Monday, February 20, 2012
Obscurity of the Day: Lohar
By far the most unusual of the new strips that debuted in the Pittsburgh Courier's color comics section in 1950 was Lohar. I believe this may be the only dramatic newspaper strip ever to star a wild animal in its natural habitat. Not only was the premise unusual, but the strip was really well-written and drawn.
Lohar is the story of a leopard in northern India, and the title of the strip comes from the name of a warrior caste there. Eventually the strip gets rather strange -- the leopard at one point ends up in the Arctic -- but I have read only isolated episodes so I just can't say if the storytelling was loopy or if the plot developments were organic.
Paradoxically, although Lohar was the most intriguing (at least to me) strip in the comics section, it was rarely or perhaps never signed. The credit on the strip I determined through the Editor & Publisher listing, which cited someone named Tom Brady. I know nothing of this person, and wonder if it was one of the other section contributors working under a pseudonym. However, the art style is different enough that I really don't think so.
Lohar debuted with the new Courier color section on August 19 1950, and outlived the section, eventually becoming a daily-style strip in the Courier. The strip ended on October 18 1958.
Thanks to the University of Michigan Special Collections Library for photos of their collection of Courier color sections. They have the only known run of the early color sections from 1950-51, and were very gracious in sharing photos of the strips in their collection with me. Above are strips 1-3 in the Lohar series.
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