Tuesday, August 19, 2008

 

Obscurity of the Day: Our Neighbors





Burt Thomas was the editorial cartoonist for the Detroit News from 1912 to 1951, and he produced a long-running syndicated Sunday strip, Mr. Straphanger, for them. As far as I knew until recently that was the only strip that the Detroit News ever syndicated.

I also had no idea that Thomas did any other strips, but then came across a small cache of Our Neighbors offered on eBay awhile ago, and further determined that this strip was also syndicated. Our Neighbors started on May 31 1915 and ran until at least July of that year (the dates of my samples). For all I know it ran much longer, a question I'll be attempting to answer, along with a thousand or so others, when I next visit the Library of Congress.

Burt Thomas was, at least by informal account of one cartoonist who met him, a consummate jerk whose very family couldn't stand him. I don't know about that, but gawd the man could draw. Fellow cartoonists may look upon the samples above and despair that they will most likely never learn to spot their blacks with such drama as Thomas.

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