George Swanson


$alesman $am (1921-1926)
Note: See "Mixed Nuts - C.D. Small " section for additional articles on Salesman Sam from 1926-1936

$alesman $am - One Classic Influential Screwball Comic - Two great Artists

Salesman Sam's Poker Party (1923)

Salesman Sam Goes to Florida! (1925)

Salesman Sam: A Parrotly Not! (A 1926 Sunday)

Chicken Fat Cats in Salesman Sam (1927)

High Pressure Pete (1927-1938)
For Pete's Sake! A New Swan Dive! (High Pressure Pete and Excuse It, Please)

Nonsense (1928-1937)
Some great NONSENSE from George Swanson (1928)

Elza Poppin (1940-1944)
Note: See Ving Fuller for Elza Poppin 1939-1940
Elza Poppin (1940) 


Salesman Sam Gallery 

September 14, 1924

September 15, 1924

September 16, 1924

September 17, 1924

September 18, 1924

September 19, 1924

September 20, 1924


George Swanson, who signed his name "Swan," was a master of of screwball comics. Starting in the early 20s, Swanson adopted the flip (or plop) take reaction pioneered by Walter Hoban, as well as the funny signs and background details. He took these devices and exaggerated them far beyond any other cartoonist the time. If other screwball comics used these devices at a volume 5, Swanson's was set at 11. 

Swanson created his most famous and influential screwball comic, $alesman $am, for the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA - also Gene Ahern's first syndicate). It first appeared as a daily on  September 6, 1921, with a Sunday page added in December 1922 (thanks to Bob Foster for this information). Swan drew the strip until around 1927.

Swan's $alesman $am was a gag-a-day comic strip set in a general store. The set-up was pure and simple: Sam Howdy worked for Mr. Guzzlem (later renamed as E. Duzzem) as a clerk in his store. There was little continuity or depth of character. The strip was about jokes, both verbal and visual -- the wackier the better, and as such, was a direct precursor to Bill Holman's classic screwball comic Smokey Stover

Bob Foster, Swan's biographer, has written about his work being "the absolute essence of great cartooning." Like the early Jack Cole, Swan's drawings are all wrong and perfectly right. He is less concerned with perfect renderings (although his drawings are better than many of his contemporaries) and instead focused on using every tool at his disposal to give the reader a sense of sheer zaniness and nuttiness.
The talent-hungry, comics-obsessed William Hearst, who created the first comics syndicate in 1902, saw something special in George Swanson's strip and hired him away from NEA in 1927 to create a copy of his own comic strip, which Swanson called High Pressure Pete.

More on Swanson coming - check back soon. This page is a work in progress!



 The first $alesman $am - Sept 24, 1921

$alesman $am - March 29, 1924

from King Features press book 1949

National Cartoonist Society Bio, handwritten by Swanson

Reprint of WWII era Elza Poppin comic strip that
Swanson took over after it was started by Ving Fuller
(From Super Comics 55)

High Pressure Pete   (Oct 1, 1933)  - Swanson's King features version of $alesman $am.
One of two or three rare Sundays (otherwise, the strip was a daily).

High Pressure Pete dailies (courtesy of Carl Linich)
Swanson's later work: The Flop Family  (Nov 10, 1957) - Still a master of the  "plop" take.

Occasionally, George Swanson's great-niece offers pieces of his original art for sale on ebay. You can see what's available by clicking here to visit her ebay store. Here are some images from her ebay listings:

And here's her write-up:

A Original Piece of Daily Art Work 
done by my Great Uncle "Swan." 

George "Swan" Swanson (1897-1981) was my Great Uncle, who we all referred to as "Uncle Swan." 
He always made us laugh and did wonderful drawings on the walls of our family cottage by Lake Erie, in Ohio. Growing up, he gave my family hundreds of these comics and we had so much fun looking at them and sharing them with everyone. Now it's time to pass some of the fun on so others may enjoy them. I have many Flop Family comics to choose from so if you are looking for a joke about something in particular let me know and I will go through them and maybe find one you would enjoy!

George Swanson did other comics as well, Salesman Sam, High Pressure Pete and Officer 6 7/8, and Elza Poppin. Uncle Swan was most known for the Flop Family, later called Dad's Family, which he drew for over 40 years.

Here is an original piece of Art work.
I took detailed pictures for your viewing.
It shows typical aging (which gives it more character ;) 
and has some yellowing on the overlays as shown and misc marks on the back. 
A great piece for your collection and we are proud to offer it. 
Many people buy these comics and frame them.
We ship it safe and secure so no worries there.

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