Obscurity of the Day: Wisewinkers

The Boston Globe maintained a mostly homegrown Sunday comic section well into the teens, and one strip, Billy The Boy Artist, ran until the 1950s. Today’s obscurity, Wisewinkers, wasn’t quite that long-lived, but it did manage a very respectable run from July 9 1905 to April 6 1911. The creator, James J. Maguinnis, patterned his strip pretty closely on Buster Brown, complete to the long soliloquy in the final panel. The ever-naughty child, however, didn’t have a dog – he had a talking horse named Wisewinkers. The horse even got top billing over the ersatz Buster.

Maguinnis did a slew of features for the Globe over the decade of the oughts, plus one short-lived strip that ran in the Philadelphia Press. What he did before or after is unknown to me, except that I have a dim recollection that he did some work for one or more of the big humor magazines in the 1890s. Perhaps someone more attuned to the Puck-Judge-Life triumvirate can set me straight.

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