Friday, June 11, 2021
Obscurity of the Day: Tom, Dick and Harry
Willard started out at the Herald doing a daily strip with no continuing title, but his first Sunday feature was Tom, Dick and Harry, which started February 7 1915. The strip starred a kid gang trio who engaged in the typical shenanigans, offering no particular hint of genius on the part of the cartoonist. Who would have guessed that Willard would soon create Moon Mullins, a strip whose popularity would keep it going for nearly seven decades.
Tom, Dick and Harry initially ran until October 17 1915, then went on a hiatus, then returned on January 30 1916 and ran until March 25 1917. On the following Sunday Willard unveiled a new strip called Mr. and Mrs. Pippin, which was much more in keeping with Willard's interest in portraying the lower classes.
There's a lot of good stuff in Willard's pre-Moon years, but all of it seems to be obscure.
His time at King Features was mainly spent on "The Outta Luck Club", but he also had a short stint on "Eddie's Friends" which was the only time that feature actually funny.