Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ohio's greatest export. 

While Sara and I are in the undisclosed location here in Ohio, she's been poking around in the closets and basements. Today she found some old scrapbooks that her father had kept. This one is from 1947.

Along with various local stories clipped from the paper, and meticulously kept baseball statistics worked out in ballpoint, there was this page of Walt Ditzen's sports themed comic strip "Three Squares."

After that, an article about Ohio's greatest cartoonist, Milton Caniff. The scrapbook is from '47, so of course the article is there to announce the arrival of his new strip Steve Canyon. (Clicking on the picture below will open up a new window with a scan big enough to read.)

And, wonder of wonders, this was followed up with a couple of pages where Sara's dad had clipped the first two weeks of dailies and Sundays! Here's the first week:

I love that Caniff took a week to build some mystery around Canyon before bringing the hero on stage in the Sunday strip. And I'm delighted by that opening shot in the first daily- the gutsy symmetrical composition of Calhoun's pompous underling approaching Canyon's building in bright sunlight. Despite all the heavy black brushwork, there's a lightness in the body language, the character types, and the overall atmosphere of this opening week that makes me think of witty post-war Technicolor movies, the kind that might've starred Cary Grant or Tony Randall. Great fun.

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I've been thinking about Caniff a lot lately. I can't seem to find reprints of a decent size so I'm all kinds of envious of the scrapbook.

Ohio would be the place to hunt up having a close look at originals...

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