Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Today in the history of the American comic strip: June 19

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.

6.19.1923: Moon Mullins debuts, under the stewardship of Frank Willard. The strip remained in syndication until 1991.

6.19.1978: Garfield, arguably the world’s most famous cat, makes his first appearance in print, courtesy of creator Jim Davis.

6.19.2015: Ben Schwartz writes an article for The New Yorker about Frank King’s Gasoline Alley, headlined “An old comic strip about modern fatherhood.”

6.19.2018: National Public Radio’s All Things Considered runs a story on the growing popularity of Wallace the Brave, a three-year-old strip by Will Henry of Rhode Island, who set the cartoon in the fictional coastal town of Snug Harbor. The report said the comic is about “a boy who's less depressed than Peanuts character Charlie Brown,” and kinder than Calvin of Calvin & Hobbes.


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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