J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Friday, October 18, 2013

“King George’s Stamp Act Tea”

This funny-pages version of the Boston Tea Party appeared in newspapers in 1904 and is reproduced in Peter Maresca’s new book Society Is Nix: Gleeful Anarchy at the Dawn of The American Comic Strip 1895-1915.

It starts with King George giving his Stamp Act to Lord North, which prompts Boston housewives to break their teacups at Liberty Tree. And at the end the American eagle is born. Okay, that’s a historical hodgepodge, but at least the graphics are striking.

Maresca’s Sunday Press Books collects and reprints early comics at their original size, even larger than today’s newspapers (and much larger than today’s newspaper comics). In these early decades, editors and artists were still working out what to do with the form, so they were trying all sorts of things that look crazy to us today. The Atlantic offered some more previews of this collection.


Charles Bahne said...

A great comic!

A bit of web research shows that the artist was Augustus L. Jansson, or A. L. Jansson, who lived in Somerville, Mass., and drew for the Boston Herald. It appears that this strip ran in the Sunday Herald on June 12, 1904.

The "Lambiek Comiclopedia" biography of Jansson gives a portion of another Herald strip that he did, on the Battle of Bunker Hill, and it appears that he may have done other comics about the Revolution as well:


Jansson also did a series of 24 "Colonial Characters" advertisements for a Boston clothing manufacturer, which appeared in the Men's Wear trade magazine, and are reproduced on Alex Jay's blog:


J. L. Bell said...

Thanks for the additional links! I see the Lambiek page credits an article by Peter Maresca, editor and publisher of Society Is Nix, for the information on Jansson.