Saturday, January 18, 2014

 

Herriman Saturday


Friday, May 22 1908 -- A really practical helicopter wouldn't be invented until the 1930s, but some inventors were on the hunt for it long before. One of the mostly unsung pioneers was J. Newton Williams, who was reported to have successfully flown his helicopter (barely) in July 1909 in the New York Times. Why he didn't pursue his design further I don't know, but he seems not to have rated so much as a footnote in most web-based histories of helicopters.

Herriman here provides a cartoon regarding an unsuccessful flight attempt from a year earlier. Since no photo was included in the wire story, Herriman slyly structures his cartoon so that he doesn't have to depict this mysterious invention called a 'heliocopter'.

Labels:


Comments:
"Heliocopter" in the headline and first sentence, but streamlined to "helicopter" by the end of the story. Spelling in error, or in flux at that time?
 
Post a Comment

Friday, January 17, 2014

 

Sci-Friday starring Connie


Connie, August 2 1936, courtesy of Arnaud Wirschell. Thanks Arnaud! Follow the Connie story every Friday here on Stripper's Guide.

NB: In our quest to present the Connie Sunday story in its best light, we are still looking for sharp color scans of 8/9/36, 8/16/36, 8/30/36, 9/13/36, and 11/29/36 episodes, lacking from Cole Johnson's otherwise excellent run of the strip. Jon Ingersoll has volunteered to provide sharp b&w versions of these dates, so we are one step closer to our goal -- thanks Jon!

Labels:


Comments:
Thanks for posting this strp and this sequence! I've only been able to read the strips in dribs and drabs -- this is wonderful.
 
Allan, I have emailed them. If you didn't receive them let me know
 
yes Jon, I have them. Thanks!
 
Wow! A very good scan! It's rare to find this strip at all, much less in good colour! Thankee kindly!

By the way, several million tons of mostly-sharp B+W Connie strips, both daily and Sunday, have been shared by the very kind and industrious comics-miners of the Yahoo comics group Dailydose. The ubiquitous Jon Ingersoll is one of those gnomes.

Anyone who wants "too many comics" would be well-advised to join any or all of those groups! My life has been ruined by this addiction to old strips, but I am happy amongst my fellow comics-degenerates!
 
Post a Comment

Thursday, January 16, 2014

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Roy Grove


James Roy Grove was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on June 23, 1892 or 1893. His World War II draft card and the 1900 U.S. Federal Census both have the year 1892, while his World War I draft card and passport application use the year 1893.

In the 1900 census, Grove was the oldest of three children born to James and Zella. The head of the household was his paternal grandmother, Mary. Also residing there were his three aunts. The address was in Center, Indiana at 408 East Ohio. Grove’s father was a house painter.

The 1910 census recorded Grove, his parents and two siblings in Cleveland, Ohio at 6505 Quimby Avenue NE. The Cleveland Plain Dealer, December 3, 1958, said he was a graduate of East Technical High School, and Pratt Institute in New York City.

Grove was a staff cartoonist for the National Enterprise Association. His passport application (see photo), dated May 27, 1918, said he started there on September 23, 1916. Grove’s first work, a panel called What Has Become Of, debuted January 9, 1917. He also provided art for the NEA publication Pep.




Pep 9/1917

Grove signed his World War I draft card June 5, 1917. His passport application had a letter, from the local draft board, that said Grove had “Deferred Classification 2-D”. The purpose of his overseas travel was: “To supply war cartoons and art to the corporation which furnishes same to three hundred twenty six daily newspapers in the United States.” That corporation was the NEA which sent a letter, dated May 31, 1918, to the Department of State:

This is to certify that Mr. James Roy Grove, now applying for passports for the countries of Great Britain, France, Switzerland and italy, and for the A.E.F. [American Expeditionary Force] in France, has been appointed artist correspondent in those countries for this organization, The Newspaper Enterprise Association. It is most imperative that Mr. Grove be allowed to obtain his passports as soon as possible, as the duties he is to perform in those countries for this concern are most urgent.
Your prompt attention in this matter is solicited and will be gratefully noted. This organization vouches for Mr. Grove’s responsibility and loyalty in every particular.
A passenger list showed Grove returning on November, 23, 1918 at the port of New York.



Niagara Falls Gazette 7/26/1924




Daily Argus 3/28/1924; Radio Biscuits, apparently a re-titled

Bugs strip, appeared once in three New York state newspapers

According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), Grove’s work included Boys in the Other Car, Bugs, Girliettes, Here’s Looking at Us, Putting the Grin into the Fight, and What’s News Today which was written by Will Rogers. The Cleveland Memory Project said he produced sports cartoons for the Jeburn Features Syndicate in the 1930s. It is not clear if those cartoons were ever published.

Grove continued to live with his parents and siblings, in Cleveland, as recorded in the 1920 census. Their address was 2933 Coleridge Road, which would be Grove’s home for the rest of his life. Cartoonist Walter R. Allman was his neighbor who lived at 2959.

Grove and his parents were recorded together in the 1930 census. He was a proprietor in the business of “publishers services.” In 1940, Grove was a self-employed commercial artist.

On April 25, 1942, Grove signed his World War II draft card. He named his mother as the person who would always know his address. Grove’s art studio was located at 706 Citizens Building. According to the Plain Dealer, he was employed, some time later, at the Carpenter Advertising Company.

A family tree at Ancestry.com said Grove married Hazel M. Altland in 1956.

Grove passed away December 2, 1958, in Cleveland. His death was reported the next day in the Plain Dealer:

J. Roy Grove, a commercial artist, died yesterday in Hanna House at the age of 65.

Currently he had been with the Scheel Advertising Agency, Inc., and previously with the Carpenter Advertising Co.

In earlier years Mr. Grove was an artist and cartoonist for the National Enterprise Association. He made action sketches in Europe in World War I and did sports cartoons and sketches for NEA.

Born in Indianapolis, he was brought here and and was a graduate of East Technical High School. His advanced art training was at Pratt Institute in New York City.

He was a member of Euclid Avenue Christian Church.

Surviving him are his wife, Hazel, and nieces and nephews. His home was at 2933 Coleridge Road, Cleveland Heights.

Services will be at 2 p.m. tomorrow in the Bennett-Sharer funeral home, 11212 Euclid Avenue. Burial will be in Knollwood Cemetery.
—Alex Jay 

Labels:


Comments: Post a Comment

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

 

Obscurity of the Day: Putting the Grin in the Fight







Putting the Grin into the Fight was a fairly good but not outstanding panel cartoon series about soldiers in World War I. What was indeed very, very good was the marketing gimmick used on the feature that had newspaper readers snookered back then, and still has people misunderstanding this series almost a hundred years later.

First, though, some general explanation, because this is a pretty weird series all around. Though above I called the series Putting the Grin into the Fight, that title is just one of the common ones. The feature actually went through three phases -- first the early cartoons about basic training, then second, cartoons about actually fighting in Europe, and finally, cartoons about returning home. In each phase the series went by various names. For example, during the period when the feature was set in the European battlefront, it was often titled Over There with the Yanks. Later on it was Coming Home with the Yanks, then finally, Sketches About Town (resettling into normal life).

When the series started, in January 1918 or perhaps a little earlier (I haven't been able to determine exactly since the N.E.A. archives are missing the entirety of this series), it seems to have been offered with two title options. There was Putting the Grin into the Fight, and Comedies of Camp [fill in the blank].

And there's the marketing gimmick. If your newspaper was published anywhere near a military camp, you were supposed to personalize the feature with its name. You can see that concept in action on the top two samples, which came from the Augusta Herald newspaper. Augusta Georgia was near Camp Hancock.

Now that seems like an innocent enough little ruse, but it worked a little better than intended. Newspaper readers, especially the boys in camp, sometimes got pretty stoked up about the idea that a real life cartoonist was in their midst, drawing cartoons for the local paper. Naturally some ambitious types sought out this fellow, J.R. "Roy" Grove, only to find it hard to pin him down. There's no telling how many newspaper editors had to sheepishly admit to puzzled inquirers that Mr. Grove was not at the camp at all, but was safely ensconced in his bullpen seat at N.E.A. in Cleveland.

The ruse worked so well that it is still working a century hence. I have been contacted on two occasions by historians anxious to learn more about this fellow Grove, who drew boot camp cartoons for their local papers. Ouch!

In fairness to Grove, he wasn't always at his drawing board in Cleveland. He does seem to have gone to Europe to do the cartoons set there, or at least in his signature he often adds a location in France. Whether he was there as a combatant or not I don't know.

...But I bet we'll know more tomorrow, because I believe Mr. Grove is  going to get the Ink-Slinger Profile treatment by Alex Jay.


Labels:


Comments: Post a Comment

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: R.F. James


Lee Roy Fitzgibbon James was born in Missouri on September 6, 1878, according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census and his World War I draft card. In the census he was the only child of Thomas, an artist, and C.L. They lived in Carlyle, Illinois. He has not been found in the 1900 census. Information regarding his art training is not known at this time.

In 1910 he lived with his wife, Maytie, and son, Wendell, in Chicago, Illinois at 1358 64th Street. The couple had been married five years. He was a newspaper artist.

On September 12, 1918, he signed his World War I draft cards. His address was 1415 Estes Avenue in Chicago, and occupation was illustrator for the Daily News. He was described as tall, medium build with brown eyes and gray hair.

The 1920 census recorded the same address on his draft card. He was the father of a son and two daughters, and an illustrator. The date of his move to New York is not known.

He lived in Mount Vernon, New York at 3 Devonia Avenue, according to the 1930 census. He continued work as a magazine illustrator. He produced Let’s Run Away, which began on October 4, 1931.

Lee Roy Fitzgibbon James was born in Missouri on September 6, 1878, according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census and his World War I draft card. In the census he was the only child of Thomas, an artist, and C.L. They lived in Carlyle, Illinois. He has not been found in the 1900 census. Information regarding his art training is not known at this time.

In 1910 he lived with his wife, Maytie, and son, Wendell, in Chicago, Illinois at 1358 64th Street. The couple had been married five years. He was a newspaper artist.

On September 12, 1918, he signed his World War I draft cards. His address was 1415 Estes Avenue in Chicago, and occupation was illustrator for the Daily News. He was described as tall, medium build with brown eyes and gray hair.

The 1920 census recorded the same address on his draft card. He was the father of a son and two daughters, and an illustrator. The date of his move to New York is not known.

He lived in Mount Vernon, New York at 3 Devonia Avenue, according to the 1930 census. He continued work as a magazine illustrator. He produced Let’s Run Away, which began on October 4, 1931.

James passed away March 15, 1959, in Los Angeles, California, according to the California Death Index, 1940-1997 at Ancestry.com. The Indiana Evening Gazette, March 16, 1959, published the Associated Press news item.

Magazine, Film Artist Dies At 80
Santa Monica, Calif. (AP)—Lee Roy F. James, magazine and motion picture artist, is dead at 80.
James, who died Sunday at a rest home, was an illustrator for Colliers, Red Book, Ladies Home Journal and other magazines. He was a member of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture studio from 1935 until he retired in 1947.

—Alex Jay

Labels:


Comments: Post a Comment

Monday, January 13, 2014

 

Stripper's Guide Bookshelf: The Most Important Cartoons Ever Published


Doomed by Cartoon

by John Adler with Draper Hill

Softcover, 310 pages, $19.95
Morgan James Publishing, 2008
ISBN 978-1-60037-443-2

I've read several biographies of the great editorial cartoonist Thomas Nast, and I've read a history of Boss Tweed's Tammany Hall ring, but what I've long pined for, and considered the most perfectly natural idea for a book, is a history of the Tweed ring as told through Nast's cartoons.

Finally such a book was written, and unfortunately has managed to fly under my radar for over five years. Well, better late than never, I did finally stumble upon it recently, and I'm delighted to say that the book is pretty much everything I could have hoped for.

John Adler navigated through a minefield of potential pitfalls to produce this book, which I consider just about as close to a perfect treatment of the subject as possible. He could easily have gotten bogged down trying to provide a thorough biography of Thomas Nast or Boss Tweed, or offered an exhaustive history of the deeds of Tammany. He resists those temptations, though, and confines himself to guiding us through the entire amazing episode via Nast's incredibly powerful cartoons. He explains all the nuances of what is depicted, and gives us enough of the history and biography of the personages involved to understand the enormity of the events and the genius of Nast's response.

It's a masterful piece of work, and Adler,  with the expertise of cartooning scholar Draper Hill guiding him, deserve a much wider readership than, as best I can tell, they have gotten. These are the most important cartoons ever drawn; I can't even imagine that blunt statement garnering even a whisper of debate. So if you are seriously interested in cartooning, this book is not really optional in your library. It is basically a Cartooning Scripture, explaining how it was In The Beginning. For without Nast, and without Tweed, and the explosive confluence of those two mighty forces, cartoons may never have become synonymous with American journalism, and everything that followed may have changed course in unknowable ways. 

I bring up a few minor negative points only because I'd love to see an even better second edition someday. The layout and design of the book was obviously handled by loving but not always highly accomplished hands. Among other layout problems, the cramped margins and large blocks of whitespace are a trivial annoyance, but they are an annoyance.

The other problem is not so easily corrected. It's a complication that has confounded every book designer when confronted with Nast's cartoons. His large double-truck cartoons, often full of important small details, are all but impossible to appreciate at the size they are reproduced. This book does an admirable job of mitigating the problem in some cases, by blowing up important vignettes for closer inspection. However, it would be ideal if the large cartoons were reproduced at close to original printed size. This would either take a skillful book designer, who could reproduce the double-trucks in their original form (though they would still have to be reduced a bit), or an extravagant budget would have to be allowed for fold-out cartoons. It's probably a pipe dream, but if Nast doesn't deserve the royal treatment, who does? Are there any publishers listening?


Labels: ,


Comments:
Agreed, they should be reprinted in a larger format, perhaps like the Little Nemo "So Many Splendid Sundays."
 
This is a book that demands to exist, so I immediately ordered a copy. just arrived. Damn, all it wants is an ounce of design savvy. It looks like it's printed direct from a word document. It didn't need to be flash, just orderly

still, thanks for the recommendation. the information in it is invaluable

Eddie Campbell
 
Now that I'm sitting down with it, my summary would be that it comes across like a thorough and exhaustive guide for somebody who has access to the real thing rather than the fair facsimile of the real thing hat it could easily have been. All the pictures are here. A few minutes in photoshop could have made each one look clean and sharp.
 
Post a Comment

Sunday, January 12, 2014

 

Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


Labels:


Comments:
I like the sound of that!
 
Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]