The Pingos by Clark Watson

Clark Watson was an American-Canadian newspaper comic artist, animation layout artist and watercolor landscape painter. He was born in Canada as the son of commercial illustrator Fred Watson, and spent most of his career in California. He drew the obscure comic strip 'The Pingos' in the 1930s. This fantasy comic deals with two kids, Willy and Winnie, who get tangled up in a war between the Pingos from the sky and the Smigs from under the ground. In a graphic format deviating from other daily comics, the feature initially appeared in Bernarr MacFadden's tabloid the New York Evening Graphic in 1930 under the title 'The Pingos and the Smigs'. The Graphic was notorious for its exploitative and mendacious nature, and was even nicknamed the "pornoGraphic". It was a predecessor of modern-day gossip journalism and subjected to much criticism. As a result, it ceased publication after eight years in 1932. By then all the remaining comic strips had been sold to the New York World's Press Publishing. This syndicate also continued Watson's feature under the shortened title 'The Pingos' and under a more standard daily format. The strip apparently ended mid-story in August 1932. Despite its obscurity, the comic strip was also published in the Québec newspaper Le Nouvelliste de Trois-Rivières in 1932 as 'Les Pingos et les Smigs'.

Watson moved on to the animation industry, working as a layout artist on a nearly hundred shorts by Columbia Pictures' Screen Gems studio between 1942 and 1949. This included cartoons starring the studio's main characters 'The Fox and the Crow' (directed by Bob Wickersham and Frank Tashlin), and also two with George Herriman's 'Krazy Kat' ('The Mouse Exteriminator' and 'News Oddities'). His daughter Dael Watson Patton is also active as a painter.

The Stripper's Guide on Clark Watson

Series and books by Clark Watson in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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