Edgar Wheelan was the cartoonist of 'Minute Movies', a groundbreaking comic strip takeoff on the silent movie era. Born in San Francisco, Wheelan was the son of cartoonist and costume designer Albertine Randall, who drew 'The Dumbunnies' in the 1920s. Edgar graduated from Cornell University in 1911, then worked for the San Francisco Examiner, and later at the New York American. His first first professional comic strip ran eight columns across the American's sports page. It was also the first strip in which he poked fun at films and stars of the silent era.
In 1918, he went to work for the newspapers of tycoon William Randolph Hearst, and created the strip 'Midget Movies', in which he continued with the cinema parody theme. But Wheelan fell out with Hearst in 1920 - the beginning of a lifelong resentment. Hearst replaced 'Midget Movies' with 'Fillum Fables', drawn by future 'Dick Tracy' artist Chester Gould.
Wheelan's first venture into cinematic format and parody:
'Feature Films', New York American, 24/8/1916
Wheelan then joined the George Matthew Adams Service, where he created 'Minute Movies', his best known comic depiction of the movie business, from the early 1920s to 1935. The strip became a great success, and fans even wrote letters to their favorite characters. Artists like Nicholas Afonsky and Jess Fremon ghosted the Minute Movies strip in later years.
In 1935, Ed Wheelan continued to work with one of the main characters of 'Minute Movies' in a solo strip, called 'Roy McCoy'. Working together with Bill Walsh at the end of the 1930s, Wheelan drew 'Big Top', a strip about a circus. Afterwards, Wheelan headed for Hollywood and upon his return, he was assigned by DC Comics to revive 'Minute Movies' in their Flash Comics comic book, which he did from issues 1 through 59. M.C. Gaines then published the 'Edgar Wheelan Joke Book' in 1944, that featured the characters 'Fat and Slat'.
He also came up with the character Comics McCormick, the world's no. 1 comic book fan, and did parodies of comic books of the time in Fat and Slat in 1947-48. Afterwards, he left the comics field and continued to do artwork, especially clown paintings, until his health forced him to retire. Edgard Wheelan was a nationally syndicated cartoonist, and is often given credit for helping to bring daily continuity to the newspaper comic pages.