1916 starts off with a seemingly all-Outcault strip, a good gag well told but the art is rather indifferent:
On January 9, though, Penny Ross seems to have done the figures of the two guests in story panels 1 and 11, and maybe others?
On January 16, Outcault once again draws indifferently, but breaks the fourth wall in a fun strip:
January 23 has Outcault drawing better than he has all month.
On January 30 Outcault is drawing well enough, but the script is instantly forgettable. Well, except for the horse threatening to have a cow bite Buster on the eye. My goodness!
February 3 offers us a very energetic action page. Seems to me Grandpa's poses are more like something I'd see from Ross than Outcault, but the art style still seems Outcault. Maybe Ross did layouts?
February 13 looks like Outcault except for that strange delivery boy. That doesn't look like Outcault or Ross to me.
February 20 seems like a tailor-made page for Ross's help. He's so good at depicting women in action like this. Yet I see no evidence of his style at all.
On February 27 I'm not seeing any evidence of Ross, but these first two months of 1916 just in general seem rushed-looking.
Here's Ross again, this time supplying the body and even at least once (story panel 2, and maybe 3 and 5) the face of Buster Brown. What makes this doubly weird is that Outcault is a character in this strip. Why would he get a ghost to draw a strip in which he appears? Just seems very counterintuitive to me. Did Outcault draw himself !?!?!
We seem to be back to Outcault on the 13th, but it is very poor work. Some of the faces are just awful.
Another apparent Outcault production on the 19th, this time showing considerably more effort, though the faces are still rather simply drawn. .
On March 26 Outcault introduces a new character, Smithy. Smithy manages to out-prank even Buster, all while maintaining an over-the-top sunny attitude toward his victims. Poor Buster can't figure out whether to love or hate his new neighbor. Looks like Outcault throughout to me.