Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Obscurity of the Day: Doubting Thomas
Doubting Thomas seems like a natural title for a comic strip, a name practically begging to be a series. Yet as far as I've been able to determine, it was only used twice. Against seemingly astronomical odds, both series ran in Philadelphia Sunday funnies sections in 1906. The first series was a very short run feature by C.W. Kahles for the North American, and the second, starting seven months later, was penned by Myer Marcus for the Inquirer. Can we charge Mr. Marcus with having cribbed the idea from Kahles? Well, I don't want to throw stones, but it sure is quite a coincidence.
Marcus' version is shown above, and I can't show you Kahles' because I don't have one. Kahles' version ran just three weeks in January, while Marcus' version was a comparative mainstay of the Inquirer Sunday sections. It ran from August 19 1906 to October 27 1907.
Actually, to be more serious, it really wasn't a mainstay at all -- in fact it was one of the strips that the Inquirer considered expendable. When the Inky had an ad to run, or a contest, or a strip they liked better, or for just about any other reason, they would drop Doubting Thomas in the home paper. In those instances Doubting Thomas was sent to their syndicate clients only. In fact, the strip did not appear in the Inquirer itself until September 16 1906, and was dropped quite often thereafter.