Finding aid created by: TRO
Date: Jul 1969
|23 Mar 2007||converted to EAD (MRC)|
|2 Feb 2010||added detailed bio, scope and inventory (SK)|
Overview of the Collection
|Title:||William Overgard Cartoons|
|Quantity:||20.8 linear ft.|
|Abstract:||Approximately 3,032 original cartoons from the comic strip, Steve Roper.|
|Repository:||Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010
William Overgard (1926-1990) was an American cartoonist and comic artist.
William Overgard was born on April 30, 1926 in Santa Monica, California and graduated from Santa Monica High School. His father acted in silent movies. At age 12, Overgard sent his drawings to cartoonist Milton Caniff, whose Terry and the Pirates, Overgard enjoyed. Overgard enlisted in the armed forces in 1944 and served in Okinawa. During this time he pursued several ideas for comic strips, including one based on the American Civil War. Overgard moved to New York City in 1948, at Caniff's suggestion, after spending several months as an art student at Santa Monica City College. He worked on comics books for Lev Gleason and Dell Comics. These included Black Diamond, (a western), Boy Comics, and Daredevil. Overgard also submitted comic strip ideas to United Features Syndicate and Publishers Newspaper Syndicate.
In 1954, Overgard was hired by Publishers to replace Elmer Woggon as the artist on Steve Roper which was still appearing under the name of original artist Woggon although it had been ghosted for several years by other artists. Allen Saunders served as writer for the strip. Overgard added his own character of Mike Nomad and eventually the strip became officially known as Steve Roper and Mike Nomad. Overgard, who for a time had trouble meeting his various deadlines, shared a studio in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City with artists Leonard Starr (Mary Perkins On Stage) and Tom Scheuer before returning to working outside of his home on his farm in Stony Point, New York. Overgard also wrote the Kerry Drake strip for several years during the 1970s.
After drawing Steve Roper for over thirty years, Overgard left in 1982 for Rudy, a comic strip he created about a talking chimpanzee who previously had a successful Vaudeville career. Rudy, distributed by United Features Syndicate, ended its run in 1985 and a compilation of strips appeared as Rudy in Hollywood (1984).
In addition to pursuing visual art, Overgard wrote thriller novels, screenplays, and scripts for animated series such as Thundercats. Overgard published the books Pieces of a Hero (1973) and Once More the Hero (1974). Overgard was a member of the National Cartoonists Society and one of his Steve Roper strips was used by Roy Lichtenstein in his 1961 painting, “I Can See the Whole Room”.
William Overgard died on May 25, 1990.
The William Overgard Cartoons consist of a single series containing daily and Sunday panels for the Steve Roper comic strip. There are a total of a 3,046 original pieces of artwork, with 2,728 daily and 304 Sunday strips. There are also 14 copies of daily strips in the collection.
Steve Roper, an adventure continuity strip, features photojournalist Steve Roper who works for the fictional Spotlight magazine in New York City. Roper and Mike Nomad (a character created by Overgard) investigate criminal activity and are often in the company of beautiful women.
Overgard worked primarily in pen and ink on illustration board. Traces of pencil are visible. Dates appear both inked on the cartoon and also at the top in pencil. The original artwork bears both the name of Overgard and writer Allen Saunders. Dates stamped on the back of cartoons precede the cartoon's publication date. Included are also 27 Sunday comic strips which were drawn in color watercolor on paper.
Cartoons are divided into daily and Sunday strips and are arranged chronologically. However, within the Sunday strips, the color strips are foldered separately from the black and white strips.
The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.
Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.
See also the Allen Saunders Cartoons collection for additional material related to the comic strip Steve Roper.
Special Collections Research Center has collections of over one hundred cartoonists. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.
Publishers newspaper syndicate.
Steve Roper (comic strip)
Adventure and adventurers -- Comic books, strips, etc.
American wit and humor, Pictorial.
Caricatures and cartoons -- United States.
Cartoonists -- United States.
Comic books, strips, etc. -- United States.
Photojournalists -- Comic books, strips, etc.
Genres and Forms
Cartoons (humorous images)
Preferred citation for this material is as follows:
William Overgard Cartoons
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
Gift of William Overgard, 1969.
|Click here for a detailed inventory.|
|Daily cartoons 7" x 23"|
|Oversize 1||1954 Jul - 1955 Jul|
|Oversize 2||1955 Aug - 1956 Mar, 1956 May|
|Oversize 3||1956 Jun - 1957 Jul|
|Oversize 4||1957 Aug - 1958 Apr|
|Oversize 5||1958 May - Jul, 1958 Dec - 1959 Apr, 1959 Jun - 1960 Aug|
|Oversize 6||1960 Sep - 1961 May|
|Oversize 7||1961 Jun - Dec|
|Oversize 8||1962 Jan - Aug|
|Oversize 9||1962 Sep - 1963 Jun|
|Oversize 10||1963 Jul - 1964 Mar|
|Oversize 11||1964 Apr - Dec|
|Oversize 12||1965 Jan - Sep|
|Oversize 13||1965 Oct - 1966 Apr|
|Oversize 14||1966 May - Dec|
|Oversize 15||1967 Jan - Oct|
|Oversize 16||1967 Nov - 1968 Jun|
|Sunday cartoons 14 ½" x 22"|
|Color cartoons measure approximately 10 ½" x 15 ½" and 7 3/4" x 11 ½"|
|Oversize 17||1954 Jul - Oct, 1955 Feb - Apr, 1955 Jun, 1955 Oct - Nov,1957 Sep - 1958 May, 1958 Dec - 1959 Apr, 1959 Jul - 1961 Jul, 1961 Sep - 1962 Apr|
|Oversize 18||1962 May - 1964 Dec|
|Oversize 19||1965 Jan - 1968 Jun|