Monday, June 07, 2021
Obscurity of the Day: Jocko
Raymond "GAR" Garman was the king of the jungle animal strip on the Chicago Daily News weekday funnies page. He started contributing to the page in 1900, and did lots of panel cartoons starring jungle animals from early on, but it wasn't until 1902 that he really applied himself to a strip with a continuing jungle character. Eventually this jungle strip would devolve into having no consistent continuing characters, but originally it started out starring a monkey named Jocko ... or sometimes Chatters. This first installment of what I'm calling the Jocko series was on August 4 1902. The continuing thread to this series, as was true of most of his jungle material, was to assume the jungle kingdom had a society and personalities much like ours, just populated with hairy creatures instead of us.
It is impossible to pin down an end date for the Jocko series, because it dovetails with lots of other jungle material, and when monkeys were featured for years to come Garman would recycle the same names over and over. About all I can say for this Jocko series is that the derby-wearing ape by that name was seen less and less in 1903, so that's about as specific an end date as I can manage. Garman continued doing jungle strips and panels throughout his tenure on the back page of the Daily News, which ended about 1912. Occasionally he would carve out an actual series, and I have documented those in my book, but a case could be made that the real listing for "GAR" is simply Jungle Strip and Panels, 1900 - 1912.