Saturday, June 23, 2012

C.D. Small's Salesman Sam in the Comic Books

Salesman Sam by C.D. Small, circa December, 1935.
Could that fireman's hat and ax be a nod
to fellow screwballer Bill Holman,
who started his famous screwball fireman
comic Smokey Stover in March, 1935?
Salesman Sam Saturday

New Salesman Sam screwball comics posted every Saturday!

OK girlies, here's look at the later Salesman Sam comics by C.D. Small, reprinted in comic books of the late 1930s.

But first, foo those 4 or 5 of you who follow this blog regularly, I'd like to announce the addition of our Mixed Nuts page. This will be a catch-all section for misc. screwball comics. See the link at the right side of this page.

I'd also like to announce a stupendous, major, incredible, and pretty good change in direction. I happen to be sitting on a small mountain of rare screwball comics. I've spent the first 5 months of this blog's existence writing in-depth articles about screwball comics and sharing lots of these, but the mountain is still pretty high. In an effort to reach a wider audience, and to put some of these great comics back into circulation, I've decided to make a series of daily posts that are shorter and mainly just present the comics themselves, with very brief notes (speshul tanx to the speshul reader who suggested this idea). I also need to reduce the height of this mountain of comics so I can get back to level ground, because I'm stuck here -- halp

You'll find the new weekly schedule at the top right of this page (Milt Gross Monday, Rube Goldberg Tuesday, etc.). Mark your calendars and stop by on the days that interest you -- these posts will only be up for limited amounts of time!

So, without further afoo, here's the first...

Salesman Sam Saturday

The SCREWBALL classic in early reprints

First Issue Cover
Dell's flagship reprint comic
book included
Salesman Sam strips by
C.D. Small from 1936-39
$alesman $am was created by George Swanson in 1922, who drew the first five years or so of the strip. In 1927, Swanson left the NEA syndicate and landed at Hearst's King Features, where he recreated the strip as High Pressure Pete.

Back at NEA, C.D. Small, a very talented cartoonist, doomed to only mimic the creations of others, took over Salesman Sam (the dollar signs were dropped at this point) and drew it until the strip's end in 1936.

However, the beautifully executed Salesman Sam enjoyed an extended lifespan for at least another 3 years in comic books after vanishing from newspapers. Dell Comics' monthly book of King Features comic strip reprints, The Funnies, included a handful of choice Salesman Sam Sundays in every issue until at least 1939.

Here are a few of the reprinted pages that show Small's cartooning chops. It's as if a great concert violinist was asked to step in for master jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli -- the result is technically impressive, but somehow lacking the spark of brilliance. Still, there is much screwball goodness to appreciate in Small's Salesman Sam -- enjoy!

from The Funnies # 2 
from The Funnies # 3
from The Funnies # 5
For more on the Swan/Small Salesman Sam story, click here.

More Salesman Sam reprints from The Funnies can be read on our Mixed Nuts page.

Screwily Yours,
Salesman Paul