This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.
Newspaper comic strips illuminate society in a way many other mediums cannot. Available on a daily basis, one can track changing trends in cultures by looking at the types of comic humor that was popular at the time. Collected by Nostalgia Comics, in issue number 6, 2 Great Kid Strips from the ‘20s, shows two popular newspaper cartoons from World War I and continuing on through World War II. Jerry on the Job and Reg’lar Fellers, both focused on children and their daily exploits but in very different ways. Jerry on the Job, chronicles a young boy’s first experience with working in the economy. Reg’lar Fellers, on the other hand, was about several young boys and typical playtime activities.
Gene Byrnes, the author of Reg’lar Fellers, depicted his characters as innocent, fun loving boys without any witty introspection. The follow up to his first comic strip, It’s a Great Life if you Don’t Weaken, Reg’lar Fellers was an instant success. Published in the New York Herald Tribune, Byrnes was one of the top paid cartoonists of the times. He used his comic to showcase thoroughly American children at a time of global conflict and the strip made its way around the world, eventually translated into nine different languages. Reg’lar Fellers was so popular it was also turned into movies and comic books.
Jerry on the Job by Walter Hoban also ran for over 20 years, like Reg’lar Fellers, but it never reached the same commercial heights. Hoban’s humor focused more on puns, with Jerry making witty comments to his boss that literally knocks him off his feet. Although innocent and full of good natured humor, with phrases that come across as anachronisms today, Jerry on the Job still stands up as a funny comic.
Also included in this comic issue are Johnny Hazard, Gasoline Alley, Flash Gordon and Brick Bradford. For anyone looking to reminisce, this collection is an excellent source. Nostalgia comics : Franklin Square, N.Y. : Nostalgia Press, can be found in Widener’s collection.
Thanks to Emma Clement, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.