Preacher, Lawyer or Doctor
Most famous comic artists will tell you that they have drawn pictures ever since their cradle days.
Not so, however, with Edgar E. Martin. He drew wrath from his college professors before he ever drew humor from an ink bottle.
Yet it was only a short time after his first experiment in drawing that Martin found himself with NEA Service and known from coast to coast as the author of the fascinating girl strip, “Boots and Her Buddies”!
Because he had none of the early experiences so common to artists, Martin’s story is an interesting one. Born in Indianapolis, Ind., he very soon was taken to Nashville, Tenn., where his father was a professor of biology in a small college. The family lived on a large country place and Edgar drew water from the well, milk from the cows and displeasure from his professor-parents for not evincing any interest in the biological fauna that thrived on the place.
But the elder Martin was determined that the younger Martin should take up some sort of profession, whether doctoring, lawyering or preaching. So Edgar was sent to a preparatory school at Nashville and absorbed a groundwork for just about any sort of career but that of artist.
After his graduation the family moved to Monmouth, Ill. Professor Martin taught biology in Monmouth College and launched Edgar into a curriculum designed to fit him for the law.
Then, one day, Professor Martin emerged from his study with a harried look on his face and a pile of drawing in his arms.
“Edgar,” he said, “I wish you’d try to help me with these charts. I’ve a great many of them to do tonight.”
Thus it was that the elder Martin inadvertently chose his son’s career. The first picture that Edgar ever drew was the likeness of a salamander, a very scaly, crawly-looking reptile. Then he sketched a frog, and a grasshopper, while his father stared, amazed. Why, the boy had all the accurate, detailed technique of a skilled biologist!
“My son,” he fairly whooped in a lapse of professorial dignity, “you’re a natural-born –”
“Cartoonist” interrupted Edgar firmly. And he was.
Young Martin didn’t even tarry to complete the semester at college, but dashed off to the Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago. Once free of salamanders and frogs, his talent developed. He had been there only six months when NEA Service heard about him and sent him an invitation to come to Cleveland.
Martin turned out eight different comic strips before the great inspiration came.
Then “Boots and Her Buddies” began to march out across the newspaper pages of the nation. Masculine readers welcomed her with open eyes. Feminine readers eagerly followed her adventures and wondered “how in the world any man ever drew such perfectly wonderfully clothes.”
“Boots” today is recognized as the daintiest, most truly feminine character in any comic strip in America. And to think that Martin started out by drawing salamanders.
Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) Feb 24, 1930
Clean humor, gay and sparkling — “That’s Boots and Her Buddies” . . .
The Newark Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Feb 23, 1929
Boots is so beautiful she always has a small army of lovers . . .
Olean Evening Times (Olean, New York) Jul 16, 1930
The daily doings of blond and beautiful, the gay and irrepressible Boots . . .
Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Illinois) May 17, 1931
A contest conducted by the Bay City (Mich.) Daily Times to find the most perfect counterparts of Boots and Babe, famous characters in the comic strip “Boots and Her Buddies,” resulted in Miss Goldie Anderson, left, being picked as Boots and Miss Beatrice Stevens, right, as Babe. Edgar E. Martin, “Boots and Her Buddies” artist, was the judge. “Miss Boots” and “Miss Babe” will be guests of the newspaper at the Eastern Michigan Water Carnival in Bay City July 30 – Aug. 1.
Olean Evening Times (Olean, New York) Jul 23, 1931
Edgar Martin, who draws “Boots and Her Buddies”
You’d never guess it, but Edgar Martin, the artist of “Boots and Her Buddies,” is a reserved young man who hates crowds and collects antiques. He draws alluring co-eds and young men in raccoon coats as if he were a part of the picture, but prefers solitary hikes to collegiate hot-cha. Martin . . . his friends call him Abe . . . lives in a small town and has three Bootlets of his own: Mary, Sally, and Nancy. He smokes corncobs and wears old sweaters for comfort . . . but his smart drawings of the younger crowd make the gals sit up and take notice. His knowledge of new trends in feminine fineries is positively malicious.
The Zanesville Signal (Zanesville, Ohio) Jun 8, 1934
Boots, star of the comic strip, “Boots and Her Buddies,” becomes the bride of Rodney Ruggles today on the comic page of the Intelligencer.
The bride is an orphan and has made her home with the Stephen Tutts for the past 20 years. Her brother, Billy, is a prominent business executive in the nation’s capital. The bridegroom is the son of Ma and Pa Ruggles of Peculiar Grove, Texas.
Professor Tutt is giving the bride in marriage. She will wear a white satin gown with a sweetheart neckline, fitted peplum and full skirt.
Boots has chosen a fingertip veil held by pearlized orange blossoms. She will carry a Bible with a spray of lilies of the valley.
The matron of honor is Mrs. Stephen Tuff. Her frock is pale chiffon. She will carry a cascade bouquet of roses and wear a picture hat. Pug High will be flower girl.
A reception will be held at the home of the Tutts.
The bride attended Big Town College. She has been acclaimed glamor girl of the comic strips since her “birth” in 1924. The bridegroom is an ex-serviceman whose character and personality have won the hearts of every Boots fan.
Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Illinois) Oct 2, 1945
BOOTS AND HER BUDDIES – HERE IT IS
Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Illinois) Oct 2, 1945
BOOTS AND HER BUDDIES — THERE THEY GO
Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Illinois) Oct 3, 1945
BOOTS AND HER BUDDIES — TURNING THINGS AROUND
Ironwood Daily Globe (Ironwood, Michigan) Jul 12, 1946
MEET THE RUGGLES FAMILY
Ironwood Daily Globe (Ironwood, Michigan) Jul 31, 1946
Here are two more I found that ran earlier than the others. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) They were both full length (top to bottom) half page width advertisements — and both include a photo of Edgar Martin:
Modesto News-Herald (Modesto, California) Feb 16, 1928
Modesto News-Herald (Modesto, California) Feb 26, 1927