Thursday, May 16, 2024

Dixon and White Fight A Draw

One of the few Homer Davenport sporting cartoons with vignettes I have found. Davenport was really the first popular Americana newspaper sporting cartoonist, before Swinnerton, Dorgan and all the rest. George Dixon was a Canadian pugilist. He was the first black world boxing champion in any weight class (the heavyweight champion title was strictly reserved for white men until the era of Jack Johnson), while also being the first ever Canadian-born boxing champion. Ring Magazine founder Nat Fleischer ranked Dixon as the #1 Featherweight of all-time. New York Journal, Sept 26, 1896


Friday, January 26, 2024


PRESS RELEASE                                                    OCT0BER 26TH 2024




Gaspard Fauteux, founding president of the Raoul-Barré Foundation and grandson of the Quebec multidisciplinary artist Raoul Barré, is proud to announce that in order to worthily celebrate the 150th birth anniversary (January 29, 1874) of the painter and pioneer of animated film, the Foundation will award an annual grant of $10,000 starting in the fall of 2024. The recurring grant aims to reward a project in order to support its development and completion.

The Foundation aims to be a development agent to encourage research and creation in the different artistic disciplines in which Barré has been interested throughout his career, particularly animated films and comic strips. This grant is in addition to assistance amounting to $4,000 per year over five years, for the holding of the” Sommets du cinéma d’animation,” an international festival dedicated to animation in all its forms. Under this agreement, the award for best Canadian student film is now known as the Raoul-Barré Prize.

Gaspard Fauteux founder of the Raoul Barré Foundation mentions 

“Otto Messmer, creator of Felix the Cat, remembers some of his prophecies which in 1914, fifteen years before the advent of sound and eight years before that of color, could only have passed for futuristic daydreams. "Barré once offered a big dinner to the animation filmmakers. It was the only time that all the animators from New York were together. Until then each studio remained in its own corner. At dessert they forced him to make a speech. Although cartoons were still in its very early stages. Barré predicted that they would soon speak and use sound effects. The entire audience burst into loud laughter. Everyone thought that he must have been completely crazy to imagine that. He even added that the cartoons would all be in color. And everyone still started laughing at this idea as if it were a crazy dream. all this was achieved relatively quickly.

John Harbour, Doctoral student in cinema at Laval University Member of the board of directors of the Raoul Barré Foundation mentions


“Raoul Barré can be a source of inspiration and, above all, motivation for Quebec filmmakers. Indeed, if being a French-speaking person in a predominantly English-speaking country can represent a difficulty and can sometimes be a source of discouragement, Barré showed (like Xavier Dolan or Monia Chokri in contemporary times) that it was possible to go as far as our dreams allow us and that imagination and talent are two notions that know no boundaries. »


Raoul Barré was born January 29th 1874 in Montreal. He led a career as a painter until the end of his days, some of his paintings being today kept in prestigious institutions. He made his debut in caricature and illustration in various Quebec newspapers in 1894. Also a cartoonist, he published “Pour un dinner de Noël” in La Presse (1902), the first Quebec comic strip published in a major newspaper, and the series Les contes by Father Rhault in La Patrie du Samedi (1906-1908). However, it is as a pioneer of American animated cinema that he is most recognized internationally today. Indeed, Barré settled in the United States in the early 1910s and founded one of the very first animation studios in the world in New York. There he directed and produced several animated short films from the series Animated Grouch Chasers (1915-1916), Phables (1916) and Mutt and Jeff (1916-1920). He briefly reappeared in the animated film industry around 1926-1927 to work at Pat Sullivan's studio on the Felix the Cat series. He died in 1932.


The Raoul-Barré Foundation's mission is to ensure the sustainability of the legacy of the artist Raoul Barré by contributing in particular to the development of knowledge about cinema, comics, painting and caricature. Painter, illustrator, filmmaker and cartoonist, Raoul Barré marked the beginning of the 20th century with his innovative ideas. The spirit of this versatile artist will thus be able to influence the young animation directors of tomorrow.

To learn more, visit

Media contacts:

For the Raoul-Barré Foundation

Gaspard Fauteux

Founder and President

Raoul-Barré Foundation


John Harbor

Member of the Board of Directors

1 (581) 307-3065

Friday, January 5, 2024

Hearst’s International –


Goldwyn Bray Releases, Walt Lantz, Feb 14, 1920

By John Adcock

“Into this period [1917] entered the International Feature Syndicate, formed by William Randolph Hearst. He placed Gregory La Cava in charge, who immediately set about improving the cartoons. He increased the number of drawings from the 2,000 of the average cartoon of the time to 3,500, resulting in smoother animation. Further, he changed the animation of the characters from the stiff, angular movements of the legs and arms to a smooth “rubbery” animation such as is used at present. La Cava also discontinued the “bubble” title for the conventional title of the silent days.” – ‘The History of the Animated Cartoon,’ Earl Theisen, International Projectionist, Vol.6 No.2, November 1933

Walt Lantz, 1924

In 1915 Walter Benjamin Lantz (April 27, 1899 - March 22, 1994) joined the staff of Hearst’s New York Sunday American as an office boy, sweeping floors, washing brushes and “rushing the beer cans” for the cartoonists. In 1917 he was taken under the wing of Gregory La Cava, director of Hearst’s animation studio, beginning at a $10 weekly salary. Animator Bert Green recalled the top salary at the time was $300 weekly).

International had been producing animated films since 1915 based on the best-selling comic strips from the Hearst papers. In Dec 1917 they announced the cartoons would be bigger and better, “as many pains will be taken with them as a five-reel feature – Katzenjammer Kids Features Ready.” Gregory La Cava (March 10, 1892 – March 1, 1952), who had previously worked with Raoul Barré and John R. Bray, would direct the department under the supervision of Edgar B. Hatrick.

Gregory La Cava, May 25, 1918

Lantz recalled to British comic historian Denis Gifford in 1972: “The characters moved very swiftly. We animated them like human beings, from the joints. They had elbows and knees. Then Gregory La Cava had an idea. He conceived what we came to call hose-pipe animation. He eliminated elbows and knees. Arms and legs became rubber tubes, they were flexible, they flowed. If Happy Hooligan wanted to reach across and pick up a pie his body would stay put and his arm would stretch out like elastic!” – ‘Woody Woodpecker’s La-ha-ha-hah-antz,’ Denis Gifford, Arts Guardian, July 4, 1972

Beginning in 1917, the International Syndicate released such cartoons in series as Jerry on the Job, drawn by Walt Lantz; Katzenjammer Kids, by John Foster; Tad’s Indoor Sports, drawn by Bill Nolan and released at the end of the International Newsreel. Happy Hooligan, drawn by Jack King; Bringing Up Father, by Bert Green; Krazy Kat, drawn also by Bill Nolan and Leon Searle; and the best of the Internationals, Silk Hat Harry, were the principal cartoons released at this time by that company. This last named was drawn by Walter Lantz and La Cava and was first released in 1918.” – ‘The History of the Animated Cartoon,’ Earl Theisen, 1933

Tad Dorgan's Judge Rummy Joins the Stars of the Screen (with Silk Hat Harry,), Film Fun, January 1919. Art work probably by Walter Lantz.

“I started ‘Judge Rummy,’ ‘Bunk,’ and the other dogs during the trial of Harry Thaw; they sort of ‘kidded’ the case and became popular. I have been drawing these characters ever since. The 'Indoor Sports’ I thought of about seven years ago (1912), when I was confined to my home with rheumatism. I thought what a lovely indoor sport it was, this sitting around the house looking llke the wreck of the Hesperus. Other Indoor sports suggested themselves and this series has been going on ever since… I might add that It was Judge Rummy who first called the Ford car a “flivver.” – TAD Dorgan, ‘Are Cartoonists Doleful?,’ The Sun, May 25, 1919

It was reported in the Boston Sunday Post in 1929 that Dorgan’s “Indoor Sports” was syndicated to 20,000,000 readers daily. His salary was well over six figures yearly…

Tad Dorgan's Judge Rummy and Silk Hat Harry on the left of the page, FB Opper's Happy Hooligan on the right, Educational Films Corp., NY, Motion Picture News, August 9, 1919 (signed Walt Lantz)

On Feb 22, 1919, Educational Films Corporation announced it would be distributing all Hearst cartoons world-wide. EFC had been distributing Internationals animated cartoons before the outbreak of the Spanish influenza but “when the situation reached a critical stage the Educational ceased releasing these cartoons, and subsequently the International Film Service Inc., stopped making them.” This was followed by an announcement on October 21, 1919, that Bray Pictures Corporation had secured production of all Hearst cartoons. The cartoons would be released through Goldwyn and included Judge Rumhauser, Happy Hooligan, Krazy Kat, Jerry on the Job, and the former Katzenjammer Kids renamed Shenanigan Kids.

John R. Bray was the son of a Methodist minister. He worked as a cartoonist on the Detroit News before moving to New York. He was hoping for a job on Life or Judge but ended up in the art department of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (1911) where he worked alongside Max Fleischer and Earl Hurd. He had one successful Sunday strip called the Teddy Bears and a Little Nemo inspired comic, Mr. Scrapple of Philadelphia, also know as Mr. Sleeper. His first animated cartoon, The Artist’s Dream was announced June 12, 1913, followed by a widely popular series beginning with Colonel Heeza Liar in Africa, in Dec 1913. In 1928 Bray released Dinky Doodle and his Wonderful Lamp, animated by Walter Lantz. It was said to be the first of the “combination films,” where the actor (Walter Lantz) appeared on film simultaneously with the animated character of Dinky Doodle.

Col. Heeza Liar, 1919

By the end of the teens Hearst’s International Film Service was out of the animation business. Bray closed shop in 1929 leaving the field to Walt Disney, Paul Terry, Max Fleischer, and Pat Sullivan. Sound and color brought new vistas to the screen, and new techniques. Animation evolved from crude “moving comic strips” to fully realized worlds of fluid motion giving the illusion of life.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

BEFORE THE CARTOON 2: Comic cuts and conversational captions

 by John Adcock

Masthead: The Penny Satirist No 1, April 22, 1837

I wish we had an agent in Dundee; he might sell five or six hundred (Penny Satirist) in a week. We have fellows who clear 10s. a day by selling them in the street, but the brutes go idle the rest of the week. — James Elishama “Shepherd” Smith, 1801-1857

Penny Satirist, April 29, 1837

The Penny Satirist, which called itself “a weekly satirical newspaper” featured the first sustained use of front-page political cartoons in London. The first number of the Penny Satirist arrived in the streets of London on April 22, 1837. That title came to an end on April 25, 1843, and the paper was continued as the London Pioneer. Benjamin Cousins was the printer. 

William Rayner writing in Notes & Queries, June 15, 1872, identified the editor as Barnard Gregory, notorious proprietor of the blackmailing periodical The Satirist. He was mistaken. The founder and editor of the Penny Satirist was James Elishama Smith (1801-1857), known as “Shepherd” Smith after his periodical the Shepherd. For many years he was editor of the popular Family Herald story paper. Mr. Newton Crosland wrote, presumably to W.A. Smith on 17th April 17, 1892: —

‘I cannot tell you much about the Penny Satirist, and I do not imagine that the authorities would find room in the museum for such a publication. Of course, fifty-four years ago a penny paper was a much rougher article than what we should expect to get for the same money nowadays. The Penny Satirist was one sheet (4 pages), the size of an ordinary newspaper; but it was not a newspaper in the ordinary acceptation of the term, as it was exempt from the newspaper stamp, and it did not live on advertisements. The type was worn, the paper common, the woodcuts coarse, and its whole appearance vulgar and disreputable from an artistic point of view; but under Mr. Smith's superintendence nothing was allowed to appear in its columns of a demoralizing character. He managed to make its contents respectable.’ “Shepherd” Smith the Universalist [p.168]

And on November 3, 1837, a letter from James E. Smith to his elder brother John —

The Penny Satirist has been above 40,000 a week, but several scamps have tried to put us down—some by stealing our name, and others by a rival publication and underselling. We have been obliged to lower our prices to put the latter down, otherwise it would be a fine property. It has a fine circulation and is read by all classes.

I was told by a gentleman, who is intimate with some of the foreign embassies, that in dining at Buckingham Palace this ambassador said he saw the Countess of Leiningen, the Queen's sister-in-law, with the Penny Satirist in her hand. This same gentleman sends regularly a copy to the Duchess of Somerset, and this morning the gentleman who machines the paper —a large printer in London, who is worth considerable property —told me that, in calling on a barrister of good practice in town, he saw the Penny Satirist, with other papers, lying on his drawing-room table. The circulation of the paper, therefore, is not confined to the poor, although they are our best patrons. We have every reason to believe that the Queen herself has frequently read it.’ — “Shepherd” Smith the Universalist [p.168]

The Penny Satirist was not the first periodical resembling a newspaper to make use of comic woodcuts. The earliest publications containing comic cuts I have found listed was The Original Comic Magazine: No. 1, With Seven Cuts which cost 6d and was published by another radical pressman, J. Duncombe in 1832. The famous penny blood publisher Edward Lloyd published a penny paper called The Weekly Penny Comic Magazine; or, Repertory of Wit and Humour, edited by Thomas Prest and featuring the cuts of the prolific C. J. Grant, also in 1832. Unfortunately, I have never personally examined either of these publications, they exist today only as advertisements in the Poor Man’s Guardian and other radical newspapers.

Robert Cruikshank, The Satirist, Jan 11, 1835

The Satirist; or, Censor of The Times (HERE) ran from 10 April, 1831 to 15 December 1849. Barnard Gregory and Hewson Clarke were the main contributors. Robert Cruikshank, brother of George Cruikshank and engraver G. Armstrong contributed a political cartoon series called ‘Our Portrait Gallery’ beginning January 4, 1835, which continued for approximately one year. Gregory was the registered proprietor, printer and publisher at no. 334, strand, Middlesex.

‘Our Portrait Gallery’ were comic cuts with long rhyming text under the engravings, following the form of the early comicalities in Bell’s Life in London. The Penny Satirist was different, they placed conversational captions under the cuts. They anticipated the cartoon “socials” of Punch, Judy, and similar comic journals of a later time. The style was carried on by the Odd Fellow (HERE), a weekly satirical newspaper which lasted from Jan 5, 1839, to Dec 10, 1842. The Odd Fellow publisher was Henry Hetherington, a radical pressman famous for his Poor Man’s Guardian.

Cleave’s London Satirist & Gazette of Variety began on Oct 14, 1837, changed to Cleave’s Penny Gazette of Variety then Cleave’s Gazette of Variety ending Jan 1844. The proprietor of the unstamped paper was John Cleave, wholesale bookseller and newsagent situated in Shoe Lane. Patricia Hollis in The Pauper Press (1970) wrote that at “the beginning of 1836 Cleave’s Gazette was thought to have a circulation of 40,000.”

The leading caricaturist, and possibly the inventor of the caption style that replaced rhymes, was Charles Jameson Grant. Mathew Crowther wrote on Yesterday’s Papers on Feb 28, 2011 (HERE), that

From 1837 onwards most of Grant’s output was confined to the pages of the Penny Satirist and Cleave’s London Satirist & Gazette of Variety. Interestingly Grant and Cleave also launched a separate, short-lived, broadsheet called Cleave’s Gallery of Grant's Comicalities which doesn't seem to have run to more than a few editions in 1837 and which focused on whimsical social humour rather than politics.

CJG was the most conspicuous signature to appear on cartoons in both the Penny Satirist and Cleave’s. Indeed, very few other names appear on the cuts except for Hine. It seems very likely, given his prolific contributions to the unstamped penny press that CJ Grant was the innovator of the caption style commentary running under comic cuts in the radical London Press which would carry on well into the twentieth century in London and the United States. Even Hearst’s Journal comic supplements featured caption comics on Sunday amid the works utilizing balloons or dumb show. It could also very well be that captions were imported from continental Europe and its newspaper and periodical equivalent to the penny press.

The captions in the Penny Satirist at first could run to long length and it was the unknown caricaturists of the Odd Fellow who shortened the form to bite-sized portions of text, more often “social” than political humor, rather like the gag cartoons and single-panel dailies of the twentieth century. It was the style of the Odd Fellow cuts that would prove most adaptable to the pages of the comic journals (including Punch) and newspapers of the unforeseeable future.

‘Shepherd’ Smith the Universalist the story of a mind being a life of The Rev. James E. Smith, M.A., William Anderson Smith, London: Sampson Low, Marston, 1892

Read Part I – London to Glasgow and back again: BEFORE THE CARTOON (HERE)

Yesterday's Papers. Today's Views. by Huib van Opstal (HERE)

One Hundred Comicalities (HERE)

Thursday, December 7, 2023

The Great Horse Hoax –


‘The First Reader’, by Harry Hansen, The Pittsburgh Press, August 13, 1943

Horseplay doesn’t get much attention in this soberly serious town nowadays. Practical jokes are considered amateurish and foolish antics, symptoms of a fading mentality. A man can’t stand on his head in front of the Public Library without giving his wife grounds for divorce. Obviously, we have grown up, but the crazy cavorting of the old days must have been fun for spectators.

Leo Carillo, Variety 20, 1910

I don’t doubt that one of the liveliest of hoaxes was that of the horse lost in the subway, which Harry J. Coleman, the veteran newspaper photographer, describes in his rambling and rattlety-bang reminiscences, “Give Us a Little Smile, Baby.” This happened in 1903, a long time ago, surely, but as important to some people as Washington’s farewell in Fraunce’s Tavern and the Big Blizzard that tied up the Long Island Railroad. The horse, as Harry Coleman describes it, was the invention of a vaudeville comedian named Leo Carillo, who could imitate the call of a wild stallion on the lone prairie, hitherto unheard in the New York subway.

Leo Carillo, Variety 18, 1910

You have to take into consideration two elements now missing: the practice of making the rounds of “the better bars,” which was being built and there was Harry Coleman and the two cartoonists – TAD and George Herriman, and the fact that the subway was just being built and there was every likelihood that a horse might fall into it. TAD and his pals put on an act at a subway tunnel and Carillo bellowed and neighed, and soon a crowd collected. “The police reserves arrived with ropes, ladders, and sappers.” Shovel bearers arrived from the white wings. The fire department arrived with ladders. It was early dawn and there were plenty of alcoholic celebrants afloat. Carillo sped up and down the subway whinnying and neighing.

Its one of those stories that gains in the telling, and at the end Coleman says the scene was “an inextricable mass of fire department equipment, police squads, milkmen, and drunks, all engaged in the largest horse hunt in history and the most frustrated.

I am not one to deny that it happened. I wasn’t there. Moreover, Coleman is yarning about the exploits of the past, and that’s good even in these days, when drinks come high. In that day, long ago, when “drug stores sold drugs,” TAD (He was the late Thomas A. Dorgan) was quite a joker.


Monday, December 4, 2023

Cartoonist Quotes –


"TAD" [1877-1929]

Silk Hat Harry's Divorce SuitJuly 3, 1913

“I started ‘Judge Rummy,’ ‘Bunk,’ and the other dogs during the trial of Harry Thaw; they sort of ‘kidded’ the case and became popular. I have been drawing these characters ever since. The 'Indoor Sports’ I thought of about seven years ago (1912), when I was confined to my home with rheumatism. I thought what a lovely indoor sport it was, this sitting around the house looking llke the wreck of the Hesperus. Other indoor sports suggested themselves and this series has been going on ever since… I might add that It was Judge Rummy who first called the Ford car a “flivver.” – TAD Dorgan, ‘Are Cartoonists Doleful?,’ The Sun, May 25, 1919

It was reported in the Boston Sunday Post in 1929 that Dorgan’s “Indoor Sports” was syndicated to 20,000,000 readers daily. His salary was well over six figures yearly…

Friday, December 1, 2023

Cartoonist Quotes –


"It is easier to make a good picture than a bad one. If the picture is good you feel that it is good and sail clear through it. If it’s bad it’s torture to grind it out.
If you look back ten years (1916) at any comic strip that has been running right along to the present time, you will find that the characters have changed in appearance. Characters change without consent of the cartoonist at all. They get away from you. The changes are so gradual half the time the cartoonist is not conscious of them.

Most people say they are astonished at the developments in the comic art field during the past ten years. I’m not astonished. They are perfectly natural developments and I expected them.

There’s a lot of artistic talk going around these days. I make no pretensions of being an artist. I just do my own work in my own way." ‘Jerry on the Job’ Is Widely Popular, (Alexander Somalian in The Fourth Estate), Binghamton NY Press, August 6, 1926

[Motion Picture Herald, May 5, 1934]

Friday, November 3, 2023

The Sporting Page –

Sid Smith sporting cartoon, Oct 15, 1909. Nearly every major cartoonist drew sporting cartoons at one time or another: Billy DeBeck, Bud Fisher, Geo. Herriman, Harry Hershfield, and Sid Smith for the Chicago Examiner (Buck Nix appearance on the right).


Monday, October 16, 2023



by Bill Leach

This card back image comes from the rare German children’s book “ALLY SLOPER AND THE PAINT POT”.

As an avid collector of Ally Sloper art and objects, I had been trying to find a set of the unsanctioned SLOPER FAMILY playing cards.  I had only seen two sets in all my years of collecting.  The first set was on another collector’s web page and was NOT for sale…but he was kind enough to send me scans of his set.

This is the complete set of SLOPER FAMILY cards featuring all four ethnic suits.  There are 48 cards in the deck.  Another set of four cards and two Jokers were added in order to create a contemporary set of cards.

Then years later a set popped up on EBAY.  I placed my bid and won the set for a reasonable price.  I paid for the purchase and a day later the seller wrote me stating that he had cancelled my bid, refunded my money and that they were no longer available.  Well, we all know what that means….the seller was offered a better price from another person….so he sold the cards (and his personal integrity) to another person. By cancelling my bid it took away my ability to leave a negative feedback.  I guess people without any integrity know how to work the system.  Well, I was very disappointed, but what can you do?  You can’t force a person to be honest even when they are contractually and morally obligated to do the right thing.  So I had to live with the fact that I had lost out on the set of cards that I had so dearly wanted to add to my collection. 

I looked at the scans the other collector sent me and wondered if he would be willing to send me better scans, so I could print them out.  He responded and let me know that he could not scan them again as he had since matted and framed the set.  Then he followed up by letting me know that he had decided to sell them and they were at an auction house in the UK.  So I signed up for the auction and waited.  I was a bit concerned, in addition to the auction house fees, there were VAT taxes and a very high price to pack and send the large framed piece to the US.  But I was willing to pay the price and waited patiently for the day of the auction.  There is an 8 hour difference between the US and the UK, so I waited until the wee hours of the morning and signed into the live auction being streamed over my computer.  I watched lot after lot go by, waiting for my chance to bid on the SLOPER FAMILY card set.  Finally it was time.  I was set to go.  The lots were flying through at a rapid pace and it was my turn to bid.  I clicked on the BID button…nothing happened…clicked and clicked again, until  I heard the auctioneer state that the lot had closed, with me sitting frustrated at my computer, never even getting a single bid through to the auction house.  The set sold for a fair price…a bit more than I had paid through EBAY, and I was devastated.  I complained to my wife and told her what had happened.  She was sympathetic but after a few hours of my moaning and complaining she had had enough and told me to put on my “big boy pants” and get over it.  Well, the nerve of some people!!!

The SLOPER FAMILY card set hammered out at 220 pounds even without my bid!

But she was right, I was wasting time and energy on something that was out of my control….I could no more change my fate at the auction house, than I could change the lack of moral compass of the EBAY seller who refunded my legitimate purchase, so he could sell it to out from under me.  What to do…WHAT TO DO?!!!

I decided if I could not add a set of these turn of the century cards to my collection I would print up a set from the scans the first collector sent me.  But the scan quality was poor and the cards were not in the best of shape.  I consulted with a few friends that were very computer literate in the digital arts.  They gave me a lot of advice and I was able to carefully clean, repair and recolor each card, making them look better than new.  I enhanced the color and pixel by pixel corrected the misprinted and misaligned areas.  I also changed the numbers and suits so the cards could be used in contemporary gaming.

Each card was carefully repaired.  The text was replaced and any misaligned printing was corrected.  The background color was replaced and figural colors were enhanced.

But now I had to create some extra cards, as it was one set of cards shy of a modern deck, and there were no Jokers.  I also needed an image for the back of the cards.  I took a wonderful image from a very rare German book “Ally Sloper and the Paint Pot” and used it for the card backs.  But what could I do about the other two cards?  I had a set of “TRIPLEM” cards.  This game has each character divided into three parts, and the game is to reconstruct the characters to win.  I took the three cards with Ally Sloper’s image and scanned them as one.  After carefully cleaning and repairing the cards, I had one solid image to use for the ACE.  I used this same image on all four suits…or “families”.  As for the Joker, I used another three cards from the TRIPLEM deck…I used Mr. Punch, from the PUNCH comic newspaper.  Now I realize that Mr. Punch was NOT part of the Sloper Family, but he IS the Joker and is dressed as such, so I cleaned him up and used him with good justification.  There is a connection of this character to Sloper.  Ally Sloper was first published in the pages of JUDY, a comic newspaper in 1867.  JUDY was the rival paper of the long standing PUNCH newspaper (referencing the old Punch and Judy puppet show characters).  While they were two separate entities, they did go hand in hand….like peanut butter and jelly.  So using Mr. Punch as the Joker just seemed like a good fit. 

The TRIPLEM card game features each character broken up into three parts.  The object is to build complete characters.

The TRIPLEM decks’ ALLY SLOPER and MR. PUNCH before being digitally assembled.

ALLY SLOPER and MR. PUNCH after being reassembled.

The SLOPER FAMILY card set is very ethnic, some might call it racist.  But it was a product of the 1890s and was created and sold without permission.  There were four suits, but instead of hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades, the creator used ethnic families:  ENGLISH, CHINESE, EGYPTIAN and AFRICAN.  Each card represented a person in the Sloper Family and their personas and names changed with the varied ethnicities.  Today’s gaming companies would never be so bold as to use these various ethnic personalities, but in the 1890s, it must have been fair game. 





It took me over an hour to repair each card, but in the end I had a nice digital card set.  Initially I was going to print up one set at the local print shop on one of their nice printers/copiers.  But they could not run card stock through the machine.  So I decided to have them professionally printed by an online gaming company.  I was shocked when I found out how much it would cost for one set of cards.  In the end I decided to print two dozen sets, which brought the price down quite a bit.  So I got the set for my collection and a case of card sets to sell to my collector friends.  Then I realized, I don’t have ANY collector friends that collect Ally Sloper.  This situation is a double-edged sword; on one hand, I don’t have any competition when collecting Sloper material, at least not from US collectors.  But I also don’t have any friends that I can brag to about my Sloper treasures, nor do I have any friends with Sloper material that I can buy, sell or trade with.  They say no man is an island, but I am a man all alone on the Sloper Sandbar. 

This partial set of THE SLOPER FAMILY CARDS were printed much smaller. The deck featured four each of only the ENGLISH suit printed with black ink. The print quality was very poor.

There was also another unsanctioned set of THE SLOPER FAMILY GAME.  The set used the same imagery but was printed in black and white and eliminated the ethnic cards by using four each of the “ENGLISH” suits.  This set was smaller and very poorly printed. 

How did I become such an obsessed SLOPERIAN COLLECTOR?  It all goes back to the early eighties.  A crazy collector friend of mine named Ronald Graham called me up and said, “Bill, you have to buy this book….I don’t have the money, but you need to get this book.  It is a really rare bound volume of Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday”.  He gave me a phone number and I called it.  The book was about $65.00 and contained a years’ worth of weekly comic newspapers from 1898 featuring the title character ALLY SLOPER on the cover and throughout.  What Ronald Graham did not know, and what caused me to take his advice was that my Mother’s maiden name was Sloper and my Sloper lineage goes all the way back to the 1500’s in England, Scotland and Ireland.  So when the book arrived, I shared it with my Mother and we both got a kick out of it.  So much that I decided to try and collect MORE Sloper art and objects.  This is a bit harder to do than I thought.  Most Sloper items I have found are not in the US and dealing with auction houses and postage can be an expensive proposition.  But over the last forty years, and a big thanks to the internet, I have been able to amass the largest collection of Sloper original art and merchandise in the world.   I challenge anyone to prove me wrong.

The SLOPER FAMILY burial plot in Northern California now includes Bill Leach's parents, James H. Leach and Shirley Mae Leach formerly Shirley Mae Sloper.

My parents have since passed and are buried in the Sloper Family plot in Northern California.  I will be there someday….but not today.  Today I share my newly printed SLOPER FAMILY CARD SET with all of you.  Cheers! 

Bill Leach poses with his newly printed SLOPER FAMILY cards in front of an original 1899 illustration from ALLY SLOPER'S CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY.

I had to print 24 sets to make them affordable.  If anyone would like to obtain a set of these cards….please contact me, Bill Leach at:  I only have a small number of these sets left and doubt I will have any more printed.  I am asking $25.00 plus shipping per deck.