Saturday, May 18, 2013


Herriman Saturday

Sunday, April 12 1908 -- Herriman indulges in an orgy of stereotypes to picture the boxing event happening Tuesday night at Naud Junction. 'Uncle Tom' McCarey of the Pacific Athletic Club  is offering a long card of bouts, featuring his hand-picked promising amateurs. The best-looking winners, he says, will be personally shepherded by him on their boxing careers.Many of the fighters are immigrants, so the evening is being characterized as a "Fight of the Nations".


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Friday, May 17, 2013


Sci-Friday starring Adam Chase

Adam Chase (c) renewed 2013 by Russ Morgan. All rights reserved.

Adam Chase strip #21, originally published October 23 1966. For background on the strip and creator, refer to this post.


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Thursday, May 16, 2013


Ink-Slinger Profiles: E.B. Sullivan

Estill Bradford “Sullie” Sullivan was born in Palmyra, Missouri on August 28 1905. His birthplace was found on a 1927 passenger list which had his birth date as “June 4, 1905.” His birth date was found in the Social Security Death Index and a public record index at

In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, he was the only child of T.B. (Theodore B.) and Maggie (Margaret). They lived in Palmyra. His father was a “real estate dealer” who passed away in 1911.

The 1920 census recorded him and his mother in Palmyra on Main Street. She was unemployed. Information about his early education has not been found. In the University of Missouri Bulletin, General Series 1926, No. 1, he was listed as a first year journalism major. In the yearbook, The Savitar 1927, he was a senior and member of Sigma Delta Chi. (see photo) The University of Missouri Bulletin, Journalism Series, Issue 50, 1928 had this listing: “Sullivan, Estill Bradford, B.J. ’27; now on European tour; home address, Palmyra, Mo.” A passenger list said he returned on September 3, 1927 at Quebec, Canada before entering the U.S.

Sullivan has not yet been found in the 1930 census.

In 1940 he lived in Chicago at 1235 Loyola Avenue since 1935. His occupation was cartoonist at a commercial artist agency. In E&P's syndicate directories he was credited with the comic strips Gargoyle and Gadget (1936-1945), and Abe Martin Junior (1938-39) (neither feature has yet been documented as actually running in a newspaper). Both were distributed by National Newspaper Syndicate which was based in Elkhart Indiana. As 'Sullie', he may be the creator behind Bucks McKale, which ran in the Chicago Tribune Comic Book from June 30, 1940 to April 11, 1943. (Some sources named Vin Sullivan as Bucks creator.) Regarding his art training, he may have attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts or the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the late 1920s or early 1930s.

His mother passed away in 1941. At some point he moved to Missouri. On March 31, 1942 he enlisted in the Army Air Corps at Lockbourne Army Air Base in Columbus, Ohio. Where he served and how long is not known.

Presumably he remained in the art field after World War II. His whereabouts from the 1950s onward is not known. A public record at had this address: “1320 W Columbia Ave, Chicago, IL, 60626-4361,” but no date was stated.

Sullivan passed away January 13, 1982 according to the Cook County, Illinois Death Index, 1908–1988. An obituary has not been found. He was buried in the family plot at Greenwood Cemetery, Palmyra, Missouri. He was listed in the 1984 Annual Report of the Art Institute of Chicago.


A tip of the Hatlo hat to Alex for finding the mysterious E. B. Sullivan. Great detective work.
Thank you very much, D.D.!
Estil Sullivan was my mother's cousin. I really appreciated reading this summary of his life. He sent Christmas greetings to family members on postcards. I still have a few of those. The family history is that he started a short-lived comic strip named "Sullie" just before World War II. His mother was Maggie Dickson Sullivan. The family home was 500 South Main in Palmyra. The house was long ago torn down and a church now occupies the site. Thanks again, Margaret Nichols at
Lockbourne Army Air Force Base, where Estill B. Sullivan enlisted in March, 1942, is Columbus, OHIO, not Missouri.
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013


The Chicago Tribune Comic Book: Speed Berry

World War II caused most Americans to put aside their pre-war hopes and dreams, and concentrate instead on pulling together in pursuit of victory. The same was true for many comic strip characters, including today's Obscurity, Speed Berry.

The Sunday-only comic strip began in the Chicago Tribune Comic Book section on April 27 1941, then titled Bush Berry. The strip was intended to be about baseball. As is typical of baseball strips, we began with a farm boy who has a rocket for an arm. Called up by a major league team, he seems to be on the road to fame and fortune as the star hurler of the Chicago Eagles. Naturally there are some unforeseen bumps in the road, but 'Bush' Berry has everything going for him.

However, creator Evans Krehbiel apparently saw the writing on the wall in mid-1941, and he had Bush Berry enlist in the Army, where his nickname received a promotion, on October 12 1941, to Speed Berry.  At first Speed's life doesn't change all that drastically. His chums and enemies from the Chicago Eagles all seem to have enlisted with him, and his job in the Army is -- what else -- to play baseball.

Then Pearl Harbor happened, and the tone of the strip quickly changed. Soon Speed and his entourage were on their way across the Pacific, baseball all but forgotten. The strip now became a red-blooded war strip, with Speed and his buddies seemingly single-handedly winning the war. So fine a job did Speed do in the Army that he was mustered out early. The strip was cancelled on August 29 1943, about four months after it was graduated from the Comic Book section, which was cancelled, to the regular Tribune Sunday comics section.

Evans Krehbiel, son of respected artist Dulah Evans Krehbiel, either had a quickly evolving style, or he got a lot of help on this strip. The art varies from cartoony to sketchy to finely delineated over its short three year life. Krehbiel got at least one more syndicated comic strip job, the 1944-45 Wilbur Wackey. Lambiek cites two additional features, Bitsy and Becky's Senior, neither of which I have ever seen. Bitsy is only known to exist as a set of originals, none of which have copyright dates or syndicate slugs. Becky's Senior was advertised by American International Syndicate, which claimed a whole slew of features that no one's ever seen actually running in a newspaper.

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how come your scans are always so clearplicy must and bright?
Lemon Pledge!
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Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Ink-Slinger Profiles: Vin Sullivan

Vincent A. Paul “Vin” Sullivan was born in Brooklyn New York on June 5, 1911, according to passenger lists at in the 1915 New York State Census, he was the second of three children born to John and Isabel. His father did clerical work at a clearing house. They lived in Brooklyn at 83 Macon Street.

The Sullivans remained at the same address in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census and 1925 New York State Census. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (New York), July 8, 1925, named the Junior Eagle’s new club members. Sullivan was in the Art Club. Four years later he was among the Brooklyn Preparatory School graduates listed in the Eagle, June 18, 1929.

In 1930 Sullivan was the third of six children. The Eagle, October 1, 1931, noted his travel with his parents: “Vincent A. Sullivan of 83 Macon St., son of Mr. and Mrs. John F. Sullivan, sailed yesterday at noon for the Bahama Islands on the Scythia.” His next voyage was with his older brother and friend, according to the September 5, 1933 Eagle: “Frank A. Sullivan and Vincent A. Sullivan of 83 Macon st. and George Hunt of 421 Hancock St. sailed Saturday on the Atlantida of the American Fruit Lines for a cruise in Caribbean waters. They will stop at Santiago del Cuba, Kingston, Jamaica, and La Ceiba, Honduras.”

National Allied Publications, founded in 1934 by Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, was the forerunner to DC Comics. The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America (2009) said Sullivan was a staff writer. In a few years Wheeler-Nicholson would leave due to financial difficulties. As the editor, Sullivan bought Superman from creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. He drew the cover of Detective Comics number one.

The 1940 census recorded Sullivan, his parents and four siblings in Brooklyn at 717 East 18th Street. He would be the first to marry as reported in the Eagle, March 15, 1940: “Miss Mary Christine Patrick, daughter of Mrs. George Patrick of 834 Lincoln Place, will be married to Vincent A. Sullivan, son of Mr. and Mrs. John F. Sullivan of 717 E. 18th St., on April 13 at St. Gregory’s R.C. Church. The Rev. Father Hanley will officiate….” 

Brooklyn Eagle 3/15/1940

A week before the wedding he had his bachelor party, according to the Eagle, April 7, 1940:

Vincent Sullivan Guest at Party
Vincent A. Sullivan of 717 E. 18th St. was honored at a bachelor party last night in the cocktail room of the Rivoli Restaurant. Mr. Sullivan will be married to Miss Mary Christine Patrick of 834 Lincoln Place on Saturday.

Those present were Raymond Roth, who arranged the party, Conway Brew, Joseph Clark, Thomas Delaney, D. Harmon Farrell, Craig [sic] Flessel, Gardner Fox, Fred Guardenier [sic], Fred Hammill, Alfred Harrison, George Hart, James Lawlorr, John Moody, George Patrick, J. Edgar Swanin, John Sullivan Jr. and Francis Sullivan.

Brooklyn Eagle 4/7/1940

In 1940 Sullivan left DC Comics and produced Bucks McKale for the Chicago Tribune Comic Book; his character debuted June 30, 1940 and ended April 11, 1943. He went on to found Magazine Enterprises, in 1943. His comic book credits are here.

Sullivan passed away February 3, 1999, in Manhasset, New York. DC Comics sent out a press release March 3, 1999.

On Wednesday, February 3, DC Comics’ first editor, Vince Sullivan, passed away after succumbing to cancer. He was 88 years old. More than sixty years ago, in 1938, Vince Sullivan was the editor of Detective Comics, the flagship title of fledgling comics publisher National Allied Publishing. He was searching for material to fill a proposed new series, Action Comics, when he saw a proposal from two young comics creators for a strip about a brand-new kind of hero — a “super-hero”. Sullivan accepted Jerry Siegel’s and Joe Shuster’s often-rejected proposal for a comic strip entitled “Superman”, and made it the cover and lead feature for the new title. When “Superman” began taking off, Sullivan turned to another young cartoonist, Bob Kane, to see if he could come up with a second costumed hero for Detective Comics. With the debut of Superman in Action Comics #1 and Batman in Detective Comics #27, Sullivan kicked off what became known as the Golden Age of American comics, and brought the world the first appearances of two of the most enduring icons of popular culture. Together, Superman and Batman would help to make National the top publisher in the industry, and keep it there over the years as it evolved into DC Comics. After leaving National in 1940, Sullivan went to work for Columbia Comics, where he launched the comics magazine Big Shot Comics, which featured the work of Gardner Fox, Creig Flessel, and Ogden Whitney, among many others. In 1943, he formed his own comic book publishing company, Magazine Enterprises, where he remained for the next fifteen years, finally leaving the industry in 1958.

After several decades away from comics, however, Sullivan was located by Golden Age comics enthusiast David Siegel, who convinced him to be a guest at Comic-Con International: San Diego 1998 last August. There he was reunited with old collaborators and warmly received by a host of comics veterans, including writer Mark Evanier, who concluded his posting of Sullivan’s passing with the following words: “He was a fine gentleman, and I was honored to spend time with him at last year’s ComicCon International. We already miss him.” Said Siegel, “I was very fortunate to find him, and very proud to help give him his last hurrah.”


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Monday, May 13, 2013


The Chicago Tribune Comic Book: Bucks McKale

Bucks McKale was one of the earliest new features adopted by the Chicago Tribune Comic Book, starting on June 30 1940. It managed to outlast the Comic Book section itself, if only by a single week, ending on April 11 1943.

Bucks McKale is a story about a fabulously rich kid. How he gained his money I don't recall, not having seen the first installments since I reviewed the material on microfilm about twenty-five years ago. However, what I can say is that despite the superficial resemblance, the feature was nothing like Richie Rich. Bucks McKale's money was rarely an important plot point, except that it sometimes gave him a convenient springboard to adventure with his buddy/mentor/manager, Smoothie. Bucks liked to fly off to exotic locales in his own planes, star in Hollywood movies that he financed, and the like. But once the money got him started on an adventure, there was rarely anything more said about it.

Bucks gained himself a sweetheart on one of his cross-country flights when he and Smoothie crash-landed in a hillbilly area. April May, one of the local yokels, fell instantly and deeply in love with him, and accompanied him on adventures from that point on.She also got to appear with him on the cover of the comic book on Sundays when he got that featured spot.

Signing the strip was someone named Sullie. I was long ago told by researcher Paul Leiffer that this was Vin Sullivan, famously primarily for having been the comic book editor responsible for Action Comics, the birthplace of Superman.

In my book I mentioned this possible ID without much comment. However, I have now looked into the matter some more. I re-read an interview with Sullivan in Alter Ego #27, and looked at the samples of his art there and on various websites. The artwork seems to be an excellent match, no doubt about that. My only problem with the ID lies in that interview. While Sullivan did leave DC Comics in 1940, right around the time Bucks McKale began, it sounds like Sullivan went pretty quickly into other comic book-related endeavors. He also states, in response to the question of whether he considers himself a cartoonist, "I haven't tried to sell comic strips of my own stuff, not as a success, really. So, yes, I think you could call me a cartoonist, because I've done some cartoons for the newspapers and also for the magazines themselves."

That doesn't sound to me like the response of a guy who had a Sunday comic strip running in the Chicago Tribune for three years. Self-effacing, perhaps? Anyway, he's so vague that the comment certainly doesn't shut the door. Unfortunately, the portion of the interview in which he discusses his career immediately after leaving DC, and which might have answered the question definitely, apparently happened during a tape recorder malfunction.

It wasn't actually Sullivan's words or art that ended up clinching it. It was the fact that as research went on with the other contributors to the Comic Book, I kept encountering cartoonists who would later be associated with Magazine Enterprises, the comic book company run by Sullivan. It seemed too great a coincidence that so many ME hands were in the Comic Book, and that a guy who went by Sullie, and drew like Vin Sullivan, was there too.

** EDIT: D.D. Degg has pointed out that Editor & Publisher, which for some reason I never checked while researching this strip, lists the creator as one E.B. Sullivan.  This E.B. Sullivan fellow even has two other credits (albeit on strips so obscure they have not yet been found actually running anywhere). So the Vin Sullivan story is now all of a sudden looking a little less likely. Yes, Vin has a convenient gap in his work history (which D.D. Degg now seems to be able to fill -- see below), and yes, his style is compatible with that used on Bucks McKale, but the last thing we want to do is blithely steal a credit from another cartoonist just because the peg happens to fit well in the slot. Does anyone know of a cartoonist by the name of E.B. Sullivan who might have lived in the Chicago area?

** EDIT2: Alex Jay has found a cartoonist named E.B. Sullivan, and a profile is now on the blog. Is this our man? There is no primary source that definitely ties him to Bucks McKale, or the other two features, but he seems to be in the right place at the right time.

**EDIT3 (9/28/15): Now we have additional proof that E.B. Sullivan is our guy. I received this letter from Steve Joynt:

I was looking for info on a strip called Bucks McKale and found your entries really helpful.
I think that what I have can help you settle, once and for all, the mystery of the cartoonist.
My wife was digging through boxes of her deceased parents' belongings and ran across an original piece of art that was made for her dad, probably at the request of her grandfather.
In the 1940s, her father (Kent Godwin) was a young boy in Chicago. His father (Gaylord Godwin) worked for United Press in Chicago.
In this piece of artwork, the character, Bucks McKale says, "Your dad (Gaylord) and my boss (the creator of the cartoon, no doubt) were school mates at Ole Mizzou." Bucks is wearing a sweater with a big gold M on it.
E.B. Sullivan, according to the bio you posted, attended the University of Missouri in the mid-20s, as did Gaylord.
I would think that would settle the question that the strip's creator was E.B. and not Vin Sullivan.
By the way, the bottom of the artwork is personalized with "Best wishes to Kent Godwin from Bucks McKale and Sullies."

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Really neat-looking stuff. I'd love to see more of this.
Dave Strickler,in his L. A. Times comic strip index, lists the creator as E. B. (Sullie) Sullivan.
Serendipitously your "G" listing of Mystery Strips has a Gargoyle And Gadget by E.B. Sullivan as a daily strip from 1936-45.
Also you say that E&P lists the National Newspaper Syndicate as distributor of Gargoyle and Gadget.. If I'm not mistaken that would place it in Chicago.
That would put E. B. Sullivan in the same place and time as Bucks McKale.
Who is this mysterious E. B. Sullivan?

Well, DD, that's a helluva good question. Don't know why it never occurred to me to check this credit in E&P.

I don't have a clue who Mr. E.B. Sullivan is, but with him having another credit (albeit a mystery one) I definitely need to rethink this being Vin Sullivan. Very weird, though, that Vin's drawing style is similar, and there's a convenient timeframe of apparent inactivity in his life.

Thoughts, anyone????

During those 1940-43 years Vin Sullivan may have been doing the Sunday Bucks McKale strip for the Chicago Tribune.
But he definitely was partnered with the McNaught Syndicate setting up and editing their comic book division:
(Okay, it's Wikipedia, but google Columbia Comics Corporation for more.)
Hi DD --
Ah, I see; interesting that we come up with a newspaper syndicate connection -- but to a different syndicate! So, with perfectly circular logic, we can say that it is because of his association with McNaught that he went by the pseudonym 'Sullie' on Bucks McKale. Yippee!

Seriously though, Alex Jay has jumped into action and he has a profile of E.B. Sullivan coming up today. No definite connection established, but he was a cartoonist and spent time in Chicago. Have we found our man?

Found a Bucks McKale comic published on April 25, 1943 in the Boston Post Comic Book Section. I guess the end date of this strip is still in question?
Cliff -- The Chicago Tribune comic book ended April 4 1943. Perhaps due to contract, the Boston Post apparently continued it awhile, resulting in differing end dates on many features in that venue. Unfortunately, as I've mentioned in another reply, I did not find these when I reviewed the Boston Post on microfilm. Either I missed them, or they weren't included on the film. What is your last Boston Post Comic Book Magazine section?

Thanks, Allan

I just purchased a copy of Comic Book Magazine (Los Angeles Times, December 15, 1940) featuring our pal Bucks McKale at a flea market for $1. I found your article very informative. Do you happen to know a value for said comic?

My $1 also yielded a selection of vintage newspaper comic sections from 1937 to 1962. Included in the 1937 issue is a very well preserved Mickey Mouse strip art/story by one Walt Disney.

FYI, that Comic Book Magazine also includes the strips Spooky, Bobby Make-Believe, Rocky, Dill & Daffy, Hy Score, Captain Storm, Texas Slim, Gertie O'Grady, Them Days, Brenda Starr, Streamer Kelly and Daniel Boone.
While researching the Straight Arrow promotion I talked with Sullivan a few times. My research on Fred L. Meagher (pronounced Marr)led me to Vesta West and the Tribune's Comic Book Magazine. Here I found Bucks McKale by Sullies leading me to think that it was the work of Vin Sullivan, however, when I asked him he told it was not his work.
Hi, I have just purchased two comics from an auction that appear to be original art, created during WW2. They are signed Sullie in the same way the signature is on the Bucks McKale comic strip. On the bottom, in pencil is the narration for the comic and at the top, on the left, in pencil it says "Private Stuff" and on the right, in pencil it say by Sullie. I have read the debate above and wondered if my findings would help to solve the mystery. I would love to show you the comics however I am not seeing a way to post them here. Thank you!
I've just looked at the Bucks McKale strips posted here. The signature, Sullie, is the way Estill signed some of the Christmas postcards he sent to my mother, his cousin. They grew up together in Palmyra, MO.
Your material on my mother's cousin Estill B Sullivan "Sullie" had an unusable effect. A lady saw my sister Peg's post and contacted us and offered us some comics and other things that E B Sullivan had done. Some were framed copies of "Private Stuff" done while E B was in the air force. It has been wonderful to find out more on him and he was beyond a doubt the creator of "Bucks McKale"
Yes . He was kin to my grandmother Doris White. HER married name was Boettcher. She spoke of him fondly and received many postcards of his artwork
Yes . He was kin to my grandmother Doris White. HER married name was Boettcher. She spoke of him fondly and received many postcards of his artwork
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Sunday, May 12, 2013


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


Love your mom's credo. You've done it... at least so far. ; ) I try to do it as well.

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