A few examples of Original Comic Strip Art Dailies
from The SEKOTS studios Collection of Original Comic & Cartoon Art
Petey Dink by C.A. Voight – (Boston Traveler/New York Herald) Daily, circa 1919 (Platinum-Age)
A very nice example of the “Platinum-Age” comic strip “Petey Dink” by C. A. Voight from 1919. The title character appears in all four panels. At the age of fourteen, Charles A. Voight (1887-1947) left school to join the art staff at the New York World. In 1908, his first comic “Petey Dink” appeared in the Boston Traveler and the New York Herald. The series lasted until 1929. In the late 1910’s, another Voight strip “The Optimist” appeared in Life magazine. Charles Voight is best known for his renderings of pretty girls, especially in his popular “Betty” comic strip which ran from 1920-1943.
NOTE: As of December 2011, Heritage Auctions has never offered a Petey Dink or any other work by C.A. Voight.
Smitty by Walter Berndt – (The Chicago Tribune Syndicate) Daily, September 10th, 1949 (Atom-Age)
Dressed as a girl and wearing a wig for the school play, the title character appears in all four panels.
Tailspin Tommy by Hal Forrest – (Bell Syndicate / United Feature Syndicate) Daily #2970, November 13th, 1937 (Platinum-Age)
This daily example (episode #2970, entitled “Dirty Weather Ahead?”) is from November 13, 1937, and begins the “Crossed Controls” storyline. It depicts Tailspin Tommy and Skeeter having a discussion while sitting in Three-Point Airlines popular Aileron Café. The two appear together in three of the strip’s four art panels. Art by Hal Forrest and Reynold Brown (ghost). Originally illustrated by Hal Forrest with scripts by Glenn Chaffin, Tailspin Tommy debuted in 1928 and was the first aviation-based comic strip. Forrest bought out Chaffin’s interest in 1933. Taking over the scripting chores, he both wrote and drew the strip solo for the next three years. In 1936, Hal Forrest (July 22, 1895 – 1959) took on assistant Reynold Brown (1917 – 1991), who penciled the strip while Forrest provided the inks. Tailspin Tommy improved with Brown’s contribution, yet he was uncredited and remained the strip’s ghost artist.The strip ended in 1942.
NOTE: As of December 2011, only 11 daily examples of Tailspin Tommy have been offered for auction by Heritage Auctions since 2003.
Terry and the Pirates by George Wunder – (Chicago Tribune New York News Syndicate, First Series) Daily, December 20th, 1967 (Silver-Age)
Created by Milton Caniff, Terry and the Pirates ran from October 21, 1934 until February 25, 1973. Caniff left the strip in 1946 with his last Terry strip appearing on December the 29th. After Caniff’s departure, Terry and the Pirates was assigned to Associated Press artist George Wunder (1912-1987) who continued the strip until it’s demise. This example features the title character throughout.
The Dailys by Stanley J. Link – (The Chicago Tribune) Daily, September 13th, 1948 (Atom-Age)
From the first year of the strip.
The Dailys by Stanley J. Link – (The Chicago Tribune) Daily, June 13th, 1949 (Atom-Age)
The Dailys by Stanley J. Link – (The Chicago Tribune) Daily, January 6th, 1950 (Atom-Age)
The Dailys by Stanley J. Link – (The Chicago Tribune) Daily, November 7th, 1951 (Atom-Age)
The Ryatts by Jack Elrod – (The Hall Syndicate, Inc.) Daily, May 12th, 1967 (Silver-Age)
Born in Memphis, Cal Alley was the son of James Pinckney Alley, creator of the syndicated cartoon panel, Hambone’s Meditations, and the first editorial cartoonist at The Commercial Appeal in 1916. The character of Hambone was inspired by J. P. Alley’s encounter with a philosophical ex-slave, Tom Hunley, of Greenwood, Mississippi. Hambone’s Meditations ran on the front page of The Commercial Appeal. When the elder Alley died April 16, 1934, Cal Alley and his brother James took over Hambone’s Meditations. Pressure from Civil Rights groups brought the long-run cartoon series to an end in 1968. In 1939, Cal Alley began his cartoon career in Missouri where he was an editorial cartoonist with the Kansas City Journal. When the Journal folded in 1942, he moved on to the Nashville Banner. Three years later, he signed on with The Commercial Appeal, where he launched a comic strip, The Ryatts, syndicated from 1954 to 1994. Comics historian Don Markstein noted: Besides Mom and Dad Ryatt, there were five kids: Missy, Kitty, Pam, Tad and Winky. If there was one family member who could be singled out as the star, it was Winky, the youngest. In fact, for a while during the late 1960s and early 1970s, the strip had the alternate title Winky Ryatt. Like many working in the domestic comedy genre, Alley drew inspiration from his own family. Alley retired in 1965, and died in 1970. The Ryatts was taken over by Jack Elrod, who later also took over Mark Trail from creator Ed Dodd. The syndicate folded the strip in 1994. Alley retired in 1965 and died of cancer five years later at the age of 54.
The Toodle Family (aka The Toodles) by Stanley & Betsy Baer and Rod Ruth – (Field Enterprises) Daily, December 11th, 1957 (Silver-Age)
Like all comic strips about domestic life, e.g., Blondie, Hi & Lois and The Ryatts, The Toodle Family had its share of family discussions, at varying levels of heat. Unlike most, the Toodles owe their existence to such a family argument. Sol Hess was talking about comics with his daughter Betsy and her husband, Stanley F. Baer, and made what he considered a telling point when he suggested that if the younger couple knew so much about comics, perhaps they should create one. Hess was calling attention to his own credentials as an early writer of The Gumps and creator of The Nebbs. The Baers, who made their living in the wholesale grocery business, had no prior ambitions in that direction, but still took him up on the challenge. A new paper, The Chicago Sun, was starting in the vicinity, and their The Toodle Family, drawn by local illustrator Rod Ruth, started with it. This happened in December, 1941, when the couple had been married for 14 years. The domestic setting of the couple’s comic was chosen not as a direct imitation of The Nebbs, but because it was something they were very familiar with. The first two Toodle children were a bit older than the Baers’ own, but the writers still cited experience raising a family as their main qualification for the job. The twins were invented for the strip, and had no real-life counterparts. Each pair of Toodle kids consisted of a boy and a girl. There was the occasional daily gag, but the comic tended toward storylines constructed like a soap opera. Stanley contrived the situations and plotted the general outlines of the story, with Betsy writing the actual script the artist worked from. Ruth eventually left the strip to return to advertising work and magazine illustration. The job was taken over by Pete Winter, another whose comic credits were sparse. Field distributed The Toodle Family, later titled The Toodles, to about 300 papers. Sol Hess died less than a month after his daughter and son-in-law launched their comic. The Bell Syndicate (Don Winslow of the Navy, Mutt & Jeff), which distributed The Nebbs, hired the Baers to write that one as well. The Toodles ended in 1961.
The World’s Greatest Superheroes was a syndicated newspaper comic strip featuring DC Comics characters which ran Sunday and daily from April 9, 1978 to February 10, 1985. It was syndicated by the Chicago Tribune/New York News Syndicate. Initially starring Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, The Flash and Black Lightning, it underwent several title changes, as the focus changed to primarily feature Superman. Martin Pasko scripted at the beginning. Paul Levitz took over October 15, 1979 until March 22, 1981, with his initial story coming from a Pasko idea. Gerry Conway then picked up the assignment. A continuity from Mike W. Barr followed, appearing October 26, 1981 through January 10, 1982. Paul Kupperberg handled continuities from January 11, 1982, until the end, including a segment from January 12 through March 12, 1981, that he ghosted for Levitz. Bob Rozakis wrote all but two of The Superman Sunday Special. Initially dailies and Sundays were pencilled by George Tuska and inked by Vince Colletta. At various times from April 25 until November 13, 1982, the strip was worked on by Tuska, Colletta, Jose Delbo, Bob Smith, Frank McLaughlin and Sal Trapani. Delbo and Trapani then illustrated the feature from November 14, 1982 until the end. This three-panel example, from the “Mtzyplick” storyline, features Superman and Lois Lane throughout and centers around their struggles to have a relationship in a world of heroes and villains.
Tillie the Toiler by Russ Westover – (King Features Syndicate) Daily, January 14th, 1932 (Platinum-Age)
Tillie the Toiler was a newspaper comic strip created by cartoonist Russ Westover who initially worked on his concept of a flapper character in a strip he titled Rose of the Office. With a title change, it sold to King Features Syndicate which carried the strip from 1921 to 1959. Tillie (last name Jones) toiled for a fashionable women’s wear company run by clothing mogul J. Simpkins. Or usually did, anyway—she’d occasionally quit or be fired, as the plotline, which ran at breakneck pace and didn’t always make perfect sense, required. During World War II, in fact, she even joined the U.S. Army. But she always came back to Simpkins. Mostly, she worked in his office, but she also did a little modeling. Whatever she did and wherever she went, however, she was impeccably dressed in the very latest styles. This helped her in the pursuit of charming and often wealthy young men, who came and went at an alarming rate, providing grist for the story mill. She did, however, have one steady male associate, Clarence “Mac” MacDougall, a short, bulb-nosed co-worker who loved her persistently even though she returned little of the feeling. The daily strip began on Monday, January 3, 1921, followed by the Sunday page on October 10, 1922. For the Sunday page, Westover also did a topper strip, Van Swaggers, beginning in 1926, and he later did another topper, Aunt Min, in the 1930s. Westover retired in 1951 with his assistant Bob Gustafson then doing most of the writing and drawing. After Westover departed completely three years later, Gustafson’s signature appeared on the strip beginning October 4, 1954. The daily strip ended March 7, 1959, with the last Sunday eight days later on March 15. From the “Platinum-Age”, here is a very nice example of the original “Flapper Girl” comic strip, Tillie the Toiler by the strips creator Russell Channing “Russ” Westover (March 8, 1886 – May 3, 1966). Tillie appears in all four panels.
Wee Pals by Morrie Turner – (King Features Syndicate) Daily, November 8th, 1965 (Silver-Age)
Wee Pals is a syndicated comic strip about a diverse group of children, created and produced by Morrie Turner. Wee Pals first appeared on February 15, 1965. Syndicated by the Des Moines Register and Tribune Syndicate, the strip originally appeared in only 5 daily newspapers, as many papers refused to run a strip featuring black characters. After the assassination of Martin Luther King, the number of papers carrying the strip grew to 60; today it appears in over 100 dailies. The 1960s were a time of growing racial and ethnic diversity in American entertainment media of all types. No newspaper comic strip better exemplified that trend than Wee Pals, which was launched Monday, February 15, 1965, by The Register and Tribune Syndicate (The Red Knight, Jane Arden). That distributor already had a record with less stereotyped black characters as early as 1940 with Will Eisner’s depiction of Ebony, in The Spirit, as caricatured, but capable and courageous. Cartoonist Morrie Turner’s kid gang wasn’t called “The Rainbow Club” for nothing. This particular ensemble cast has members who are black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Jewish, Native American, and more. There’s even a regular character who is disabled. Now distributed by Creators Syndicate (Baby Blues, Crankshaft), Wee Pals is still popular. And Morrie Turner, now in his 80s, is still producing it. This example is from the strips first year.