Monday, July 18, 2016

EXTRA! Hearst’s Yellow Kid Art Trampled – Outcault Furious


 ORIGINAL!   New York Journal, Sunday, October 18, 1896. 

 TRACED!   The Denver Evening Post, Friday, October 23, 1896.

W.R. HEARST & R.F. OUTCAULT. The Historic, Glorious, Grand and Colorful move the Yellow Kid made from Pulitzer’s The World to Hearst’s New York Journal on Sunday, 18 October 1896 had a peculiar follow-up, five days later, in The Denver Evening Post, which published a badly traced black-and-white version of the first Hearst page. No further details known. But had Outcault known he would have been furious. The Kid even misses a foot. Click and compare!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

DAILY MIRROR comic strip series index — Now Available in 2016 Update

by John Adcock

 P  UBLISHED here in February 2015, the Daily Mirror comic strip series index compiled and researched by Leonardo De Sá has presently been brought up-to-date through mid 2016. It now includes an entry on the appearance of Tiger Tim (even if it wasn’t a series in the Daily Illustrated Mirror it became one afterwards), a new entry on the Disney Mirror supplement, information about the demise of Roger Kettle’s western comic strip Horace, and several other bits of miscellaneous data Leonardo was able to uncover. The illustrations used in this post are of poor quality but useful enough for reference purposes.

comic strip series index

[1904] Mrs. Hippo’s Kindergarten, April 16, by Julius Stafford Baker.

   One of the longest-running characters in children’s fiction, Tiger Tim was originally created by Julius Stafford Baker for the Daily Mirror in a one-shot called Mrs. Hippo’s Kindergarten in 1904. Baker was known for his large slum kids panel Casey Court — similar to Outcault’s Yellow Kid cartoons — in Chips (1902). Tiger Tim ended in 1985 in Jack and Jill.

[1903] Jumbo and Rhino, Sep 1, Montreal Standard, by Mabel F. Taylor?
   An unidentified British strip, a one-shot titled Jumbo and Rhino Get Into Trouble appeared September 12, 1903 in the Canadian Montreal Standard newspaper. It could even be a Jungle Jinks since the third panel has a newspaper labeled Jungle Times. The signature looks like ‘MT’ — is it by Mabel F. Taylor perhaps?

[1899] Jungle Jinks, New Zealand Daily Graphic, Dec 30, possibly by Arthur White.
   The earliest known British nursery comic was Jungle Jinks which started October 29, 1898, in a ladies’ magazine called Home Chat. Those were, according to historian Denis Gifford, the first anthropomorphic animals in British comics. Also according to Gifford, the first artist was Arthur White, quickly replaced by Mabel F. Taylor who drew it until her death in 1950, sometimes replaced by her sister, Edith M. Taylor. Another Jungle Jinks tit-bit was the following, found in an Australian Newspaper,

Field Fisher, the comedian in “The Girl in the Taxi,” for years worked on some of the leading publications in London as a black-and-white artist. For five years he was associated with the Harmsworth publications, a good deal of his work going, into the weekly and monthly papers published by that company. His animal drawings for children, under the title of “Jungle Jinks,” made a big name for him. He has also done some color work, a number of the cover designs of the “London Magazine” having been painted by him. His designs in the form of theatrical posters figure prominently on the London hoardings. — Adelaide (SA) Daily Herald, Nov 13, 1914

   Our full Daily Mirror comic strip series index 1904-2016 HERE.

   Source of top detail, Tiger Tim’s Weekly, March 27, 1926, see the full cover signed ‘HTF’ HERE.

   Meanwhile, any additional information is welcomed, especially missing names of WRITERS and ARTISTS, gathered in our DAILY MIRROR comic strip series index.

Friday, July 1, 2016

TAD Dorgan and the Origin of the Hot Dog

[1919] Full-page Hearst News advert in Moving Picture World, Feb 22 

“We take him to a dago joint down on the east side and let him eat a lot of ravioli and listen to the wops. He always got a kick out of that… then we take him up to the McAlpin and set him up in a window on the top floor where he can look straight up Broadway. He just sits there and looks at the lights and traffic and talks about the old mob up at Jack’s café.” — Ike Dorgan about his brother’s last days, to Westbrook Pegler in ‘Death Claims Tad Dorgan, Phrase Maker’ in the Chicago Tribune, May 3, 1929

[1939] Philadelphia Inquirer,  June 17
[1919] The Moving Picture World, Feb 8, with photograph of ‘famous “TAD”’ (1877-1929).  Movie houses showed TAD cartoons in weekly newsreels from Hearst News.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Short Conversation with Cartoonist Ron Ferdinand (Dennis the Menace)

“Any smart person who is making humor his profession is out of his mind if he doesn’t depend on good assistants. I can sleep at night without torturing myself.” — Hank Ketcham, May 24, 1999       
by John Adcock

HANK KETCHAM saw his first Dennis comic strip appear in newspapers on March 12, 1951, a series still extant 65 years on. Today Marcus Hamilton draws the dailies and Ron Ferdinand the Sundays. What follows is a short conversation I recently had with affable cartoonist Ron Ferdinand, born in Manhattan in 1951, about his background.

Q. First, could you tell me a little about your background before Dennis? Did you have an education in visual arts or any previous employment in the cartooning field?
I attended the School of Visual Arts in the early 70s. Before that, I went to Catholic elementary school and High School where there were ZERO art classes. After SVA, I did a year at The Art Students League studying anatomy with Gustav Rehberger.
Q. Tell me how and when you became an assistant to Hank Ketcham and — if you recall the name — who was the assistant you were replacing? Was Marcus Hamilton already employed in the writing of Dennis the Menace? Did you assist on dailies and Sundays? Who writes the daily and Sunday these days, Marcus Hamilton still?
In 1980, I read an interview with Hank in CARTOONIST PROfiles where he mentioned that he was looking for a couple of assistants to help produce DENNIS. I sent him a few sketches of the characters, which he liked enough to start a correspondence for a few months where he sent me a few gags to rough out and ink. He then flew me out to Monterey (I lived in Queens) for two weeks after which he offered me a job. I worked on the MARVEL comic for a year with two other folks (Karen Matchette and Brian Lum). Bob Bugg was doing the Sundays in Connecticut. Hank had invested in a studio and asked Bob to relocate. Bob was well established in Connecticut with grandchildren nearby and didn’t want to move to California. Hank then put Karen Matchette and myself on the Sundays after he decided to discontinue the comic. Marcus didn’t come on board until ’94 as an artist. You may be thinking of Fred Toole, who was Hank’s writer on the comic books.
Q. When Hank Ketcham (1920-2001) retired in 1994 he gave an interview to a newspaper saying that, although he drew the strip, he hired comedy writers for ideas, ‘otherwise, you settle for mediocrity — or you burn yourself out…’ This may have been in part a reference to Fred Toole. Did all of Ketcham’s assistants submit gags for approval or were they solicited from outside sources?
Hank’s writers were outside sources. He did want the artists to be good editors and sometimes had us pick some gags and defend our choices.
Q. You started employment with Hank in 1980. How long did it take before you began to see your inks in print?
Actually, I started in September ’81. I came in on Marvel comic #5 or #6. There were 12 in all. I started on the Sundays in ’82. This was when, as I said, Bob Bugg had decided not to relocate to California. My first Sundays probably appeared in early ’83. I’m not too sure, but Bob had been several months ahead. Hank would give me a daily to do every now and then but he had designated me as a Sunday artist. There was also a bit of merchandising work going on which we helped on.
Q. When I was a kid, all of the Canadian newspapers carried a colored comic section on Saturdays — today there are none that I’m aware of. Sunday comics these days appear to have more of a presence on the web. Do you find yourself spending much more time promoting Dennis through social media and personal appearances?
Well, where I live, in upstate New York, the Sunday Dennis is available in three local papers. I recently did a presentation to a 3rd grade class, most of whom probably weren’t familiar with Dennis. The week before I spoke, the teacher prepped the class with YouTube vids of the Dennis cartoons, comic books and newspaper clippings of the Sundays. By the time I got there, the kids were so pumped for Dennis they were jumping out of their seats. I surmise from this that, given even a minimum amount of exposure, he could hold his own against most of today’s competition. There’s such a wealth of Dennis history in all mediums that, when it comes down to it, Dennis the Menace really has few equals.
Dennis the Menace daily and Sunday strips HERE.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Induction of the Sycophant

by John Adcock

“We are getting to the roots of one of the contributing causes of juvenile delinquency when we study the influence of comic books. You cannot understand present-day juvenile delinquency if you do not take into account the pathogenic and pathoplastic influence of the comic books.” — Dr. Frederick Wertham, M.D., speaking at 1948 symposium on The Psychopathology of Comic Books

THE SCENE is set in the early 1950s, Cold War America, where a virus is spreading across the country infecting the nation’s children with sexual perversion, suicidal epidemics and murderous impulses. Dr. Wertham, children’s psychiatrist, “fueled with a youthful vigor that bordered on constant rage,” takes a wrecking ball to the comic book industry, laying waste to the livelihood of greedy publishers and hapless cartoonists alike. This might seem like a familiar story to fans of comic books but East Village author Tiger Moody posits an alternate history of the well-worn tale with savage black humor and a brutal disregard for the tender feelings of the reader. Shock follows explosive shock in a merciless rendering of events shot through with tenderness and horror.

Dr. Wertham painted by Moody.
THE NOVEL is a short one so I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, suffice to say the politically incorrect characters include: overworked hero Jack Coal, cartoonist-creator of Elastic Man, who is suffering testicular problems from fears of job redundancy; his stuttering pal Bert Meskin; shop-boss Will Meiser; a flashy up and comer, Wallace Good, accompanied by an ever-present guitar; Millard Gaines, a rye and Benzedrine-besotted publisher; and Zach Kirby, a hack who dreams of doing headier stuff; names which will ring a bell with anyone at all knowledgeable of US funny book history.

On a personal note, by the time I reached the third page I had a smile on my face which never left me until I had reached the last page of Induction of the Sycophant. In between I was seized by eruptions of groans, raised eyebrows, snickers, involuntary guffaws and uncontrollable laughter. The fact the book has been only sporadically reviewed in the media seems nothing short of criminal.

AUTHOR Tiger Moody was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and raised in Trenton New Jersey. He has worked as a fry cook, tattoo artist, bouncer, zine artist and janitor. His previous book was Heart of Brass, published by United Crud in 2015. Moody also wrote the introduction to I Fought the Law: The Life and Strange Death of Bobby Fuller, also from Kicks Books, 2015.

Moody personally describes his pulp novel Sycophant of the Innocent as a “little love-letter to despair, Benzedrine and horseflies.”  Moody himself painted both the portrait of Dr. Wertham gracing the back cover and the front cover illustration. The little boy on the cover is Lester, a character in the book, with a skull ring for a crown. The interior is illustrated with 46 chapter header panels from public domain comics.

Induction of the Sycophant by Tiger Moody, Foreward by Lenny Kaye, 254 pp., Kicks Books, NY, 2015. Available from Amazon or HERE.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Mell Lazarus (1927-2016)

Mell Lazarus, cartoonist, writer and creator of the syndicated comic strips Momma and Miss Peach, died Tuesday morning, May 24, 2016 in Southern California. He turned eighty-nine earlier this month. Miss Peach was begun February 4, 1957 and ended in 2002. Momma was begun October 26, 1970 and is ongoing.

The National Cartoonists Society pays tribute HERE.

Washington Post HERE.

New York Times HERE.

Mell Lazarus cartooning legend HERE.

Addio a Mell Lazarus HERE.

Mark Evanier HERE.

R.C. Harvey HERE.

Tom Richmond HERE.

Comics Reporter HERE.

The Beat HERE.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

‘Now Listen Mabel’ — by Herriman

“I still think that George is one of the best sporting artists in the world, and can’t understand why he doesn’t do that sort of thing.” Tad Dorgan, in a letter to Tom McNamara, ca. 1924   

GEORGE HERRIMAN’s comic strip Now Listen Mabel began in January 1919 and ran until December 1919. These samples are likely from a second circulation and all were published in the month of January 1920. Pretty Mabel Millarky was wooed by Jimmie Doozinberry who had a rival large number of suitors including Doodal McDoodil and the entire small town police and fire departments.

Mabel and George Herriman
Herriman’s childhood sweetheart was Mabel Bridge, who he married in 1902, just after he had relocated from Los Angeles to New York. One of his daughters was also named Mabel and was known as “Toodles” or “Toots.”

[16] Los Angeles Evening Herald, Sep 30, 1912
[18] [1930s] Toodles or Toots. Photo of daughter Mabel in a beach dance with father George Herriman.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Bugs, Art & Sorrow

[1] Cover by Tim Eckhorst
TIM ECKHORST studied communication design and editorial design at the Muthesius Kunsthochschule Kiel. He is a graphic designer in Kiel and Blumenthal. In 2012 he published a biography of Rudolph Dirks. He now has prepared a biography of Rudolph’s brother, Gus Dirks, who drew the comic strip Bugville Life, and died very young. The biography is titled Gus Dirks; Käfer, Kunst & Kummer — which translates into Gus Dirks — Bugs, Art & Sorrow. It will be released by Ch. A. Bachmann Verlag.  

[2] Gus Dirks; Käfer, Kunst & Kummer
TRIBUTE COMICS. In addition, Eckhorst has started a Gus Dirks tribute comic. Comic-artists from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands drew their homage to Gus Dirks and his creations. The result is the comic book Pure Fruit #11; Gus Dirks Remixed. A book of which 10,000 copies were printed, and those will be distributed for free in German comic book shops. All made possible because the publication contains some ads. 
[3] Bugville comic by Jens Rassmus 
The comic-book will also be published online on May 14th. It can be found HERE. A comic-release-event will be held in Heide (Schleswig-Holstein), the small German town where the Dirks brothers were born, next week.

[4] Bugville comic by Tim Eckhorst

Friday, May 6, 2016

Molly and the Bear

“Holding a book of my own comic strips has been a long-standing dream for me, second only to having a successfully syndicated newspaper strip.”  Bob Scott

by John Adcock

WEB COMICS are a new and relatively undocumented evolution of the comic strip. Independent web comics — and flash animation — made their debut with the onset of the home computer. Newspaper syndicates were quick to move online with new and established properties, pushed by ongoing newspaper closures that decimated traditional avenues of employment for print cartoonists. The decline in newspaper comics is probably irreversible at this point, but web comics do have advantages in that comic strip artists can build a respectable number of readers through social media promotions, and issue regular book collections in a more traditional manner.

A FEW DAYS AGO the mailman (my hero) delivered to my doorstep Disney artist Bob Scott’s Molly and the Bear hardcover book. A book collection of the best of his heart-warming, laugh inducing syndicated web comic series about an 11 year old girl and a 900 pound scaredy-cat bear. Bear, fearing hunters in the forest, entered Molly’s house through an open window and took up residence on the sofa. Bear was quick to win the hearts of Molly and her Mom. But for Dad it was too much having an uninvited houseguest hibernating on the couch, emptying the fridge and alienating his wife’s affections. 

BOB SCOTT was born in Detroit. Michigan and never had any other goal than to work as a cartoonist in emulation of Dennis the Menace, Pogo and the Saturday morning cartoons. He graduated from the California Institute of the Arts and worked over thirty years in the animation industry. In the 80s, fresh out of Cal Arts, Scott co-penciled the U.S. Acres strip for artist Jim Davis. Molly and the Bear was born in 1997 and has been a syndicated web comic since 2010. He prepares Molly the old-fashioned way writing his own gags and drawing with Indian ink on bristol board.

BOOKS ARE still quite popular. You can take Molly and the Bear to bed, read it in the bath, scribble in the margins, crayola the panels, or try your hand at copying Bob Scott’s animated characters. Molly and the Bear is published in shiny hardcover by Cameron+Company with 256 pages of high resolution b&w strips and more. The section titled Behind the Ink shows charming sketches of the main characters and charts the progress of one strip from rough thumbnail through blue-pencil to finished work. Plus a Forword by Brett Koth, creator of Diamond Lil. Available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Read the latest episode of Molly and the Bear in the New York Daily News HERE.