Sunday, February 21, 2016


One of my favorite funny newspaper strips...rivalling Al Capp's "Fearless Fosdick" or Feinenger's "The "Kinder Kids"...was the collected strips done by George Herriman in the years between 1904 and 1916.  I have to say "collected" because Herriman worked on many strips in these years and no single title dominates.

Some of my favorites were his sports cartoons (above). They were laid out like irregular sketchbook pages at the top of the sports page.

His editors must have liked him because on days when sports were slow he was allowed to put up little autobiographical pieces like the one above. Here the ex-mayor of a town called Independence shows Herriman the local sights.

Sometimes (above) he made fun of amateur theater.

Herriman did some color pages in this period and he sometimes tried to fit in to the formal comics format. In my opinion these pages were much inferior to his black and white "sketchbook-style" strips.

I wish I knew more about the the drawing instruments Herriman used. Evidently the brush didn't suit him. He preferred to use the kind of hard, scratchy dip pen that deters most modern artists. If you haven't used these yet, you might want to give them a try. They're hard to control but everything looks funnier when done with a pen of that type.

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