Some strips die far, far too young. Who can say why? The comic business of a hundred-plus years ago was in its infancy, and consistency is all too rare. Some strips are one-off gags, hastily-inked ideas clearly valued only for their ability to fill space; some will run for a few weeks, then disappear for months, then reappear for a few more (to the great consternation of comic strip archivists such as we!); and some seem to be going somewhere, then just…stop.
The Progress of Dr. Thomas Tablets fits in the latter category. It’s got so much going for it–a respected creator (Harry Cornell Greening), terrific artwork, funny gags, and a neat gimmick. But these two examples constitute the entire run of the strip.
I love poring over old newspapers, culling the comic features. I really do love it all, from the mundane and workaday to the shameless ripoffs, and especially those little gems that I run across, the titles I’ve never heard before that tickle me in some way. This strip is very ticklish indeed, and I was so disappointed to look in my copy of Holtz’s American Newspaper Comics (a volume held in the same esteem by Thrillmer and I as Tobin’s Spirit Guide is by Doctors Spengler and Stantz) and find that the strip’s run was a scant two dates.
So here they are, two li’l bite-sized nuggets of comic goodness.