Friday, January 19, 2024
Obscurity of the Day: Mr. Meanto
It never bodes well when a cartoonist can't even come up with a decent title for their strip. Here we have a series penned by Roy W. Taylor for the New York World called Mr. Meanto. Now maybe I'm an outlier or my brain is wired wrong, but when I see that title I'm expecting a strip about a character who is nasty to people. Only once you read one of these strips do you realize that Mr. Meanto is forgetful -- he means to do things, then forgets to do them.
Whether the strip is about a nasty guy or a forgetful guy, the concept had been done before plenty of times. Taylor evidently realized he was treading a well-worn path and so eventually added a co-star, Memory Bill. Bill is just as forgetful as Mr. Meanto, but he has the slight leg up that he can recall things if he gets some sort of nudging reminder. His addition led to the strip taking a slightly different course than others of its type, but it was no less repetitive.
Mr. Meanto ran as a half-pager in the New York World's Sunday comic section from March 13 1910 until January 29 1911*. Befitting the quality of the strip, I know of only a single installment that made it onto a 4-colour page of the section in that time.
* Source: Ken Barker's New York World index in StripScene #20.