Obscurity of the Day: Jonah, a Whale for Trouble

We end our week of Frank King with a mega-dose of this obscurity, Jonah, a Whale for Trouble. Shortly after Frank King broke into the cartooning ranks of the Chicago Tribune, he penned this series about an evil imp named Jonah. The strip began on October 3 1910, and at first ran as a true daily. Later on in the run, perhaps hitting the wall looking for new ideas for this one-note concept, the frequency faltered, and by the time the last episode was printed on December 8 1910 it was appearing only a couple times per week.

What I enjoy about this series is that King could have easily made it a pulpit-pounding lesson in morality. If Jonah only went after people who treated him badly this strip would be the same old story that Aesop was telling a millenium or three ago. But King throws us a little curve — doesn’t matter if you treat the little bugger well or badly, you’re in for trouble. Unless, of course, you’re Teddy Roosevelt, who makes a cameo to show us all that Jonah is not all-powerful. And who better to do that!

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the samples!

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