Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Obscure Newspaper Comic Strips from 1973

Whoa it's 2012, and it's time for my first post of the year so I better make it an extra good one...

Umm, to be honest, this post is just OK, but I swear there will be some good ones this year sometime - I just don't know when.

So anyways I was looking through an old newspaper the other day, looking for something that might make for an interesting post.  It wasn't a "major" newspaper, but the Redford Township edition of The Suburban News for the week of May 30, 1973...

Redford is a suburb of Detroit, and like many hometown papers the contents seems to focuses on things like school fairs and civic activities.  But as I leafed through the want ads  I was rewarded with a number of obscure and mysterious comics sprinkled here and there.  Like this one called Half-Past Teen...

I have no idea who the creator is, and Google was no help at all.  Heck, I'm doubting this comic has anything to do with teens.

Near the back of the want ad section was over half a page of comic strips.  I like to think I know a little something about comics, but at fist glance I didn't recognize a single one.

Do you recognize anything?

This first one is a Mutt and Jeff by Al SmithMutt and Jeff is a name I recognize. The only problem is whoever laid out this page left off the title and artist name.  This now concludes the only comic that I was even remotely familiar with.


This next strip is Grubby by Warren SattlerGrubby is not a strip about a bear, but an old west prospector.  I like the layout on this one.

Deems by Tom Oka looks like a strip that would have been a favorite of mine as a little kid, you know, before I could read.   I think Deems is a character like Henry who never speaks. Also Google doesn't really turn anything up on who Tom Oka is.

Sonny South by Courtney Alderson.  Can't find any info on  Courtney Alderson or this strip, but someone has been auctioning off the original art.


This Grandpa's Boy by Brad Anderson.  Brad Anderson is best know for Marmaduke, and well, that's what I know him for too.


Those Were The Days by Art Beeman.  Art has a nice classic old-timey style that fits this strip well.

Above was another unidentified comic, but I think it is Citizen George by George Wolfe.

Of all the comic strips on this page I think this drawing of the deep sea diver reading a newspaper might be the most fun thing.

Lastly, this is the most bewildering thing I found in the want ads.  It looks like a classic Ripley's Believe It or Not! comic, but why is it named Nothin, But The Truth by Arnold?  When searching for info on Deems I found this comic page from the July 6, 1956 issue of The Deming Headlight (Deming, New Mexico) the with another "Nothin, But The Truth by Russ Arnold."  What's going on here? These are obviously "Ripley's" what's the deal with the name change?


jrasicmark said...

Very interesting. I love obscure comic strips. I sometimes go to Google Historic Newspapers to find old comics pages and one of them had Sonny South. I can't remember the name of the paper that had it, but I think it was a southwestern state if I remember correctly. As for your Ripley's clone, I've actually seen several Ripley's clones with different titles (Strange As It Seems comes to mind), so I don't think your strip really is Ripley's, it's just one more of the many clones. Besides Google Historic Newspapers, you can also find Ripley's clones in golden age comics that reprinted comic strips. It's interesting that the New Mexico paper you linked to has several of the same comic strips as your post above; that makes me think maybe a lot of these strips were sold together as a package. I had never heard of that syndicate, though; maybe they catered to smaller newspapers who couldn't afford the big syndicates.

David W. said...

Thanks for the info jrasicmark. I have never heard of the "Ripley's clones." The art style looks exactly like Ripley's it's amazing they weren't sued.

Anonymous said...

Great post! Another excellent obscure comic is Molly and the Bear by Bob Scott. It's beautifully drawn and written. It's syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate.

Torsten Adair said...

The reason this paper has such obscure comics?
It's a suburb of Detroit.
Detroit has the Detroit Free Press ("the Freep") and the Detroit News.
Between those two papers, all of the major strips will be syndicated, usually at a premium, and those papers will get a regional monopoly.

Sometimes, the paper would buy a strip, but not publish it, to prevent the other paper from getting it. But usually, in major media markets, the comics would run three pages, because the comics would help sell papers, and there were circulation wars between the big newspapers.

It was a major advertising gimmick. People need their comics, and will subscribe to the paper that has Peanuts, Pogo, Dick Tracy... That's also why story strips usually have a different story (like Pogo), or a different way of telling the story (like Dick Tracy), on Sunday. Some people would get the second paper on Sunday only.

So that leaves smaller circulation papers to pick up the dregs from the syndicates. Can't get Ripley's? Buy a clone.

On Google newspapers, I find that the Milwaukee paper has the best archive of major strips.

Anonymous said...

Molly and the Bear is one of the best syndicated strips out today. Love it!

Anonymous said...

Molly and the Bear isn't obscure. It's huge! One of the best comics out


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