Thursday, April 27, 2017

More from Aesop's Fables (1884):

This is a follow-up to an earlier post.  Here's another chapter from this amazing 1884 children's volume, with superb (and mildly nightmarish!) art by Edmund H. Garrett.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Froggie and His Friends, from Our Young Folks--June, 1873.

Scanned, and retouched, by me from my copy of Our Young Folks--An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls (June, 1873).  Awesome, cartoon-style artwork, but whose?


Montages--examples from 1880, 1887, and 1890

I call these "montages."  If there's an actual, official name for them, I'd love to know.  Anyway, I've been encountering them constantly in magazines of the late 19th century, and they're so tantalizingly close to 20th-century comic book layouts, I want to call them comics.  Certainly, they'd be at home in a modern Sunday comics section.

Observe the way that text and art intertwine--interact, even--in these.  A bridge between early comic strips and modern comic magazines?

From 1887 issues of The Youth's Companion, an 1880 issue of Golden Hours, and the Feb., 1890 issue of Wide Awake.  Coolest of all is the third Youth's Companion piece, "The Pussy and the Turtle," which looks (and reads) like Dr. Suess!

Scans by me from magazines in my overflowing collection:

The Youth's Companion, Oct. 29, 1887 (above).

The Youth's Companion, Oct. 6, 1887 (above).

The Youth's Companion, June 16, 1887 (above).

The Youth's Companion, May 12, 1887 (above).  How close to a comic book page can something get?  

Golden Hours, October, 1880 (above).  Situated in the middle of a short story.  Note the bulletin board motif!  It features characters and scenes from the text. 

Wide Awake, Feb., 1890 (above).  This cries out to be converted to modern comic book format! 


Near-comic page: Bertie and His Sled (1875, 1884)

Today, we have a near-comic page called Bertie and His Sled, scanned by me from Sunshine for Little Children (The Sunshine Press, Philadelphia,1884).  This had previously appeared in 1875 as a three-paged feature in The Nursery.  Note that the panels are arranged top to bottom in three rows; reading from left to right throws the tale out of order.  Printed full-page and in three sections for your near-comic page reading pleasure:


Thursday, April 6, 2017

1883 picture serial--Through Spain on Donkey-Back, Part 1 (W.P. Bodfish)

"Through Spain on Donkey-Back" was a multi-part "picture serial" that appeared in the children's periodical Wide Awake, beginning with the April, 1883 issue.  Drawn by one W.P. Bodfish, it looks and functions so much like a modern comic book feature, I can't see what else it could be considered.

Below: Feb., 1883 back cover Wide Awake ad for "Through Spain on Donkey-Back":


Friday, February 24, 2017

Aesop's Fables (1884): The modern comic page on its way

I was able to get this wonderful 1884 book on the cheap from eBay, owing to some loose pages throughout.  I owe thanks to the binding for deteriorating--this kept the item in my price range.  Pages otherwise look fine.

But before we open Aesop's Fables, let me present this 1901 New York Herald comic page by Richard F. Outcault, of Yellow Kid fame (image swiped from eBay).  Its depictions of African Americans, as most of us probably know, was par for the 1901 course.  This was your great-great grandparents' popular culture:

What's significant to this post is Outcault's comic page layout: text surrounded by comic panels of various shapes--some lined, some not.  This is the same format featured in the Aesop's Fables chapter, "The Ants and the Grasshopper," by illustrator Morgan J. Sweeney. To the scans:

Below: A short text version of Aesop's fable...

...followed by a much longer version in verse and accompanied by Sweeney's delightful comic page illustrations:

Note the slightly softened ending for young readers.  The grasshopper dies, as in Aesop's tale, but only after the ants have taken pity on him, giving him food and clothing--to no avail.

A quick Google search turns up nothing on Morgan J. Sweeney, save for illustration credits.  Shouldn't he better known?  (Him, and a host of other children's illustrators from this era.)  More chapters to come....