Wednesday, June 19, 2019

It's Not Legal!

Wednesday Advertising Day.

Fearless Fossdick was one of the most ingenious creations of Al Capp. Billed as Li'l Abner's gavorite comic strip character, it was in fact a parody of Dick Tracy, that took over the strip for whole stretches at the time. Fossdick also had his own strip, a series of one tier ad gags for Wildroot hair tonic. It's as wild as anything Capp (and his associates) would make. You can see how Capps's humor influenced even the young Harvey Kurtzman, who did similar parodies and gags in his own creation, Mad.

I don't know how many of these strips were made, but you see them all through the fifties in newspapers and magazines. I got a couple that I was able to scan myself, the rest come from online microfiche sources (and are a but more grey). No one has ever made a ,ist of them, so consider this a start.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Young Hero

Sunday Toth Trivialities.

One of the first jobs Alex Toth got (even before joining DC as a regular) was for Eastern Comics' Heroic series. Heroic was a magazine filled with 'real life' stories about 'real lfe heroes'. At various points it became a sort of war comic, telling hero stories from WWII and the Korean War. But when Toth joined in 1945/1947 he mostly drew stories about people stopping runaway horses and saving kids from drowning.

Saturday, June 15, 2019


Saturday Leftover Day.

Dutch former underground arstist turned Duck writer (among his many acomplishments) Evert Geradts once told he he was a huge fan of Blondie, mainly because when he was younger it was reprinted in his parents' tv guide, De VARA Gids. I understand, but as far as I am concerned they reprinted it in the wrong format. Like all strips that started before the war, Blondie used to have a full page of it's own, one third of which was filled with a second strip, Colonel Potterby and the Dutchess. It was a pantomime strip in a totally different style, somwhere between Chic Young's own Blondie and Otto Soglow's The Little King. I would have thought that this strip was the work of one of Young's assistants, but most online soures credit it to Young himself. Maybe he only used assistants on Blondie (such as Paul Fung Jr., who drew all those dogs in the fifties strips). Samples of Colonel Potterby can be seen if you follow the link.

Although Potterby started as a half page strip, sharing the page equally with Blondie and Dagwood, it shrank to one third of a page in the forties. That is also, when some papers started cutting the two apart, sometimes running either or if both were used, never together. The remaining four tier Blondie was the original format in which the strip was drawn, but it had a problem: it ran two thirds of a page and that was deemed too much by most papers. So a new three tier version was made that only filled half a page. That was achieved by lengthening all the panels. And although it seemed almost natural, if you see the two thirds version it somehow fits better. Here are a couple of samples from the fifties, including one rare two thirds page one. Unfortunately, the paper I found it in was badly folded and I couldn't repair it without damaging the art, but I hope you'll catch the drift.

Update: I uploaded another two thirds one.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Double Down In The West

Friday Tumbleweeds Double Down.

As often as I can, I try to share some of my new Tumbleweeds scans from the earliest period. This week I managed to clean six of them. They were printed quite light and it is not always possible to recreate the colors as well as I think they should be.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

It Pays To Advertise

Wednesday Adverising Day.

I haven't shared a lot of advertising strips from the fifties lately, mainly because I have shown so many already. Another thing that is hlding me back, is my inabillity to determine the artist on most of them. Here are a couple with some comments, just to show how my thing goes.

The main provider for Sunday Newspaper advertising strips was the Johnstone and Advertising agency. Some artists worked or were approched on their own, but most of the work came through J&C in some way. Not very much is know about the workings of this outfit, except that some of the rugulars working at the office in the forties and fifties were Dik Browne, Gill Fox, Bill Williams, Jack Betts, Elmer Wexler, Craig Flessel and Stan Drake. Stan Drake was the only one not signing his work - and the only one to clain afterwards that he was one of the first to be allowed to sign.

Stan Drake's work is often recognizable, although he did admit in several interviews that he had to learn how to draw realistically, so maybe the earlier pieces are harder to spot. Dik Browne worked at the office and told many storie about how the guys used to play practicle jokes on each other. For a long time I thought that meant everyone working for J&C worked at the office. But these days I am not so sure any more. Longer running accounts were often handled by a regular artist, so they may have been doing that out of their own home. Others may have walked in and grabbed assignments. It is remarkable for a company so commercial, that most of the artwork seems to have been done by one artist, though sometimes with different inkers.

Elmer Exler was one of the mainstays as far as realistic art is concerned. Neal Adams told me that in the later days Wexler acted as a mentor to him and showed him te ropes. From some of the catalogues we know that one of Wexler's regular accounts was Rusty and Dusty. That gives us a nice basis for his style in the fifties. You can see some of those here: And here is one with two new Rusty and Dustys after it:

Another series I suspected Wexler to have had a hand in, is the long running Sal Hepatica series, some of which can be found here: And although there are similarities, now that I have a couple in color, they do remind me of another artist, whom I did not know worked at Johnstone and Cushing (but may have). Al Avison was a journeyman artist, who worked a lot with Joe Simon at Harvey. He did a lot of covers for the Harvey horror titles, more than he did stories. His swirling style can be seen in these samples.

Here are two of his Harvey covers.

Another artist working for Johnstone and Cushing in the early fifties was Ken Bald. Blad had started out as a romance artist at Timely-Atlas and would go on to do newspaper strips Dr. Kildare and Dark Shadows. His style in the fifties was a lot more slick than it would later become and he is a hard artist to spot. He also drew a lot of romance comics covers for the American Comcis Group, which gives me a basis.

But did he do the Folgers series? He might have, but I don't really think so.

I think the Gem ad is by Bald.

And I have another one, I forgot to clean up. Generic or Bald?

The Mentholeum ad might be by Bald. Though the extra ad on the bottom certainly isn't.

This Halo ad with Ralph Flanagan (the composer of The Typewriter Song) is probably by one of those full color illustrators, trying to work in a clear line style, like Gunnar Peterson.

And since we started with Drake, let's finish with him. I have shown several of these daily ad strips earlier, taken from an online source. But this set are my own scans, from a small collection I aquired. Stan Drake was rumored to have done the Sal Hepatica Sundays. Did he do these as well?

One of the biggest quetions remains: who did the long running Camels celebrity series? There is a similarity in the style if you look through all fifteen years of them. But sometimes one jumps out as being just a bit different.