Burne Hogarth took over the Tarzan Sunday page from Harold Foster and, like Foster, became very famous drawing that feature. After eight and a half years Hogarth walked away from the strip.
CS: Why did you leave Tarzan after 10 years?
BH: Very simply, you’re talking about United (syndicate) and Tarzan. I had my stuff being published in books – in the course of time I was writing the thing and drawing it – and a lot of it was being published in many editions overseas. The way they are even today. I’ve got a bundle of things I picked up in a store the other day. About six books and they butchered the art and ruined the color.
Anyway, there were these books being published, hundreds of thousands of them, and I wasn’t getting a single penny in royalties. I said I’d like to share it, when my contract came up. They said they’d give me some syndication percentage, or whatever, but the books were the real thing and I decided I wasn’t going to go with their offer. And I walked out.
Hogarth went over to Robert Hall’s N. Y. Post Syndicate and sold a new Sunday strip. Drago was an Argentinian cowboy in the Cisco Kid mold, with plenty of South American jungle to make Hogarth’s Tarzan fans feel comfortable. By the time Hogarth’s last Tarzan appeared, Drago had already debuted.
The strip would run for only 54 weeks, ending November 10, 1946.
All 54 strips were recently posted to the Classic Comic Strips Facebook page by Steve Jenner.
Ger Apeldoorn posted a number of the strips with a different panel in the last strip:
In the comments section at Ger’s Fabulous Fifties, Diego Cordoba explains that the French publisher ran one more story by cutting and pasting Hogarth art with new script and some bullpen art added.
Ten years after the end of World War 2, Gus Edson and Irwin Hasen decided a strip about a war orphan was a good idea.
Dondi wandered onto the scene in Italy, during the closing days of the war. He simply turned up in a deserted farmhouse where U.S. soldiers were staying, carrying no clues about where he’d come from. Unable to find his parents, Corporal Ted Wills assumed responsibility for him — and when “Uncle Ted” resumed civilian life, Dondi took up residence with him in Midville, USA. The early focus of the strip was Dondi’s discovery of America.
below: the first Dondi Sunday page, dated October 2, 1955
color version courtesy Baughan Roemer and Classic Comic Strips
The strip was syndicated by the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate for 30 years.
Don Markstein continues:
The strip’s circulation was in the 100-200 paper range during those years [1960s]. Hasbro based a board game on it in 1960, and a year later (March 26, 1961, to be exact) a movie version came out. The National Cartoonists’ Society awarded it plaques in 1961 and ’62, for “Best Story Strip”.
Edson continued to write Dondi until his death in 1966. Hasen then wrote it for a brief time, but soon hired Bob Oksner to supply plots. Hasen and Oksner stayed with the strip until it ended, on June 8, 1986, when only 35 papers were still carrying it.
By that time, Dondi’s back-story hadn’t been alluded to in years, and with good reason. It was getting hard to find kids that age who remembered the Iran hostage crisis, much less World War II.
Yes, counting on a war refugee to further the hopes and dreams of America!
The first few years of Dondi are available in two volumes from Classic Comics Press;
where there are, no doubt, better reproductions of those first daily strips.