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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • SUMMER IN ITALY, 1951

Comics: January 1, 1927

Comics: January 1, 1927

The full page of comics from the Decatur Evening Herald (Illinois) on January 1, 1927. View full page.

Un Funnies aren't always

You need to realize that what you're getting on a page like this is a snapshot of the comic pages of the time. This is just one day out of a story spanning days or even weeks. And this storyline would be only one part of the overall strip. When you read a book, you get a beginning, a middle and an ending. This would be the equivalent of one paragraph of a chapter of a book.

And we don't know the characters. The setting, too, is alien to us because the world is so different now. Culture and technology have certainly changed....I mean really, "Gas Buggies"? In 1927, the funny pages were still a very young art form Think about it... in historical terms, this page predates the Great Depression.

So without following a storyline, the humor will usually be hard to find. Then as now, of course, some strips will be better than others. It's easier to understand if you can read a collections of strips. so that you can follow the story to get the context. It works the same with more modern strips. My dad was only born a few years after this page was originally printed. An avid comic fan, he always hated Dunesberry [Doonesbury] until he came across a collection. Suddenly it made sense, because he could actually follow the story. (Personally, I still hate it.)

For me, it's kind of interesting since although I've absorbed the concept of "Mutt and Jeff" through the culture, I've never seen a strip of it before. This example is probably not the best since not only has Mutt apparently shaved his mustache, they are doing a blackface skit... I mean how un PC can you get? The world was indeed very different back then.

I also like checking out the artwork in older comics. Toots looks a little like Blondie, don't you think? (Since Blondie started out as a flapper, she would have been a contemporary.) Bringing Up father is visually reminiscent of Little Orphan Annie (which I didn't even like when I was a kid.)

That of course is the other thing.... even when you know the story and the culture, everybody's tastes are different. Some people like Far Side and some people like Spiderman.
---lothlaurien

Un Funnies

Whenever I see old strips it always strikes me how unfunny they were. Maybe you had to be there, but other forms of humorous media from that time, like movies and books, don't seem to be quite as lacking.

 
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