line as well.

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Tom Swaja


Tom Swaja's debut on Iowa Oddities, 6/20/1943

Thomas Michael “Tom” Swaja was born in Minnesota on December 29, 1907. His birth date is from the Social Security Death Index and birthplace from census records.

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census said Swaja was the third of four children born to Peter, a laborer, and Tillie, both Autrain emigrants. The family resided in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at 1224 Broadway Street.

Two more children were added to Swaja household in the 1920 census. The family lived at 2529 3rd Street in Minneapolis. The 1925 Minneapolis city directory listed Swaja at 1928 N E 5th Street. He was a messenger with the W.B. Foshay Company. The next available directory, from 1928, said Swaja was an artist with the Journal Printing Company.

Swaja has not yet been found in the 1930 census. A listing in the Des Moines, Iowa city directory, said Swaja’s address was 675 18th Street. He was an artist with the Register & Tribune newspaper. He moved at least five times before the next census.

The Illinois State Journal (Springfield, Illinois), September 1, 1935, published a notice in the “Marriage Licenses” column: “Thomas Swaja and Ruth Turner, both of Des Moines, Ia.”

The 1940 census recorded Swaja in Des Moines at 1734 Second Cedar. He was married and had two sons, David and Stephen. His highest level of education was the eighth grade. Swaja was still with the Register & Tribune.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Swaja was the last of five artists to draw Iowa Oddities for the Register & Tribune. He was preceded by Bud Sauers, Ken Eaton, Gene Cannoy and Henry Landgren. Swaja drew Iowa Oddities from June 20, 1943 to September 26, 1943, and, after a hiatus, from December 3, 1943 to January 2, 1944. The panel series continued after that date, but became more text-heavy with a spot illustration only and was rarely signed.

Swaja’s address was 2508 47th Street in the 1947 Des Moines city directory. Later that year or in 1948, Swaja moved.

A November 1948 issue of Editor & Publisher reported staff changes at the Portland Journal in Oregon.

…Harland Clark has resigned from the from the promotion department of the Portland (Ore.) Journal, to enter freelance advertising business with Carl Erickson, formerly promotion artist on that paper. Tom Swaja, formerly editorial staff artist at the Journal, succeeds Erickson.
The 1953 Portland, Oregon city directory said Swaja resided at 1235 SW Carson and was an artist with the newspaper, The Oregonian.

The Oregonian, October 5, 1985, reported Swaja’s golden anniversary.

Tom and Ruth Swaja celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a reception and buffet, which included a three-tiered wedding cake and champagne.

The Swajas were married Sept. 2, 1935, in Springfield, Ill. Tom Swaja worked as a staff artist for The Oregonian in the 1950s and retired from the Boeing Co. as a commercial artist in 1969. Their children are Rita Gruhlke of Tacoma; Mary Jo Conley of Sandpoint, Idaho; Steve of Universal City, Calif.; Dave and Sheila of Banks; and Kathy Fisher of Hillsboro. The couple has 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Swaja passed away May 7, 1991, in Washington state, according to the Oregon death index.


—Alex Jay

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Henry Landgren





Nels Henry Landgren was born in Malmo, Sweden, on November 22, 1907, according to his Iowa World War II service file and Iowa Artists of the First Hundred Years (1939). A passenger list recorded Landgren aboard the S.S. Lusitania which arrived in New York harbor August 24, 1912. Landgren’s final destination was Mason City, Iowa.

The 1920 U.S. Federal Census recorded Landgren as the oldest of three children born to Nels, a carpenter, and Hilda. They resided in Mason City at 114 129th Street SW. Landgren graduated from Mason City High School in 1925. The 1928 Mason City city directory listing said Landgren was a student at the same address.

Landgren’s address did not change in the 1930 census. According to Iowa Artists of the First Hundred Years, Landgren studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, where he was a pupil of Ruth Van Sickle Ford and Arthur Johnson. He exhibited at North Iowa Fair and public library in Mason City. Landgren won ten first prizes at the Fair. sometime after the census, Landgren found work at a local newspaper.

A 1933 Des Moines city directory said Landgren was a staff artist at the Register & Tribune. He resided at 675 18th Street.



Henry Landgren's debut on Iowa Oddities, 12/27/1942

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Landgren was the fourth of five artists to draw Iowa Oddities for the Register & Tribune. Preceding him were Bud Sauers, Ken Eaton and Gene Cannoy. Landgren’s run lasted from December 27, 1942 to June 13, 1943. He followed by Tom Swaja.

The Mason City Globe-Gazette, January 22, 1940, reported Landgren’s marriage.

Former Mason Cityan Wedded in Des Moines to Betty Lou Miller
Announcement is made of the marriage of Nels Henry Landgren, son of Mr. and Mrs. Nels Landgren, 524 Twentieth street. Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Sauers attended the couple. The parents of the bride and bridegroom and a few close friends attended the ceremony. Immediately after the wedding, a reception was held at the home of the bride’s parents. The couple left on a short trip to Chicago and returning will be at home at 1422 Twenty-eighth street, Des Moines. Mr. Landgren is employed by a Des Moines newspaper.
The 1940 census recorded the newlyweds at the Des Moines address. The following year the couple was at 2304 39th Street.

Landgren was divorced when he enlisted in the army during World War II. He served from August 10, 1943 to November 12, 1945. Landgren was with the 169th Combat Engineers, Camp Beal, California; 5th Replacement Depot, New Guinea A.P.T.; and 5th Replacement Depot, Philippines, Luzon.

After the war, Landgren returned to the Register & Tribune and remarried to Barbara.

Landgren passed away September 21, 1989. He was laid to rest at the Masonic Cemetery.



—Alex Jay

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Gene Cannoy


Gene Cannoy's debut on Iowa Oddities, 12/15/1940

Francis Eugene “Gene” Cannoy was born in Iowa on October 14, 1919, according to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America record at Ancestry.com. It said Cannoy was baptized in Rembrandt, Iowa on November 23, 1919. Cannoy’s parents were Roy Cannoy and Bertha Michelson.

The 1920 U.S. Federal Census recorded Cannoy, his parents and older brother, Marlin, in Barnes, Iowa on Main Street. Cannoy’s father was a barber.

The Cannoys resided in Rembrandt, Iowa, according to the 1925 Iowa state census. In 1930 the family was back in Barnes.

The Cannoys were Rembrandt residents in the 1940 census. Cannoy completed his first year of college. Information about Cannoy’s art training has not been found.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Cannoy was the third of five artists to draw Iowa Oddities for the Register & Tribune. He was preceded by Bud Sauers and Ken Eaton. Cannoy produced Iowa Oddities from December 15, 1940 to December 20, 1942. Canny was followed by Henry Landgren and Tom Swaja.

Cannoy married in 1942. A photograph of Cannoy and his wife appeared in the Register, October 11, 1942. 
Mr. and Mrs. Gene Cannoy, newlyweds, examined some of the built-in features of the clever kitchens in one of the 42 new Victory Homes in Aviation Park. The homes will be opened for public inspection for five days, beginning today. Builder Kraetsch shows one of the Victory Homes to Mr. and Mrs. Gene Cannoy, one of the first young couples to visit Aviation Park.
At some point, Cannoy moved to Los Angeles, California, where he continued to work in the newspaper industry. The Long Beach Independent (California), May 1, 1968, reported the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner newspaper strike in December 1967.
…In another incident, Los Angeles police booked Keith Robert McGraq, 361 of Southgate on suspicion of assault after he allegedly struck the newspaper's art department director as he crossed the picket line. Gene Cannoy, 48, the art director, suffered a cut lip. He is one of the supervisory and non-union employes that have worked at the paper since the strike began last Dec. 15.
Cannoy was listed in the American Art Directory (1986): “Los Angeles Herald Examiner — Gene Cannoy”.

Cannoy passed away December 9, 2009, in Canyon Country, Los Angeles County, California. 



—Alex Jay

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Monday, September 12, 2016

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Ken Eaton





Kenneth Nye “Ken” Eaton was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, on March 13, 1900. The birth date is from Eaton’s World War draft card and the birthplace is from the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. His parents were Clark, an elevator agent, and Jessie.

According to the 1910 census, the Eaton family resided in Park River, North Dakota. Eaton had two sisters. His maternal grandmother, Esther Nye, was part of the household. Eaton’s father was a wheat buyer.

Eaton signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918. He lived in Park River where he was a grain elevator assistant at the Farmers Elevator Company. He was described as of medium height, slender build, with dark blue eyes and brown hair.

The 1920 census recorded unemployed Eaton in his father’s household in Park River.

It’s not known when and how Eaton began his art training. His talent was recognized at a local fair as reported by the Grand Forks Herald, July 23, 1920. In the category “Ink, Sepia, Charcoal”, Eaton won second place in the section, “Pen and Ink Sketch of Head or Figure”, and first place in “Pen and Ink Sketch of Landscape”.

The 1921 and 1922 Minneapolis, Minnesota, city directories listed Eaton at the YMCA. Eaton was a student at the Federal School in Minneapolis and was one of several students featured in the school’s advertisement in Cartoons Magazine, May 1921. The Des Moines Register, February 6, 1941, said Eaton was an artist on the Minneapolis Journal.

At some point Eaton found work in another state. He was in the 1926 Sioux City, Iowa, city directory. He and his wife, Rose, resided in an apartment at 4 Valentine. According to the Register, Eaton was a Sioux City Journal staff artist.

The 1930 census said newspaper artist Eaton married at age 26. He, his wife and son, Keith, lived in Des Moines, Iowa, at 1909 Eleventh Street.



Iowa Oddities, 3/7/37 - Ken Eaton's debut on the feature

 American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Eaton followed Bud Sauers on the panel, Iowa Oddities. Eaton’s run was from March 7, 1937 to December 8, 1940, with Sauers filling in November 10, 1940. Five artists drew the panel for the Register. One of Eaton’s oddities was mentioned in 124 Years Before The Navy Mast–The Patten Family (2006).

In 1940, Eaton owned a home in Des Moines at 3313 52nd Street and had a second son, Roland. The census said Eaton completed three years of high school.

Eaton passed away February 5, 1941, in Des Moines as reported the following day in the Register.

Kenneth Nye Eaton, 40, an artist for The Register and Tribune, 15 years, died Wednesday afternoon at Iowa Methodist hospital of a stroke. He had been ill of high blood pressure since Oct. 1 and was stricken after returning to work last Monday.

Mr. Eaton’s work included sketches for the Iowa Oddities, a regular feature of The Sunday Register, news maps and sketches of screen personalities and prominent personages.

Before joining The Register and Tribune, Mr. Eaton worked as an artist for the Minneapolis, Minn., Journal, now the Star-Journal, and the Sioux City, Ia., Journal.

Mr. Eaton's survivors are his wife, Rose; two sons, Keith and Ronald; mother, Mrs. Jessie M. Eaton; and two sisters, Esther and Ruth Eaton, all of Des Moines. The Kenneth Eaton home is at 3313 Fifty-second st.
Eaton was laid to rest at Resthaven Cemetery.


—Alex Jay

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Saturday, September 10, 2016

 

Herriman Saturday


December 11, 1908 -- Herriman comments in a well-conceived cartoon that L.A., traditionally thought of as a minor California city compared to San Francisco, is now a force to be reckoned with in the Golden State.

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Friday, September 09, 2016

 

Wish You Were Here, From Outcault


This Friday's postcard is by R.F. Outcault, features his famous characters Buster Brown and Tige, and is copyright 1909 by the Raphael Tuck and Sons Co.

Although this is the size and uses the cardboard stock of a postcard, it may not technically be one. As you can see, it is meant to be given as a valentine, and the back is completely blank. Sad that this card did not have a chance to make some little lovelorn boy or girl's day.

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Thursday, September 08, 2016

 

Obscurity of the Day: Mrs. Wiggins's Husband


The great F.M. Howarth really knew how to draw a great battle-axe, but for some reason he wasn't too keen on this strip starring one, and dropped it after a mere two episodes. Granted, the gag here in this episode of Mrs. Wiggins's Husband is about as flat as the sheet of newsprint it was printed on, but with Howarth it was really all about the drawing, anyway. A good gag could only be seen as a nice bonus.

Mrs. Wiggins's Husband made its debut appearance on December 14 1903 in the New York American, and ended a week later with the second episode, on December 21.

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Yeesh!! This guy makes Caspar Milquetoast look like John Wayne...
 
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Wednesday, September 07, 2016

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: C.J. Taylor


Charles Jay Taylor was born in New York, New York, on August 11, 1855, according to Who’s Who in New York City and State (1907) and Who’s Who in America (1911). However, Herringshaw’s American Blue-Book of Biography (1914) has the birth year 1865. A profile in the St. Landry Democrat (Opelousas, Louisiana), June 4, 1887, had 1851 as the birth year. And Taylor’s birth year was 1858 on his death certificate.

Taylor has not yet been found in the 1860 to 1900 U.S. Federal Censuses. Who’s Who in New York City and State said Taylor’s parents were Charles John Jay and Margaret. Who’s Who in America had the names as Charles John and Elizabeth (MacDonald), and said Taylor attended New York public schools. Taylor was listed as an artist, at 1004 Fourth Avenue, in Trow’s New York City Directory, 1881.



Taylor’s higher education, art training and employment, as of 1887, were told in the St. Landry Democrat.
C. J. Taylor, who has been doing so much work on Puck during the past year, was born in New York city August 11, 1851. In 1869 he went to Harper’s as an apprentice. At the end of nine months the firm, of which Fletcher Harper was at that time the guiding spirit, wished to make a contract with him for three years. Before Mr. Taylor went to Harper’s he took lessons from Emanuel Leutze, who painted ‘Washington crossing the Delaware.’ He was admitted to the Academy of Design in the fall of 1869. After studying there about three years, he began to paint figures in still life, which he tried to sell at auction, but found that sort of life precarious. While engaged in his Bohemian work he took lessons from Eastman Johnson, the painter of “The Old Kentucky Home.” At that time, Mr. Taylor says, he was too poor to pursue his art education; but, having a studio in the University building, where Mr. Johnson was established, the latter kindly took an interest in him and instructed him in colors and painting, as well as criticising [sic] his work. During this period Mr. Taylor painted hundreds of landscape pictures in oil, which he sold to dealers and at auction. When the Graphic was established in 1873 he joined its staff and began to draw cartoons and do general work. His first cartoon was a picture of a paper building, with small outline pictures, explanatory of the subject, and figures of the directors of the Industrial Exhibition scheme throwing dust in the people's eyes. He thought cartooning would be an immense success, and deemed it a good plan to acquire a store of varied knowledge and to discipline his mind; so, in 1873, he entered Columbia Law School. During the first year he continued to draw for the Graphic; but as the strain was too severe and he wished to obtain a degree, he resigned from that paper and devoted the whole of 1871 to the study of law. He received his diploma in May, 1874, and, at the first alumni meeting, a few weeks later, he was elected secretary. Wm. Walter Phelps was chosen alumni orator at the same time. Mr. Taylor had as classmates at Columbia Law School Robert Bay Hamilton, a member of the New York Assembly for three terms; Hugh Reily, now district attorney of Albany, N. Y.; Wm. C. Gulliver, one of the directors of the new Madison-square Garden scheme, and a brother of Theodore Roosevelt, the latter being then in the junior class, as was also Wm. Waldorf Astor, ex-minister to Italy. After leaving the law school Mr. Taylor formed a legal firm, in company with Edward Nicoll and Adam E. Schatz; but he withdrew after six months and returned to the Graphic, where he remained until 1882, when he took a studio and did general work, which he exhibited at the exhibitions. After leaving the Graphic Mr. Taylor was elected a member of the Salmagundi Club and American Black and White Society. He continued to work for himself until April, 1886, when he joined the staff of Puck. Last summer, in company with Julian Ralph, he “did” the fashionable seaside resorts for the Sunday Sun. The full-page accounts were very exhaustive, and three days were devoted to each place. While the sketches were rough and hurriedly executed, Mr. Taylor says they were true to life. In appearance Taylor is the beau-ideal of an artist. He is six feet in height; has a large head and a very long one, which is covered with bushy hair, slightly tinged with gray. His nose is large and rather pointed, and he wars a medium mustache and side-whiskers. He is married and has two children. His home is in East Orange, N. J., where he has resided in his own house for five years. He is a steady worker, and even works five nights out of the seven.
According to the New York, New York, Marriage Index, Taylor married Mary Adelaide Levison, of New York, February 23, 1876. Who’s Who in New York City and State had her maiden name as Lewson.

The New York Evening World, May 18, 1888, reported the formation of the Fellowcraft Club “to unite, for purposes of social intercourse, the artists and men who contribute to the periodical literature of the day.” Taylor was elected vice-president.

Some of the books Taylor illustrated include The Tailor-Made Girl, Her Friends, Her Fashions and Her Follies (1888), In the 400 and Out (1889) and Three Operettas (1897).


Munsey's Magazine 2/1894

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Taylor produced Half-Back Harold and Simple Sibyl, from March 22 to May 10, 1903, for the New York Herald. Taylor’s The Gentle Citizen appeared in the New York Tribune from April 6 to July 20, 1902.

According to the 1910 census, Taylor, his wife Mary, and daughters Adelaide and Virginia resided in South Orange, New Jersey, at 426 Centre Street. Taylor’s occupation was self-employed portrait artist. Who’s Who in America had an additional address for Taylor at 16 Gramercy Park in New York City.

The Pittsburgh Gazette Times (Pennsylvania), August 30, 1911, reported that Taylor accepted the position of director of the department of illustrating of the Carnegie Technical Schools in Pittsburgh.

Taylor’s participation as a member of the committee for Pennsylvania and the south Atlantic States advisory to the department of fine arts of the Panama-Pacific Exposition was reported in the New York Sun, September 6, 1913. Taylor’s exposition paintings for the Pennsylvania State Building were published in The Upholsterer, August 15, 1915, on pages 64, 65 and 66





In the 1920 census Taylor was a widower whose daughter, Adelaide, lived with him at 713 College in Pittsburgh.

Taylor passed away January 18, 1929, in Pittsburgh. His death was covered in an early 1929 issue of Carnegie Magazine.

Into the Shadows
Charles Jay Taylor, head of the Painting and Decoration Department in the College of Fine Arts at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, died from pneumonia on January 18. 
Eighteen years ago Mr. Taylor came to Tech, and from the beginning he was one of the most picturesque figures on the campus—full of gentle dignity and quiet charm. His students early felt the force of his personality. The college community not only respected him as an artist and teacher, but they loved him as a man. His loyalty to Carnegie Tech was shown in his intense interest in all campus activities, and in the fact that the Carnegie Alma Mater song is his composition.

Mr. Taylor occupied a definite place in the field of art and was nationally known as an illustrator and a painter. In the earlier days of his career he lent his talents to black and white and he was one of the best illustrators of the gay-nineties’ miss, as shown by his famous Taylor-made Girl, who was perhaps a harbinger of the later Gibson Girl. N. C. Bunner’s “Short Sixes” and “More Short Sixes,” which first appeared in “Puck,” are probably the most familiar of the sketches which he illustrated. He did these with such interpretive sympathy that he shared honor with Bunner. Those who studied under him caught him sometimes in a reminiscent mood, and then it was that they delighted in his personal recollections of Mark Twain, Phil May, Brander Matthews, Edmund Clarence Stedman, Albert Bigelow, Charles Dana Gibson, Edwin Abbey, Edward Redfield, Robert Henri, and many others. [missing text]...
the genial Gardener and the spirit which prompted his creation. Not long before his death he suggested that he had in process some new views of the Garden in a different season and a different mood.

—Alex Jay

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