Sunday, October 09, 2005

 

Dorothy And The Killies


Here’s a sample of a great obscure strip, Dorothy And The Killies. It was written and drawn by B. Cory Kilvert for the New York Press in 1914-15. The premise is that anything sweet little Dorothy draws comes to life. Now Kilvert could have made this a strip full of sweet little unicorns and flowers, but instead his Dorothy is a little hellion with no time for drawing pink ponies and that sort of guff. Instead she draws homicidal beasts that she names, quite properly, Killies. They’re all bloodthirsty animals and she sets them on whoever is unlucky enough to be in the vicinity. In this example she sends a few of them after a cop. This, frankly, is one of the least grotesque strips of the series. I’ve seen a few examples that are downright disturbing.

Wondering what the heck the New York Press is? It was a second-class newspaper, really just a holdover from the nineteenth century, when it was purchased in 1912 by Frank Munsey. Munsey was a publishing millionaire who wanted to form a national chain of newspapers and the Press was to be his New York link. In 1914 he was talked into the idea of starting a Sunday comic section in the Press and syndicating the content to other papers. Munsey didn’t believe newspapers were a place for such frivolity, but he was talked into the venture. With little interest from the chief and a miniscule budget, the section was really on its deathbed from the start. The section lasted just a little over six months before going down the tubes. The newspaper itself only lasted until 1916 when it was combined with another paper (the Sun). The Sunday section contents were, if not of the highest quality, interesting from a historian’s standpoint. I’ll be posting more New York Press strips in the future.

Be sure to click on the strip above to see it at a readable size.

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