Crumbling Paper: Dolly Dimples and Gasoline Gus

Here’s an example I scanned of Dolly Dimples with Gasoline Gus on the same page from March 2, 1913. The Dolly Dimples feature is credited to Grace G. Drayton on the Ohio State University reference site here, but it looks like this was signed by someone named Van Beekman or Von Beekman. Gasoline Gus was by O. P. Williams.

Click the image to view the full strip.

Crumbling Paper: The Stranded Dime Museum Freaks Didn’t Want to Frighten the Farmers, but They Simply Had to Have a Drink

Here’s an example I scanned of a very fun one-shot strip titled The Stranded Dime Museum Freaks Didn’t Want to Frighten the Farmers, but They Simply Had to Have a Drink from March 30, 1902. I can’t make out the name of the cartoonist from the signature… anyone out there know who it is? If so, if you want to let me know in the comments, that would be swell. I used this as a back cover image on an anthology I self-published a while ago called Weird Illustrated.

Click the image to view the full strip.

CRUMBLING PAPER: Pussy Pumpkin and That Family Next Door

There are a number of old comic strips that I have scanned and cleaned up a bit that have not yet appeared on this site. I recently shared them with my friend Allan Holtz at his wonderful blog The Stripper’s Guide, and offered to let him post any of them he was interested in writing about. I’m much more interested in hearing what he has to say about them than what I would cobble together. Allan has a vast knowledge of comic strip history, and is currently working on an enormous encyclopedia indexing every American comic strip he has been able to see examples of in his many years of research.

So far he has posted two of the strips I scanned.

First of all, he posted an example of The Strange Adventures of Pussy Pumpkin and her Chum Toodles by Grace Drayton (creator of the Campbell’s Kids), which you can read about here.

I previously posted about Pussy Pumpkin here and here (the strip at the first link did not appear on the Stripper’s Guide).

Next he posted the example of That Family Next Door by Jean Knott which I posted previously here.

Here is what Allan said about that strip, and here is a follow-up post with more examples.

THE PEANUT GALLERY: The Author Meets The Critics: Frederic Wertham Versus Al Capp

Tom Spurgeon linked to this interesting interview with Frederic Wertham and Al Capp from an old radio show called The Author Meets The Critics on his Comics Reporter blog the other week. I got around to listening to it today. It was recorded when Capp was at the height of his popularity in the fifties, and the focus of the discussion is largely on the Schmoo. Capp decimates Wertham, but you kind of end up wishing he used better arguments. Capp is ill-informed about what is in the comics on the newsstands, and is under the impression that the majority of comics published at the time are reprints of newspaper comics, which was not the case (as Wertham correctly states). Capp believes the comics have all been thoroughly censored (since in his mind, they are reprints of comic strips, which he knows are thoroughly censored)… which, strangely, Capp seems to have little problem with, or if he does he does not elaborate on it. Wertham makes much more inaccurate, spurious and poorly articulated arguments, though… hearing him talk, it is actually hard to believe anyone could have ever taken him seriously. Must have been the accent.

You can hear the interview here.

I just noticed that wasn’t the only episode of The Author Meets The Critics Wertham appeared on either… I haven’t listened to it yet, but here is another one.

There are many more old-time-radio shows on that site as well… it appears to be quite a treasure trove.

View the Frederic Wertham Memorial Funnybook Library here.


I recently commented on this post on the Comics Comics blog by Jeet Heer, “The Dark Vision of Carl Barks.”
Here is what I blabbered:

This viewpoint of Barks’ ducks seems very narrow to me, Jeet. The Ducks were some of the most well rounded characters in kids comics at the time… which is probably the biggest reason why they were so successful.

While the ducks were certainly capable of greed, malice and avarice… they were also capable of affection, generosity and heroism. So I don’t really understand an interpretation that paints them as flat and one-dimensional as Little Dot or Richie Rich. If this is your viewpoint of them, I suggest you read more Barks! Check out almost any of his many Christmas stories for some good examples.

While there are certainly some dark themes in Barks’ comics, implying an overarching darkness to them seems absurd to me in the extreme.

The Barks that wrote the duck stories was most likely a very different man from the Barks you quote from shortly before his death. My understanding is that his later years were a very dark time for him with the loss of his wife and some exceedingly unscrupulous business handlers. I don’t see this degree of bitterness in his stories at all.

PHENOMENAL TANGENTS is Online at Staplegenius

My good friend Danno Klonowski just started serializing PHENOMENAL TANGENTS, a collaboration that Danno drew and I wrote, on his Staplegenius blog. It is a tribute to the writings of Jack Kirby… everyone loves Kirby’s art, but too few appreciate his utterly unique writing style, in our view. Click the image above to check out the first spine-shimmying installment! It should be running for the better part of a month.

HEY! KIDS! COMICS! : Walt Kelly’s Brownies : May 5th, 2009



Another great issue of Four Color from Cool-Mo-Dee… Walt Kelly’s Brownies. I posted a link to another issue of Brownies that Cool-Mo-Dee posted the other day as well. Walt Kelly is easily one of my top ten favorite cartoonists of all time… he is endlessly inventive, uproariously funny, and his drawings are always gorgeous. His skill at character development and dialogue is unsurpassed in comics.

In spite of his popularity, very little of his non-Pogo work has been reprinted. I’m optimistic this might change soon for some reason… partially because there are two thick books of children’s comics coming out soon that will inevitably dazzle people’s eyes right out of their sockets.

One is edited is edited by Craig Yoe and is called Golden Treasury of Krazy Kool Klassic Kids’ Komics and one is edited by Art Spiegeman and Francoise Mouly called The TOON Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics.

The books are going to feature a LOT of wonderful neglected childrens’ comics by a LOT of great cartoonists… in addition to Walt Kelly: Carl Barks, John Stanley, Sheldon Mayer, Basil Wolverton, George Carlson, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Frank Frazetta, Dr. Seuss, Syd Hoff, Jules Feiffer, Dan DeCarlo, and presumably a lot more. Since Kelly is one of the best, and has an enormous body of work for children that has never been reprinted, I hope it inspires a complete reprinting of this work over the coming years.

Note that in addition to having an eagerly-awaited complete Pogo reprinting in the works, Fantagraphics books has also been reprinting Kelly’s wonderful Our Gang comics (3 volumes released so far and a fourth on the way). This is currently the only Kelly work other than Pogo in print. Let’s hope that changes soon.

Click the Brownies cover above to go download the comic book. Kelly also had some of the most consistently beautifully colored covers on his comic books.