Monday, August 14, 2017

Comic Cuts Seaside Holiday Number (from 1923)

Back before the days of the Summer Special, weekly comics had a holiday theme to their regular issues. One of which being Comic Cuts No.1735, dated August 11th 1923, which was re-named for this week as Comic Cuts Seaside Holiday Number. Let's take a quick look at some of the content.

The cover strip was The Adventures of Jolly Tom, the Menagerie Man, and was drawn by Percy Cocking, one of Amalgamated Press' top artists. (He also illustrated Weary Willie and Tired Tim on the cover of Chips at this time, along with many other strips.)

The format of this "special" was exactly the same as any other week; 8 tabloid sized pages in black and white. (The standard format of comics of the time.) There was an equal balance of prose stories and comic strips, with the centre pages featuring lots of short strips. Here are three of them...



Page 7 had a busy layout of humourous stories, cartoons, ads, and the "Orfice Boy" recounting his trip to Margate...

On the back page... an sad reflection of how black people were regarded back then, re-presented here for historical purposes and to help give younger readers an inkling of what they had to put up with. I believe the artist of Comic Cuts Colony was Julius Stafford Baker. I'm sure the intention was just a "bit of fun" with no intended malice but it's still dehumanising a race. I've heard the argument that "everyone was caricatured back then, including white people". No. Not to the extent of the grotesque exaggerations of black characters, as one can see by comparing Comic Cuts Colony to the strip beneath it. In comics back then, white characters had slight exaggerations, whilst non-whites were completely distorted and depicted as almost sub-human (and referred to in racist terms). We need to ensure we never return to those days. 

2 comments:

Walter, your steward said...

The characters from the cover look so much like the Katzenjammer Kids - clothes, haircuts and behavior. Could it be an influence ? (I mean, just like Max und Moritz were to the Katzenjammer)

Lew Stringer said...

A definite influence I think, yes.

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