Sunday

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

Gasoline Alley - Sunday 1971-01-17

Gasoline Alley by Bill Perry – (The Chicago Tribune) Sunday, January 17th, 1971 (Bronze-Age)

Gasoline Alley is a comic strip created by Frank King and currently distributed by Tribune Media Services. First published November 24, 1918, it is the second longest running comic strip in the US and has received critical accolades for its influential innovations. In addition to inventive color and page design concepts, King introduced real-time continuity to comic strips by showing his characters as they grew to maturity and aged over generations. The strip originated on the Chicago Tribune’s black-and-white Sunday page, The Rectangle, where staff artists contributed one-shot panels, continuing plots or themes. One corner of The Rectangle introduced King’s Gasoline Alley, where characters Walt, Doc, Avery and Bill held weekly conversations about automobiles. This panel slowly gained recognition, and the daily strip began August 24, 1919 in the New York Daily News. The early years were dominated by the character Walt Wallet. Tribune editor Joseph Patterson wanted to attract women to the strip by introducing a baby, but Walt was not married. That obstacle was avoided when Walt found a baby on his doorstep. Skeezix called his adopted father Uncle Walt. Unlike most comic strip children (like the Katzenjammer Kids or Little Orphan Annie) he did not remain a baby or even a little boy for long. He grew up to manhood, the first occasion where real time continually elapsed in a major comic strip over generations. By the time the United States entered World War II, Skeezix was a fully-grown adult, courting girls and serving in the armed forces. He later married Nina Clock and had children. In the late 1960s he faced a typical midlife crisis. Walt Wallet himself had married Phyllis Blossom and had other children, who grew up and had kids of their own. During the 1970s and 1980s, under Dick Moores’ authorship, the characters briefly stopped aging. When Jim Scancarelli took over, the natural aging was restored. The Sunday strip was launched October 24, 1920. The strip is still published in newspapers. Walt Wallet is now well over a century old (111, as of March 2011), while Skeezix has become a nonagenarian. Walt’s wife Phyllis, age an estimated 105, died in the April 26, 2004 strip, leaving Walt a widower after nearly eight decades of marriage. King was succeeded by his former assistants, with Bill Perry taking responsibility for Sunday strips in 1951 and Dick Moores, first hired in 1956, becoming sole writer and artist for the daily strip in 1959. When Perry retired in 1975, Moores took responsibility for Sunday strips as well, combining the daily and Sunday stories into one continuity starting September 28, 1975. Moores died in 1986, and since then Gasoline Alley has been written and drawn by Scancarelli, former assistant to Moores. The strip and King were recognized with the National Cartoonists Society’s Humor Strip Award in 1957, 1973, 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1985. King received the 1958 Society’s Reuben Award, and Moores received it in 1974. Scancarelli received the Society’s Story Comic Strip Award in 1988. The strip received an NCS plaque for the year’s best story strip in 1981, 1982 and 1983. Gasoline Alley was written and drawn by Frank King (1883-1969) from 1919 to 1969. After 1959, King wrote the strip, which was drawn by his assistants Bill Perry, Dick Moores and Jim Scancarelli. This nice three-tier, ten-panel example of Frank King’s Gasoline Alley features Slim and Clovia at a used car lot. Art by Bill Perry (September 26, 1905 – February 13, 1995) who rendered the Sunday strips from 1951-1975.

NOTE: Mathematically speaking, a Sunday example of any given syndicated comic strip is six times as rare as its Daily counterpart.

Home Sweet Home - Sunday 1940-10-06

Home Sweet Home by Jack Callahan – (King Features Syndicate) Sunday, October 6th, 1940 (Golden-Age)

Lasting only four years, and with less than 200 Sunday examples ever created, Home Sweet Home is a very scarce strip from the “Golden-Age”. When offered “complete” with The Baby Speaks topper, examples become very RARE. Here is a nice RARE example totaling five-tiers and fifteen-panels. Topper is missing its first panel “title” photo-stat otherwise, art is in excellent condition. Art by Jack Callahan (December 14, 1888 – August 24, 1954).

NOTE: This piece is rubber-stamped on the back as belonging to Murray Harris and was at one time part of the Murray Harris Collection of Comic Art.

NOTE: Not to be confused with the comic strip of the same name created by Harry Tuthill in 1918. Mr. Tuthill’s strip was renamed “The Bungle Family” in 1924.

NOTE: Mathematically speaking, a Sunday example of any given syndicated comic strip is six times as rare as its Daily counterpart.

NOTE: As of December 2011, only three Sunday examples (including this example) of Home Sweet Home have been offered for auction by Heritage Auctions, two in 2006 and this example offered in 2011. Of the three aforementioned examples, this is the ONLY one offered “complete” with The Baby Speaks topper intact AND from the Murray Harris Collection.

Judge Parker - Sunday 1968-09-08

Judge Parker by Harold LeDoux – (Publishers Syndicate) Sunday, September 8th, 1968 (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. Comic book artist Eduardo Barreto replaced him; his first strip appeared the following day. Barreto suffered a near-fatal injury in a car accident in Uruguay shortly afterwards and was unable to illustrate the strips for December 2006; as a result, Rex Morgan artist Graham Nolan did the strip for a week, and John Heebink took over the following week. Barreto resumed drawing the strip in January 2007. Barreto fell “gravely ill” from meningitis in early February 2010 and had to withdraw from drawing the strip for “the foreseeable future”. Barreto’s son Diego drew the strip for the week beginning February 8, 2010, with John Heebnik stepping in again on February 15, 2010, for four weeks while Barreto recovered. Artist Mike Manley assumed the art duties permanently beginning March 15, 2010.

NOTE: Mathematically speaking, a Sunday example of any given syndicated comic strip is six times as rare as its Daily counterpart.

NOTE: As of December 2011, only 7 Sunday examples of Judge Parker have been offered for auction by Heritage Auctions since 2005.

Moon Mullins - Sunday 1971-06-06

Moon Mullins by Ferd Johnson – (Chicago Tribune/New York News Syndicate) Sunday, June 6th, 1971 (Bronze-Age)

Moon Mullins, created by cartoonist Frank Willard (1893–1958), was a popular American comic strip which had a long run as both a daily and Sunday feature from June 19, 1923 to June 2, 1991. Syndicated by the Chicago Tribune/New York News Syndicate, the strip depicts the lives of diverse lowbrow characters who reside at the Schmaltz (later Plushbottom) boarding house. Ferdinand “Ferd” Johnson (1905–1996) began as Willard’s assistant a few months after the strip began in 1923. Starting with the lettering, then the backgrounds, Johnson gradually progressed to the point where he was handling the entire operation; but it was only after Willard died that he began signing it. When Willard died suddenly on January 11, 1958, the Tribune Syndicate hired Johnson, who also had a natural gift for funny, slangy dialogue, to helm the strip as Willard’s logical successor. In 1978, Ferd’s son, Tom Johnson, signed on as his assistant. Ferd Johnson stayed with the strip until it came to an end upon his retirement in 1991. Johnson worked on Moon Mullins for 68 years, a stint that probably stands as the longest tenure of an artist on a single feature in the history of American comics. Originally created by cartoonist Frank Henry Willard (1893 – 1958), this example is rendered by cartoonist Ferd Johnson (December 18, 1905 – October 14, 1996) who Willard hired just two months after the strips debut. Lots of characters in this five-panel installment including ???. Strip is complete, and includes a three-panel Kitty Higgins topper.

NOTE: Mathematically speaking, a Sunday example of any given syndicated comic strip is six times as rare as its Daily counterpart.

Mr. Abernathy - Sunday 1963-01-20

Mr. Abernathy by Ralston Jones and Frank Ridgeway – (King Features Syndicate) Sunday, January 20th, 1963 (Sliver-Age)

Mr. Abernathy, created by writer Ralston “Bud” Jones and artist Frank Ridgeway, was distributed by King Features Syndicate debuted on October 14, 1957. This look at the lighter side of the upper crust wasn’t among King’s most widely-distributed strips, nor was it spun off into a multi-media extravaganza. But Abernathy and his matter-of-fact attitude toward his money and position did continue for quite some time. His household servants and office staff never actually rebelled, or expressed strong views over the way he took them for granted, but sometimes made it clear to readers that they weren’t entirely convinced he was behaving reasonably. Jones left the strip in 1980, after which Ridgeway handled the whole job. Ridgeway died in 1994, and the strip continued for a time with no byline at all. It folded soon after. A humorous three-tier, eleven-panel example featuring the title character in six of ten panels (panel one is a title stat and not counted). Mr. Abernathy was created by writer Frank Ridgeway and artist Ralston Jones in 1957. The two collaborated on the strip until Jones retired in 1980. Ridgeway continued the strip as both writer and artist until his death in 1994.

NOTE: Mathematically speaking, a Sunday example of any given syndicated comic strip is six times as rare as its Daily counterpart.

Mutt and Jeff - Sunday 1959-05-31

Mutt and Jeff by Al Smith – (King Features Syndicate) Sunday, May 31st, 1959 (Atom-Age)

Mutt & Jeff, whose original title was A. Mutt (the initial stood for Augustus), was created by Harry Conway “Bud” Fisher (April 3, 1885 – September 7, 1954). First appearing in The San Francisco Chronicle on November 15, 1907, it is considered the first daily comic strip to appear on a regular basis, with continuing characters. On March 27, 1908, tall, skinny Mutt met the diminutive Jeff. Mutt’s easygoing dimwittedness contrasted to great comic effect with the fact that Jeff was certifiably insane. Before long “Mutt & Jeff” actually became part of the English language, a slang term for a tall person paired with a short one. Fisher hadn’t been doing the feature long before William Randolph Hearst hired him away, and he began doing it for Hearst’s San Francisco Examiner, instead. The Chronicle tried to continue it with another artist, but Fisher had taken the precaution of copyrighting it in his own name, and The Chronicle was forced to stop. It was soon appearing in Hearst papers nationwide, distributed by King Features Syndicate. In 1913, Fisher moved it to The Wheeler Syndicate (later known as Bell Syndicate). King tried to prevent the move, but again, Fisher succeeded in asserting his ownership rights. By this time, Fisher was relying more on his assistants than his own work, and spent most of his time enjoying the huge amounts of money the strip earned for him. Of all the “assistants” who wrote and drew Mutt & Jeff, the one who devoted more of his career to it than any other was Al Smith (March 2, 1902 – November 24, 1986), who took it on in 1932 and stayed until 1980. Although he was solely responsible for writing and drawing Mutt & Jeff, it was not until 1954, when Fisher died, that Smith started signing his own name to it. In 1982, after an impressive 75-year run the strip was finally laid to rest. This ten-panel Sunday example by Al Smith features the title characters together in panels one through four, Bud and Cecil the zoo elephant in panels five through nine with Mutt rejoining the scene in the last panel.

NOTE: Mathematically speaking, a Sunday example of any given syndicated comic strip is six times as rare as its Daily counterpart.

Smilin Jack - Sunday 1961-08-06

Smilin’ Jack by Zack Mosley – (Chicago Tribune – New York News Syndicate) Sunday, August 6th, 1961 (Silver-Age)

The Adventures of Smilin’ Jack was an aviation comic strip that first appeared October 1, 1933 in the Chicago Tribune and ended April 1, 1973. After a run of 40 years, it was the longest running aviation comic strip. The strip was created by 27-year-old cartoonist and aviation enthusiast Zack Mosley, who had previously worked on the Buck Rogers and Skyroads strips. Smilin’ Jack was originally Mack Martin, in On the Wing, but Chicago Tribune editor Joseph Medill Patterson did not like the original title, so on December 31, 1933, the name was changed to Jack Martin, and the strip was retitled The Adventures of Smilin’ Jack after its creator, who had been nicknamed “Smilin’ Zack” by his colleagues. In later years it was simply known as Smilin’ Jack. Zack Mosley’s assistant during the 1940s was Boody Rogers. An excellent example of one of the comics earliest aviation strips featuring the title character doing what he does best… flying a jet. Nice “cockpit” close-ups of Smilin’ Jack Martin in three of seven panels. Art by the strips creator Zack Mosley (December 12, 1906 – December 21, 1993).

NOTE: Mathematically speaking, a Sunday example of any given syndicated comic strip is six times as rare as its Daily counterpart.

The Berrys - Sunday 1963-10-13

The Berrys by Carl Grubert – (Field Enterprises) Sunday, October 13th, 1963 (Silver-Age)

A nice three-tier, eleven-panel example featuring the entire Berrys family… father, Peter, mother Pat, daughter Jill, son Jackie and baby brother Jimmie. The Berrys was a family comic strip drawn by Carl Grubert and distributed by Field Enterprises, Inc.. During a long run from 1942 to 1974, the strip chronicled the life of the Berry family, which was composed of father Peter, mother Pat, daughter Jill, son Jackie and baby brother, Jimmie.

NOTE: Mathematically speaking, a Sunday example of any given syndicated comic strip is six times as rare as its Daily counterpart.

The Bungle Family - Sunday 1933-04-16

The Bungle Family by Harry Tuthill – (New York Evening Mail/McNaught Syndicate) Sunday, April 16th, 1933 (Platinum-Age)

The Bungle Family was an American comic strip, created by Harry J. Tuthill, that first appeared in 1918. Originally titled Home, Sweet Home, it first appeared as part of a series of rotating strips in the New York Evening Mail. Known as “the finest, most inventive and socially critical of the family strips,” The Bungle Family was a popular domestic comedy that emphasized dialogue and realistic situations. The titular patriarch of the strip, long-suffering, cantankerous George Bungle, voiced the petty frustrations and joys of the common man during the Jazz Age and through the Depression. Seen only sporadically in 1918, the strip was published daily and was nationally syndicated by the end of 1919. Home, Sweet Home followed the adventures of Mabel (later Josephine) and George, a young couple beset on all sides by in-laws, neighbors and businessmen. Tuthill took the strip to the McNaught Syndicate when the Evening Mail was sold in 1924, changing the name to The Bungle Family and adding daughter Peggy Bungle to the cast. A Sunday page was in existence by September 9, 1923. In the mid-1930s, Tuthill serialized exotic adventures and introduced a large supporting cast over the next several years, moves that were accompanied by a huge surge of public interest in the strip. Despite its fame, the strip was brought to a conclusion by its creator on August 1, 1942. Revived on May 17, 1943, it ended permanently June 2, 1945. Complete with Little Brother topper, this is a nice twelve-panel example.

NOTE: Mathematically speaking, a Sunday example of any given syndicated comic strip is six times as rare as its Daily counterpart.

Tiny Tim - Sunday 1937-08-08

Tiny Tim by Stanley Link – (Chicago Tribune Syndicate) Sunday, August 8th, 1937 (Platinum-Age)

In 1933, a Chicago-based animator by the name of Stanley J. Link began to develop a comic strip about a curiously shrunken boy whose small point of view made a big difference in the lives of his friends and family. The strip was called Tiny Tim, and not soon after its Sunday feature debut, the boy who could make his body smaller than a bird’s using a mystical amulet worn around his neck, became a great favorite with children and adults alike. Over the years, Link’s Tiny Tim (whose last name is Grunt) has been somewhat lost in the annals of history. Even so, the diminutive scamp lives forever in the hearts of comic lovers and collectors, despite the fact that he’s been absent from the funny pages of major newspapers since the 1950s. Syndicated by The Chicago Tribune, nobody believes Tim’s stories of his adventures when he was tiny in this very nice “Platinum-Age” Sunday example featuring the title character in all nine panels. The title masthead is hand-lettered. The art image area measures approximately 19″ x 12-3/4″ and is rendered in black ink on Bristol board. This art board is in excellent clean condition.

NOTE: Mathematically speaking, a Sunday example of any given syndicated comic strip is six times as rare as its Daily counterpart.

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