Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Obscurity of the Day: The Lad That Loved a Lady
In The Lad That Loved a Lady, the great F. M. Howarth did something that was seldom seen in comic strips of his era -- he penned a series of comic strips that ends in an actual conclusion.
The story, set in medieval times, was simple enough: the beautiful and bumptious Isabel, daughter of the Earl of Sourface, falls in love with Alonzo the page, an underling who serves in her father's castle. She eggs on Alonzo to win her fair and square and thus save her from the advances of several very unappealing but high-born suitors. In a series of escapades, Alonzo proves himself to be a master trickster by successfully outwitting the other suitors. And then, in the final strip (seen above), Alonzo even gets the better of the Earl of Sourface himself, and thus wins the hand of Isabel and the grudging approval of her pa.
A couple other comments on the strip. First, notice that the top strip actually has the art panels out of order with the captions below. This is a problem I don't recall ever having seen before in a Hearst Sunday, and I find it mystifying how the problem made it all the way into production and into the Sunday paper. Second, Howarth must have been quite a student of Renaissance romantic literature, because he does an absolutely superb job of writing the captions in that ultra-flowery romantic style. Forsooth, I am by my spurs ever so impressed!
The Lad That Loved a Lady ran in the Hearst Sunday sections from December 23 1906 to April 21 1907.