Westphal was an early-20th century American cartoonist and comics artist. He created an obscure comic strip named 'Star Dust' (1929-1932?) which appeared in at least The Daily Reporter and the Californian paper The New World. It was distributed by Midwest Feature Service starting in 1929. Each episode focused on a particular Hollywood actor or actress and told his or her life story in comic strip form. The first panel was typically a realistically drawn portrait of the Hollywood star with his name underneath it. The other panels told his or her life story in chronological order. Since the comic strip was published at the bottom of each newspaper page the cartoonist had little space for elaborate drawings or narratives. Most of the biographical information is little more than one line per panel. The illustrations are very simple doodles, drawn in a more loose style than the portrait in the first panel. 'Star Dust' debuted in 1929 but it is not clear how long the feature ran? Episodes as late as 1932 have been found. Over 200 strips are known, but none discuss movies newer than 1929. This leads to believe that the syndicate had been selling the feature as a complete set from the start.

As obscure as 'Star Dust' is today, the format was popular. Dan Thomas and Don Wootton had a sequential strip quite similar to Wesphal's, only their 'Seeing Stars' (1929-1930) carried an extensive textblock underneath the comic. Captain Roscoe Fawcett also had a Hollywood-themed comic strip named 'Screen Oddities' (1931-1943), distributed by the Bell Syndicate and drawn by Bud Thompson. Between 1933 and 1951 Feg Murray made a similar comics series named 'Seein' Stars'. The main difference was that Murray's format was presented as a huge illustration where the various stories appeared without panels, making it look more like an one-panel cartoon. Since 'Seein' Stars' had more room in the papers the drawings were far more elaborate and realistic. Murray's comic strip also appeared in colour on Sundays, had a wider reach thanks to King Features' distribution system and was also guaranteed a far longer newspaper run. Another feature in this tradition was Wiley Padan's 'It's True' (1933-1947).

Series and books by Westphal in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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