July 29th, 2008

The Zombie

Monkey A Day Theory

July 27 -  Just some follow-up thoughts regarding C.N. Landon.  Sort of.  First, I have to re-cap something that I blabbed about in one of the very first few WOMP-Blog entries from years ago.  As you may or may not know, my own "main" comic book creation is named Monkey (and, in theory, he is a monkey...more or less).  Back in 2003 or so, I told readers about the Monkey A Day Theory.  In a nutshell, I realized that I heard or overheard the word "monkey," or some variation thereof, at least once every day.  It might be in conversation, or on TV, or whatever, but it happened - and still happens - with shocking regularity.  Even particularly monkeyless days are usually enmonkeyed late at night by David Letterman, who uses the word "monkey" an awful lot.  "Oh, fortune!" I thought to myself, "The fact that 'monkey' is such a common word will help me!"  Later, I wondered whether it really was so ubiquitous, or was it just that I paid attention to that particular word so it seemed that way.  As a test, I began to listen for the word "bug."  Well, that was silly.  People use the word "bug" all the buggin' time.  So I started listening for "ladybug."  Guess what?  I heard "ladybug" almost every day, too (like five days a week).  Somewhat crestfallen, I finally understood that I'd heard the word "monkey" because I was listening for it.  For me, the same seems to be true for the history of comics; when I'm actively looking for it, I suddenly see it everywhere!  As I've been innocently blogging about Platinum Age comic books, one bit of research brought me to a discovery, which led to another mystery, which brought up more questions.  Without warning, I was finding interesting comics history stories everywhere, like I'd picked up a rock and dozens of ladybugs went scrambling out from under it (see?).  Such happy coincidences didn't stop with my Landon research.  In fact, that only added more mysteries, each worth pursuing.  For example(s)...

1) Can I find any more background information on Mr. Landon?  He had to be more than just his resume'.
2) What more can I learn about Buford Peer, whose corrected assignments started my Landon investigation?
3) Who were "Hartman and McCall," the once-famous cartoonists listed by Stan Sypulski as Landon School students?
4) For that matter, who was Stan Sypulski?  What's that guy's story?

And so on and so forth.  That brings us to last night.  I remembered that I'd once found a small pile of clipped early-1900's comic strips - including some featuring the 21st's Platinum Age Comic Book Character of The Day, Everett True - in a book that I'd purchased back in the 1980's.  "Why not scan those comic strips into the WOMPuter?" I wondered aloud to myself.  So I searched the vast catacombs of WOMP H.Q. until I'd found it.  There, within the pages of a book about "new" President Theodore Roosevelt, I found not only the "True" strips, but two other excellent strips by the same creators, A.D. Condo (artist) and J.W. Raper (writer).  One was the amazing, and amazingly humorous, Mr. Skygack, From Mars, which features a weird little alien recording his mis-observations of normal Earth activities.  Another was From Diana's Diary, which followed the "adventures" of a young woman who'd just joined the suffragette movement.  Besides being interesting from an historic standpoint (especially in light of how the cartoon's male creators were supportive of the idea of women's rights while also making fun of those who led the "crusade"), it is also still a very funny strip.  Best of all, in one Diary episode, Diana and her mentor, Mrs. Mudleigh Gorgon-Piddlehurst, decide that men will not come to hear them speak, so they must go to where men are to talk to them.  That leads them to break into an office where guys are busy at work.  That's cool on it's own, but, upon closer examination, it's even more cool.  The office seems to be a newspaper bullpen, and the men are a puzzled writer who is typing away and a crazy-haired artist who is busy scribbling something.  Their faces are much more carefully designed, clearly modeled on real people.  Because of that, I believe that these are Condo and Raper themselves, guesting in their own comic strip, Hitchcock-style!  A little research has shown that, well... little research about them has been posted on-line.  I could find no references at all to From Diana's Diary, very little about Everett True or Mr. Skygack, and no evidence that Condo and Raper had any first names other than "A.D." and "J.W.."  Ugh.  So there's another set of mysteries to try to unravel.  Maybe I'll contact Tony Isabella.  He began writing new Everett True cartoons some years ago when the character fell into public domain.  He must know more about True's creators by now.  Anyhoo, the clippings also included some newspaper advertisements and articles.  One is the actual original 1908 feature from Buffalo Bill Cody revealing how he got his name!  Much of the rest of the articles are regarding the illness, then death, of King Oscar II of Sweden.  According to Wikipedia, the King died (on what would eventually be my birthday) in 1907.  To be honest, I wasn't all that interested in those clippings.  Each was very glowing, boring, and accompanied by an image of the heavily-mustachioed monarch.  Then, one of the King's images jumped out at me.  It was a distinctive caricature sketch, clearly drawn by a master of the art.  Imagine my shock when I saw the artist's signature; C.N. Landon!  

King Oscar II by C.N. Landon

What are the chances?!  Probably better now that I'm looking for Landon's name, just like my Monkey A Day (which was just spoken by Craig Ferguson, by the way).  For the curious among you who are reading this entry in the old-school
WOMP-Blog, you may want to jump over to The WOMP-Blog Archives, where I plan to post the King Oscar drawing.  For all of you, though, I am calling it quits for the night.  Here are two more Platinum Age Comic Book Characters of The Day for - July 26 - Buster Brown, and July 27 -

Buster Brown and Tige, from 1906 postcard