Saturday, March 15, 2014


Herriman Saturday

Tuesday, June 2 1908 -- The stage comedian William Collier is profiled by the Examiner, and Herriman contributes this caricature. I'd love to tell you something interesting about Collier, but unfortunately my photocopy of this cartoon managed to cut off 95% of the associated story. So here's Mr. Collier's wiki page, for what little it's worth.


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Friday, March 14, 2014


Sci-Friday starring Connie

Connie, September 27 1936, courtesy of Cole Johnson. Follow the Connie story every Friday here on Stripper's Guide.


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Thursday, March 13, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Dan Smith

Daniel F. “Dan” Smith was born in Ivigtut, Greenland, on March 29, 1865, according to a 1932 passenger list at The 1900 U.S. Federal Census had the same month and year as the passenger list.

Smith’s obituary in the New York Times, December 12, 1934, said: “…Smith was the son of Danish parents. He came to this country as a boy, and early in life became interested in art work. After studying in New York, he went to Copenhagen at the age of 14 [1879] and continued his art studies at the Public Arts Institute. Returning to the United States, he studied at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts.”

Smith and his family were recorded as United States citizens in the 1892 New York State Census. Smith was the second of four children born to Donald and Nicottena. According to the census, Smith’s mother was born in Germany. Smith's older sister, Christiana, was also born in Greenland. His brother, William, was two years younger and born in Denmark. His sister, Eva, was eight years younger and born in America. They resided in Brooklyn at 556 10th Street. Smith's occupation was designer.

The Kansas Historical Quarterly profiled Smith and said he joined the art staff of Leslie’s Weekly in the early 1890s. He produced a series of Western illustrations for Leslie’s that appeared from 1891 to 1897.
His first Western illustrations…are pictorial records of the Indian troubles at the Pine Ridge agency (South Dakota) that resulted in the tragedy of the Wounded Knee “battle.”…
The next group of…illustrations were apparently based on a trip to New Mexico and the Southwest in 1891….Most of them deal with various aspects of the cattle industry and that never-failing topic of interest “cow-boys.”...
One of Smith’s illustrations for Leslie’s Weekly was reprinted in The Quarterly Illustrator, April, May and June 1893, on page 118. An index of illustrators had this listing: “Dan Smith, 30 East 14th Street, New York”.

The Times said Smith joined the Hearst organization, in the late 1890s, and covered the Spanish-American War. From Hearst he joined the New York Herald for a short period then moved on to The World, where “for twenty years, he drew nearly all of the covers for the Sunday magazine of The World.”

n the 1900 census, Smith was married to Wilhelmina “Minnie”, a German emigrant, for eight years. They lived in Manhattan, New York City at 71 Lexington Avenue. He was an artist. The census said his parents were born in Denmark.

The Blue Pencil Magazine April 1900

The Bookman, September 1908, published the article, “The Illustrator and His Income”, and said about Smith:

Newspaper cartoonists and caricaturists are not the only ones on the the art staff of the daily press that are well paid. Dan Smith, the crack newspaper illustrator, receives $65 a day from the New York World. For fear that he might acquire more than his share of his world’s goods (no pun intended). Mr. Smith works but four days a week on the newspaper and manages very comfortably on his year income of $13,520.

Vet Anderson‘s drawing of Smith appeared

in Success Magazine, February 1906.

Illustration appeared in the St. Lawrence University
(Canton, New York) yearbook, The Gridiron 1908, page 67.

The couple was recorded at 315 West 97th Street in Manhattan in the 1910 census, which said Smith emigrated in 1869. His occupation was artist. The 1915 New York State Census recorded the same address and occupation.

According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), Smith was one of many newspaper artists who produced romantic cartoons for the Newspaper Feature Service. Smith’s work appeared in April 1919. Cartoons Magazine, May 1918, reprinted Smith’s “War Brothers” which was for the Newspaper Feature Service.

The 1920 census and the 1925 New York State Census said Smith resided at 50 West 67th Street in Manhattan. His apartment building was one of several built, along 67th Street, for visual and performing artists. A neighbor in Smith’s building was cartoonist Robert Brinkerhoff.

Smith’s Fairyland series appeared on the covers of Hearst’s American Weekly Sunday newspaper supplement in the mid-1920s. American Newspaper Comics said Smith also produced Sunday newspaper cover illustrations titled Pancho Rancho, from October 13 to December 8, 1929, and Desert Love, from July 27 to October 12, 1930.

Some of Smith’s illustrations can be viewed here.

At some point Smith and his wife moved to 257 West 86th Street in Manhattan, his address in the 1930 census. Smith was a newspaper illustrator. This address was found on a 1932 New York passenger list which listed Smith and his wife. They departed March 8 and returned March 24.

The Central Press and the Berkeley Daily Gazette had cartoon contest in Fall 1930. A number of Central Press cartoonists and illustrators produced drawing lessons for the contest. Smith’s lesson appeared November 6. American Newspaper Comics said Smith illustrated stories from the Bible, from June 10, 1932 to August 31, 1935; the subjects included Samson, Queen Esther, Joseph, Ruth, David, Solomon, Jezebel, Salome, Elijah, Joel, Abraham, the Holy Child, Moses and Noah. Samples can be viewed here.

Smith passed away December 10, 1934, in New York City. His death was reported two days later in the Times and the New York Sun which said:

Funeral services were hold this afternoon at the home, for Dan Smith, nationally known magazine and newspaper artist, who died on Monday of a heart ailment in his residence at 257 West Eighty-sixth street. Mr. Smith was 69 years old. 
Born in Ivigtut, Greenland, of Danish parents, Mr. Smith came to this country as a boy. He studied art in New York, Philadelphia and in Copenhagen. He began his newspaper work with the Hearst organization, served for a time with the New York Herald and then joined the staff of The World, where he became famous as an artist and illustrator. His drawings were syndicated throughout the United States. At the time of his death he was associated with King Features.
Mr. Smith’s wife, Mrs. Wilhelmina Smith, died last year. A brother, William, survives.


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Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Magazine Cover Comics: Desert Love

Illustrator Dan Smith contributed many covers and interior illustrations to Sunday newspaper magazines over the years, but few of them are within our scope here at Stripper's Guide. You can see some samples of those amazing covers at our post about Dan Smith's lovely Fairyland series.

Here, though, we have a series that I judged as qualifying, barely, as a quasi-strip series. Desert Love was distributed by Hearst's Newspaper Feature Service syndicate. It ran on their Sunday magazine covers from July 27 to October 12 1930.

The series, which I take it was penned by Smith himself, concerns an American girl who visits north Africa. As was de rigeur on these covers, our heroine has melodramatic romantic adventures culminating in the discovery of True Love.


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Tuesday, March 11, 2014


News of Yore: Vet Anderson and His Collaborators

Success Magazine
February 1906


Is this the same Vet Anderson who animated for the Fables, Van Beuren and Walter Lantz cartoon studios? He was a good caricaturist and very facile with the pen!
He's the same guy.
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Monday, March 10, 2014


Obscurity of the Day: No Comment

No Comment is proof that even if you are a highly regarded cartoonist, represented by the biggest syndicate in the world, you can still produce a very obscure strip. Obscure enough, in fact, that I have a number of questions about it for which I've been unable to find answers.

No Comment was by Vahan Shirvanian, a magazine gag cartoonist who regularly appeared in all the big markets since the 1940s. He passed away in 2013, still in harness, and was eulogized at the Mike Lynch Cartoons blog

On April 9 1979, Shirvanian's first (and most likely only) syndicated newspaper strip debuted in a small client list of newspapers, syndicated by King Features. As you might guess from the name, No Comment was initially a pantomime strip. There were no continuing characters, just wordless gags from Shirvanian's vast decades-long storehouse of gag ideas.

The strip veered from that formula eventually, though, when Shirvanian added a continuing character to the mix. An orange and black cat named Brimstone started to make regular appearances, and the cat had no compulsion at all to keep silent. Brimstone had such a strong resemblance in design and demeanor to George Gately's Heathcliff that I'm sort of surprised no syndicate legal eagles had words with Shirvanian.

Brimstone might not have been the most original creation, but Shirvanian seemed to really enjoy the new direction of his strip. The one-off pantomime strips grew fewer and fewer and the strip's title kept seeming more and more out of place. But considering how few clients the feature had, I guess there wasn't much of an audience to notice the illogic of it.

The strip seems to have sputtered to an end in 1982 -- April 23rd is the latest Sunday strip I've been able to find, and the daily may have ended in March.

But then here's the weird part. There were a total of four reprint paperbacks of this obscure strip. That in itself is a bit odd. Why produce reprint books of a strip that's not doing well? My guess is that Shirvanian's contract with the syndicate stipulated that some reprint books must be offered. Okay, that makes some sense. However, it gets weirder. The first book, titled No Comment, was published in 1981. The second, though, wasn't published until 1983 -- that's well after the strip ended, as best I can tell. Surely once the strip has been cancelled all bets are off regarding book contracts, right? The second book was titled Brimstone at Work and Play, and ran only cartoons about that cat character. Was the character actually popular, or did Tor, the book publisher, think they could make some money off the occasional easily confused Garfield and Heathcliff fan?

Then it gets really weird. Maybe the answer to my last question was a resounding "yes", and the second book actually sold well. Because the final two books, Brimstone and Brimstone #2, both of which  feature only the cat cartoons, were issued by Tor in 1988 -- more than half a decade after the strip ended! Did Tor see such a strong market for cat cartoon books that they thought they'd take another couple of dips from the well?

This is all very weird to me. It makes me wonder if somehow I missed a surge of interest in the strip that kept it alive for many more years than I've been able to track. Maybe the title of the strip was changed to Brimstone, and maybe it was a popular item in foreign papers. I dunno! Can anyone shed some light on this stuff?


You ought to asked the Comics Kingdom Archivist about that strip, since every Thursday they have the Ask The Archivist feature on King strips, past and present, celebrating anniversaries and/or birthdays, and remembering forgotten strips. Here's one from Thursday on "Tuffy":
Here's your answer:

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Sunday, March 09, 2014


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


Ah, our keepsakes... the things we treasure. I love your story about how you came to own the driftwood framed watercolor.

The things we keep say a lot about us.

I had a conversation earlier this week and the topic was things we own. My contention is we don't really own anything. At some point we move on and it stays behind. I guess at best we're renting everything. ; )

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