Monday, July 06, 2009


Obscurity of the Day: Peter Popple the Prize Pilgrim

The Glackens brothers, Louis and William, were both prolific, well-known and respected newspaper and magazine illustrator/cartoonists. Amazingly enough, though, between the two of them there were just a few newspaper comic strip series, including Peter Popple the Prize Pilgrim.

Louis M. Glackens is responsible for this entry in Stripper's Guide and he was definitely the less famous of the pair. While William was getting out of the newspaper business in favor of fine art, and making a major name for himself as one of the original Ashcan artists, Louis stuck to cartooning primarily as a regular at the humor magazine Puck. When the magazine hit the skids in the 1910s he shifted his focus to animation work.

Louis' only foray into the newspaper comic strip series field was done far away from his regular stomping grounds of New York and Philadelphia. Perhaps this series, done for the Boston Herald, was his way of testing this new sort of material on the road.

Glackens' Boston Herald strip follows the pattern set by that syndicate of choosing their material based entirely on the quality of the art. Peter Popple, like most Herald strips of the era, was nice to look at but a real stinker in the writing department. The strip was set in pilgrim days and concerns a tubby dullard kid named Peter and his father, Jabez. Jabez is the strict disciplinarian who always manages to make a fool of himself while trying to catch Peter in mischief. The strip, other than the era in which it's set, shares a lot in common with the long-running Boston Globe strip, Fatty Spilliker.

Peter Popple the Prize Pilgrim didn't impress anyone in Boston, despite the traditional Boston setting. The strip ran from May 6 to August 26 1906.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans!


After reading those two pages and looking closely at the art, I feel as if I've been perusing an alternate universe version of Tintin.
I get this weird feeling they forgot to print the last row of panels, where the punch line appears.
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