Charlie Chaplin’s Comic Capers is not a great strip.
This is a fact which is difficult to reconcile, as it was an intersection of two lions of comedy. The strip was launched in March of 1915, and it was clearly never given much thought beyond attaining the license. The character bears little resemblance to the Chaplin we love from the movies, and the cartoonists given the assignment were not very good. Just how little they cared about the production of the strip is shown by who they hired to take it over in 1916: an absolute nobody named E.C. Segar.
Segar would develop into one of the all-time legends of the funnies, but Thimble Theater, Sappo, and Popeye were still years away at this point. The 21 year old kid just wasn’t fully baked in this, his first comic outing. Still and all, it’s a part of both his and Chaplin’s story, so it has inherent value and it’s worth taking a look.
The strip isn’t terrible, by any means, but just don’t get your hopes up for a magnificent merger of brilliant comic minds.
I just uploaded about fifty comics to the A.D. Condo directory, and there are some real beauts in there, as you’d expect. Condo was an incredibly prolific creator, coming up with dozens of ideas that he threw at the wall. Not all of them took off like Mr. Skygack or Everett True, but they’re all fun and worth checking out!
June 26 marks Gracie Allen’s birthday, though we don’t know exactly in what year she was born. Various years were given, to the extent that it became a running gag. At one point, she claimed it was 1906, but that her birth certificate was destroyed in the San Francisco Earthquake of that year. When questioned how it could be, since she was born months after the disaster, she quipped, “Well, it was a very large earthquake!” A perfectly Gracie answer.
Many folks, myself included until a couple of weeks ago, have no idea that Gracie was involved in a syndicated comic feature, with cartoons by The Little King creator, Otto Soglow! I was delighted to find out about it, ‘cos I’m a longtime fan of hers. When I was in middle school, my friend and I would spend hours building Lego houses for our favorite Old Time Radio characters: Jack Benny, Mary, and Rochester for him, Burns and Allen for me. To this day, I listen to OTR every night when I’m going to sleep; these characters are ingrained in me!
But you don’t have to be a fan of radio to appreciate these silly jokes, that’s for sure. We’ve got the first few weeks in the Comic Supplement for you to enjoy!
F. Opper’s most famous creation debuted in 1900, documenting the ongoing tribulations of a good-hearted tramp whose luck is always of the hardest sort. Like many classic strips, Happy Hooligan follows a formula to success: the tramp sees somebody in distress, attempts to help, and is beaten up and arrested for his trouble. Mel Brooks famously said, “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.” This is a strip which embodies this ideal, and we’ve got a bunch of them for you, today!
R.B. Fuller’s medieval farce Oaky Doaks premiered in 1935, and would enjoy a healthy 25-year run in the funnies. It’s a strip about a young shepherd with dreams of becoming a knight. So with some homemade armor, he sets off for adventure! It’s overstuffed with puns both verbal and visual, anachronistic gags, and goofy characters, and the draftsmanship is perfectly honed; even though this was Fuller’s first newspaper strip, he was already a veteran of comic magazines. We have the first month of dailies posted now, and you can be sure that more are on their way!