Comic Pinbacks - P3
Bob Forbes' Information
P3 Comic Pictures

7/8 inches - 22 mm

One of the largest tobacco pin offerings, this series contains both black & white and color comic pictures, as well as some blue & white and red & white variations of some of the black & white pictures. Most likely issued circa 1910-1913, the designs were created by a number of popular comic artists of the day, including "Bud" Fisher, T.E. Powers, R.L. Goldberg, "Tad", and Gus Mager.

Thomas A. Dorgan (1877-1929) signed his drawings as "Tad" and was the creator of Judge Rummy's Court, Indoor Sports, and Outdoor Sports. After losing three fingers on his right hand in an accident as a youth, he began drawing cartoons as therapy. By the early 1900's, he had landed a job with the New York Journal as a sports columnist and cartoonist. He was highly popular for many years until he had to retire in the early 1920's because of poor health. His cartoon dog gags, particularly "Judge Rummy", were quite popular during that era, but his lasting impact was in creating or popularizing (through his cartoons and writing) many slang words that are still in use today including "dumbbell", "hard-boiled", "for crying out loud", and many others.

Thomas E. Powers (1870-1939), the first American to draw a color comic strip for a newspaper, joined the New York Evening World in the late 1890's. He soon became one of William Randolph Hearst's, the paper's publisher, favorite cartoonists. His political cartoons, showing Joy and Gloom, were the most notable of his work, though he had many other cartoon series including "Never Again" and "Married Life from the Inside." In addition to his cartoons he also wrote over a dozen short films.

Gus Mager (1878-1956) began selling his cartoons to newspapers by the turn of the century and focused on drawing animals in humorous situations. His work was mainly daily gag panels, some of which that ran under the names "Jungle Land" or "Jungle Society."

Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) is probably the best-known of the primary artists of this series. He grew up in San Francisco and went to college to become an engineer, but after six months in his first job he quit to become a sports cartoonist with the San Francisco Chronicle. He eventually moved to New York City in 1907 and produced cartoons for the New York Evening Journal and other newspapers. He drew several cartoon series at the same time with some of his most popular being Mike and Ike and Boob McNutt. He coined the gag phrase "I'm the guy who..." around 1910, using it as a stock saying by one of the characters in a comic strip he was drawing. The phrase became quite popular and innumerable variations were made to the original concept.

His greatest fame, however, came through his drawings of schematics of comical, complex inventions for a character titled Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts. His theme was to take a simple task and make a ridiculously complex device to accomplish it. These "Rube Goldberg" devices were the inspiration for international Rube Goldberg competitions today where participants attempt to make the simple complex. Goldberg won a Pulitzer Prize in 1948 for his political cartoons and was the founding member and first president of the National Cartoonists Society.

Harry C. "Bud" Fisher (1885-1954) created the first successful daily comic strip in the U.S. - "Mutt and Jeff." After growing up in Chicago, he moved to California and became a journalist and sketch artist for the sports department of the San Francisco Chronicle. In 1907, he created Mr. A. Mutt as a comic strip character and added Jeff the following March. Soon these two were highly popular with newspaper readers. Fisher was fortunate to hold the copyright to Mutt and Jeff and was able to expand its popularity into short comic films (over 300 produced), comic books, and other such areas. The strip was continued after his death by Al Smith, who had been producing it under Fisher's supervision since 1932. Smith stopped work on the strip after 48 years (1980) and another artist (George Breisacher) took over for the last two years before it was finally ended.

Some of the pictures are directly related to the T88 Mutt and Jeff Series. The base set for that series, T88-1, consists of 100 black & white pictures. The same pictures were used for the T88-2, 3, and 4 types, though in the case of the Type 4 color pictures, some of the captions were changed and the numbering was different.

The series was probably issued in groups of 50 or 100 (or some other round number) and the T88-1 base set can be used to some degree to identify some of these groups. All the pins are opened back and have paper inserts advertising Hassan cigarettes (blue or tan paper) and Tokio cigarettes (red or black ink on white paper). Some pins can also be found with a paper ad for the Whitehead & Hoag Co. without any reference to a tobacco brand.

P3A black and white comic pictures include the 100 T88-1 base set designs, along with an additional number of new pictures (total of 182 reported or confirmed to date). It is very likely that there are additional subjects but it is safe to say that not all the color pictures can be found in black & white. A few black & yellow pictures have been seen with the same designs as the black & white. It is not certain whether these are simply some production anomaly or a separate variation to the standard group.

There are also blue & white and red & white variations to the standard black & white pins. The ones known have all been pictures from the T88-1 base set and it is not known whether all 100 were issued in this fashion or whether only a sub-set was as these are quite scarce. The variations are reverse images of the black & white designs, with the captions in white rather than in black.

P3B color comic pictures also include the same artwork of the 100 T88-1 base set and many of the same designs as the P3A black & white group. There are 376 pictures that have been reported or confirmed. Included in the color pictures is a section of "I'm the guy ..." pins that is not found in black & white. Within the "I'm the guy ..." group there are many subjects with the same basic picture but with different captions (as many as five for some pictures). It is quite possible that these "I'm the guy..." pins were a separate, but related distribution.

All but five of the black & white designs have been seen in color and it is quite possible that these may be reported in the future (Have you seen the baby, I can do up anything, I'm afraid of my wife, I'm the little lost child, and You need a shave). There are many color pictures that are not found in black & white.

The current combined listing has a total count of 381 reported or confirmed. The checklists below show numbers in parentheses for the pictures that match the T88-1 base set. The "X" numbers are the actual numbers in Set T88-1 (A54-62-1) while the "Y" numbers are the actual numbers in Set T88-4 (A54-62-2). As a note, in some cases for T88-4 the captions differ from those found on the matching T88-1 designs.

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