Obscurity of the Day: Cynthia

The success of the soap opera strip Mary Worth was bound to spawn imitators, and they popped up all over in the 1940s and 50s. Some did well, like Rex Morgan MD and Judge Parker, while others languished. Cynthia, a soaper ostensibly about a career girl, was mostly a copy of Mary Worth with the improvement that instead of an old lady our heroine was a stunning babe. The concept was boffo, but the execution was pretty lame. According to Ron Goulart, the strip was anonymously written by Bert Whitman. The art by Irv Novick was designed to closely ape the look of Ken Ernst’s slick style on Mary Worth. The storylines were standard soap opera fodder, although to be fair Whitman did at least try to introduce a little humor into the mix, something rarely seen in other soapers.

Cynthia never caught on and appeared in few papers. For an unsuccessful strip it had a surprisingly long run. The strip started in October 1946 and ran until 11/4/1951, when, in a desperate bid for success the strip was renamed Roger Lincoln, S-Man, and the focus was shifted to adventure and espionage. Irving Novick wisely bailed on this stinker in October 1952, and the strip continued under the guidance of Milton Luros until it finally breathed its last on 8/30/1953.

One comment on “Obscurity of the Day: Cynthia

  1. The real obscurity is “Roger Lincoln,
    S-Man” not “Cynthia”.
    I don’t remember ever hearing of Roger
    Lincoln, whereas Cynthia is in most
    good histories and I think all Novick
    interviews and biographies.

    Dave Strickler’s E&P Index is the only
    printed source I could find Luros.
    So I went searching for Roger Lincoln and Milton Luros – yeah, that led to a rather interesting detour.

    It seems Luros was a pretty good cover
    artist for (mostly) sci-fi pulps in
    the early fifties, before and during
    his comic strip work.

    And then…
    well here’s one description of his career after that:
    “Luros started his professional life in New York City illustrating science fiction pulps. By the late 1950s sci-fi was a sinking ship; Luros jumped to illustrating the rising pin-up pulps. In 1958 he left New York for L. A., where he worked as art director for Adam and Knight, two of the better girlie magazines of the time. In 1959 he started his own publishing company, American Art Agency, in North Hollywood; his first magazine was a nudes and booze celebration called Cocktail. Where he got the money is debated and perhaps best unexplored. Whatever the source, there was plenty of it; by 1965 Milton Luros so dominated the field that the staid Readers Digest proclaimed him America’s richest pornographer, citing profits of $20,000,000 a year.”

    Other sites hint that his start-up
    money came from the Mafia.
    And apparently he became an early
    “champion” of first amendment rights
    by successfully defending his
    publications in courts throughout the
    United States (including the Supreme

    So – what did the “S” in “S-Man” stand
    for? Spy?


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