Thursday, March 8, 2012

Before the Cage, There Was Food.

Here are some examples of Ahern's early work, before he started Our Boarding House. The first is a panel from August 22, 1916, that I think shows some surrealist leanings.

Ahern was clearly influenced by Rube Goldberg, and many of his early strips use Goldbergian formulas, including crazy inventions. There's more here, though - look at the building in the lower right corner. It looks like something from Dr. Suess! Such buildings would often appear in the Nut Bros. and later in The Squirrel Cage.

Here's an even better example of surrealism, from Ahern's "Squirrel Food" strip, which featured one of his first regular characters, Balmy Benny. These are dated Sep. 15, 17, and 18, 1917. The boss gives Benny a vacation in Simpgoofia.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful discoveries! Ahern was clearly walking in Rube Goldberg's footsteps at first, but quickly found his surreal take on screwball comics. Great post, Carl! Thanks!