Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The Stone Age by Victor Dowling
Funny Pages v1 #7 (December 1936) [Comics Magazine Company]
If you had gone to the newsstand today in 1936, and opened up the latest issue of Funny Pages, you'd find a fascinating 2 page strip by Victor Dowling: The Stone Age. It merged the high style of the 1930s flapper with prehistoric fashions to get a unique look. Note the modern touches of top hat and street cleaner equipment in the example above.
It started out as the Age of Stone in Comics Magazine v1 #3, but switched the title by the 3rd episode in v1#5. When the comic book became Funny Pages with v1 #6 the strip continued thru #11 (June 1937). But when Ultem picked up the book, it discontinued The Stone Age, much to my regret.
Funny Pages v1 #6 (November 1936) [Comics Magazine Company]
Note the extra touches of humor like the donkey licking the lion's face and its reaction in panels 1 & 2 above. Thanks to the Digital Comics Museum for the scans.
Later, Dowling did other strips for Harry "A" Chesler's shop, but they were of the adventure type with nice, but standard art. He also even did a cover, Funny Pages v1 #9. Dowling did do a few other 2 page humorous strips called Sights About Town which showcased his wit, but they didn't reach the pinnacle of The Stone Age. He also did some work for Atlas.
Victor Dowling went on to illustrate a few books, including one which is still in print. Joey Goes To Sea by Alan Villiers was originally published in 1939 with illustrations by Dowling. Mystic Seaport's latest printing of a story about a cat that lives on a boat was in 2005. Not bad for an forgotten comic book artist.