Whew! Over the past week, I’ve completely overhauled the Everett True archive in the Comic Supplement. It was a gargantuan task, bordering on insanity, but it seemed the least we could do for a fellow who’s been so good to us for so long.
I went through every paper I could find the strips in, from its debut in 1905 up to the month-long hiatus in 1909, and pulled every comic in the best condition I could find. This meant downloading and comparing thousands of images to select the five hundred that made it to the archive. This task was compounded in difficulty by the haphazard publishing of early comic strips. There were no firm publication dates or sequences; editors would receive packages of strips to publish according to their own whims. This meant that no cranny could remain unsearched, as some small paper from Muskogee might have a strip that was never published in any of the other scanned papers. Search them I did, and I’m pretty proud of the results. There are some that are in poorer condition than I’d like, but they were the best I could find, and there aren’t too many that are in really terrible condition.
We’re posting a dozen favorites from each year on our Twitter feed, so if you’re not over there, be sure to follow us and join in on the fun.
I’ll also note that, after a week in the weeds, my eyes are a little crossed. I think I’ve done a good job at avoiding duplicates, but if you come across any strays, please comment here to let me know!
The Adventures of the Stranded Dime Museum Freaks promises a lot more than it actually delivers, but c’mon, that title is seriously hard to resist. This is the only comic we have found for creator Benjamin P. Elliott; the first name is really difficult to make out in the signature, but Stripper’s Guide says Benjamin and that is good enough for us. Elliott wisely chooses to cast “fun” sideshow archetypes in these adventures, and while they don’t have a great deal to do, Elliott does get some mileage out of the uniqueness of the characters. All in all, an amusing curiosity…
Coffee and Sinkers is one of those classic orphan & dog teams that put down stakes on the comics page, at least for a short time. Robert Carter gives us just two months of their shenanigans and it’s a shame as there seems to be plenty of life left in this feature when the curtains close. The story comes full circle as the series opens with the duo hanging around a barrel and finishes with them crawling back into one. At least they seem pleased with the turn of events…though I like to think they eventually find their forever home after these adventures end.
Enjoy their short but sweet adventures in their new home in the Comics Supplement!
I get the distinct impression that this short-lived feature existed only to show off Mr. Bushnell’s dab hand at rendering ostriches! Frankly, I don’t blame him. If I could draw ostriches so well, I don’t think I’d do much else. The gags all play off of the weird impression that people had regarding ostriches’ appetites. They had the notion that ostriches, like goats, would eat literally anything, including (even especially) metal! I’m reminded of the vaguely ostrich-like protagonist of Charley Bowers’ stop-motion classic It’s a Bird.
Enjoy the short but sweet run of Oolo at his new home in the Comic Supplement!
Today we add Seein’ Stars, by Feg Murray. Before embarking on decades of cartooning, he was an athlete, winning the Bronze Medal in hurdles at the 1920 Olympics! He did a similar feature focusing on sports stars before turning his sights to Hollywood in 1933. Seein’ Stars would go on for decades, featuring an array of stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age. We have the first four weeks up today, with a cavalcade of stars, including Myrna Loy, Charlie Chaplin, Jean Harlow, Fredric March, Clara Bow, Katharine Hepburn, Harold Lloyd, Loretta Young, Joan Blondell, and even Mahatma Gandhi!