Q: My mother gave me this cartoon picture in the 1960s or early '70s. I put it in the bottom of a dresser drawer and pretty much forgot about it until now. It's signed "For Cheryl from Marvin Bradley." My local library couldn't give me much information, but the librarian told me that Mr. Bradley drew the "Rex Morgan, M.D." comic strip and helped draw other strips. I would like to frame the cartoon appropriately.
A: The comic strip "Rex Morgan, M.D." was drawn by Marvin Bradley from 1948 to 1978, with backgrounds done by Frank Edgington. The comic strip was the brainchild of Dr. Nicholas Dallis, a psychiatrist, using the pseudonym Dal Curtis. He wanted the strip to educate the public about various diseases and other medical issues. The dots that make up the background of your picture are called "ben-day dots," named after the printer who invented the process of adding shading or colors, Benjamin Henry Day, Jr. (1838-1916). The dots were printed on a thin transparent film that was glued to the artwork. They prove that yours is an original piece of art that would have been sent to the printer for reproduction in the strip. The ink used to draw comic art will fade if exposed to light for long periods, so you actually preserved it by keeping it in the bottom of a dresser drawer. If you want to display it, take it to a good frame shop and have it archivally mounted. There should be space between the glass and the artwork so that the picture doesn't touch the glass. Don't hang it in a place where it will be exposed to bright light or sunlight. Value of your original comic art: a few hundred dollars.