Welcome to the House of Mirth!


William F. Marriner’s House of Mirth has everything one would wish from a first-generation comic strip: it’s well-rendered, anarchic, clever, and funny. The anarchic aspect is particularly pronounced in this strip about a group of children who set up the House of Mirth, a vaudeville-styled lean-to shed where the tables are turned, and the audience is actually the entertainment for the proprietors. This entertainment invariably takes the form of physical abuse. The kids have all sorts of contraptions rigged up to inflict pain on those foolish enough to pay for a show; a particularly wonderful Sunday found the boys releasing a dog on a cop!

Sadly, fairly early on in the strips’s run it switched gears to showing the kids getting their comeuppance more often than not. By me, the strip was more fun when the kids were unrepentant torturers. I suppose that says something about me. Hmm…

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