With a starting date of 1917, it’s going to be difficult to find an older comic that is as easily findable online. Back in its day, The Gumps was a very popular syndicated comic about a middle-class family and their friction. It’s said to straddle the world of the comedic and melodramatic, so it should be perfect for me. Right?
Well, no. I don’t know if it’s the comic not ageing well or my not enjoying the somewhat longwinded way The Gumps goes about storytelling, but this comic really didn’t do much for me. It’s an interesting idea to have a comic with protracted storylines that spin out common/mundane topics. The problem that I had is just how long these comics take to reach a punchline and, even then, those punchlines don’t always work.
Still, this is an interesting part of comic history as The Gumps was one of the comics that helped to spearhead the idea of the syndicated comic rather than exclusives. It’s something that would have likely happened eventually, but credit where credit is due.
If you want to have a go at The Gumps yourself, here is a link to an online archive featuring a bunch of strips: http://www.barnaclepress.com/comic/Gumps/