“Now you see it — now you don’t!” Doesn’t sound like much of a sales line, but it’s the one Jeff Hayes uses—and uses successfully—to sell his new comic strip.
Editors who aren’t already buying “Chip” from Consolidated News Features can expect Mr. Hayes, a small man with a disproportionately large smile, to drop in any day now, give a quick— and unique—rendition of “Yankee Doodle,” and run through a dozen or so professional magic tricks. Odds are that they’ll enjoy the show. Odds are that they’ll pay for it by buying “Chip.”
“Cartooning is my work,” Mr. Hayes explains, “but selling is my hobby. I love to sell.”
“Chip,” now in its third month, is appearing in more than 50 newspapers, many of them sold by Mr. Hayes himself. If side-show sleight-of-hand doesn’t sound like much of a reason for buying a new comic strip these days, the secret of “Chip’s” success may be found in its size. A new addition to the recent crop of “space-savers,” each day’s release consists of only two panels about two inches high. They may be used vertically or horizontally.
“It’s something I’ve been looking for for a long time,” admits Mr. Hayes. “A half-size comic strip, ideal for a naturally lazy man like me.”
“Chip” follows the trend in more than size. It’s gag-a-day strip featuring kid humor, which is rapidly replacing science fiction as the number one comics vogue. Gags are “corny but cute.” Typical example: “Never forget, son, we are here to help others.” “What are the others here for?”
Mr. Hayes, a native of Newburgh, N. Y., came to New York City in the twenties to study at the Art Students League or, as he puts it, “to bum around for a while.” Later he joined the advertising art staff of the New York Journal, where he stayed for 12 years. After a stretch of comic book work for King Features, he joined Consolidated News Features as general art handyman, doing sports and editorial cartoons and, at one time, three daily comic strips—”Pop,” “Silent Sam” and “Witty Kitty.” Besides “Chip” he still does “Silent Sam,” also known as “Adamson’s Adventures.”
In addition to his selling trips, Mr. Hayes frequently takes to the road to deliver chalk talks and make personal appearances. Here he is often helped by his 17-year old daughter, an art student. “She draws much better than I do,” Mr. Hayes admits.