Sponsored Comics: Happy Days 1969

For the introductory post on Sponsored Comics click here.

Happy Days 1969 was bylined to Norman Maurer. Maurer was, I believe, the man behind Sponsored Comics. His contribution to the section was a delightful fantasy of the future, a world right out of the Jetsons that Maurer apparently thought might just happen within the next decade.

The art on this strip is absolutely fantastic, and though I remain skeptical of art-spotting, my own included, I think this strip was probably ghosted by the great Al Wiseman. Wiseman was the master cartoonist who turned the Dennis The Menace comic books from what could have been just another forgettable comic strip spin-off into a work of enduring value.

Unlike most of the Sponsored comics which came and went with the section, Maurer in 1960 tried to syndicate this feature as a Sunday strip and daily panel. It was listed in E&P that year but I’ve never seen it appearing in any newspaper.

8 comments on “Sponsored Comics: Happy Days 1969

  1. These samples are looking great. Wish this type of weekly magazine, which has nothing but Sunday style comic strips, were strill around. I’d subscribe to that.

  2. You know, you’d think with King Features being a part of Hearst, and with Hearst having a thriving magazine business for many years, that there would have been a point in its history where they would have ventured into magazines based on its own syndicated material. Guess they were thinking that would have been competiton for those to which they could have licensed their products? Well, why not now, with comic strips receiving such shabby treatment by newspapers? Why not a “MonthlyINK” magazine, featuring recent and classic Sunday comic strip installments in print? Use some of that existing Hearst magazine muscle to get prominent display on newstands.

  3. Hi William –
    You might say that the syndicates are doing that now with their subscription websites. And some newspapers are getting pretty peeved about it, which is reasonable, seems to me. Newspapers pay a small fortune for their comic strips, and readers can see the syndicate’s entire output for what, $10-20 per year? If newspaper editors could admit to themselves that so people buy newspapers mostly for the comics there would be a major revolt against the practice. Luckily for us, they refuse to admit it, even to themselves.


  4. Obviously, originals for this strip were sold by Howard Lowery. I have about four of the scans in my files. A charming series, alhough maybe a bit too confusing for a normal audience. And how would you do a daily for it? I wonder if Maurer did daily samples for the syndicate.

    Interesting to read tyou see evidence of a ghost here. The style is very similar to Maurer’s work on the Mad imitation Whack – except maybe for the slicker inking.

  5. Hi Ger –
    Well, if this is Maurer’s work he must have had the same art teachers as Al Wiseman. I haven’t seen any of Maurer’s work in years (and then only in those 3-D comics) but I didn’t remember it being this polished — pleasing but not up to this standard. Do you happen to know of any sources where I could see a sample of his work on the web? The sites I just checked were all too preoccupied with his Three Stooges connection to bother much about his cartooning.


  6. Yes, syndicates are selling their materials through websites. In case you didn’t pick up on it, my “MonthlyINK” title was a play on King’s “DailyINK” site. I was really addressing Hearst’s power in the magazine market and wondering why they haven’t long ago done something for the print world to harness the power of their own features rather than licensing them to Western and others. My response to newspaper editors who don’t like my subsribing to DailyINK — give me the comics I want to read, offer some classics (or at least some as worthy as the classic adventure strips), and provide them at a size I don’t need a magnifying glass to read — then I’ll consider the arguement.

  7. I can see why you’d say Wiseman, but I dont think so – (but see below), there are some guys who look like Wiseman – some like Lynn Karp worked for for Wiseman too.
    Comic books for the 1970s that Maurer did include the “Little Stooges” for gold key (the inking does look like this work) – and stuff for Joe Kubert’s war books.
    now for “the below”. there is a Dennis the Menace Giant cover by Al Wiseman drew, that features lots and lots of names in the background – including that of Norman Maurer!!

  8. Alan,

    I can’t give you any Maurer sources. I could probably round up a couple of samples. Maybe the advertising thing is even in my upstairs computer. I’ll have a look tomorrow. The comic to be looking for is Meet Miss Pepper. That and the earlier Stooges comics are the closest to this style. You can still get the 3d reprint series from Ray Zone relatively cheap.

    The other connections to look out for are Bill Overgard, who worked on Whack and did comic strip parodies for some of the later Stooges issues (in the St. John run). I’ll be writing about those in an article on Mad imitations in Alter Ego – which should be finished in half a year and published a year after that, but still.

    Carl Hubbard was on Whack too. His style was similar to Maurer’s. After St. John folded Maurer went to Timely and did a couple of westerns for them. For that his style became less angular. When he later turned up at DC doing a couple of stories, his style was less idiosyncratic as well. These couple of ‘sundays’ are an anomaly, as they seem to hark back to his St. John days stylewise.

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