Ella Cinders – A Plum(b) Job (Comic Chronicles)

Folktales are told and retold through the generations with each adding its own twist. The story of Cinderella is one that cartoonist Charles Plumb brought into the 20th century with his newspaper comic strip he called “Ella Cinders.”

Charles Plumb was born in 1899 … He worked as an artist on Chautauqua circuits before finding a job as a cartoonist with the Chicago Daily Drovers Journal, a monthly report that covered the beef trade, in 1920 … In 1922, he became the director of the American Farm Bureau Federation Cartoon Service in Chicago. The Cartoon Service produced editorial cartoons on farm issues for newspapers, state and county farm bureaus, and agricultural journals.


While working for the [Los Angeles] Times in 1924, he and screenwriter William Conselman came up with the idea for a comic strip based on a modern retelling of the story of Cinderella. Conselman worked on the storyline while Plumb drew the characters. They called it “Ella Cinders.”


Ella was the long-suffering servant to her haughty stepmother and two ugly, overbearing stepsisters.

Bill Caldwell and The Joplin Globe details Charlie Plumb‘s career from cartoonist to writer.

A word of warning. The article makes the claim that:

After World War II, Plumb was known for letting his strip be ghosted by other artists even as he drew separate projects, notably the Sunday Tarzan pages from 1946 to 1947. 

© Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.

It was actually Ruben Moreira, signing as ‘Rubimor,’ drawing those Sunday Tarzan pages. Charlie Plumb was the ghost writer during most of Rubimor’s run, from February 10, 1946 – August 3, 1947.

Still, as the Associated Press noted in his obituary, he created “a popular newspaper and comic book feature which hit its peak of popularity in the 1930s, it was the first comic strip to be made into a full-length motion picture.”

More about Charles Plumb at Alex Jay’s Ink-Slinger Profiles.

More (kinda) about Ella Cinders from Allan Holtz.

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