Obscurity of the Day: Toyland

Here’s Toyland by lady cartoonist Myrtle Held. This is one of the first daily-style strips ever produced as a special offering for the Christmas season. The closed-end Christmas strip would later become a syndicate staple, with King Features, NEA, AP and others offering one every year.

Toyland ran in the Christmas season in 1913 and 1914. In its home paper, the New York Evening World, the running dates were December 3 1913 to January 28 1914 (obviously they had some leftovers that had to run late), and December 5 to 17 1914.

The above sample is the first strip in the 1913 series, and has a rather un-Christmasy subject, a woman who didn’t wait for her sailor beau to return from sea. This first strip has pretty awkward art, and the gag has nothing to do with the characters being toys, but Held improved quite a bit in her later offerings.

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