Gaba Gaba Hey!

I’ve owned the above 1933 issue of Life—the great humor magazine, not the photo weekly that later stole its name—for something like 20 years. I’ve always loved its cover’s stylish and funny rendition of FDR (the incoming president) and Hoover (the outgoing one). But it was only a couple of weeks ago, when I was getting ready to sell it on eBay, that I noticed that it’s the work of Lester Gaba—the guy best known for his soap sculptures of Scrappy, Margy, and Yippy. (Well, best known around here, at least—among non-Mintz disciples, he’s remembered for his common-law wife Cynthia, whom he happened to have carved himself.)

As a magazine person, I’m dazzled by the mere fact that covers like this once existed. The two presidents are wearing tiny well-tailored suits; the lion has a serious mane; the lamb looks pettable. And Gaba built all this for a single photograph that would appear on newsstands for one month.

I wonder what he, or Life, did with his creations after the photo shoot? If there’s any chance they’re still extant, they should be on display somewhere where people can enjoy them.

This is, by the way, the second bit of Scrappy-related art depicting presidential candidates which we’ve covered here at Scrappyland. The first was Dick Huemer’s 1960s album cover showing LBJ and Goldwater. If you come across any Art Davis paintings of Jimmy Carter and Jerry Ford, please let me know.

Some Scrappy Art I Probably Won’t Be Buying

Over on eBay, someone is selling a few production drawings of Scrappy and Oopy, as well as other art from 1930s Columbia cartoons. The merchant says that they came from the collection of the grandson of a Columbia artist, and has set rather high minimum bids: If you were to snag all of these, it would cost you at least $2,495. Scrappy art is exceedingly rare, but that seems overly optimistic for these particular examples.

Still, it’s nice to see them out there, and I have borrowed the auction images for this post. They’re yet more evidence that nobody worked very hard to give Scrappy a consistent look from short to short or, sometimes, screen to scene. (My favorite is the Oopy close-up at the bottom.)

These are from later-is Scrappy cartoons, but I’m not sure offhand which ones. If you know, please tell us.

The Saga of 1154 N. Western Ave.

Artist’s conception of the Ries Bros. Building at 1150-1154 N. Western Ave.–the first west-coast home of the Mintz studio–from a 1926 issue of American Cinematographer

In February 1930, Charles Mintz did something rather unusual: He hired a private railroad car to transport his staff from Manhattan to Los Angeles, relocating an entire animation studio from one coast to the other.

A bit over 87 years later, I took a plane from San Francisco to LA and visited Mintz’s first west-coast headquarters (at 1154 N. Western Ave.) and second one (at 7000 Santa Monica Blvd.). I also dropped by 861 Seward St., which is where Columbia moved the studio, by then known as Screen Gems, after Mintz’s death. Between the photos I took and the stuff I’ve dug up about these three buildings, I have too much information for a single post. So let’s start at the beginning with the story of the building where Scrappy was born.

Once upon a time–as I learned from an excellent article by Robert Peters–there were five brothers from Akron who had moved to Hollywood in 1913 with their mother. Their names were Irving, Raymond, Park, Paul, and Frank Ries, and they all found work relating to photography and the movie business.

Irving, the eldest, had his identity stolen by a German spy who was executed during WWI; was cameraman for The Lucky Dog, the first film featuring both Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy; and eventually became a distinguished special-effects man who worked on the Gene Kelly/Jerry Mouse segment of Anchors Aweigh and Forbidden Planet. Frank, the youngest, ran his own photography studio which was actually a front for an operation which produced prodigious quantities of stag films; after arrests and jail time, he committed double suicide with his wife in a Chicago hotel room in 1947.

Probably the most lurid thing you’ll ever read on Scrappyland, from the Los Angeles Times, September 18, 1947

As for Ray, Park, and Paul, they founded a camera store/photo lab catering to the film industry, which was such a success that in late 1925 they began construction on a new $75,000 home for it at the corner of N. Western Ave. and Virginia Ave. The groundbreaking ceremony featured celebrities such as Baby Peggy–who, remarkably, is still with us. The new location officially opened on May 1, 1925, with festivities that attracted everyone from Priscilla Dean to Pal the Wonder Dog, the pooch who played Our Gang’s Pete the Pup.

Park J. Ries

Besides their own operations–ranging from a portrait studio to a camera repair department–the Ries Bros. Building included 19 offices on its second floor designed to be rented out to other film-related businesses. Among the clients were Disney animators Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising, who, as Mike Barrier recounts in Hollywood Cartoons, took space in the building for two weeks in September 1926, during a studio vacation, and produced a cartoon called Aladdin’s Vamp with their Disney colleagues Ub Iwerks and Rollin Hamilton. In 1928, Hugh and Rudy returned to the building for about a year to produce Oswald the Rabbit cartoons for Charles Mintz, after the latter’s legendary break with Walt Disney.

The Ries Bros.’ Cahuenga storefront, which is only tangentially related to Scrappy, but too nifty not to show here

The Ries store’s time on N. Western Ave. was short-lived: Less than four years after it moved in, the brothers relocated it to Cahuenga Ave. (They also began producing wooden tripods which won the favor of notables such as Ansel Adams and are still available today.) But at roughly the time they left in 1930, Charles Mintz’s studio–still known at the time as the Winkler Film Corp.–rented a second-floor suite. Given that Mintz and his brother-in-law and associate George Winkler were well aware of the building from the brief period when Oswalds were produced there, it’s no surprise that they chose it for their newly-relocated studio, which got busy making Krazy Kat and Toby the Pup shorts–and, starting in 1931, the Scrappy cartoons of Dick Huemer, Sid Marcus, and Art Davis.

I don’t have any photos I know for sure to depict the interior of the Mintz studio at 1154 N. Western, but there’s presumably a decent chance that this one–from Dr. Richard Huemer’s Huemer.com, showing Jack Carr, Sid Marcus, and Dick Huemer with Toby–was taken there.

As for the exterior, we do have some shots of Mintz staffers hanging around outside the building, thanks to Mark Mayerson. In 2006, Mark shared a photo sent to him by Paul Spector, the son of animation-industry veteran (and Mintz employee) Irv Spector.

That’s Irv second from the left. Mark guessed that the photo might show Al Gould third from right, Felix Alegre second from right, and Ed Solomon at right. They’re standing in front of the door to 1154 N. Western, which led up to the studio and other tenants; the “entrance” sign is tantalizing, but I’m not sure what it’s for. (As quoted in Hollywood Cartoons, Mintz inbetweener Don Patterson said there was a pool hall downstairs, possibly in space the Rieses has vacated when they relocated their store to Cahuenga.)

Way back in the last century, Mark also posted some 1154 N. Western exterior shots from the collection of Al Eugster, showing Al with fellow Mintz artists.

In the top photo, from left to right: Al Eugster, Manny Gould, Allen Rose, and Harry Love. On the bottom, from left to right: Harry Love, Preston Blair and Allen Rose, with Al Eugster in front.

Mintz’s move west was followed by expansion: In December 1931, the Film Daily reported that the studio had tripled its staff and doubled the size of its quarters. Most likely, it was a need for even more space that prompted the company to move from 1154 N. Western Ave. to 7000 Santa Monica Blvd, where it could occupy a building of its own. When I wrote about that address, I published a staff photo taken there marked “1932.” But I’ve since come across a want ad placed by Mintz artist Ben Harrison, offering a reward for his lost music manuscript. It’s dated December 21st, 1932, and lists the N. Western Ave. address; if the studio left that building in 1932, it must have done so at the very end of the year.

Whatever the year, the Mintz operation did move out in the early-to-mid 1930s, and the building is still there in 2017. What has it housed for the last 80-plus years? Funny you should ask.

In 1934, someone located there was selling a mysterious electrical device of interest to beer parlors and restaurants.

In 1935, a director sought girls and children for a new production, which sounds like a likely story to me.

In 1937 you could write to 1154 N. Western for a free booklet on the secrets of songwriting.

That same year, another tenant had a need for salesman to hawk the “sweetest oil deal that has ever hit L.A.”

More salesmen were needed in 1939 for an unspecified purpose.

In 1942, a company called Champion sold its “battery rejuvenator” from the address.

In 1946, there was a business at 1154 N. Western that wasn’t as far-flung from what we talk about here at Scrappyland as most: Telecomics, which might have beat Jay Ward and Alex Anderson’s Crusader Rabbit to be the first made-for-TV animation if it had made its drawings, you know, move. (It was headed by Dick Moores, who drew Disney comics and was eventually best-known as the wonderful writer and artist of Gasoline Alley.)

In 1950, there was a steam-heat business there.

In 1954, a company in the building wanted to finance and promote inventions

In 1962, a school operated out of the building taught the noble science of shoe fitting.

In 1968, you could write to 1154 N. Western to get yourself a Russian pen pal.

In 1974, a syndicated newspaper column called “Kanine Korner” used the building as its mailing address.

In 1987, a landlord accused of treating tenants poorly was sentenced to perform community service at 1154 N. Western.

And at the same time, you could go to see movies about the Soviet Union.

Maybe any random office building that’s been around for more than ninety years has had a similarly eclectic list of tenants. But I’m still fascinated by the sheer randomness of occupants, in a structure originally catering solely to the film industry.

What was going on in the downstairs retail area over all these decades, I’m not sure. But in recent years, as shown in the Yelp photo below, the space had housed a party-supply shop and a market. If you squint, you can make out a Mickey Mouse poster in the market’s window, which is some sort of karmic commentary on the respective legacies of Walt Disney and Charles Mintz.

Anyhow, fast-forward to last week. Here’s what the Ries Bros. Building currently looks like.

The neighborhood that apparently had its fair share of Hollywood pizzazz in the 1920s has kept its buildings but lost its glamour; on the morning I was there, I couldn’t tell whether many of the retail businesses in the area were still extant or not.

On the ground level of the Ries Bros. Building, where the brothers’ camera store once operated, I found something called The Unincorporated Life which I thought might be a defunct bar. Turns out that it’s a still-in-business fashion school with a mascot who has a bit of a Mintz-esque look.

In fact, the Unincorporated Life robot looks like a relative of the ones in the Scrappy cartoon Technoracket (1933). A coincidence, presumably, but a happy one.

Image borrowed from Green Briar Pictures

Upstairs are several businesses, including a moving company, an insurance agent, and (retaining a tenuous link to the building’s showbiz past) a video-production facility. Perhaps one of them is in the space once used by the Charles Mintz studio. Or the studio’s precise quarters may currently be unoccupied: There’s a “For Lease” banner hanging off the balcony that’s been there for years.

I didn’t attempt to go inside–for one thing, several of the current occupants had signs requesting visitors not to ring the bell–but standing on the pavement, I tried to visualize what Charles Mintz’s young employees might have seen from the area immediately outside their place of business. They might well have had a splendid view of the not-yet-iconic Hollywoodland sign; now the Hollywood sign, it’s blocked rather precisely by a nearby billboard which may not have been there 85 years ago. (I hope no Mintz staffers witnessed the suicide of Peg Entwistle, a young actress who jumped off the “H” in 1932.)

A few doors down from 1154 N. Western is Stewart Plumbing, which says it’s been in the same building since 1920, and looks like it’s hardly changed at all. I can’t quite tell whether its current sign is visible in Mark Mayerson’s photo of Irv Spector and colleagues, which does show the Stewart building in the background. But it’s certainly easy to envision the Mintz studio calling in its neighborhood plumber to deal with any clogged drains it might have had.

As seen in my photo above, 1154 N. Western is just around the corner from 5454 Virginia Ave., where the Mintz staffers gathered for some photos made famous–at least to hardcore 1930s cartoon fans–by Joe Campana’s wonderful blog post “Ghosts of the Charles Mintz studio.” I didn’t see any signs that the building, which was originally a furniture store and later became a non-denominational church and then a synagogue, is currently occupied. But as I snapped photos, I did mystify a man seated in his parked car, right where the Mintz photos were taken.

Here’s the Mintz staff lined up for their team photo, circa 1930 or 1931.

The Mintz Staff

And here’s that 1926 rendition of the new Ries Bros. Building again, along with a Google Maps image capturing the same view in February of this year. For all that’s changed, I’m glad it’s still there and wish its current inhabitants well. Even if none of them have a clue that Scrappy cartoons were once made on the premises, as seems probable.

See you soon with news of my visit to 7000 Santa Monica Blvd, a place with a history all its own–and tenants who, I’m pleased to report, are well aware of their building’s Mintz legacy.

Hey, Maybe Will Eisner Drew Scrappy After All

Earlier today, I wrote about learning–via a Will Eisner panel at Comic-Con–about Wow, What a Magazine, which published some of Will Eisner’s earliest work as well as at least one panel of Scrappy. At a different Eisner panel, Denis Kitchen mentioned The Lost Work of Will Eisner, a fascinating 2016 book which reprints two hardly-seen Eisner newspaper strips from the same era, Uncle Otto and Harry Karry. (They’re printed from the original printing plates, part of a recently-unearthed collection of 5,000 plates for various obscure comics.)

I didn’t see a copy of the Lost Art book at Comic-Con–even though celebrating Will Eisner was one of the official activities of the convention this year, its show floor is no longer the sort of place where scads of Will Eisner comics are for sale. But I did order a copy from Amazon, and it was waiting for me when I got home.

It’s a neat book. And having examined Uncle Otto and Harry Karry, I am now officially upgrading Will Eisner from a guy who didn’t seem like much of a candidate to have drawn the Scrappy newspaper strip to an an actual contender.

Here are snippets of the first installment of Scrappy, Uncle Otto, and Harry Karry. They all involve tough guys with caps, and while I’m aware that’s not proof in itself, it’s enough to be intriguing.

Eisner comparison

Another thing I noticed: the word balloon tail shapes in Scrappy and Harry are similar.

Stylistically, these three strips are nowhere near identical, I know. But there are multiple explanations why the Scrappy might be by Eisner even if I haven’t found any other Eisner that looks just like it:

  • Eisner was getting better all the time. From year to year and month to month and maybe even panel to panel. The Scrappy–which is the most confident of the three–may have been done a bit later than Otto and Harry.
  • He intentionally switched styles and sometimes was crude on purpose. Kitchen’s intro to the Lost Art book quotes Eisner to that effect in reference to his work for Fiction House. (He wanted them to think that Eisner-Iger had a larger staff of cartoonists than it did.)
  • The amount of work he put into his art varied. Lost Art mentions this too, noting that his level of interest and/or available time varied.
  • He often channeled other artists. Harry Karry started out riffing on Segar, as you can tell from the three panels above. After a few strips, it abruptly switched to aping Alex Raymond–in mid-strip!
  • He probably had help here and there. Lost Art says that Otto‘s level of quality varied and guesses that it might not have been 100% Eisner 100% of the time.

Incidentally, I’m focusing on the first Scrappy installment here. It’s enough different stylistically from later strips that if the same person did it, it’s clear it wasn’t all in one fell swoop.

If you have any thoughts on this vital matter, lemme know.

Wow! More on Scrappy, Will Eisner, and Jerry Iger

I’m just back from the San Diego Comic-Con, where I didn’t find any Scrappy-related items. But I did attend a panel about Will Eisner and the Spirit, one of several at the con in 2017, Eisner’s centennial year. During it, one of the panelists (Denis Kitchen?) mentioned that some thoughtful soul had made Wow What a Magazine–a 1936 proto-comic edited by Jerry Iger, with extremely early Will Eisner art–available for downloading. It occurred to me that the publication might provide some clues about the vital question of who drew the Scrappy newspaper strip.

It turns out that the excellent Digital Comic Museum site recently made one issue of Wow available–issue #2–along with a write-up about the series and its historical significance. Having even one Wow available as a free download is quite a development, since all four issues of the short-lived publication are rare and will cost you thousands if you can find them.

When I skimmed issue #2, I did a little double-take when I found some Scrappy in it. Specifically, a panel of Scrappy Sayings, the odd feature which apparently debuted in 1935, ran in small papers, and seemed to exist purely to promote Scrappy. It’s one I hadn’t previously seen.

Scrappy Sayings

This is the first evidence I’ve seen that Iger/Eisner had any connection with Scrappy Sayings. The discovery merits more contemplation, but for now, I wonder whether Iger had some association with its creation and if there’s any chance he drew it. (It’s also possible that he just picked up an existing comic for publication–it’s filler, not mentioned in an otherwise detailed table of contents.)

Wow What a Magazine #2 is also chock-full of cartoony art, giving us lots of examples of work we can compare to the Scrappy strip in hopes of guessing the latter’s artist or artists. (The first Scrappy strip looks like it might be by a different person than later installments.)

Here’s Iger:

Buddy and Bill

And Bob Kane, or someone else he convinced to draw this for him:

Hiram Hick by Bob Kane

And Bob Smart, if he was a real person:

And George Brenner:

And someone who didn’t sign this strip:


And Will Eisner, with more art of Harry Karry, one of his earliest characters:

Well…this stuff is fun to look at, but none of it strikes me as close enough in style to the Scrappy strip to put anyone on a list of likely Scrappy artists.

But…

A while back, ace comics historian Steven Rowe had suggested Dick Briefer as another possible Scrappy artist. I was familiar with Briefer’s later Frankenstein comics, in both their scary and funny variants, and knew of the adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame which he did for Eisner/Iger. But I hadn’t seen any Briefer art that was both early and cartoony.

Well, thinking about Wow led me to track down the covers of the other issues–they’re available online, even though their insides aren’t–and it turns out that Briefer drew cartoony covers for issues #1 and #4.

Wow

These are not obviously by a person who drew the Scrappy strip. But you know what? It’s at least conceivable that Briefer is our guy. Or at least they don’t provide evidence that we should rule him out. I’d like to find strip work in a humorous vein that Briefer did in this era. For now, the search continues…

Scrappy in the Race

Scrappy in the Race

If you aspire to collect Scrappy original art, you must be a patient soul: It comes along very, very rarely. But I’ve added another item to my collection. And–this being Scrappy–it’s another wonderfully mysterious work.

The piece is titled “Scrappy in the Race,” and was done for a piece of Scrappy merchandise–which I know for sure because it’s marked “Scrappy and Oopie merchandising” on the backside. I don’t know where it appeared. Actually, I don’t even know if it appeared, especially since it’s in pencil and not all that tight. It could have been intended for almost anything, from a book illustration to a jigsaw puzzle.

It seems obvious that this art, unlike some associated with Scrappy products, was done by a Mintz staffer. Is it by Dick Huemer? It certainly feels like it might be–and Oopy’s glee and expressive hands strike me as Huemeresque–but I’m not sure. I asked Dick’s son, Dr. Richard Huemer, and he wasn’t sure either. Like me, he concluded that it would be easier to tell if it was inked. (His father had a particularly elegant, distinctive inking style.)

I do have a Scrappy original that is by Dick Huemer, and other than the fact it’s also on Strathmore board, it doesn’t particularly resemble this one. It doesn’t feel like they’re from the same project. Probably.

I’d love to think that whatever piece of merchandise this was done for is out there somewhere, available for rediscovery. If it isn’t, I’ll survive–you don’t collect Scrappy art unless you’re willing to accept that some enigmas were never meant to be solved.

Still More Scrappy Mystery Art

I’m beginning to think that deeming art of Scrappy to be mysterious is at least a tad redundant. Here’s a nicely framed drawing of Scrappy signed “Nitro.” (I assume that’s a signature–I’m not sure what else it would be.)

You might guess from a glance that this pose is a swipe. If you did, you’d be right. It’s borrowed from this stock poster, where Scrappy is wearing the same odd striped shirt and leggings.

I don’t know who Nitro was or what the purpose of this art was, and I’m afraid the chances are slim that I’ll ever learn. But I do have my semi-educated suspicions. I think this is a bootleg print that was given away at carnivals or other venues that required cheap prizes and weren’t too fussy about their provenance.

For what it’s worth, the gent who sold me this drawing also had one, with the same ornamental border, of Bill Holman’s newspaper feline Spooky–who, having first appeared in 1935, was a contemporary of Scrappy’s.

I could certainly imagine someone knocking out these drawings without any consideration of copyrights. And it’s nice to think that someone, somewhere knocked over some milk bottles with a baseball, had a choice of prints of multiple cartoon characters–and picked Scrappy.

Who Drew the Scrappy Strip?

We’ve now seen a total of 18 strips from the Scrappy newspaper strip, done circa 1937 by the Eisner/Iger studio. (Here they are: part one, part two, and part three.) There’s more to come before I run out of strips to share with you. But let’s take a break to consider a burning question: who drew these?

We can cross one name off the list without even thinking about it, and it’s the only one on the strip: Charles Mintz. After that, things get tricky.

A couple of basic points:

  • I’m working under the assumption that the strip was drawn by someone under the employ of Eisner & Iger Associates. In theory, it could have been produced by the Mintz Studio, but it doesn’t have that much of an animation feel and doesn’t seem to have been done by anyone who was terribly comfortable drawing Scrappy, Margy, and Yippy.
  • I think there were actually multiple someones involved. The first strip is strikingly more polished than later ones, and the word balloons are in a different style. It’s also possible that multiple collaborators worked to pull together later strips. And I don’t have a clue whether whoever worked on the art was also involved in the story.

With that in mind, let’s look at the most obvious candidates:

Will Eisner

Argument he might have drawn the Scrappy strip: mostly the fact that he was the co-proprietor of the company behind it.

The evidence, pro or con: Eisner is, of course, most famous for comics that mixed adventure and drama with a pretty generous dollop of humor–but not for humor comics per se. However, his earliest work had a higher bigfoot quotient, which he eventually outgrew. The notion of him doing a humor/adventure continuity such as Scrappy isn’t inherently unlikely.

Thanks to Cat Yronwode’s excellent 1982 book The Art of Will Eisner, here are some examples of early, cartoony Eisner. (Click them for a larger view.)

This is Eisner’s 1935 high-school strip, about a character named…Spunky:

spunky

Also from 1935, part of samples he did for something called Dopey and the Duke:

dopey and the duke

A bit of another 1935 sample for Harry Carey:

harrycarey

The bottom line: None of these examples of Eisner being cartoony look all that much like the Scrappy strip to me. Then again, they date from a couple of years or so before the Scrappy strips were apparently done. Eisner was rapidly getting better at the time.  And whoever did draw Scrappy may have been making a (not particularly successful) attempt to give the strip an animation feel.

Basically, I’m not quite ready to declare that it’s obvious that Eisner didn’t have anything to do with the Scrappy art–but I don’t see any clear evidence that he did, either.

Jerry Iger

Argument he might have drawn the Scrappy strip: He was the co-owner of Eisner/Iger, and, as a cartoonist, had a specialty: comics about little kids.

The evidence, pro or con: Iger was more than decade older than Eisner, and by the late 1930s, his style seems to have settled. Here’s a snippet of Bobby which is very, very representative of his work.

bobby 2

The bottom line: This is stiff, static stuff. If anything, it looks even less like Scrappy than early Eisner does.

Bob Kane

Argument he might have drawn the Scrappy strip: Before he gained fame for Batman, young Kane worked for Eisner/Iger and was a humor specialist, best known for a creation called Peter Pupp, featured in Fiction House’s Jumbo Comics. It was a funny-animal adventure strip in the mold of Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse. That might have made Kane the most obvious candidate in the shop to tackle Scrappy, which, in the Eisner/Iger version, also has a strong Gottfredsonesque tinge.

The evidence, pro or con: Today, Kane is legendary for hiring artists more gifted than himself to draw Batman, than signing his name to their work. For what its worth, Peter Pupp varies so much in style from installment to installment that it seems apparent that Kane had help with it, too. A few samples:

peter pupp 1

peter pupp 2

peter pupp 3

Eventually, after Batman debuted in Detective Comics #27, Kane’s byline disappeared from Peter Pupp, which was credited instead to “Golleh.” Some of the Golleh strips are reprints of Kane’s work–or at least work that he signed–but some of them may have been done without his involvement. This one is of the latter sort, and I find it at least vaguely reminiscent of the flavor of the Scrappy strip. (It may or may not mean anything that both Scrappy and this strip featured the notion of shooting a gun filled with cheese.)

peter pupp maravian

The bottom line: You know what? None of the Peter Pupps I’ve seen, with or without Bob Kane’s signature, look so much like Scrappy that I think that they were drawn by the same person.

Three logical candidates; no overwhelming reason to think they drew Scrappy. I’m sorry that I didn’t have the chance to ask Will Eisner about it; I first learned that the strip existed a couple of years after he passed away.

I’m going to continue to research this topic–and would welcome any information or guesses you might have.

Housekeeping Note

It’s been nearly five years since I revamped Scrappyland into a blog. In that time, I’ve written nearly a hundred posts. But I’ve never made it that easy to look back at all those items, which now greatly outnumber the articles from the site’s early incarnation.

To help rectify that, here are links to all the posts, all on one page. (You can also reach it from the “Blog Archive” link to the left.)

The Scrappy Comic Strip: Part Three

You’ve been very patient during the many months since I last ran a chunk of the 1930s Scrappy newspaper strip. (If you’re just joining us, here are chunk one and chunk two.)

To recap what this thing is: In 1937 or thereabouts, Will Eisner and Jerry Iger tried to sell a Scrappy strip to newspapers. I know of no evidence that it ever ran in any U.S. papers. But it did show up in a comic book called Wags in Australia and the U.K., in another called Bilboquet in France, and–eventually–as a repurposed pseudo-Scrappy named Shorty Shortcake in Wonder Comics.

I still don’t know who wrote and drew this. The most logical candidates are Eisner, Iger, and Bob Kane, who did cartoony stuff for them. But I haven’t seen any work by any of them that looks much like this strip. (More on this soon.) Whoever did it, it’s unpolished but (I think) surprisingly entertaining. Even though it doesn’t have much to do with the animated cartoons it’s based on.

Anyhow, here you go. (Click on the strips to read them at a larger size.) Our silly (but, um, newly relevant) plotline involves crime along the Mexican border. The characters include Scrappy, Margy, a kleptomaniac tycoon named Mr. De Welth, and a bandito called Tiny.

More to come! I’ll be sorry when I run out of these.