Monday, January 28, 2008


Obscurity of the Day: Over Here - Over There

Ernest Henderson took on the task of chronicling World War I in a comic strip that lasted as long as the American involvement in that conflict.

Over Here - Over There began (in the few papers that started it on time) on April 6 1927, exactly ten years after the U.S. entered the war. And for the few papers that stuck with the series to the bitter end, the feature ended on September 29 1928, a decade to the day after the armistice was signed. In the interim Henderson described the war in exacting detail over the span of 407 comic strip installments. The strip was syndicated by the Register & Tribune Syndicate.

Those good with dates will wonder how the number of strips meshes with the start and end dates. There should be a total of 465 strips if the series ran continuously. Unfortunately I don't have a satisfactory answer to that because I have had no luck finding a paper that started the strip on time and stuck with it until the end. My information is cobbled together from several different papers (specifically, the Oakland Tribune, the Jackson Daily News, the Nashville Tennessean), none from which I have a complete unbroken run. My best guess is that the strip took occasional vacations during its run.

Ernest Henderson was starting on his next comic strip brainchild, Flying To Fame, three months before Over Here-Over There ended.


But the Armistice was signed on 11/11/18...not in September.
Hey, you're right! Only Bulgaria signed an armistice on 9/29. Well that shoots my assumption that the end of the strip was timed to coincide with the end of the war. Unless Henderson was a Bulgarian...

A closet Bulgarian?
Unless I'm mistaken, there have been some interesting amendments to the wording in "Setting the Stage": AGITATION seems to have replaced a shorter word, IN replaces a longer word, and SET UP probably replaces a single short word. I wonder what it said originally, and why it was changed. At what stage would it have been changed? The changes look a bit makeshift: could it be a local paper that did it in this instance?
Hi Lyn -
Probably changes made by the syndicate editor. I checked this tearsheet against another run and the text is the same. This sort of thing isn't uncommon, especially since cartoonists seem to be genetically prone to be bad spellers.

No help on the end date or the interruptions, but the starting date was actually April 4, not April 6, as can be seen in the Spokane Daily Chronicle at
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