Exhibit of the Month:
100 Years of Animals in the Comics
What's up, Doc? An exhibit at the Hudson Library, that's what.
Comics historian Don Cook has generously assembled an array of comic strip characters for display at the Hudson Library. This exhibit features animals from the 1900s, which was known as the Comic Strip Century.
A lot was said through the persona of animals back then and, as Cook points out, animals are politically correct by nature. Animals can be depicted without gender, without ethnicity, the trappings of politics and religion, or even clothes! Petunia Pig wore a skirt but no top. Donald Duck wore a shirt but no pants. Alvin was fully dressed, including shoes. Animals could hurl insults, slurs, do bodily harm, hate each other, and curse. Others would be loving and caring. Calamity and violence worked, for sure. Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner had their rough moments and while violence was prevalent, in the end everyone recovered. Marriage, partnership and legal entanglements were totally unnecessary. The love affair of Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse was tender and really, does anyone question where nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie came from? Even the act of speaking was an option for the cartoonist. Tige was the first animal character to talk in English - that was in 1902. But in the 1940s, Orphan Annie's Sandy could say only "Arf" which was sufficient to convey the drama at hand. In contrast, Opus was verbose while Hobbs spoke only to Calvin.
So there you have it, Doc: Animals in the Comics. The exhibit runs through the month of July.
Challenge yourself with the mystery box to see if you can identify the animals and their names.
in the funny papers – at the Library.
- Don Cook and Jenny King