Sneaky Snaffles & Company (aka Snaffles de Sneak) is, for my money, William F. Marriner at his absolute peak of perfection. Artwise, you’ll never find Marriner’s stringy sinuous linework more playful and assured than this — no wonder he inspired so many imitators. And the gags are just tremendous: in an era when 99% of all burglar strips (and there were plenty of them) maxed out their humor when the burglar got bit by the family dog, Marriner takes us all the way into Mad magazine territory, with sight gags, funny signs, and the most whacked-out moron burglar this side of Don Martin.
Sadly, Marriner lost interest in this terrific feature quite quickly. He produced it for the Philadelphia Inquirer from July 31 to October 30 1904. Thanks to Cole Johnson for the sample scans.