Sunday, September 6, 2009

Evolution of Brainy Bowers

Brainy Bowers originated around 1901 in the Chicago Daily News on a b&w joke page featuring single-panel and caption or balloon strip cartoons, comic illustrations and typeset gags. The artist was R. W. Taylor on the joke page strips. This early example from January 4, 1902 is in caption and features a bizarre stickman as a witness to Brainy’s japes. The stickman was named in my next sample, June 7, 1904, as Drowsy Duggan.

The May 5, 1904 comic and the Feb 1, 1908 panels below were probably drawn by either Ed Carey or George Frink. Frink drew a feature called Circus Solly which became Slim Jim. Slim Jim was drawn by Frink at first and then passed on to Raymond Crawford Ewers, a talented California cartoonist. The comic strip was copyrighted by C. J. Hirt and in 1904 the feature was taken over by World Color Printing. Brainy Bowers was one of the characters popular in the Platinum era comic books.

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