Friday, March 15, 2019

Today in the history of the American comic strip: March 15

American cartoonists and writers may not have invented the comic strip, but some argue that the comics, as we know them today, are an American creation. Clearly, the United States has played an outsize role in the development of this underappreciated art form.

3.15.1923: Skippy debuts in Life magazine, but cartoonist Percy Crosby quickly branched out into newspapers. The strip was published until 1945.

Tarzan of the Apes, which began as a daily comic in January 1931, launches a full-page Sunday strip.

3.15.1959: Tillie the Toiler, by now reduced to a Sundays-only strip, ceases publication. Created by Russ Westover, it started its run in 1921.

3.15.2012: Fran Matera, who drew Steve Roper and Mike Nomad from 1984 to 2004, dies from prostate cancer. He was 87.
Most of the information listed here from one day to the next comes from two online sites -- Wikipedia, and Don Markstein's Toonopedia -- as well as 100 Years of American Newspaper Comics, edited by Maurice Horn. Note that my focus is on American newspaper comic strips (and the occasional foreign strip that gained popularity in the United States). Thus, comic books and exclusively online comics are not included here.

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