Wednesday, September 30, 2015

THIS IS THE LIFE! by Walt McDougall

Above: "Old Mr. Profanity Makes a New Year's Resolution" by Walt McDougall (1903), nicked from the Billy Ireland blog. 

Cartoonist Walt McDougall (1858 - 1938) "practically invented [comic strips] in the 1890s" according to comic strip historian Allan Holtz. He worked at the magazines like Puck and Harper's Weekly, as well as the New York Graphic and then he New York World. When the very first comic strip was ever published in color, it was drawn by McDougall. There was a time when he was drawing six comis strips a week. He may be best known for a newspaper comic strip of L. Frank Baum's "Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz" which was reprinted by Sunday Press Books. 

Here's Mr. Holtz:

"It has long been my belief that the most important and interesting cartoonist memoir ever published is that of Walt McDougall. Titled 'THIS IS THE LIFE,' it was published in 1926 by Knopf, at a time when McDougall was struggling to find work in a profession that he had practically invented in the 1890s. Though the occasional touch of bitterness shows through in the book, as is to be expected, McDougall in the main does a wonderful job of giving readers an exciting and insightful look at the early years of the newspaper cartooning profession -- a profession in which he had a key role over and over again.

Allan has found THIS IS THE LIFE! online and is now indexing it, chapter by chapter, at his Stripper's Guide blog. So far, he has the preamble and part one of Chapter One. There are 330 pages, so it's a slow process. He is doing all of us a public service by showcasing this book on the seminal years of newspaper comics and the people who drew them. 

Above: “Familiar Sights of a Great City—No. 1 The Cop is Coming!” by Walt McDougall, New York Journal, Sunday, January 9, 1898.

My thanks to Mr. Holtz for this undertaking!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Yeah! We all need to encourage Allan to continue this excellent endeavor.

Elsewhere this past weekend, John Adcock also posted about McDougall: