The Tillers by Les Carroll

American cartoonist Les Carroll began his career in the animation industry in the 1930s, and then worked on many syndicated newspaper comics as a staff artist with the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) from the 1940s through the 1970s.

Lester Edward Carroll was born in 1912 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His father was a telephone linesman. He went to Landon School, but only made it to the 12th grade. Between 1931 and 1932 he attended the Lancaster Business College and worked at the K-D Manufacturing Company from 1932 until 1938. During the 1930s he was also active as an animator in various cartoon studios, starting off with Charles Mintz, where he worked on adaptations of George Herriman's 'Krazy Kat', followed by other cat cartoons for Pat Sullivan, namely the 'Felix the Cat' series. After a brief stint at Warner Brothers' animation studio he eventually became a background artist at the Fleischer Studios, where he was responsible for various cartoons starring 'Betty Boop', 'Popeye' (based on E.C. Segar's creation) and 'Superman' (based on Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's comic book character). 

In 1938 Carroll debuted as a newspaper cartoonist. He became a staff artist for Newspaper Enterprise Association in 1942. On 10 May 1943 his weekday comic strip about a family of farmers, 'The Tillers' (1943-1960), was first published. That same year he also drew the seasonal feature 'First Aid for Santa' (1943), which ran for a month between 22 November and 24 December. It was scripted by Hal Cochran. In 1944 he drew the comic strip 'Dinah' as a topper to Rolfe Memison's Sunday comic strip 'Brenda Breeze'. His final own creation, 'Life with the Rimples', was also a family strip, but this time in a more suburban setting. It ran on a weekly base between 1961 and April 1975. 

Babe 'n' Horace, by Les Carroll (1967)

In addition to his own strips, Carroll was an assistant to Abe Martin on his newspaper comic 'Boots and her Buddies', which he took over after Martin's death in 1960. He continued it as a Sunday comic until October 1968, accompanied by the toppers 'Babe 'n' Horace' (1960-1961), 'Boots Cut-Outs' and 'The Gooneys' (1965-1968). Carroll also assisted V.T. Hamlin on 'Alley Oop' in the 1960s. Carroll worked with writers like Tom McCormick (dailies) and Phil Pastoret (Sundays) on the classic comic strip 'Our Boarding House' during its final years from May 1971 to December 1984 (the Sunday strip ended in 1981). This daily panel and Sunday comic strip was created by Gene Ahern in 1921, and dealt with the many colorful inhabitants of a boarding house, most notably Major Hoople. Later artists on the series include Bela Zaboly, Bill Freyse and Jim Branagan. In the 1980s Carroll was also active as an animator for Hanna-Barbera, working on the TV series 'The Smurfs', based on the creations of Belgian comics artist Peyo. Carroll passed away in 1998 in Rocky River, Ohio. 


Our Boarding House (1972)

Ink Slinger profile on the Stripper's Guide

Series and books by Les Carroll in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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