Joe & Asbestos by Ken Kling

Kenneth Kling was an American cartoonist from New York City. On leaving high school he got a job in a silk house whose main product was ladies' veils, before turning to cartooning. He was Bud Fisher's apprentice on 'Mutt and Jeff', doing backgrounds and lettering in the first half of the 1910s. Between 1916 and 1922 he made his own feature called 'Hank and Pete' for the National Cartoon Service. It was continued by Ray I. Hoppman from 1922 until the end of its run in 1924. During the first World War Kling enlisted in the Navy. After the war he did the comic strip 'Buzz and Snooze', that ran in 1918-1919 through McClure Syndicate. During the 1920s, Kling made newspaper features like 'Katinka' in The New York Herald (1920-23), 'Those Folks' (1922-23) and 'Joe Quince' for the Baltimore Evening Sun (starting 1923).

Katinka by Ken Kling

'Joe Quince' was renamed 'Joe and Asbestos' in 1924 and ended its first run in 1926. The strip about horse racing earned Kling quite a living, because newspapers were paying Bell Syndicate a fortune to get the exclusive rights to publish the strip in a region. The readers thought Kling was giving handy racing tips in his cartoon, but the truth was that Kling didn't know a thing about racing when he started the strip in 1925, then still titled 'Joe Quince'. Kling had Joe picking real horses for actual races, and incredibly the picks all won.

Kling stopped his feature after a short while, and started the strip 'Windy Riley'. But the public kept thinking that Kling was giving hidden racing tips. 'Windy Riley' was also made into a two-reel comedy, 'Windy Riley Goes To Hollywood' (Educational, 1931). In 1931, Kling revived 'Joe & Asbestos' for the New York Daily Mirror and continued it until a year before his death in May, 1970.

Windy Riley, by Kenneth Kling
Windy Riley

Ink-Slinger profile at the Stripper's Guide
Joe and Asbestos in the Toonopedia

Series and books by Ken Kling in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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