Friday, May 29, 2015

DAILY MIRROR — Comic Strip Images, Part 1

[1] The Cost of Living by W.K. Haselden, April 6, 1915.
by John Adcock
 T  HERE is very little information to be found on British newspaper comic strip history. Hugh Cudlipp devoted a few chapters to the Daily Mirror titles in his 1953 book Publish and Be Damned! The astonishing story of the Daily Mirror, and in his 1962 book At Your Peril; a mid-century view of the exciting changes of the press in Britain, and a press view of the exciting changes of mid-century. George Perry and Alan Aldridge included a chapter on British strips in The Penguin Book of Comics, a widely read and reprinted book of 1967.
[2] Denis Gifford in 1976.
   Denis Gifford — British cartoonist-historian — provided the most thorough background in his little book Stap me! The British Newspaper Strip (1971) and contributed columns to Maurice Horn’s The World Encyclopedia of Comics (1976). Finally John Allard, a one-time cartoon editor of the Daily Mirror, published a thorough 6-page account of Daily Mirror strips in Denis Gifford’s Comic Cuts (the Association of Comics Enthusiasts’ newsletter) Vol. 13, No. 6 (No 118) (Oct/Nov 1990).

[3] Introducing Pip, Squeak and Wilfred in The Children’s Mirror, by Uncle Dick and Austin B. Payne, May 12, 1919.
   Pip, Squeak and Wilfred was written by Uncle Dick (real name Bertram J. Lamb) and drawn by Austin B. Payne, “an old Comics Cuts man from Wales.” The strip debuted on May 12, 1919. From 1938 it was written by Don Freeman. Hugh McClelland took over as artist in 1953. McClelland was the first head of the Daily Mirror strip department and creator of the comic strip Jimpy. 

[4] July 8, 1930.
OVERSEAS. When Pip, Squeak and Wilfred: Their "luvly" Adventures was published in the United States in 1921, available through E.P. Dutton & Co. for one dollar(the British edition was issued the same year by Stanley Paul & Co., London, the American edition is still unknown in the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, almost a century later) the advertising blurb read,

Uncle Dick and the cartoonist A.B. Payne, in daily ‘comics’ have so appealed to children — and their elders — that when this series was first brought out in book form, the first day’s sale was 100,000 copies. A second hundred thousand was sold within three weeks, and nearly four hundred thousand to date in England.”E.P. Dutton advert

[5] by Harold C. Earnshaw, July 8, 1930.
   The Pater, a strip by Harold Cecil Earnshaw (1886-1937), made its debut on December 10, 1928, and ended on February 28, 1931. There is a brief, moving profile on the too short life of Harold Earnshaw who was Mabel Lucie Attwell’s husband, HERE. The artwork for this series bears a close resemblance to that of John Miller Watt, the artist of the popular comic strip Pop (1921-1949) which ran in the Daily Sketch newspaper.

[6] by Dart, Nov 21, 1931 (debut strip).
   Tich was a comic strip written by Frank Dowling and illustrated by “Dart.” The original “Dart” was a man named Martin, although it is uncertain if this was a surname or a last name. Tich ran in the Daily Mirror from November 21, 1931, to November 25, 1933. The second “Dart”, Stephen Phillip Dowling (1904-1986), fell into strip work in a startling manner, as related to Denis Gifford in a 1976 interview,

[7] by Dart, July 29, 1932
“It started by my going riding with a friend who did a strip called Tich in the Daily Mirror, the ideas for which were supplied by my brother Frank. Coming back from this event, rather full of liquor, unfortunately there was a car accident, and the artist, Martin, died. And so I had to step into his shoes and was plummeted into the strip business in a rather shaky condition, having gone through the roof of a car! Tich ran for some years.” — Ally Sloper, No. 1, 1976

[8] Jane’s Journal by Pett, the first Jane strip, Dec 5, 1932.
   Jane is probably the most famous British comic strip character. She became widely known around the world for her skirt-dropping exploits during World War II. She appeared in overseas newspapers and in troop journals like The Maple Leaf — begun in Italy in 1944, ended in Germany in 1946 — and the American-based Stars and Stripes.

[9] An ‘au revoir from Jane’ by Pett. It is to the 200,000 Canadian readers of The Maple Leaf that Jane bids farewell, in March 1946.
JANE started with the longer title Jane’s Journal – The Diary of a Bright Young Thing on December 5, 1932, with William Norman Pett as its sole author, signing as ‘PETT.’ The strip’s title changed to simply Jane on April 1, 1938. Don Freeman wrote it from December 1938. Michael Hubbard took over the drawing, in print from May 1, 1948. The final episodes were written by Ian Gammidge until Jane was discontinued on October 10, 1959. 

[10] Home Notes by [?], a one-shot, July 29, 1932.
[11] Jane’s Journal by Pett, Mar 11, 1935.
[12] by Fitz, a one-shot, Mar 11, 1935.
[13] Pip, Squeak and Wilfred by A.B. Payne, Mar 11, 1935.
[14] Our Weekend Guests by W.K. Haselden, Nov 21, 1931.

Ruggles and Belinda Blue-Eyes…

Meanwhile, any additional information is welcomed, especially missing names of WRITERS and ARTISTS, gathered in our DAILY MIRROR comic strip series index, compiled and researched by Leonardo De Sá, spanning the years 1904-2016, HERE.


Friday, May 22, 2015

Original Art from the “Sloperies”

[1] Ally Sloper in Close-Up. William Baxter original, 
ink on lightweight paper, 1886.

American publisher Bill Leach has been collecting Ally Sloper original art since the 1980s. His mother’s maiden name was Sloper, so “what started out as a minor interest has become a major addiction.” Along with Dennis Cunningham, founder of Weirdom fanzine, later Weirdom Illustrated, Bill Leach ran the graphic print shop Grafitti Graphics in Clearlake, California, from 1977 to ’87.

In 1986 Leach bought all of the Rich Corben art Cunningham had in his possession and republished Corben’s Tales from the Plague, originally published in Weirdom Illustrated no. 13 in 1969. Corben supplied a new cover and “I got Corben to use my face on the torch wielding maniac, so I have that on my resume now!…” With Barry Cunningham, brother of Dennis, he published four issues of County Comix in 1981-82, featuring Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, and Clearlake titles.

[2] Heads of the People. Full-page William Baxter cartoon, Ally Sloper’s Half-Holiday, Oct 23, 1886, one of his last for the paper.
ABOUT 150 years ago, Judy (subtitled: ‘or The London Serio-Comic Journal’) began to be published in London, its first issue was dated 1 May 1867, its last 23 October 1907. The comic character Ally Sloper F.O.M. (Friend of Man) came into the world on 14 August 1867 in a comic page with the strange title “Some of the Mysteries of Loan and Discount,” by author-artist Charles Henry Ross.

FUN. Then, in 1870, the comic journal Fun, rival to the weeklies Punch and Judy, was bought by the Dalziel Brothers, a long-established family firm of wood-engravers, the largest in London at the time. The firm was started in 1840 by the two brothers George (b.1815) and Edward Dalziel (b.1817). In 1872 the Dalziels also purchased the title Judy. Edward’s son, Gilbert Dalziel became its business conductor. In 1883 Charles Henry Ross sold all rights to his Ally Sloper character to Gilbert Dalziel of Dalziel Brothers, who then launched Ally Sloper’s Half-Holiday with proprietor W.J. Sinkins on May 3, 1884. This publication ran until September 9, 1916. It was revived unsuccessfully in 1922 and again in 1948. The address of its editorial offices was given as “The Sloperies,” 99 Shoe Lane, EC. The first years, primary art was by William Giles Baxter or W.G.B. (1856-88), who drew Sloper in 1884-86. He left at the end of 1886 to work on a different project, but then died in mid-1888, alcohol was given as the cause. According to Bill Leach, William Fletcher Thomas (1862-1922) had been drawing Ally Sloper’s Half-Holiday covers even before Baxter, and took over full time in late-1886 upon Baxter’s leave. 

NO FUN. The Dalziel Brothers who bought those magazines in the 1870s, saw their wood-engraving business dwindle during the 1880s photomechanical reproduction revolution, and went bankrupt in 1893.    

[3] “May Your X-MAS Day Be Happy, and Your Bills Be Light.” Original William Thomas art, 1899.
[4] Bill Leach with the William Thomas original.
[5] The “Sloperies” – Editor’s Bell. Sloper and Freedom. Original William Baxter art, 1880s, 32 x 25 cm.
[6] “Billstickers will be prosecuted!” Original William Baxter art, Christmas 1880s, 33 x 27 cm.
[7] The Eastern Crisis. – Grease: Its Use and Abuse. Full-page William Baxter strip of cartoons, Ally Sloper's Half-Holiday, Feb 6, 1886.
[8] A Cabinet Council at “The Sloperies.” Full-page William Baxter cartoon, Ally Sloper’s Half-Holiday, Aug 21, 1886.
[9] Turning over a New Leaf. William Baxter cover, Ally Sloper’s Half-Holiday, Jan 2, 1886.
[10] Our Contempo-Raree Show. Businessman Gilbert Dalziel pictured by Houghton, FUN, May 21, 1895.
[11] Bound volume, Gilbert Dalziel’s signature, 1886.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Death and Mr Pickwick – a novel

“MY DEAR CHARLIE, – There has been going on for years an attempt on the part of Seymour’s widow, to extort money from me, by representing that he had some inexplicable and ill-used part in the invention of Pickwick ! ! ! ” — writer  Charles Dickens in a letter to his son, dated April 4, 1866
by John Adcock
BRITISH literature in serial form goes back as far as the 17th century but serial novels entered the mainstream in February of 1836, when a young Charles Dickens (24), a reporter on the Morning Chronicle, agreed to write the text to accompany comic prints by the illustrator Robert Seymour. Four hundred copies of the first instalment were printed and appeared on March 31, 1836, under a very long title — The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club containing a faithful record of the Perambulations, Perils, Travels, Adventures and Sporting Transactions of the Corresponding Members, edited by “Boz” the name under which Dickens rose to fame — with four illustrations by Seymour, published by Chapman and Hall in London.

Pickwick Club sales were slow at first, on April 20 illustrator Seymour (37) placed the muzzle of a fowling piece into his mouth and blew out his brains after the second number of the series, but despite this inauspicious start Pickwick recovered and went on to become the most beloved character in English fiction. Now, nearly 180 years later, Death and Mr Pickwick tells of the “creation and afterlife” of Dickens’ most popular novel.

PLOT AND STORY. The narrator is a hack writer employed by a collector of Pickwickian texts and illustrations to write Death and Mr Pickwick under the pseudonym Inscriptino. The collector uses the pseudonym Mr. Inbelicate, referring to a printer’s error in the first edition of The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club.

Caricaturist Robert Seymour is pictured as a gay married man who suffers from a melodramatic depressive nature. The suspense builds to an excruciating pitch as Dickens and his collaborators shoulder Robert Seymour into second place status on Pickwick, steal his original characters, and spend the rest of their lives covering up the theft. Charles Dickens, John Forster, and Chapman and Hall are not presented in a sympathetic light.

Scenes shift as we observe the celebrated men of the period mingle in gin-houses, highway inns and print-shops. Among the characters are Thomas Rowlandson, illustrator of The Tour of Dr. Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, Pierce Egan, author of Life in London, George Cruikshank, illustrator of Jack Sheppard, the engraver George Adcock, Rudolph Ackermann, William Heath, Gilbert à Beckett, Robert William Buss and “Phiz” (Hablôt Knight Browne). The caricaturist’s wife, Jane Seymour, is one of the strongest female characters.

AUTHOR. Stephen Jarvis, the English author of Death and Mr Pickwick – a novel, a book of 800+ pages based on the life of caricaturist Robert Seymour, builds a splendidly satisfying story from the rubble and romance of obscure episodes in the history of illustrated British literature.

Death and Mr Pickwick – a novel,
Available May 21, 2015, from
Random House (UK) and
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (US)

See the Sketches by Seymour HERE.

Jarvis’ novel is already praised as  “…a phenomenon itself…”

★ Peter Kemp in The Sunday Times, May 17 HERE.
(this TST review is only available to subscribers 
but also pasted into author Stephen Jarvis’ facebook page HERE.)
★ Lucasta Miller in The Independent, May 17 HERE.
★ Nicholas Dames Was Dickens a Thief ?” in The Atlantic, May 20 HERE.
Kirkus Review, May 15 HERE.
Publisher’s Weekly, June HERE.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Illingworth’s Genius on VE Day 1945

1945 [1] Illingworth’s VE Day cartoon, Daily Mail, 8 May.

TODAY is the day of Victory Europe in England, VE Day 70. Seventy years ago Hitler and the Nazis were defeated by the Allies, and London went out on the street again free. World War II was finally won. 

L.G. ILLINGWORTH, Welsh-born staff artist of the Daily Mail, published a memorable cartoon that day. He had drawn war cartoons for years, especially in Punch and the Daily Mail, and he knew long before that liberation day would come. 

1945 [2] It’s all over… The VE Day front-page of the London Daily Mail, No. 15,290 of Tuesday 8 May, price: one penny. Illingworth’s large cartoon is on the reverse, on page 2.
Enjoy Illingworth’s wartime genius!

1944 [3] Christmas 1944 in the US. Americans are busy shopping. By Illingworth, 23 December.
1945 [4] The war in Poland. By Illingworth, 15 January.
1940s [5] Leslie Gilbert Illingworth (1902-79), a little self-portrait.
1939 [6] “Why not an offensive today?…” By Illingworth, 2 November.
1939 [7] “Why so startled, Fuhrer? Don’t you recognize one of your first members of the party?…” By Illingworth, 10 November.
1940 [8] Neutrality. By Illingworth, 22 January.
1940 [9] A surprise for breakfast. By Illingworth, 27 January.
1940 [10] Careless listening costs lives. By Illingworth, 27 March — “with apologies to Fougasse.”
1943 [11] The Dogs of War. By Illingworth, 2 September.
1943 [12] Where is Hitler? By Illingworth, 15 March.
1943 [13] Donkeys spread rumours. By Illingworth, 11 September.
1944 [14] Here lies the German general staff. By Illingworth, 6 October.
1944 [15] Hitler’s special excursion to victory. By Illingworth, 31 July.
1950s [16] Leslie Gilbert Illingworth, self-portrait on scraperboard.
1970s [17] Little self-portrait.

The genius of Illingworth is best illustrated in the 4,563 cartoons held in The National Library of Wales (most of the pictures shown above come from it), an incredible collection, for the larger part original art, HERE — just start searching for ‘Illingworth.’

See Tony Robinson’s Victory in Europe, a brand new documentary on Discovery Channel, HERE.

And see VE Day in numbers, HERE.

Thanks to Brian Hughes from
Surbiton, Surrey (1937-2010),
who cut out and saved Illingworth’s 
Daily Mail’s VE Day cartoon
as a young lad. 

Reported by Huib van Opstal.