Monday, June 16, 2008


Obscurity of the Day: The Gay Boys

Awright, awright, quit yer snickerin'. Serious historianship goin' on here. No, this isn't the first alternative lifestyle newspaper comic strip; that wouldn't happen for, oh, about 90 years or so. Though I always wondered about Alphonse and Gaston...

The Gay Boys was by H.F. Thode and ran in the St. Louis Republic from July 13 1902 through May 31 1903. The Republic at this time mostly ran McClure Syndicate material but usually reserved a page for in-house cartoonists. Thode got the lion's share of the limited room in these days, initially sharing space with a very young and raw George McManus. McManus left for New York during the run of this strip and thus it became the only continuing local feature in the Republic for the latter part of its tenure.

Many thanks to Cole Johnson for these scans. The Republic is a paper of some fascination to me, especially because McManus got his start there. Unfortunately the microfilm of the Republic is missing many Sunday sections and my information on the newspaper's features has more holes than Swiss cheese. Cole has an impressive file of these sections and has consented to go through them for the benefit of myself and you blog readers. Expect to see more goodies from the Republic coming up soon!


Ah, to visit the days when strange old men paid boys to go in the cellar and kill rats. Great stuff... thanks much to you and Mr. Johnson for posting them! I look forward to more comics of the lost Republic.
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