Obscurity of the Day: Oh Augustus

Frank King’s very first comic strip for the Chicago Tribune was Oh, Augustus. King seemed to come out of the box full-fledged — this strip is as well-drawn and well-written as anything he’d come up with later in his illustrious career.

Poor Gus is a well-meaning husband who seems to be able to do no right. The plots mostly follow the sample above. Gus tries his darnedest to please his better half but invariably he makes a botch of it — a situation ruefully familiar to all us ring-bearers. Although the strip seems like an effortless lark, dashed off under deadline, King’s innate understanding of the human comedy is gloriously vibrant on this and other pages in the series. Looking at this early strip we can’t help but see that King was destined for greatness.

Oh, Augustus ran from August 28 1910 to September 3 1911, long enough to milk all the humor out of the situation without the formula, at least in King’s hands, becoming rote. In the meantime King was creating a number of other new series for the Trib’s Sunday section, all of which we’ll see here eventually.

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