Monday, August 08, 2022


Obscurity of the Day: Jobs of Sorghum Shortcake


Here's one from that wild and wacky back page of the Chicago Daily News, a daily page full of comics and gags when that wasn't even a thing yet. In 1906-07, the bullpen was home to someone who signed himself 'James'; he was a pretty good cartoonist, and he originated three different series during his brief tenure. Unfortunately I've never figured out what his full name might be.

One of those series was Jobs of Sorghum Shortcake (aka Li'l Sorghum), in which a black kid loses job after job due to an insatiable curiosity which lands him in hot water. This series ran sporadically from November 16 1906 to April 6 1907. It was 'James' last series. 

The second example is interesting in that it shows an odd affectation that was pretty common among the Daily News crew of those days. Word balloons were sparsely used, perhaps because the strips were printed awfully small, but when they were you'd often see the text underneath giving a whole different speech to the same character. It's odd and a little jarring to a modern reader.


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