Obscurity of the Day: Jills and Jive

Bill Chase seems to have been a part-time cartoonist and full-time editor at the New York Amsterdam News from the mid-30s to 1942. He contributed a comic strip, Pee Wee, which wasn’t all that well-drawn or deftly written, but had the presumed asset of being done by someone on staff, and therefore incurring no extra out of pocket expense for the paper.

According to Tim Jackson’s Pioneering Cartoonists of Color site, Pee Wee continued through the war. I have to take exception. Chase seems to have disappeared from the paper entirely after August 1942 and doesn’t return until late 1945, now with the title of Sergeant on his cartoons. Obviously he went off to war. I see no cartooning output from him in the paper during the interim.

When Chase returned to the fold he may well have resurrected Pee Wee. I don’t know because I have not had access to the Amsterdam News any later than the end of 1945. I can say, however, that when he returned his first foray back into cartooning was the panel cartoon Jills and Jive, a feature with weak gags and art, which mattered very little since the main point was to offer a drawing of a scantily clad buxom honey — a function which it fulfilled handily.

Jills and Jive first appears in the December 8 1945 edition of the Amsterdam News, and I can’t offer an end date since I have not indexed the paper from 1946 on.

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