Well, for many of you out there, the Back-to-School Season has, or soon will, arrive. In honor of this (and of my girlfriend’s daughter heading off this weekend for her Freshman Year at NYU!), I’ll be subjecting all of you to extracts from college student-published comics, today and the next three Mondays!
First up, published at Ohio State University (home of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum ), are the early-1920s cartoons of Sidney Wells. While at college, Wells published a book of his cartoons every year, for three years running. All three books were over-sized oblong-shaped, mimicking the format of early 20th century Hearst era comic strip reprint books (what the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide labels “Platinum Age”). Below, from 1922, is the cover of Wells’ Life at Ohio State.
Click on any picture, to open an enlarged version.
Below, the foreword from the last of Sidney Wells’ three books. Wells mentions having contributed to Ohio State’s humor magazine, the Sun Dial (in which, I would imagine, the cartoons in his book perhaps originally appeared?). A few years after Wells left, Milton Caniff would attend Ohio State, and also contribute to the Sun Dial. According to the Foreword, Wells was working on a 1925 edition of Life at College, but, I’ve yet to find evidence that such an edition was published.
In fact, it’s likely nothing was lost to us by the lack of a 1925 edition, as the truth is that the interiors of all three of his titles, contain the exact same set of cartoons! Only the title and cover changed! (They are good cartoons, though.) Below, the cover from his 1923 edition, Life at Ohio Wesleyan.
Below left, a loose flyer/insert that came with the 1924 edition of Life at College — the cover for which is shown below right. (Note, apart from variation in the title, this is the same cover art used for the 1922 Life at Ohio State.)
Following, a few cartoon extracts from Sidney Wells’ book(s). Below, farm boy freshman heads off to college, returning three months later a sophisticate…
Conflicting correspondences, to home, and to girlfriend…
Cross Section of a Fraternity House During Rush Season. Again, click on any picture to make it larger.
To close out, we’re shown the college graduate having obtained his diploma, stepping out into the world — and onto the unemployment line! (Unfortunately, our situation again, today.)
Next Monday, the Freshman Year from a circa 1850 American comic book. In the meantime, if you missed Craig’s posting of it this past March, check out the 1925 University of California Yearbook, containing cartoons from a number of top-ranking cartoonists!