Cartoon Chronicles – Days of Yore

Female Phantom and Female Phantom Writers

Folklore has that Lee Falk’s widow finished some scripts when the creator passed away. That would be, if true, the only known instance of a woman writing The Phantom comic strip. But there was a time when a woman wrote for The Phantom comic book in the U.S.

Long ago and far away, in a galaxy known as The Silver Age of Comics, I was young and broke, and talked my way into writing a comic for King Features.

I had gone to the editor, the esteemed Bill Harris, looking for freelance work. He was very nice and extremely encouraging, except for one thing. “Women,” he said, “don’t write comics.”

© King Features Syndicate

Pat Fortunato recalls the time in 1967 she wrote a Phantom story.

Since that time a few more women have written Phantom adventures.


A Sideways Glance at George Clark

© NEA (Andrews McMeel?)

Mention comic strips and all the old reliables come to mind: “Prince Valiant,” “Peanuts,” “Blondie” and many more.

But there is another category of comics that syndicates provide separate from the multicell strips. The newspaper panel is a single-frame, standalone comic designed to run anywhere in the paper. For decades, a regular in The Joplin Globe was George Clark’s “Side Glances.”

George Rife Clark had roots in the Four-State Area. He was born to Arthur and Georgia Clark in Bridgeport, in Oklahoma Territory, in 1902. He was the second of three children. The family moved between Oklahoma Territory and Bentonville, Arkansas. His father worked for a vinegar distillery until his death in 1911.

The Joplin Globe profiles cartoonist George Clark.


From the Last Great Pandemic

Over 100 years ago, all of these familiar and now all-too-universal situations of today were collected from newspapers across the country for republication in an issue of Cartoons Magazine. In 1918, a particularly deadly flu caused by the H1N1 influenza virus swept across the globe, leaving upward of 50 million dead worldwide.

The Nib shares editorial cartoons from the 1918 pandemic.


Those Days These Days

© Ward Sutton

Ward Sutton recalls some childhood classics.


Ramona Fradon Returns to the Days of Yore

© DC Comics

“… this beaut by storied Aqua-artist Ramona Fradon” via 13th Dimension.


When Photoengravers Strike

As part of Paul Berge’s regular Saturday look at the past he “went looking through the World‘s June, 1921 archives” only to find a “strike against newspapers in New York and elsewhere by the International Photoengravers’ Union.”

Paul shows cartoonists striving to get by without the art part of their art.


The Lost Toons of Terrytown

That there are any lost sound cartoons is a mystery to me.

Let’s take Terrytoons for example – There must be two dozen from that studio that have never re-materialized since their original release.

There were some early-talkie Terrytoons that were left out of the original TV package for reasons we can’t yet determine – and several color shorts during the war years that were removed due to vicious wartime stereotypes – all of them equally rare.

Jerry Beck lists 11 black and white originals discarded after being remade in color.


Forty Years with Mister Oswald Fifty Years Later

Johnson returned to Gibson City in 1921 to work in his father’s hardware store. In addition to his regular work in the store, Johnson drew advertising cartoons for the store’s window displays, with new cartoons appearing every Tuesday. Johnson soon began cartooning for one of the local newspapers, which were seen by an editor at Hardware Retailing, a monthly trade magazine geared towards the hardware industry.  Johnson was asked about contributing cartoons to Hardware Retailing and began his six-decade association with the magazine in 1925.

© Hardware Retailing magazine

Rob Stolzer’s new site dedicated to Russ Johnson and Mister Oswald.

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