Daily: A – M

A few examples of Original Comic Strip Art Dailies
from The SEKOTS studios Collection of Original Comic & Cartoon Art

Abbie an Slats - Daily 1946-09-18

Abbie an’ Slats by Raeburn Van Buren – (United Feature Syndicate, Inc.) Daily, September 18th, 1946 (Atom-Age)

Abbie an’ Slats was an American comic strip which ran from July 12, 1937 to January 30, 1971, initially written by Al Capp and drawn by Raeburn Van Buren (January 12, 1891 – December 29, 1987). It was distributed by United Feature Syndicate. Abbie an’ Slats was Capp’s idea; he intended to start a second strip after the success of his popular Li’l Abner. Instead of drawing it himself, Capp recruited well-established freelance magazine illustrator Van Buren. Initially, Van Buren turned down Capp’s offer, but he was lured by the prospect of steady work. The strip was widely syndicated to 400 newspapers, but it never equalled the popularity of Li’l Abner. Capp abandoned the strip in 1945, turning the writing chores over to his brother Elliot Caplin. Van Buren continued Abbie an’ Slats for 34 years, retiring in 1971. The National Cartoonists Society named him to their Hall of Fame in 1979. This nice four-panel “love-triangle” example features Slats and his one true love Becky Groggins.

Apple Mary - Daily 1940-12-27

Apple Mary (Mary Worth) by Dale Conner – (Publishers Syndicate) Daily, December 27th, 1940 (Golden-Age)

Created by Martha Orr, Apple Mary began in 1934. When Orr retired in 1939, the strip’s name was changed to Mary Worth’s Family and her assistant and sometimes ghost Dale Conner Ulrey took over the artistic chores until 1942. A very nice, early four-panel example of the Apple Mary (later Mary Worth’s Family, and eventually shortened to Mary Worth) comic strip as rendered by Dale Conner (Ulrey) (January 4, 1904 – October 14, 1989). Written by Allen Saunders, the title character, Mary, appears in all four panels expressing her concern for the romantic welfare of her son Slim to Bill.

NOTE: Dale Conner rendered the Apple Mary/Mary Worth strip for less than four years which translates to less than 1250 examples ever created by the artist and… this one features the title character in all four panels!

Captain Easy - Daily 1961-07-13

Captain Easy by Leslie Turner – (NEA, Inc.) Daily, July 13th, 1961 (Silver-Age)

Wash Tubbs was a comic strip created by Roy Crane in 1924. Initially a gag-a-day strip titled Washington Tubbs II, Crane soon switched to continuity storylines. In 1929, Crane introduced Captain Easy as a supporting character. Easy gradually takes over the strip becoming its lead character and gets a Sunday strip of his own. In 1943, Crane abandoned Tubbs and Easy to create the strip Buz Sawyer. Crane’s longtime assistant Lesile Turner (December 25, 1899 – March 2, 1988) takes control of both strips and in 1949, daily and Sunday strips displayed the name Captain Easy. Rendered on Craftint paper, here is a nice example of this hard-hitting strip with the title character appearing “in-action” in all three panels.

Davy Jones - Daily 1969-03-22Davy Jones by Sam Leff – (United Features Syndicate, Inc.) Daily, March 22nd, 1969 (Silver-Age)

Any account of the Davy Jones comic strip must begin with its forerunner, Curly Kayoe. Now, Curly Kayoe wasn’t the most successful comic strip about a boxer the world ever saw, that would undoubtedly be Joe Palooka. Nor was it second, that would probably be Big Ben Bolt. But it was a strip about a boxer, and it did keep a sizeable audience entertained for a goodly number of years. It didn’t start out as a strip about a boxer. In fact, it didn’t even start out as a strip about a character named Curly Kayoe. Its original title was Joe’s Car, and the star was a short but determined man named Joe Jinks, whose main focus had nothing to do with boxing. Joe became a fight promoter in the late 1920s, and hooked up with Curly during September, 1944. At the time, Sam Leff was signing the strip (which had long since been retitled Joe Jinks), and United Feature Syndicate (Gordo, Ferd’nand) was distributing it. Leff, whose other credits in comics are sparse, was writing and inking it, with his brother Mo (who had assisted Al Capp on Li’l Abner and done a children’s fantasy Sunday page called Peter Pat on his own) doing the pencil art. Curly Kayoe was a big, blond-headed guy, good-hearted but not extremely bright, very much like Joe Palooka, who by that time was well established as the #1 boxing strip star. And the resemblance is no coincidence, because even as he came onto the scene, Mo Leff was ghosting the Palooka strip for its creator, Ham Fisher (which may be why Sam was the one signing Jinks). Curly became such a prominent character that on December 31, 1945, the title of the strip was changed to Curly Kayoe. Early in 1947, Joe moved out west, and Curly was the star indeed. (He never did, however, take over the Sunday version, which remained focused on Joe’s home life.) From 1946 – 1950, United Feature published eight issues of a Curly Kayoe comic book; and in 1958, Dell Comics published an issue as part of its Four Color Comics series. His adventures continued for well over a decade, but then the same thing happened to him as had happened to Joe, a secondary character named Davy Jones, a seaman, became more and more prominent; and in 1961, the title was changed once again. Under Davy’s name, the strip continued until 1971, but during its last decade, Curly Kayoe was no longer a part of it.

Dumb Dora - Daily 1935-01-06

Dumb Dora by Bill Dwyer – (King Features Syndicate, Inc.) Daily, January 6th, 1935 (Platinum-Age)

The title character, Dora Bell, appears full-figure in all four panels along with her reasonably steady boyfriend Bingy Brown who has just engaged in a fisticuffs with another Dora suitor Wilbur. An excellent example from the last year of the “short-lived” comic strip Dumb Dora. Art by Bill Dwyer (1905-????).

NOTE: As of December 2011, only 5 daily examples of Dumb Dora by Bill Dwyer have been offered for auction by Heritage Auctions since 2004.


Freckles and his Friends by Merrill Blosser – (Newspaper Enterprise Association) Daily, 1933 (Platinum-Age)

Freckles and his Friends was a popular American comic strip set in the peaceful small town of Shadyside where young Freckles McGoosey and his friends live. Although the long-run strip, created by Merrill Blosser, is remembered for its continuing storyline involving a group of teenagers, it originally featured a child at the age of six or seven in gag-a-day situations. Illustrated by Blosser and later by Henry Formhals (1908-1981), Freckles and His Friends was ghostwritten by Fred Fox (1903-1981). A gagwriter for Groucho Marx and Judy Canova, Fox scripted for radio, television and films. Widely syndicated by Newspaper Enterprise Association, Freckles and His Friends had a long run through much of the 20th Century. Although many sources give the start date as September 20, 1915, comic strip historian Allan Holtz points out that it actually began on August 16, 1915. In May 1915, the 23-year-old Merrill Blosser landed a job in Chicago with NEA, initially drawing cartoons based on news events. That summer he began drawing five comics features. One of these, titled Freckles, began as a one-column daily gag panel on August 16, expanding into a full comic strip on September 20 when it was retitled Freckles and His Friends. One by one, Blosser dropped each of the other panels, but in July 1916, he began another strip, Miniature Movies, which soon became Chestnut Charlie, continuing until early in 1918. At that point, Blosser then dedicated himself exclusively to the production of Freckles and His Friends. The daily strip gained readers through the 1920s and into the 1930s when a Sunday strip was added on December 31, 1933. By 1939, according to Editor & Publisher, the Sunday strip was published in 130 newspapers, while the daily strip appeared in more than 500 papers. During the World War II years, Blosser’s creation was seen by some 60,000,000 readers. When Blosser began the strip in 1915, he simply devised daily gags and problems for his child character Freckles to encounter while wandering around the fictional town of Shadyside. At the time, Freckles wore short pants and long stockings. As Freckles aged, the strip introduced more jokes in family situations, eventually expanding into a continuity storyline about the teenage Freckles’ day-to-day life with his friends. The one-a-day gag strip evolved into adventure stories in the 1920s. In 1927, when readers were told to submit names for a horse, Blosser was overwhelmed with 24,000 responses. Freckles began wearing knickers in 1928. When Freckles and His Friends was dropped by a newspaper in 1929, the paper received thousands of phone calls, cards and letters, plus a petition from the employees of the newspaper, prompting a return of the strip to the comics page. In 1932, Freckles wore long trousers when he entered Shadyside High School and met his Friends. The Crumpet Hut crowd eventually included his best buddy Lard Smith, Bazoo Botts, Hilda, perky Daisy and the inventive intellectual Nutty Cook. Romance entered the strip after Freckles met June Wayman, a character introduced in 1937. Walter Hoban and his strip Jerry on the Job were an influence on Blosser’s simple cartoon style. An inspection of strips from different decades reveals that Blosser’s artwork continually improved as the strips and characters evolved. After Henry Formhals became Blosser’s assistant in 1935, a more realistic style surfaced as Freckles grew older and the strip became more narrative. By 1939, Freckles was 17 years old, a high school senior and the captain of Shadyside High’s football team. Most of his time was spent hanging out with his girlfriend June and his pal Lard, who was often in the company of his girlfriend, Hilda. Freckles’ younger brother, Tagalong, aka Tag, also made appearances. In the 1940s, Freckles and His Friends carried a topper strip, Hector. By 1945, the strip was carried in 580 daily and 158 Sunday newspapers. At its peak, Freckles and His Friends was syndicated to more than 700 papers. It was adapted to the Big Little Book series and reprinted in comic books, including Dell Comics’ Crackajack Funnies and the back pages of the Red Ryder comic book. Freckles had his own title from Standard Comics for eight issues in the late 1940s and then four issues published by Argo Comics in the mid-1950s. Blosser married shortly after he drew the earliest Freckles and His Friends strips. For years, the couple lived in Cleveland, where the NEA office was located, until they moved to Los Angeles and then to the Los Angeles suburb of Arcadia. After his first few decades of doing the strip, Blosser shared the work of producing the daily and Sunday strips with his assistant Henry Formhals, who took over the daily in 1938. When Blosser retired, Formhals produced it alone from 1966 to 1971. The strip was discontinued on August 28, 1971. In September 1945, with the 30th anniversary of Freckles and His Friends, Blosser was the guest of honor in Los Angeles at a testimonial dinner attended by his personal friends, radio personalities, film stars and executives of the Los Angeles News. In New York in May, 1965, the National Cartoonists Society honored Blosser with an award “in recognition of the wholesome entertainment he has brought his myriad readers” and for the creation of “the oldest regular comic strip still piloted by its creator.” This early example features the title character in all panels.

Gasoline Alley - Daily 1945-09-03

Gasoline Alley by Frank King – (The Chicago Tribune) Daily, September 3rd, 1945 (Golden-Age)

Dated 9-3-1945, this four-panel daily example has an image area measuring 19.5” x 6” and is titled “Home Folks” (in pencil to the left of the art). A groundbreaking strip in its day, Gasoline Alley was the first strip to present characters that aged naturally as the strip progressed. Skeezix, featured here with his wife Nina, was first seen as a baby abandoned on the doorstep of bachelor Walt Wallet in 1921. Skeezix grew up, married, fought in World War II, and is a grandfather today. The strip’s creator, Frank King, kept his hand in the strip until his death in 1969, and was certainly both writer and artist on this example featuring all three of the aforementioned key characters. This daily is titled “Home Folks” in pencil to the left of the art. Skeezix and Nina (looking simply gorgeous) are working around the house when Uncle Walt comes for an unexpected visit. Walt and Skeezix are happy to see each other, but Nina sweeps in and Walt’s hat goes flying as she throws her arms around him. King’s dialogue and feel for everyday conversation and life is simply dead on. Great contrast of black and white and wonderful shading by a true master of the form. Kings’s legendary feel for storytelling was married to a deft mastery of pen and ink. His technique is simply breathtaking, particularly the shading of the backgrounds and Skeezix’s trousers. Simply brilliant. An excellent example of King’s virtuoso writing and art featuring three of the main Gasoline Alley characters, Walt, Skeezix and Nina.

Good Time Guy - Daily 1927-08-22

Good Time Guy by Mel Cummin – (Metropolitan Newspaper Service) Daily, August 22nd, 1927 (Platinum-Age)

Good Time Guy was a humorous syndicated comic strip distributed by Metropolitan Newspaper Service from 1927 to 1929. It was begun by prolific screenwriter Bill Conselman under the pen name of Frank Smiley, and well-established artist Mel Cummin. Cummin was succeeded the following year by Dick Huemer (1928–29), who was in turn followed by Fred Fox (1929). Ron Goulart wrote of Good Time Guy in his book The Funnies: This one was about a hefty, freckle-faced small town young man, a ‘well-meaning bumpkin,’ with ‘a heart as big as a pumpkin, only softer.’ Guy had two big ambitions: ‘To see everyone has a good time and to give uke lessons in Hawaii.’ Guy Green lived with his widowed mother in Cornhay City and was too shy to pursue pretty, blond, Mary Laffer, even though ‘she has eyes only for Guy– and what eyes! Conselman’s script was dense with “puns and complicated word-play”. There was a strong element of serendipity in the strip, with Green’s naive missteps leading unexpectedly into good fortune. This nice RARE example of Mel Cummins short-lived comic strip Good Time Guy features the title character, Guy Green, in all four panels.

NOTE: As of December 2011, only 6 examples of Good Time Guy have been offered for auction by Heritage Auctions since 2004.

Hairbreadth Harry - Daily 1931-01-21

Hairbreadth Harry (?) by C.W. Kahles – (The Ledger Syndicate) Daily, January 21st, 1931 (Platinum-Age)

Obtained by SEKOTS studios in 2012 from a private collector who claimed this piece was the Hairbreadth Harry daily that appeared in newspapers the day C.W. Kahles (the artist and creator) died, January 21, 1931. To date, this information, including the title of the strip and the year of its publication, has not been substantiated. Still a very nice and rare example of C.W. Kahles art.

Henry - Daily 1970-05-29

Henry by John Liney – (King Features Syndicate, Inc.) Daily, May 29th, 1970 (Bronze-Age)

Henry is a comic strip created in 1932 by Carl Anderson. The title character is a young bald boy who is mute (and sometimes drawn minus a mouth). With the exception of a few early episodes, the comic strip character communicates only through pantomime, a situation which changed when Henry moved into comic books. The Saturday Evening Post was the first publication to feature Henry, a series which began March 19, 1932, when Anderson was 67 years old. The series of cartoons continued in that magazine for two years in various formats of single panel, multiple panels or two panels. After seeing a German publication of Henry, William Randolph Hearst signed Anderson to King Features Syndicate and began distributing the comic strip on December 17. 1934, with the half-page Sunday strip launched March 10, 1935. Henry was replaced in The Saturday Evening Post by Marjorie Henderson Buell’s Little Lulu. Anderson’s Post cartoons featuring Henry are credited with early positive depictions of African-American characters during an era when African-Americans were often unflatteringly depicted. Carl Anderson’s Henry began in The Saturday Evening Post (1932-34), and this 1932 single panel is one of the earliest. Others in The Saturday Evening Post series were two panels or multiple panels. Anderson’s assistant on the Sunday strip was Don Trachte. His assistant on the dailies was John Liney. In 1942, arthritis kept Anderson away from the drawing board, so Anderson turned the dailies over to Liney, and Trachte drew the Sunday strips. When Liney retired in 1979, the strip appeared on Sundays only until Trachte’s death in 2005. During that period, Jack Tippit and Dick Hodgins, Jr. also contributed. About 75 newspapers still run classic Henry strips drawn by Trachte, and it is also available through King Features. Henry appears (and speaks) alongside Betty Boop in the Fleischer Studios animated short Betty Boop with Henry, the Funniest Living American (1935). During the period of 1946 to 1961, Dell Comics published 61 issues of a color comic book titled Carl Anderson’s Henry. Henry spoke in the comic book, as did the other principal characters.

Jeanie - Daily 1952

Jeanie by Selma Diamond and Gill Fox – (New York Herald Tribune) Daily, (?), 1952 (Atom-Age)

A RARE wonderful example of the short-lived comic strip Jeanie from 1952. Written by Selma Diamond and drawn by Gilbert “Gill” Theodore Fox, with nice images of the pretty blond title character “Jeanie” in all four panels. The strip began as a “filler” on 8/26/1951 in the New York Herlad-Tribune and graduated to a full-fledge strip in April 1952. Syndication markets were uninterested in the adventures of a scantily clad babe and Fox dropped out in March 1953. He was replaced by Leon Win (a pseudonym?) whose artwork looked like a rushed version of Fox, and may be just that. The strip ended after about a year and a half, on 9/27/1953.

Jerry on the Job - Daily 1929-05-02

Jerry on the Job by Walter C. Hoban – (International Feature Service) Daily, May 2nd, 1929 (Platinum-Age)

Jerry on the Job was a popular comic strip by cartoonist Walter Hoban which was set in a railroad station. Syndicated by William Randolph Hearst’s International Feature Service, it ran from 1913 into the 1930s. When Hoban was given only a weekend to devise a comic strip, he created Jerry on the Job, about pint-size Jerry Flannigan, initially employed as an office boy and then in a variety of other jobs. The strip was launched on December 29, 1913. Jerry was about the size of a five-year-old who was small for his age, and proportioned like an infant with a large head when compared to the rest of his body. After a year or two, he began moving from job to job. He was a retail clerk, a messenger boy, even a prize fighter, and other things before Hoban went off to fight in World War I, and the strip went on hiatus. When it returned, Jerry was working at a railroad station under the supervision of Mr. Givney, the station’s manager. His job included just about everything that went into making a railroad station function. Sources of humor included the eccentrics who hung around the station, Mr. Givney’s peevishness, and Jerry’s own ineptitude. Hoban pioneered the use of humorous signs posted here and there in the background, a motif also seen in Smokey Stover. The Jerry on the Job Sunday page began in 1919, but it later became a topper strip above another Hoban feature, Rainbow Duffy. The daily strip came to an end in 1931, and the topper was dropped in 1932. A very nice “Platinum-Age” four-panel example of Walter C. Hoban’s most popular creation Jerry on the Job. The title character appears in the first three panels and acts out Mr. Hoban’s trademark “run-off” technique in panel four. A RARE classic example of a long-forgotten classic.

NOTE: As of December 2011, only 20 examples of Jerry On The Job have been offered for auction by Heritage Auctions since 2004.


Judge Parker by Dan Heilman – (Publishers Syndicate) Daily, November 21st, 1961 (Silver-Age)

A soap opera-style comic strip that first appeared on November 24, 1952. Judge Alan Parker was a widower with two children, Randy and Ann. Later, Judge Parker married a younger woman, Katherine. Initially a dashing figure who solved crimes and chased criminals, Parker became an upstanding and serious judge who rarely strayed from his courtroom during the 1960s. The strip began to focus on handsome, successful young attorney Sam Driver, and Parker was almost entirely phased out of his own strip. Most stories revolve around Driver, his wealthy client and now wife Abbey Spencer, and their two adopted children Neddy and her younger sister, Sophie. The characters have gradually (and gracefully) aged over the years. Alan’s son Randy, now grown, is Driver’s law partner, and in 2006 campaigned for the judicial seat from which his father was retiring. The February 15, 2009, strip stated that Randy would be “the new Judge Parker.” Dr. Nicholas P. Dallis, a psychiatrist who also created the comic strips Rex Morgan, M.D. and Apartment 3-G, used the pen name “Paul Nichols” when writing the strip. Shortly before his death, he retired in 1990, turning over the scripting chores to his assistant Woody Wilson. The strip’s first artist was Dan Heilman, who left in 1965 and was replaced by Harold LeDoux. LeDoux’s last strip ran on May 28, 2006.

Judge Rummy - Daily 1917

Judge Rummy by Thomas Aloysius Dorgan (TAD) – (King Features Syndicate) Daily, 1917 (Platinum-Age)

Thomas Aloysius Dorgan (April 29, 1877 – May 2, 1929), also known as Tad Dorgan, was an American cartoonist who signed his drawings as Tad. He is known for his cartoon panel Indoor Sports and the many words and expressions he added to the language. Dorgan was born in San Francisco on April 29, 1877. When he was 13 years old, he lost the last three fingers of his right hand in an accident with a factory machine. He took up drawing for therapy. A year later, at the age of 14, he joined the art staff of the San Francisco Bulletin. He created his first comic strip, Johnny Wise, for the San Francisco Chronicle in 1902. By 1905 he was working in New York City at the New York Journal as a sports writer and cartoonist. In addition to his work as a sports journalist, Dorgan did a humor feature, “Daffydills”. His dog cartoons, including Judge Rummy, evolved into the strip Silk Hat Harry’s Divorce Suit. This was accompanied by a one-panel gag series called Indoor Sports which became his main feature, along with an occasional Outdoor Sports. Dorgan is generally credited with either creating or popularizing such words and expressions as “dumbbell” (a stupid person); “for crying out loud” (an exclamation of astonishment); “cat’s meow” and “cat’s pajamas” (as superlatives); “applesauce” (nonsense); “cheaters'” (eyeglasses); “skimmer” (a hat); “hard-boiled” (a tough person); “drugstore cowboy” (loafers or ladies’ men); “nickel-nurser” (a miser); “as busy as a one-armed paperhanger” (overworked); and “Yes, we have no bananas,” which was turned into a popular song. His obituary also credited him as the originator of “Twenty-three, Skidoo,” “solid ivory,” “Dumb Dora,” “finale hopper,” “Benny” for hat, and “dogs'” for shoes. W. J. Funk, of the Funk and Wagnall’s dictionary company, placed Dorgan at the top of the list of the ten “most fecund makers of American slang.” This very nice four-panel RARE example of Judge Rummy is from 1917 and features the title character and Fannie appearing in all four panels. Signed by the artist in the last panel. One of the founding fathers of the modern comic strip, art by TAD (April 29, 1877 – May 2, 1929) is very rare.

NOTE: As of December 2011, only 9 examples of Judge Rummy have been offered for auction by Heritage Auctions since 2004.

Larry Bannon - Daily 1962-03-19

Larry Bannon by Winslow “Win” Mortimer – (Toronto Star Ltd.) Daily, March 19th, 1962 (Silver-Age)

James Winslow “Win” Mortimer (May 1, 1919 – January 11, 1998) was a comic book and comic strip artist best known as one of the major illustrators of the DC Comics superhero Superman. He additionally drew for Marvel Comics, Gold Key, and other publishers. He was a 2006 inductee into Canadian comics’ creators Joe Shuster Hall of Fame. Win Mortimer was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Trained as an artist by his father, who worked for a lithography company, and at the Art Students League of New York, Mortimer found work as an illustrator after a short stint in the Canadian Army during World War II. Discharged in 1943, Mortimer found work designing posters. Mortimer began working for DC Comics in 1945, and quickly became a cover artist for comics featuring Superman, Superboy and Batman. His first known comics work is as the penciler and inker of the 12-page lead Batman story, “The Batman Goes Broke” by writer Don Cameron, in Detective Comics #105 (Nov. 1945); contractually credited to Bob Kane, it is also signed “Mortimer.” He succeeded Wayne Boring on the Superman newspaper strip in 1949, leaving it in 1956 to create the adventure strip David Crane for the Prentice-Hall Syndicate. Following his run on that series, Mortimer produced the Larry Bannon strip for the Toronto Star beginning in 1960. During the same period, Mortimer returned to DC and worked on a large variety of comics, ranging from humor (Stanley and His Monster, Scooter, Fat Albert) to superhero (features starring The Legion of Super-Heroes and Supergirl). By the early 1970s, Mortimer was also freelancing for other publishers, including Marvel, for which he drew virtually every story in the TV tie-in children’s comic Spidey Super Stories, starring Spider-Man, for its entire, 57-issue run (Oct. 1974 – March 1982); and Gold Key (Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery, The Twilight Zone). He left comics in 1983 to do advertising and commercial art for Neal Adams’ studio, Continuity Associates. Mortimer’s last superhero art was the four-issue DC miniseries World of Metropolis (Aug.-Nov. 1988), plus some character drawings for the reference Who’s Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes #7 (Nov. 1988). His final comics work was pencil layout for Triad Comics’ The Honeymooners #11 (June 1989). He had previously drawn issues #3-9 (late-1987 to July 1988) of that series based on the 1950s TV comedy.

Little Audrey - Daily 1951-10-27

Little Audrey by Steve Mufatti – (King Features Syndicate) Daily, October 27th, 1951 (Atom-Age)

Little Audrey appears in all four panels of this RARE example of the short-lived comic strip by Steve Mufatti.

Little Mary Mix-Up - Daily 1942-01-10

Little Mary Mix-Up by R.M. Brinkerhoff – (The New York World, United Features Syndicate) Daily, January 10th, 1942 (Golden-Age)

From Little Iodine to Rainbow Brite, little girl stars litter the history of the cartoon medium. What may have been the first of them, Little Mary Mix-Up, owed her existence, in part at least, to the fact that cartoonist Robert Moore Brinkerhoff, in his mid-30s when he created her, had no little girls of his own. Invited in 1917 to create a comic for The New York World, Brinkerhoff, a newspaper illustrator who had never before contemplated doing comics, surveyed the scene and found a niche that wasn’t filled and that would also provide a sort of daughter substitute for him. Little Mary Mix-Up is what he came up with. Before long, she was being distributed nationwide by United Feature Syndicate. Mary was everything a man could want in a daughter, with that combination of naiveté, imagination and a fresh point of view that surprises and delights grown-ups. Plus, she aged at a more relaxed pace than a real-life daughter would, so it was possible for him to enjoy her childhood longer. In fact, in all the decades the strip ran, Mary never got out of her teens. But she was old enough during World War II, approximately a quarter-century after her introduction, to have an adventure or two fighting Nazis. By that time, the daily strip had long since evolved from the gag-a-day style to long, melodramatic continuity in the manner that had become quite popular. The Sunday page (for which Brinkerhoff also did a topper called All in the Family) still featured stand-alone funny stuff, often involving Mary’s younger brother, Snooker. Little Mary Mix-Up was never one of the top sellers, appearing in about 100 papers at its peak, most of which covered small towns. Nonetheless, it hung on until 1956, when Brinkerhoff retired. He died two years later. In this example, Little Mary Mix-Up is having a party. Thinking no one will show up, because of Betty’s party being the same day, she is surprised to find Elmer at the door. The title character appears in all three panels of this nice example. Art by the strips creator Robert Moore Brinkerhoff (1880–1958).

Mickey Finn - Daily 1936 or 1942-12-3

Mickey Finn by Lank Leonard – (McNaught Syndicate) Daily, December 3rd, 1936 or 1942 (Platinum or Golden-Age)

Nice four-panel early example of the comic strip Mickey Finn by Frank E. “Lank” Leonard. The title character appears “full-figure” in the second panel. Mickey Finn debuted on Monday, April 6, 1936 and early examples of the strip typically do not reveal the year of publication. However, there are several tell-tale signs to date the strip in question. Mr. Leonard almost always indicated the day of the week in which the strip would see print (in pencil and normally in the upper right hand corner of the work). The “day of the week” on this particular example is clearly visible and reads… “Thursday December 3”. Another indication of the age of this strip is it’s overall size. Early Mickey Finn comic strips (mid-1940’s and earlier) were rendered in a larger size. Also, Mickey is wearing a leather football helmet. An item that, in the sport of football, was standard equipment during the 1930’s and early 1940’s. Using this information, there are only two calendar years in which December the 3rd fell on a Thursday, and qualify as a possible year of publication…. 1936 and 1942. I believe the date of this strip to be December the 3rd, 1936. Originally part of the Charles Martignette collection sold through Heritage Art Auctions.

Mickey Finn - Daily 1941 or 1947-11-07

Mickey Finn by Lank Leonard – (McNaught Syndicate) Daily, November 7th, 1941 or 1947 (Golden-Age)

Nice four-panel early example of the comic strip Mickey Finn by Frank E. “Lank” Leonard. Mickey Finn debuted on Monday, April 6, 1936 and early examples of the strip typically do not reveal the year of publication. However, there are several tell-tale signs to date the strip in question. Mr. Leonard almost always indicated the day of the week in which the strip would see print (in pencil and normally in the upper right hand corner of the work). The “day of the week” on this particular example is clearly visible and reads… “Friday Nov. 7”. Another indication of the age of this strip is it’s overall size. Early Mickey Finn comic strips (mid-1940’s and earlier) were rendered in a larger size. Using this information, there are only two calendar years in which November the 7th fell on a Friday, and qualify as a possible year of publication…. 1941 and 1947. I believe the date of this strip to be November the 7th, 1941. Originally part of the Charles Martignette collection sold through Heritage Art Auctions.

Morty Meekle - Daily 1958-03-06Morty Meekle by Dick Cavalli  – (Newspaper Enterprise Association) Daily, March 6th, 1958 (Silver-Age)

Just a damn funny four-panel EARLY example. Dick Cavalli (b. 1923) is a well known cartoonist, famous for his strip Winthrop. He created the Morty Meekle newspaper strip, which first appeared in 1956. It was retitled Winthrop in 1966 and ran until 1993. In 1982, Mr. Cavalli took over the Norbert strip from its creator George Fett, and continued it for another year. Dick Cavalli was founder of the Famous Artists Cartoon Course.


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