Obscurity of the Day: Gay Gazoozaland

Today we have a real moldy oldie for you, Gay Gazoozaland by J.B. Lowitz. It’s a fairly standard jungle animal comic of the type that was very popular in the first decades of newspaper funnies, but with the added bonus of monkeys dressed up as the Yellow Kid! Is the one tagged Walt named after Walt McDougall I wonder?

Dating is a problem on this series. Ken Barker’s New York World index wrestled with it no less than three times. In StripScene #12 Barker has it as running from February 28 to November 7 1897. Then in StripScene #18, saying that the Johnson brothers inspired him to dig deeper into the early years of the World, the dates on the series were amended to June 21 1896 to May 16 1897. Then in the last published version of the index, in Inks Vol. 2 #1, the dates revert to those published in StripScene #12.

That’s confusing enough, but in my Stripper’s Guide entry on the series there is an unsourced credit as well — I have Daniel McCarthy supplying the art on the final installment of the series on 11/7/1897. Someone must have given me this piece of information because I haven’t indexed the early World, but  I failed to note my informant in the source notes. Unless someone can confirm this credit it’s going to have to come back off the listing.

Thanks to Cole Johnson who supplied the sample!

Addendum: Ken Barker writes regarding the complexities of indexing this early material:

Even though old age has curtailed my work in the field  of the old  time newspaper comics,  I read your well  appreciated blog on a regular basis.

The confusion with  regard to the New York World postings is due in part  to two factors.  In the first place not all  the issues of the World were preserved on microfilm.  Hence  there is some uncertainty with regard to whether or not they appeared in earlier issues.  In the second place some Pulitzer material appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch even when it did not appear in the parent New York World.  That is what the Cole brothers brought to my attention. 

I was  hung on a dilemma when it came to posting New York World dates.  Should I rely only on what  could be verified as having appeared in the World?  Or should I give Pulitzer  dates and include material which appeared in the St. Louis paper and possibly  elsewhere even if not in the parent New York paper?

I noted these problems in the foot notes to my third version in INKS.

And my response:

Thanks very much for the explanation. I know trying to pin down this early material is devilishly hard and I didn’t mean for one second to be bellyaching about your indexing. I was trying to illustrate that even we so-called experts have no end of trouble with this stuff. I, too, have those Johnson brothers constantly pointing out my mistakes!

4 comments on “Obscurity of the Day: Gay Gazoozaland

  1. Great catch Grizedo! J. Campbell Cory was at the World then. I think that leaves only "Mose", which just might be George Luks — he did a strip called "Trained Chicken Mose" around this time.


  2. Hello, Allan, and Hello, my old friend Ken Barker!—–Which series had different dates in the St.Louis Post-Dispatch from the N.Y.World? I can think of a March 1902 section that ran in the P-D that was totally different, but it's an oddity. Apparently a back-up section (all one-shots) because they didn't have the real section available. —–Cole Johnson.

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