Drawn by MARGE

Who remembers the comic Little Lulu? I have fond memories of sitting with my father reading Little Lulu in the Sunday funnies. I loved Lulu and still have one of her comic books from 1961.

Why am I bringing this up? Because as usual I just went in search of information about a piece of ephemera. This time it's the comic above that is from that eternally ephemera prolific Saturday Evening Post, April 14, 1934.

This comic has the byline "Drawn by Marge" with the signature "Marge" in the lower left corner. So who was Marge? A little digging brought me to Little Lulu and the following at Wikipedia:
Marjorie Henderson Buell (December 11, 1904–May 30, 1993) was an American cartoonist who worked under the pen name Marge. She was best known as the creator of Little Lulu.

Born Marjorie Lyman Henderson in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Buell was 16 when her first cartoon was published. In 1925 she created her first syndicated comic strip, The Boy Friend, which ran through 1926. Marge was friends with Oz author Ruth Plumly Thompson and illustrated her fantasy novel King Kojo (1933).

Hired by The Saturday Evening Post in 1934, her first Little Lulu drawing appeared on the back page of that weekly in 1935. Little Lulu replaced Carl Anderson's Henry, which had been picked up for distribution by King Features Syndicate. Little Lulu was created as a result of Anderson's success. Schlesinger Library curator Kathryn Allamong Jacob wrote:

Lulu was born in 1935 when The Saturday Evening Post asked Buell to create a successor to the magazine’s Henry—Carl Anderson’s stout, mute little boy—who was moving on to national syndication. The result was Little Lulu, the resourceful, equally silent (at first) little girl whose loopy curls were reminiscent of the artist’s own as a girl. Buell explained to a reporter, “I wanted a girl because a girl could get away with more fresh stunts that in a small boy would seem boorish.”

In 1935, she married C. Addison Buell. The couple had two sons, Fred and Larry, and lived in Malvern, Pennsylvania.

The Little Lulu panel continued to run weekly in The Saturday Evening Post until December 30, 1944. Buell retained the rights, unusual for the time. In 1950, Little Lulu became a daily syndicated comic strip. Buell marketed Little Lulu widely throughout the 1940s. The character appeared in comic books, animated cartoons, greeting cards and more. Little Lulu comic books, popular internationally, were translated into Arabic, Finnish, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish and Greek.

Buell also did illustrations for Country Gentleman, Ladies' Home Journal and Collier's. Buell stopped drawing Little Lulu in 1947, and the work was continued by others, while she kept creative control. Sketching and writing of the Little Lulu comic book series was taken on by John Stanley, who later drew Nancy and Sluggo. Buell sold her Little Lulu rights to Western Publishing when she retired in 1971.

She died of lymphoma in Elyria, Ohio in 1993. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
NOTE: the comic panel above right is the first appearance of Little Lulu.
So this comic was created a little over a year before Lulu appeared. I knew the style looked familiar, but had no idea it was Lulu I was thinking of.

Now, the comic book I have was not drawn by Majorie Henderson Buell. The person responsible for the comic book is most likely John Stanley.

My fondest memory of Little Lulu is the billboard in Times Square in the 1950s. My folks took me to Manhattan during Christmas vacation and our hotel was close enough to the sign that I could look out the window and watch Lulu in neon pulling Kleenex after Kleenex out of a box. I was in Lulu neon heaven.


  1. Great story. I really enjoyed this. How wonderful that she had her first cartoon published when she was 16.

  2. I was so surprised to dig down and find this. I had no idea scanning this comic would lead me to Lulu.

  3. I loved Little Lulu and used to buy the comic books. I don't think the comic strip ran in our very small hometown newspaper. I'm pretty sure they ran Nancy and Sluggo though. I wonder how Buell ended up in Elyria, Ohio. It seems an unlikely place for one whose roots seemed firmly entrenched in the Philadelphia area.

  4. Ah yes, Sluggo. The Edward G. Robinson of the wee ones.

  5. Great drawings, fab girl power story. Love the yoga pose!