M.T. “Penny” Ross essentially ripped himself off with Beatrice and her Kid Brother Bill, a strip that is really just Mamma’s Angel Child with boys instead of girls, and an older sister instead of a mother. And yes, they are boys, though they’re rather androgynous looking. Ross took less time on the art of this strip — where Mamma’s Angel Child was always graphically innovative, this strip, though drawn exceedingly well, wasn’t one to make your eyes pop out like Ross’ bread-and-butter strip.
What’s amazing about Ross, to me anyway, is that he was able to get away with cartooning in, if I may be excused for being impolitic, a flamboyantly feminine manner. It’s no surprise that many fans have assumed that ‘Penny’ was a woman. We’re talking 1910s Chicago here, not San Francisco today, so I have to wonder how he got along with the rest of the boys in the bullpen. Do I give the folks of those long ago days less credit for openmindedness than they deserve?
Beatrice and her Brother Bill ran from January 11 through May 31 1914, syndicated by the Chicago Tribune.