Super I.T.C.H » 2011 » September
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Craig Yoe:
Archie's Mad House Krazy Kat & The Art of George Herriman: A Celebration
Archie's Mad House The Carl Barks Big Book of Barney Bear
Archie's Mad House Amazing 3-D Comics
Archie's Mad House Archie's Mad House
Archie's Mad House The Great Treasury of Christmas Comic Book Stories
Archie's Mad House The Official Fart Book
Archie's Mad House The Official Barf Book
Popeye: The Great Comic Book Tales of Bud Sagendorf Popeye: The Great Comic Book Tales of Bud Sagendorf
Archie: Seven Decades of America's Favorite Teenagers... And Beyond! Archie: Seven Decades of America's Favorite Teenagers... And Beyond!
Dick Briefer's Frankenstein Dick Briefer's Frankenstein
Barney Google: Gambling, Horse Races, and High-Toned Women Barney Google: Gambling, Horse Races, and High-Toned Women
Felix The Cat: The Great Comic Book Tails Felix The Cat: The Great Comic Book Tails
Klassic Krazy Kool Kids Komics The Golden Collection of Klassic Krazy Kool KIDS KOMICS"
"Another amazing book from Craig Yoe!"
-Jerry Beck
CartoonBrew.com
Dan DeCarlo's Jetta Dan DeCarlo's Jetta
"A long-forgotten comic book gem."
-Mark Frauenfelder
BoingBoing.net
The Complete Milt Gross Comic Books and Life Story The Complete Milt Gross Comic Books and Life Story
"Wonderful!"
-Playboy magazine
"Stunningly beautiful!"
- The Forward
"An absolute must-have."
-Jerry Beck
CartoonBrew.com
The Art of Ditko
The Art of Ditko
"Craig's book revealed to me a genius I had ignored my entire life."
-Mark Frauenfelder
BoingBoing.net
The Greatest Anti-War Cartoons
The Great Anti-War Cartoons
Introduction by Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus
"Pencils for Peace!"
-The Washington Post
Boody: The Bizarre Comics of Boody Rogers
Boody: The Bizarre Comics of Boody Rogers
"Crazy, fun, absurd!"
-Mark Frauenfelder
BoingBoing.net
More books by Craig Yoe

Get these books by
Craig Yoe:
Archie's Mad House Krazy Kat & The Art of George Herriman: A Celebration
Archie's Mad House The Carl Barks Big Book of Barney Bear
Archie's Mad House Amazing 3-D Comics
Archie's Mad House Archie's Mad House
Archie's Mad House The Great Treasury of Christmas Comic Book Stories
Archie's Mad House The Official Fart Book
Archie's Mad House The Official Barf Book
Popeye: The Great Comic Book Tales of Bud Sagendorf Popeye: The Great Comic Book Tales of Bud Sagendorf
Archie: Seven Decades of America's Favorite Teenagers... And Beyond! Archie: Seven Decades of America's Favorite Teenagers... And Beyond!
Dick Briefer's Frankenstein Dick Briefer's Frankenstein
Barney Google: Gambling, Horse Races, and High-Toned Women Barney Google: Gambling, Horse Races, and High-Toned Women
Felix The Cat: The Great Comic Book Tails Felix The Cat: The Great Comic Book Tails
Klassic Krazy Kool Kids Komics The Golden Collection of Klassic Krazy Kool KIDS KOMICS"
"Another amazing book from Craig Yoe!"
-Jerry Beck
CartoonBrew.com
Dan DeCarlo's Jetta Dan DeCarlo's Jetta
"A long-forgotten comic book gem."
-Mark Frauenfelder
BoingBoing.net
The Complete Milt Gross Comic Books and Life Story The Complete Milt Gross Comic Books and Life Story
"Wonderful!"
-Playboy magazine
"Stunningly beautiful!"
- The Forward
"An absolute must-have."
-Jerry Beck
CartoonBrew.com
The Art of Ditko
The Art of Ditko
"Craig's book revealed to me a genius I had ignored my entire life."
-Mark Frauenfelder
BoingBoing.net
The Greatest Anti-War Cartoons
The Great Anti-War Cartoons
Introduction by Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus
"Pencils for Peace!"
-The Washington Post
Boody: The Bizarre Comics of Boody Rogers
Boody: The Bizarre Comics of Boody Rogers
"Crazy, fun, absurd!"
-Mark Frauenfelder
BoingBoing.net
More books by Craig Yoe

Archive for September, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Leapin’ Lizards # 496

 

 

Here we have the amazingly detailed art of Aldredo Alcala’s Voltar--and knowing the artists’d reputation for speed rivaling that of Sergio Aragones, this whole strip was probably dashed off over lunch!

http://diversionsofthegroovykind.blogspot.com/2011/09/black-and-white-wednesday-comes-end.html

The politically incorrect aspects of this National Lampoon story haven’t aged well at all but the art still rules–Frank Frazetta and Neal Adams on Dragula.

http://thehorrorsofitall.blogspot.com/2011/09/dragula-queen-of-darkness.html

 

Here is Gil Kane’s His Name is Savage, legendary but ultimately failed attempt at doing something different with comics for grown-ups in the late sixties.

http://goldenagecomicbookstories.blogspot.com/2011/09/great-gil-kane-1926-2000-his-name-is.html

After Segar and Sagendorf, George Wildman arguably became the next great Popeye stylist with a decade or so of dealing with the sailor for Charlton Comics.

http://www.bigblogcomics.com/2011/09/george-wildmans-popeye.html

Steven Thompson
booksteve

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

D. J. David B. Spins Comics-Tunes: Sgt. Rock ‘n’ Roll

 

 

A little while back (August 16th to be exact) we spotlighted Amazing 3-D Comics from Yoe Books (our gracious hosts here at the I.T.C.H. blog) featuring an amazing multi-level lenticular cover by comics legend Joe Kubert. I thought it was about time we paid tribute to Joe. So that’s precisely what I’m doing!

In addition to inventing 3-D comics (with Norman Maurer), an accomplishment for which Kubert would hold a privileged place in comics history for that alone, Joe drew approximately one bajillion pages of comic books. Although Mr. K’s resume includes things like the first Silver Age appearance of The Flash and a solid run on Hawkman, he is perhaps best known for his incredible output on the DC war comics, especially Sgt. Rock.

     

 

click the cover for a larger view

    

    

    

 

It just so happens that there’s a song about Sgt. Rock. (Otherwise, why would I bring it up? It is Comics Tunes Tuesday, after all.) No less than the band XTC is behind this musical tribute to the leader of Easy Co. and his long-time artist. Joe Kubert we salute you!

 

  

Click the ever-popular link to listen:

 

 

Sgt Rock (Is Going To Help Me) – XTC

 

David B
DJ David B.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tigwissel Tuesdays #11: Contemporaries: Judy Magazine, October 28, 1874

Jenkinson, by Archibald Chasemore
October 28th, 1874

Above, from the October 28th, 1874 issue of Judy magazine, is Episode 51 of artist Archibald Chasemore‘s series, Rattletrap Rhymes. (I do not believe Rattletrap Rhymes contained any continuing characters, but I’ll be honest and say that I haven’t fully checked.) This episode features a highly Tigwissel-appearing egghead inventor, named Jenkinson. It appeared prior to the 1st Tigwissel comic strip by Hopkins, but after the two appearances of Hopkins’ Tigwissel prototype, Professor Simple.

Tigwissel‘s home, The Daily Graphic regularly reprinted Judy comic strips. And, one would imagine, Judy’s publishers likely knew this, and may very well have been obtaining issues of The Daily Graphic.

The title of this episode — Wollybollybor! — might possibly have taken inspiration from the 1871-published British collection of Wilhem Busch comics, Fools’ Paradise, whose longer title was, “Walk Up! Walk Up! and see the Fools’ Paradise with the Many Wonderful Adventures there as seen in the Strange Surprising Peep Show of Professor Wolley Cobble!”.

(NOTE: Click on the above picture, to open a larger version;
Click on the below, to see the comic strips those images were extracted from.
)

Compare the visual design of Chasemore’s inventor, Jenkinson, above, with Hopkin‘s pre-Tigwissel prototype, Professor Simple, on July 8th, 1874 (below left), and his first Professor Tigwissel (below right), on May 28th, 1875.

Professor Simple, 2nd App.
July 8th, 1874

Professor Tigwissel, 1st App.
May 28th, 1875

For prior entries in this series, click here on Tigwissel Tuesdays.

Doug Wheeler

BritJudy

Doug
Doug

Monday, September 26, 2011

COMIC BOOK COMPULSIVE — Meet Angel #7

As I have repeatedly been saying during the late 60’s, early 70’s the great superhero boom ended unexpectedly and publishers like Marvel and DC were desperate enough to try just about anything else. Of course just about everything else they tried were also failures but if nothing else they were frequently interesting failures. And high concepts didn’t get much higher than the private eyes Angel O’Day and her talking gorilla partner Sam Simeon, a.k.a. Angel and the Ape. Created by E. Nelson Bridwell and penciled by Bob Oksner and inked by Ted Blaisdell (later issues featured stories by John Albano and inks by Wally Wood). Before the actual comics appeared Angel and the Ape were introduced via a striking series of house ads and the memorable (well, I still remember it) “Who are they?  What are they?  Angel and the Ape!” slogan.

 

They made their first appearance in Showcase #77…

Then went onto have a series of their own that ran six issues…

…and one issue of Meet Angel. You know, I bet there’s an interesting story behind that; I just wish to hell that I knew what it was. Angel and Ape was, if nothing else, absolutely original, overstuffed with pure potential but it was always one of those concepts that always worked better in theory than practice. It should have but never quite worked, not creatively and certainly not with readers but times being tough and having already invested in six issues of it DC obviously decided to give the series another chance. Maybe, the thinking probably went, the premise just needed a little tweaking, and clearly someone at DC decided the problem with Angel and the Ape was the Ape.

Which upon reflection seems an insanely counter intuitive thing for DC to do, this being the publisher who essentially institutionalized the convention that an ape on your cover equaled increased sales. Even before the title change Sam began to be downplayed on the covers; starting with #4 the word “Meet” was inserted above the logo (along with a miniature Angel head) and the “Angel”portion grew to the point it dwarfed “the Ape”. And obviously that unknown “someone’ decided introducing elements of horror comedy might also help because the same sort of comic relief monsters who appear on the cover of Meet Angel #7 show up on the cover of Angel and the Ape #5. Naturally in neither case do the monsters actually appear in the comics themselves and having been drawn by Bob Oskner they naturally look like they escaped from an issue of The Adventures of Jerry Lewis.

 

 

Steve Bennett
Steveland

Monday, September 26, 2011

Rainin’ Men # 495

 

 

Those Bronze Age Babies go back and forth over one of my personal all-time favorite Legion of Superheroes stories from Adventure  Comics, Jim Shooter’s introduction of Mordru.

http://bronzeagebabies.blogspot.com/2011/09/finding-silver-in-bronze-lce-c-49.html

Meanwhile, The Magic Whistle blows for part one of Morty Meekle, a Dell Four-Color adaptation of Dick Cavalli’s newspaper strip that would later evolve into the popular Winthrop.

http://themagicwhistle.blogspot.com/2011/09/morty-meekle-1-of-4.html

Heading up North, our old cool cave-dwelling pal Calvin offers a survey of some pretty nifty recent superhero cosplay photos.

http://calvinscanadiancaveofcool.blogspot.com/2011/09/cosplay-of-week_26.html

Finally this fine (or rainy depending on where you are) Monday morning, here some nifty and keen Atlas covers for Marvel Boy by the likes of Bill Everett!

http://ripjaggerdojo.blogspot.com/2011/09/astonishing-marvel-boy.html

Steven Thompson
booksteve

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Coughin’ Coughs # 494

Joan Howard Maurer once told me that her husband Norman supervised (and often drew) every Three Stooges comic put out in his lifetime but one doesn’t see much of his style in this 1961 issue.

http://comicreadinglibrary.blogspot.com/2011/09/four-color-1187-three-stooges.html

Here’s some early, fun Alan Moore (with art by Bryan Talbot) from the eighties, the Golden Age of Tharg’s weekly 2000AD comic in the UK.

http://grantbridgestreet.blogspot.com/2011/09/wages-of-sin-by-alan-moore-and-bryan.html

Resettled in Europe, Sequential Crush’s Jaccque Nodell discusses Jim Steranko’s amazing and memorable Marvel romance story with Jim Steranko.

http://sequentialcrush.blogspot.com/2011/09/my-chat-with-jim-steranko-on-his-only.html

Finally today, here’s the story of the day Italian dictator Benito Mussolini banned Popeye and Mickey Mouse.

http://ohdannyboy.blogspot.com/2011/09/day-mussolini-banned-mickey-mouse.html

Steven Thompson
booksteve

Friday, September 23, 2011

COMIC BOOK COMPULSIVE — Wonder Comics #1

With it’s first issue released in 1944 Wonder Comics from Nedor/Standard/Better Publications entered the great Golden Age superhero comic derby pretty late in the game.  And even though it featured a strong title and as per usual great covers by the legendary Alex Schomburg the rest of the contents weren’t all that wonderful, even by the frequently wanting standards of Nedor/Standard/Better.  Clearly the publisher had a lot of faith in their headliner The Grim Reaper, who was sort of a powerless factory second version of The Black Terror whose major distinguishing feature was he initially operated behind enemy lines.  He carried both a gun and knife and wasn’t afraid to use either, that and his grim visage might have actually have been able to strike genuine fear into the hearts of the Axis. That is if he hadn’t been stuck wearing a white long john shirt that looked like it was a Fighting Yank cast off.  It wasn’t a good look for him, and it didn’t wear any better on The Grim Reaper.

The rest of Wonder Comics contents were exactly the sort of hodgepodge of genres  you’d expect to find in a comic book from that late in the 1940’s when superheroes were on the wane and publishers weren’t exactly sure what was next.  The other crime fighters presented came mostly in plainclothes, like a pair of privates who for no discernable reason, other than marketing I suppose, were dubbed The Supersleuths (one word) and Jill Trent, Science Sleuth. There was Spectro the Mind Reader, a telepath who in spite of not being a stage magician insisted on fighting crime in a three piece blue suit with tails and a literally star spangled cape.

There were also quite a few humor features, like the just odd enough to be interesting Paw Tucket signed by Gil Turner, a funny animal called Filbert Fox by Carl Wessler, a humor in uniform outing called GI Andy and even one page featuring Zippie, Nedor’s Archie in residence (signed by Christian comic pioneer Al Hartley who went onto to draw the actual article).

And like so many other publishers before them Nedor decided what their comic absolutely needed was a superhero who shared a name with the comic he starred in and so in #7 they introduced Brad Spencer, Wonderman. Not only was he one of the rare superheroes that in spite of the mask (which he almost exclusively wore just on the covers for some reason) also went by his given name. Though in his case the use of a qualifier might have been an attempt to avoid the legal woes that stuck the other Wonderman who appeared in another Wonder Comics.

Regardless, Brad was a strange bird, a costumed hero operating on present day earth who battled extraterrestrial incursions on a more or less serial fashion. The alien menace might have been thwarted and even presumed death at the end of an entry, but they’d be right back next month starting up where they had left off. Plus the art was, well, weird, I mean primitive Grandma Moses, ‘outsider’ artist Fletcher Hanks weird.

See, what I mean? Weird. But that’s a subject for another time.

As most of you must know by now I love robots but then it’s understandable, I was a kid and kids love robots.  Which is, I suppose, why there were a surprising number of robot strips in Golden Age comics. Just off the top of my head there was Robotman, Electro, Marvex , Bozo and perhaps my favorite, Flexo the Ruber Man. Who in spite of his name wasn’t a stretching superhero, but rather a robot made out of rubber. He’s much maligned and mocked by guys such as myself, but having grown up in Akron, Ohio, formerly the rubber capital of the rubber, I’ve always felt a certain kinship with him. 

Plus, seriously, a robot, made out of rubber; how cool is that?

Maybe they were all just a little too ahead of their times but none of them was exactly a hit with the kids, especially poor Mekano, who appeared exactly once in following 15 page story. Which is a damn shame because, an All-American Boy and his giant robot smashing the Nazi’s and Japanese, that’s a comic I’d buy now.

Steve Bennett
Steveland

Friday, September 23, 2011

Losin’ Minds # 493

 

 

Using some Scorchy Smith and a bunch of Charlton cowboy stories, we have here a comparison of the fifties work of artists Pete Morisi and George Tuska.

http://allthingsger.blogspot.com/2011/09/it-couldnt-have-been-more-easy-friday.html

Blogged and Boarded bills itself as “One Man’s Journey Through the Marvel Universe” and it’s a fun one indeed as it’s filtered through modern sensibilities.

http://bloggedandboarded.blogspot.com/

Here’s two stories by Golden Age artist and Milton Caniff acolyte Lee Elias, in later years a well-respected teacher at the Kubert School.

http://pappysgoldenage.blogspot.com/2011/09/number-1022-brush-and-pen-two-by-lee.html

 

Finally today, here’s a Tumblr page dedicated to the ever popular out of context comic panel, in this case all featuring Archie and his Riverdale pals and gals.

http://archieoutofcontext.tumblr.com/

Steven Thompson
booksteve

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kickin’ Jams # 492

 

 

 

What’s black and white and red all over? In this case it’s a cool Dracula story from 1973 written by Steve Gerber with lovely art by Rich Buckler (with Pablo Marcos).

http://diversionsofthegroovykind.blogspot.com/2011/09/black-and-white-wednesday-to-walk-again.html

Here we have a goodly selection of illustrations by the man who may well be my favorite artist currently working in mainstream comics, the great Alan Davis.

http://grantbridgestreet.blogspot.com/2011/09/alan-davis.html

Mask of Medusa is an early work by the great comics stylist Pete Morisi, later a full-time policeman who continued to dabble in comics at night as PAM.

http://thehorrorsofitall.blogspot.com/2011/09/mask-of-medusa.html

Finally today, there’s an upcoming benefit in Berkeley, California for pioneering underground comics artist, S. Clay Wilson. Find all the details here:

http://www.escapistcomics.com/2011/09/18/s-clay-wilson-benefit-signing-and-auction/

Steven Thompson
booksteve

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tigwissel Tuesdays #10: Professor Tigwissel’s Burglar Alarm, September 11th, 1875

We come now, to the moment of some gnashing of teeth. Professor Tigwissel’s Burglar Alarm. Published on the front page of the September 11th, 1875 edition of the (New York) Daily Graphic. The fifth published appearance of artist Livingston Hopkins’ recurring comic strip character, Professor Tigwissel.

Let me repeat for emphasis — the fifth appearance. Not Tigwissel’s “first” appearance. Nor anywhere close to being “the first comic strip in a newspaper”, as has for well more than a decade been reported incorrectly by a multitude of sources. Misinformation that, with the advent of the internet, has become rapidly disseminated and repeated by more and more outlets each every year, primarily by those providing long “On this Day In History”-type listings. Likely made worse, by our collective desire to find good things that happened on the now-infamous day of September 11th.

Before continuing into my rant against those whose “research” into history consists of repeating information others have written/said, without any attempt to verify that information (and, with rare exception, with no creditation as to their source) — before I continue that rant — please, first, click on the above picture, and enjoy Livingston Hopkins’ masterpiece of humor, Professor Tigwissel’s Burglar Alarm. First Tigwissel or fifth, it’s still a masterpiece of comic art, and deserves to be appreciated upon its own merits.

(NOTE: Click on the picture above, to make it large enough to read!)

Enjoy it? I hope so. Now, back to the rant…

I’ll admit, that I approached writing this particular post with some pre-conceived notions as to how this widespread error came to be. I was relatively certain that it had originated with an innocuously written reference by editor Clark Kinnaird. I’d thought, that others had read into his more carefully phrased statement what they wanted to be there, then misquoted it. And that misquote had happened on the internet. And, that once one person had made this mistake, that tons of others with “This-Day-in-History”-type websites, preferring to simply find their “facts” from other websites via quickie internet searches, instead of by looking it up in vetted published print books (or, God Forbid, conducting actual first hand research), had simply stolen from the person who made the original error. Then more websites swiped from them. And more websites copied from those. Etc. Etc.

However, I’d be a hypocrite concerning researching/verifying facts, if I didn’t first research whether my assumptions were correct before stating them. They weren’t correct (or at least, not entirely — I still think at least some of this involves websites copying from each other). But the origin of the mistake comes from print. Not from the internet.

What has me going is not only that for years, multiple uninformed sources have claimed that the September 11th, 1875 episode of Professor Tigwissel was that character’s first appearance. The more egregious issue for me, is that, repeatedly, the above episode has been cited as “the first comic strip in a newspaper”. I.e, as the starting point for all comic strips (in newspapers)! Those who follow SuperI.T.C.H., have in recent weeks seen the four Tigwissel episodes which precede the above, as well as cartoons involving earlier Tigwissel-prototypes by Hopkins (click here on Tigwissel Tuesdays, to view these now). So, obviously, the date for the first Professor Tigwissel episode, has been misreported.

Amongst the more prominent sources to get it wrong, is Zippy the Pinhead, led astray by a misinformed fan. In the below March 21st, 2004 episode by artist/creator Bill Griffith, which integrates Hopkins’ black & white art from Professor Tigwissel’s Burglar Alarm, Griffith avoids claiming that the September 11th episode was Tigwissel’s first, but twice asserts that Tigwissel was “the first comic strip character”, plus gets the publication Tigwissel appeared in wrong, claiming it to have run in 1875, in the non-existant New York Daily Telegraph).

Others incorrectly assigning Tigwissel to this same fictional 1870s newspaper, are: The New York State Library, Bill Lucey’s The Morning Delivery, and a September/October 2009 Minnesota Orchestra program guide, each of them asserting that The New York Daily Telegraph was the first American newspaper to feature a comic strip beginning September 11, 1875 called Professor Tigwissel’s Burglar Alarm.”

Meanwhile, Conservative Talk, Those Were the Days/Today in History, On This Day, Timeline Cartoons, Timelines of History, The Nostalgia League, Brighter Side of History, the Arizona Daily Wildcat, Chronology of Chinese History, and the Massachusetts Rifle Association assign Tigwissel‘s appearance either to the New York Daily Graphics (the first two), or, New York Daily Graphics (the rest of the above).

The proper title for the newspaper that Professor Tigwissel appeared in, is simply “Daily Graphic” (non-plural). So, every one of the above sources have listed it wrong. (And the above is hardly an exhaustive list — it’s simply the sites with the most hits, or ones I found more strange or amusing, until I got bored with finding references and plugging in their hyperlinks — there are hundreds more.) The reason all my references to this paper are phrased as “(New York) Daily Graphic“, is because “New York” is not part of the title, but, as there was also a Daily Graphic published in London, it is necessary to mention New York to distinguish them.

All but three of the above citings use — with slight variations accountable as minor rewriting of the unnamed sources they are copying from — the following type phrasing: “September 11, 1875 — Professor Tigwissel’s Burglar Alarm appeared in the New York Daily Graphics newspaper. 17 successive pictures that filled a full page made up the first comic strip to be published in a newspaper.” Also mentioning the “17 successive pictures” line, but at least getting the title of the New York Daily Graphic correct (the only two I found who did, until I got bored with listing websites), are Livingston Hopkins bio pages/sites, found on the Comics History website Lambiek (which I was surprised to find — they know better), and Australian Military History site The Harrower Collection. Lastly, the award for Can’t-be-Bothered-to-Perform-the-Least-Bit-of-Fact-Checking — in that at this point any internet search for Tigwissel will pop up the prior episodes now listed under Tigwissel Tuesdays/SuperITCH — goes to, unsurprisingly in this destroyed-by-Wall Street economy — Investor’s Hub Stock Goodies of the Week, who just last week posted their misinformed version of the Professor Tigwissel’s Burglar Alarm bit.

The “17 successive pictures” phrase — which again, appears in the majority of listings — is particularly revealing as to the origin point from which most (and possibly all) of the above got their (mis)information.

I mentioned above, that before attempting to research where this error had originated from, I had assumed it had started as a misreading of something written by Clark Kinnaird. Kinnaird who edited the book Rube Goldberg vs. The Machine Age, published by Hastings House, NY, NY, in 1968. In the back of this collection of Goldberg cartoons, starting on page 202, Clark included an appendix, titled, “Rise of Comic Art Up to Goldberg And Its Advancement in His Era”. According to a footnote on page 202, the appendix is described as:

‘Prepared by Clark Kinnaird. Portions were originally published in a pamphlet, “Fifty Years of the Comics,” for the world’s first traveling exhibition of comic art, 1948. A rearrangement for The Funnies Annual No.1 (Avon Books: New York, 1959) was reprinted without illustrations in The Funnies: An American Idiom, edited by Harry Manning White & Robert H. Abel (Macmillan: New York: 1963). A revision, with illustrations, was made by the author for an Italian edition of the latter (Valentino Bompiani & Co.: Milan, 1965). Further revisions and additions have been made for this book.’

In the appendix, on page 204, we find the below entry, while opposite (page 205) is a full page reprinting of the same Professor Tigwissel episode that we are featuring today:

’1875: Livingston Hopkins, illustrator for “Josh Billings” humor, had in New York Daily Graphic, one of the first, if not first U.S. newspaper strip with a continuing character. See [next page] Professor Tigwissel’s Burglar Alarm. The series was given this large format.’

Kinnaird, while hopeful, was careful in his phrasing. Note all the qualifiers in what he said. “One of”, “if not”, “U.S. newspaper”, and “with a continuing character”. Altogether, these specify only “maybe” was the first but not for sure, not counting publications outside the U.S., only counting newspapers as opposed to other types of publications, and only for comics strips with recurring/continuing characters, versus one-shot sequential comic strips in whose characters never appeared again. While he reprinted the very September 11th Professor Tigwissel’s Burglar Alarm that every one else cites, Kinnaird never outright says that this was the absolute first Tigwissel. Rather, he merely implies that Professor Tigwissel began in 1875. In his uncertainty, Kinnaird has correctly hedged his bets. Many of his cautious qualifiers are found missing in modern citings.

Also notably different, is that Kinnaird did not use the “17 successive pictures” phrasing that found nearly everywhere else. Meaning that this 1968 version of Kinnaird’s chronological comics history listing, is not the source from which every one else copied. But, what about the earlier versions of Kinnaird’s essay? Might the “17 successive pictures” phrasing have been used in one of these? Might Kinnaird have revealed more information about Livingston Hopkins’ Professor Tigwissel? From the moment I was first pointed towards Kinnaird’s reference to Tigwissel, I was troubled by its ambiguity. For someone to say that this was a continuing character, they should first have knowledge of more than one episode/appearance. Clark Kinnaird only showed one episode in the back of the 1968 Rube Goldberg vs. The Machine Age, and did not mention the date of any other episodes. I was curious whether Kinnaird might have, on another occasion, provided the proof, by listing and/or showing, other Tigwissel episodes.

Hunting local library catalogs for the earlier versions of Clark Kinnaird’s essay, as listed in the front of his essay in the Rube Goldberg book, I was able to find a copy of the 1963 The Funnies: An American Idiom, edited by Harry Manning White & Robert H. Abel. This book is a collection of essays on comics by various authors. One of which was a similar chronological comic history to that which appeared in Rube Goldberg vs. The Machine Age, written by Clark Kinnaird, and this time titled, “Cavalcade of the Funnies”. It appeared on pages 88 thru 96. And, it contained zero references to Livingston Hopkins, Professor Tigwissel, or anything important happening regarding comics, in 1875.

Clearly, Clark Kinnaird had, in 1963, no knowledge of the Professor Tigwissel comic strip. He had learned of it at some point after 1963, and before/by 1968. There also remained the matter of ubiquitous “17 successive pictures” phrase — it did not originate with Clark Kinnaird. So, where did it come from?

As I’ve previously indicated, nearly every one who has listed the Professor Tigwissel’s Burglar Alarm complete with incorrect information/claims, further failed to cite where they got their information from.

Nearly.

The websites were all created by adults. Who should know better than providing information they themselves did not discover/create, without providing the source. However, amongst the many websites containing the Tigwissel tidbit which I did not list — basically because it just play to my fair sense — are websites created by students. And God Bless one middle-schooler (there may be more — I stopped looking after finding this). For he, listed his source! (Why aren’t I naming him? I’m torn between the fact that congratulating him, would also point out that his site has errors.)

The winner as the starting point in this proliferation of misinformation (I hope you didn’t cheat by glancing in advance at the cover to the left), is, Famous First Facts, by Joseph Nathan Kane. Kane’s compendium of factoids has been a favorite of library reference sections, since its inception in 1933. Updated regularly, there are a great many editions. There are now other authors listed on the book. But, as the error regarding Tigwissel dates back to him, I am only mentioning his name here. The 1997 edition (page 404, fact #5687) and the 2006 edition (page 349, fact #4580) contain identical entries on Tigwissel (“First” is implied for everything in the book):

(First) ‘Comic Strip in a Newspaper was published on September 11, 1875, in the New York Daily Graphic, New York City, snd showed 17 successive pictures on one full page. It was entitled “Professor Tigwissel’s Burglar Alarm”.’

Going back to the 1964 published edition (on page 145; it does not yet use fact numbering), it very similarly stated:

(First) ‘Newspaper Cartoon Strip was published September 11, 1875, in the New York Daily Graphic and showed seventeen successive pictures on one full page. It was entitled “Professor Tigwissel’s Burglar Alarm”

There are a few things to remark on here. First, of course, is the “17 successive pictures” description. Pretty much proof that all the sites out on the web, either got their information from Famous First Facts, or else, stole it from others, who had stolen it from others, who had gotten it from Famous First Facts. Second, in 1964, it had the name of the newspaper correct, but, by 1997 (or earlier), New York Daily Graphic had incorrectly become New York Daily Graphic. Third, Daily Graphic is not Daily Graphics. Nor, is it Daily Telegraph. The question here, is whether these occurred because one of creators of the internet site committed these errors, which then got copied. Or, if there are other Famous First Facts editions, which listed this as the newspaper title. (I’ve only looked at the 1964, 1997, and 2006 editions — I’d particularly be interested in what how pre-1964 editions might differ, but I do not have access to any.)

Fourth, the 1964 edition of Famous First Facts, provides the most likely explanation for why Clark Kinnaird knew nothing of Tigwissel in 1963, but by 1968, had heard of Tigwissel, and tracked down a copy of the September 11th, 1875 newspaper to reprint from. It also likely explains why Kinnaird was so ambiguous regarding Tigwissel — because, if his source of information was Famous First Facts, then, Kinnaird would have had no proof of other episodes without conducting a search for them himself. This would explain his silence regarding other Tigwissel dates or episodes.

And, fifth, there’s still the question of from where did Famous First Facts originally get its information regarding Tigwissel? Huge listings of factual tidbits, are not generally uncovered by a single person (Joseph Nathan Kane). More easy to believe, is that Kane gathered his “First Facts”, by scouring other published sources. So, what was his source for asserting (incorrectly) that the September 11th, 1875 Professor Tigwissel, was the first newspaper comic strip? I’d like to know what that source was, and, what its author might actually have said.

So, having swift-kicked the annual September 11th recitation involving the “first” newspaper comic strip, what is the new “first”, Doug? You’re not going to like my answer. Nobody knows. Nobody ever will. And those who are sure they know, will not be in agreement on definitions.

Assuming what is meant is not merely a single, stand alone sequential strip (which go back hundreds of years prior), but multiple publications involving the same character(s), there are numerous prior examples I can cite off the top of my head, starting with Hopkins‘ own Professor Simple, two years before Tigwissel. Still earlier examples would include: Toodles by John McLenan, in mid-1850s issues of Brother Jonathan; The Adventures of Mr. Verdant Green in comic strip form, by Cuthbert Bede, in early 1850s issues of Illustrated London News; and, the 1845 serialization in L’Illustration, of Cham‘s re-interpretation of Rodolphe Töpffer’s Swiss graphic novel, Histoire de M. Cryptogame. (Above and below, provided by Leonardo Desa to the “Platinum Age Comics” discussion group that I used to co-host with group founder Robert Beerbohm, are pages from the first January 25th, 1845 installment of Cryptogame, from L’Illustration.)

And while I don’t advocate the following as “the earliest known newspaper comic strip” (I think yet earlier examples will be found), I will make point readers towards this. Comics historian David Kunzle, in his History of the Comic Strip, Volume 2, on page 21, noted that in 1826, Pierce Egan’s Life in London and Sporting Guide (a Sunday newspaper), began running comic cuts (i.e., comic illustrations and cartoons) by George Cruikshank. And that, according to Kunzle, in 1827, the above title was absorbed/bought out by the newspaper Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle, which continued to publish the Cruikshank cuts.

Doug Wheeler

ProfTigwissel NYDailyGraphic

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