I’d wanted to point out that John Zakour and Scott Roberts’s comic strip Working Daze, normally a panel strip built around a comic workplace (chock full of science fiction fandom references), has been doing something interesting the past several Sundays: it’s been presenting the history of the strip from 1912 to the present day. Obviously the strip isn’t nearly that old, but the false history format is one that I fell in love with when I first saw The Garry Shandling Show 25th Anniversary Special and have admired when I run across it since. In my undergraduate days I tried to pitch such a mock history of our little weekly student newspaper for our spoof issue and couldn’t find any takers; when years later The Onion: Our Dumb Century did the basic gimmick (albeit, probably, better) I felt vindicated even though nobody would ever care about it. I like to think my love of the form is for more than just the technical ingenuity it takes to make something that looks plausibly old-fashioned, but I know, deep down, I really love the challenge of making something that looks plausibly old-fashioned, and the more specifically it mocks up the old thing the better.
Zakour and Roberts aren’t just making a mock history, though, but are being careful to have their installments burlesque actual comic strip history. Someone well-informed in the history of the comics can pick out the specific inspirations for many of the reference and allusions and personality types mentioned in the authors and editors and licensing tie-ins presented, and those who don’t should be able to appreciate the strips on their own. If they go on to learn more about the field they might get that thrilling moment of realizing what the joke was, sometime later on.
The links so far — which have only brought the strip up to the 1940s — are:
- September 22: the strip in 1912.
- September 29: 1913 and the first Sunday panels to 1919.
- October 6: 1922 and the new artist.
- October 13: 1926 and animated cartoons.
- October 20: 1930, which was a fairly eventful time.
- October 27: The late 30s and you start noticing they declare all the former cartoonists went on to die young, impoverished, sickly, or all of that at once.
- November 3: The strip becomes a straight drama for World War II.