“The Triple Terror” (Tip Top Comics 90, November 1943)

“The Triple Terror” (Tip Top Comics 90, November 1943, p. 7)
by Fred Methot and Paul Berdanier (1879-1961)
13 x 20 in., ink on paper
Coppola Collection

“The Triple Terror” appeared in Tip Top Comics #54-119 (1940-46).

This is the first page of a complete, six-page story published in Tip Top Comics #90 (November 1943).

The Triple Terror series started off as an unusual concept. Putting their considerable wealth and scientific skills to good use, the Brandon triplets (Barton, Richard, and Bruce) donned costumes to fight evil around the world as Chemix (Barton), Lectra (Richard), and Menta (Bruce), The Triple Terror. In addition to their respective expertise in the sciences, the Brandon boys were extremely athletic, good climbers and exceptional fighters. Menta could pilot an aircraft and they all seemed to be familiar with military weapons, equipment and tactics. In early adventures, decked out in superhero garb, they usually fought to prevent dangerous new technologies from falling into enemy hands, sometimes at the request of the US Government.

After America joined WW2 in 1941, these superheroes (as did many others) changed back to their civvies, joined the Army, and fought in both the European and Pacific Theaters. Their enemies included a female villain in a rat costume named The Rat and a cabal of Nazi sympathizers called the Silver Swastikas.

Triple Terror’s creators, according to Public Domain Superheroes, were Fred Methot (about whom I can find almost nothing) and Paul Berdanier.

“Which Will Win?”

“Which Will Win?” (June 5, 1968)
by Charles Phillip Bissell (1926 -)
13 x 16 in., ink on board
Coppola Collection

Sometimes you come across one of those lucky finds, the buried treasure when you see something that no one noticed. Among the Bissell editorial cartoon art I was picking up, this one was weird and non-descript, although from growing up in the 1960s its potential meaning was possibly clear enough. The high profile assassinations of JFK and RFK were certainly a combination of a ballot box and a bullet.

Bissell did not date his pieces on the artwork, but sometimes there is a handwritten date on the back. And I have a few examples with a stamped date. This one is unusual because there are two stamps. And that was the give-away: June 5, 1968.

On the early morning of June 5, 1968, Robert Kennedy was shot in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. A bit after midnight (PT) was a bit after 4 AM (ET), where Bissell, editorial cartoonist for The Lowell Sun, was located.

One can imagine he woke up to (or was woken up by) the news, and got the order to get a drawing going for the paper. At 9:57 AM, just less than 6 hours after RFK was shot, the back of this drawing was time-stamped. Kennedy died the next morning. This version of the cartoon was not run in the paper, however, so it appears here for the first time.

The editorial “Our Choice: Curb Violence Now or Surrender Our Form of Government” appeared on the following Sunday, June 9, with a revised version of the cartoon. One imagines that the violence in the original one was too graphic and that the editor wanted it toned down. See below.

Bissell’s ties to Massachusetts run deep. In 1960, as a $25-a-day cartoonist working for Boston Globe, he received a task related to Boston’s new AFL football team.

Bissell recalls “Sports editor Jerry Nason came to me and he said, ‘They’ve decided to call the team the Boston Patriots. You better have a cartoon ready for tomorrow’s edition.’”

Bissel’s “Pat Patriot” cartoon was the Patriot’s logo from 1961-1992.

The Lowell Sun (Sunday, June 9, 1968; p. 44)

Two postscripts to this cartoon:

First, the site of the assassination, the Ambassador Hotel, which closed in 1989, was razed in 2006, after almost 20 years of debate about what should be built there. Donald Trump was lobbying to build the world’s tallest building (no comment). The site ended up housing the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools, a 4200-student complex of K-12 pilot schools that feature social justice missions congruent with Kennedy’s work. Paintings, murals, and marble memorials to RFK are featured, and the main building is designed as an updated replica of the original hotel (including a preserved piece of the Cocoanut Grove, an extremely popular LA nightclub during the 1920s to the 1950s).

Second, I have a few JFK and JFK-related editorial cartoons.

“Our Nice Clean Page” (01/01/1961)
by Vaughn Richard Shoemaker (1902-1991)
14 x 18.5, ink and wash on board
Coppola Collection

Shoemaker was an American editorial cartoonist. He won the 1938 and 1947 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning and created the character John Q. Public. He spent 22 years at the Chicago Daily, and subsequently worked for the New York Herald Tribune, the Chicago American, and Chicago Today. He retired in 1972.

JFK was elected in November 1960 and inaugurated in January 1961. The cartoon outlines the threats from the Soviet Union and the Cold War, as well as crime, as pressing issues.

“Your Deal, Mr. Khruschev!” (06/1961)
by William (Bil) Canfield (1920-)
17.5 x 20.5 in, ink and wash on board
Coppola Collection

William Newton Canfield (1920- ), professionally known as Bil Canfield, studied at the American School of Design in New York City from 1940 until 1941 and then served in World War II. As a Boatswain’s Mate First Class in the Navy, Canfield, aboard the USS Massachusetts, drew cartoons for the ship’s semi-monthly newspaper, The Bay Stater. Canfield was hired at the Morning Telegraph and Racing Form where he was a sports cartoonist until 1946.

Canfield then took a job at the Newark News as a sports cartoonist and staff artist where one of his influences, Bill Crawford worked. The News ceased publication in 1972 and Canfield became the editorial cartoonist at the Newark Star Ledger. During this time he also contributed editorial cartoons to the Red Bank Register under the name “Lev”. Canfield retired from the Star Ledger in 1995.

Once elected, President Kennedy pledged not to resume testing in the air and promised to pursue all diplomatic efforts for a test ban treaty before resuming underground testing. He envisioned the test ban as a first step to nuclear disarmament.

President Kennedy met with Soviet Premier Khrushchev in Vienna in June 1961, just five weeks after the humiliating defeat of the US-sponsored invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. Khrushchev took a hard line at the summit. He announced his intention to cut off Western access to Berlin and threatened war if the United States or its allies tried to stop him. Many US diplomats felt that Kennedy had not stood up to the Soviet premier at the summit and left Khrushchev with the impression that he was a weak leader.

The Cuban Missile Crisis had a profound effect on both leaders. In a series of private letters, Khrushchev and Kennedy reopened a dialogue on banning nuclear testing. On July 25, 1963, after only 12 days of negotiations, the two nations agreed to ban testing in the atmosphere, in space, and underwater.

“Gone Far Enough” (10/23/1962)
by Eddie Germano (1924 – )
14 x 18.5, ink and wash on board
Coppola Collection

A native Bostonian, Germano became a full-time cartoonist in 1948, at age 24, after serving in WWII. Among other positions, he worked as the editorial and sports cartoonist for the Brockton Enterprisefrom 1963-1990.

This is perhaps the earliest of his existing editorial cartoons from his time at the Enterprise, which speaks to the US quarantine of Cuba (by international law, the term “blockade” fell under an act of war.

On October 22, 1962, Kennedy delivered a nationwide televised address on all of the major networks announcing the discovery of the missiles. He stated: “It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.”

He described his plan: “To halt this offensive buildup, a strict quarantine on all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba is being initiated. All ships of any kind bound for Cuba, from whatever nation or port, will, if found to contain cargoes of offensive weapons, be turned back. This quarantine will be extended, if needed, to other types of cargo and carriers. We are not at this time, however, denying the necessities of life as the Soviets attempted to do in their Berlin blockade of 1948.”

“The World Mourns” (11/25/1963)
by Eddie Germano (1924 – )
11 x 14.5, ink and wash on board
Coppola Collection

A native Bostonian, Germano became a full-time cartoonist in 1948, at age 24, after serving in WWII. Among other positions, he worked as the editorial and sports cartoonist for the Brockton Enterprisefrom 1963-1990.

This drawing commemorates the JFK assassination.

“So Sweet of Him”

“So Sweet of Him” (ca. 1936)
by Lucius Curtis “Lute” Pease, Jr. (1869 -1963)
12 x 14 in., ink on heavy paper
Coppola Collection

Pease was a cartoonist for the Newark Evening Newsfrom 1914 to 1954, and received the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning. He was a miner in Alaska for 5 years before beginning a career in art. He was an illustrator for the Oregonian and famously interviewed Mark Twain. From his retirement in 1954 until his death in 1963, he devoted himself to fostering his skills as a painter of portraits and landscapes.

On May 27, 1935 (“black Monday), a conservative Supreme Court struck down a key provision of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. Essentially, the high court ruled that the federal government had no role in regulating the economy.

Furious, the progressive president staged a scorching press conference in the Oval Office, memorably complaining for more than an hour that the court was returning to a “horse and buggy” definition of interstate commerce.

It was a losing battle, though. Roosevelt spent the rest of the 1935–36 Congressional session watching his signature legislative achievements dismantled — everything from social security to farming regulations and labor rights — based on a narrow reading of the Constitution’s due process clause.

If contemporary, the reverse side of this drawing might narrow the time frame a bit to late 1935 and early 1936. The sketch shows the White House loading its veto cannon with four likely targets floating over the Congress: a bill about silver, one about soldier bonuses, a bank deposit fail bailout, and a farm mortgage bill.

The “soldier bonus” was a back-pay plan for WW1 vets that had been around for a while. It was passed on January 22, 1936 and vetoed on January 27.

“Falernus versus Thor Bräu”

“Falernus versus Thor Bräu” (est. 1885)
By Henry (Hy) Mayer (1868-1954)
four examples, all are 5.5 x 7.5 in., ink on heavy paper
Coppola Collection

Hy Mayer was a German-American cartoonist whose work appeared in such publications as Life,Puck, and Judge. Mayer also followed a number of other cartoonists into the burgeoning animation field at the early part of the 20th century. Known for work with a strong line, and seeming caricature attributes throughout, Mayer remains one of the less heralded greats of the early cartoonists.

After working as a magazine illustrator in Munich, Paris (Le Figaro Illustré), and London (Pall Mall Gazette), he emigrated to the United States in 1886. In 1893 he moved to New York, and illustrated a number of children’s books. He was a political cartoonist for the New York Times from 1904, and then in 1914 chief cartoonist of Puck.

From 1909 to 1917 he contributed artwork to early films such as the Universal Animated Weekly newsreel series. He created and directed the original “Travelaughs” series, released through Universal Studios from 1913 to 1920, and the “Such Is Life” series, with titles Such Is Life at a County Fair (1921) and Such Is Life in Munich (1922), released by Film Booking Offices of America from 1920 to 1926. These two short subject film series combined animation with live action film taken in exotic locations. He is credited with directing over 100 short films from 1913 to 1926.

There are no publishing marks that give any substantial clue as to where these four drawings I have saw print. Here what you can see.

They all bear the same numerical stamp: 15036
The few words are all in German.
There are blue pencil Roman numerals on three of the four, also suggesting they were part of the same collection.
Thematically, they are all about wine or beer, and suggest a certain history.

Mayer is associated with the German language story and humor publication “Fliegende Blätter,” which was quite early in his career. So until I hear otherwise, this is when I am placing them.

An Egyptian-looking fellow mixes an elixir.

The Cyclops is drinking from the wineskin (provided by Odysseus and handled by Selinus, father of the Satyrs)

Thor Bräu (a famous beer in Germany) stabs at the king of Italian wine, Falernus.

The heavens are celebrating beer with flying steins and horn-playing nymphs.

“The Mirror Man” (Tip Top Comics 90, Nov. 1943, p. 44)

“The Mirror Man” (Tip Top Comics 90, November 1943, pp. 44)
by Fred Methot and “Sam Singer”
13 x 20 in., ink on paper
Coppola Collection

This is the first page of a 6-page story, featuring Mirror Man, a former super-hero comic that shifted to the war-hero genre after the outbreak of WWII.

The Mirror Man was a super-hero series introduced in the Tip Top Comics anthology in issue 54 (October 1940), by writer Fred Methot and artist Reg Greenwood (who also introduced The Triple Terror characters in the same issue).

As Mirror Man, Dean Alder possesses the Mystic Garment, a robe that permits him to use mirrors and other reflective surfaces as his transport, and he uses this to fight crime and evil.

Soon after WWII broke out, both the Mirror Man and Triple Terror characters hung up their spandex and enlisted in the army, becoming military warriors fighting the enemy overseas. The first Mirror Man war story was in Tip Top Comics 71 (March 1942), and the Triple Terror triplet had a spy-adventure and decided to formally enlist at the end of their Tip Top 72 (April 1942) story.

Methot and Greenwood (1899-1943) are credited with The Mirror Man stories through Tip Top Comics 87 (August 1943), which was presumably Greenwood’s last story because he is listed as dying in 1943). The more noted Paul Berdanier (1879-1961) took over The Triple Terror and did one Mirror Man story (TTC 88, September 1943). The rest of the Mirror Man series, which lasts about another year, is not credited except for a couple of stories signed “Singer.” Methot is still thought to have written these, and the artist is referred to as Sam Singer in some places.


This 6-page story, from TTC 90, is Singer’s second one (the first one, from the issue before, is signed by Singer). I have the 6 pages, as well as the 6-page Triple Terror story from this same issue, in addition to the stories from both series that appeared in issue 89.

“And I saw Tom go into the room…”

“And I saw Tom go into the room…”
by F C Yohn (1875-1933)
The Saturday Evening Post (vol 181, October 3, 1908) p. 17
14 x 22 in., ink, wash, and gouache on board
Coppola Collection

“Yes,” says Master Willie. “And I saw Tom go into the room five minutes before Ridges came up and shut the door after him, and then I saw Ridges come up.”

In “The Butler’s Story” (4th Installment of 6: “Mr. Tom and His Father Fall Out”)

The Saturday Evening Post (vol 181, October 3, 1908, pp 16-17, 34-36) Story by Arthur Cheney Train

Arthur Cheney Train, also called Arthur Chesney Train, was an American lawyer and writer of legal thrillers, particularly known for his novels of courtroom intrigue and the creation of the fictional lawyer Mr. Ephraim Tutt.

The Butler’s Story: Being The Reflections, Observations And Experiences Of Mr. Peter Ridges, Of Wapping-on-velly, Devon, Sometime In The Service Of Samuel Carter, Esquire, Of New York… by Arthur Cheney Train (1909, Scribner’s), which chronicles the life and (often trying) times of an English Butler in service to American “nouveau riche” families. Described in The Book Buyer in the early 1900’s as “a keen, witty and highly amusing story of some newly rich people from the point of view of the Butler.”

“The Decadence of Sir Dinadan”

“The Decadence of Sir Dinadan” (McClure’s Oct 1913, p 130)
by F C Yohn (1875-1933)
14 x 18 in., ink, wash, and gouache on board
Coppola Collection

The third adventure of “The Industrious Chevalier” appeared in the October 1913 issues of McClure’s. The story (“The Decadence of Sir Dinadan” pp 129-137) and the series were published in McClure’s.

The Caption reads: “’Lady Spinner,’ I said, ‘I saw a very suspicious-looking man hanging round your carriage door. Have I your permission to warn your footman?'”

A renowned painter of historical themes, Frederick Coffay “FC” Yohn’s illustration work appeared regularly, in the early 1900s, in publications including Scribner’s Magazine, McClure’s, Harper’s Magazine, and Collier’s Weekly.

Illustrations such as this one were common in his work between 1910-1920, with examples in all of these magazines.

Yohn is noted for his strong sense of anatomy, detail, and spatial composition.

“No Rough Stuff, Little Fellow”

“No Rough Stuff, Little Fellow” (est. 1933)
by Milton Rawson Halladay (1874-1961)
14 x 17 in., ink on board
Coppola Collection

Halladay was a native of Vermont and a noted political cartoonist for the Providence Journal (Rhode Island) for nearly fifty years (1900-1947). His cartoons were published in countless other newspapers and magazines. He has been called “one of the deans of American political cartooning.” His cartoon commemorating the death of Thomas A. Edison was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize.

His great-great grandson is carrying on the artistic family tradition!

The First New Deal began almost immediately upon Roosevelt’s assumption of the presidency. FDR invoked the “analogue of war” as he spurred Congress towards a flurry of legislative activity that became known as the “Hundred Days”—from March to June 1933—in which the new President won passage of numerous bills designed to end the nation’s economic troubles. In general, the First New Deal looked to stabilize the U.S. financial system, provide relief and jobs to the suffering, and reenergize America’s capitalist economy.

FDR’s immediate task upon his inauguration was to stabilize the nation’s banking system. On March 6, Roosevelt declared a national “bank holiday” to end a run by depositors seeking to withdraw their money from faltering banks. FDR also called Congress into emergency session where the legislature enacted, nearly sight unseen, the President’s banking proposal. Under this plan, the federal government would inspect all banks, re-open those that were sufficiently solvent, re-organize those that could be saved, and close those that were beyond repair. On March 12, FDR went on the radio—giving the first of many “fireside chats”—to explain his plan to Americans and to assure them that their money would be safe in the re-opened banks. During the following weeks, Americans returned nearly $1 billion dollars to bank vaults.

FDR promised an energetic attack on the Great Depression with his New Deal. He kept his word, urging Congress to pass laws that established dozens of New Deal programs. But the New Deal accumulated a record of notable failures as well as successes. Mixed results were not the only enemy of the early New Deal, however. A host of critics arose on the Political Left and Right to attack Roosevelt and his policies. In 1934, conservative businessmen—and dissident Democrats like 1928 presidential candidate Al Smith—formed the American Liberty League, which tarred the New Deal as a radical and un-American assault upon the basic principles of capitalism and free enterprise.

“Let’s Raise the Limit”

“Let’s Raise the Limit” (July 1939)
by Milton Rawson Halladay (1874-1961)
14 x 17 in., ink on board
Coppola Collection

Halladay was a native of Vermont and a noted political cartoonist for the Providence Journal (Rhode Island) for nearly fifty years (1900-1947). His cartoons were published in countless other newspapers and magazines. He has been called “one of the deans of American political cartooning.” His cartoon commemorating the death of Thomas A. Edison was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize.

His great-great grandson is carrying on the artistic family tradition!

Before 1939, Congress explicitly imposed no limit on the aggregate amount of federal debt outstanding. Instead, it restricted issues of individual securities or sets of securities and gave the Secretary of Treasury little authority to conduct debt management operations.

In March 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt and Secretary Morgenthau asked Congress to eliminate separate limits on bonds and on other types of debt. The House approved the measure (H.R. 5748) on March 23, 1939, and the Senate passed an amended version on June 1. On July 14, the amendment was withdrawn in the Senate after the House had disagreed, thus clearing the way for President Franklin Roosevelt’s signature. When enacted on July 20, the law (P.L. 76-201) created the first aggregate limit ($45 billion) covering nearly all public debt. Combining a $30 billion limit on bonds with a $15 billion limit on shorter-term debt, while retaining the $45 billion total limit in effect, enabled Treasury to roll over maturing notes into longer-term bonds. This measure gave the Treasury freer rein to manage the federal debt as it saw fit. Thus, the Treasury could issue debt instruments with maturities that would reduce interest costs and minimize financial risks stemming from future interest rate changes.

“The Foolish Flamingo”

“The Foolish Flamingo” (St. Nicholas, vol 14, p 434, April 1887)
by Reginald Bathurst Birch (1856-1943)
17 x 12 in., ink on board
Coppola Collection

Reginald Bathurst Birch was an English-American artist and illustrator.

From 1873 to 1881, Birch studied and worked in Europe, attending the Royal Academy in Munich and illustrating various publications in Vienna, Paris, and Rome. On his return to the United States he took up residence in New York City, where he became a magazine illustrator. His work appeared in “St. Nicholas,” “The Century,” “Harper’s,” “Life,” and “The Youth’s Companion,” among other publications. He also became a founding member of the Society of Illustrators in New York.

His first great success was his illustration of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s children’s book “Little Lord Fauntleroy” (1886, serialized in “St. Nicholas” in 1885-86), whose young protagonist’s long, curly hair and velvet and lace suit were widely imitated by mothers as a pattern of dress for their little boys. Birch’s name was indelibly associated with Burnett’s protagonist forever after, rather to the illustrator’s irritation. During the period of his initial popularity he illustrated over forty books, many of which, along with his drawings, had initially seen publication in serial form. He also provided illustrations for books by Dickens.

He produced a series of illustrated nursery rhymes for “St. Nicholas” magazine in the 1880s, including this one, featuring “The Foolish Flamingo,” a popular but anonymous tale of prideful behavior, right about the time that his landmark work on Fauntleroy was published.

Demand for Birch’s work faded after 1914, and by the 1930s he was living in poverty. His career was revived in 1933 by his illustrations for Louis Untermeyer’s “The Last Pirate,” and he went on to illustrate about twenty additional books before retiring due to failing eyesight about 1941.

As can be seen in the published version (below), the artwork was edited considerably to fit into the available space.

The editorial pencil marks for the cropping appear on the original art.