Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Obscurity of the Day: Squire Edgegate

During one of the fits and starts when World Color Printing wanted to get into the daily comic strip biz, they produced a pretty long run of this strip, Squire Edgegate. The strip about a country judge/attorney (his job description was a bit fluid) was drawn simply, and the gags were simple, too. There wasn't anything really wrong about the strip, but there wasn't much particularly right about it either.

As is typical with World Color strips, determining start and end dates is nearly impossible. The strip was not dated, and the codes that appeared instead seemed to mean little -- notice that two of these samples bear the same code, S-59! The strip seemed to have been sold in lots to newspapers, as there was certainly no rhyme or reason to the order in which they were printed in any paper I've seen.

The strip began in 1918, penned by Louis Richard. I assumed that Mr. Richard was likely a non-entity, a house name assigned to the strip. But Alex Jay has turned up the cartoonist who goes along with that name, and you'll read about him tomorrow. Sometime during the run in 1919, Richard, though still getting a byline, was replaced by Harry Paschall. Or maybe they spelled each other. Impossible to tell because, as I said, the strips were never run in any obvious sequence.

The original daily run seems to have ended in 1919. However, the stereotypes were barely cold before WCP put them back in use, making Squire Edgegate a regular part of their weekly black and white kids page, which began around the fourth quarter of that year. The Squire ran in reprints on that page for years.

However, even that wasn't enough reprint exposure for WCP. They also sold the Squire Edgegate strips off to National News Service and the International Cartoon Company, two bottom-of-the-barrel reprint syndicators. These two companies sold Squire Edgegate to small, rural papers during the 1920s.

In the late 1930s, the strips popped up in some small papers yet again. This time they still had their original World Color Printing copyright slugs intact, but it wouldn't surprise me if this round of selling was from yet another syndicator who didn't even bother putting their own copyright on the now very well worn plates.


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