Thursday, September 13, 2012


Obscurity of the Day: The Story of Aviation

When Lucky Lindy, against all odds, touched down in France on May 21 1927, the level of public interest in aviation went soaring sky high. Newspapers cashed in on this mania through the printed word, pictures, and, of course, comics. In addition to aviation strips like Tailspin Tommy and Flying to Fame, there were more sober entries like this one, The Story of Aviation. It was obviously rushed into production by Superior Features, but nevertheless did a creditable job of telling the history of the subject and explaining a little of the science of flight as well.

In the only newspaper so far found that ran this closed-end series, the Queens Daily Star, it began on July 20 1927, a Wednesday. That means the series was thought up, written, drawn, sold and in print within just two months, a pretty incredible feat, if not quite as impressive as Lindy's. The series seems to have lasted four weeks, twenty-four daily strips. I say seems because the last strip I've seen is #23, but it looks to be wrapping up the story, and the existence of a #24 is a pretty good bet to make for an even four weeks.

The art, which is serviceable, is by someone named Ralph W. Maxwell who has no other known comics credits. Though the writing is uncredited on the strip, the E&P advertisement for the strip did supply an unexpected credit, to a woman, Doris E. Drawbridge. A quick Google check reveals a possible marital connection between writer and artist -- this copy of a book of poetry for sale on eBay is signed Doris Drawbridge Maxwell. 

Thanks to Mark Johnson for alerting me to this feature, and supplying photocopies!

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The Lindbergh strip (Tuesday, 16 August 1927) was the final episode in the series.

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