Winding down now on the second issue of The Funnies, here we get encores of Boody Rogers’ Deadwood Gulch and VEP’s Bush League Barry.
Fair warning! If you read the three strips above you will feel like you’ve utterly wasted 30 seconds of your life.
Sniffy we’ve seen already, it’s by Glen Wood, and Colonel Knutt is another Courtney Dunkel strip. Both prove that good art does not save bad writing, even in pantomime.
Cookie Pushers is by Buford Tune. Tune was concurrently in the middle of a three year stint as the final cartoonist on Doings of the Duffs, and would later gain a measure of lasting success as the creator of Dotty Dripple, a strip that ran for 30 years. In this awful strip the ‘gag’ is actually self-contained in the final two panels, all the preamble signifying nothing. And the gag is such a clunker I bet even Pink Laffin would have rejected it.
The slang term “cookie pusher” at the time referred to a lazy person who curried favor by giving compliments (typically undeserved). Later on it morphed into a more specific term used as a pejorative for junior diplomats. Awful strips and an etymology lesson — it’s a bad day to visit the Stripper’s Guide blog.
My Big Brudder is a Just Kids/Reg’lar Fellers knockoff, unsigned but most likely an Art Helfant production.
Frosty Aire is by Joe Archibald, who had a vigorous, only semi-professional style. While his art wasn’t going to win any awards, he was a pretty good writer. The gag here is surprisingly subtle considering the venue. Archibald kicked around with the smaller syndicates, mainly in the twenties. At the moment I happen to be trying to make sense of his panel cartoon Why Boys Leave Home. It was advertised only in the 1926 E&P listings as being from the Wheeler-Nicholson syndicate and credited to ‘Davidson’. Yet the only examples of the strip I can find are from 1930, syndicated by McClure, and credited to Joe Archibald. Huh???
Here we have a much more typical episode of Percy and Ferdie, complete with MacGill’s trademark overlong word balloons. I notice that the cartoonist couldn’t seem to make up his mind whether he was a “Mc” or a “Mac”.
We also have a pretty good Copper Penny gag by Ted O’Loughlin. Ted took over Finney of the Force from F.O. Alexander shortly after his stint with Dell.
Timmy O’Toole is by Courtney Dunkel who did quite a few features for The Funnies. Why he has Timmy trying to drive a nail into the middle of a table is anyone’s guess.
Now that I have Cole Johnson’s early copy of The Funnies (#10) in hand it reveals a few problems in Beerbohm’s Overstreet listing for the title, at least in my several year old edition, #36. Perhaps the problems have already been cleared up in later editions.
- the section was originally 24 pages, not 16 — sometime between Cole’s copy and mine the size dropped, probably when the price dropped from 10 cents to 5 cents.
- the publication was not always a weekly; Cole’s is dated September 1929, the indicia states monthly publication and a blurb says the next issue will be available on October 15. Assuming monthly frequency for the first ten issues, that puts #1 published December 1928, not in 1929, which is borne out in the indicia which states “entered as second class matter December 27 1928”.
Also, for those interested in such details, this issue had some credits; Harry Steeger was the editor and Abril Lamarque was comic art editor.
For today’s strips, we have another of Ralph Wolfe’s Sancho and the Don, plus a newcomer, Eveready Eddie by Moe Leff. Mo, as he would later sign himself, supplied the art for a couple of Joes (Jinks and Palooka) and as a ghost on who knows how many other features.
Here are two of the color full tab pages from Cole Johnson’s The Funnies #10. Jimmy Jams we’ve talked about.
Bug Movies was by Stookie Allen, a fellow who seems to have had a fan following despite never having a really successful feature (much like Boody Rogers, another Funnies alum). He specialized in factual and inspirational features for over 30 years, so Bug Movies is an unusual departure for him. Judging by the truly awful gag above (hey Stookie, dumb characters can be funny — brain damaged drooling morons not so much) he was smart to stick with factual features.
Today we have a round-up of the smaller daily-style strips that were running in my issue of The Funnies. First up we have Animal Crackers by Lane. This seems to be a renamed reprint or continuation of In Jungleland, an obscure series distributed by Paramount Feature Service a few years earlier. That series and this one both credited the strip sometimes to Lane, sometimes to Whitey.
Yet another VEP production, Clancy The Cop was one of the Dell features that got its own reprint book.
And here’s Now You Tell One by Dunkel. I assume this is Courtney Dunkel. It’s kind of a cute idea, a light-hearted pastiche of Ripley and all his imitators.
Here’s Private Rhodes by Joe Archibald. His only other syndicated feature came from the Graphic Syndicate, but he did quite a bit of work for The Funnies, much of it quite snappy as the above example ably shows.
And here’s the amateur artists feature in The Funnies. I draw your attention to the effort by Joe Simon. The Joe Simon we all know would have been fifteen at the time, and was in New York, not St. Louis, but could it be? We also have Frank Filchock, who went on to become a comic book artist in the 30s and 40s under the name Martin Filchock.
This was to be the final installment of Dell’s The Funnies on the Stripper’s Guide blog, but I hope you’re itchin’ for more, because big-hearted Cole Johnson sent me beautiful color photocopies of his issue of The Funnies with lots of different features and neat stuff that, as it says in the sidebar over to your left, I don’t want to file away unseen. So I hope you’re enjoying this material because we’re going to feature it for another week.
I must admit that the series is disappointing for me in the respect that no one appeared with proof that the Dell section did indeed run as an insert in an American paper, or that some of the features continued in newspapers after the section went belly-up. Ah well, such is life!
Here’s another Victor Pazimino production, Bush League Barry. Perhaps this title would be a good candidate for a new revival. It could be about a lame-duck neo-con president who takes steroids. It’s gold, Jerry, gold!