Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Henry Boltinoff: Gag Man to DC Comics

Henry Boltinoff  (1914-2001), is maybe best known today as the syndicated newspaper cartoonist behind King Features' HOCUS FOCUS panel. This is the feature where there are two drawings and you look for subtle differences between the two. He was also a prolific gag cartoonist, and worked on several other syndicated comics. These had names like This and That (1946), Woody Forrest (1960), and Stoker the Broker (1960).

But in the 1940s through the 60s, if you read a DC Comics superhero comic book, then you would have seen his humor fillers.

Henry Boltinoff created one page and partial page "filler" strips. These strips were run as space permitted. So, if there was a spare page that they couldn't sell advertising for, then the production department would grab a Boltinoff gag strip. I am sure this made his brother, Murray Boltinoff, a DC editor, a happy boss-man. A lot of the comics would be full or half pages with generic titles like


I suppose what with the big GAGS headline (nicked from MORE FUN COMICS #76 via Ger Apeldoorn's Fabuleous Fifties blog), this way the dopey kid reading it wouldn't confuse it with a story about Superman.

There were characters like:

Chief Hot Foot
Private Pete
Sagebrush Sam
Professor Eureka

Some of them, like Clancy the Cop and Dover and Clover, received entire stories.

Ger Apeldoorn has a great collection of Henry Boltinoff's DC Comics work here and here.


Ger Apeldoorn said...

Boltinoff started out as a straight cartoonist. I showed some of his earliest ones last week: I also have a long run of his stuff in the mid forties version of Judge coming up.

Drew Panckeri said...

What a great book - all those legendary cartoonists in one place!

I was just watching a documentary not too long ago called 'Art & Copy' that briefly went into the VW 'Think Small' ad campaign and how revolutionary it was. It's nice to see they valued the cartoon arts as well.