Friday, March 20, 2009


Obscurity of the Day: Ambitious Teddy

Most obscurities you haven't seen for good reason. But here's proof that there is some gold mixed in with all that chaff. Ambitious Teddy is an absolutely gorgeous strip, penned by Bert Cobb in what is obviously an homage to the work of Winsor McCay.

Cobb first pops up on my radar in the late 1890s working in Philadelphia, then for awhile at McClure, then disappears for awhile before emerging in Boston in 1907. Ambitious Teddy was certainly his newspaper strip magnum opus, combining fabulous imagery with dynamic page layouts in a feast for the eyes. Heck, even the gags weren't too shabby.

Ambitious Teddy had the well-deserved front page spot on the 1907-08 iteration of the Boston Herald's on-again-off-again Sunday section, which they syndicated under the copyright of W.E. Haskell with very modest success. The strip ran in the section from April 21 1907 to January 12 1908. At the end of the run Cobb rejiggered the strip a bit, putting Teddy in the middle of fairy tales. The strip was renamed Ambitious Teddy in Mother Gooseland starting on December 1 1907.


I would really love to see a full run of these ... somehow, somewhere. While it's not exactly McCay or Feininger, the art is still pretty darn good.
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