Friday, January 13, 2012

Cuthbert Bede (1827-1889)

One of the first ever attempts at a newspaper comic strip continuity was “The Adventures of Mr. Verdant Green, An Oxford Freshman,” by Cuthbert Bede in the Illustrated London News. There were only two installments, one in December 1851, and one in January 1852. “The Adventures of Verdant Green” was published in hardcover in 1853 by Nathaniel Cooke and can be read HERE. ‘Cuthbert Bede’ was the pseudonym of the Rev. Edward Bradley (1827-1889), who contributed articles and cartoons to the Illustrated London News

ILN Supplements were edited by Mark Lemon, who was editing Punch at the same time. Bradley/Bede contributed to the London Figaro, Bentley's, Sharpe's, Cruikshank's magazines, Punch, The Graphic, and The Illustrated London News

Cuthbert Bede, in Notes & Queries 6th S. II. Nov. 6, '80, wrote that “Douglas Jerrold, W. Blanchard Jerrold, John Leech, Shirley Brooks, Tenniel, Mayhew, and others of “the Punch men” were among the contributors to these supplements. In addition to some stories and other papers, I also contributed to these supplements a series of sketches, “The Adventures of Mr. Verdant Green, an Oxford Freshman,” which were drawn and engraved to appear, a page at a time, in Punch; but as one page of the Illustrated London News was equal to two of Punch, Mark Lemon asked me to transfer the sketches to his supplements in the former paper. When three sheets of the sketches had appeared the late Mr. Ingram changed his mind concerning these special supplements and brought them to a sudden close. This led to the “Verdant Green” woodcuts being subsequently “written up to,” and issued with letter-press in a book form. Therefore it might be said of it that it was a book written in spite of itself.” 

 Image: “The Adventures of Mr. Verdant Green, An Oxford Freshman Part I” courtesy Thierry Smolderen

 Image: “The Adventures of Mr. Verdant Green, An Oxford FreshmanPart II” courtesy E. M. Sanchez-Saavedra

Portrait: Obituary, The Graphic, 28 Dec 1889 (Bradley died 12 Dec 1889)

See also The comic strips of The Graphic and The Illustrated London News HERE

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