Cap Stubbs and Tippie go about their daily business. Artist: Edwina Dumm.


Original Medium: Newspaper comics
Distributed by: George Matthew Adams Service
First Appeared: 1918
Creator: Edwina Dumm
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From its earliest days, the comics page was rife with features about fun-loving, sometimes mischievous young boys — Henry, Skippy, Little Jimmy … This one gets high marks …

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… for both entertainment value and authenticity, and yet was written and drawn by someone with no experience at being a young boy, fun-loving and mischievous or otherwise. Frances Edwina Dumm was probably the first female political cartoonist in America as well as the first woman with a daily syndicated comic of her own, and the creator of Cap Stubbs & Tippie.

Edwina (she signed her work with just her middle name) grew up in the newspaper business, but was the only one in her family to show drawing talent — not the only one with creativity, as her father, Frank Dumm, had been a successful actor and playwright in New York before taking over his father's newspaper in Sandusky, Ohio, but the only one whose creativity manifested itself in that particular area. After a mail-order art course from C.N. Landon's school (where Roy Crane of Wash Tubbs and Buz Sawyer also got his first formal training), Edwina went to work drawing editorial cartoons for The Columbus Monitor about 1915, when she was 18 years old. After a couple of years there, she drew on her childhood experience as a tomboy and created this comic strip about a boy and his dog. The George Matthew Adams Service (well known for non-comics features but with few memorable strips other than this one, Ed Wheelan's Minute Movies and Jack Kirby's Sky Masters) began syndicating the Monday through Saturday feature in 1918.

Cap's most prominent parent figure was actually his grandmother, Sara Bailey, who clearly doted on the boy despite the fact that his high energy and general boyishness constantly drove her to distraction. Mom (Mary) and Dad (Milton Stubbs) lived in the house too, but "Gran'ma" was the one readers got to know best. And the little dog Tippie, of course, was Cap's constant companion.

Tippie wasn't just a dog — "he" was actually a succession of two dogs. The first Tippie was short-haired, and looked a lot like one named Minnie who had been a regular in Edwina's earlier cartoons. At the same time Edwina was drawing a feature in Life magazine about a fluffy little dog called Sinbad (named in a reader contest, tho the winner may have been chosen because a family pet in the cartoonist's childhood was named Lily Jane Sinbad II). Adams suggested Cap's dog be re-designed after Sinbad, so she had Tippie get lost, setting off a suspenseful search. Eventually, he was found keeping company with a crippled boy who had bonded so thoroughly with the dog that Cap was too moved to part them. The second Tippie, who looked the same except wooly-furred, is the one people remember — and in fact, in an unusual instance of cross-syndicate cooperation, King Features began marketing a Tippie Sunday page in the '30s. (A third use Edwina made of the same basic dog design was in Alec the Great, a daily feature that ran from the 1930s to the '60s, in which she illustrated verses by her brother, Robert Dennis Dumm.

For a brief time during the late 1930s, the two were reprinted in Popular Comics, the early comic book anthology that collected Dick Tracy, Texas Slim, Smokey Stover and other popular comics. There were also some reprints in the back pages of a few early 1940s All-American comic books. Later, Dell Comics devoted two issues of its Four Color Comics series, #s 210 and 242 (January and August, 1949) to them. There was some licensed sheet music with Edwina-drawn covers in the late 1940s, with words and music by Edwina's roommate (she never married), Helen Slater. But that was about the extent of the feature's media penetration. This may have resulted from the Adams syndicate's less-than-overwhelming commitment to marketing comics — Cap Stubbs & Tippie was certainly as well liked by the general public as many strips that got more exposure. King Features later distributed the daily as well as Sunday, but by then, movies and Big Little Books about newspaper comics had become less common.

The title was changed several times. It started as Cap Stubbs before assuming the more familiar title. At various times it was called Tippie & Cap Stubbs or just Tippie.. There may even have been times Tippie's name was spelled "Tippy", tho a major comic book bibliography is mistaken when it gives this spelling in the title of the Dell comics.

Whatever the title, its vividly realized and well liked characters made it quite popular. It lasted nearly half a century, written and drawn by Edwina the whole time, and was last seen in 1966.


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Text ©2004-05 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Edwina Dumm estate.