Thursday, March 29, 2012

Needlenose Noonan and Discontinued Stories: Lost Screwball Classics (1934)

Celebrating my 50th birthday today, here's an extra special treat! 3 full color Needlenose Noonan pages by the great Walter Hoban from 1934! To my knowledge, these are the very first color paper scans of this terrific screwball comic available for public consumption on the Internet.

As far as I can tell Needlenose Noonan ran from sometime in 1933 to sometime in 1935. I have examples from 1934 and 35. Walter Hoban is best known for his long-running daily/Sunday feature, Jerry On The Job (1913-circa 1930). Check out my earlier post for a beautiful Jerry On The Job Sunday page from 1919.

I don't have a lot of time to write notes on these pages today, so I'll just post them today and in the future I'll share a few more with some notes. Here's a really bad microfilm photo I found of Hoban at a cartoonist's luncheon honoring George McManus (on Hoban's immediate left)  taken on April 28, 1928.

I will say that I love these pages. I think Hoban's art is top-notch, and his comic sensibility is wonderfully skewed. In particular, Discontinued Stories, the screwy topper strip that ran with Needlenose Noonan is a true lost gem of screwball comics. The main character dies at the end of every episode!

Cartoon characters in prison stripes running across full moon
Jack Cole's Death Patrol may have been inspired
by Walter Hoban's screwball comics
Walter Hoban's Discontinued Stories may have been an inspiration to another master of screwball comics, Jack Cole, who created The Death Patrol, a goofy short comic feature about a group of military pilots. Cole's concept was to introduce a new character and kill off an old one in every story! Check out the Jan 21 Needlenose Noonan episode below -- the eye-pleasing striped prison suits are also used in Cole's Death Patrol (for some of those great stories, see my blog on Jack Cole here).

Note the 5th panel in the first episode below of Discontinued Stories. "I'm your sister." "Oh, that's different, then." Hoban slipped  little bits of risque humor like this in his work. Just one example of what makes his comics worth re-discovering!

A special thanks to Carl Linich for introducing me to Hoban's comics! Enjoy these prime forgotten examples of screwball cartooning!

Needlenose Noonan and Discontinued Stories
by Walter Hoban Jan 7, 1934

Needlenose Noonan and Discontinued Stories
by Walter Hoban Jan 21, 1934

Needlenose Noonan and Discontinued Stories
by Walter Hoban Feb 4, 1934
I'm celebrating my 50th birthday by posting 50 screwball comics this week. Here's the score so far:

12 Salesman Sam dailies by C.D. Small
4 Spooky Sundays by Bill Holman
3 Needlenose Noonan Sundays by Walter Hoban
3 Discontinued Stories by Walter Hoban
22 - TOTAL

That leaves 28 more screwball comics to go! More rare cracked nutz to come. Stay tuned!

This blog needs readers -- please spread the word. Let's bring screwball comics back!

Screwballistically Your'n,
Old Man Paul Tumey

1 comment:

  1. These are fabulous! Thanks, Paul! Looks like we all make out on your birthday.