Still under the weather here are Stripper Central, but couldn’t let Halloween pass without a post that’s been waiting in the wings for some time. Cole Johnson sent me this nightmare-inducing photo of a trio of axe-murderers … er … cute comic strip characters:

The promotional photo was taken when the Boston Herald succeeded in stealing three strips (BC, Dennis the Menace and Andy Capp obviously) from the Boston Globe.

I find the Dennis character particularly disturbing. The demon-spawn of Chucky and Freddy Krueger?

Herriman Saturday

Here are Herriman’s cartoons for October 29 through November 1. Of special interest are the last three, which form sort of a three day triptych, all variations on the same scene. You might also notice a slight change in tone — earlier cartoons gave the impression that there was no doubt that this pack of bums (and the more I read about them, they certainly were) would be history after the election. Now the tone is almost mournful as the Examiner began to realize that the Independence League candidate, Langston, was not garnering the level of support needed to win the governorship, and that either Bell or Gillett, both in the pocket of the Southern Pacific, were the more likely winners.

News of Yore: Louie’s Harry Hanan Profiled

“Louie” Thrives at 5; So Does His Creator
By Erwin Knoll (E&P, 5/15/52)

George McManus, who looks like a walking edition of his hero, Jiggs, claims that all cartoonists tend to resemble their creations, and vice versa. Harry Hanan and “Louie” are a case in point.

Though the bespectacled car­toonist bears little physical resem­blance to his bemoustached panto­mime hero, Mr. Hanan and “Louie” are definitely soulmates. Their philosophies, economic status -and weight-keep pace with each other.

When “Louie” made his bow in U. S. papers five years ago this week, he was a slight young man who eked out a precarious liveli­hood as a burglar, panhandler or pickpocket. His creator was a staff artist on the The People in austere post-war England, whose income was equally precarious, if slightly more legitimate. Since that time things have been looking up for Harry Hanan and, consequently, they’ve been looking up for “Louie” too. The cartoon­ist and his family are settled in a model suburban home in Westfield, N. J. (they came to the U. S. in November, 1948) and, equipped with a car, a television set, etc., lead model suburban lives. Mr. Hanan has gained 12 pounds.

In that time “Louie” has aban­doned his life of crime, though he still cuts corners from time to time. Readers of the daily and Sunday strips now usually find their hero in the role of henpecked family man, ignored restaurant patron or cheat­ed customer. And, though exact fig­ures are not available, he seems to have gained at least 12 pounds.

Mr. Hanan, once described as a “solemn, helpless-looking” man, shares these qualities with “Louie.” Yet both manage to wreak occa­sional revenge, real or fancied, on a hostile, confusing world. Mr. Hanan admits to a long-standing ambition to snip the feathers off women’s hats. The 35-year old cartoonist went to art school in his native Liver­pool, and got his first job doing layouts and illustrated articles for the Liverpool Evening Express at $16 a week. Occasionally he re­ceived a $2 bonus for doing a daily cartoon.

After six years of Army service in World War II, Mr. Hanan joined the staff of The People, London’s four million circulation weekly, as editorial cartoonist. He started “Louie” because he found that drawing one weekly editorial cartoon didn’t quite take up all his time. It was in The People that H. R. Wishengrad, head of Press Fea­tures, saw “Louie” and decided to syndicate it in the U. S. The strip defied two old taboos of the syndicate business: against panto­mime strips and against British imports. “Louie” caught on, and both taboos have since been scrapped.

Today Mr. Hanan’s strip ap­pears in almost 100 U. S. papers, and in more than 100 publications abroad. Some newspapers use it on their editorial pages-a unique distinction for a comic strip. “Louie” has rated high in reader­ship surveys in Oakland, Calif., New York City, and Stockholm, Sweden, among others.

“Even when we’re settled, ‘Louie’ and I tend to be shiftless,” Mr. Hanan says. “People seem to like that.”

T.S. Sullivant Editorial Cartoons

Couple of months ago (okay, more like four) it came up in conversation with R.C. Harvey that he’d not had the pleasure of seeing T.S. Sullivant’s editorial cartooning, and I promised to dig some up for his edification. Better late than never, here’s a small sampling.

Sullivant, well known for his delightful animal caricatures, isn’t remembered for his editorial work for Hearst, probably because he was sort of a flop in that role. The drawings, of course, are top-notch, but Sullivant apparently wasn’t much interested in politics as most of them are on the tepid side.

So here, for Harv and anyone else who appreciates the mastery of Sullivant, are a few samples of his editorial cartoons from late 1907.

Obscurity of the Day: Spokania

Here’s a local strip from the Spokane Spokesman-Review that ran daily from March 16 until at least July 18 1981. Spokania commented on Spokane politics in the guise of a fairy tale. Sort of a local version of Pogo, you could say. I know nothing of the creator, R.E. Wells, other than that he or she did a fine job.

Searching for local strips is like looking for needles in haystacks, and finds such as this are always a delight to me. If you have information and samples of local strips I’d love to hear from you.

News of Yore: Walt Scott Profiled

NEA Service’s Walt Scott – Triple Threat Cartoonist
By Erwin Knoll (E&P, 1952)

You never know just what kind of drawing is liable to come out of a small studio overlooking Lake Erie at NEA Service’s comic art headquarters in Cleve­land. It might be an editorial cartoon, or a story strip illustrat­ing an event in American history or a biblical anecdote, or an illus­tration for a fiction piece, or a Sunday page for the new “Little People” comic feature. The ver­satile cartoonist who turns out all this, and more, is Walt Scott, a triple-threat man at the drawing board if ever one there was.

Biggest of these projects now is “The Little People” and its com­panion strip, “Huckleberry Hol­low,” launched by NEA Service last spring and now appearing in almost 200 newspapers. Many more will use “The Little People’s Christmas,” a special series of 21 strips using characters of the Sun­day feature but with a plot all its own, for release Dec. 1 to 24. And NEA expects new clients for the regular Sunday page when a new sequence starts Dec. 28.

Though the strip is new, the “Little People” have been with Walt Scott for many years. The pixie-like creatures and their im­aginative “Valley of the Small Ones” began to turn up in Scott’s landscapes and water colors soon after his Army service in World War I. (He had previously worked in the back shop of a small news­paper plant, attended the Cleve­land School of Art and worked for an advertising agency.)

In the early twenties, after a short stint in the advertising art de­partment of the Cleveland Press, Scott joined the Cleveland Plain Dealer and here the “Little Peo­ple” first found their way into print. They were called “The Doonks” then, and made a Sun­day children’s feature.

The small-fry stuff was tempo­rarily abandoned when Scott joined NEA as magazine art director in 1935. But he kept his hand in by taking three years off to join Walt Disney’s Hollywood studios, where he worked on “Bambi,” “Pinnochio,” “Fantasia” and “Dumbo.”

Scott made his name for versa­tility when he rejoined NEA about ten years ago. He “specialized” in fiction drawings, special feature work and comics, pinch-hit for the regular NEA editorial cartoonists and originated the story strips which the service has been dis­tributing for special holidays in the past year or two. Revival of the “Little People” characters he launched 30 years ago has round­ed out his career.

Tall, mustached, gray-haired and fiftyish, Scott likes to spend his non-drawing hours—yes, he does get away from the board once in awhile—hunting and fish­ing or entertaining his four grand­children with tales of the “Little People.” Occasionally he takes a busman’s holiday at water color paintings, many of which have been displayed at the Cleveland Museum of Art.