Friday, March 12, 2010


Obscurity of the Day: Gallus Coon

Don't shoot the messenger, folks. I don't draw 'em, I just document 'em.

Richard Outcault's Gallus Coon was a feature that he did for the New York World from June 3 to July 1 1900. Outcault was jumping around between syndicates at this time, and this strip seemed to be just a throw-away, though I confess that I like the style of this one more than Outcault's more fussily-drawn productions. I also like the original use of Ah Dope's ponytail as a sort of word balloon. I don't know if that was a recurring theme in this short-run strip, but it certainly is a neat idea, much as Outcault's other innovation, writing on the Yellow Kid's smock, was.

Perhaps most interesting about this strip is the use of the word gallus. I had never heard of this term before, but it turns out that it's Scottish slang meaning self-confident, cheeky, and stylish, all of which describe the nattily dressed title character. Everything I need to know I learned from comic strips...

Thanks very much to Cole Johnson who provided the sample of this rarity.


I wonder if this could be one of the earliest recorded instances of "... NOT" ?
"...not!" was pretty common in the 1900s. I recall the first time I saw it wondering the same thing, but then I started seeing it all over the place. I'd say it's one of those bits of slanguage that has come and gone and returned again, perhaps more than twice.

Here is another instance of ~NOT in a C.W. Kahles Billy Bounce strip from 1904:
One of the more integrated strips I've ever seen! Wonder how Southern readers felt about seeing this?
Ah thanks! Funny how these things drift in and out of popular use over such long periods.
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