Phoenix Features Offers Two New Comic Strips
By Erwin Knoll (E&P, 7/5/52)
The cautious optimism which prevailed in feature syndicate offices for most of the first half of 1952 seems to have been generally dissipated by the latest newsprint price increase. Though cancellations received to date have not been as heavy as might have been anticipated, all syndicates have received “kill” orders. Some retrenching is indicated, and trade gossip reports several syndicates taking all salesmen off the road for the summer months.
Bearing the brunt of the cancellations, as usual, are the smaller syndicates and their more obscure offerings. One relative newcomer, however, seems to be going full speed ahead despite sales trends. It may just be whistling in the dark, but Phoenix Features, which entered the newspaper feature field six months ago with the “Flamingo” comic strip, has announced two new comic features for release in mid-August.
First of these is “Bobby,” a kid-adventure strip aimed primarily at a juvenile audience and described in syndicate promotion talk as “a combination of humor, gentle satire and an adventure continuity.” The strip’s main characters, Bobby and Cap’n Patch, have appeared in comic magazines and in “Bobby’s Diary,” a children’s book which sold over 500,000 copies.
Creator of “Bobby” is S. M. Iger, who joined the New York American’s cartooning staff in 1925 at the age of 15. Since then he has worked for the Paul Block newspapers and created comic magazine features and strips for the weekly field.
“Bobby” is available as a four-column strip. A Sunday page (full tabloid or half-page standard) is planned for late-September release.
The second new Phoenix comic is “Sports Arena,” a gag-a-day strip with a sports setting. Creators are Seymour Rothman and Walt Buchanan, both of the Toledo (Ohio) Blade staff. Mr. Rothman, with the Blade since 1936. writes a regular sports column and special feature articles. Mr. Buchanan, who does a weekly sports strip for the Blade, has previously worked for the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch and the Pittsburgh (Pa.) Post-Gazette.
“Sports Arena” will be offered for six-a-week release. The strip may be used in four-column size or may be reduced to three columns by dropping the optional first panel.
[Allan’s notes: As best I can tell, Sports Arena never saw the light of day, at least it didn’t run in the Blade in my checking. Bobby was Iger’s evergreen strip that he syndicated originally in 1938, then was used as an ad strip in the 40s. Iger advertised it in E&P sporadically as late as 1985!]