Obscurity of the Day: The Morning After

In the 1900s and 1910s it was the fashion among many papers to print comic strips only in their afternoon/evening editions. The reasoning behind this is a mystery to me. My best guess is that the evening editions were designed to appeal to the casual buyer on the street. In addition to the inclusion of comic strips, evening papers also tended to contain more sports coverage, the headlines more punchy, and the stories shorter and snappier. These differences might have been to make the paper more attractive to people on their way home from work who were looking to be entertained by the paper in addition to being informed.

In any case, when faced with a paper sporting two editions, I normally don’t even bother looking at the morning paper – the good stuff is almost invariably found in the afternoon editions. The New York World is a case in point. The Evening World was brimming with comic strips, while the morning edition (just titled The World) was, I thought, bereft of such delights. Well, turns out that my comic strip radar was a little off, because the World did on occasion run comic strips in the 1910s. Based on my research so far, no more than one strip ran per day, and on many days there were no strips at all. In fact, it appears that the comics pretty much petered out entriely in 1914, with the exception of the panel cartoon Metropolitan Movies (know outside of New York as Everyday Movies) , which ran in the morning edition for many years.

One of the last strips to run in the morning edition was The Morning After. It was penned by someone who signed themselves Alex Sass. Sass seemed to specialize more in news cartoons (not editorial cartoons, but cartoon depictions of real news events), a cartooning genre that pretty well died out in the ‘teens. The Morning After ran just five times in January 1914, and was Sass’ only continuing comic strip for the World.

EDIT: Thanks to Sara Duke at the Library of Congress, who adds:

Sass, Alex (Williams), d. 1923

English-born Australian artist and cartoonist. He drew cartoons for Melbourne Punch from 1890 to1912. He moved to New York, where he cartooned for The Globe and The New York World. He returned to Australia after two years to work in advertising. He was the third artist to join the art staff of Smith’s Weekly and served as the newspaper’s original art editor. He died in Sydney in 1923, while on the staff of Smiths’ Weekly.

Info from: “History of the ACA,” The Australian Cartoonists Association web site, viewed online: http://www.cartoonists.org.au/?page=214, 03/14/2010

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