Tuesday, July 01, 2014
Obscurity of the Day: Dreamy Dave
No, Winsor McCay certainly wasn't first to take on the subject of dreams in comics, but Dreamy Dave will not tempt you to knock him off his pedestal as king of the dream comics.
Dave has an unfortunate habit of acting out his dreams in real life, which should afford us with an interesting different take on the subject of dreams. Unfortunately a lack of imagination leads to some pretty darn lame strips.
Dreamy Dave debuted on November 13 1904 in the World Color Printing Sunday section, in a series drawn by someone signing themselves what looks like 'Jarrant'*. I don't have any samples at hand of his version of the strip, but you can see them all over at Barnacle Press. The barely passable art of Jarrant reminds me somewhat of Dink Shannon's work, but why Shannon would have chosen to use a pseudonym on a couple strips in late 1904 is unknown.
The Jarrant version of Dreamy Dave only lasted until November 27, a mere three episodes. However, the series was soon resurrected by C.H. Wellington, who penned additional episodes from March 12 to June 25 1905. His version might have been a bit better drawn, but it was no more humorous. Eventually Wellington would be one of the brighter humorous lights on the comics page, but this was only his second pro series, and he was still learning his craft.
Thanks to Cole Johnson for the samples!
* Alex Jay can find no evidence of a cartoonist named Jarrant. Though this might lead a mere mortal to assume that Jarrant is indeed simply a pen-name, Mr. Jay is not so easily put off the scent. Trying other variations of the spelling, he does find a John Tarrant, who shared a studio with New York Journal cartoonist Gus Dirks in 1902 (right before Gus offed himself). Alex says he can find no evidence of this Tarrant being a cartoonist, working for a newspaper, or of having a St. Louis connection (as did many of the World Color Printing cartoonists), but it does leave the door open to the possibility. Thanks Alex!