Thursday, October 04, 2007


The Adventures of Waddles: Week 1

Today we begin a reprint series of a strip I bet not one in a dozen of you has ever seen before.

The new issue of Hogan's Alley, which should be on your newsstand in the next few weeks, features an article by yours truly about the comics of the Christian Science Monitor. This article is the first in a projected series on features in off-the-beaten-path newspapers. I'll let you read the article to learn all the details, but in it I describe the surprisingly long and interesting history of the comic strips that ran in that paper.

Among my favorites from the Monitor is The Adventures of Waddles. The strip, starring Waddles the duck, started out as a cute little kiddie strip written all in rhyme back in the 1920s. By the 40s, though, the strip began to feature seriocomic adventures that I think might remind you of a certain other cartoon duck as penned by Carl Barks. While the storylines in Waddles may not quite stand in comparison to the classic Barks stories, I think you'll agree that they have a wonderful charm all their own.

I'll be adding the strips to the blog at about a week's worth each day, and once we get through to the end of my part one I'll tell you where you can go to read the exciting second half of this long story (now you probably know darn well where the rest of the story is, but don't peek until you've read the first half!).

We pick up the story today on June 1 1949. Because Waddles' stories tended to blend together, I've had to pick up with the story already somewhat in progress, so read the following before you proceed:

Our Story Thus Far
A mysterious person claiming to be "Battling Bill" Baldpate has come to town to claim the old abandoned Baldpate mansion. The mansion, though, is also coveted by local bigwigs Blacksoil and Topsoil MacLoon. Battling Bill comes armed with a paper proving ownership, but loses the proof in a gust of wind while showing the claim to Waddles and his pal Ted. "Battling Bill" goes on a crying jag when this happens, leading the boys to wonder about the mysterious stranger's real identity. Meanwhile the MacLoons, aided by their stooge, Shorty, cook up a scheme to get the property for themselves.



Together we can present this LOST EPIC! Thanks for making it available and for sharing it with's great stuff!

Hello, Allan----Does WADDLES have anything to do with the strip DOK'S DIPPY DUCK, seen in the SMITHSONIAN BOOK OF COMICS?----or am I just quacking up?-----Cole Johnson.
Hi Cole -
Though both by Hagers, Dok was apparently J.R. Hager, while the originator of waddles was George Hager. Been a long time since I looked at Dok's cartoons (have one of the reprint books buried around here somewhere), don't recall the style.

Interesting, though, that both Hagers were duck fanciers. Maybe there is indeed a connection. Definitely got all your neurons firing to put those two together!

For what it's worth, I believe the Hagers who worked on Waddles were the children of J.R.

John R. "Dok" Hager's children were indeed the authors of Waddles after he had given up the strip because of failing eyesight. Mary wrote the script, and George was the illustrator. "Dok" was a real live doctor by the way, trained as a dentist before turning to cartooning. Dok's Dippy Duck eventually became Waddles, but I'm not exactly sure how that came about.

Terence Hanley
Thanks for the info Terence. I'd love to know more about Dok Hager, who was evidently quite active in Seattle newspaper cartooning. Maybe Waddles originated there at some point before the Monitor?

My mom had a red book of the Waddles comic strips as a child. She gave it to me when I was a kid and I must have read it 100 times! I loved that little duck! Sadly, the book--which must be 60+ yrs old now--was misplaced, so finding Waddles online (after a long search) was like finding an old friend. Thank you!
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