Wednesday, June 21, 2006
1903 Chicago Chronicle Sunday Comics; Part I
Awhile back Alfredo Castelli alerted me that he had discovered a comic section, dated 1903, from the Chicago Chronicle. The Chronicle was a very minor Chicago paper; it existed only 1895-1907. The banker who started it had to shut it down when his bank went belly-up. It was definitely not the sort of paper in which I would have expected to find anything interesting. At best it was the sort of paper that would, if it had color comics at all, run the preprint section from World Color Printing.
But that's not the case. Amazingly enough, in 1903 the Chronicle was running a 16-page color "Illustrated Weekly", a section of comics, humor, and stories. Better yet, all the material, as they proudly proclaimed, was created "by Chicagoans for Chicagoans" - all locally produced material, no syndicate stuff!
Naturally I wanted to know more, so I ordered up the microfilm which just came in recently. Unfortunately the microfilm I received, which covered January 1 - May 16 1903, only included three of the illustrated weekly sections. The section definitely ran every week, though, as it was advertised on the front page of the Sunday issues. The rest just weren't microfilmed.
So what I can tell you of the Chronicle in early 1902 is severely limited, but even with just those three sections (dated 2/1, 3/15 and 3/22) I found eight different continuing series! I'll show samples of each here, two per day. Keep in mind when looking at these that they came from microfilm, which is unkind to color material even in the best circumstances, and this film was pretty old and battered. I cleaned up the images about as much as was practical.
Today we'll start off with Algy The Angel and Annie The Cook And The Funny Boys, both by C.E. Ashbrook, who signed himself 'Ash'. Ashbrook's only other known work is for the Chicago Daily News, where he contributed to their daily comics page from 1906-1909. Both of these strips ran in the 3/15 and 3/22 sections.
Does anyone out there have any Chicago Chronicle Sunday sections? If you do, please share a list of the contents with me!