Scans of The Wiggle Much, esoteric newspaper cartoon from 1910


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what was that

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“the first man who speaks gets a wooden bullet into his wooden head.”

It’s not exactly “The Family Circus” or “Garfield” (or “The Voynich Manuscript”) but the drawings have a certain awkward charm. I realize the strip is 100 years old, but the rhyming storytelling is pretty darn obnoxious.

Usually when anyone puts any sort of old art on the Web, they tend to always clean up the scans. These strips are full of what looks like microfilm mold. As the strip apparently only ran three months, it seems more like it’s some sort of experiment gone wrong or an attempt to cash in on the success of Winsor McCay’s perfect and poetic “Little Nemo” (which is about 10,000 times better than this) - also, I disagree that this is an “esoteric” strip…pre-radio/TV/cinema/Internet human citizens had direct contact with their imaginations and (generally-speaking) enjoyed pseudo-imaginative, poorly-rhymed frolics in their Sunday comics…and comics are always exoteric.

I wonder if PIXAR has taken out an option on Wiggle Much?
John Goodman could do Much’s voice

The “ABOUT” link is entirely unhelpful - - I say not much ado about Wiggle Much

I think the character design of the WM is the best thing about this strip; not to say that the rest has no value…but brrrr it’s all SO dated: the history of the American comic strip is varied; I’m a fan: Segar, Harriman…Walt Kelly especially…but while those seem ‘old’ to me: they also feel a hell of a lot more modern than this example.

But, as has been mentioned before: we forget the masses of grist and gravel and detritus that bring forth the rare precious nugget of genuine creativity: ‘Little Nemo’ as mentioned above being an excellent example of the form.

I still read a paper fishwrap regularly: Mutts takes a second to read, a simple throwback, but done lovingly. Doonesbury, helps maintain my Liberal credentials. Luann (god help me); but it actually has momentum over time, unlike that perfect fossil with the cat and the dog and the idiot.

Besides Bizarro which has been damn great for a shitload of years, used to share billing with The Far Side in my local paper; I really just read -in order of interest- Lio, Non Sequiter, Bucky/Sachel/ the Canadian…and finally my favorite: Pearls Before Swine.

That still leaves more than half I’m not willing to give my eyeballs the extra 3 seconds to receive.

I guess it has always been thus…with many things.

-GOD I miss Calvin and Hobbes!-

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I wonder, was Herbert related to Aleister?

@carlosdanger I guess you’re right, this reeks of ‘let’s start our own Little Nemo, it will sell more copies’.

Interesting when I saw this I thought, this must be the work of Justin Duerr, and it is. It’s also worth checking out Resurrect Dead a documentary on the investigation he and others did on the Toynbee Tiles mystery

Discussing the merits of modern day newspaper comics is sometimes as painful as discussing the merits of facial hair in Major League Baseball - the only time I dare to look through the daily comics is when I’m stuck in a doctor’s office with nothing else to read. If only children are reading such magnificent fare as “Marmaduke” and “Dilbert” I can understand their use. But for fully aware grown up adults to find anything near entertainment in 30-year old reprints of “Wizard of Id” or “For Better Or Worse” or “Ziggy” is mindblowing. My biggest gripe with newspaper strips is that most of them take 4-5 panels to say nothing funny or clever. True cartoon geniuses only need one panel to make their point (Charles Schulz of course is an exception to the rule)

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Yeahh character design is classy! Nice job.

I’m seeing an influence on Lobey Dosser’s horse Elsie.

So this strip is over 100 years old, and people are complaining it seems old?


Wiggle Less:

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I was more complaining that it seems terrible.

When my grandmother died a few years ago, and her considerable possessions were dispersed among family and friends, the one thing I wanted to remember her by was a gigantic coffee table book of newspaper comics. I’d spent hours poring over that thing as a kid. Full-size, full-color reproductions from an era when Sunday strips covered an entire page of broadsheet…Little Nemo, Krazy Kat, the Katzenjammer Kids, plus huge runs of adventure strips like Popeye, Mickey Mouse, Wash and Easy. Beautiful stuff, well deserving of reproduction and remembrance.

“The Wiggle-Much” wasn’t in there, with good reason.

During the same period, there was another comic strip, “Sherlocko the Monk”, that was so poorly written that the endings barely qualified as punchlines. But it was popular enough that people started taking a cue from the strip and putting an O at the end of their names. Sometimes, in the movies, you can still hear an old guy say, “hey, boy-o, c’mere.”

In Harpo Marx’s autobiography, “Harpo Speaks”, he recounts how during a card game backstage they each were given their nick names by the dealer, based on their on and off-stage personalities.

So what the hell is that thing, some sort of monkey-cat?

“For Better or Worse” was never meant to be “funny” other than in the sense life can be funny at times. It was just a slice of life from a Canadian family and you had to follow it for months/years to appreciate it.

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