Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Obscurity of the Day: Seatless Sam, The Subway Gink
Here's a great strip that Clare Victor "Dwig" Dwiggins did for the New York Evening World. The weekday strip started on October 24 1911 under the title of Seatless Sam, the Subway Gink, then on November 21 changed to Sammy and the Subway - The Quest of a Seat. The series ran until December 28 1911.
This was the heyday of the New York evening papers, when strips came and went at the whim of the creators, and ephemeral subjects and matters specific to New York City were embraced rather than shunned. Later these newspapers would realize that strips with local content could not be successfully syndicated.
Dwig always turns in delightful material, but I especially like this strip, specifically the part of the series in which Sammy is girl-hunting on the subway (top two examples). I love it that Dwig gave such wonderful smart droll dialogue to those girls. In those days beautiful girls were almost always either portrayed as demure debs or gum-chewing airheads. I suspect any attractive girl riding the subway in those days had better be in the tough Dwig mold, not a china doll, to hold her own.