Friday, October 31, 2008

The Donkey and the Mayor

Friday comic book Day.

Howard Post is respected by a lot of cartoonists for his work on Harvey's Hot Stuff from 1957 onwards. He did equally impressive work for Dc and Prize in the mid-forties in an imitation Walt Kelly style. Thee weeks I am showing as much as I can from his career, the good, the bad and quite frankly the ugly.

Howartd Post did the worst work of his career in the early fifties, before joining up with Harvey. During this period he seems to have written his own material. An important little fact. He did a lot of work for Stan Lee's Timely. I sy Stan Lee's Timely, but actually it was Martin Goodman's Timely, but who the hell remembers the owner instead of the editor of most of the comics line? Post did some work for Stan Lee's silly girl strips, that were so popular in the late forties and early fifties. Unfortunaqtely, most of his titles seem to be among the most hard toi get. I don't know why Nellie the Nurse would have to be scarce, but it is. In 1953 he got a chance to do his own funny animal book. Goodman must have thought it was worth a shot. The funny animal corner of the market was very much taken by Dell comics, but there were more companiers doing this stuff, so it wasn't such a long shot. Unfortunately, The Moinkey and The Bear was not a very good book. As good an artist as Post may have been, he was always a bit to quick and facile for his own good. When he was forced to spend some more time on his books, his work became a bit more stilted, but all in all he packed more goodies in that stuff than in his efforts here. The main problem seems to be that he wrote his own stories. I have some stories he did for Timely's Mad imitations and that is the absolute worst he ever did. He seems to have tried to write these stories as fats as he drew them. The result is a couple of very badly written stories, that don't even show off the artist at his best. The chracters he created for this book are pretty obnoxious as well, as are most of the characters he created on his own.

So, what else did he do in these years? An artist who obviously work so fast, must have had another job on the side..

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Tuesday Early Leftovers.

End of the day and I haven't gotten around to scanning my last few Leon Winick Jeanie Sundyas. So I guess I'll have to look around for some bits and pieces and do the Jeanies this weekend.

Here's an original 5 have been waiting to show for some time. This is one of the other Sunday strips that were made especially for the New York Star. The same paper that had Gill Fox's Bumper To Bumper as an occasional filler. This strip by the not too exiting cartoonist Henri Arnold is a sort of Beetle Bailey imitation, but the humor is very different and the style is similar but not close. This strip ran for a very long time, but probably not as long as `bumper to Bumper. I have many more, which I can show if there is anyone interested. For me, it is more of a time-piece, illustrating how every cartoonist tried to get a strip going in the fifties.

Next up is a gag page by Gill Fox. The style seems to be clearly fifties, about the time he did all that work for Johnstone and Cushing. But it doesn't seem to be an advertising job. So what was it? A special strip for a pharmacist magazine?

Tomorrow I'll have more by Howie Post. Here is a Lyndon Johnson caricature I found on the internet.

Finally, for all the Blondie fans out there, here is a Blondie gag from Jan 20 1952. Compare it to the Fireball Twigg ad I showed yesterday, if you like. As long as you are looking at yesterday's post, I also added one more comic book ad, I forgot to post yesterday. One that seems to be by Greig Flessel.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Best A Man Can Get

Wednesday advertising strip day.

One Dutch comic artist I met told me he loved the blog, except for the realistic stuff. So here is more realistic stuff.

I love those Postum ads. They were started by Milt Caniff and Noel Sickles and although they are still in the same style, the art has been taken over by someone else. My guess would be either Alex Kotsky or Leonard Starr. Starr is still alive (and doing covers for the wonderful reprint series of his stille very readable soap opera strip On Stage). If only he would visit here. If only I could talk to him about his years at Johnstone and Cushing.

Most comic strip ad campaigns were created for the Sunday pages only. Some of them were reformatted to be used in comic books in the forties. Especially DC used a lot of these comic ads in their books. Some were seem to have been reformatted from Sundays, other were especially drawn. The Pepsi Cops was a very popular series (started by Rube Goldberg and continued by several very capable artists) that ran both in comics and the Sunday pages. I have also seen short strips using the Neddy Nestle character by the regular artist of that character, Jack Betts, but no whole strips that look like the ones that were done in the late forties and early fifties Sunday ads. But the one ad strip series I recognized immediately was a Sam Spade strip done for Wildroot as a tie-in to the CBS radio show in 1948 and 1949. Some collectors have made lists of ad strips by famous artists such as Lee Elias, but no list has been made of the Sam Spade stories. They were probably done by Lou Fine or Alex Kotzky and deserve some attention as well. All comic books samples were taken from DC's funny animal book Funny Stuff #34 except for the Sam Spade one pager, which came from Boy Commandos #27.

One ad eries that has been documented well is C.C. Beck's Captain Tootsie. Though Beck wasn't the only one working on this series (which ran well into the fifties), his connection to this strip as the most important artist of Captain Marvel, has lead to som eserious attention from the Captain Marvel fans. Captain Tootsie didn't just run as one page ads in the DC books, but also in other companies books. He also had several comc books of his own, most of which had hardly any advertising. When I ran across a series of daily ads for Captain Tooptsie from the midfifties, I contacted P.C. Hamerlinck about them, think he could probably use them. He told me he was preparing a list of all Captain Tootsie appearnces for a future installment of the FCA pages in Alter Ego. I am still looking forward to them. In the meantime, here is a sample from the strip in it's prime period.

This one was new to me. Looks like Lou Fine following Alex Raymond's lead into a slicker illustration style.

Another one I had never seen before. This time artist looks familiar. The characters remind me of the later wor of Greig Flessel.

Sam Spade in the comics. From Boy Commandos #27, 1948.

And here he is in the Sunday papers a year later. March 20, 1949. Apparently my paper has a crease on the left hand side. I should go back and rescan this.

This Bazooka ad seems to have been done by Irwin Hasen. I have a couple more, which I will show later.

Finally two cartoon ads from another series I like. The Blondie-inspired Fireball Twigg. I read somewhere that Paul Fung, who took over the strip from Chic Young in thee early sixties was assisting him as early as the late forties. Which may mean he was involved in this strip as well.

May 30, 1948:

August 22, 1948:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I am down to my last Coogy. I have some more photo scans Paul Spector sent me, but all in all I think they'd be better appreciated if we have a book deal and they can be scanned in properly. I tried to take out the shadowy bits from two of the 1954 samples he sent me end ended up with something unreadable.

This 1953 Sunday illustrates where the strip went wrong. It's not for nothing the paper decided that Coogy's tag line would be 'there is nothing more uncertain then what next weeks Coogy will be about' or something along that line.

For those of you looking for something extra, here's an original Hi and Lois Sunday page that was sent to me by Dutch artist Gerben Valkema (see Elsje in the links). He bought it not realizing he was getting such an early sample.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Something Fisher going on

Monday Cartoon Day

Continuing my look at the cartoon journalism pieces from Harvey Kurtzman's Help, here's a surprising contribution from cartoonist Ed Fisher from Help #10. Kurtzman used all the exciting cartoonists of his period. If he had had the funds and the drive to keep all of these contributors (and pay for a couple of writers) for every issue of Help, it could have turned into an important satirical magazine to go with the 'satire boom' of the early sixties in the same way Private Eye was for the British satire crowd. Or maybe it needed a more energetic and less ponderous editor such as Peter Cook.

I couldn't find a lot of information on Ed Fisher. Most of my google searches lead me to Ed Fischer, a political cartoonist from Minnasota, who has his own website at I e-mailed him a couple of questions about these pages and he kindly e-mailed me back that he was Ed Fischer with a C. This was not the first time he was mistaken for the C-less Fisher, though. In a later e-mail he recalled being invited to an event in the UK, where they thought he was Fisher as well. At first he tried to correct the organisers, but they kept heaping so much praise unto him, that in the end he just sat back and enjoyed it. Great story. In the meantime, I am finding it hard to find more information on the earlier Fisher. He had worked for Kurtzman before, when he did two issues of a color Mad magazine imitation for Playboy Press. Unfortunately, this magazine, Trump failed (as well as Kurtzman's later tries, Humbug and Help). A third issue is rumored to be have been completed and still in the Playboy vaults. For the first issue Fisher did a feature on spiced up book covers for paperback editions of classic stories. Some of these were reprinted in his first solo cartoon book. For the second issue he did a cartoon. I'll have to check to see if Fisher worked for Playboy or the New Yorker around that time. He seems to have been among the cutting edge of New York cartoonists of that period.

For those of you interested in this type of work... Harvey Kurtzman's complete run of Humbug has recently been reprinted by Fantagraphics. All eleven issues have been reshot from the originals at a laregr size and commentary has been added by Kurtzman Estate manager Denis Kitchen. A reprint book with the best of Help has been rumored. There is no word yet on a Trump reprint, which would have to be done with the approval of Playboy (and would make much more sense if it contained material from the unpublished third issue). I do have doubles of both issues of Trump, which I am willing to part with for lots f money. I am asking $65 each or $120 for the paIR. They are in good condition and a steal at that price. I also have a couple of doubles for Humbug and Help, but those are much easier to get hold of.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sketchy Information

Sunday Leftover Day.

Last Tuesday I showed two more Coogy Sundays from 1953.They probably were the first and last episodes of s five part satirical story about 'singing cowboys'. Irv Spector's son Paul e-mailed me to tell me that he didn't have the missing Sundays either, but he did send me a closer shot of one of the panels in one of the Sundays I used. This shows Spector's inking technique quite well.

We also corresponded about the first of the two gags in those Sundays, where Spector shows that a real sheriff wouldn't wait for a good moment to fight it out with the villain, he would just should him in the back to take care he never killed anyone anymore. Paul asked me if I thought that said anything about his fathers political sensibilities. I replied, that it was a very typical exaggeration for a satirist. Like Harvey Kurtzman, Irv Spector seems to me a disappointed romantic, who attacks the romantic cliches of popular culture by comparing them to the much harsher reality. That doesn't mean he hates romantic notions or loves the world as it is. He just can't believe in them anymore. Kurtzman did a similar thing in one of the issues of Mad, when he compared movie cowboys with real cowboys. He never let anyone shoot anyone in the back, though.

Paul then sent me this piece, which has a similar harsh confrontation. It is also one of the few 1954 Coogy's I have ever seen.

If anyone related to Fantagraphics or The Comic Journal is reading this, let's get together to see if we can't do a feature on Spector in a future issue of Comic Journal. My ultimate goal would be to get together a full reprint of Coogy as a book, with all the extra material that Paul Spector has (including letters from readers and sketches for a possible revival/rethinking of Coogy and Mo as a normal strip). Of course, some research and buying would have to be done to meet my own standards (see the post about Betsy and Me a few months ago).

Friday, October 24, 2008

You're My Wonder Wall.

Yesterday I showed you two Jeanie Sunday by the relative unknown artist Leon Winick. Later in the fifties Winick worked on a Dennis the Menace knock-of for publisher Stanmor. Funny enough, Gill Fox, his predesessor on Jeanie was at that time working on the Sunday only gag filler Bumper to Bumper for the Daily News in a similar (but much better accomplished) Ketcham-derived style.

As promised I also have more work by Howard "Howie" Post. In one interview he stated he packaged a funny comic for DC. I think he misremembered. In fact he packaged a book called Wonderland for publisher Stanmor in 1945 and 1946, whixh probably lead to his assignments for DC in 1946 and onwards into the forties.

Wonderland was clearly inspired by the succes of Walt Kelly's Fairy Tale Parade issues of Dell's Four Color series. Not only did Post ink his stories in a style inspired by Kelly, he also used Kelly' handinked panel borders and the subject of the book was funny fairy tales, just like kelly's. Half the stories in each issue were drawn by Post. He may have written or even sketched others. There were only eight issues. The cover of the seventh issue was one of the most Kelly-like. guess that either Post was asked to join the DC funny line based on that book or he went into the DC's offices himself and used it to get the new assignment. He immediately went to work on a new feature for New Fun. I showed the originals foir one of the stories a couple of months ago. Clearly DC paid better than Stanmor, because he obviously spent a lot more time on that series. He also took over Presto Pete, which isn't strange as he was doing a magician feature in Wonderland as well.

Here is the cover to Wonderland #7:

The cover to #3:

Two one page fillers which show Post's problem to me... he may have been an interesting artist, but he rally wasn't much of a writer. His biggest successes are when he is illustrating someone else's work, which I will illustrate in a couple of later posts. One day I will have to compare these to the one page filler Mother Goose Rhymes pages Walt Kelly did for Raggedy Ann and Andy for you.

The last one page filler is from Wonderland #8. This you can compare yourselve to the elephants in Kelly's Ellefunnies.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Thursday newspaper story day.

Somewhere in march 1953 Gill Fox was replaced as Jeanie's artist by Leon Winick. Winick (who signed the strip Leon Win) was a gun-for-hire. The last Fox Sunday I have is from March 8, the first Winick Sunday from two weeks later. At first he tries to imitate the style of Fox, but he lacks the graphic skills to deliver more than a superfluous likeness. The storyline was changed as well. Jeanie would no longer be staying in New York, but she would be going on a tour of America, to give Selma Diamond some new opportunities for fresh humor. Strange then, that the March 22 Sunday still has the byline about 'two girls in New York' that was already dropped from Fox's last Sundays. My guess is that Gill Fox decided to leave the strip himself and was replaced by an artist who didn't mind that there weren't so many papers (and therefore less income). He I don't think Fox was replaced by any sort of editorial deciion regarding the direction or tone of the strip. In that case Winick would not have tried to imitate Fox's style.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Place Your Betts

Wednesday Advertising Day

I keep runing into new samples of old favorites...

Another of the Only Time Will Tell ads for Camels cigarettes. Give them a month and you will like them. In fact, we assure you you won't be able to do without them. Someone at Johnstone and Cushing working in a jazzed up version of the They'll Do It Every Time style. Maybe Fox, maybe Browne, I can't tell enymore.

And two more samples of Jack Betts advertising art. Both from his redular series Peter Pain for Ben-Gay and Neddy Nestlé for all sorts of Nestlé products. Click the labels for more samples and information.

All three are from a February 1 1953 Washington Star

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Howdy Coogy

Tuesday newspaper Comic Day.

In March and April of 1953 Irv Spector did another satirical series, this time targeting the popular 'singing cowboys' of movies and television. I seem to have the first and last episode of a five week story here. The first one is the sort of satire that would have appealed to Harvey Kurtzman, confronting the romantic reality of entertainment with the course reality of the real world...

March 22 1953:

April 26 1953:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Not so undercover assignment

Monday Cartoon Day

Continuing my look at the history of cartoon journalism, nest up is a rare gem.

For Help #9 Harvey Kurtzman sent his staffer Gloria Steinem to a New York Women only Turkish Bath (apparently before they became a favorite spot for homosexuals and Bette Midler). She was accompanied by a female cartoonist I have not seen before or ever since. Remember, this was before Steinem went undercover to a Playboy Club as a Bunny and made a name for herself.

I have two more samples from this period before jumping to the nineties. Is anyone has some suggestions for cartoon journalism (preferably in the popular media), I'd love to hear them. I have a big run of Entertainment Weekly magazines with stuff by Harvey Pekar, Chris ware and others... but am I missing something in between?

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I have been having some trouble getting onto the internet this weekend. For the diehards, I have decided to add another Walty Kelly story (not my own scans, I have to admit) from Animal Comics #30. The delightful mouse NIbble.