Camera-ready comic art drawing for Big Ben Bolt

Description (Brief)
This pen-and-ink drawing produced for the Big Ben Bolt comic strip shows Ben interested in saving the ship’s crew being held hostage by Captain Kessel.
John Cullen Murphy (1919-2004) drew sports cartoons in his early career. After World War II he freelanced and in 1949 writer Elliot Caplin, from King Features, proposed that they collaborate on a new boxing strip called Big Ben Bolt, which Murphy illustrated until the end of its run in 1978. In the meantime, beginning in 1970, Murphy also began working with Hal Foster on the Prince Valiant strip and took it over completely with Foster’s retirement. He continued the strip, with the help of his son, until his own retirement in early 2004.
Big Ben Bolt (1950-1978) was the protagonist for a comic strip about the title character's boxing and journalism career. Unlike the storyline in Ham Fisher’s Joe Palooka writer Elliot Caplin decided to stray from the boxing character formula, of a simple-minded athlete, and described Ben as a college graduate who only chose boxing because he genuinely enjoyed it. At one point, Ben was sidelined by an injury and began working in journalism. Many of the strip’s storylines featured Ben covering boxing matches instead of physically participating in them.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
date made
graphic artist
Murphy, John Cullen
King Features Syndicate
Physical Description
newsprint (overall material)
ink (overall material)
overall: 13.8 cm x 42.4 cm; 5 7/16 in x 16 11/16 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Family & Social Life
Cultures & Communities
Popular Entertainment
Comic Art
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Graphic Arts
Comic Art
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Newspaper Comics Council, Inc., New York, NY

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