Part of the Illustrated Sunday School Lesson of 6 February 1932

Alfred J. Buescher was an American cartoonist and comic strip artist, who had a long association with King Features Syndicate. He is best-known for drawing the 'Illustrated Sunday School Lesson' (1931-1973) for 42 years, and for his editorial cartoons. Other notable work are the seasonal strip 'Eski' (1951-1962) and an adaptation of Charles Dickens' 'Christmas Carol' (1937).

He was born as Alfred Joseph Buescher in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1903. No artistic education is known, but by 1925 he was employed as an artist and eventually art director by the Central Press Association, a features and columns syndicate started by Cleveland Press editor Virgil McNitt in 1910. The agency was bought over by Hearst's King Features Syndicate in 1930, which initially continued to use the Central Press imprint. Buescher remained affiliated with King Features for most of his career.


Illustrated Sunday School Lesson of 19 January 1952

He was the artist of the long-running 'Illustrated Sunday School Lesson', which ran from 26 December 1931 until 24 February 1973. The weekly feature offered somewhat dry retellings of Biblical events for Saturday religion pages, subsequently written by Reverend Alvin E. Bell (1931-1938), Newman Campbell (1938-1966), R.H. Ramsay (1966-1971) and presumably Buescher himself (1971-1973). Although rather obscure among comics fans, Buescher drew this comic for 42 years! Central Press also regularly presented short-run comic strips about persons in the news. Buescher has at least illustrated comics features about Democratic presidential candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt (1932) and Kansas governor Alfred M. Landon (1936).


Dickens' Christmas Carol (13 December 1937)

In addition, he produced a comic strip based on Charles Dickens' 'Christmas Carol', which ran from November 29 to December 25, 1937. The text was written C.D. Vormelker. With former 'Brick Bradford' author William Ritt, he created another seasonal strip starring the little Eskimo 'Eski' (1951-1962), of which King Features brought new two-week stories into circulation every the Christmas period until 1962. The strip initially ran under the title 'Once Upon a Christmas Eve'. Buescher and Ritt also cooperated on the closed-end strip 'In the days of Davy Crockett', which ran from 20 June until 16 July 1955. Buescher was possibly also the artist of the obscure comic strip 'Joe and Judy' (1951), which was signed with "B. Derfla" ("Alfred B." written backwards).

Eski by Alfred Buescher
First appearance of Eski (The Daily Courier, from Connellsville, Pennsylvania, 19 December 1951)

Buescher provided supplemental artwork to the seven-part story strip 'The Story of Stalin'. The original feature was drawn by Clifton Crittenden in 1939, but it is unknown if it was ever published. Buescher and William Ritt updated it in 1952 to Stalin's expected death, and was ready for use when the Soviet dictator would pass away. The strip was syndicated from 7 through 13 April 1953, although the News Journal from Mansfield, Ohio ran it in its entirety on 12 April 1952... about a year before Stalin's actual death!

Eski by Alfred Buescher
Eski, from the French-Canadian newspaper La Presse (Montreal), 14 December 1959

Alfred J. Buescher was furthermore a productive cartoonist for both the Central Press Association and King Features Syndicate. He retired in 1978, after which he was replaced as editorial cartoonist by Ranan Lurie. Buescher passed away on 29 September 1999 in Mayfield, Ohio.


Final strip of The Story of Stalin (News Journal from Mansfield, Ohio), 12 April 1952

Ink Slinger profile on the Stripper's Guide blog

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