Archive for the ‘comic strips’ Category

Thursday, January 26th, 2023

Comic Strips: Milton Caniff’s Steve Canyon Dalies

Milton Caniff Steve Canyon

Today, we have an exciting post for you… original artwork by Milton Caniff for the Steve Canyon newspaper strip.

Milton Caniff Steve Canyon

Animation Resources supporter, John Ellis is working with the family of Milton Caniff on a DVD release of the live action Steve Canyon television series, which debuted in September of 1958 on NBC. In searching through the family’s collection of memorabilia, John stumbled across a batch of original inks of daily and Sunday pages that the family didn’t realize that they had. The estate of Milton Caniff has generously allowed Animation Resources to digitize the material for inclusion in our cartoon database.

Milton Caniff Steve Canyon

John Ellis has been doing considerable research into Caniff and Steve Canyon. I asked him to write a few words about Caniff…

Milton Caniff has been referred to as "The Rembrandt of the Comic Strip", and oft by himself as "an Armchair Marco Polo", but in fact this whirlwind of a comic strip innovator and writer was essentially a sincerely nice man who loved to draw. Yes this gentleman born in Hillsboro Ohio in 1907 created and drew Terry and The Pirates from 1934 to 1946, which absolutely set the standard for the adventure comic strip. True, he raised the bar with Steve Canyon, which unlike Terry, he owned lock stock and barrel from the first daily strip in January 1947 through to June 1988, the final installment published shortly after his death. Absolutely he worked rain or shine, seven days/strips a week for 54 years, even from his hospital bed, the deadlines never ended.

Milton Caniff in his studio

Milton Caniff in his studio ca. 1947
(click for a larger view)

But beyond the art and dedication, what is true is that I’ve never heard an unkind word in his regard. His nephew Harry Guyton can’t even remember Milton ever losing his temper. My friend David Haft, who produced the NBC Steve Canyon primetime TV series in 1958, made a comment as we watched Milton on a vintage filmclip promoting the series recently. He said "Lovely, lovely man". Happy 100th birthday Milton.

John Ellis
Hollywood, 2007

Milton Caniff Steve Canyon

Make sure to click on the images to see high resolution versions. Caniff’s amazing adventure strip from the late 40s has never looked better!

Milton Caniff Steve Canyon
Milton Caniff Steve Canyon
Milton Caniff Steve Canyon
Milton Caniff Steve Canyon
Milton Caniff Steve Canyon
Milton Caniff Steve Canyon
Milton Caniff Steve Canyon
Milton Caniff Steve Canyon
Milton Caniff Steve Canyon
Milton Caniff Steve Canyon
Milton Caniff Steve Canyon
Milton Caniff Steve Canyon

Milton Caniff Steve Canyon

STEVE CANYON TV SHOW

Milton Caniff Steve Canyon

For info on the Steve Canyon TV show DVD, see… www.stevecanyondvd.blogspot.com

STEVE CANYON AT AMAZON

Milton Caniff BookOrder Steve CanyonOrder Steve CanyonFantagraphics has a great book on Caniff’s career, and Checker has released year by year reprints of the classic Steve Canyon strip. Caniff was a master storyteller, and the first few years of Steve Canyon are examples of his genius at the height of its powers. Click on the pictures of the books for more info.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Comic BooksComic Books

This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Comic Books.

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Wednesday, January 18th, 2023

Exhibit: ReCAPP- A Bio Of The Creator Of Li’l Abner

Al Capp Li'l Abner

Al Capp Li'l AbnerAl Capp Li'l Abner

Al Capp Li'l AbnerAl Capp Li'l AbnerAlfred Gerald Caplin (aka Al Capp) was born September 28, 1909 in New Haven, CT. He was best known as the creator of the classic comic strip Li’l Abner. At the age of 9, he jumped off the back of an ice wagon directly into the path of an oncoming streetcar. As a result of the accident, he had to have his leg amputated below the hip. This childhood tragedy likely helped shape Capp’s cynical worldview, which, funny as it was, was certainly darker and more sardonic than that of the average newspaper cartoonist. Capp wore a prosthetic leg.  Rather than hide the fact, he openly joked about it all his life.

Al Capp Li'l Abner

Al Capp Li'l AbnerAl Capp Li'l AbnerCapp began his career in comics as an assistant to Joe Palooka cartoonist Ham Fisher. The relationship soon soured, and Capp launched his own strip, Li’l Abner in August, 1934. What began as a simple hillbilly burlesque soon evolved into a masterpiece of satirical fiction, renowned for its vivid characters and top notch draftsmanship. The outlandish storylines and biting social commentary make Li’l Abner unique among newspaper comics of the day.

The strip featured the adventures of Abner Yokum, a loutish, stupid, but good-natured hayseed who lived in Dogpatch, KY with his scrawny but superhuman Mammy, and shiftless, childlike Pappy. Abner was always in the marital crosshairs of Daisy Mae Scragg, his sexy, well-endowed but virtuous (to a point)  girlfriend. In 1952, Daisy Mae achieved her goal and the couple was married in the strip with great fanfare. This event was considered newsworthy enough to be featured on the cover of Life magazine.

Al Capp Li'l AbnerAl Capp Li'l AbnerCapp peopled his comic strip with an assortment of wonderful personalities, including Marryin’ Sam, Joe Btfsplk, Lena the Hyena, Hairless Joe, Lonesome Polecat, Evil-Eye Fleegle, General Bullmoose, and a host of others. Most notably, certainly from a G.I. standpoint, were the beautiful, full-figured women like Wolf Gal, Stupefyin’ Jones and Moonbeam McSwine- all of whom found their way onto the painted noses of fighter planes during WWII. Perhaps Capp’s most popular creations were the Shmoos, gourd-shaped creatures whose incredible usefulness and generous nature made them a threat to civilization as we know it.

Al Capp Li'l AbnerAl Capp Li'l AbnerThroughout his life, Capp volunteered his time to hospitals, entertaining patients, especially to fellow amputees. He set an example for them, proving that the loss of a limb did not mean that one couldn’t live a full and rewarding life.  He was also involved with the Sister Kenny Foundation, which did charity volunteer work for crippled children.

At its peak, Li’l Abner appeared in more than 900 newspapers, with an estimated daily readership of 80 million Americans. Around the country, colleges and communities staged "Sadie Hawkins Day" events. A Broadway play based on Li’l Abner opened in 1956, and was an instant success, and remains a favorite for local productions.  It was made into a motion picture in 1959.  In 1968 a theme-park called Dogpatch USA opened in Jasper, Arkansas based on Capp’s work and with his support.

Al Capp Li'l Abner

Along with a team of assistants, Capp kept the adventures of the denizens of Dogpatch in the papers through the 1970s. The fantasy artist, Frank Frazetta penciled the Sunday page continuities from 1954 to 1962, when a salary dispute ended their professional relationship. Capp still wrote the stories, thumbnailed the layouts and inked the faces and hands himself.

Al Capp Li'l Abner

Al Capp Li'l AbnerAl Capp Li'l AbnerCapp revelled in taking jabs at hypocrites of all persuasions. In the mid-1960s, he turned his attention to liberal counterculture figures. He toured college campuses as a speaker, taking confrontational stands on current events. After witnessing student riots in his own neighborhood of Cambridge, Massachusetts (near Harvard) he took on anti-war protesters and demonstrators with a vengeance. In 1971, Capp was charged with "attempted adultery" by a female student at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The fallout cost him circulation, with hundreds of papers dropping his strip. Capp removed himself from public speaking and continued to produce Li’l Abner until failing health forced him to retire in 1977. He died two years later of emphysema, on November 5th, 1979.

Al Capp Li'l Abner

In 1946, Capp created an autobiographical comic book, Al Capp By Li’l Abner, which was distributed by the Red Cross to encourage thousands of amputee veterans returning from WWII…

Al Capp Li'l AbnerAl Capp Li'l Abner
Al Capp Li'l AbnerAl Capp Li'l Abner
Al Capp Li'l AbnerAl Capp Li'l Abner
Al Capp Li'l AbnerAl Capp Li'l Abner
Al Capp Li'l AbnerAl Capp Li'l Abner
Al Capp Li'l AbnerAl Capp Li'l Abner
Al Capp Li'l AbnerAl Capp Li'l Abner
Al Capp Li'l AbnerAl Capp Li'l Abner
Al Capp Li'l AbnerAl Capp Li'l Abner
Al Capp Li'l AbnerAl Capp Li'l Abner
Al Capp Li'l AbnerAl Capp Li'l Abner
Al Capp Li'l AbnerAl Capp Li'l Abner
Al Capp Li'l AbnerAl Capp Li'l Abner
Al Capp Li'l AbnerAl Capp Li'l Abner
Al Capp Li'l AbnerAl Capp Li'l Abner
Al Capp Li'l AbnerAl Capp Li'l Abner
Al Capp Li'l AbnerAl Capp Li'l Abner

TO BE CONTINUED…

Let me know what you think of this article in the comments.
-Mike Fontanelli, 2008

Many thanks to Mike for this wonderful series of articles.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Al CappAl Capp

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit by Mike Fontanelli profiling the career of Al Capp.

Newspaper ComicsNewspaper Comics
This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Newspaper Comics.

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Tuesday, January 17th, 2023

Comic Strips: George Herriman in Cartoons Magazine 1917

George Herriman

George Herriman

Capsule biography from Martin Sheridan’s book,
"Comics and their Creators" (1942)

Here is a treat… a great article on George Herriman from June of 1917…

George Herriman
George Herriman
George HerrimanGeorge Herriman
George HerrimanGeorge Herriman
George HerrimanGeorge Herriman


If you love Krazy Kat as much as I do, you owe it to yourself to dig into your pocket and buy this book. It’s the only Krazy Kat reprint that presents the Sunday pages in their original size. The book is huge and beautifully printed. The print run was limited, so don’t miss out.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Newspaper ComicsNewspaper Comics
This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Newspaper Comics.

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