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.

RIP Bill Blackbeard

I was greatly dismayed to hear earlier this week that Bill Blackbeard passed away recently.
If you like old comics, well, you owe Mr. Blackbeard your gratitude. Without him, the history of comics would be immeasurably diminished.

When virtually the entire culture (including libraries!) saw newspaper comics as disposable, Blackbeard recognized their value and preserved them. Without this preservation, it is likely that most of the books reprinting early comics coming out today would be terribly incomplete… or, more likely, not exist at all.

He personally edited many of the greatest books reprinting comics, including the monumental Smithsonian Guide to Newspaper Comics… I am one of the many cartoonists whose lives were changed by that amazing book… that magic window into a seemingly lost past.

Much of that past IS lost… but it is truly remarkable the immense amount Blackbeard and his few fellow travelers were able to save. The Sundays of the greatest comic strip of all time (the greatest work of art of all time, in my view), Krazy Kat, has now been entirely reprinted in books! That NONE of Herriman’s Sunday Kat strips ended up in the dustbin seems incredible. Blackbeard not only collected the strips, but he edited the books. I doubt there are any many reprint books of pre-1940 comics that have not benefited directly from Blackbeard’s collection (now housed at Ohio State University).

Thank you so much, Mr. Blackbeard, for saving the history of my favorite art form.

Here is the obit at the Comics Journal by RC Harvey.

Here is a page of Blackbeard tributes at The Comics Journal.

Here is the obit at the Comics Reporter by Tom Spurgeon.

Here is a round up of writings on Blackbeard at the Comics Reporter.

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.