13 September 2006

Comics from The Argus

Another comics page: this is from the Melbourne daily The Argus, 7 February 1952, the edition that announced the death of King George VI.

The Argus was a well-established morning paper that was closed in 1957 after it had been bought out by The Herald and Weekly Times, publishers of the rival Sun.

Our family took The Argus, and when it folded my main concern as a 6- or 7-year-old was the comics page. I remember being pleased to see that some of the Argus strips had migrated to our new paper, The Sun.

One of those was Carl Grubert's family sitcom strip The Berrys, which ended up running for years in The Sun. (At ComicStripFan.com there is a large page of Grubert's original artwork.)

Apart from the animated cartoon spin-off Tom and Jerry, some of the others on the Argus page are lesser known, at least to me:

was a short-lived British fantasy strip for children that ran in the Daily Mirror from 1946 and folded in 1952. Maurice Horn (World Encyclopedia of Comics) believes it may have been a victim of opinion polls which consistently gave Jimpy a low rating but failed to ask children, its target audience. Jimpy's creator was Hugh McClelland.

is King of the Royal Mounted, a US adventure strip created in the 30s by Western writer Zane Grey. At this time it was being drawn by Jim Gary. Bill Hillman has a fabulous page of King of the Royal Mounted covers from the 30s to the 50s at his Zane Grey Tribute Site.

Wizzer was an Australian comic strip about a public schoolboy inventor, Hermon Wizzer of Merryville College, surely one of the most obscure comic strips in the universe.

As far as I can see, Hermon Wizzer of Merryville College is mentioned only once on the searchable Internet (apart from some eBay listings which misspell it as Herman Wizzer), in spite of the numerous comprehensive comic strip sites to be found. It is only a mention, too, in a Michigan State University library catalogue, but it usefully points to John Ryan's Panel By Panel, which has a paragraph about it and reprints a daily strip from 1950.

Hermon Wizzer's home was The Argus, and it ran from 1949 till 1957, created by A. D. Renton and W. J. Evans, about whom, John Ryan says, little is known.

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