O’Shaughnessy of the Daily News


There was a fellow named O’Shaughnessy (hmm, sounds like the opening line of a limerick – let’s start over).

The Chicago Daily News was the first newspaper to have a regular daily comic page that was syndicated to other newspapers, and this fellow O’Shaughnessy was a constant contributor from 1901-1905. He never signed his full name, which isn’t surprising since the News ran their vast daily outpouring of daily comic panels and strips mostly at practically microscopic size to fit everything in. If his first name was half as long as his last he would have had to devote a separate panel to it.

O’Shaughnessy didn’t start his first continuing comic strips until 1902. In 1901 he contributed one-shot comics, as did most of the other contributors. This great example at left is one of his earliest offerings. I really love to find these self-referential strips, they serve as a window into the minds and lives of these obscure early comic strippers. In this strip he seems to be taking a jab at the sophomoric level of humor that many aspiring contributors were trying to get published. Notice on the cartoonist’s ‘masterpiece’ that he has a labelled arrow showing the funny bit. What a hack!

Notice also that the artist’s comic is shown hanging on a wall, not on a drawing board. What’s up with that?

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