After a long search, I think I’ve finally found the start of F. Leipziger’s Doings of the Van Loons comic strip. For the longest time I thought the strip started sometime in 1912, but then I discovered that there was a reprint book of the strip that was published in 1911. That sent me on the hunt again, and finally I found a run of the strip starting on December 5, 1910 in the Louisville (Ky) Courier-Journal. At least I’ll assume this is the start of the strip until I find something yet earlier.
The significance of the strip lies not in its content; it’s a fairly forgettable strip, one of the kajillion about a henpecked husband; but in the fact that it ran as a true daily right from the start. This makes it the very first ‘contractual’ daily strip, pre-dating by over a year what I claimed was the first, Scoop The Cub Reporter, in an article on early daily strips that I penned for Hogan’s Alley magazine a few years ago.
To recap the point I was discussing in that article, I defined a contractual daily strip as one that a syndicate paid to have produced 6 times per week, 52 weeks per year. Many think of Mutt & Jeff as the first daily, but in fact Bud Fisher often put the strip on hiatus well into the mid-1910s, so it doesn’t qualify.
The samples above are the first two days of the strip, December 5th and 6th, 1910.
By the way, one of the descendants of Leipziger contacted me a few years ago looking for samples of his strip. I did hook the lady up with some material, but forgot to ask her what the “F.” stands for. If she happens to come across this blog, I’d sure appreciate her dropping me a line.