Thursday, May 20, 2010


Obscurity of the Day: Cynthianna Blythe

The New York Herald occasionally ran magazine cover 'comic strip' series long before the other papers and syndicates seemed to catch on to the idea. In the Herald's case, though, their features are so high-falutin' that the term comic strip seems at least a slight misnomer.

Cynthianna Blythe, the tale of a young beauty and the beaus who pursue her, ran on the back cover of the Herald's magazine section from May 2 1909 to February 13 1910 (thanks to Alex Jay for the running dates).

The feature sports art by Wallace Morgan and verses by Harry Grant Dart. While I realize that Morgan was the more celebrated illustrator in his time, I sure wish they'd traded places -- I just love Dart's draftsmanship and page layouts.

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Simply breathtaking. When you look at art like this which was the norm at the time, and you look at newspaper artwork today, there is unmistakably no comparison whatsoever. These pieces belong in a museum of illustration or coffee table book. Do major city newspapers even hire local artists anymore? I don't mean small neighborhood freebie papers.
Cynthianna Blythe was a fashion cutout doll that the Herald had as early as August 1909, and new sets of her with new clothes were sold by mail as late in as May 1910.
Thanks Grizedo, had no idea these pages were all part of a marketing package!

Wow! I always thought of Morgan as more of a magazine illustrator...this is beautiful work.

I agree that Dart did great drawings, too. I especially liked the science-fictiony "future glimpses" he did for Judge.
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