Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Jim Seed


James Edward “Jim” Seed was born in Toledo, Ohio, on April 14, 1927. According to the 1927 Toledo City Directory his family resided at 1036 Page Street. His birth date was at the Ohio Birth Index at

In the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, he lived in Portage, Pennsylvania at 823 Main Street. His parents were Edward, a steamship machinist, and Marie, both Syrian emigrants. His brother, Aniese, was born in Toledo in 1924. They shared the same address with the Haddad family, whose parents were Syrian emigrants, too. At some point the Seeds returned to their old address in Toledo; the 1933 Toledo directory listed his father. According to Seed’s obituary in the Toledo Blade, October 11, 2010, he attended the Sherman Elementary School where his art talent was recognized.

The family was at the same address in the 1940 census. That year Seed’s “…larger-than-life Nativity scene…painted on the window of his eighth-grade homeroom at Sherman…received acclaim. With his pastor’s encouragement, he enrolled in an art course for illustrations and cartooning...He was given a waiver for his age to enroll in Federal Schools Inc.,” according to the Blade. The following year, at Woodward High School, he was awarded first prize for his poster, “Fire Is a Dangerous Playmate”, as reported in the October 9, Blade (below).

His artwork was featured in the yearbook, Saga-Tattler of 1945. In Tales of Terror, number 2, September 1985, Cat Yronwode talked to Seed and said: “…he had gotten his start as a background inker in Toledo, Ohio when he was a high school student—working for Bill Woggin….” How and when he met cartoonist and Toldeo resident Don Dean is not known. While a senior in high school, Seed inked Dean’s Cranberry Boggs and continued on it while attending the University of Toledo. The strip began January 8, 1945 and ended July 30, 1949.

Seed’s wife, Ruth, said he collaborated with Bill Scott on a 1950 comic strip about a chaplain, but that ended when he joined the Army, for two years, during the Korean War. A few years later, he drew the medical strip, Dr. Guy Bennett, which started April 11, 1955 in the Long Island Star-Journal. His involvement ended January 19, 1956; Frank Thorne succeeded him. The strip was conceived and written by Dr. Michael Bennett who used the pen name “B.C. Douglas.”

Star-Journal 4/11/1955

Ottawa Citizen 12/22/1956

Sometime in 1955 Seed dropped Bennett to draw Jane Arden, a strip that went unsigned for several months. In the Dallas Morning News, January 20, 1956, the strip was signed “Graham and Seed” but had the old byline “Barrett and Ross”. Seed stayed on through September 3, 1960. The Blade said he contributed, without credit, to “Steve Roper, Judge Parker, and Rex Morgan, MD.” Dr. Guy Bennett was not mentioned in the article and may have been confused with Rex Morgan.

During the 1960s he worked as a studio illustrator and photo retoucher, and taught illustration for two years. He married in 1963.

In the mid-1970s he returned to teaching, first at the Toledo Museum of Art from 1976 to 1979, then Whitmer High School from 1977 to 1999. Arthritis was the reason for his withdrawal from drawing. In the mid-1980s he pencilled and lettered three stories for the comic book, Tales of Terror.

Seed passed away October 9, 2010. His death was reported in the Blade two days later. He was buried at Toledo Memorial Park.

—Alex Jay


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Tuesday, October 21, 2014


News of Yore: A "Prescription" for Writing Comics

Boston Traveler
October 4, 1957

New Medical Strip to Start

A doctor’s approach to medical problems—written by a doctor in collaboration with a doctor—that’s the story of the new medical strip, Dr. Guy Bennett.

It will appear daily in the Traveler starting Monday.

Brockton Native Author of Strip

The author is Dr. Michael Petti, a Brockton native now practicing in Cleveland. For his newspaper work he uses the pen name “Dr. B.C. Douglas.”

His collaborator, also a doctor, is his wife. He met her while they interned together at Lakeside Hospital in Cleveland in 1941.

They have three boys: Michael, 10; Richard, 8, and Robert, 6.

Dr. Petti grew up in Brockton with two ambitions, to be a doctor and to be a writer. He has combined the two.

He was graduated cum laude in 1937 from Dartmouth, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and served in the Navy as a lieutenant commander from 1942 to 1946.

He is a senior clinical instructor in internal medicine at Western Reserve University and is a lecturer at the university’s dental school. He is affiliated with several hospitals and has a private practice in Cleveland.

His strip is devoted to medical subjects. He has treated cancer quacks, allergies, epilepsy and alcoholic problems. In Australia, his strips dealing with diabetes symptoms uncovered a large number of cases.

Those who know Dr. Petti and his intimates can pinpoint the characters in the strip. They are modeled on his medical associates, friends and members of his family.

Each panel in the strip is laid out on paper by the doctor and his wife. It then goes to an artist for drawing. The completed work is returned to the doctor for a final check for accuracy.

The first strip Monday will introduce some of the principal characters in Dr. Guy Bennett. The sequence that follows involves Br. Bennett’s own family in a medical problem that completely disrupts his home life.

Boston Traveler

September 15, 1959

Doctor Satisfies Desire to Write with Comic Strip


“I always wanted to be a writer….A couple of years ago I got the idea for a comic strip with a medical theme. I thought about developing a story line to revolve around a particular medical problem, the problem to be portrayed with unfailing accuracy.

“I did a pilot story without pictures—I’m not an artist—and took it to Lafave Features in Cleveland. They liked the idea, so I hired an artist and we were in business.”


“Here’s how I work. I usually block out an entire story at a time. Each story covers two months worth of strips.

“I get my ideas from my work, reading, colleagues’s suggestions. And each story is built around a definite medical problem.

“Actually, what I do is to select the problem—that’s educational—then weave a dramatic tale around it.”


“I write a one page story outline. Then I work it out the way it will appear in the paper, a day at a time. I do all this without drawings. I write directions for the artist, however. He’s Frank Thorne of Westfield, N.J.

“Now, my training is all in internal medicine. For that reason I don’t feel qualified in dealing with story ideas outside my specialty.

“Thus, when I do stories with psychiatric, say, or surgical themes—anything specialized—in each case I consult with a specialist in that field….

“After the story is checked for accuracy I give it to the syndicate. After I get the syndicate’s OK, I mail the whole thing to Thorne in New Jersey.”

Dr. Petti said Thorne let’s him know when the newspaper deadlines fall. Thorne works up the drawings in pencil and sends them back to Petti.

“I check them for accuracy.” Dr. Petti said. “It’s surprising the way readers and colleagues search for the slightest deviation from actual medical practice. The angle of a hypodermic needle during an injection, for instance.

“When I've gone over Throne’s drawings, maybe suggesting changes, I mail them back to him. He does them again in ink. That’s the finished product. He sends them to me, I check them, then turn them over to the syndicate for distribution.”

“I give the syndicate a week’s work at a time.”

(Michael Anthony Petti passed away September 4, 2008. His death was reported in the Enterprise, September 19.)


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Monday, October 20, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Buford Tune

Buford Malcolm Tune was born in Eastland County, Texas on August 26, 1906. His birthplace was named in the Dallas Morning News (Texas), July 10, 1949, and Social Security Death Index had his birth date.

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census recorded Tune and his parents, Martin and Allie, in Abilene, Texas at 1410 Mesquite Street. His father did odd jobs.

Sylvester, Texas was Tune’s home in the 1920 census. His mother, a widow, was a telephone operator with three children to care for.

The Morning News said “Tune attended Abilene Christian College and took a course in the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.” In Boody Rogers’ autobiography, Homeless Bound, Rogers attended the academy and wrote:

I paid my tuition for the summer course and asked the lady if she knew anyone I might split the rent with. She introduced me to another student from Texas, Buford Tune, who later was to draw the feature, “Dottie Dripple.” Tune and I found a room on the near north side, and each moved in his one suitcase.
At some point, Tune moved to Dallas. A 1923 city directory listed him at 3221 Forest Avenue as a Western Union messenger. He was a “Dallas News” artist in the 1925 directory. According to the Morning News, Tune also worked at the Philadelphia Public Ledger.

In the late 1920s Tune moved to New York City. For United Feature Syndicate, he produced Doings of the Duffs from June 23, 1928 to August 15, 1931.

Tune resided in New York City at 51 Leroy Street, as recorded the 1930 census. He was a syndicated cartoonist. Roots Web has information about the Tune family. On December 15, 1930, Tune married Sylvia “Tibby” Newman. The Seattle Times (Washington), November 1, 1949, said, for ten years, Tune produced one-line gag cartoons while Tibby handled the sales. Also, Tune had a job in the advertising department of Paramount Pictures in New York.

This Week 5/12/1935

In 1940, Tune resided in Great Neck, New York, at 22 Hicks Lane. He had two sons, Donald and Bruce. Tune’s occupation was artist in the motion picture industry. A few years later Tune returned to comic strips.

Publishers Syndicate distributed Dotty Dripple which Buford took over from Jim McMenamy on October 16, 1944. The strip began June 26, 1944 and ended June 9, 1974. According to the Morning News, Tune’s family worked on the strip: Sunday page coloring by his wife, and lettering by oldest son, Donald.

Dallas Morning News 7/10/1949

Dotty Dripple also appeared in comics books and in its own title.

Some time in the 1940s, the Tunes moved to California. The Seattle Times said: “The Tune home is a sprawling seven-room Monterey bungalow in Los Angeles….”

Tune passed away May 21, 1989, in Santa Ana, California. An obituary appeared in the Orange County Register (Santa Ana, California), May 25.

—Alex Jay


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Sunday, October 19, 2014


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


Excellent points. You forgot to list manure. People pay top dollar!
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Saturday, October 18, 2014


Herriman Saturday

Wednesday, August 26 1908 -- Apparently the mayor has commented that LA is not a New England town; Herriman illustrates some of the ways in which they differ.


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Friday, October 17, 2014


Sci-Friday starring Connie

Oh, cool! I've always wondered how they put ski attachments onto a plane. So, uh, that's, um, how they do it. I see. Hmm.

Connie, May 2 1937, courtesy of Cole Johnson. 
Follow the Connie story every Friday here on Stripper's Guide.


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Thursday, October 16, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Ben Batsford

Benjamin Theodore “Ben” Batsford was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on June 5, 1892, according to the Minnesota, Births and Christenings Index at, and the Certificate of Registration of American Citizen, Form No. 210—Consular, dated September 19, 1916. The certificate said Batsford’s parents provided a notarized affidavit affirming his birth information. Many sources have 1893 as Batsford’s birth year. That year can be attributed to articles on the debut of the Mortimer and Charlie strip in July 1939. The articles had profiles of Edgar Bergen, the writer of the strip, and Batsford which included their birth dates.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Batsford was the second of five children born to Clifton and Jennie. His father was a house painter. The family resided in Duluth, Minnesota on Raleigh Street. According to the consular certificate, Batsford arrived in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, in March 1901.

The Vancouver Sun, July 7, 1939, profiled Batsford and said:

…While Mr. Batsford was born in Minnesota in 1893 [sic] and first entered the newspaper business in Minneapolis [unlikely since he moved in 1901], he moved when quite a young man [8 years old] to Winnipeg and it was there he laid the foundations of his artistic success. He sold his first drawing to the Winnipeg Free Press in 1908…
The Manitoba Marriage Index, at, said he married Estelle Mae Carruthers on October 2, 1915, in Winnipeg.

An early theater work by Batsford was entered in the Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 2: Pamphlets, leaflets etc, 1917, New Series, Volume 14, Number 1:

Two of a Kind: play in 1 act, B.F. [sic] Batsford. 15 p. fol. Typewritten. [1140© 1 c. Dec. 13, 1916: D 45824; Benjamin Theodore Batsford, Winnipeg, Canada.
The Vancouver Sun noted Batsford’s military service: “When the World War broke out Mr. Batsford enlisted with a Canadian unit and saw service in France until the end of the war, when he returned to Winnipeg.”

Batsford was recorded in the 1916 and 1921 Canadian censuses. He was listed in the 1922 Henderson’s Winnipeg Directory as a cartoonist. Editor & Publisher, July 9, 1921, reported Batsford’s entry into comic strips.

Starts Own Comic Strip
The Winnipeg Free Press has commenced the publication of a new comic strip by its own artist, Ben Batsford. “Unk and Billy” is the caption and the strip, eight columns wide, is appearing daily. The two characters in the strip are a man and boy of no fixed abode, who try their hand at anything that turns up. The strip is being well received locally. The Free Press is the first Canadian daily to have a comic strip of its own.
Samples of Unk and Billy, also known as Billy’s Uncle, can be seen here.

At some point, Batsford moved to New York City where he continued producing Billy’s Uncle, as it was known in the U.S. The strip ended August 2, 1924, according to American Newspaper Comics (2012). Ten months later, Batsford was drawing Doings of the Duffs, from June 8, 1925 to July 21, 1928. He was the second of three cartoonists to continue Walter R. Allman’s creation.

Reno Evening Gazette 6/8//1925

The Vancouver Sun named other strips he worked on:
…Later he drew for a time “Little Annie Rooney” [1929–1930] and after that “Room and Board” [1930; signed Benbee] which in turn was followed by “The Doodle Family” [1934–1938; also known as Frankie Doodle]. Now he enters the biggest job of his career as artist selected by Mr. Bergen to draw Mortimer and Charlie.

Batsford was also profiled in the Leader-Post (Regina, Saskatchewan), July 8, 1939.

The 1930 census recorded Batsford, his wife and two daughters in Brooklyn at 6826 Narrows Avenue. He was a newspaper cartoonist. Hempstead, New York, at 10 Adams Avenue, was Batsford’s home in the 1940 census.

Batsford’s Frankie Doodle was reprinted in comic books. Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said Helpful Herbert was created by him.

Batsford passed away February 11, 1977, in East Northport, New York according to the Manitoba Historical Society. A death notice was published in the New York Times, February 13:

Batsford—Benjamin T., of East Northport, formerly of Floral Park, beloved husband of the late Stella, loving father of Fay Keaton and Ramona Bendin, dear brother of Sidney Batsford and Florence Hagan, also survived by five grandchildren. Service, 8 P.M., Sunday, Jacobsen Funeral Home, Huntington Station. Visiting hours 2 to 5 and 7 to 10 P.M., Sunday. Interment Pinelawn Memorial Cemetery.
—Alex Jay


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Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: W.O. FitzGerald

William Ogg FitzGerald was born in Michigan on October 10, 1884. His birthplace was recorded in the censuses, and the birth date and full name was found on his World War I draft card.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, FitzGerald was the second of two children born to Lucius, a physician, and Elizabeth, both emigrants; his father was Canadian and his mother Scottish. They resided in Oliver, Michigan.

Information regarding FitzGerald’s education and art training has not been found.

FitzGerald and his mother, a divorcee, lived in Detroit, Michigan at 105 Stanley Avenue. His occupation was cartoonist. A single sentence in Cartoons Magazine, March 1916, noted FitzGerald’s whereabouts: “W.O. Fitzgerald has been engaged as staff cartoonist on Dome Echoes, a San Francisco publication.” A 1917 San Francisco city directory listed FitzGerald as an artist at 1144 Market Street.

On September 12, 1918, FitzGerald signed his World War I draft card. He and his wife, Grace, lived at 37 Ridge Road, in Royal Oak, Michigan. His occupation was “Artist Manager Art Department, Detroit News.”

According to the 1920 census, FitzGerald remained in Royal Oak with his wife and daughter. He continued his job as a manager at a newspaper.

American Newspaper Comics (2012), said he was the first of three artists to continue Doings of the Duffs which was created by Walter R. Allman. FitzGerald produced the strip from January 26 to June 6, 1925. The Lone Tree Reporter (Iowa), January 29, 1925, reported the revival of the strip:

Readers of various daily papers which for several years contained the comic strip, “Doings of the Duffs” will learn with pleasure that although Mr. W.R. Allman, the originator, will never again draw a line, Mr. W.O. Fitzgerald of Detroit has made an intense study study of it for the past many weeks and has taken it up right where Allman left it. And now the Duffs are appearing in the Muscatine Journal and in other daily papers and thousands of readers are again reading their humorous lines.

Riverside Daily Press 1/23/1925

 Riverside Daily Press 1/23/1926

 Riverside Daily Press 1/24/1925

Riverside Daily Press 1/26/1925

FitzGerald produced drawings for a number of local periodicals, including the Detroit Motor News, whose May 1926 issue mentioned his art exhibit:

Our Artist ExhibitsBeginning April 12 William Ogg FitzGerald, with whose illustrations all our readers are familiar, will place an exhibition of his drawings on display for one month in the art gallery on the mezzanine floor of the Bonstelle Playhouse.
In the mid-1920s, the Dearborn Independent published FitzGerald’s work.

Historical Detroit (1926) was the story of early Detroit as told by twenty bronze tablets. FitzGerald’s artwork was acknowledged.

FitzGerald was the father of four children in the 1930 census. The family still lived in Royal Oak but at a different address, 1074 Harwood Avenue. He was a commercial artist. One of his projects was illustrating a set of plates about Detroit and Michigan. They were manufactured in England.

The New York Times, December 10, 1933, covered the Automobile show, “Ford Exposition of Progress”. The article highlighted the Briggs Body Company booth:

In this company’s booth is a series of poster murals depicting the uses of steel, and a large painting giving a conception of the future of transportation, the work of William Ogg FitzGerald, Detroit artist.
FitzGerald illustrated the 1934  book, The Way Out: A Common Sense Solution to Our Economic Problems.

The May 1936 issue of the Magazine of the Women’s City Club of Detroit noted that FitzGerald had moved to New York City:

Spring seems to draw Detroiters to New York. Mrs. William Ogg Fitzgerald has been flitting about the city recently, visiting her husband who is now on the staff of the Wall Street Journal and Barron's Weekly….
Old Banking Landmarks of New York was illustrated by FitzGerald and published by Barron’s in 1936.

In 1940, FitzGerald resided in Mamaroneck, New York at 24 Barnum Road. He was a newspaper artist.

The Union Sun & Journal (Lockport New York), October 2, 1948, reported the wedding of FitzGerald’s oldest son. At the time, FitzGerald lived in Larchmont, New York.

FitzGerald passed away July 1967, in New York, according to the Social Security Death Index. His last residence was in Larchmont. An obituary has not been found.

—Alex Jay


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Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Walter R. Allman

circa 1910

Walter Reese Allman was born in Toledo, Ohio. His obituary said he was 42 years old at the time of his death in 1924, which made his birth year 1882. However, his World War I draft card has the birth date February 27, 1884.

At some point during his childhood, Allman’s mother, Mary, remarried. The 1900 U.S. Federal Census listed him as “Allman Krumling” and his birth as “Feb 1884.” He resided in Toledo at 2439 Vermont. His step-father, Frederick, was a telegrapher. In the 1910 census his name was recorded as “Walter Krumling”. His family remained in Toledo but at a different address, 115 Columbia Street.

The Muskegon Chronicle (Michigan), September 8, 1917, published the story of Allman’s start in cartooning.

Sketch on Box Starts Art Career of Duff Originator
Boys were setting up quotations in grain and other produce on the board in a Toledo grain broker’s office back in 1902, when a man named Clark strolled in.
Clark had come from Chicago and being editor of the Grain Dealers’ Journal, had business in this office. He noticed a box at the side of the board on which was a sketch of a man’s head an artistic clerk, in his leisure moments, had penciled. 
Struck by the originality of the drawing, Clark immediately “drafted” the perpetrator, and that is how Walter R. Allman, originator of the Duffs for the Chronicle, started on his career toward fame in the comic art world.
Allman was 18 years of age at the time and all the drawing he had then had been born with him. He worked one month for Clark in Chicago, after which he shifted about from place to place, working at anything in the art line until in 1905, he went to the Toledo News-Bee as local cartoonist….

The Toledo News-Bee, July 8, 1924, published its account of Allman’s early career:

Mr. Allman was cartoonist and artist on The News-Bee for 10 years. Shortly after leaving high school he took a job with a Toledo grain company. While there he practiced for his future work by drawing on the sides of boxes and crates. Later he went to the Franklin Printing and Engraving Co. and then came to The News-Bee. 
His work received special recognition and he was appointed to the NEA Service staff of artists on May 16, 1914. Mr. and Mrs. Allman had resided in Cleveland since that time. They lived at 11843 Lake av.
A number of city directories at tracked Allman’s whereabouts and occupations. The 1903 Toledo city directory listing said: “Allman, Walter R, clk [clerk] Reynolds Bros, bds [boards] 2439 Vermont av.” The 1905 directory said he had moved to Chicago. In 1906 Allman was in Toledo at 115 Columbia Street, and an artist at the Franklin Printing & Engraving Company. He remained at the same address in the 1911 directory which had his occupation as cartoonist at the Toledo Newspaper Company. The 1916 Cleveland city directory listed Allman as a cartoonist residing at 8012 Carnegie Avenue.

On September 12, 1918, Allman signed his World War I draft card. His address was the same as the Cleveland directory listing and he was a cartoonist for Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA).

Pep 3/1917

Allman is best known for his strip, Doings of the Duffs, which debuted July 30, 1914. In the Muskegon Chronicle, Allman said: “I wanted a short name to fit the character and size of the man I chose to be the ‘lead.’ I picked ‘Duff’ out of the air and I think it fits Tom to a T. ‘The other characters and their names came to me as I went along.” According to American Newspaper Comics (2012) there were two interruptions, in 1922 and 1923, during Allman’s tenure which ended in 1924. Regarding the interruptions, the News-Bee explained:
For years the Duff family cartoon appearing on the comic page of The News-Bee had endeared itself to thousands of readers in Toledo alone. This cartoon also appeared daily in hundreds of other newspapers thruout the country.
The Duff family as portrayed by Mr. Allman was “regular” family life. 
Hundreds of Duff fans have called The News-Bee to inquire why the strip had been discontinued. They were told of Mr. Allman’s illness.
Pep 4/1917

Pep 5/1917

Allman’s other comics were “Dreamsticks”, “The Great American Home”, “Honest, This Is How it Happened”, and “They All Fall for It”.

Wilke-Barre Times-Leader 12/12/1911

 Wilke-Barre Times-Leader 10/9/1915

Syracuse Journal 8/20/1921

In the 1920 census Allman and his wife, Theresa, lived in Cleveland at 2959 Coleridge Road. 
The News-Bee said he married Theresa Reardon in Toledo shortly before they moved. Allman was an artist who worked at an office. His neighbor, at 2933, was 25 year-old cartoonist, Roy Grove, who lived with his parents. 

A 1923 Cleveland directory said Allman resided at 2970 East 83rd Street and worked for NEA.

Allman passed away July 8, 1924, in Cleveland. The News-Bee reported his death the same day:

Walter R. Allman, 42, noted News-Bee cartoonist, creator of the Duff family, died on Tuesday at 8:15 a.m. in St. John’s Hospital, Cleveland. Death followed a nervous breakdown. Mr. Allman had been ill for more than a year. 
The body will be brought to Toledo on Thursday morning for burial. Services will be held in the Couldwell Funeral Parlors. His mother, Mrs. Mary A Crumling [sic] of Toledo, and his widow, Mrs. Theresa Reardon Allman, former Toledo girl, survive….
...Last winter the cartoonist suffered a nervous breakdown. Accompanied by Mrs. Allman, he went to Miami, Fla., to regain his health. In February he returned to Cleveland. Shortly after he was taken to the hospital where he died Tuesday.
American Newspaper Comics said Doings of the Duffs resumed with W.O. Fitzgerald on January 30, 1925. He was followed by Ben Batsford, June 8, 1925, and Buford Tune, July 23, 1928.

—Alex Jay


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Monday, October 13, 2014


Whining, Mostly, plus a Preview of Things to Come

Here's a second look at Fish's The Diary of a Lady's Maid, which we previously covered in this post. Why are we revisiting it? Well, I could tell you that it is such a great series that I decided to restore another example. While it is in fact a darn fine series, the truth is that I restored a second example this morning because I was hurriedly casting about for a post to do, and didn't realize that I'd already covered this series.

I made that mistake because, despite what I hope looks like a smoothly running blog from your perspective, all hell has broken loose behind the scenes. You see, I just returned from a three week trip out of the country. Before leaving, I prepared a month's worth of posts. Three weeks worth for when I would be out of touch, and an extra week's worth to give me time to settle back in on my return.

It seemed like a foolproof plan (me being the fool in question). Unfortunately, when I returned to Casa Holtz, it was to find that my computer had decided that, having been unplugged and on vacation for three weeks, that the rest was insufficient. So the hard drive crashed. Then to add insult to injury, my meticulously careful backups did not work quite as expected, leaving me after several days of swapping drives and backups, with an incomplete restoration with which I am still wrestling*.

Add to that a head cold courtesy of my fellow airplane passengers, and a variety of other non-comics related emergencies around the homestead, and the week of posts that I arranged for ran out entirely too quickly.

Now that you understand that the Stripper's Guide universe is in a temporary shambles, and are no doubt shedding warm empathetic tears on my behalf (you are, aren't you?), here's what I'm gonna do to try and get this train back on the track. Alex Jay has had a group of fine posts in the queue for a long while now, all waiting for me to write complementary posts. Well, those complementary posts ain't gonna happen any time soon, so we're going to unleash Jay's work on you without the questionable benefit of my own blather to go along with them. First we'll have profiles of the cartoonists that worked on one of the first 'family sitcom' strips, Doings of the Duffs. After that we may continue with a group of posts about Dr. Guy Bennett, which has been sitting in the queue because I could not come up with even a short run of strips to run in an accompanying Obscurity of the Day.

Hopefully by then I'll be able to patch my world back together. Enjoy!

* By the way, I lost the last month's worth of emails in the process. So if I haven't responded to a query that you sent in September-October, try sending it again please.

Wonderful stuff! I note a title The First Book of Eve by Fish (on ABEbooks) ... humor from 1916/comic strips it says.... I have not seen it.... and a couple other titles she did decorations for.

(most of these are print-on-demand or ebooks)

On Amazon there is a Third Eve Book, so this was perhaps a strip of hers.
Hi Joe: you can view the entire first Eve book here:;view=1up;seq=23

As the book intro says, these 'strips' originally appeared in the British publication The Tatler.

Thanks Allan!

Too bad the color sundays of 'all' of the comics aren't available.....preferably in hard copy.
Thankyou for presenting them like this!
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Sunday, October 12, 2014


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


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Saturday, October 11, 2014


Herriman Saturday

Tuesday, August 25 1908 -- Who would have thought that L.A.'s famed traffic troubles began as early as 1908!


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Friday, October 10, 2014


Sci-Friday starring Connie

Connie, April 25 1937, courtesy of Cole Johnson. 
Follow the Connie story every Friday here on Stripper's Guide.


Hey! I want my money back! This is the same page you posted last week!
Oops! See your Paypal account for the refund, Katherine.
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Thursday, October 09, 2014


Obscurity of the Day: 'Scuse Me, Mr. Johnson

In the more than capable comedic hands of Fred Opper, even racial stereotyping can offer some sheepish grins. Though the strips are embarrassing, the gags and characters are, I have to admit, undeniably funny. So if the visual depictions are too much for you, just pretend the characters are dumb white crackers with deep tans.

In the short-lived series 'Scuse Me Mr. Johnson we meet a community of gentlemen who fight incessantly, steal each other blind, have mile-wide egos,  and lovingly mangle the English language. In short, a delightful bunch who reliably offer up funny situations and the lively patter to go along with it. Why Opper put this series to rest so quickly (it ran January 3 - April 18 1909 in Hearst funnies sections) I don't understand -- I very much doubt that it was because he had second thoughts about his depictions of African-Americans.

Regarding the title, I have always been under the impression that the phrase "Excuse me Mr. Johnson" is the gag line to a popular joke of the day. Something like this -- a white guy is sitting in a bar making bold statements about the inferiority of the black man, and claiming that they are weak in mind and body, etc etc. When confronted by a listener about the great boxer Jack Johnson, the guy redoubles his derision, saying that Johnson is way over-rated, that he could never hope to beat a white man, he's really a sissy, etc. So it turns out that the boxer is actually sitting at the next table in the bar. Overhearing the white guy, he turns around and says, "Excuse me, sir. I'm Jack Johnson." The white guy turns around, sees who it is, and says, dripping with sweetness and deference, "Oh no, excuse ME Mr. Johnson!" Rimshot.

So that's where I think the phrase started. But I'll be darned if I can find any independent confirmation of that on the web. Anyone?


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Wednesday, October 08, 2014


Obscurity of the Day: Can You Beat That, Sadie?

Remember a few months ago when we covered a strip titled Ain't It Awful, Mabel by Roy Taylor? You don't? Oh. Well, here's the link; go read it and come back.

{The Stripper gets a cup of java, reads some emails...}

Okay, so you can see the obvious relationship between that strip and these samples of Can You Beat That, Sadie right? Well, of course you can. It's the same darn strip, with the punchline fiddled with just slightly. Can You Beat That Sadie ran from March 23 to April 24 1908 in the New York Evening World, right on the heels of Ain't It Awful Mabel.

So if you guess that Roy Taylor must have gotten a cease and desist letter, shrugged, and changed the title of his strip but not the subject, well, we're on the same page.


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Tuesday, October 07, 2014


Obscurity of the Day: Pretending Percy

In the considerable legions of comic strip li'l bastards, C.W. Kahles' Pretending Percy doesn't really stick out as an overwhelmingly interesting entry. His schtick of dressing like and pretending to be a good little boy reminds us of Buster Brown, except that Percy never does resolve at the end of his escapades to do better -- Percy is plain and simple rotten, and happy to be that way.

Kahles' art style, as always in this period, is stiff and formal. That works well for this particular strip, as it makes the rather extreme activities seem that much more shocking. Our top sample is particularly stomach-turning, leaving me with the desperate wish to thrash Percy myself. But I guess that's the idea, isn't it?

Kahles contributed Pretending Percy to the Philadelphia North American Sunday comics section from May 1 1904 to July 8 1906. Kahles got a bit confused and called the kid Willie in the second installment, but with as many strips as he did, I guess we can forgive such a slight bookkeeping error.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the samples!


Kahles' HAIRBREADTH HARRY floors me for the writing alone. NEMO reprinted a Sunday page wherein Rudolph uses atomic energy and destroys the world--"Sweet Cookies! This is a FIX!" And that's from one panel, never mind the remaining 11!
"leaping from one plane to another over an erupting volcano became second nature to me"
From the same Nemo.

Too bad Kahles didn't live long enough to write scripts for TV's TJ Hooker. He was a natural
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Monday, October 06, 2014


Stripper's Guide Bookshelf: Popeye by Bobby London

Thimble Theatre presents Popeye: Volume 1 1986-1989 
by Bobby London
ISBN 978-1-61377-874-6
IDW Publishing, hardcover, $39.99

There are some bits of comic strip history to which we fans all bow, but few of us have ever been lucky enough to actually experience firsthand. For instance, the near-legendary science fiction Connie stories from the late 1930s; scarce as all get out in the original tearsheets, and reprint books have barely scratched the surface. Yet we speak of those sequences in hushed tones.

To me, one of the most important of those 'white whale' classics is the stint by Bobby London on Thimble Theatre. Popeye is, of course, a comic strip legend initially set on his course by the genius of E.C. Segar. So strong was the strip and the cast of characters that decades of other cartoonists at the helm did not do irreparable damage to the franchise. What did happen, though, was that Thimble Theatre, at least since the 1970s, was little more than a legal requirement for a set of licensed characters to maintain their copyrights.

Enter Bobby London, underground cartoonist, member of the infamous Air Pirates, National Lampoon and Playboy contributor. His work was not only raunchy and anti-establishment, as one would expect from those credentials, but also clearly lovingly devoted to classic comic strips from the early decades of the century.

When London, amazingly enough, snagged the gig of drawing the daily Popeye strips in 1986, the comics world was simultaneously flabbergasted, intrigued, scared, and skeptical. It seemed like King Features was going out on a very thin limb indeed. Would London behave himself, or would we find Popeye and Olive bumping uglies in our Monday morning paper (those rare few of us who actually still had Thimble Theatre appearing there, I should say).

It turned out that London not only behaved himself (for the most part), but that his love of classic comics made him take this gig seriously. After a short stint of daily gags, London did the seemingly impossible -- he began writing long continuities that played out in increments of two tiny panels per day.

Since very few of us actually got to see these strips when they originally ran, we who were interested mostly got the news of London's Popeye work through the fan network. We knew that he resurrected the daily stories, but very few of us actually got to see them. We heard that they were good, but that was all second-hand.

Therefore, I'm thrilled that IDW has seen fit to finally let us judge firsthand. Having just finished volume 1, I can say that I am amazed and impressed. While it is of course impossible to tell Segar-quality stories at the rate of two panels per day, London did give 100% of his considerable genius in adapting the microscopic format to telling surprisingly intriguing, funny stories.

Because it is London, they're not just silly stories, either. They weave in messages about pollution, junk food, war in the Middle East, and other modern issues. Thankfully, Popeye is not stuck in some weirdly behind-the-times world that many comic strip characters are, like Jiggs running around in a top hat in the 1980s.

Do yourself a favor and check out Bobby London's Popeye, if only to be amazed at what London could accomplish in such a tiny space (did I forget to mention that the art is superb, too?). I'm certainly looking forward to Volume 2 of this series, in which we'll presumably get to 1992, and see London meet his unfortunate Waterloo.


Since you like volume 1 so much, volume 2 will be even greater when it's come out next month-November 18, to be excat!!!
I recently finished the first volume of Popeye by Segar from 1928-1930 and it is wonderful! I have the other 5 Segar books to look forward to. The daily strips are very good....the Sunday strips are even Better!

I have wondered what the hullabaloo was all about re: London's Popeye from many years later.....What happened to the years inbetween? etc. THANKS for shedding light on this.... I will keep an eye out for the London books.

(Of course, I would also like to see the pre-Popeye Thimble Theatre now. Maybe I'll have to get back to my old newspaper microfilm reading. )
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Sunday, October 05, 2014


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


Wow! Another unflattering anecdote about Bob Kane! This guy was a true winner!
Sometimes we're lucky by what we don't get.
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Saturday, October 04, 2014


Herriman Saturday

Sunday, August 23 1908 -- Fight manager Bill Delaney believes he has the next heavyweight champion of the world with this boxer Al Kaufman. Kaufman certainly does seem nearly unbeatable, and just as Herriman shows above, has beaten Dave Barry, Sam Berger, George Gardner, Mike Schreck and Battling Johnson, among others, in what sure seems to be the road to a crown.

Will his record remain unblemished when he faces Fireman Jim Flynn on Tuesday? According to the betting, Flynn hasn't a ghost of a chance. Bookies can't even stimulate betting by offering odds on Flynn merely making it to the 8th round.

Since Herriman won't be revisiting this fight for a cartoon, I'll not leave you hanging -- not only did Flynn last until the 8th, he looked like he had Kaufman on the run. In the ninth round, though, Kaufman finally tamed Flynn and knocked him out.


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Friday, October 03, 2014


Sci-Friday starring Connie

Connie, April 18 1937, courtesy of Cole Johnson. 
Follow the Connie story every Friday here on Stripper's Guide.


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Thursday, October 02, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: George Storm

George Kennan Storm was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas on July 7, 1893, according to his World War I and II draft cards at In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he was the only child of Oliver and Flora, who lived in Thayer, Missouri. His father was a trainmaster.

In 1910, they lived in Enid, Oklahoma at “401 West OK St”. His father was a train dispatcher. Information about his education and art training has not been found. The Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920, at, said he married Rose Mary Vennink on May 15, 1916. He signed his World War I draft card on June 12, 1917. He lived with his wife and child at 1807 Warren Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. He was a designer at the “Savine World Pub Co 608 S. Dearborn St”. He was described as tall and slender with dark brown eyes and black hair. According to a profile at the Action Figure Museum, Storm “…worked for an Oklahoma weekly, migrating to Chicago, working for the Herald. In 1919, he moved on to the San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle and later to the San Francisco Daily News….”

Storm has not been found in the 1920 census. He was listed in the Index to Great Register, Volume 2, Districts 25, 26, 27, 1920 for San Francisco County; he was a reporter and Democrat who lived at 1086 Fulton. In the Supplemental Index 1923, he was a cartoonist and Socialist at the same address. His cartoons were widely distributed.

Greensboro Record 6/10/1924

State Times Advocate 6/24/1924

The Action Figure Museum said, “…After five years of drawing local cartoons in San Francisco, he won a job on the New York Mirror, drawing a panel cartoon series, ‘Little Old New York in Pictures.’ In 1925, he met newspaperman-author Jay Jerome Williams and this resulted in the creation of a newspaper strip for the Bell Syndicate, ‘Phil Hardy’…” The strip was titled Bound to Win in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Virginia), which published the entire run from November 23, 1925 to October 25, 1926.

Richmond Times Dispatch 11/23/1925

Richmond Times Dispatch 10/25/1926

Next, the duo did Ben Websters’ Career from 1925 to 1926. On March 24, 1927, Storm’s strip, Bobby Thatcher, made its debut.

Ads in the Oakland Tribune 3/18 and 3/19/1927

He has not been found in the 1940 census. He signed his World War II draft card in April 1942. His address was 712 Lexington Avenue, New York City. He named his mother as his closest relative, who resided in Enid, Oklahoma. The description of him was 5 feet 10 inches, 185 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair. According to a family tree, at, his wife passed away in 1947.

Storm passed away in June 1976, according to the Social Security Death Index, which said his last residence was Enid, Oklahoma.

—Alex Jay


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