'Willie Hawkshaw, the Amateur Detective'.

Frank Hutchinson, often signing with "Hutch", was a Canadian-American comic artist, who created such newspaper features as 'Know-It-All Jake' (1904-1905), 'Willie Hawkshaw, the Amateur Detective' (1905-1906) and 'Superstitious Sam' (1905-1906).

Life and career
Frank Genora Hutchinson was born in 1872 in Morristown, Nova Scotia, Canada. Somewhere in the 1890s he moved to Boston, Massachusetts in the USA, where had himself naturalized. He worked as an architectural draughtsman. His two earliest comic strips were 'Willie Wise, Tommy Tuff and Simple Sammy', between 13 November 1904 and 26 February 1905, and 'Know-It-All Jake', between 27 November 1904 and 23 April 1905. They were both distributed by the recently founded World Color Printing in St. Louis, which provided comics features to newspapers' Sunday comics sections.

Know-It-All-Jake, by Frank Hutchinson
'Know-it-all Jake'.

The Chicago Tribune
In the Chicago Tribune he published 'Willie Hawkshaw the Amateur Detective', which ran between 27 August 1905 and 29 April 1906. The name 'Hawkshaw the Detective' was borrowed from a character in Tom Taylor's theatrical play 'The Ticket-of-Leave Man' (1863), though much of Hutchinson's character was modelled after Arthur Conan Doyle's 'Sherlock Holmes'. Interestingly enough, Gus Mager later had a comic strip named 'Hawkshaw the Detective' (1913-1947).  Between 24 September 1905 and 29 April 1906 Hutchinson drew 'Superstitious Sam', again for The Chicago Tribune. The series ran on a thin gimmick. Two men, Sam and Mr. Lunkhead, encountered something Sam would attribute to good or bad luck. Lunkhead would invariably pass it off as superstition, whereupon the duo indeed had bad luck of some kind (or in some cases bad luck with a little sunny side). 

Later life and career
By 1910 Hutchinson moved to Spokane, Washington. When the United States entered the First World War he was drafted. Later in life he lived in Oregon and worked as a draftsman in construction engineering. He also taught evening lessons in architecture (perspective and rendering) at the University of Oregon. By 1940 he was a staff artist with the State Highway Department, an occupation he held until his retirement in 1953. The veteran artist lived a long life. He was 101 years old when he passed away in 1973.

Name confusion
Frank Hutchinson should not be confused with the U.S. country blues musician Frank Hutchison (1897-1945). Some sources have also erroneously credited Frank Hutchinson's comic strips to A.C. Hutchison, the artist of features such as 'Major Sunshine and Colonel Grouch' (1911), 'Mrs. Economy' (1911-1912), and 'Luke Whoozis' (1923), who also signed with "Hutch". The experts in American newspaper comics at the Stripper's Guide blog managed to distinguish the separate career paths of these two artists in April-May 2019.

Ink Slinger profile on the Stripper's Guide

Series and books by Frank Hutchinson in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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