Dell Publishing’s “The Funnies” Part 3

Here’s a strip from one of the black and white pages of The Funnies, Sniffy by Glen Wood. Not much of a gag, but this Wood fellow had a pleasant style. Except I think there is no such person — looks suspiciously like VEP’s work to me.

Let’s talk a bit more about the newspaper question. The really odd thing about The Funnies is that most of its features were listed in the Editor & Publisher syndicate directory. If it was a standalone newsstand publication what were its features doing in there? And if the section ended in late 1930 why were many of the features advertised in E&P until 1934? And why were all those features listed as being syndicated by Eastern Color Printing, rather than Dell Publishing?

Inquiring minds wanna know!

Here’s my guess — after the initial run, which was tried both as a newsstand publication and was also eventually offered as a newspaper insert, Dell deep-sixed the publication, but had a lot of paid-for material on its hands. So they tried publishing some Cupples & Leon style books of Clancy The Cop and others, but those didn’t sell either. So they figured maybe they could make the experiment pay off by offering the strips as separate features to newspapers for their existing Sunday sections. They offered the strips through Eastern Color Printing, a company with which they did a number of joint ventures, and which was a major printer of Sunday funnies for newspapers. Only problem was no newspapers bought the darn features! Not surprising because Eastern was not in the business of marketing comic strips to newspaper editors, though one must imagine that they should have had quite a leg up on the competition. End of utterly baseless speculation.

EDIT 8/7/08: Chris Mosher writes to tell me that VEP lived on Glenwood Road in Flatbush, so that explains the pen name. You can find a bio of VEP by Mosher here.

3 comments on “Dell Publishing’s “The Funnies” Part 3

  1. this will be short as a nice long post, I tried to post got sent to the void: All I can see, shows that Eastern Color produced the material and Dell handled the newstand aspects of publishing. Eastern Color even ran Seaweed Sam (hope i recall the name right) in later years in FAMOUS FUNNIES.

  2. Hi Steven –
    I haven’t seen this Seaweed Sam in any of the sections. I guess what has me scratching my noggin is that Eastern Color never managed to sell any newspapers on running this reasonably good material. Apparently they were trying to sell it for four years — could they really have had such a complete lack of success over such a long period? My fantasy, I guess, is that someone will come out of the woodwork to tell us that, “oh sure, those strips all ran in the Foggy Bottom Daily Windbag”. A fella can dream, right?


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