Sunday, March 22, 2009
King of Smiles
The Adventures of Peter Pen by Charles August "Nick" Nichols first appeared on October 20, 1928 in the Calgary Herald. Peter Pen’s next employer was the Calgary Albertan, which ran new adventures beginning January 11, 1930. We find Peter Pen once more - in the Boys' And Girls' Section of the Winnipeg Free Press from May 10, 1930.
Peter Pen crawled out of an artists ink bottle and wore the bottle-cap as a hat. He was made of ink like Max Fleisher’s Koko the Clown in the Out of the Inkwell series of animated cartoons. After a wild magic carpet ride, our heroes, the artist, Peter Pen and Sady the Studio Cat, meet up with Princess Blossom, impish Cloud Jumpers, villainous King Snarl and the Blotter Witch (who resembles Popeye’s Sea Hag.) By the thirties the real world began seeping into the storylines. Peter and his pals hooked up with a thirties aviator in goggles for an adventure in Death Valley.
Contests and surveys were held and kids letters and names were printed within the strip. A map was printed both in the Albertan and Herald to the Land of Just Supposin' which consisted of the Good Land and the Bad Land. There was a radio broadcast on CJCJ Calgary at 6:15 daily put on by the Strand Peter Pen Kiddies’ Club.
Nick Nichols signature appeared on the Otto Watt series in 1928.
The top two comics are from Oct 21 and 22, 1930. The first eight Peter Pen strips, beginning January 11, 1930, I posted HERE.
*Otto Watt was also drawn by Fred Neher.
*Charles August Nichols (1910-1992) went to work for Disney in 1937 and had a lifelong career as a director of animation.