COMIC #10: New Comics #2 DATE: January 1936 PUBLISHER: National Allied Newspaper Syndicate Inc. CONTENTS: Cover by Robert Leffingwell; “Greetings!” (text article) by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson; “Jibby Jones” by Vin Sullivan; “Sir Loin Of Beef” by Robert Leffingwell; “Sagebrush ‘N’ Cactus” by Robert Leffingwell; “Dickie Duck” by Matt Curzon; “Castaway Island” by Tom Cooper; “Billy The Kid” by Whitney Ellsworth; “J. Worthington Blimp” by Sheldon Mayer; “Vikings”, maybe written by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, drawn by Rolland H. Livingstone; “Big Linda’s Revenge” (text story) by Wallace Kirk; “The Radio Dialer” (text article); “It’s Magic” (text article) by Andrini The Great; “The Test Of A Man” (text story) by Rosemary Volk; “Freddie Bell” by Matt Curzon; “Wing Walker” by Thor; “Just Suppose…”, written by A.D. Kiefer, drawn by Henry Kiefer; “Pastime Page” (activity page); “Live And Learn” by Joe Archibald; “Captain Bill Of The Rangers” by Bill Allison; “Gulliver’s Travels” by Walt Kelly; “Ray And Gail” by Clem Gretter; “Cartoon Corner” (activity page); “The Pixie Puzzle Adventures” (activity page) by Matt Curzon; “Captain Quick” by Jon Blummer; “17-20 On The Black” by Tom Cooper; “Chikko Chakko” by Ellis Edwards; “Stamps And Coins” (text article); “Hobbies” (text article) by Danny Ryan; “Worth-While Films To Watch For” (text article); “The Book Shelf” (text article) by Rosemary Volk; “Needles” by Al Stahl; “Strange Adventures Of Mr. Weed” by Sheldon Mayer; “Capt'n Spiniker” by Tom Cooper; “Dare-Devil Dunk” by Stan Randall; “Beany” by Vin Sullivan; “Peter And Ho-Lah-An” by Rolland H. Livingstone; “The Federal Men”, written by Jerry Siegel, drawn by Joe Shuster; “It’s A Dern Lie” by Robert Leffingwell. Editor: Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson. Managing editor: William H. Cook. Assistant editor: Vin Sullivan. CANON: Non-canon.
That’s Sagebrush 'n’ Cactus on the cover. Doesn’t the one guy look like the basis for Mister Natural?
Walt Kelly’s Gulliver’s Travels adaptations come to an end with this issue, with Kelly showing up in the next More Fun. But a few new recurring features debut, most of them by artists who are already regulars. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, still not quite super, debut The Federal Men. Vin Sullivan debuts Beany, Stan Randall debuts Dare-Devil Dunk, Tom Cooper debuts Castaway Island, and newcomer Bill Allison debuts Captain Bill Of The Rangers. On to the contents:
Jibby Jones wants turkey, but his mom buys chicken, so he goes out and tries to kill a giant turkey.
THIS IS TERRIFYING.
Sir Loin gets a squire, meets a cute kid… and then everybody goes out and catches chickens to eat. Is this going to be a theme?
Sagebrush 'n’ Cactus are a pair of old prospectors. Lots of overdone Old-West colloquialisms. Lots of figgerin’.
Dickie Duck catches some robbers to get a reward. Dickie is the only non-human in this story, and it’s a little bit uncomfortable.
“Castaway Island” is about a couple of castaways. No island yet. Just two schmucks stranded on a boat.
Billy The Kid brags about how he can beat some kid up, and then beats the kid up. Did people in the '30s think kids beating the crap out of each other was all fun and games? Boys will be boys? School shootings don’t exist? Also, why is the comic strip version of street kid vernacular exactly the same as the comic strip version of the Old West? Everybody’s a “feller”.
J. Worthington Blimp spends some time in jail… then he gets out… there’s a stagecoach… I don’t know.
In “Vikings”, a bunch of Vikings get married and adopt kids and stuff. I don’t believe any child ever read this. Every kid with a copy of this magazine skipped this.
Freddie Bell runs around being the least interesting mischievous cartoon kid ever.
Wing Walker does a bunch of stuff I barely paid attention to, involving his plane and racistly-portrayed native savages.
“Just Suppose” looks like a kid got drunk and did a book report. So does “Live And Learn”, actually.
Captain Bill investigates a holdup in the Old West, and is boring.
“Gulliver’s Travels” looks like Walt Kelly is wasting his talent.
Ray and Gail set sail aboard a ship and get involved in some bullshit about an old lady’s stolen map.
Captain Quick: ships, cannons, Spaniards, spoils.
“17-20 On The Black”: some dude steals some lady’s pearls.
Chikko Chakko gets a fish thrown at him.
Needles actually follows from last issue– surprising for a humor feature. Needles tries to grow his hair back via science, but ends up doing it by reading “hair-raising” detective stories.
Mr. Weed and company waste the bulk of their two pages dawdling in 1835, and then Mr. Weed decides some girl is hot.
Captain Spiniker and Mr. Sternpipe hang out on boats and talk like this:
Dare-Devil Dunk is an out-of-work stuntman who spends this story creepily tickling a guy in order to win money so he can eat a chicken dinner. It makes a tiny bit more sense than that description makes it sound.
Beany is somewhat of a Little Nemo ripoff: a bunch of weird things happen, and they all turn out to be a dream. But up until the final panel, it feels more like an acid trip:
Peter and Ho-Lah-An shoot arrows and break some eggs. I guess that’s fun.
Buried in the back, Siegel and Shuster’s “The Federal Men” follows Steve Carson, a federal agent who goes undercover as a local cop to catch a kidnapper (who’s working with a lady who has the last name Lane). I’m looking for any hint that this same creative team will soon debut Superman– and this is stretching, but I think you can see a knack for fast-paced action that’ll serve them well once they add bright colors and capes to the mix. Also, doesn’t this car remind you of the cover to Action Comics #1?
And in “It’s A Dern Lie”, fleas catch pneumonia by jumping into ice cream.
Please see my want list to help me track down the DC Comics I haven’t been able to buy, borrow, or download!
COMIC #8: New Comics #1 DATE: December 1935 PUBLISHER: National Allied Newspaper Syndicate, Inc. CONTENTS: Cover by Vin Sullivan; “Salute!” (text introduction) by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson; “Now– When I Was A Boy–” by Leo O'Mealia; “Sir Loin Of Beef” by Robert Leffingwell; “Axel”; “Billy The Kid” by Whitney Ellsworth; “Sagebrush ‘n’ Cactus” by Robert Leffingwell; “The Vikings”, maybe written by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, drawn by Rolland H. Livingstone; “J. Worthington Blimp” by Sheldon Mayer; “The Tinker Twins At Penn Point” by Joe Archibald; “Sawbones, C.O.D.” (text story) by Joe Archibald; “It’s Magic” (text article) by Andrini The Great; “Petey The Pup” (text story) by Connie Naar; “Needles” by Al Stahl; “Dizzy And Daffy” by Bo Brown; “17-20 In The Black” by Tom Cooper; “Just Suppose”, written by A.D. Kiefer, drawn by Henry Kiefer; “Cartoon Corner” (activity page); “The Pixie Puzzle Adventures” (activity page) by Matt Curzon; “Chikko Chakko” by Ellis Edwards; “A Voyage To Lilliput” (Gulliver’s Travels story) by Walt Kelly; “Freddie Bell” by Matt Curzon; “Sister And Brother” by Ema Keen; “Bunco Bear” by Dave Ruth; “The Travel Twins” (activity page); “Wing Walker” by Thor; “Cap'n Spinniker” by Tom Cooper; “Stamps And Coins” (text article); “Hobbies” (text article); “Sports” (text article) by Joe Archibald; “Worth-While Films To Watch For” (text article) by Josephine Craig; “The Book Shelf” (text article) by Connie Naar; “The Radio Dialer” (text article): “Captain Quick” by Jon Blummer; “Jibby Jones” by Vin Sullivan; “The Strange Adventures Of Mr. Weed” by Sheldon Mayer; “Ray And Gail” by Clem Gretter; “Allan De Beaufort”; “Dickie Duck” by Matt Curzon; “Peter And Ho-Lah-An” by Rolland H. Livingstone; “It’s A Dern Lie” by Robert Leffingwell. Editor: Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson. Managing editor: William H. Cook. Assistant editor: Vin Sullivan. CANON: Non-canon.
With New Comics, National expanded into a second title, which will come out monthly. New Comics lets some stories run longer than just one page, but otherwise, it’s the same as what we’ve already seen: a bunch of forgettable knockoff strips, most of them by either New Fun regulars or newcomers.
New Comics #1 is notable for the comic book debuts of two big names: Sheldon Mayer, who will be a key player at DC through the '40s, and Walt Kelly. Walt Kelly! The Pogo guy! Walt Kelly shows up in the first couple of issues doing Gulliver’s Travels adaptations that are so obscure, his Wikipedia page doesn’t even mention him doing comics until the '40s.
But you probably want a tedious roundup of all the other junk in here, right? Wait no longer:
“Now– When I Was A Boy–” is a gag strip by Leo O'Mealia, who does Barry O'Neill and Bob Merritt in More Fun. A guy finds a horseshoe, expects good luck, and gets bad luck. Lots of injuries.
Comic book newcomer Robert Leffingwell has three recurring features: Sir Loin Of Beef, Sagebrush 'N’ Cactus, and It’s A Dern Lie. Sir Loin is a knight who gets into hijinks (and “Axel” is a knight-related filler strip). Sagebrush 'N’ Cactus is mysteriously missing from my scanned copy. It’s A Dern Lie invites readers to mail in “dern lies” that will be illustrated; this one is about a hunter named Utah whose tears form Salt Lake.
Billy The Kid is a recurring feature from Whitney Ellsworth, who draws Little Linda in More Fun. Like Little Linda, this is a mischievous-kids strip. Basically Dennis The Menace (16 years earlier).
Another newcomer, Rolland H. Livingstone, contributes a couple of recurring features: The Vikings, which feels like an illustrated-history type of story, and Peter & Ho-Lah-An, about a couple of kids hanging out and fighting a ram.
Sheldon Mayer’s recurring features include J. Worthington Blimp, about a Wimpy-like jolly fat man who goes around riding bikes, and The Strange Adventures Of Mr. Weed, about an eccentric scientist who claims to have invented a time machine. Of all the features in this comic, the Mr. Weed story actually feels the most like a comic book story instead of a newspaper strip, maybe just due to pacing.
“The Tinker Twins At Penn Point” is from New Fun contributor Joe Archibald. Hijinks on an army base.
Al Stahl, with a background in animation, contributes recurring feature Needles, about a kooky inventor. In this debut strip, Needles invents a hair-cutting machine, which promptly blows up.
Dizzy And Daffy is a series of one-panel gags by Bo Brown. Brown will never work for National again, and will go on to a career as a gag cartoonist.
“Just Suppose”, a recurring feature from Henry Kiefer (who draws Wing Brady in More Fun), is just crappy illustrated rambling about historical trivia.
Chikko Chakko, a recurring feature from newcomer Ellis Edwards, is a somewhat racist strip about a Hispanic cowboy. By the end of the strip, Chikko Chakko is eating watermelon.
Walt Kelly’s Gulliver’s Travels adaptation is useless. But it’s Walt Kelly! So weird. You can even see early signs of his art style:
Matt Curzon has two recurring features: Freddie Bell and Dickie Duck. Freddie Bell is a kid who gets into mischief, somehow always involving fat people. Dickie Duck is a talking duck with a similar habit of offending fat people.
The “junior section for younger folks” consists of “Sister And Brother” by Ema Keen and “Bunco Bear” by Dave Ruth; none of these names will be heard from again. Summary: a brother and sister are dumb, and a talking bear accidentally finds oil.
Wing Walker, a recurring feature by someone identified only as Thor, is a four-page adventure story about a pilot who gets into trouble. Standard stuff.
Tom Cooper’s Cap'n Spinniker, a recurring feature in More Fun, will recur here too. This one features a guy named Mister Sternpipe. Everybody yells. Cooper also does “17-20 In The Black”, a recurring feature about Jim Gale, a gambler who gets into trouble.
Captain Quick is a recurring feature by newcomer Jon Blummer, who will go on to create Hop Harrigan and the Fighting Yank. This is an adventure strip set in the 16th century. Nothing special happens.
Assistant editor and early National mainstay Vin Sullivan contributes Jibby Jones, a recurring feature about yet another mischievous young boy. In this one, Jibby gets money for a haircut and spends it on ice cream instead.
Ray And Gail, a recurring feature from Clem Gretter (who draws Don Drake and 2023 Super Police in More Fun), is basically a slice-of-life story about a brother and sister living in the Depression, although it seems they’re about to head out on a cruise. Maybe this’ll turn into an adventure strip.
Allan De Beaufort, by an unknown artist, is another generic historical adventure story.
Cataloging all of this is even more tedious than reading it. I can’t wait until we get to full-length stories.
Please see my want list to help me track down the DC Comics I haven’t been able to buy, borrow, or download!