During our last outing, we bid adieu to our friend W.W. Denslow with his August 03, 1902 strip. Billy Bounce would remain dormant for nearly two months until his return on September 28. The title still proudly featured a copyright in the name of Denslow, but something had definitely changed. Denslow’s name was nowhere to be found the next week and the following Sunday now had C.W. Kahles’s signature in the final panel, as seen above. Kahles would remain on the strip for the rest of its run. I have added the remainder of the 1902 pages, most of which are entirely new to the site (December 28 has been replaced by a better version).
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It’s the first Billy Bounce post of the new year and it’s a sad one – today we reach the end of the Denslow era. We’re picking up right where we left off with the circus and zoo at the beginning of June, 1902. Things fall apart a bit; my source papers poop out after two weeks for the rest of the month…luckily I was able to find the one above in another paper, but we’re still missing 6/15 and 6/22. The gang then leaves the circus in July and by the time they hit the seashore for a few weeks of laughs, Denslow is signing his last strip. My sources have the 7/20 Sunday comics section, but Billy is conspicuously absent. I’m guessing he just didn’t run that day; if you know otherwise and can supply that date (or the two in June), please get in touch!
Look for the Kahles run to begin soon. And don’t fret, we may be seeing more Denslow material too (just not here in the Billy Bounce archive).
I have more Denslow pages to share! We’re picking right up where we left off in January 1902, moving forward to the St. Patrick’s Day episode. Last time we, of course, saw the introduction of Billy, but there were a couple other mainstays introduced in the early episodes as well: Fuzzy White gets a page dedicated to his first meeting with Billy, while Prunes the Pieman quietly enters a scene and keeps to the background. His time in the spotlight certainly increases as we move on! This time around the “Cigar Indian” (treated with all the sensitivity you’d expect from this time period) makes the scene in an episode that also features Billy’s first turn as a circus clown.
Big news Billy Bounce fans: I am revamping the archive! And I’m starting with the Denslow material; the image above is the very first appearance of Billy Bounce from November 10, 1901. In fact, I’m putting up Billy’s first ten outings and plan to add more in the near future (as well as replace some images, fix some dates…but I’m getting ahead of myself). For now, maybe we can designate a day of the week for these. What do you say, folks?
Hold on to your hats, Billy Bounce fanatics!
There are Billy Bounce fanatics, right? Well, there should be! And if you haven’t been converted yet by Thrillmer’s previous postings, now’s the perfect time to join the Billy Bounce parade, following the fantastic adventures of our rotund explorer and his wonderful friends. We’ve added forty new installments, and each one is a bona-fide peach of a strip.
His best friend is a POLAR BEAR, people! Get on the stick!
Our run of Denslow’s Billy Bounce pages hit a snag after the March 16th episode – a full three weeks of Sundays are missing from my source! Luckily, I was able to find the remaining March pages in another paper, but they are in rather poor shape. Still no luck with April 6th; if anyone has a scan they would like to send, we would be more than happy to add it to the archive. Of note this time around is the April 27th outing, which introduces the two lion cubs; I had no idea Billy had abducted them from their mother after they had all tried to eat him! These new additions take us through May, which features the start of the Billy Bounce Zoo & Circus and includes the two Denslow pages we posted years ago. I have better versions of these (May 11th and 25th) and will be replacing them soon.
Oh Splash! It’s Samson the Strong Man! Samson is a forebear of the modern superhero, cut from the same cloth as one of our old favorites, Hugo Hercules (their very names call forth strong men of legend, for crying out loud). Samson made his debut in 1905–an awfully long time ago for sure–but that only earns him the distinction of being one of the earliest supermen of the comics page, beaten to the punch at least by the aforementioned Hugo and the high flying Billy Bounce. My enthusiasm is squelched a bit by the racial stereotyping, but for the sake of superhero history, Samson is an interesting find.
I took a break from the Billy Bounce project to revamp an archive that I am not sure anyone was clamoring for: The Little Quacks. The strips we had previously posted long, long ago were actually reprints from several years later; we now have the original run, including the missing Christmas strip seen above (I kept the whole page as to not butcher the ribbon). Dipping back into the duck pond has produced some curiosities, such as these two; it makes me wonder how many times these characters have appeared since this short lived run (I’m guessing there are are more to be had). Plus I ran into an earlier series that we’ll be adding sometime soon. Look forward to seeing some more Quacks in the new year!