Saturday, May 25, 2013

 

Herriman Saturday

Tuesday, April 14 1908 -- Tonight's the night for the big boxing extravaganza at the Naud Junction pavilion. Promising amateurs, picked both for their auditioning prowess as well as an intended international flavor tothe proceedings, will go head to head. The bouts are:

Rube Smith vs. Russell Van Horn

Artie Collins vs. Abdo the Turk

Young McGovern vs. Mike Kutchos

Harry Rose vs. Charley Lucca

Jack Anderson vs. Roy Orake

I was surprised to find most of these guys listed on Boxrec, but unfortunately tonight's bouts are unrecorded in their database. I gather many of the fighters weren't quite the greenest of  amateurs, since some had quite a few recorded bouts already.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

 

Sci-Friday staring Adam Chase

Adam Chase (c) renewed 2013 by Russ Morgan. All rights reserved.

Adam Chase strip #22, originally published October 30 1966. For background on the strip and creator, refer to this post.

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles: Milt Youngren


Milton Dewey “Milt” Youngren was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on January 11, 1899, according Who’s Who in the Midwest (1958).

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census he was the youngest of six children born to Peter and Ida. His father was an engineer. They lived in Baltimore at 32 Lakewood Avenue.

The census of 1910 recorded Youngren, the sixth of eight siblings, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at 299 25th Street. His mother was a widow. Who’s Who said he graduated from West Division High School. He attended the State Teachers College in Milwaukee, the Wisconsin School оf Fine Arts, and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. During World War I, he served for 25 months with Company D, 107th Engineers, 32nd Division. Eighteen months were spent overseas with six months on the front in the Alsace, Chateau Thierry, Oise-Aisne, Soissons, and Meuse-Argonne sectors; and eight months with the Third Army of Occupation on Rhine. He was a member of the American Legion’s Disabled Veterans of World War I.

In 1920 he was unemployed and lived with six siblings in Milwaukee at 405 Albion Street. His oldest sister was the head of the household. The 1922 Milwaukee City Directory listed him, as a cartoonist, plus his siblings at 324 Farwell Avenue.

According to Who’s Who, in 1921 he began at the Chicago Tribune as an assistant art manager, and western art director of Liberty (a weekly Tribune publication). He also was the Tribune’s want ad cartoonist. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said he produced the Sunday Tribune panel, The Last Word on Etiquette, from November 9 to December 7, 1924. He married Sarah Taylor Weidner on September 22, 1925. A passenger list at Ancestry.com recorded their arrival, on October 8, in New York City, having visited Bermuda. Their address in Chicago was 1235 Greenleaf Avenue.

Who’s Who said he was on the faculty of the National Academy of Art, from 1925 to 1929, and contributed gag cartoons to various national publications, and created the Sunday feature, Rambling Through the Want Ads, as well as Want Ad Wanda, and Wow! Ain’t Life Sweet?. For Editors’ Feature Service he produced Caesar Bonaparte Smythe from December 1926 to July 16, 1927. Editor & Publisher, October 13, 1928, reported his new contract: “Contracts for two new features were signed by King Features Syndicate this week….The other is a three-column block cartoon called ‘Cholly, the Classified Kid,’ to be used on classified pages. It is the work of Milton D. Youngren of Chicago.” Who’s Who referred to the strip as Classified Cholly.

He and his wife had a three-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, as recorded in the 1930 census. His occupation was comic artist in advertising. They lived in Niles, Illinois at 4827 Greenleaf. The 1935 Evanston City Directory listed him as an artist at 260 Hawthorne Avenue. Who’s Who said he was an associate with the Swan-McComb Studio and the R. J. Grauman Studio, Chicago, as staff cartoonist, from 1934 to 1940. He produced the panel Fair Exchange from 1937 to 1939.


Evansville Courier 11/16/1937

He had a different address in the 1940 census: New Trier, Illinois, at 260 Green Bay Road. His highest level of education was four years of high school, and occupation was artist in “any industry”. For the Chicago Tribune Comic Book he drew Lew Loyal from October 13, 1940 to October 31, 1943.

Who’s Who said he the creator of humorous ideas and drawings for the Hallmark Greeting Card Company since 1951, and the inventor and designer of Squeezem, Wheelzafun, DoFunee devices.

In the 1960s, his cartoons appeared on the back of Kool-Aid packets, here and here.

The Baltimore Sun, February 22, 1969, reported the death of his older brother Harold. Named as one of the survivors, his residence was Milwaukee. According to the Social Security Death Index, Youngren passed away May 1969, and his residence of record was Glencoe, Illinois. An obituary has not been found.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

 

The Chicago Tribune Comic Book: Lew Loyal


If breathless adventure is your cup of tea, and you're willing to deal with short rations of logic and coherence, Lew Loyal is right up your alley. This Chicago Tribune Comic Book series, which debuted on October 13 1940, must have been considered a big draw. While other strips got one or two half-tab size pages, Lew Loyal received a munificent four pages per issue.

Creator Milt Youngren gave the Trib a lot for their money, too. Those four page adventures read like an over-excited kid trying to tell a story. The events pour out at breakneck speed, and in the process cause and effect become jumbled and important plot points are missed and muddled.

Another apt comparison that can be made is with the typical lesser grade comic book stories of this period. And, of course, that's basically what the Chicago Tribune wanted in their Comic Book section. They must have been tickled pink when Youngren's submissions got the thumbs up as being "just like comic books" from the editors' kids.

Although there is precious little expository material in the strip, I surmise that Lew Loyal (the fellow in the red sweater) is a youngish teen. He and his Uncle Mack, who seems to be some sort of government agent, are constantly stumbling onto nefarious criminal plots to kick-start their adventures, and then when the war begins, Axis saboteurs pop out from every dark doorway and abandoned warehouse. Lew's friend Becky tags along on most of his adventures. The kids are often ducking hails of bullets, while fighting back with their wits alone, usually doing more to bring the villains to justice than their uncle.

Lew Loyal got a demotion in 1942, down to two half-tab pages per issue. The strip outlived the Comic Book section, which ended in April 1943, but didn't last long in the Tribune's regular comic section. Lew Loyal went into retirement as of the October 31 1943 episode.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles: Jack Ryan


John J. “Jack” Ryan was born around 1912. His name was in the Chicago Tribune, March 12, 1975, obituary which said he was 63 at the time. The 1940 U.S. Federal Census recorded his birth in Illinois. Ryan has not yet been found in the 1920 and 1930 censuses.

In Garyn G. Roberts’s book, Dick Tracy and American Culture (2003), Chester Gould’s first assistant, Dick Moore, was profiled and said he attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts in the early 1930s. Before he was kicked out, he met Ryan at the academy. The Tribune said Ryan graduated. Years later Moore recalled seeing Ryan: “…I met him on the street one day and he had just seen the ‘X-Nine’ drawn by Alex Raymond. He felt I would be out of a job in a month or so because ‘X-Nine’ was so much better than ‘Tracy.’ ”

Robert said about Ryan: “…In the early 1930s, Jack Ryan, along with Ed Moore, assisted Norman Marsh on Dan Dunn, a comic strip which debuted on September 25, 1933, and which was highly derivative of Dick Tracy….”

In the 1940 census, Ryan, his wife Johanna had two sons, James and John Jr., lived in Chicago at 408 East 74th Street. He had four years of high school and his occupation was cartoonist for a publishing syndicate. On September 8, 1940, his strip, Streamer Kelly, debuted in the Chicago Tribune Comic Book. His strip ended, temporarily, on October 3, 1943.


A World War II draft card for Ryan has not been found, so it’s unclear if he served during the war.

Life magazine, August 14, 1944, devoted several pages and photographs on Chester Gould, whose assistant was Ryan. A typical work week was described:

On Monday morning he [Gould] bounces into his studio, a cluttered room on the 14th floor of the Tribune Tower in downtown Chicago, at 8:15. His assistant, a capable young artist named Jack Ryan, has arrived before him. After lighting a cigar, removing his coat, loosening his tie, unbuttoning his shirt, unbuckling his belt, dropping his garters and untying his shoelaces, Gould shuffles over to his drawing board on which Ryan has placed a piece of clean white Bristol board into ruled rectangles. This will become the Sunday page that readers will see 10 weeks hence….His first step is to write, in longhand, all of the dialog for the Sunday page. By lunchtime he has finished an hands the page to Ryan, who letters the dialog in ink. Gould next writes dialog for the six daily strips…

With the creative chore out of the way, Gould spends the rest of his work week at the rather tedious and mechanical job of drawing….Working in his downtown studio, Gould devotes Tuesday to sketching in pencil and then finishing in ink, the characters in the Sunday page….After drawing the other characters, Gould hands the page back to Ryan who completes it by filling in background objects such as lampposts and buildings, and inking in solid black spaces…


The article revealed that Ryan had named the villain, The Brow. Volume 7 of the Complete Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy (2009) has a photograph with this caption: “Jack Ryan (left) and ‘Andy’ Anderson (right) flank Chester Gould in his Tribune office, as the cartoonist works on the ‘Vollman’ story included in this volume. Both assistants also worked in the Trib’s art department.” How long he assisted Gould is not known. Streamer Kelly resumed in the Tribune on April 7, 1946 and ended December 31, 1950.

The Tribune said Ryan also drew Harold Teen for a time. He worked for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1952 to 1961. For a period in 1961, he returned to Dick Tracy then went back to the Sun-Times. In 1971 he received the Chicago Newspaper Guild Stick-O-Type award for best work by an artist. Ryan passed away March 10, 1975, at his home in Evergreen Park, Illinois.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

 

The Chicago Tribune Comic Book: Streamer Kelly


 Today I suppose a strip titled Streamer Kelly would tell the saga of a multimedia website developer, but back on September 8 1940, when the strip debuted in the Chicago Tribune Comic Book section, a streamer was a fireman. The Sunday-only Streamer Kelly told tales from the firehouse for a solid run of seven years (with a big hole in the middle, which we'll get to momentarily).

This strip makes me wonder -- kids were (and are?) definitely fascinated by firemen, so why weren't there more features telling the tales of the profession? I guess I answered that question for myself when I read a big batch of Streamer Kelly strips in preparation for this post, and found that the most of the plots revolved around firebugs. When push comes to shove, I guess there's not all that many different plots available that involve firefighting. Oh well, so much for yet another of my million dollar ideas.

One of Streamer Kelly's firebugs is noteworthy, though, for their nom de guerre -- The Joker (see sample #2). The Batman's nemesis predates Streamer Kelly's villain by a good solid year, but still, kinda neat. Unfortunately, given that the creator, Jack Ryan, was also producing comic books in the early 1940s, I have the sinking feeling that he did not come up with the idea independently.

The Streamer Kelly strip had two separate runs. The first, in the Chicago Tribune Comic Book, survived after that section ended by graduating to the main comic section, but the flame was put out on October 31 1943.

This might have been because Jack Ryan was called into service, because after the war was over Streamer Kelly reappeared in the Chicago Tribune, starting April 7 1946. The strip ran there until December 31 1950. Considering that I have never seen the strip running in any other paper, I think it's safe to say that the Tribune was uncharacteristically liberal in affording it comic section space all that time.

PS -- the term 'joker' -- used in two different senses in our samples -- deserves explanation (well, at least I was confused). Turns out that the most popular municipal fire alarm system in the U.S., until the 1970s or so, was the Gamewell system. For reasons unknown it was known as the 'Gamewell Joker'. Okay, so maybe Jack Ryan did come up with his Joker character independently after all, taking a cue from the Gamewell device's name.

PPS -- the top sample has been reformatted for this blogpost -- originally the top and bottom halves appeared on separate pages of the Chicago Tribune Comic Book.


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"Luann" has two firefighter characters, Brad and Toni, but they are rarely seen fighting fires. I think they've been seen more often doing fire safety education than putting out actual fires.
 
I recall how upset I was when Streamer Kelly disappeared from our Sunday Chicago Tribune without any notice--at least not any my 7-year-old eyes saw. SK was my favorite strip from when I could first read until its demise at the end of 1950. I asked various adults why it was gone, and nobody I found had even heard of it. I recall one story about a warehouse fire where the department had to bring in a fireboat, an idea I had never heard of. I remembered that in 1980 when a fire-fighter friend gave me and my family a tour of the two Seattle fireboats in 1980. They have now been retired. Thanks for your post about Ryan and his Streamer Kelly strip. It answered a lot of my questions from 63 years ago.
 
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Sunday, May 19, 2013

 

Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


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Reading that reminds me of the days when we first started going to The Cartoon Museum. Original art everywhere. It was like finding a gold mine. Plus you never knew when a new vein would appear!
 
I'd like to hear the story about what happened to the John Coulthard collection.

-Larry
 
Hi Larry --
I believe Jim did a Sunday Comic about Coulthard. Unfortunately I don't have them indexed, so you'll have to search.

--Allan
 
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