These days we gripe about drivers who slow down and gawk at traffic accidents. Back before the reign of the automobile, how did these annoying rubberneckers get their jollies? Why one way was that they went to see fires. Back when most homes were lit by gas and building codes were lax, fires were really common and people loved to watch the spectacles.
James J. Maguinnis created a strip about the phenomenon for the Boston Globe, making gags out of Fatty the Fire Fiend‘s willingness to drop everything to go watch a fire. The strip debuted on August 7 1910, which oddly enough was just a few days before a major fire in Boston wiped out twenty downtown buildings.
When the fire gag started to wear thin, the strip was renamed Fatty and Bunion. The series ended on September 29 1912