Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Obscurity of the Day: The Lively Ones
After a long run on Susie Q. Smith from King Features in the 1940s and 50s, the cartooning team of Linda and Jerry Walter (art and writing, respectively) tried to take their act back on the road with The Lively Ones. The new panel cartoon, which switched focus from teenagers to seniors, was initially accepted for syndication by Newsday Specials, debuting May 17 1965.
The new feature didn't find a lot of takers, but then again, Newsday Specials was not known for launching big hits. The Walters, used to the marketing aces at King, were probably aghast. Less than six months after the panel debuted, The Lively Ones jumped ship from Newsday to the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate. There at least the panel would be shown to newspaper editors, so it could sink or swim based on its own merits.
Evidently its own merits were a little too slight, though. The Chicago Tribune and New York Daily News (which ran it as The Oldtimers) dropped it on February 11 1967, and that seems to have been the end of the road for The Lively Ones. Maybe newspaper editors failed to find a panel about seniors interesting, or maybe it was the lack of continuing characters, or perhaps the gags were a little too elderly. My guess? Linda's artwork is top-notch, but she drew seniors as universally fat unpleasant-looking wrinkle bags, so maybe that's what put editors and readers off. I guess the world wasn't ready for sexy senior citizens in the 1960s.
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: J. Campbell Cory
An excellent profile of John Campbell Cory is at Yesterday’s Paper which was posted September 3, 2014. For this Ink-Slinger profile I will show what I believe were some of the source material for the profile; included are some “new” information and images.
Ancestry.com is a major source for census records, city directories, travel lists and military service. Birth information, occupations and addresses are usually found in such records. Cory was found in artist directories such as American Art Annual 1905–1906 and American Art Annual Volume 10 (1913).
The Arena profiled Cory in its January 1906 issue. The article has some birth information and said Cory was a self-taught artist who was interested in horses. It mentions his early newspaper work and whereabouts.
Cory was one of a dozen cartoonists and illustrators pictured by J.S. Anderson in Success Magazine, February 1906.
Albany, Feb. 24.—The following companies were incorporated to-day:The New York Sun, June 23, 1902, published this item about Cory’s gold.
New York School of Caricature of New York; capital, $20,000. Directors—Louis Dalrymple and Campbell Cory of New York, and S. B. Griffin of Mamaroneck.
J. Campbell Cory of the Cory Brothers Mining Company has returned from New York. The force at the mine will be largely increased and shipments made. The company owns a big vein of free milling gold ore which will be developed. A number of New York people are interested in this company.
Cory’s book, The Cartoonist’s Art, was published in 1912. Cory’s drawings appeared in the Chicago-based publication, The Day Book in 1912 and 1913. In 1913 Cory’s portraits of President Wilson’s cabinet members appeared in the Sante Fe New Mexican. The Publishers Feature Bureau ran this advertisement in Cartoons Magazine, March 1917.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Monday, April 23, 2018
Obscurity of the Day: Cory's Kids
J. Campbell Cory is one of those cartoonists who needed to write an autobiography but didn't. He worked for about a dozen major newspaper publishers in New York, Chicago and elsewhere, ran his own art school and started at least one syndicate and two magazines. When not chained to the drawing board, he went on adventures in the American and Canadian West and in Central America. Yesterday's Papers offers much more detail about this fascinating fellow.
Cory dabbled in comic strips several times in his career, but his last signed series* is Cory's Kids, which he produced under contract to the McClure Syndicate for a one-year stint. The kid gang strip headlined the section from March 21 1915 to February 6 1916. I'm sure Cory's services did not come cheap, so this might be viewed as one of the McClure Syndicate's last attempts to claw themselves back to offering a really impressive comics section. Progress being what it is, though, the ready-print business model used by McClure was slowly but surely on its way out, and not even the star-power of Mr. Cory was going to turn back the clock.
Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scanned strips.
* John Adcock claims that Cory ghosted the Katzenjammer Kids daily strip for a couple months in December 1917 to January 1918.
Saturday, April 21, 2018
July 7 1909 -- An anonymous article writer (Herriman?) claims that a "No-Hat Club" is forming in Los Angeles. The group of well-known LA movers and shakers, mostly bald, are cited to be looking to grow a new crop of hair by letting the sun get at their domes. Supposedly hatters are up in arms over this business-draining development.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, April 20, 2018
Wish You Were Here, from Albert Carmichael
Here's another "I Love My Wife But Oh You Kid" card by Carmichael, presumably issued as part of Taylor & Pratt's Series 565, though they forgot to take any credit on this card. I think Carmichael did a nice job on the art, though I wonder at the construction of that typewriter. Don't think I've ever seen one that has a big glass (?) box on the rear section.
These are sort of racy cards, implying as they do marital infidelity, so I particular enjoy this card for the message that was penned on the back of it: "See you in church next Sunday!".
Labels: Wish You Were Here
Charamichael's usual low bar standards are reached here. It might be he never saw a typewriter, and only had one described over the phone to him. Since there are no motion lines indicating that the proto- Cam O'Flage is using the typer as one might expect, one can only guess she's somehow radiating a musical light beam at it with her hands.
I learn something old every day.
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Erwin L. Hess
Erwin Louis Hess was born on August 17, 1906, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin according to the Wisconsin, Births and Christenings Index at Ancestry.com. His parents were Alfred Hess and Amaude G. Sproette.
In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, the family of three lived in Milwaukee at 1614 Cherry Street. Hess’s father was a bookbinder. Their address was the same in the 1920 census.
According to the 1930 census, Hess was a commercial artist who lived with his parents and brother in Milwaukee at 498 76th Street.
The St. Johnsville Enterprise and News (New York), March 8, 1951, published Hess’s recollections of his life and art and how it influenced his strip Good Old Days.
“When I was a little boy,” he writes, “I liked to take note of how people lived. While other kids were playing mibs, I found greater pastime pleasure in watching Grandma grind coffee with the grinder in her lap or peeking into the neighbor lady’s basement window as she labored at her hand-powered washing machine. And so it continued throughout my boyhood days. It fascinated me…the plain sight of seeing how folks actually lived and the backgrounds which made their lives interesting...to me. All this is captured and preserved in my youthful mind.Moore’s Who Is Who in Wisconsin (1960) said Hess did furniture advertising from 1926 to 1936. He was a staff artist on the Milwaukee Journal from 1936 to 1938. He married Yvonne Va Kovic on June 27, 1936 in Milwaukee. Hess was a freelance book illustrator for Western Printing & Lithographing Company from 1939 to 1946.
“When I was six i began to like to ‘draw’ pictures. I admired the nice drawings my Aunt Bertha drew. She could, right well, draw ‘almost as good as Nell Brinkley.’ And so I, too, drew and drew pictures…using up loads of paper from fat, nickel pencil tablets.
“But aside from that, I continued to watch and remember how people lived. I liked that, I sat, intently interested, listening to my two grandmother’s tell of the good old days and absorbed all I heard in my little cranium. There those treasured tales remained. I call it my ‘memory notebook.”
“Since those days I have listened to many other grandmothers discussing their problems and joys of the past, and my second and third homes were the historical museums and libraries which contained actual bits of yesteryear and old newspaper files. There I made countless sketches of old buggies, oil lamps, baseburners and dress styles to make my cartoons authentic in every detail…while my ideas come from that ‘memory notebook.’ Kitchen scenes used in my cartoons, on several occasions, are the actual kitchens my two grandmothers lived in…down to the almanac hanging from the shelf over the sink.
“In grammar school,” Hess continues, “I was referred to as the ‘best drawer in the class.’ But when it came to arithmetic…well, my face still turns to a brilliant shade of red. At the age of thirteen, my first cartoon appeared in a Milwaukee newspaper…a political cartoon…for Milwaukee was always known as a hotbed for turbulent politics. The whole eighth grade was buzzing at having a ‘political cartoonist’ in their midst.
“Then I attended high school and continued my ‘artistic career’ to become the art editor of the ‘Comet,’ West Division High School’s monthly magazine. Why mention just ‘another high school'? well, to me ol’ Wes’ Side has always remained tops…for General Douglas MacArthur went there years ago. Yessir! And so did actor Spencer Tracy and many others, including my contemporary student-friends, the late Carl Zeidler, who became mayor of Milwaukee.
“When I left ol’ Wes’ Side, a Chicago artist took an interest in me, and his private tutoring was my ‘art school education. I didn’t get a diploma from the fellow, for he was from the old school, but he would have made a good instructor in any academy. Sensing what I was best fitted for, he advised me to further my preparation far true life cartoons my making am intense study of furniture.
“And intense it became, but the experience I gained proved the fellow was right. I took a job as an artist in a furniture store and the ‘monotonous grind’ turned out to be highly valuable for me later in the drawing of room settings…accurate in all their details.
“Fate later put me, like all of us who go ‘through the mill’ on a newspaper doing everything from war maps and sports cartoons to political cartoons and editorial sketches, etc., etc. However, inwardly my feeling for true-to-life cartoons always remained and overshadowed the routine stuff I was doing …but I did not object. It bought bread and butter for my wife, Yvonne, and me.
“And so I continued to be ‘Deadline Dick,’ until I finally emerged from the fourth-estate ‘jungle.’ I then illustrated children’s books and later drew the comic strip, ‘Captain Midnight.’
“But I couldn’t get away with it! I wanted to draw real-life cartoons…to be able to entertain folks with such cartoons…about themselves as they really are. That’s how ‘The Good Old Days’ was born.”…
The 1940 census recorded self-employed commercial artist Hess, his wife and son Dale in Milwaukee at North 3336 37th Street.
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Hess’s first comic series was Do You Remember?, in 1938 for the Milwaukee Journal. Hess drew Captain Midnight for the Chicago Sun Syndicate from June 29, 1942 to April 15, 1945. Hess’s Good Old Days was a long-running United Feature Syndicate series, from June 9, 1946 to March 29, 1981.
Hess passed away April 26, 1977, in Milwaukee. He was laid to rest at Graceland Cemetery.
Who’s Who in American Comic Books
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Obscurity of the Day: The Bear Boys
With The Bear Boys we've almost run the entire gamut on Hans Horina's comics for the Chicago Tribune (only one left that hasn't made an appearance yet on Stripper's Guide). The Bear Boys is actually a rejiggering of The Rhinoceros Boys, which was a Katzenjammer Kids rip-off with the nod to originality being that instead of human kids, the little rascals are, of all things, rhinos.
The Rhinoceros Boys ran in the Tribune Sunday section from January 27 to June 2 1907. On the next Sunday the rhinos had transmogrified into bears. Why? Blame the story about Teddy Roosevelt taking pity (of a very minor sort) on an old injured bear while on one of his game hunts. Publicity about the event led to a national bear mania, and I guess Horina figured it was about time he climbed on board.
The Bear Boys ran from June 9 to August 25 1907*, so obviously his Katzie-inspired bears didn't make an impression on Tribune readers. Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans.
* the end date could be off by a little -- the Chicago Tribune archive I indexed to get these dates had been cherry-picked for Lyonel Feininger comics prior to it being microfilmed, so some pages that may have had this strip have been lost.
That ran through November 3, and was replaced by another Hans Horina comic about "Professor Edison Dodger", who was the designated slapstick target for that run.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Ink-Slinger profiles by Alex Jay: Rome Siemon
Jerome Emil “Rome” Siemon was born on August 8, 1900, in Rock Island, Illinois. His first name, Jerome, was recorded in the 1910 U.S. Federal Census and his Social Security application. The middle name was on his World War I and II draft cards.
According to Illinois marriage records at Ancestry.com, his parents were Peter Siemon and Emma Johnson who married on September 25, 1899 in Rock Island County, Illinois. The 1900 census was enumerated in June. Siemon’s mother was living with her mother, Anna, siblings, niece and nephew in Rock Island at 613 Ninth Street. The whereabouts of Siemon’s father is not known.
The 1910 census said Siemon and his mother, who was divorced and a nurse, were living with his maternal grandmother and aunt in Rock Island at 613 9th Street.
The Rock Island Argus, January 20, 1914, published the names of the Hawthorne School eighth grade graduates. “Romie Siemon” was one of 35 graduates. The name Romie was used in city directories and in later censuses.
The 1916 Rock Island city directory said Siemon was a clerk residing at 613 9th Street. The 1916 Davenport, Iowa city directory listed Siemon as Rock Island resident working as a clerk at R. G. Dun & Company. The 1917 Rock Island city directory said Siemon was working at a Rock Island manufacturing company.
Siemon signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918. His home address was 1125 3rd Avenue in Moline, Illinois. He was a clerk at the Rock Island Plow Company. He was described as medium height and build with blue eyes and brown hair.
The 1919 Moline directory said he was a clerk at the “Peo Power Company” in Rock Island. His address was 1125 3rd Avenue, and in parentheses was the name of his wife, Olga.
Siemon’s address was the same in the 1920 census. He and his mother were counted together but not his wife whose status is unknown. Siemon was employed at a power company. Siemon’s address in the 1920 directory was 1809 3rd Avenue.
On July 24, 1923, Siemon married Beatrice Vogel in Clinton, Iowa as recorded in the Iowa marriage index at Ancestry.com.
According to the 1930 census, the couple resided in Moline at 1602 3rd Avenue. Siemon was a hotel manager. In a few years Siemon moved to the West Coast.
Siemon, his wife, two sons and mother were at 6336 1/2 Homewood Avenue in Los Angeles, California. Siemon was a hotel manager and his wife a hotel maid. The census said Siemon was in Los Angeles in 1935 and his highest level of education was the eighth grade. Siemon’s World War II draft card named his employer, the St. Paul Hotel. He was five feet eleven inches, 180 pounds with blue eyes and brown hair.
Information about Siemon’s art training has not been found.
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Siemon drew the panel Collection Day Chuckles from 1948 into the 1950s for the Newspaper Boys of America. Siemon also produced Little Moonfolks in 1952 for the Associated Press. The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Third Series, Volume 3, Parts 7–11 A, Number 1, Works of Art, etc., January–June 1949 had this entry: “Siemon, Rome © The little folks of Circleville. [Caricatures] Print. © 4Feb49; K19004.” Heritage Auctions sold two pages of Siemon’s unpublished comic book story for Harvey Comics.
The Dispatch (Moline, Illinois), December 4, 1952, explained Siemon’s involvement in their Christmas fund raising.
Rome Siemon, the fairly widely known cartoonist who got his start in his working life pounding a piano in a nickel movie in Rock Island (he was just a kid and his family was poor) apparently has been doing some Christmas shopping and thinking of poor orphan youngsters. For several years Mr. Siemon, who lives in Hollywood, Calif., has been, taking time out from a busy working career to draw cartoons to help the Moline Good Fellow Christmas fund sponsored by the Dispatch. Rome knows what it is to be up against it at one stage in his career that was in Moline he found the piano playing picking so poor that he thought he was lucky to get a part-time job as a LeClaire hotel elevator operator. If Siemon’s cartoon plea appeals to you, send a contribution to this Christmas program to bring some cheer to needy children and widows to Good Fellow Fund, Moline Dispatch, or drop in with buck or two (or more) and some one at the Dispatch office will be glad to take it.Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said Siemon did lettering for Western Publishing in the early 1950s into the 1960s. In the Jack Kirby Collector #71, Spring 2017, Mark Evanier said “…Mike [Royer] learned to letter from Mike Arens. Mike Arens learned lettering largely from a man named Rome Siemon, who was the house letterer at Western Publishing, on the West Coast books for years….”
Siemon passed away October 6, 1969, in Los Angeles according to the California death index. He was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Monday, April 16, 2018
Obscurity of the Day: Collection Day Chuckles
If you delivered newspapers as a kid, you certainly remember that the worst part of the job was to collect the subscription money. There were always people on your route who never paid their bills on time, or gave you a run-around. Any fantasies we kids had of being invited in by beautiful housewives wearing negligees on collection day were quickly dispelled. Hairy guys in undershirts with ugly dispositions seemed to be behind every door.
A group of newspaper publishers got together in the 1920s or early 1930s and formed an organization called the Newspaper Boys of America. The purpose of the organization was to teach kids how to be effective in their jobs -- one of the key points being how to get those deadbeat subscribers to pay up.
In 1948 the organization put together a series of panel cartoons titled Collection Day Chuckles, and offered them free to newspapers. The idea, obviously, was to remind newspaper readers to pay their newsboys. Although the gags were pretty uniformly bland and unfunny, the point was being made.
The cartoons were to be run on any frequently the newspaper wanted, and they were supplied in batches. It's probably impossible to tell just how many of these cartoons were produced. Though some are numbered and those are generally in the 500s, I see enough re-run cartoons showing up in papers that my guess would be way lower, certainly no more than a few hundred. I've encountered Collection Day Chuckles appearing as late as the early 1960s, but I imagine they were only actually being produced for a few years, and the material then sat for years in slush piles.
Most of the cartoons were drawn by Rome Siemon, who will be profiled tomorrow, but a subset (mostly the numbered ones) were by a different cartoonist (or catoonists) who did not sign them.
Mark Kausler, (one quarter Cherokee)
Saturday, April 14, 2018
July 5 1909 -- Tonight champion middleweight fighter Stan Ketchel will face Billy Papke for the fourth time, looking to improve on his 2-1 record against the rival for the crown. He'll win again, this time in a 20-round decision.
Sorry for the replacement headline text; the original was too bad off in the photocopy to be retained. I've never found fonts that quite match the lovely ones they were using in the Examiner in those days.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, April 13, 2018
Wish You Were Here, from Charles Dana Gibson
The Detroit Publishing Company, best known for their high-quality photo postcards, also dabbled in comic cards. But befitting their quality approach, they licensed images by Charles Dana Gibson, arguably the most famed illustrator/cartoonist of the era. Although the series displays copyrights from when the cartoons were originally printed in Life magazine, I am told this Detroit series was produced in 1907. It must have been early in the year since these are undivided back cards. This card is numbered 14,007.
I have several of these, all of which have ratty edges. I wonder if these cards came in a booklet or something, and had to be torn out to be used individually?
Labels: Wish You Were Here
Thursday, April 12, 2018
Obscurity of the Day: Iota
The editoonist team of Mike Keefe and Tim Menees had struck out with their first syndicated comic strip, Cooper, but less than a year later they were up at bat again.
Universal Press gave the guys a second chance with Iota. The new strip went in a very different direction than Cooper, which had attempted to target the school teacher demographic. Iota eschewed the formula of targeting a specific readership segment, and instead offered a broad comedy about the hapless governance of a small island nation. The idea certainly had potential -- it was a constant subject for movies (Woody Allen's Bananas, the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup), novels (The Mouse That Roared) and even comic strips (Popeye's adventures in Nazilia) -- but perhaps by 1987 it had been overdone. Whether Menees and Keefe brought anything new to the party is debatable, but the strip certainly didn't find a lot of receptive newspaper feature editors, and it disappeared before its first anniversay. Iota ran from November 23 1987 to September 10 1988.
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: George Marcoux
George Edward Marcoux was born on April 11, 1896, in Waterbury, Connecticut, according to his World War I and II draft cards.
In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Marcoux was the oldest of two sons born to John, a machinist, and Mary J. The family resided in Waterbury at 108 Maple Street.
Marcoux was joined by three sisters and a paternal grandmother (twice widowed) in the 1910 census. The Marcoux family were Waterbury residents at 124 Locust Street.
Marcoux signed his World War I draft card on June 5, 1917, and lived at 260 Walnut Street in Waterbury. He was employed at the Waterbury Clock Company. Marcoux was described as medium build and height with brown hair and eyes. The Herald Statesman (Yonkers, New York), April 15, 1946, said Marcoux “served with the 69th (Rainbow) Division and fought in nine battles in France.”
Marcoux has not yet been found in the 1920 census. The 1925 New York state census recorded Marcoux and two sisters, Evelyn and Florence, as lodgers in New York City at 365 West 116 Street. Marcoux and Evelyn were stenographers and Florence a saleslady.
Newspaper artist Marcoux and his wife Anna were Brooklynites in the 1930 census. They lived at 256 East 37 Street. Information about Marcoux’s art training has not been found.
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Marcoux assisted on Percy Crosby’s Skippy beginning in 1927 into the early 1930s. When cartoonist Harry Haenigsen’s took a month-long break, starting May 26, 1930, from his series, Marcoux, Joe Strauss and Al Smith filled in for him. Marcoux created Toddy which ran from 1934 to February 25, 1939. It was distributed by the McNaught Syndicate.
|Scranton Republican, Oct 27 1934|
A few years later freelance artist Marcoux moved to Yonkers, New York according to the 1940 census. He and his wife made their home at 197 Valentine Lane. Marcoux’s highest level of education was one year of high school.
From around 1910 to 1920, Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said Marcoux contributed gag cartoons to Collier’s, Life, Parent’s Magazine and the Waterbury Republican, and was an animator. In the 1940s, Marcoux also found work in the comic book industry, mainly with publisher Street & Smith. Marcoux is best known for his creation Supersnipe.
On April 26, 1942, self-employed cartoonist Marcoux signed his World War II draft card. His address was unchanged. Marcoux stood five feet six inches, weighed 150 pounds, had brown eyes and was bald.
Marcoux passed away April 14, 1946. The Herald Statesman said Marcoux
…died…of a heart attack in Naugatuck, Conn., where he had gone to visit his Summer home over the weekend.
Mr. Marcoux…was engaged in freelance commercial art work. He also voluntarily taught art in the United States Veterans’ Hospital on Kingsbridge Road, the Bronx, in therapy programs there.
For ten years Mr. Marcoux was creator of “Skippy,” another nationally syndicated comic strip.
…He was chaplain of Yonkers Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars, for the last three years and formerly of the Rainbow Division veterans in Westchester County, who make their headquarters in White Plains.Eight months later Marcoux’s brother passed away December 20, 1946 in Waterbury. The following day the Herald Statesman said John was a New York Evening World cartoonist and “Since 1931, when the New York Evening World went out of existence, Mr. Marcoux had been associated for about seven years with Percy Crosby, creator of ‘Skippy,’ and also had done free lance work.”
…Surviving besides his mother, are two sisters, Mrs. Daniel Gauvin, also of Ardsley, and the former Lillian Marcoux, wife of Dr. Neale Towne of Naugatuck, and one brother, John Bernard Marcoux of Waterbury.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Obscurity of the Day: Toddy
After a several year stint assisting Percy Crosby with his hugely popular Skippy comic strip, George Marcoux got the bright idea to create a somewhat similar 'kid' feature of his own. Marcoux's strip would straddle the thoughtful world of Skippy and the more rambunctious kid strips like Reg'lar Fellers, settling in somewhere pretty close to Edwina's Cap Stubbs and Tippie, gentle yet not cloying.
McNaught Syndicate, which had no kid strips on offer at the time, accepted Marcoux's strip. Why they didn't suggest a different name than Toddy is beyond me -- do you really want to name a kid strip after an alcoholic drink? I doubt that the name is what kept Toddy from being a bigger success, but it seldom helps to make features editors conflicted over your offering like that.
The earliest date I can find for Toddy's debut is on October 29 1934 (in the Scranton Republican), but the official start date could be a little earlier, since the strip made it into the 1934 E&P Syndicate Directory, issued in August. The strip evidently had enough clients to satisfy Marcoux and his syndicate, because it stuck around, and even gained a Sunday strip on August 1 1937.
Toddy's demise came on February 25 1939, and some subscribing papers ran the explanation that it was discontinued due to illness of the artist. Perhaps that's true, or maybe Marcoux had found the grass greener in the new comic book industry. Marcoux is known to have started producing original material for comic books as least as early as 1940. In 1942 he created the fan-favorite character Supersnipe, which would cement his place in the comic book history hall of fame.