Obscurity of the Day: Antics of Arabella

Oh, now I’ve done it. I mentioned that New York Evening Graphic and now it’s all I can think about. Here we have the Graphic’s flagship strip, wherein we encounter MacFadden journalism at its best. Not content to have cartoonists draw pretty gals, the Graphic took the leap to erotic photo-comics. In Antics of Arabella we find each day a different pair of shapely lingerie-clad Broadway chorus girls doing calisthenics while telling jokes. Purely an educational feature, you understand. Simply a feature for the edification of the housewives out there looking to keep fit and trim just like these winsome burly-q dollies. Those with prurient minds please turn to the next page, this feature is not for you.

Antics of Arabella apparently started in October 1925 (according to a contemporary E&P article; my bet is earlier) and the writing and photography was credited to one Lois M. Bull (yeah, right). The last new episode of the series ran on December 7 1929, but the feature continued in reprints right up to the end of the Graphic itself on July 7 1932.

EDIT: Leonardo de Sa writes to tell me that the pseudonymous-sounding Lois M. Bull was a real live human. She also did a little writing for the pulps. Oops, sorry Ms. Bull!

7 comments on “Obscurity of the Day: Antics of Arabella

  1. I know the 1926 “The Adventures of Joyce Arden” and the 1934 “Tex and His Pals,” what other photo comics existed? Did I say thanks?

  2. Fraid that’s the only one I have at hand at the moment, no more samples until I dig up some other pile.

    The three photo-comic titles you listed are the ones that always come to mind for me. Undoubtedly there are a few others, but I can’t think of them at the moment.


  3. Notably, there was “Broadway,” produced by then-columnist Mark Hellinger for the NY Daily News in the mid-/late 1920s.

  4. Hey Jay –
    Hellinger did a cartoon and photo illustrated column in the 30s (for King, I think) but I don’t recall a “Broadway” photo-comic from the 20s. Got a sample we could share on the blog?


  5. Hello, Allan–There was a photo comic which ran in 1933, which “dramatized” current films, using stills and word balloons in six-day installments.They were all Columbia films, indeed, they were “Columbia Features Syndicate” strips. I don’t know if this obvious ad gimmick counts as a real comic strip or just an oddity.—–Cole Johnson.

  6. Hi Cole –
    Yeah, I’ve seen King Kong and a few others in that on-again off-again series. For the Stripper’s Guide index I don’t count them, but they certainly are neat oddities.


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