Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Free comics from 1950

One of our papers, The Livermore Falls Advertiser, has a weekly feature called "This Week" in which the news from a random year is highlighted. We don't do a 25-50-75-100 years ago style feature because the archives are too trashed.

This year, the young reporter chose 1950 and wrote her piece, and then, as I do each week, I went through looking for an illustration. Unfortunately, none of these fell in the target week, but I found them interesting enough to photograph anyway. "Squire Edgegate" was in the paper fairly frequently, one of three or four regular strips that were made available for free. I'm not sure the business model, but I was tickled by the complaint about gas prices. (click on any of these for larger, more readable versions)

Then I flipped a few more pages and saw a familiar face:

As near as I can tell, the Savings Bonds people had tapped into the nostalgia of vets and probably some loyalty to War Bonds by getting cartoonists to reprise their wartime characters to persuade the vets to invest their benefit payments in bonds.

"Male Call" had ended four years previously, so the idea of a now-civilian running into Lace would be pretty appealing, particularly at a moment when he's got a wad of cash in hand. And, to tell the truth, the idea of Lace promoting bonds wasn't so far-fetched -- she always had a bit of Good Girl lurking around the perimeter. Wish the reproduction had been better, but it's hard to make Lace look bad.

The series ran for a few issues and also included this single panel:

According to lambiek.net, Nick Penn had a couple of strips, including "Helen Highwater," which was a pretty girl strip, and the Navy strip "Stalemate." I suspect that the idea that, with the war over, Stalemate had married Helen and had her knitting booties was pretty funny stuff for those who knew both strips.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the snow continues to slide off the roof. This chunk has a good deal of ice under it, so kind of came down in one piece. I expect at some point it's going to crash onto the path and I'm going to have some serious excavation to do. I just want it to hold on until the weekend so I don't have to confront it on the way to work at 6 a.m.

Anyway, things could be worse. Nobody was living in here -- the actual house is on the other side of the garage and they were mostly using this as storage. They had plans to fix it up, but I suspect those plans have changed. I don't know if the roof was flat before or not, but it sure as hell is now.


Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

That gas price seems high! I paid .37 a gallon 20+ years later (to run my 1961 Chrysler Newport. Talk about a sponge).

Meanwhile, Helen (who's not wearing a ring) seems to retain a lingering affection for All Thumbs. The plot thickens!

Sherwood Harrington said...

The strips you show here have a distinctly WWII flavor, but 1950 was also the first year of Peanuts, so it might be as much a watershed year for the artform as 1609 was for stargazing.

But, eclipsing all of that, 1950 was the year in which my wife was born.

As for gasoline prices, I agree with Ruth -- 32 (... where the Hell is that cents symbol?? Honest, decent typewriters used to have it, but this goddam chicklet collection doesn't seem to...) cents per gallon would have been a very high price as late as 1960, IIRC. I remember being incensed at having to pay more than 50 cents per gallon as recently as the mid-'70's.

Uncle Jed said...

Thanks Sherwood. My life will forever be divided into two distinct stages: "Before Feb. 22" and "After I realized my computer lacked a cent sign".

So what did I gain? Everything above the numbers on my keyboard looks like it was there on a proper typewriter. Was there always a percent sign?

BTW- it is possible to make a ¢ see? Type [ampersand][pound]162[semicolon] an awful lot of work to describe th e price of...a carrot?

Ronnie said...

Was there always a +?


Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

Found a couple old typewriters! Photos on my blog if anyone is interested but the basics are that cents and % 's were both there, at least by the early 50's, but no + characters on the old ones. + appears by 1969, only on some models, and on an optional interchangeable key set for others.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Nick Penn was my uncle and I sweat he used my Aunt Laura for that model. He also did the strip "Bessie," BTW

Joe Getsinger said...

I saw your image of Squire Edgegate by Louis Richard on your blog. Believe it or not I have a few hundred original zinc based printing plates of Squire Edgegate by Louis Richard. I can not find any biographical information on Louis Richard, do you have any? I am hand printing these plates on an etching press and intend on scanning them and putting them in a file for a possible book on early cartoonists, but have yet to find any biographical information on Louis Richard unless that was a pen name for someone else. Can you help me out?
Joe G