Thursday, September 7, 2017

Charlie Peace – His Amazing Life and Astounding Legend

IT IS A CURIOUS FACT that, though crime is not unusually rife with us, we have been more inclined than other nations to make pets of interesting criminals. ‘Popular Heroes’ in Chambers’s Journal, October 24, 1863
 CRIME  English connoisseurs of crime may be proud of having had among them so great an artist as Charles Peace, the eccentric rubber-faced burglar, inventor, and cop-killer. Once Peace had been launched into eternity by the hangman Marwood the pockets of the penny-a-liners were emptied. From that point on the journalistic fraternity referred to him as the “late lamented” Charlie Peace. “In the hagiology of house-breaking,” wrote Judge Parry in Drama and the Law, “the sainted figure of Charles Peace stands in solitary grandeur — clear and illumined in the golden pinnacles of crime … that he was a really great man I cannot doubt.”
 DRAMA  Nottingham dramatist MICHAEL EATON tells how following the sensational trial and death of Charles Peace his life became the stuff of legend and myth. The myth was formed by broadsheets, children’s songs, songs set to popular tunes and hymns, penny literature, waxworks, articles in illustrated police newspapers, melodramatic stage thrillers, silent films, and British comics. Eaton — known for his stage plays and BBC radio dramas — writes in an engaging personal style from a humorous perspective.
 POLICE NEWS  The book begins with a brief outline of the criminal career of Charles Peace followed by several excerpts and sensational front-page illustrations drawn from the complete reportage in George Purkess Jr’s Illustrated Police News (subtitle: ‘Law Courts and Weekly Record’). Also included is the complete text of “THE WORST NEWSPAPER IN ENGLAND,” an Interview with the Proprietor of the “POLICE NEWS,” which was published in the Pall Mall Gazette on 23 Nov 1886. Also reproduced is an interview with the hangman.
 PENNY PAPERS  On March 1, 1879 Purkess issued Charles Peace; or, the Adventures of a Notorious Burglar by a Popular Author which ended early in 1881 after 100 penny weekly numbers. Eaton’s section on this periodical, “The Legend is Formed,” has commentary, excerpts and numerous illustrations. The most fascinating section of the book is “Stage-Struck Charlie” where Eaton has dug up texts to numerous obscure blood and thunder melodramas based on the life and crimes of Peace. Again, he provides ample excerpts from the plays.
 MOVIES  Next is a large section on Charles Peace in the movies, illustrated with a few dozen stills. Although the book is rather small-sized the copious illustrations are sharp and clear, all taken from the original sources. The reproductions from the daffy Valiant comic The Astounding Adventures of Charlie Peace are in clear resolution with easily readable text.
 COVERED…  The cover is by graphic artist EDDIE CAMPBELL (‘From Hell’); and part of an illustration that originally advertised Michael Eaton’s 2013 melodrama with a similar title (see HERE). This book on Charlie Peace has to be one of the year’s highlights in the true-crime genre – graphic, obsessive, funny and essential. Published on 23 June 2017 it is available worldwide on Amazon, and from the book’s publisher Five Leaves Publications HERE.

Charlie Peace – His Amazing Life and Astounding Legend, A kaleidoscope of true and not-so-true crime, paperback: 300 pages, size 15.8 x 1.8 x 23.4 cm, ISBN-10: 1910170305, ISBN-13: 978-1910170304, 

Monday, September 4, 2017

News Item: Heroes of the Home Front

Heroes of the Home Front — a forthcoming book by Ivan Kocmarek — will present 300+ pages of backstory information on WWII Bell Features artists and reproduce 150+ pages of great original art. See a filmed introduction (1:46 min.) to it HERE.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Three centuries of Penny Dreadfuls...

My penny dreadful history book enters the production stage now. Its planned publication date is June 2018.
This is a preview of my proposed cover design for Thieves’ Literature. Three centuries of Penny Dreadfuls, Sensational Literature & Popular Melodrama, from the early 1600s to the early 1900s.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Pernicious Illustration – Pernicious Pictures

[1] From F. Opper’s Happy Hooligan, 1911

“A worse pabulum for young America could hardly be concocted by Satan himself. The combined influences of the home, the public schools, and all the churches together are hardly sufficient to undo the mischief wrought in the minds of children by this never-ceasing flood of hell-broth.” — Henry Turner Bailey, 1911
HENRY TURNER BAILEY in 1911 started a brief discussion with his 5-page article Pernicious Illustration in a brand new monthly trade magazine, The Graphic Arts (subtitle: ‘for Printers and Users of Printing’). Comments of two other authors followed in a later issue, under the general header “Pernicious Illustration” Again; The Other Side of the Matter. Below are the pages 121-125 and 284-288 with all three articles, taken from The Graphic Arts, Vol. I, January-June 1911, National Arts Publishing Company, Boston, MA. 
Pernicious Illustration by Henry Turner Bailey.

Another Aspect of Newspaper Humor by Brainard Leroy Bates.

A Plea for the Pernicious Pictures by Joseph Swerling. 

[2] Page 121
[3] Page 122
[4] Page 123
[5] Page 124
[6] Page 125
[7] Page 284
[8] Page 285
[9] Page 286
[10] Page 287
[11] Page 288
[12] F. Opper, Happy Hooligan Makes a Hit! But It Wasn’t on the Programme, a full page comic strip in the Sunday Chicago Tribune of February 26, 1911

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Comics — And Their Creators: Frank King

IT’S AN ODD THING that everyone who reads the strip — about Walt and Skeezix — seems to know that Skeezix is a door-step baby but that many persons are confused about the parentage of Corky and Judy. Every week I get letters asking about the two younger children, usually from persons who say they want to settle a debt. Corky, you will recall, is the son of Walt and Phyllis, but Judy was left in the Wallet car and adopted by the Wallets. We changed the technique a little in her case, and instead of calling her a door-step baby she was called the “running board baby.” — ‘He’s the King of Gasoline Alley,’ in Chicago Tribune; said by Frank King, March 26, 1948
1933 [1] Literary Digest, Dec 16
1931 [2] Jan 11
1928 [3] June 1o
1927 [4] Chicago Tribune, Jan 23

Monday, July 10, 2017

Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby and the Yorkshire Schools


 Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby and the Yorkshire Schools; Fact v Fiction, is a new book by Yesterday’s Papers contributor, Robert J. Kirkpatrick.

IN 1838, in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Charles Dickens set out to expose the “scandal” of cheap Yorkshire boarding schools. Controversy over the accuracy and fairness of Dickens’s claims about these schools, as portrayed by Dotheboys Hall and its tyrannical master, Wackford Squeers, has raged ever since. Most attention has been focused on the supposed model for Dotheboys Hall, Bowes Academy in what was then the North Riding of Yorkshire, and its proprietor William Shaw. This has left many other aspects of the controversy under-explored. Dickens and his supporters, and many critics, made claims about the schools and the effect that Nicholas Nickleby had on them which can now be shown to have been wildly inaccurate.

This book sets out to explore these myths, to present a comprehensive history of the Yorkshire schools (in particular told through their advertisements), and to collect all the previously-published accounts of life at these schools — those that appeared before 1838 and those that appeared afterwards — bringing them all together for the first time. It is hoped that, by presenting all the evidence in one place, a full and balanced picture of the Yorkshire schools will help differentiate between the facts and the fiction.

Published by Mosaic (Teesdale) Ltd., Snaisgill, Middleton-in-Teesdale,
Co. Durham DL12 0RP 
Paperback, 380 pages.
Available HERE.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Worden Wood, the Ghost of Buster Brown


  R |ichard Fenton Outcault grew to despise his own creation, THE YELLOW KID, once it became associated with Yellow Journalism. On several occasions he downright cursed him.
“When I die, don’t wear yellow crepe, don’t let them put a Yellow Kid on my tombstone, and don’t let the Yellow Kid himself come to my funeral.” — R.F. Outcault (1863-1928)
Outcault was three-plus years away from the Herald when the topper and the following page from BUSTER BROWN ON HIS TRAVELS, Cupples & Leon, 1909, were drawn. Rick Marschall informs us BUSTER BROWN was drawn, anonymously, these years by Worden Wood.

Other Buster Brown ghosts included Will Lawler, Norman Jennett and Wallace Morgan. Rumor has it that Winsor McCay drew a few Buster Brown pages in 1910.

Checking some Sunday pages with Little Nemo on the front page, Pierre-Henry Lenfant of Lomé (TOGO) found on the reverse some unsigned ghosted black and white Buster Brown (below). Those pages were published in 1909 in the Los Angeles Sunday Times, and the Saint Louis Republic and would also appear to be Worden Wood’s work. 

[1] Worden Wood, 1909
[2] May 16, 1909
[3] Sep 12, 1909
[4] Dec 19, 1909
[5] Brazilian kids magazine O Tico-Tico, 
No. 559, June 21, 1916
Luís Gomes Loureiro.
[6] By Worden Wood, 1909
[7] By R.F. Outcault, Aug 16, 1903


Thanks to my dear niece Megan Evans for the gift of Buster Brown on His Travels.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

We Have With Us Today!

[1] ‘They Stand Out From the Crowd’ — The Literary Digest, March 24, 1934

We Have With Us Today! 
by Grantland Rice and J.N. Ding

FOUR YEARS before his death, when he was seriously ill, Jay Norwood Darling (Oct 21, 1876 – Feb 12, 1962) drew a farewell cartoon to be published on his demise and gave it to his secretary for safekeeping. It showed the cartoonist rushing out of his cluttered office. His last message read: — “Bye Now; It’s Been Wonderful Knowing You.” Henry Grantland Rice (Nov 1, 1880 – July 13, 1954) was a famous sporting columnist.
[2] Oct 5, 1919
[3] Oct 19, 1919
[4] Nov 16, 1919
[5] Nov 30, 1919

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Rudolph and Gus Dirks drew The Katzies of the 90s

[1] Rudy Dirks, photo 1917 
“Hearst took on Rudolph Dirks in 1897 to do the Katzenjammer Kids (German slang for ‘hangover’ kids), and thereby headed toward the first big legal battle of the comics. The World, not forgetting Hearst’s capture of Outcault, enticed Dirks into its camp. The bitter legal controversy which followed finally resulted in Hearst’s obtaining the rights to the Katzenjammer Kids, but not to its creator. Dirks continued the characters in the World under the title Hans and Fritz, which during the World War was changed to The Captain and the Kids to purge it of its ancestry. Hearst’s Katzenjammer Kids (drawn by H.H. Knerr) and United Features Captain and the Kids (obtained from the World upon its death in 1931) remain as the sole survivors of all the strips started in the 90s.” — Men of Comics, by William E. Berchtold, in New Outlook, April 1935 

[2] Ach. Those Katzenjammer Kids Once More! Already Again They Make Troo-o-o-oble! 
[3] Dec 19, 1897
[4] Dec 11, 1898
[5] Dec 26, 1897
[6] Nov 27, 1898
[7] His brother Gus Dirks, photo 1901
[8] Gus Dirks draws Hans and Fritz, Nov 6, 1898
[9] Gus Dirks draws Hans and Fritz, Oct 9, 1898

 ¡)¡.•   ¡.(¡

[NOTE] There are two biographies of the brothers Dirks, in German only, the latest is Gus Dirks; Käfer, Kunst & Kummer (Gus Dirks; Bugs, Art & Distress) by Tim Eckhorst, published by Ch. A. Bachmann Verlag in 2016.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Dan M’Carthy 1870-1905

He Had Worked on Many Papers and founded a School of Caricature

New York, Feb. 17, 1905 — Daniel H. M’Carthy, one of the best known newspaper artists and caricaturists in the country died yesterday after a short illness. He was born in Syracuse 35 years ago. M’Carthy came to New York about 15 years ago and began to make drawings for the Evening Telegram. he was called to Paris by James Gordon Bennett and remained for a time with the Paris Herald. When the Recorder started he returned to New York and drew pictures for that paper for five years. He then went to the World and remained there until four years ago when he founded the National School of Caricature. He was at the head of this concern at the time of his death. [From: Binghampton Press] 

[2] Daniel H. M’Carthy, The Points and Phrases of Grammar Applied to the Summer Vacation, strip in The Sunday World Comic Weekly, June 20, 1897. Courtesy of Andy Bleck.
[3] Syd B. Griffin illustration, ad 1903

Ink-Slinger Profiles: Sydney B. Griffin HERE.