Comic Strip History, Lessons #483 – 487

The Modern Comics Page – 1964

From Keith Handley:

Hello. I just got the August-September 1964 issue of the Gannetter (a
magazine for staff members of Gannett newspapers, radio stations and
television stations). In it were a series of articles by newspaper
editors describing some of the experiences and decision-making methods
in editing a comics page.

None of these are big-city papers (though some of them are in the same
syndication market as big-city papers). And I don’t get the idea that
these editors really get much joy out of reading the funny paper, much
less editing it.

Kieth Handley scanned this a few years ago and set it up in a PDF.
High resolution so you can zoom in without distortion, includes special promo art.



The Early Comics of the International Syndicate 1895 – 1905

Allan Holtz digs into old newspapers and finds an early syndicate.

Baltimore’s International Syndicate was one of the earliest distributors of newspaper cartoon content…

International Syndicate did in fact specialize in gag panels and text jokes. In that I still seem to be correct. However, what I didn’t know until very recently is that they offered this material not only as a collection of bits and pieces for newspapers to use willy-nilly, dropping in a panel here, typesetting a joke there, but also as a cohesive page. This page went under the consistent title The Funny Side of Life for many years.

Allan Holtz, in six installments, examines the International Syndicate‘s offerings.




Dan O’Connor’s Bar, Grill, and School of Higher Journalism and Cartoonacy

Part of the mythos of the 20th-century newspaper cartoonist was the role of the deadline- haunted hollow-legged libertine, part workhorse/part fraternal drinking machine. Big-city newspaper art departments were notorious for their in-house tippling and impromptu frescoes.

Mark Newgarden, at The Comics Journal, discovered an old cartoonists’ watering hole.

The Inkwell was opened for business in a sweltering June of 1945 by Dan W. O’Connor, a “genial Irishman and cartoonist in his own right.”

With the help and the files of Dan O’Connor’s grandson Mark shares photos and memories of The Inkwell.



Rodolphe  Töpffer’s Monsieur Crépin: The Birth of a Notion

“The True Story of Monsieur Crépin,” first published in 1837, featuring the adventures of a father who employs a series of tutors for his children and falls prey to their eccentricities.

Steven Heller at Print gives a little background and presents the entire Story.



Rodolphe Töpffer’s Obadiah Oldbuck: The First in the Nation

The September 14, 1842, issue of the New York-published magazine Brother Jonathan contained as a supplement a bound, 11.5 by 9 inch book, the full title of which was the rather ponderous The Adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck. Wherein are duly set forth the crosses, chagrins, calamities, checks, chills, changes, and circumgirations, by which his courtship is attended. Showing also the issue of his suit and his espousal to his ladye-love. Another bootleg version soon appeared. These alliterative adventures were, in fact, nothing less than a bootleg reprint of a British adaptation of Töpffer’s album Les Adventures de Monsieur Voix-Bois, that had first been printed in 1837.

So, here we have the first known comic book printed in America.

P. Martin Lund details the history of America’s first comic book.



Future History:

Tom Heintjes previews the cover of the next Hogan’s Alley (early 2019).


The forthcoming Screwball by Paul Tumey (late 2018).