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Johnson, Russ

Mister Oswald was a monthly, Sunday page-style comic strip, which appeared in the pages of the "Hardware Retailer". Starting in 1927, Russ Johnson (1893-1995) went on to draw Mister Oswald for 62 years, finally handing over the reigns of the strip to Larry Day in 1989, at the age of 95. Russ' tenure on the strip is a record for a comic strip done by the original creator.

Mister Oswald detailed the trials and tribulations of a hardware store owner, and mirrored Russ Johnson's own experiences, as he took over the family hardware business after his father passed away, and continued operating the store until 1963. He simultaneously operated a shoe store which his brother-in-law started, all the while drawing Mister Oswald, as well as other strips for different trade publications.

Mister Oswald was all about gentle humor and observations, done in Johnson's bigfoot style. Russ studied under Billy DeBeck and Carl Ed in Chicago, and longed for his own newspaper strip. His real strength, besides the ability to draw huge quantities of nuts and bolts over 62 years, was his build-up to the gag. As Mel Casson would later put it when describing Jay Irving's ability to build-up a gag, Russ knew how to sell it. He knew how to sell the gag after the build-up.

But Mister Oswald also presents a good slice of our country's social history. It is a time-capsule of the retail trade through Depression and wars. Through good times and bad. All reflected in the life of Oswald S. Oswald.

I was lucky enough to conduct the last interview Russ ever gave, back in July 1995. He was 101 years old at the time, and passed away two months later. the interview was published by Hogan's Alley and can be read at the Hogan's Alley website. One of the things that really struck me during the interview, was that I was interviewing a WWI vet! I don't know how many WWI were with us in 1995, but it couldn't have been many. It was great to hear about Russ' experiences during the war.

There are 10 Pieces of Art In This Gallery.    

This Room is Ordered By The Owner's Preference.

Russ Johnson Photo Comic Art
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Russ Johnson Photo

Art Details

Artist:
Media Type: Photograph
Art Type: Other
For Sale Status: NFS
Views 704
Comments: 0
Added to Site: 8/23/2005

About the Owner

Rob Stolzer Paid Member
Member Since: September 2004

Russ Johnson Photo
Artist: 704 Views

Russ Johnson - Mister Oswald - Mistaken Identity Comic Art
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Russ Johnson - Mister Oswald - Mistaken Identity

Art Details

Artist: Russ Johnson (Inker)
Media Type: Pen and Ink
Art Type: Comic Strip
For Sale Status: NFS
Views 689
Comments: 4
Added to Site: 12/18/2004

About the Owner

Rob Stolzer Paid Member
Member Since: September 2004

Russ Johnson - Mister Oswald - Mistaken Identity
Artist: Russ Johnson (Inker)
689 Views, 4 Comments

Russ Johnson - Mister Oswald - At the Doctors Comic Art
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Russ Johnson - Mister Oswald - At the Doctors

Art Details

Artist: Russ Johnson (All)
Media Type: Pen and Ink
Art Type: Comic Strip
For Sale Status: NFS
Views 785
Comments: 0
Added to Site: 12/18/2004

About the Owner

Rob Stolzer Paid Member
Member Since: September 2004

Russ Johnson - Mister Oswald - At the Doctors
Artist: Russ Johnson (All)
785 Views

Russ Johnson - Mister Oswald - Interesting Economic Times Comic Art
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Russ Johnson - Mister Oswald - Interesting Economic Times

Art Details

Artist: Russ Johnson (All)
Media Type: Pen and Ink
Art Type: Comic Strip
For Sale Status: NFS
Views 685
Comments: 0
Added to Site: 12/18/2004

About the Owner

Rob Stolzer Paid Member
Member Since: September 2004

Russ Johnson - Mister Oswald - Interesting Economic Times
Artist: Russ Johnson (All)
685 Views

Russ Johnson - Mister Oswald - Meeting of the Minds Comic Art
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Russ Johnson - Mister Oswald - Meeting of the Minds

Art Details

Artist: Russ Johnson (All)
Media Type: Pen and Ink
Art Type: Comic Strip
For Sale Status: NFS
Views 526
Comments: 0
Added to Site: 12/18/2004

About the Owner

Rob Stolzer Paid Member
Member Since: September 2004

Russ Johnson - Mister Oswald - Meeting of the Minds
Artist: Russ Johnson (All)
526 Views

Russ Johnson - Mister Oswald -The Woes of Retail During Remodeling Comic Art
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Russ Johnson - Mister Oswald -The Woes of Retail During Remodeling

Art Details

Artist: Russ Johnson (All)
Media Type: Pen and Ink
Art Type: Other
For Sale Status: NFS
Views 581
Comments: 0
Added to Site: 12/18/2004

About the Owner

Rob Stolzer Paid Member
Member Since: September 2004

Russ Johnson - Mister Oswald -The Woes of Retail During Remodeling
Artist: Russ Johnson (All)
581 Views

Russ Johnson - Mister Oswald - With the Missus Comic Art
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Russ Johnson - Mister Oswald - With the Missus

Art Details

Artist: Russ Johnson (All)
Media Type: Pen and Ink
Art Type: Comic Strip
For Sale Status: NFS
Views 527
Comments: 0
Added to Site: 12/18/2004

About the Owner

Rob Stolzer Paid Member
Member Since: September 2004

Russ Johnson - Mister Oswald - With the Missus
Artist: Russ Johnson (All)
527 Views

Russ Johnson - Spuddle's Sport Shoppe - Bathroom Breaks Comic Art
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Russ Johnson - Spuddle's Sport Shoppe - Bathroom Breaks

Art Details

Artist: Russ Johnson (All)
Media Type: Pen and Ink
Art Type: Comic Strip
For Sale Status: NFS
Views 173
Comments: 0
Added to Site: 12/11/2015

About the Owner

Rob Stolzer Paid Member
Member Since: September 2004

Russ Johnson - Spuddle's Sport Shoppe - Bathroom Breaks
Artist: Russ Johnson (All)
173 Views

Russ Johnson - Spuddle's Sports Shoppe - Football Comic Art
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Russ Johnson - Spuddle's Sports Shoppe - Football

Art Details

Artist: Russ Johnson (All)
Media Type: Pen and Ink
Art Type: Comic Strip
For Sale Status: NFS
Views 632
Comments: 0
Added to Site: 11/5/2010

About the Owner

Rob Stolzer Paid Member
Member Since: September 2004

Russ Johnson - Spuddle's Sports Shoppe - Football
Artist: Russ Johnson (All)
632 Views

Russ Johnson - Spuddle's Sports Shoppe - Salesman Comic Art
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Russ Johnson - Spuddle's Sports Shoppe - Salesman

Art Details

Artist: Russ Johnson (All)
Media Type: Pen and Ink
Art Type: Comic Strip
For Sale Status: NFS
Views 605
Comments: 0
Added to Site: 11/5/2010

About the Owner

Rob Stolzer Paid Member
Member Since: September 2004

Russ Johnson - Spuddle's Sports Shoppe - Salesman
Artist: Russ Johnson (All)
605 Views

There are 10 Pieces of Art In This Gallery.    

This Room is Ordered By The Owner's Preference.

 

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About the Owner

Rob Stolzer
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Joined: September 2004
Ebay Id: robart
Website: http://www.robstolzer.com
Country: UNITED STATES
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