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Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Comic Home Journal

It's been a while since we looked at an old comic so let's crank up the Blimey Timey Machine and see where we end up. It's 1903, we're 115 years in the past, and you're looking at a copy of The Comic Home Journal, a rather stodgy title for one of the early British comics.

The Comic Home Journal ran from 1895 to 1904, so this 1903 issue was from a year before its closure. It was published by Alfred Harmsworth (later The Amalgamated Press). It would be replaced by Butterfly, a more modern comic (well, for 1904) and aimed at a younger audience.

The format was typical of the time; 8 tabloid sized pages (the size of today's Daily Mirror or Sunday Post, etc) and printed on pink paper. The contents were a 50/50 mixture of prose stories and comic strips. 

Typical of British comics of the period, the strips are all uncredited. The cover strip seems to be either influenced by American newspaper strips of the time or a retitled reprint. I'm not sure because I can find no information on it.

The centre pages of the comic were similar to other comics of the day in that they featured an assortment of short strips and cartoons. Here's a selection...

The Flip-Flop Twins definitely show an American influence, with the dialogue on the shirts a complete steal from The Yellow Kid...

The back page is notable because it features Lanky Larry and Bloated Bill, a strip by Tom Browne, the pioneer of the British humour comics style. Browne was the creator of Weary Willie and Tired Tim for Chips, and their success led to similar strips, usually by imitators of Browne's style. In this case, Browne is imitating his own creations.

The Comic Home Journal must look very unappealing to modern tastes but this style was very popular over 100 years ago and we should respect that. Artistic styles and tastes change, and always will, but the purpose of humour comics, - to entertain and amuse, - remains constant.

1 comment:

Peter Gray said...

Good to celebrate the Leo Baxendale artist of his artist that infuanced many..

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