Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Godspeed, Dwiggo!

It's time again for crazy screwed up comics from long ago that I swiped from Barnacle Press. Here, from 1913, we have Home Wanted by a Baby! in which little orphan Baby shows up on a doorstep, has to face terribly incompetent and neurotic adults, escapes, talks to some random animal, and continues on to the next doorstep. And this happens in every strip, every day, for months.

Here's another one if you don't believe me.

Yes, Baby's catchphrase seems to be "Wow!" I don't know if this is a horrible attempt at onomatopoeia in a strange, turn-of-the-century kind of way, but it may just be a very early occurrence of self-referential humor as even Baby can't believe what's going on in the strip.

In any event, it's attributed to one Clare Victor Dwiggins. I'd like to think that it's not just a pseudonym for some unknown stooge in the newspaper's rank and file. I know in my heart that Dwiggins was a real person, and that he ran around the sidewalks of New York honking a bicycle horn at pretty girls like Harpo Marx.

Screw it. I'm going to go on the record and admit that I love this strip.


beth said...

I have a to of info on Clare Dwiggins, he was quite unique! More to follow

beth said...

I MEANT a "TON" of info...nice typo...!

beth said...

PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHERE I can find MORE of Clares comics strips! YES Clare was a character and that is a great strip!!

I have a ton of info on Clare V. "Dwig" Dwiggins. He was a rebel in his time, and set up an artist's colony at Caroga Lake NY in the Adrinondacks, had many visit or move out there with him including painters, writers. He hosted some wild costume parties, still known today in Adirondack tales, with guests jumping into Caroga Lake off the pier one by one, most likely inebriated.

In addition to working for an architect early on, he decided to "ride the rails" with 2 non-artist friends and set up a "traveling art school" for a few years. Eventually married, his wife, Betsy, a pianist, and his two children lived in the Adirondacks year round. Clare told his editor in NY that he "had tuberculosis" (a lie) and needed to stay in the mountains to become first syndicated cartoonist to telecommute by mailing in his work. At his place, "The Dwigwam" he created something called he called his "declaration of independence from regimentation" which was decorated with coffee grounds!!

He created cartoon features including "School Days", "Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn" and "J. Filliken Wilberfloss" and did artwork for many books by August Derleth. He also did serious and very beautiful female (some nude) illustrations in works by Gustave Flambeau and other serious writers. His first cousin was W.A. Dwiggins, who was a leading book designer in first half of 20th century. Two rooms are dedicated to him at the Boston Public Libary, and in the many files, I found that they had a grandmother with the same name as mine, and I am a Dwiggins, so what fun I have doing this research!

Anyone who wishes to may email, I'd love to talk "Dwigginsia" anytime. Put DWIG CARTOONS in the subject line so I know your intent.

Beth Dwiggins Ritchason

Jeff Koval said...

Wow, you just blew my mind with all that info. More strips can be found at Barnacle Press. Make sure you go there and give them some props.

beth said...

Jeff I see you are quoting the homeless baby...Wow... =)
I will be looking into Barnacle Press, also enjoy your strip!