Archive for October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

junior021101
junior021101

by BART (perhaps D.C. Bartholomew?)

EDIT: I’m thinking this is actually the work of Charles Bartholomew.

Get That Goat!

Grimes’s Goat, that is!

William Steinigans is already represented here at Barnacle Press by the sublime The Bad Dream That Made Bill a Better Boy and the adorable Pups strips; they’re joined today by a very funny strip with a very odd premise.

Grimes’s Goat is centered around a publicity stunt for the Blue Front Clothing Store, owned by the titular Grimes. He’s set his goat loose in town, and if you can catch it and bring it back to the store, you win a new suit! Each strip is centered around an attempt to “get his goat” and win the prize. At first, the would-be goat wranglers were drawn from a variety of vocations–cowboys, escaped prisoners, football players–and they’re a lot of fun, to be sure. But eventually the strip settles in on the repeated tries of an unkempt sailor, and these are my favorites of the batch. The cat-and-mouse (tar-and-goat?) interplay between the single-minded swabbie and the rascally ruminant would make for terrific animated shorts, if only the idea had come along twenty years later…

Starting off with a genuine origin story (below), there are forty-six strips in the complete run, all accounted for here.

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gg111105

Ain’t Men the Wretches?

I love all of the comic creators whose work is displayed here at Barnacle Press, but of course I’ve got my particular favorites. High on my list is F.M. Howarth, a fantastic artist whose work straddles the invention of the newspaper comic strip, having first created captioned comic vignettes for Puck, Judge, and Life in the waning years of the 19th century. To my eye Howarth’s work looks like terrific, boldly lined animation cels, or like Colorform pieces that you could peel right off of the page. His work is painstakingly exact and stylized, and always unmistakable for anyone else in the history of comics.

I’ve got two features to share today. The first is Ain’t Men the Wretches? This is a domestic comedy concerning Mr. and Mrs. Snooks, and the constant attempts of the mister to pull one over on his wife. The kicker? He succeeds! Read as Snooks gets out of trouble again and again, using his wits to avoid terrible fates such as divorce and attending church.

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amtw050704

Next we have a few examples of E.Z. Mark. The title says it all, really, as Mr. Mark gets inveigled by one scheme after another.

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ezm060218

How Webster Felt!

Today we’ve got a twosome of trifles for you to while away a few minutes of a Friday afternoon in reading.

First up is Illustrating Webster, a cute little panel where obscure words are assigned prosaically amusing interpretations. I especially like this take on “caliduct”, for its pleasing blend of old-timey and evergreen.

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webster140812

Then there’s How You Felt, another slice-of-life panel that I’m sure would have been displayed on cubicle walls and refrigerators, if either of those things were in common circulation circa 1914… With each strip taking a first-timer’s perspective on events that were presumably more common when they were drawn, what’s most fun about these is their almost-complete outdatedness. Of the six panels we’ve got, only two are close to universally relevant today, including the bittersweet take on a husband’s loneliness when his wife goes on a trip seen below. Other topics, like carrying a cane, riding a horse, wearing a tie your wife bought you, and being asked to fire your cook, aren’t likely to be as relevant a hundred years after their creation…

hyf140812
hyf140812

New Strip! A Trip to Mars!

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triptomars110327

Welcome to Mars, a dreamland where waiters never accept tips and there’s always a seat waiting for you on the subway!  W. Clyde Spencer’s delightful A Trip To Mars follows the exploits of a husband and wife honeymooning in the most exotic of destinations.  I love the martian character designs, especially those “armfins.”  Sure, each & every episode builds up to a punchline concerning how things are so different 95,000,000 miles from home, but there are a lot of wacky touches here and there that make this strip a lot of fun.  Go ahead, climb aboard that rocket ship and take a trip to Mars right now!

Everett Truesday: Diana Takes To The Sky!

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diana120410

Diana Dillpickles returns in “Miss Dillpickles Participates In An Aviation Meet With A Rival Birdlady Whose Vindictiveness Would Turn The Blood To Ice In Your Veins,” featuring a special cameo from you-know-who and a shocking twist you must see to believe. This one, as always, is from Fred Shaefer, but our pal Condo had departed the feature by this point, leaving some of the usual fill-ins to take up the art chores.  In this case we have the more-than-able Clifton Meek providing the visuals.  Six parts; start with the one above.

Sunday Song: Baby Pulled The Pussy’s Tail

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babypulled000708

Baum and Denslow. When is someone going to send in a recording of one of these?

Hey, Buddy!

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buddytucker050820

Well, this is an exciting development for all you Buddy Tucker fans: we now have the whole run! The episode above fills the one nagging gap we had in our collection, plus I found the four strips which were missing from the beginning of the run – that should be everything.  Buddy was originally spun off from Buster Brown; does anyone know if he was brought back into the fold once his short lived title ended for good?  (Bonus points if you expose my extreme laziness by citing an example found in our archive)

Clever Cartoonists And Comic Artists To Make 1907 Merry!

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Herald070210

After finding those Rawhide Bill strips, I went hunting for some info on Heppner Blackman but I wasn’t expecting much…I certainly didn’t think I’d come across biographical details AND a photo!  Plus we get Winsor McCay, Norman Jennett, Clifford Sterrett, Clarence Rigby, George Westcott, John P. Collins and Garnet Warren as well?  Jackpot!

American Newspaper Comics: An Encyclopedic Reference Guide

Congratulations and accolades are due to Allan Holtz for the publication of his American Newspaper Comics: An Encyclopedic Reference Guide! My copy arrived in the mail yesterday, a wonderful birthday gift from my mother, and I tore into it eagerly.

I don’t think there are too many books about comics that get past me. My comic book collection isn’t made up of polybagged periodicals in longboxes tucked beneath my bed, but are bound books of and about comics, hundreds of them spilling out of my bookshelves. Among them are dozens of volumes which claim to be encyclopedias of one stripe or another, but Holtz’s Encyclopedic Reference stands out among them all. This isn’t a casual browsing encyclopedia for dragging out and randomly perusing; it’s a serious reference work that I look forward to keeping close by as we collect comics here at Barnacle Press. The main body of the book is a listing of strips by title, of course, but there are also listings by Syndicate and Creator and a fantastic, exhaustive list of strip reprints. I haven’t yet dug into the included CD of representative strips, but I’m sure it’ll be a corker.

In creating this book, Holtz has performed a service of singular utility, the rewards of which will be reaped for decades to come. We at Barnacle Press offer our deepest thanks to Allan for his efforts.