Obscurity of the Day: The American Adventure

A perennial also-ran on the comics page are the strips that relate stories from history. Perhaps the most successful was J. Carroll Mansfield’s Highlights of History, but there have been many others, including The American Adventure. This strip, a product of the small Lafave Syndicate, debuted on January 10, 1949, with writing credited to Bradford Smith and art by Dan Heilman. Smith was a writer of history books, mostly for the juvenile audience, so this was right up his alley.

The American Adventure was a Sunday and daily feature that, as do most of the history strips, try to bring history to life in the guise of a comic strip adventure story. Kids are seldom fooled by this ploy and skip the strip realizing that the comics page is committing the sin of trying to teach them something.

With the strip not selling particularly well, Dan Heilman, soon to be the first artist on the Judge Parker strip, bailed out in October 1950 and was replaced by Edwin Haeberle, of whom I know nothing. In a desperate bid to save the strip, the history aspect was dumped near the end of the run and it was made over as a fictional adventure strip.

Definite end dates for the strip are unknown to me, best I can say is that the daily lasted until at least 10/23/50, and the Sunday until 4/1/51. Does anyone have anything later?

One comment on “Obscurity of the Day: The American Adventure

  1. I can’t help with the dates, but I just had to comment on the eerie resemblance of Lafitte to Johnny Hazard…they could be brothers! In fact, the entire sample strip seems to have a very Frank Robbins-esque quality to it.

    Love the blog by the way. Thanks for sharing all these great strips!

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