Canyon Country Kiddies
Due to copyright restrictions, only US distribution is offered.
Comic Art from a Landscape Artist:
James Swinnerton (1875-1974) began his professional comic art career in 1892, and is regarded as one of the significant early contributors to the development of this art form. His strips included The Little Bears, Mr. Jack, and Little Jimmy. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1906 (and told he had only weeks to live), but a move to the dry southwest brought him back to health. The beautiful southwestern deserts became his favorite subject in landscape art.
His passions for comic art and the southwest (and his affection for the Hopi and Navajo people he befriended in his travels) merged in 1922 into a regular feature for Good Housekeeping magazine, the Canyon Kiddies, pairing comic art scenes with descriptive rhymes. The early popularity of this feature led to the publishing of this collection of comics in book form in 1923. No further book collections were published, though Canyon Kiddies was included in the magazine (with one 7-year hiatus) until 1941.
This reprint of the 1923 collection includes full color and black-and-white sketch art. Each page contains a small to moderate sized panel with a rhyme, as shown to left.
One further point of interest, Swinnerton licensed the Canyon Kiddies characters to the Warner Bros., which they intended to use in a series of short animated cartoons. Only one was actually produced ("Mighty Hunters," 1940), and you can view it here. The characterization and plotting are classic Chuck Jones, but the background scenery was painted by Swinnerton himself. Swinnerton's small landscapes still command interest in the western art market today.