Obscurity of the Day: Local Oddities

Although locally produced features are few and far between, one niche for local cartoons has long been popular. The phenomenon of Ripley’s Believe It or Not spawned not only dozens of syndicate-produced competitors (Strange As It Seems, This Curious World, According To Guinness, Our Fascinating Earth, etc.) but also many locally produced versions detailing the history and curiosities of the area served by the newspaper.

Local Oddities, produced for the Cleveland News, is fairly representative of the genre. It began in April 1935 and lasted at least though 1937 and perhaps much longer (I have not indexed the Cleveland News as yet – the dates are based on my scattered samples). One interesting aspect of Local Oddities is that it was produced in tag-team fashion. Two cartoonists, Lad Cerny and John McGaw, would switch off on the art duties from day to day. Also notable is that the panels were numbered, but our two cartoonists apparently didn’t communicate too well because they continually mess up the numbering system.

Local features are an Achilles heel for Stripper’s Guide since they are so hard to find and track. If you have information on local strips and panels I’d love to hear from you with any information you can pass on.

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