Saturday, August 17, 2013


Herriman Saturday

Wednesday, April 22 1908 -- The big amateur boxing extravaganza is now history, and the declared top fighter of the whole show is welterweight A.S. Rollins of the U.S.S. Kentucky, a welterweight who, according to Boxrec, went on to have one professional fight in San Francisco a month after this, which he also won.


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Friday, August 16, 2013


Sci-Friday starring Adam Chase

Adam Chase (c) renewed 2013 by Russ Morgan. All rights reserved.

Adam Chase strip #34, originally published January 22 1967. For background on the strip and creator, refer to this post.


Mr. Holtz, you have a nice blog and an even nicer encyclopedia that I've gotten once thru an Inter-Library loan.

Any chance you can profile a gag panel like "Laughs from Europe" some time?
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Thursday, August 15, 2013


Obscurity of the Day: Caesar Bonaparte Smythe

Above are some scattered date samples of a rarely seen strip, Caesar Bonaparte Smythe.

Before selling this feature, cartoonist Milt Youngren had apparently been kicking around at the Chicago Tribune, producing a classified ad strip I haven't unearthed (Want Ad Wanda/Rambling Through the Want Ads). He jumped (or was kicked off) that ship and landed at Editors' Press Service, where Caesar Bonaparte Smythe debuted on December 20 1926. The strip about a smart-ass ne'er-do-well looked like it might have possibilities, though it was hampered by a main character who was a bit off-putting (hey, that didn't seem to hurt Andy Capp). Cole Johnson, who supplied the samples and has a pretty near full run of the feature in syndicate proof sheets, offered this perspective:

Milt Youngren was basically a utility cartoonist, doing ad work, comic books, big little books, and ghosting under a variety of styles. During his long career, found time to do a couple of strips, among them this obscurity, Caesar Bonaparte Smythe, which was supposed to have an accent on the 'Y', for Editor's Feature Service.

The initial proof sheet, dated Nov, 26, 1926, shows the first six strips as intended for release on Dec. 20 to 25. It tells us that "This new strip will replace Oz Bopp-Pippin Junction in our comic page. Releases of Oz Bopp will cease December 25." The next sheet has no dates at all (the only one like that), but the first strip is a "Happy New Year" gag, leading one to assume it was supposed to run on Monday, Jan. 2, 1927. This might mean that somehow I'm missing Dec. 27 to 31, but why the undated sheet? The first few weeks are given roman numerals, which are all out of order. The first with a real date drawn on it is Friday, Jan. 28, 1927. The last episode I have is July 16,1927, in the middle of a continuity.

In this strip, Youngren tries hard to channel his inner Frank Willard. The star, a penniless bum, is  randomly chosen by a mysterious wealthy man named Beezle to become his travelling companion. His love interest is Betsy Van Gulp, niece of Sophie Van Gulp, an old battle-axe type, and they all live in the swanky Giltedge hotel. Not much really happens in this verbose strip, basically concerning the two mens' efforts to impress the women, with lots of butt-kicks and black eyes for our uncouth hero.

Good bad or indifferent, Youngren didn't have much time to generate a loyal clientele. The rug was pulled out from under him almost immediately when Central Press Association, another syndicate, bought up the small outfit. Evidently CPA had no interest in Caesar Bonaparte Smythe, so the plug was pulled on the strip on July 16 1927, just seven months after its debut, in mid-story.

Youngren then reportedly did another classified ad strip (Cholly the Classified Kid), this time at King Features, but it too has never surfaced.The next feature that Youngren definitely did get syndicated, Fair Exchange,  wasn't until a decade later.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the samples!


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Wednesday, August 14, 2013


News of Yore: Oz Black, Nebraskana Profile

Biographical Sketches of Nebraska Men and Women of Achievement
Who Have Been Awarded Life Membership in the Nebraskana Society 

Sara Mullin Baldwin and Robert Morton Baldwin, Editors 
Baldwin Company, 1932 

(Transcribed for the NEGenWeb Project by Ted & Carole Miller)

Oswald Ragan Black

Oswald R. Black, known throughout Nebraska as “Oz” Black, popular newspaper cartoonist and art director, has lived in this state for the past 25 years. He was born at Neoga, Illinois, October 29, 1898, the son of Eben Ringo and Julia Cynthia (Ragan) Black. His father, whose ancestry is English and Dutch, was born near Dallas, Texas, May 22, 1860. His mother, a music teacher and an active church worker, was born of Scotch-Irish parents at New Winchester, Indiana, April 29, 1867.

Mr. Black attended the public schools of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and was graduated from the high school at Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska, in 1917. He was a student at the University of Nebraska from 1918 to 1923, where he was sports editor of the Daily Nebraskan, and was art editor of Awgwan. He was a member of Sigma Delta Chi, journalistic fraternity.

He served as newspaper reporter and cartoonist of the Lincoln Star where he conducted the widely known feature, Here in Lincoln, 1919-1927; and was commercial artist in Lincoln from 1928 to 1930. Since 1930 he has been cartoonist and art director on the Nebraska State Journal, drawing a full page Sunday cartoon feature under the title, Here In Lincoln.

His marriage to Alona Carpenter was solemnized at Chicago, March 17, 1923. Mrs. Black, who was born at Knoxville, Iowa, November 14, 1899, is a primary teacher and a writer for children's magazines. They have two children: Virginia Hains, born June 24, 1924; and Judith Louise, born April 11, 1930.

During the World War Mr. Black was a private in the Student’s Army Training Corps at the University of Nebraska. He is a member of the American Legion; the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce; and the Lions Club. He is a director of the People’s City Mission at Lincoln; was a director of the Lincoln Advertising Club, 1927; and is a member of the Nebraskana Society and an elder of Westminster Church. Since 1929, he has been sponsor of the Lincoln Hi Y Club, and is a member of the Boy’s Work committee of the Young Men’s Christian Association. Politically, Mr. Black is an independent. Residence: Lincoln.


[In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Black was the youngest of three children born to Eben and Julia. His father was a ticket broker. They lived in Cheyenne, Wyoming at 422 East 19th Street.

The 1910 census recorded Black, now the third of six children, in Lincoln, Nebraska on South 26 Street. His father was an accountant. On September 12, 1918, Black signed his World War I draft card. His occupation was “card writer, Miller & Paine, 13 and O Sts, Lincoln, Neb.”, and described as medium height and build, with brown eyes and dark hair.

The Nebraska State Historical Society said Black studied at the University of Nebraska School of Fine Arts.

Black was a cartoonist for a daily paper in the 1920 census. He lived at home with his parents and siblings.

1922 issues of Wayside Tales included a Federal School of Illustrating and Cartooning advertisement that mentioned Black:

Do You Like to Draw?
One of the objects in printing this letter is to show you what can be accomplished during your spare time.

Oz Black is cartoonist for the Lincoln Star. He studied cartooning, under W.L. Evans, when he was going to school and college. He only worked at his lessons during his spare moments. Sometimes it was four or five months between lessons. If you like to draw don’t waste your time by drawing merely “funny pictures.” You can have just as much fun learning how to draw real cartoons. Some of the cleverest cartoonists are former pupils. This school is recommended by cartoonists because they know the students are taught in the right way.

Prairie University: A History of the University of Nebraska (1995) reprinted two of Black’s cartoons.

The 1930 census recorded Black, his wife and daughter in Lincoln, Nebraska at 1845 South 27th Street. He was a commercial artist with his own studio.

Lincoln remained Black’s home town but at a different address, 2101 Lake Street, as recorded in the 1940 census. He was a newspaper cartoonist who had two years of college.

An issue of Themis of Zeta Tau Alpha reported Black’s new job: “ ‘Oz’ Black, well known cartoonist for the Lincoln Sunday Journal and Star, has accepted a position on the editorial staff of the Minneapolis Star-Journal, where he will be cartoonist, illustrator and feature writer.” 

Black’s participation at a lodge event was reported in the May 1995 issue of Sons of Norway:

Oslo 2 Has Indoor Picnic
Planned especially to interest the children, Oslo 2, Minneapolis, held an indoor picnic at Norway Hall Sunday, March 27, which drew a large number of children. Entertainment features included games and contests with prizes, a chalk-talk by Oz Black, Minneapolis cartoonist, a puppet show and Walt Disney films in color. A picnic lunch followed the program. The lodge plans to make these affairs an annual event.

The Nebraska State Historical Society said Black was cartoonist “…for the Minneapolis Tribune from 1940 [to] 1952. From 1952 [to] 1957, he free-lanced in Minneapolis and then moved to Denver. While in Denver, Black served as the Director of Public Relations for the Denver Area Council of Churches and Instructor in Cartooning and Caricature at the University of Colorado Institute of Adult Learning in Denver.” A detailed look at his May 6, 1934, Here in Lincoln cartoon is here.

Black passed away December 28, 1977, in Los Angeles, California, according to the California Death Index at The Social Security Death Index said his last residence was Denver, Colorado.]


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Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Obscurity of the Day: Front and Center

The locally-produced and locally-oriented Sunday magazine cartoon was probably pioneered by the great Billy Ireland of the Columbus Dispatch, whose feature was titled The Passing Show. But Ireland was by no means the only one to ply that rare trade. Here we have a sample of Front and Center by Oswald "Oz" Black, cartoonist for the Minneapolis Tribune.Yesterday we covered his earlier effort, Here in Lincoln.

Although Black wasn't as accomplished a cartoonist as Ireland, the innovative cartoonist he emulated, Black had a long career doing this sort of thing, spanning four decades. Front and Center probably began in 1941, shortly after Black moved from the Lincoln Journal and Star to the Minneapolis Tribune. At first the feature was untitled, but by 1945 it had been gained its running title. The page was a weekly fixture of the Sunday Tribune until January 18 1953.

There was also a daily panel version of Front and Center, but according to my notes it seems the daily was actually just reprints of bits and pieces cut from the Sunday pages. Way to recycle, Oz!


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Monday, August 12, 2013


Obscurity of the Day: Here in Lincoln

Oz Black made a midwest cartooning career out of emulating Billy Ireland's Sunday magazine cover feature The Passing Show. Black's first and longest lived feature of that format was called Here in Lincoln, and it was produced for the Lincoln Journal and Star. Black didn't get the luxury of color here -- for that he would have to switch papers, and we'll cover that other feature tomorrow.

Here in Lincoln seems to have run about 1921-1940, perhaps with a layoff in 1928-29.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the sample scan!


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Sunday, August 11, 2013


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


We like most of the same things. No wonder we get along so well!
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