Sunday, November 30, 2008

To The Gills

Monday Cartoon Day.

Hello, Gill Fox fans. I have shown so many different Gill Fox strips, I shouldn't be surprised there is even more. After abandoning Jeanie in 1953, I assumed Fox went back into advertising. Apparently he did a lot of illustration work on the side, a shown in the work for The Childen's magazine. For that headopted a 'modern' style, which we alsosee in this work for the newspaper magazine This Week in 1954 and 1958.

At the same time he was doing Bumper to Bumper as a Sunday only for the New York Postin a Hank Ketcham style. In 1958another strip in that style apears. This time it is more obvious. Wilbert is a simple knock-off of Dennis the Menace. It' smaller, probably cheaper and hasn't got the sour edge that sometimes can be felt in Dennis. Everything an editor likes. Except maybe a television show and ten years of national success. I don't think it is as funny as Bumper to Bumper, but it's still fun to see.

March 12 1959:

March 19 1959:

March 25 1959:

Sept 12 1959:

Sept 16 1959:

I got the impression that this panel was not published daily, but later I did find some earlier and later samples ofcartoons that were published unterruptedly.

Sept 21 1959:

Sept 22 1959:

Dec 29 1958:

Dec 30 1958:

Dec 31 1958:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Flagstones, Meet The Flagstones

Sunday Leftover Day.

Not satisfied that the earliest Hi and Lois Sundays were from 1958, two years after the first Sunday was supposed to have appeared, I went back and searched this particular paper and found this run from a early 1957.

March 3:

March 10:


March 24:

March 31:

Still not satisfied I looked further back and came up with these from 1956, the first four in the paper I was looking at...

November 4:

November 11:

November 18:

November 25:
Desperate Bid For Attention

Saturday Leftover Day.

Yesterday visitor Alexandre asked for more work by Dik Browne. Like me, he is a big fan of Hi and Lois. The good news is that Brian Walker told me on one of the Yahoo froums that a publisher had inquired aftger the rights for Hi and Lois. I hope they intend to publish a 'complete' series, because a. there is already a perfect Best Of by Brian himself (still available from a number of sources) and b. I am not really a fan of the later years, when it was changed into a 'young professional adults trying to juggle work and kids' strip into a more unashamedly family strip. Okay, Lois got a job as well, welling property,but that only had the effect of turning Hi into a much more oldfashioned stock character; the bumbling husband. To me, the real surprise about this strip is how 'hip' it was in it's first 15 years. Here are four black and white Sundays from 1958. The Sunday is supposed to have started in 1956, but these the earliest samples I have found yet.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Osh Say Can't You See

Friday Comic Book Day.

Here are some more Irv Spector pages madeavailable to me by Shane Glines. They came from one of those IW reprintsfrom the early sixties, Muggy-Doo #16. Which means thye came from on eof the first four issues of the 1950'd run.

To finish thisoff, here are two one pagers featuring a different character, called Elmer the Elk.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I Yam What I Yeat

Thursday Turkey Day.

Two Johnstone and Cushing produced images from the Nov 1958issue of Boy's Life.

Artist unknown:

The Tracey Twins by Dik Browne:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

In the last couple of months I have shown some of the impressive works of Gill Fox. Today I came across one ad he did for Johnstone and Cushing in 1951 I had kept back and I am showcasing it now.

From Jan 20 1951:

The reason I kept it back was, because it presents a new problem in determining the artists of these ads. As I have said many times before, I can't tell where Gill Fox ends and where Dik Browne starts in these early fifties ads. Even though this cough drop ad is signed, it adds another wrinkle to the problem. A couple of weeks after this ad, there is another one in exactly the same style. This one is signed too. But this time it isn't Fox's name that's on the tittle panel, it's Bill Williams!

Feb 16, 1952:

They look the same to me! Was Bill Wiliams another artist at Johnstone and Cushing working in the same styl;e. If so, I'd rather not know. Bill Williams is best known among collectors for his work in the early sixties with the Little Lulu comic book writer and artist John Stanley on two short lived titles called Dunc & Loo and Kookie. Their styles mixed very well. Stanley drew his scripts rather than typing them and he added a whole level of energy to Williams' otherwise dull work. I know Williams mostly from his long running boy scout series in the Boy Scout Monthly Boy's Life, that was produced by Johnstone and Cushing and also featured Dik Brown's much more interesting Tracey Twins.

An early signed Pee Wee from Dec 1953:

November 1958:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

No More Lazy Sundays.

Tuesday Comic Strip Day.

Dennis the Menace was an overnight succes. Of course Hank Ketcham, it's creator has toiled for a decade in cartoon magazines after a short period as a story artist at Disney, but when he hit upon the idea to create a panel about s different kind of boy than was usually seen in the newspapers,it took of immediately. Starting with only twelve papers in 1951, he already had enough papers to start a sunday version in a year. The Sunday would turn out to be just a big succes as the daily panel and very important to the 'franchise' because it gave the characters of the strip room to grow and express themselves.Much of what we now see as wuintessential Dennis, was started in the Sunday version. As most comic collectors know, most of these sundays were not drawn or written by Hank Ketcham himself. Although he kept a tight control over all aspects of the production, he relied on gag writers for his panels and the Sundays and employed a string of artists for the Sunday. At a certain point in the late fifties, the Sunday was even produced without his interference. How much control he had over it after that, isn't quite clear, although I get the impression it was less then he sometimes gets credit for and more than is usually made out in the fan press. At least the amount of control he kept when the daily panel was first taken over by a ghost, suggests he was not a man who could let go easily. So there must have been a period when the Sunday was starting when he was still doing it all by himself or at least keeping tight control over his assistants. Although I have a few Sundays from 1953, I have never seen any of the earlier ones. We kno that at least from 1954 cartoonist Al Wiseman was heavily involved. There is a blog devoted to the work of Wiseman at which I can heartily recommend. But I had never seen any of the earliest Sunday samples until I came across a whole slew of them at These copies are from microfiche, so thye aren't bookworthy, but they are good enough for my humble blog. I hope Fantagraphic will find agood source to bring out a book from those early years to accompany the excellent two year daily book series they are publishing. Until then these willhave to do. Note that a Mr. and Mrs. Wilson appear here quite early on. I'd have to check, but I get the impression they are shown here as neighbours before they appear in the daily panel.

The Sunday seems to have started in March or even earlier. Here is what I could retrieve.

May 251952:

July 13 1952:

Aug 17 1952:

Aug 24 1952:

Sept 14 1952:

Sept 21 1952:

Sept 28 1952:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Menagerilly we roll Along

Monday Cartoon Day.

I've been playing around with this source for microfiche copies of newspapers. Often the quality isn't superb, but it has enabled me to unearth some rarities even I have never seen. First off, here are two weeks of the Disney panel Merry Menagerie. Whenever I see it this series never ceases to charm me. The first run I came across was from 1960, when I believe Roger Armstrong did the art. These two weeks are from 1955, artist unknown. The gags seem to have been supplied by everyone in the Disney studio who had a joke to submit. This should be a favorite of every story artist in the animation industry. Charming and maybe a bit dated, but a lot of visual gags still hold up. I particulary like the joke with the monkeys. . it didn'trun forever and is a true gem of the late fifties and early sixties, the period in cartooning this blog celebrates. I have been told it was often reprinted in Walt Disney's Comics And Stories.

The original above is from a Russ Cochran Auction in 2007 and dates from 1948. I missed out on a bunch of originals myself on e-bay two years ago. Another internet source credits the art to Bob Grant. Maybe a Disney expert can help me.

Here's another original from Eric Agena's site. He credits the strip to Bob Grant too.