A FUNNY THING HAPPENED…. (PART TWO)

Part One of this Smithsonian Collection-based series on newspaper comics noted that weekday comic strips began in Hearst newspapers in the early 1900s. These strips, however — unlike Sunday strips — were not in color, appeared irregularly (up to 2 or 3 days a week) and were aimed more at adult readers than at children. The nation’s first full daily comic page appeared in Hearst’s New York Evening Journal on Jan. 31, 1912.

The Sunday comics in those days featured demon children, clownish buffoons or humanized animals. On the other hand, the order of the day in weekday strips after 1907, according to Smithsonian, was satire, cheerful cynicism and subdued slapstick, centered on helpless husbands, burlesque detectives and inept scoundrels.  Quoting from “The Real Mission of the Funny Paper” in Century Magazine, March 1924: “The funny paper has …. become not only a faithful reflection of the tastes and ethical principles of the country at large; it is also manifestly an extremely powerful organ of social satire.”

The 1920s to mid 1930s saw a proliferation of new strips; a dozen or more syndicates were by then supplying an insatiable newspaper market, while the old and established strips retained their audiences. This was the period in which Sunday comic sections went from 4 to 8 to 16 to as many as 32 pages, and it brings us to the list of 1933 cartoon characters in my May 9th post FUNNY ON PAPER (PART THREE). This marked the last great period of full Sunday pages for each strip. By the 1940s, half pages or less for major strips became common, and “The galaxy of the comic strip never again was to glow so brightly as during these last marvelous years of its springtide.” Here’s the scoop on some of those strips:

MUTT & JEFF  http://scoop.diamondgalleries.com/Home/4/1/73/1016?articleID=46633
BARNEY GOOGLE  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StkJTSAq0dE
DICK TRACY  http://dicktracymuseum.com/chester-gould/timeline/
GASOLINE ALLEY  http://www.tcj.com/growing-old-in-gasoline-alley-ninety-four-years-and-counting/
POPEYE  http://popeye.com/history/

TO BE CONCLUDED

 

 

 

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