Ham Fisher (sept 24, 1900 – dec 27, 1955, USA) hamfisherBorn in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Ham Fisher (Hammond Edward Fisher) started as a journalist during his teenage years. In 1919, Ham Fisher got his first job as an editorial and sports cartoonist. In 1920, he drew his first ‘Joe Palooka’ episodes and tried selling them, without success. In the following years, he was a traveling strip salesman for the McNaught Syndicate. In 1927, Fisher moved to New York, where he began looking again for a syndicate willing to buy his comic. In 1928, the strip about heavyweight boxing champion ‘Joe Palooka’ finally began its run. Fisher immediately started looking for young talent to work on the strip for him, and found Al Capp, among others, who later complained about Fisher’s meager wages. This resulted in a 20 year mutual feud between the two artists. Fisher hired away Capp’s assistant Mo Leff, while Capp riduculed Fisher’s plastic surgery in his ‘Li’l Abner’ comic strip. Out of spite, Fisher took Capp to court on the accusation of obscenity in Capp’s Strip, ‘Li’l Abner’. To prove his point, he used faked examples of the strip, which he made himself. When this fact came out, Capp won the case, and Fisher was expelled from the National Cartoonists Society. In 1955, Fisher ended his life. The feud and Fisher’s suicide have been fictionalized with all names changed and many details altered in the Max Allan Collins mystery novel ‘Strip for Murder’. Joe Palooka was an American comic strip about a heavyweight boxing champion, created by cartoonist Ham Fisher in 1921. The strip debuted in 1930 and was carried at its peak by 900 newspapers. The strip was adapted to a short-lived 15-minute CBS radio series, 12 feature-length films (chiefly from Monogram Pictures), nine Vitaphone film shorts, a 1954 syndicated television series (The Joe Palooka Story), comic books and merchandise, including a 1940s board game, a 1947 New Haven Clock & Watch Company wristwatch, a 1948 metal lunchbox featuring depictions of Joe, Humphrey and Little Max, and a 1946 Wheaties cereal box cut-out mask. In 1980, a mountain in Pennsylvania was named for the character. In his home town of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Fisher devised the character in 1921 after he met a boxer, Pete Latzo, outside a poolroom. As Fisher explained in an article in Collier’s: “ Here, made to order, was the comic strip character I had been looking for—a big, good-natured prize fighter who didn’t like to fight; a defender of little guys; a gentle knight. I ran back to the office, drew a set of strips and rushed to the newspaper syndicates. ” However, many rejections followed before Fisher’s strip was finally syndicated by the McNaught Syndicate after Fisher, while employed as a McNaught salesman, sold it to over 20 newspapers. It debuted April 19, 1930, and by 1948, it was ranked as one of the five most popular newspaper comic strips.

(en.wikipedia.org)

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