Archive for the ‘Classic Comics’ Category
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Women’s History Month continues with the above sequence found in artist T.E. Powers‘ 1912 collection of his continuing comic strip, Joys & Glooms. As evidenced by “Votes for the Women”, Powers was anti-Women’s Suffrage, his comedy touching upon several of the most popular fears & stereotypes of what would happen to men, should women gain the vote.
Click on the above comic strip to view it in large enough detail to read it.
NOTE: read first the top tier of panels across both pages, then the bottom tier.
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
This being New Year’s Day, when better to present a comic story in which the central character deals with the morning after results of over indulging!
Ten years ago, when I was working with Richard Olson and Robert Beerbohm to create the first instance of a Victorian Age Comics section, within the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, the listed items & photos mostly came from my collection (since then, plenty of other people have contributed material, so, no, don’t begin to think that I own a copy of everything you see listed there). Anyway, one of the items highlighted, was the paperback book The Clown, or The Banquet of Wit, published no earlier than 1851, by Fisher & Brother. Containing multiple sequential comic strips plus numerous cartoons, by a variety of artists, most (maybe all) of it reprinted from earlier sources, it was notable as the earliest example of such collection by an American publisher, that we knew of. (A few years later, Gabriel Laderman would contribute knowledge from his vastly larger Victorian Age Comics collection, revealing at least half a dozen equally rare similar type books, from the same time period (early 1850s). What their sequence of publication was, is currently undetermined.
Some of the material in The Clown, or The Banquet of Wit, I recognized as ripped off from foreign (mostly British) sources, some of it from American sources (which in turn still might have originated in Britain), and some, who knew? (Enforceable international copyright laws had yet to come into existence, and publishers stole material from foreign sources, in both directions of the Atlantic, with impunity.) The majority of the cartoons (and this applies to all the early 1850s paperbacks), had appeared before, inside American comic almanacs.
One of the comic strips in The Clown whose origin was unknown, was “The Adventures of Mr. Gulp” (which appears not only in The Clown, but in a few other titles later contributed to Overstreet by Laderman). I had taken an uncertain guess, based both on the artist initials “BR”, that the story might have been created by the American Read Brothers (cartoonists/creators of the Gold Rush graphic novel, Jeremiah Saddlebags). The Overstreet guide still lists that guess, followed by question marks to identify it as uncertain.
Just this past year, however, I discovered whence the story of Mr. Gulp truly originates — it is an unauthorized, pirated copy of the circa 1847 to 1850 comic strip book, The Glass, The Bottle’s Companion, by British cartoonist Thomas Onwhyn. It’s title an obvious attempt to capitalize on artist George Cruikshank’s highly successful 1846 temperance tale, The Bottle, Onwhyn’s The Glass likewise has an over-the-top warning about the dangers of drink.
Presented above, are the covers of both versions. (If you’re thinking, the cover of The Glass looks like something rigged up after the original cover was lost, all I can say, is that I own five different Onwhyn booklets in this identical format, acquired separately from different dealers, over several years, and all five have this same type of cover. )
Below, we first have the original Thomas Onwhyn version, which unfolds into a single long strip of panels. After that, we show the American piracy, in which not only the text has been altered, but the entire story was redrawn! (Being unauthorized, the publisher would have lacked the original printing plates, and so resorted to having it reillustrated & newly engraved.) Somebody had to do that redrawing. The initials “RB” in the final panel, do not appear in the original, thus, the Read Brothers still might have been involved. (Or, also likely, John H. Manning might have performed the task, given that he definitely illustrated the story which followed “Mr. Gulp”.
Click on the above & below pictures, to view the cartoons in detail, and read their captions.
The last panel shown in the above portion of the fold-out, captioned, “Mr. Gulp is carried to bed, and when there, is impressed with the idea that somebody is making an anvil of his head ”, is patterned after earlier broadsheet cartoons by George Cruikshank and Robert Seymour, in which tiny imps bang on the heads of those suffering from a hangover.
Beneath, start of the pirated American version. Art differences can be spotted in every panel. For instance, Panel One in the American version was widened to fit the new page arrangement. It now shows people reaching in from the other side of the table, plus a wall clock which had been behind the waiter’s head, is now found off to the left. For fun, you could open a second window of SuperITCH, and spend hours of enjoyment finding all the differences!
Beneath, the final two panels of the American “Mr. Gulp”, followed, on the right, by the first page of “Mose Keyser the Bowery Bully’s Trip to the California Gold Mines”, by John H. Manning, which I decided to show, since I had to scan the two open pages together, anyway. Note the “BR” initials in the final panel of “Mr. Gulp”. Again, those initials are not found in the original.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
On Christmas morning of 1913, one hundred years ago today, those lucky enough comics enthusiasts — and followers of Buster Brown in particular — rushed to discover beneath their Christmas Tree, a copy of the latest collection of their favorite prankster, that they’d been drooling over since Summer (and hopefully not that drooled copy)! Buster Brown At Home, by artist/creator R.F. Outcault, reprinting Buster‘s Sunday Strip misadventures, was published in July 1913 by the Frederick A. Stokes Company.
Extracted beneath, are several of the stories from that collection.
Click on the above & below pictures, to view the comic pages in detail, and read their balloons.
To view previously shown “Comic Book Christmas Gifts of One Hundred Years Ago”, click here.
Richard Felton Outcault Christmas Gift
Monday, December 16, 2013
Continuing our series of comic books that could have been given as Christmas Gifts 100 years ago, we have extracts from the remnants of one such gift — Mr. Twee-Deedle by Johnny Gruelle, published in 1913 by Cupples & Leon, and reprinting the Sunday newspaper strip by the same name.
(Guess which picture — the above or the below — was the work of artist Johnny Gruelle, and which was the work of the budding artist recipient of the book, drawn on the backsides of the pages! Let us hope that they made it in the art world. Or, some other career.)
The Gruelle page — if you’ve guessed which one it is — has lost its companion second half (each Sunday strip presented over two pages), but it still enough of a story to stand on its own. All of the other examples beneath, are (surviving) paired pages.
Click on the above & below pictures, to view the cartoons in detail, and read the balloons.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
This being December, it’s time to celebrate with our annual month-long posting of Christmas Comics! Last year’s weekly postings of books that could have been given as Christmas gifts to the comics fan of a century ago, proved rather popular, so starting this week we’ll make it annual tradition, with a round of cartoon collections published in 1913.
1913 was actually a shallow period for Hearst Era comics (or, “Platinum Age”, as they’re categorized in the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide), as publishers appeared lost for a new popular format. Other than a couple hanger-on titles not even appearing annually, the large, over-sized, oblong cardboard-covered color Sunday reprints, were already a thing of the past, as were the equally over-sized, long strip-shaped board books, reprinting daily strips. (In fact, we have none of the latter this year!) The highly popular cardboard-covered square-format for reprinting dailies four panels to the page, were at this point still several years into the future, post-WWI.
That said, we do have enough books to take us weekly to Christmas, starting with today’s entry, Little Shavers, by J.R. Shaver. This collection, published by the Century Company, reprints Shaver’s cartoons about children, that originally ran in Life magazine. We’ve scanned for you, a dozen examples.
Immediately beneath, is the cover of Little Shavers, while above is shown its title page. The caption for the cartoon on the title page (found with this same cartoon, further inside the book), is:
AN ULTIMATUM: “All right: if I can’t be captain, I won’t lend the ball.”
“I wish you’d make a face at her, Tillie; I’ve done the best I can.”
“Gee, Fellers! I hope Billy won’t go an’ turn State’s evidence.”
“Harold, you mustn’t eat all the peanuts, even if you are pretending to be a monkey. You must give sister some.”
“But, mother, I’m pretendin’ she’s some kind o’ animal wot doesn’t eat peanuts.”
“Orchestra seats are fifteen cents each.”
“All right. Gimme two. I’m blowin’ me mother off, an’ there ain’t nothin’ too good fer her.”
Knowledge is Power.
A Sporting Chance.
The lion and the Hornets.
“Won’t ye please hurry, Mister. He’s got my skates on.”
CHRISTMAS MORNING: Another fraud discovered.
“No, I don’t believe in you any more, but you may leave the things.”
To view previous years’ postings of Christmas Comics, click here.
Christmas Comics NYLife
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Today for Native American Heritage Month, we have a second extract artist L.P. Thompson‘s 1929-published collection, The Daily Oklahoman’s Outline of Oklahoma History. Like last week’s set of pages (this time from near the center of the book), they deal with the forced removal of Native Americans from their lands, into the confined borders of less desirable land, within Reservations set up in Oklahoma.
Click on the below pages, to make them large enough to read.
NativeAmericanHistory General Custer George Custer
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
The 1920′s and 30′s saw a trend of certain newspapers creating and publishing original educational comic strips chronologically presenting local history. The best known example of these strips, was Texas History Movies. Most of these histories — created by whites for their paper’s majority white audience — quickly gloss over the treatment of Native Americans, if they deal with the subject at all. Typical of that approach was the 1930 published Pictorial History of New Brunswick (shown here last year), in which Native Americans are depicted welcoming European settlers, followed almost immediately by a series of land exchanges from one European settler to the next, with zero explanation of how it got into white hands in the first place.
This year, for Native American Heritage Month, we have a few extracts from one of the rarer collections of these types of strips: The Daily Oklahoman’s Outline of Oklahoma History, created by the Daily Oklahoman‘s Art Director, L.P. Thompson. It ran in that paper from September 1928 to February 1929, with this collection published that same (1929) year. It was undoubtedly influenced by the slightly earlier Texas History Movies, just south of its borders.
While the comic strip histories from other states/territories only briefly took note of the presence of Native Americans, Oklahoma — a state into which many tribes were forcibly relocated, could not do so as easily. Yes, Outline of Oklahoma History is still written from the white perspective, but it at least touches on a number of events involving the interaction between white and native cultures, and including some of the atrocities committed by the conquering whites (albeit presented in a bland, non-threatening way). More than half of its pages includes Native Americans.
In today’s extract, I’ve skipped to Page 22, because I wanted to show the pages involving the forced Cherokee relocation to Oklahoma Reservations (known as the “Trail of Tears”).
Click on the above & below pictures, to view the pages in detail, and be able to read the text.
To find prior years’ posts involving Native American History, click here.
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
In 1877, medical journals and newspapers were filled with efforts to debunk what was being called “Blue Glass Mania” (or, Chromo-Therapy), in which fraudulent healers were claiming they could cure illnesses by bathing people in light passed through color glass. The practice was made popular by Augustus Pleasonton, who experimented with panes of colored glass in his greenhouse, publishing his claims in 1876, in The Influence of the Blue Ray of the Sunlight and of the Blue Colour of the Sky.
This blue glass mania obviously inspired comic artist Livingston Hopkins to bring back his recurring comic strip character, Professor Tigwissel, for that character’s eleventh adventure. “Professor Tigwissel’s Experiment with Blue Glass” (above), appeared on the front page of the February 22nd, 1877 edition of the (New York) Daily Graphic.
Click on the above comic strip, to view it in detail, and read the captions beneath each panel.
With it having been a year since I last posted a Tigwissel strip, below follows a review of all of the Professor’s appearances I’ve shown so far (there are more yet to come).
August 6th, 1873, The Baseless Fabric of a Vision, presents the 1st appearance of Hopkins’ Tigwissel prototype, Professor Simple. Simple strongly resembles the eventual look of Tigwissel.
Click on any picture below, to be taken to the individual posting explaining that episode.
July 8th, 1974, Tales of the Comet, Professor Simple’s 2nd appearance. Also found in this strip, is another character — “Mr. Tigwissel”.
February 22nd, 1875, a character who in appearance looks like the “Mr. Tigwissel” of the above strip, engaged in the scientific pursuit of Phrenology — and on our own artist, Livingston Hopkins, no less!
May 28th, 1875, Professor Tigwissel’s Life-Saving Apparatus. For Professor Tigwissel’s 1st appearance, Livingston Hopkins has now largely taken the look of Professor Simple, but (permanently, with this appearance), swapped in the name “Tigwissel”, from its previous use.
Professor Tigwissel’s 2nd appearance, July 3rd, 1875, The Day We Celebrate. In it, Tigwissel gets into a tussle with a Dr. Jingo, whom Hopkins will later give a second strip appearance of his own.
July 28th, 1875, the Professor’s 3rd appearance, in Professor Tigwissel’s Arctic Experience.
Tigwissel’s 4th appearance, consist of a few panels buried within the August 7th, 1875 strip, Midsummer Musings by our Cynical Artist.
Tigwissel’s 5th appearance (and for several decades incorrectly heralded as his debut appearance, by authors swiping from each other, none of them bothering to research the matter on their own) — September 11th, 1875, Professor Tigwissel’s Burglar Alarm.
September 25th, 1875, the Professor’s 6th appearance consists of a couple cameo panels, in The Calendar of Fashion — Calling in the White Hats.
Professor Tigwissel went rogue on his 7th appearance (you’ll have to click on the picture, and read the posting, to find out what I’m referring to), in the December 11th, 1875 episode, Professor Tigwissel’s Trip Up the Nile.
In his 8th appearance, January 10th, 1876, we learn of Professor Tigwissel’s Experiences with New Forces in Nature.
On January 15th, 1876, we got Tigwissel’s 9th appearance — Professor Tigwissel’s Journalistic Venture.
Professor Tigwissel reached his 10th appearance on March 18th, 1876, with a parody on a rather bizarre true life incident, in That Kentucky Meat Shower.
On May 1st, 1876, in A May Melange, Livingston Hopkins included in his piece, a drawing of a man who looks somewhat like Tigwissel, but is not named as such. I make note of it here, but I’m not officially counting this as a Tigwissel appearance.
In addition to the above appearances, as I’ve shown in other postings, in the 1880′s Livingston Hopkins swiped/re-used his own comic pieces — including ones involving Tigwissel — for his new Australian audience, in the Sydney Bulletin. In these rewrites, Professor Tigwissel’s name was dropped or changed.
To view all prior Tigwissel Tuesdays postings (which include other comic strip takes on scientists and science experiments), click here.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Nearly a year ago, we showed a number of cartoons of the Victorian Age cartoon character Mr. GoLightly, who some people out there contend was a real person (Charles Golightly), who in 1841 filed a patent for his riding rocket. We at SuperITCH contended his first, undated cartoon (below) was published circa 1830, and whoever filed the patent in 1841, did so as a joke. The fact that no GoLightly cartoon had been found with a pre-1841 date definitively printed on it, enabled the debate to continue.
To those who maintain that Mr. GoLightly’s invention & its patenting were real, I say sorry. The definitive proof that the joke preceded 1841, is in. (Not of course, that facts have ever ended debates.)
I found the above cartoon — clearly based upon the original cartoon version — printed on Page 53 of the Philadelphia published book, Every Body’s Album, Volume 1 (not to be confused with the earlier British publication of the same name). The date of that book’s publication — printed on its title page — was 1836. Interestingly, this American copy of the still earlier original British cartoon, refers to writers of patents (mayhaps inspiring the later prank filing).
Also of note, is that the Gold Rush-era American cartoon, Mr. Golightly Bound to California, appears to have incorporated several of the elements original to the 1836 American variation (i.e. the cigarette, and the smoke patterns emerging from the rear of the rocket, and out of its steam pressure cooker), while retaining the lost, flying hat of the original.
Click on the above & below pictures, to view the cartoons in detail, and read their captions.
To find previous postings of Tigwissel Tuesdays, click here. Next week — for posting #50 — we’ll return with an as-yet shown episode involving our namesake, Prof. Tigwissel himself!
Sunday, May 12, 2013
It wouldn’t be Mother’s Day, without an R.F. Outcault comic strip of Buster Brown tormenting his mom! Above, “Buster Brown Kidnapped”, scanned from the 1905 promotional giveaway magazine, “Mr. Melville B. Raymond’s Buster Brown”, used to advertise upcoming performances of the touring musical stage play.
Click on the above & below pictures, to view the pages in detail, and be able to read the text.
Beneath, two pages of photos from the play.
Richard Felton Outcault
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