Woozlebeasts and Upside-Downs

Peter Maresca of Sunday Press Books (publisher of the recent gigantic Little Nemo book I mentioned previously), is planning on including a variety of strips in his upcoming book reprinting Winsor McCay’s Little Sammy Sneeze. These include J.P. Benson’s The Woozlebeasts and Gustave Verbeek’s The Upside-Downs, both excellent and bizarre strips. He is looking for some help locating some strips for this reprint… help him somebody! Here is what he posted to the Platinum Comics Group:

Call to all Winsor McCay collectors!

As many already know, I will be publishing two reprint books this year. After the full-size, Sundays with Walt and Skeezix the second project is a full-size volume collecting all of McCay’s color Sammy Sneeze pages. I’m putting Sammy on just one side of each page, and the other side will feature whatever monochrome strip appeared on the back in the 1904-05 newspapers. Strips include the Woozlebeasts, Upside-Downs, and McCay’s own Hungry Henrietta.

My problem is that not all of my Sammy collection is from the New York Herald, the only paper to put Henrietta on the back. As a result, I am missing Hungry Henrietta pages.

I could substitute other strips, but obviously the best thing to do is have the complete Henrietta. Anybody out there know the whereabouts of Herald sections from 1905? Or another source for Henrietta (Jan-July1905)? My usual contacts along with the SF collection at OSU have all come up short. Exciting prizes offered as a reward!

Thanks for helping out with the hunt!


Searching for some images to post with this, I made an awesome find… nonsenselit.org. It is a site offering, among other wonders, a complete online version of J.P. Benson’s Woozlebeasts 1905 book collection along with various Woozlebeasts strips, and reprints of Gustave Verbeek’s Loony Lyrics of Lulu, Tiny Tads (courtesy of Barnacle Press), and Easy Papa (courtesy of the Stripper’s Guide)… no Upside-Downs there, yet. Additional strips offered at nonsenselit.org include Peter Newell’s Naps of Polly Sleepyhead (along with a lot of other great Peter Newell stuff), Helen Stilwell’s Laughable Looloos, and other very interesting stuff, like this 17 foot long unfolding panorama by Aliquis called The Flight of the Old Woman Who Was Tossed Up in a Basket… wow.

In addition to all of this they also have a fantastic blog called A Blog of Bosh… I don’t know how I missed this site previously, but I sure am glad I found it!

Verbeek’s Upside-Downs is a pretty amazing strip. The strips have six panels which you read right-side up, and when you get to the last panel you flip it over and read the same panels upside-down to conclude the strip. To do this successfully once would be impressive… Verbeek did a whole series of them. To see an example I just blatantly stole out of Nemo #10 (I’m pretty sure this is “fair use”), click on the image below… then click on the strip example that comes up when you’re ready to flip it over. Nemo #10 reprints 16 of these ingeniously inventive strips… copies of the wonderful Nemo magazine can still be found at reasonable prices on Ebay.

The Woozlebeasts offers an array of marvelous and funny fantastic creatures. These strips (along with Verbeek’s The Terrors of the Tiny Tads) seem to me like a direct predecessor of two of my favorite cartoonists, Basil Wolverton and Dr. Seuss, although I have no idea if they were influenced by the Woozlebeasts and the Tiny Tads or not. Here is an example from the book on the nonsenselit.org site… click it to go view the entire book at nonsenselit.org.