Wednesday, August 20, 2014


A Mystery Regarding the First Weeks of Long Sam -- Part I

Bob Foster sent me scans of the first three weeks of Long Sam, asking me to share them with you. Although the strips are worth reading on their merits alone, Bob isn't just sharing them purely for their entertainment value. He hopes to open a dialogue regarding what he considers a mystery.

So what's the mystery? Well, we'll get into that in tomorrow's post. For now, just enjoy the first half of the Long Sam introductory strips, credited to writer Al Capp and cartoonist Bob Lubbers. 

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Gustave Verbeck

Gustavus “Gustave” Verbeck was born in Nagasaki, Japan on August 29, 1867. His birthplace and birth date were on his Petition for Naturalization which was filed December 19, 1914, in New York City; the document was retrieved at His name, Gustavus, was found in the book, Verbeck of Japan (1900):

…Right here we may glance at Dr. Verbeck’s family. His firstborn baby daughter, Emma Japonica, and Guido, who lived to be sixteen, are no more on earth, but at this writing, June 1900, there survive, five sons and two daughters. William, Channing, Gustavus, Arthur, Bernard, Emma and Eleanor. The grandson, son of William, bears the honored name Guido Fridolin Verbeck. Emma is married to Professor Terry and dwells in Japan. Two sons in the army of the United States follow the flag in the far east, and one, Gustavus, the illustrator is well known to all who love jolly pictures.
When the above passage was written, Verbeck was the fourth of nine children born to Guido, a missionary, and Maria. His father left Holland on September 2, 1852. From New York City he made his way to Green Bay, Wisconsin. He found work as an engineer in Helena, Arkansas. He returned to Green Bay and later settled in Auburn, New York, where he prepared for the ministry. There he met Maria Manion. They married in Philadelphia on April 18, 1859. On May 7, 1859, the newlyweds sailed for Shanghai. From there, Guido would go to Nagasaki.

Verbeck spent his first ten or eleven years in Japan. The American Art Annual, Volume III, said he had some art training there.

His father wrote about his two trips to the U.S.:
Since I was first sent to Japan in 1859, this will be the first time that I leave it at the mission’s expense. In 1873 I travelled at my own expense; and in 1878 I returned home with my family and lived a year with them in California, altogether at my own charges. It was only since my leaving California, in August, 1879, that I became again chargeable to the mission both for myself and family.
The 1880 U.S. Federal Census recorded Verbeck (whose first name was misspelled “Gusstavus”), his mother and seven siblings in Oakland, California at 767 18th Street. All of the children were born in Japan, except one: three-month-old Bernard was born in California.

At some point Verbeck returned to Japan more than once. His name was Gustave on the naturalization petition which said he came back to the U.S., by way of San Francisco, on February 15, 1883, aboard the S.S. City of Tokio. Another petition with the same first name, filed December 21, 1916, had the arrival date as July 15, 1883. The petition stated that Verbeck had resided in New York beginning December 1, 1889. At a later date he moved to Paris.

According to the American Art Annual, Verbeck studied under “Constant, Laurens, Blanc and Giradot.” The Times, December 6, 1937, said Verbeck drew cartoons for several French newspapers. Lambiek said: “…Drawn towards the Cabaret du Chat Noir, Gustave Verbeck designed a shadow-play titled ‘Le Malin Kangourou’, and in 1893/1894, he created several illustrations for the newspaper Le Chat Noir.” In September 1894, art critic Henry McBride stayed at Verbeck’s apartment, located at 131 Boulevard Montparnasse.

A passenger list at listed Verbeck as a steerage passenger in compartment number two for single men. He arrived in New York City on November 5, 1894, aboard the S.S. Bourgogne, which sailed from the port of Le Havre, France. His occupation was painter.

On his return to the U.S., Verbeck produced illustrations for several periodicals including the American Magazine, Harper’s, McClure’s and the Saturday Evening PostThe Monthly Illustrator, May 1895, published the article, “Technical Tendencies of Caricature”, with his illustrations. Verbeck had six illustrations in the July 1899, Pearson’s Magazine.

Regarding the alternate spelling of Verbeck’s surname the Times explained: “During part of his life, Mr. Verbeck spelled his surname “Verbeek,” the form used by his grandfather, Carl Heinrich Willem Verbeek of Zeist, Holland.”

The Times, January 2, 1927, reviewed Verbeck’s exhibition at the Ferargil Gallery and quoted his autobiographic note in the catalogue:
Born in Japan, came to California, revisited Japan three times, knew native artists, tried their way of drawing with brush, acquired a pronounced Oriental slant in art. In San Francisco at Academy studied still life and sketching under Emil Carlsen. Came to New York and entered DeForest Brush’s class at the League. Became acquainted with Bridgman just back from the Beaux Arts and worked with him from models on Sundays. Met George Luks. We had adjoining studios. Low rental, no furniture, slept on floor.
Next went to Paris three years, worked under Constant, Laurens, Giradot, Blanc and Freytel, at Julian’s and Calarossi’s [sic]. Back in America, exhibited a little, got encouragement but not many sales. Did not know how to get a dealer. Illustrated, painted, moved all over country, lost paintings, painted more.
The New-York Tribune took note of Verbeck’s work on November 21, 1896: “...The only other artistic productions in the corridor are Mr. Verbeck’s ‘Enchantment,’ a roughly painted but artlessly clever sketch…”; and on March 5, 1898: “…Take the nine somewhat fantastic sketches by Gustave Verbeek. They are original, piquant little productions. Some day they will be of greater value to collectors, we imagine, than they are now.” Verbeck’s art in the nineteenth exhibition of the Society of American Artists, at the Fine Arts Building, drew the attention of the New York Herald, March 28, 1897: “In Gustave Verbeek’s ‘Fantaisie Hellenique’ a pretty young lady in vivid red is seen, gracefully reposing on nothing.”

Art collector Pincus Chock exhibited his collection at the American Art Association. Works by Verbeck were noted by the Times, March 6, 1898: “…Among the newest names is that of Gustave Verbeek, a young Dutch-Japanese-American who began to study in Nagasaki and passed several years in Paris, bringing with him to France that color sense and that charming composition which delights us in the colored drawings of the Japanese. There are nine examples of this clever painter…”

Verbeck may have had a room at 106 East 23rd Street, in Manhattan, which was the scene of a suicide. The New York Press, January 17, 1898, reported the incident:

…She was seen in the hall yesterday morning about 9 o’clock. At 3:30 p.m. Gustave Verbeck, an artist, passing through the hall, smelled gas. He knocked at Mme. Valfier’s door and got no answer. He reported the matter to Henry Slocum, the proprietor of the restaurant on the ground floor. The pair went out upon the fire escape in the rear of the house. The window curtain had been pulled down half way, a sheet was over the lower portion of the window and the catch was on.
They called Patrolman Fox, who burst in the door of the room. The tenant was lying dead on the lounge with her head wrapped in a towel. The rubber hose that had been used by her for the gas stove was in her mouth, so wrapped about with the towel that little gas could escape until she was dead….
Verbeck has not been found in the 1900 census. Two volumes of the American Art Annual had listings for him. In volume three was one for painters and the other for illustrators:
Verbeek, Gustave, 1717 Chestnut St., Philadelphia. Pa.Born, Nagasaki, Japan, of Dutch parents, 1867. Early art training in Japan, later in Paris under Constant, Laurens, Blanc and Giradot. Also illustrator.
Verbeck, Gustave, 1717 Chestnut St., Philadelphia. Pa. (See Painters.) 
Volume four had a single entry:
Verbeek, Gustave (P., I.), 21 Manhattan Ave., New York.Born, Nagasaki, Japan, of Dutch parents, 1867. Early art training in Japan; later in Paris under Benjamin-Constant, Laurens, Blanc in Paris.
The New York Times, February 5, 1899, explained how Verbeck and his younger brother, Arthur, were Japanese citizens:
How the Verbeek Brothers Happen to be Full-Fledged Citizens of the Land of the Rising Sun.There are only two full-blooded white men in the world who are natural-born subjects of the Mikado of Japan. Both are at present in this city, and one of them adds to this distinction the fact that he served as an American volunteer soldier in the late war with Spain. They are brothers, and the one who wore Uncle Sam’s uniform is Arthur Verbeek, a Corporal in Company I of the Ninth Regiment, New York Volunteers. He is a young art student, and his brother is Gustave Verbeek, an artist who has just come to this country after a four years’ course of study in Paris.
...The laws of Holland, the birthplace of Prof. Verbeek, provide that after a continuous absence of five years from the fatherland one’s citizenship is forfeited, and, as he had never taken out naturalization papers in the United States, he was a man without a country when he arrived in Japan. The Government there had no naturalization law, and by the command of the Mikado a special law was framed by the Japanese statesmen very much like our own naturalization law, by which act he was made a Japanese citizen.
Both sons had in the meantime voyaged to this country, and Gustave, the elder, one, went to Paris to study art at Julien’s famous atelier. It was in that city that he first learned his true nationality. The American Consul to whom he applied, refused the customary protection, and both he and his brother, who arrived in the French capital a year later, were recorded as Japanese citizens. They applied to the Japanese Consul in Paris for credentials, which were duly forwarded to them by command of the Mikado, and copies of the same papers were filed with the Japanese Consul here when they returned to this country.
Verbeck’s first attempt to be naturalized was reported in the Syracuse Journal, April 18, 1907. He applied for naturalization papers at the United States Circuit Court in New York City.
Mr. Verbeck stated that he was a Japanese subject, and under the law this made him ineligible to American citizenship…Yet Verbeck, while a subject of the Mikado, plainly was the Dutchman his name implied….he got his papers, though not without many misgivings on the part of John Donovan, the naturalization clerk.
“I am a Japanese subject,” was Verbeck’s answer when his nationality was asked.
“A Jap!” cried Donovan, gazing open-mouthed at the man’s fair complexion and generally European appearance. “How can that be? What is your name?”
“My name is Gustave Verbeck,” said the applicant blandly. “My father was a citizen of Holland and my mother French. My father was a missionary, and by living outside the Netherlands more than ten years, he lost his citizenship in that country. I was born in Nagasaki after the ten years were up and that made me a native of Japan. I lived in Yokohama for a while and afterward in Tokio. Although I am a Japanese artist, I wish to become an American citizen, for I have opened a studio in West Twenty-third street, and this country looks good enough for me.”
The Cosmopolitan, September 1900, published his illustrations for “The Beautiful Man of Pingalap.” Verbeck’s work appeared in two issues of Good Housekeeping. In the July 1904, his initials, “G V” appear on “The Frog, the Mouse and the Hawk” and “Why the Mud-turtle Lives in the Water.” The art for “Miss Kitty Manx to Sir Thomas Angora” was signed “G. Verbeek.” Verbeck had credit line in the September 1904 issue for “The Wee, Wee Woman and Her Pig.”

Starting in February 1902 Verbeck illustrated John Kendrick Bang’s “Andiron Tales” for the New York Herald





According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), Verbeck’s first foray in comics was Easy Papa, which appeared in the New York World from May 25, 1902 to February 2, 1903. His comic, The Twinklies, had a brief run from January 4 to 15, 1903. The Upside-downs of Little Lady Lovekins and Old Man Muffaroo was produced for the New York Herald beginning October 11, 1903. When it ended in early 1905, he drew the Terrors of the Tiny Tads, which had a long run in the Herald, from May 28, 1905 to October 25, 1914.

Verbeck produced two other strips and each ran about three months. Stories Without Words debuted May 2 and ended August 1, 1909. For the New York Tribune, Loony Lyrics of Lulu started July 17 and stopped October 23, 1910.

Advertising was another outlet for Verbeck whose illustrations were used with children’s wear (below) and corsets.

East Oregonian 5/9/1907

Salt Lake Tribune 9/27/1908

Verbeck wrote and illustrated “The Diary of a Boy Inventor” for Boys’ Life, April 1915. A postcard by him is reproduced here.

Books illustrated by Verbeck include The Sprightly Romance of Marsac (1896), The Court of Boyville (1899), Donegal Fairy Tales (1900), Over the Plum Pudding (1901; “The Amalgamated Brotherhood of Spooks”), Nigger Baby and Nine Beasts (advertised in The Smart Set magazine from 1901 to 1906), The Second Froggy Fairy Book (1902) with Anne Penock, Wild Creatures Afield (1902) and Mother Goose for Grown-ups (1908) with Peter Newell.

In the Annual American Catalogue 1899 (1900) was an advertisement for publisher, Drexel Biddle. Verbeck was one of five artists who illustrated the Famous Froggy Fairy Books.

Also published were compilations of strips for The Up-Side Downs of Little Lady Lovekins and Old Man Muffaroo (1906) and Terrors of the Tiny Tads (1909). The Upside-Down World of Gustave Verbeek (2010) includes complete runs of Upside-Downs of Little Lady Lovekins and Old Man Muffaroo and Loony Lyrics of Lulu, plus samples of Terrors of the Tiny Tads, Verbeck’s paintings, drawings and more.

In 1910 Verbeck, his wife Leonore, daughter Dorothea, and a servant resided in Manhattan, New York City, at 541 West 123 Street. The 1910 New York City Directory listed his studio address at 23 West 24 Street. In 1911 his studio was at 60 West 37 Street. The 1915 New York State Census listed him in Manhattan at 125 Sherman Avenue, which would be his address into the 1930s. His occupation was artist.

Verbeck’s monotypes were praised, and one published, in The Sun, May 16, 1915. The following year, monotypes by him were in a group show at the gallery, Coupil & Co. of ParisThe Century Magazine, May 1916, featured his monotypes. Another exhibition of his monotypes was in March 1918.

The Times, January 2, 1927, judged Verbeck’s exhibition, at the Ferargil Galleries, of special merit:
...Mr. Verbeek may seem a little old-fashioned, because his painting is “beautiful” and all on the surface. But what matter! Mr. Verbeek has a distinctive decorative gift, and that, nowadays, is mighty rare.
What Mr. Verbeek does is to weave, with an exceedingly fluent and persuasive brush, the surface beauties of a romantically seen world into rich tapestries of color. In these tapestries you can discover, as through gauze, nude girls joined in their dance by an exhilarating rain; girls in the arms of Galahadish young men. Or there are landscapes in which red and blue and yellow hats of picnicking ladies are woven together by Mr. Verbeek’s subtle brush with shadowy trees, dark green foliage, guitarists furtively plucking music and a young Watteauesque pair dancing.
The fact…that when in Japan he acquired “a pronounced Oriental slant in art” is easily apparent. This is not to say that Mr. Verbeek’s painting is Japanese. It is not. In fact, the little gaps of weakness and uncertainty that now and then destroy the unity of his compositions may, in this instance, be accounted for by the irrefutable (geographical) conclusion of a certain poet—“East is East,” &c. That is, Mr. Verbeek sometimes seems to try two methods of painting a canvas, and when he fails to join up “East” and “West” the twain naturally do not meet. But when he hits off canvases such as “Rain” and “Dance in the Wood” neither East nor West is visible, only painting of a high decorative order.
About six months before Verbeck’s death was an exhibition of his monotypes at Adelphi College in Garden City, Long Island, as reported by the Times, May 23, 1937.

Verbeck passed away December 5, 1937, “…in the Home for Incurables, Third Avenue and 183d Street, the Bronx, where he had been a patient for two months. He had been ill for two years,” as reported in the Times the following day.

—Alex Jay


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Monday, August 18, 2014


From the Sub-Basement of the Archives: Mary Worth 'Visual Scripts'

Stumbled across some photostatic negatives of comic strip roughs today in one of my huge 'unfiled' piles. Couldn't quite ID them, so I scanned them in and inverted to produce these readable scans. Then did some online searches based on the dialog to verify my guess about what these are.

Allen Saunders produced 'visual scripts' for Mary Worth artist Ken Ernst, and this above represents the week of August 3rd 1970. I have to say that Ernst's later work on Mary Worth, stiff as a board, can't hold a candle to Saunders' delightful loose sketches.


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Sunday, August 17, 2014


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


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Saturday, August 16, 2014


Herriman Saturday

Tuesday, August 11 1908 -- On primary day Herriman admonishes voters to think for themselves. Throw off the shackles and blinders and do what your conscience tells you, not what the local party boss does!

Next week's Herriman Saturday cartoon will answer the question if (at least in this case) the pen is mightier than the sword.

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Friday, August 15, 2014


Sci-Friday starring Connie

Connie, February 28 1937, courtesy of Cole Johnson. 
Follow the Connie story every Friday here on Stripper's Guide.


Looking at this page I felt i was getting an insight into where Joe Kubert's style came from. particularly visible in the Doc's head in panel 3 and that great Connie figure in panel 8 at bottom left of the page. go in close and look at the inking.
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Thursday, August 14, 2014


Obscurity of the Day: G. Whiskers

Geoffrey "Fola" Foladori, a Uruguayan cartoonist, received worldwide syndication of his strip, G. Whiskers, through Press Alliance. While that syndicate may have been a selling gangbuster overseas for all I know, in the U.S. the features they handled are scarcely ever found.

Although G. Whiskers was advertised in Editor & Publisher  from 1940-58, the only samples of the strip thus far found in U.S. papers are from 1942-43 (collection of Cole Johnson). If anyone has see the strip appearing earlier or later in a U.S. newspaper, I'd appreciate hearing from you.

Foladori's strip probably went by different names depending on the country. For instance, apparently in a French-Canadian paper the strip was titled Tibi.The strip was ideally suited for international distribution because it is a strict pantomime (which means that in addition to no dialog, there are also rarely labels on objects). An impressive achievement, to be sure.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the samples.


Great information!
Fola live his life in Uruguay and works most of his life in Argentina.
I put some links with his creation here.
Thanks for this post!
Allan, here's 2 current obscurities, both published in the Falls Church Press -

Nick Knack by N.F. Benton and Wombania by Peter Marinacci. They've been appearing for at least a year, but I think it's considerably longer. Also in the paper is Out on a Limb, Chuckle Bros. and Loose Parts.
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Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Stanley Armstrong


Stanley Edward Armstrong was born in Muir, Michigan, on July 11, 1873 or 1879. His birthplace was found on two passport applications from 1915 and 1917. The 1915 application had 1872 as his birth year with this statement: “I am unable to procure birth certificate.” The 1873 birth year was on his 1917 application with a notarized document from his mother, Amanda. Below is an excerpt from the document:
That she is a naturalized citizen of the United States;  
That she is a resident of Compton, Los Angeles Co., California; 
That she is the adopted mother of Stanley E. Armstrong; 
That she knows of her personal knowledge that Stanley E. Armstrong was born at Muir, Ionia Co., State of Michigan, United States of America, on July 11– 1873, 
Mrs. Amanda Armstrong 

The California Death Index said Armstrong’s birth year was 1879.

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census, recorded Lester H., his wife, Amanda D., and 14-year-old daughter, Margaret, in Ionia, Michigan.

Armstrong attended the State Normal School at Los Angeles. He was listed, as a Compton resident, in the 14th Annual Catalogue of the State Normal School at Los Angeles for the School Year Ending June 30, 1896.

According to the 1900 census, Amanda was a widow living alone in Westminster, California and had no living children. Meanwhile, Armstrong, who has not been found in the census, lived in San Francisco where he attended the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art; he was a student in the University of California Register 1900–1901Armstrong knew sculptor Arthur Putnam and even posed for him.

The 1901 Crocker-Langley Directory listed Armstrong as an artist at 523 Montgomery in San Francisco. The 1904 directory said he was an artist with the San Francisco Call and resided at 821 Green.

During 1902, Armstrong illustrated numerous stories in the periodical Overland Monthly. His art also appeared in Sunset magazine.

Overland Monthly 7/1902

Overland Monthly 9/1902

Overland Monthly 12/1902

As reported in the San Francisco Call, January 9, 1905, Armstrong married Rebecca M. von Bremen on January 8.

The 1910 census recorded Amanda in Compton, California, but Armstrong has not yet been found. An early venture into comics was his Jerry the Juggler for the Chicago Tribune; the strip ran from March 2 to August 10, 1913. American Newspaper Comics said Armstrong took over Slim Jim and the Force from January 18, 1914 to June 20, 1915. Alternating with George Frink and C.W. Kahles as Sterling, Armstrong did the strip on July 25, August 1 and 8, September 26 and October 3, 1915. Armstrong’s next run on the series was from October 17, 1915 to 1940.


When Armstrong applied for a passport in 1917, his notarized statement said in part:

…that he is the owner in fee simple of the south 20 hectares of Lot number Eighty situate on the Island of Palmito del Verde, Municipality of Escuinapa, District of Rosario, Sinaloa, Mexico; that it is his intention to proceed to said Island of Palmito del Verde within the next few weeks, for the purpose of engaging in agricultural pursuits on the said property…that affiant, in the expectation of proceeding to the said Island as aforesaid has sold his house and furniture situate in the Town of Mill Valley, County of Marin, State of California…
It is not known if he was granted a passport and traveled to the island.

The 1920 census recorded Armstrong and his wife, Rebecca, in San Anselmo, California on Crescent Road. He was a syndicate cartoonist who also did illustrations for Ace-High Magazine and The Danger Trail.

Armstrong was a newspaper cartoonist in the 1930 census. He and his wife lived in San Francisco at 1120 Buchanan. American Newspaper Comics said he did Yarns of Bos ’n Bill from June 27, 1930 to November 1, 1931, and signed it under the name, “Armi”. In the late 1930s, Armstrong worked on the Kelly Kids strip.

In the 1940 census, Armstrong was unemployed. His address was unchanged and highest grade of education was the eighth grade. Artists in California, 1786-1940 said “…later in life he was a security guard…”

According to the California Death Index, Armstrong passed away March 16, 1949, in San Francisco. An obituary has not been found.

—Alex Jay


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Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Obscurity of the Day: Jerry the Juggler

I tend to not give Stanley Armstrong much credit. He had the thankless task of continuing the great George Frink's Slim Jim and the Force, and there's just no one who can, in my mind, compare with Frink in the reality-rattling lunacy of that classic strip.

Before Armstrong took on that thankless task, one of his few published series was Jerry the Juggler. It was only recently that I got to take a serious look at this Armstrong effort, and I have to admit, Armstrong certainly seems to have written material that's a lot like Frink's even before he was contractually obligated to do so. These Jerry the Juggler strips are ridiculous, silly and utterly pointless, but Armstrong was evidently enjoying himself, and that really shines through. I guess I have to hand it to World Color Printing -- when they had to replace George Frink, they found the right fella.

Jerry the Juggler ran in the Chicago Tribune's Sunday funnies section from March 2 to August 10 1913.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for some of these samples!


Well you've got to give 'snaps' to Armstrong for having the marbles to take over a property that was rapidly becoming the Spinal Tap drummer of early Sunday pages.

What did you think of Ewers short stint on the strip
Do you know if those (alleged) meat sticks and the ol' car-jacker's helper were named after our comic fugitive or did the moniker 'slim jim' precede the strip?


IMHO Ewer's Slim Jim pretty much just tried to follow in Frink's mold. Although Ewer was one helluva cartoonist, I think he didn't really show off his own chops there as much as he maybe should have. In other words, he should have turned the amp up to 11, but he didn't.

Regarding Slim Jims (the heart attack inducing snack), that's a great question, one I have looked into periodically only to find that the history of that skinny sausage snack is rather foggy. One thing is certain -- no one puts the invention of the snack Slim Jim any earlier than the late 1920s, and it sure seems like the brand might not have actually become a real player until the late 40s. So probably nothing to do with our comical Slim Jim.

The Oxford English Dictionary offers as the first definition for "slim jim" as "a very slim or thin person," cited to Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889).

The OED also cites a 1916 use of "slim jim" to refer to a food, but not the contemporary meat product. James Joyce used the term in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and later explained it as referring to "a kind of sweet meat made of a soft marshmellow jelly which is coated first with pink sugar and then powdered ... with cocoanut chips. It is called ‘Slim Jim’ because it is sold in strips about a foot or a foot and a half in length and an inch in breadth."
For some reason (Good Old Days magazine, maybe?) Armstrong's Slim Jim was the first I had seen of the strip, and I have seen more by him than Frink and the others.
Not saying he was better than the others, but I was always happy with his work and enjoyed it.
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Monday, August 11, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Jack Welch

(The following profile is based, in part, on Walt Reed’s 2001 book, The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000, and biographical information, provided by Welch’s son-in-law, Bob, in the Today’s Inspiration post dated March 15, 2010.)

John William “Jack” Welch was born in Cleburne, Texas on April 16, 1905. His birth date is from the Social Security Death Index. In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Welch was the last of six children; preceding him were Grace (21), Madie (20), Ivy (18), Albert (13) and Gordon (7). Their parents were Frank, a retail grocer, and Beulah. The family lived in Cleburne at 109 Warren.

Welch lived with his parents and brothers Albert and Gordon in Temple, Texas at 109 North First Street, as recorded in the 1920 census. In high school, Welch contributed cartoons to the yearbook. According to Reed, Welch took the correspondence course of the W. L. Evans School of Cartooning. Bob said: “Jack wanted to go to art school after high school, but the local minister told his family that being an artist was not a suitable profession so his parents sent Jack to SMU [Southern Methodist University]. He lasted a year there, but his desire to be an artist led him to leave home and leave school and head to Chicago where he changed his name to Roy Sim(m)s and began a career as a political cartoonist. At some point, Jack had a comic strip as well.” Reed said Welch “…worked for papers in Texas, California, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York.”

Welch has not yet been found in the 1930 census. According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), Welch’s What Price Vacation!, a series of color Sunday magazine covers, was published from June 29 to July 20, 1930. Around August 1937, his daily panel, On Our Block, was distributed by King Features, which ended it in early 1938.

According to the 1940 census, Welch was married to Frances and lived in Leonia, New Jersey, at 31 Brook Terrace; in 1935, he resided in New York City. Welch was a freelance illustrator who worked 52 weeks and earned $5,000 the previous year. Some time later, Welch married Iowa native Ida Coquella Pilling, a teacher in Leonia. Bob said, “…Ida met Jack’s two major criteria for a mate, she was brilliant and she was as short as Jack was tall. Jack always felt that he was too tall and didn’t want his children to have that burden….”

Reed said Welch did sketches and comprehensive drawings for advertising layouts. He went on to produce finished art for advertisers such as Keds, Jell-O, Pullman, Traveler’s Insurance, and Birds Eye. His work came to the attention of the Saturday Evening Post for which he did several covers.

Brooklyn Eagle 1/8/1951

A 1951 passenger list, at, recorded Welch’s address as 80 Madison Avenue, Valhalla, New York.

According to the Social Security Death Index, Welch passed away in August 1985. His last residence was in Valhalla. An obituary has not been found.

—Alex Jay


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Sunday, August 10, 2014


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


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Saturday, August 09, 2014


Herriman Saturday

Sunday, August 9 1908 -- A minor Herriman cartoon for a minor news story. The Elks are holding a banquet in honor of some visiting members from Dallas Texas. The new story goes on for practically a whole column of type, but I will not bore you with all the details. (Okay, to be honest, I couldn't be bothered to read the story myself).


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Friday, August 08, 2014


Sci-Friday starring Connie

Connie, February 21 1937, courtesy of Cole Johnson. 
Follow the Connie story every Friday here on Stripper's Guide.


So contemplate the casual way Dr. Chrono "in his spare time" while in a futuristic setting and helping defeat a terrible menance whips up a new time machine. Yikes!

Love the intersting sci-fi setting. This is visually to my inexpert eye as wonderful as Raymond's work on Flash Gordon.
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Thursday, August 07, 2014


Obscurity of the Day: On Our Block

On day two of our look at Jack Welch, we cover his one and only known daily newspaper series, On Our Block. In his later advertising and illustration work, Welch was well-known for his depictions of children, so it is fitting that he did a panel on just that subject when King Features offered him a berth. The series was, in my opinion, delightful, but it failed to catch on. Welch's kids are a realistic blend of sinner and saint, and his settings run the gamut from the country to suburbia to the inner-city. Excellent cartoons that may have been unreasonably ignored due to the lack of focus. It is really hard to sell a panel series with no continuing characters.

On Our Block started sometime in 1937 (known to be running by August), and seems to have been cancelled on February 5 1938.

Jack Welch has been covered on several occasion on the art blog Today's Inspiration -- each installment is well worth your time:

A Christmas Revelation
An Extraordinarily Talented Man
Some Early History


Not to be confused with the earlier Tom McNamara crudity.
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Wednesday, August 06, 2014


Magazine Cover Comics: What Price Vacation!

Jack Welch would later be known primarily as a specialist in advertising art, but in the 1930s he dabbled in cartooning. He did a short-lived panel cartoon (which we'll cover tomorrow), and his only other known credit is for What Price Vacation, a short-run Sunday magazine cover series. Unlike the typical series of this sort, there really isn't much of a plot; we just follow along with Vivid Velma's daydreams regarding vacation spots. The Newspaper Feature Service series ran from June 29 to July 20 1930, a mere four installments, which appeared on magazine covers while the folks reading Sunday papers were trying to figure out their own vacation plans.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Mo Leff

Morris “Mo” or “Moe” Leff was born in New York, New York on January 19, 1912, according to a family tree at In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Leff was the second of five children born to Benjamin, a baker, and Sarah, both Austrian emigrants. The family lived in Manhattan at 517 East 12th Street.

The 1925 New York State Census recorded a sixth Leff child and the family’s address as 194 East 3rd Street, Manhattan. Information about Leff’s education and art training has not been found. Perhaps Leff’s earliest work was in the tenth issue of the Dell comic book, The Funnies, which was published September 1929 and featured Eveready Eddie.

At age 18, Leff was a newspaper cartoonist according to the 1930 census. He lived with his parents and siblings at 625 East 5th Street in Manhattan. Leff’s younger brother, Samuel (1916–1981), would follow in his footsteps. Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 says Leff was on staff at United Feature Syndicate, which distributed his Peter Pat from June 3, 1934 to July 28, 1935. (Some of the art was collected and published in France by Hachette in 1937.) In 1936 Leff ghosted Li’l Abner and Joe Jinks. In the late 1930s, Leff assisted Ham Fisher on Joe Palooka.

Leff has not yet been found in the 1940 census. Leff’s photo and answer were published in the New York Post column, “What do you think?”, February 19, 1946:
Question: Do you think that union boycotts should be outlawed as suggested in the Case Labor Bill?
Moe Leff, Illustrator, E. 46th St., Brooklyn—It would be very unfair to have legislation of that sort. There would be too many loopholes for chiseling employers to take advantage of. In mass boycott unions make known to the uninformed public their grievances—which are just in most instances.
Leff did share the stage, of sorts, with Fisher, as reported in the Indiana Evening Gazette (Pennsylvania) , April 18, 1949:
Wilkes-Barre, Pa., April 18—(AP)—A section of Wilkes-Barre mountain will be dedicated this afternoon as Mt. Palooka to honer Ham Fisher, native Wilkes-Barrean and creator of Joe Palooka of comic strip fame. The program is scheduled for 2:15, following a luncheon for approximately 30 dignitaries at Hotel Sterling. 
With Fisher here for the ceremony are Moe Leff, an associate of the cartoonist; Joe Kirkwood, Jr., actor who plays the role of Palooka in the movies; Charles McAdams, president of McNaught Syndicate; and Humphrey, the fat boxing champion of Palooka in the comic strip….

Brooklyn Eagle 6/3/1950

The death of Fisher was national news. The Knickerbocker News (New York), December 28, 1955, carried the Associated Press account:

Ham Fisher, creator of the popular comic strip hero, Joe Palooka, was found dead last night in a friend’s studio. Nearby were two notes indicting suicide police reported. 
Fisher, 54, whose full name was Hammond Edward Fisher, wrote in the notes of failing eyesight and a diabetic condition. He said that he had swallowed some pills. 
“My sight has gone to a great extent, is getting progressively worse, and my health has gone with it,” he penciled in one of the notes. 
“May God and my beloved ones forgive me. I have provided for them amply.” 
The body was discovered about 9 p. m. in the studio of Moe Leff, where Fisher had been working lately during his friend’s absence from town. The discovery was made by another friend, Morris Weiss of Englewood, N. J, whom Fisher’s wife, Marilyn, had called after becoming alarmed over not hearing from her husband…. 
…Charles McAdam Jr. son of the president of the McNaught Syndicate, said the Joe Palooka comic strip will be continued by other cartoonists. Moe Leff and Phil Boyle, both of whom have worked with Fisher for about 20 years, probably will get the assignment, he said….
Columnist Walter Winchell mentioned Leff in the Buffalo Courier Express (New York), May 11, 1958:
Joe Palooka and author-cartoonist Moe Leff were cited in the Cong.[ressional] Record April 27 by Rep. Flood of Penn. Mr. Leff got the rare honor for “promoting jobs for disabled veterans” via the mew Palooka character named “Chips Shoulders.”
In 1959, Leff and Phil Boyle sued the estate of Ham Fisher and McNaught Syndicate over money and ownership of Joe Palooka. According to American Newspaper Comics, Tony DiPreta took over the strip September 7, 1959.

A family tree at said Leff passed away November 29, 1968 in Brooklyn. An obituary has not been found. The Schenectady Gazette (New York), December 9, 1968, published the column “By…Jack O’Brien” which mentioned Leff’s passing:

Moe Leff, a friend, brother also of our longtime colleague Phil Leff, an editor at the San Francisco Examiner, died here in N.Y. much too soon at 56.

—Alex Jay 


Wow, Leff ghosted Lil Abner and then went on to work for Fisher. Im sure there is quite a story hidden there.
alex thanks for doing all the legwork week in and week out
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Monday, August 04, 2014


Obscurity of the Day: Peter Pat

The 1930s were the golden age of the adventure strip, and with so many new strips vying for the attention of newspaper editors and readers, it is inevitable that some worthy ones fell through the cracks. That, I think, was the fate of Mo Leff's Peter Pat.

Created by Leff for United Feature Syndicate shortly before he switched to a long career as an assistant/ghost for others, this strip is really our only opportunity to see where Mo's own creative impulses would lead him. And wow, what a creative mind he had. Peter Pat reads like a combination of J.R.R. Tolkein, wacky 1930s cliffhanger radio and movie serials, and Dungeons and Dragons-type role-playing games. Leff is so brimming with creativity that he can't seem to cram enough adventure onto each page to suit himself, and we readers have to hang on tight for the thrill ride.

The protagonists are Peter Pat, a kid who looks more like a miniaturized adult, and his pal Pom, who looks like an even more miniaturized senior with the legs of an athlete. They go on a breakneck adventure through fantasy land that unfortunately didn't last long. The Sunday-only strip began on June 3 1934 and ended barely more than a year later, on July 28 1935. Some histories have mistakenly claimed that the strip ran until 1938, but those late appearances were associated World Color Printing, which distributed the strip in reprints.

Mo Leff went on to a distinguished career assisting on Li'l Abner, then taking over Joe Jinks for a time from Pete Llanuza, and finally helming Joe Palooka for about twenty years, uncredited until the last few years.


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