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|For Native American Heritage Month, we’ve been showing examples of how 19th century American and European comic publishers presented indigenous people to the European-derived public. Such images and stories from all sources, drilled in the view of Native Americans as savages, and white expansion into their lands as the beneficial spread of civilization. Amongst these sources, were dime store novels — predecessors to the pulp magazines — voraciously consumed by the young, and, supposedly, filled with lurid violence. In these, fighting and slaughtering Indians (as well as pirates and outlaws) was presented as grand heroic adventure.
Above, in The Food of Our Youth, artist/publisher Joseph Keppler depicts an “Infant Indian Exterminator”, suckling from a bottle of dime novels floating in blood. Keppler’s cartoon appeared on the front cover of the September 21st, 1881 issue of Puck magazine.
Below, The Adventures of Tom Brown and His Young Friend Dick; or, Why Little Boys Should Stay at Home, depicting the fate of two young boys who decide to emulate their dime novel heroes. This small fold-out cardboard pamphlet, published circa 1882/1883 by M.F. Tobin, adds color to and reprints an 1881 Frederick Burr Opper Puck strip (without crediting Opper).
Wednesday, we’ll re-present an article involving real-life dime novel figure, Buffalo Bill, followed by two new Native American Heritage Month postings on Thursday and next Monday. To find prior articles in this series, click here.
NYPuck KepplerSr NativeAmericanHistory